“The Large Guy” took a big fall Wednesday as a federal judge sentenced high-ranking Chicago mobster Michael “The Large Guy” Sarno to 25 years in prison for ordering the bombing of a business and overseeing a robbery crew that shot and stabbed its way across several states.
Sarno, 54, showed little emotion as U.S. District Judge Ronald Guzman sentenced him to the maximum punishment allowed by law.
But earlier, Sarno, the reputed mob boss of west suburban Cicero, choked back tears, his chin quavering, as he began reading his statement to the court about his wife, his two children and his late mother.
Later, as he was led out of the courtroom, he blew a kiss to his family.
The sentencing wrapped up the federal case against Sarno, which included his righthand man in crime, Outlaw motorcycle treasurer Mark Polchan, who ran a pawn shop in Cicero; the man who ran video poker operations for Sarno, Casey Szaflarski, and a cast of crooked cops and quirky thieves who robbed jewelry stores and drug dealers. Crack agents from the ATF, FBI and IRS teamed up for the investigation.
It began after Sarno ordered a bombing in February 2003 that gutted a Berwyn storefront that was home to a business competing with Sarno over video poker territory in bars in the western suburbs.
One of Sarno’s attorneys, Jeff Steinback, asked the judge for leniency, noting that a 25-year sentence was effectively a death sentence because he suffers from diabetes, hypertension and other serious ailments.
“His little girl is not going to see him walk her down the aisle,” Steinback said. “But the question is will she see him walk out of prison?”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Amarjeet Bhachu, who prosecuted the case with Tinos Diamantatos and Michael Donovan, said Sarno, a career criminal, isn’t changing. Sarno “is prepared to dedicate his life to criminal activity because that is the only thing he knows,” Bhachu said.
He blasted Sarno, too, for putting his family’s happiness on the line whenever he committed crimes, but then had family and friends write letters to the judge on his behalf.
It’s the second time Sarno has been convicted of racketeering.
In imposing the sentence, Guzman said Sarno poses a “grave” danger to the public and needed to be kept off the streets.
The prison sentence takes out a high-ranking mobster known more for the beatings he gave than his brains – a man who scaled the heights of the mob, not on his merit, but because so many others had been sent to prison.