Friday, March 16, 2007

Guilty plea in Hired Truck

Woman who fronted company run by husband admits lying
March 16, 2007

A woman whose Hired Truck company took in millions of taxpayer dollars from the city's corruption-plagued program pleaded guilty Thursday to lying to federal investigators.
Nicola A. Cannatello, 59, admitted lying to the FBI in a March 10, 2004, interview when she told them that her husband, John Cannatello, was never involved in the business operations of their trucking company.
In reality, her husband hired, fired and dispatched truck drivers, marketed the company, bought, sold and fixed GNA trucks and negotiated leases. He was sentenced last year to 27 months in prison for his role in the scam.
Nicola Cannatello's lie about her husband not running the business was important because the city had certified that GNA was owned and run by women, allowing the company to get the leg up on certain city business deals.
Once denied clout The Chicago Sun-Times first wrote about the Cannatellos in 2004 as part of a series that uncovered the waste, fraud and corruption in the city's $40 million-a-year Hired Truck Program.
At the time, Nicola Cannatello denied having any clout to get in the program. John Cannatello has deep ties to the city's 11th Ward.
"I don't dig that kind of stuff," she said in an interview. "I'm just blessed they took my application."

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