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Joe Conforte's Legal Tangles
[Home Edition]
Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext) - Los Angeles, Calif.
Author: Dean, Paul
Date: Jul 28, 1991
Start Page: 8
Section: View; PART-E; View Desk
Abstract (Document Summary)

1959. Tired of being tweaked, Washoe County officials pepper Conforte with vagrancy and pimping arrests. He manages to entrap the district attorney into contributing to the delinquency of a minor and threatens to release that information. Conforte is arrested, convicted of extortion and in 1962 starts serving 3 1/2 years in the Nevada State Penitentiary. While Conforte is in prison, the district attorney publicly burns down the brothel.

1976. Heavyweight boxer Oscar Bonavena of Argentina is shot and killed at the gate of Mustang Ranch. An investigation shows that Bonavena was having an affair with Conforte's third wife and had bragged about taking over Mustang Ranch. It is hinted that Conforte had taken out a contract on Bonavena through Jimmy (The Weasel) Fratiano, an acquaintance and Mafia hit man.

1983. Conforte returns from exile in Brazil to serve time for income tax evasion and bribery. It seems justice is finally being served. However, in his most successful flourish of cunning to date, Conforte works a deal with federal prosecutors: In exchange for a light sentence, he will testify that he gave $85,000 in bribes to federal Judge Harry Claiborne.

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