The Maltesos.
June 16, 2001 9:10 AM   Subscribe

The Maltesos. Well, there's no Webistics, and Big Pussy hasn't turned up floating down the Fox River, but here's your modern American mob family, suburban style. Betty Loren-Maltese, longtime mayor of the Town of Cicero, which abuts Chicago's West Side, has been indicted for looting the town's health insurance system to the tune of at least $10 million. The US Attorney says it is the largest dollar amount in any single organized crime investigation. [more inside]
posted by dhartung (8 comments total)
The Tribune has a more detailed story. The scheme involved gaining control of the health insurance contract by using the signature stamp of the recently-deceased town president, increasing employee payroll deductions, paying out phony claims, and funneling the money to various enterprises ranging from a golf course in northern Wisconsin -- that they hoped to turn into a casino, somehow, presumably using a Native American front -- and a horse farm in Indiana, plus -- Cadillac DeVilles for everyone!

Like the Sopranos, the mob's gone suburban. I've been waiting for this boom to fall for years. Loren-Maltese has used every trick in the book to prevent the town's Hispanic majority from gaining political power. In the last year she got her Latino mayoral opponent arrested for drunk driving, outside the town police jurisdiction, and somehow managed to win handily. My favorite trick they've ever pulled was the towing scam. The Cicero police pound was filling up with stolen vehicles abandoned on town streets -- sometimes a dozen a day. You'd be able to get your car back, relatively undamaged, by paying the towing and storage charges, once you found out where it was. Alas, these cars were not stolen: in most cases they were towed right off Chicago streets. The scam worked fine until they towed a Chicago cop's car! You've got to admit it had style.

Hopefully this will mark the beginning of the end of the incestuously corrupt ethnic fiefdoms, and put any other, less obtrusive scams on notice.
posted by dhartung at 9:24 AM on June 16, 2001

Heh. My aunt runs her business in Cicero. I was born in Darien. I still remember stories about my great uncle and Al Capone.

Gotta love Chicago.
posted by SpecialK at 10:06 AM on June 16, 2001

*cuing "Lincoln Park Pirates" mp3*

"Yay, hey! Tow them away...
We'll plunder the streets of your town!"
posted by SpecialK at 10:08 AM on June 16, 2001

This is great news. Betty's been the ugly sore of Cicero for long enough.
posted by john at 10:39 AM on June 16, 2001

well, not that other townships around chicago don't have their own problems, or chicago as well, but cicero is probably the most scandal-ridden. i don't get it myself. by the way, ms. maltese is hands down one of the most unpleasant looking messes i have ever seen in my life.
posted by moz at 10:40 AM on June 16, 2001

I love Cicero, I really do. I used to live next door in Berwyn (which is corrupt enough without its mob ties - which are, of course, there too) and one of my favorite memories was when the entire Cicero police force was replaced by Illinois troopers due to ineptitude and corruption.

The whole thing is fun to watch, though.
posted by hijinx at 12:16 PM on June 16, 2001

I am so happy. I knew it would happen sooner or later, and now that it's finally happening, well it's just a great thing.

Bye bye Betty
posted by Outlawyr at 5:20 PM on June 16, 2001

This link points to a Real Audio file containing the This American Life episode where I first heard about the fine town of Cicero.
posted by rdr at 5:52 PM on June 17, 2001

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