Bertram de Souza, who writes for the Vindicator of Youngstown, Ohio, understands why the full force of the law is thrown at Bernie Madoff; however, he does not understand why others -- specifically former Pittsburgh mob boss Lenine "Lenny" Strollo -- more or less got away with murder:
One is now in federal prison, where he'll spend the rest of his life; the other was in federal prison for 12 years, but is now free. He should have been sentenced to life. * * * When Strollo was arrested by the FBI in 1997 as part of the federal government's crackdown on government corruption and organized crime in the Valley, he was the undisputed "Godfather." * * * The murder charge stems from Strollo's ordering a hit on mob rival Ernie Biondillo Jr. in June 1996. He also was charged in state court with the attempted murder in December 1996 of then Mahoning County Prosecutor-elect Paul Gains. * * * In February 1999, Strollo became a government snitch and provided the FBI and federal prosecutors with important information about the Mafia in the United States — he had first-hand knowledge of the players in Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Detroit and New York — and also testified in trials of various local crooks. It was during one of the trials that he offered this blood curdling admission: For the mob, murder is just "business." In 2004, Strollo was sentenced to 12 years in prison, but with credit for time served and good time he was reportedly released in September of last year.
Not only did Strollo serve minimal time for his reign of terror but de Souza contends the mobster was allowed to keep the wealth generated from his criminal empire:
So, what happened to the millions in ill-gotten gains — blood money — that Strollo amassed during his crime spree? He transferred all his wealth, including his mansion in Canfield, to his wife, Antoinette. Brilliant move. It was a brilliant move because federal prosecutors refused to go after Mrs. Strollo. They contended that there was no proof the money came from the Godfather's criminal enterprise. That contention still makes Strollo's former crime mates laugh. There also was laughter last week in New York when it was disclosed that Madoff's wife, Ruth, wants to keep $69 million in assets, including the couple's $7 million Manhattan penthouse. But federal prosecutors have indicated that they intend to pursue any and all assets in Ruth Madoff's name. If they are successful in doing so, federal prosecutors in the Lenny Strollo case would be hard-pressed to justify not going after Antoinette, who has been the keeper of the mobster's purse. Rendering the Godfather a pauper would certainly serve the cause of justice. * * * Strollo gets to spend his golden years in luxury. That's unacceptable. It doesn’t matter how much information about the Mafia the Godfather provided the feds, or how sorry he is for his sins. Forgiveness should not be available to someone like him.
Stollo is a cousin of the late Anthony "Tony Bender" Strollo "who managed the extensive nightclub and restaurant holdings for the Genovese crime family in Greenwich Village" in the 1950s including its numerous gay bars.