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Suburban dad gets 4 years for acting as middleman in extortion racket

A suburban dad who introduced an Outfit-connected tough guy to a businessman who wanted some debts collected has been sentenced to nearly four years in prison for conspiring to set up an extortion scheme.

Frank Orlando, 49, of Schaumburg, was on Tuesday handed a 46-month sentence after he gave an emotional apology to the scheme’s victims and his family, confessing to U.S. District Judge Edmond Chang that he was “a selfish alcoholic who only thought of himself.”

Orlando was convicted at trial last year after evidence showed that he introduced Carol Stream printing firm boss Mark Dziuban to reputed Outfit figure Paul Carparelli after Dziuban told him he was having trouble collecting business debts. Carparelli, in turn, hired former union bodyguard George Brown and plumber Vito Iozzo to act as muscle on Dziuban’s behalf, the feds say.

A tearful Orlando broke down in court Tuesday, telling the judge that he finally realized that what he had done was wrong only when he heard the terrified testimony of one of the victims who was shaken down by Brown and Iozzo.

“His testimony was so compelling,” the sobbing Orlando said. “Nobody should be so afraid over money — I knew right then that I did something wrong.”

Chang gave Orlando credit for belatedly taking responsibility for his crimes, refusing to impose the sentence of up to six years that prosecutors had sought and adding that he believed that Orlando is the devoted family man his relatives paint him as.

But the judge said Orlando was “exceptionally callous” when he was caught on tape in a federal sting, laughing about the supposed beating of a bad debtor. He told Orlando that society “decided long ago that we’re going to try to resolve these disputes not in the street but in the halls of justice.”

Chang also said he hoped that the sentence would “send a strong message to the business community” that violence was no way to settle debts.

Orlando, who said he was drunk and “out of my mind, honestly,” when he set the scheme in motion, appeared relieved at the sentence. He waved and smiled to relatives as he was led away to begin serving his time.

Dziuban is due to be sentenced in June. Carparelli has yet to stand trial.