Reputed Mobster Indicted on Social Security Fraud

sawyer-bengtson-279792-copy-200x300A Chicago mobster convicted a decade ago in an operation known as “Family Secrets” is now in front of a judge again having been charged with stealing more than $40,000 over the course of two years from social security. 

Mickey Marcello is the half-brother of boss James Marcello who ran the Melrose Park Crew. Marcello has pleaded not guilty to one count of theft. He has been charged with one other man, Walter Paredes, in a separate indictment. Paredes is accused of stealing over $160,000 from social security over the course of four years. 

Who is Mickey Marcello?

In 2008, Marcello pleaded guilty to passing information to his brother, James, who at the time, was in prison on other charges. He also admitted to having a hitman, Nicholas Calabrese, on retainer in an effort to purchase his silence. Calabrese later became the prosecution’s star witness and his testimony led to several convictions including that of James Marcello. Prosecutors also accused Mickey Marcello of evading more than $1 million in taxes. Marcello was sentenced to eight and a half years behind bars. Prosecutors called the Chicago Outfit a “grim and evil bunch.” 

Mickey Marcello was also accused of leaking information concerning Calabrese’s involvement with the Outfit knowing that information would end up in the hands of Outfit members. 

Who is Walter Paredes?

Paredes has an interesting criminal history of his own. In the 80s, Paredes was arrested for robbery, theft, solicitation of murder for hire, deceptive practices, and stealing $2.5 million worth of airline tickets, as well as drug trafficking. 

In 1991, Paredes was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison relating drug trafficking charges. He was later convicted of attempting to have someone clipped from prison and given an additional four years on that charge. 

Paredes was released from prison in 2015 where prosecutors say he immediately began stealing social security money.

Looking at the Indictments

The indictments do not mention much of anything about the case. They are skeleton charges filed with the court. Typically when this happens, the prosecution is trying to play some of their cards close to their chest. But in social security theft cases, it hardly seems necessary. This is because it usually takes some act of fraud to siphon funds from social security.

Typical ways of stealing from social security include setting up fake identities to apply and receive social security benefits or eliciting others to do so. Also, making false or misleading claims on social security applications can be charged as fraud and theft. It seems like the prosecution may be attempting to protect witnesses by filing a skeleton indictment against the men. Whatever the case is, the two men face significant time in federal prison for attempting to defraud the federal government.

Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney

Have you been accused of stealing public resources or making fraudulent claims? If so, call David Freidberg right away at (312) 560-7100 to set up an appointment. We will take a look at the charges against you and build your defense immediately protecting you from overzealous and speculative prosecutions that are not rooted in fact or evidence. 


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