Federal prosecutors have recommended a 27-month prison sentence for a Hollywood, Fla., man who hired an arsonist to torch a competitor's bingo parlor in Gambrills last year.
Izaak M. "Red" Silber, 69, yesterday pleaded guilty to a racketeering charge in U.S. District Court in Baltimore. Silber was named in all 14 counts of an indictment in October that charged him and five other men with conspiracy, money-laundering, racketeering and financial offenses.
Those charges are tied to the alleged use of Bingo World, on Belle Grove Road in Brooklyn Park, to launder at least $1 million in proceeds from loan sharking, robbery, gambling and other criminal activities in Florida and Illinois.
Prosecutors Gregg L. Bernstein and Jefferson M. Gray agreed in a plea bargain not to require Silber to cooperate with the government in the case, which has organized crime overtones.
The prosecutors also agreed not to seek restitution from Silber for damage to the Bingo Palace, which allegedly was the set ablaze Oct. 5, 1989 by a man known only as "Tommy" for a $20,000 fee.
Bernstein and Gray said in a statement of facts to the court that Silber helped arrange the Bingo Palace arson fire to prevent the hall from competing with Bingo World.
Silber also went to New York in 1988 to ask co-defendant Ettore "Eddie" Coco and Anthony Dimeglio, an unindicted co-conspirator, for their help in hiring an arsonist to set fire to Forty-Niners' Bingo, another competing hall in the 900 block of Church Road in Brooklyn Park, prosecutors said. That plan was aborted.
Silber agreed to enter what is known as a "C plea," under a court rule that would allow him or the prosecutors to rescind the deal if Judge Frederic N. Smalkin doesn't accept the 27-month prison sentence they jointly recommended.
Prosecutors said Silber was involved in arranging the investments that made Bingo World a front for money-laundering by co-defendants Sam Frank Urbana, alias Sam Vincent, 60, of Miami, Dominic Peter "Large" Cortina, 65, of Chicago, and Donald John Angelini, 64, also of Chicago, at meetings in Florida in early 1986.
At the time, Silber was a part-owner of Urbana's bar in North Miami Beach and part-owner of the Skylake Bingo hall there with Stephen B. Paskind, who operates Bingo World.
Prosecutors said they intend to prove at trial that Cortina, Angelini, Urbana and another man, Al Brown, actually owned half of Paskind's 84 percent interest in Bingo World.
Paskind was listed in public records as the 84 percent owner of the hall. Prosecutors said he funneled money from Urbana, Cortina and Angelini into Bingo World through a series of bank accounts and repaid the money to the investors under the guise of a loan.