May 10, 2020 – Chicago mob figure Joe (Joey Pooch) Pascucci died at 87 this week following a long career as an Outfit gambling boss. The Pooch belonged to the Outfit’s Cicero crew.

For decades, Pascucci ran gambling rackets in the Windy City’s Northwest suburbs. His last bust came in the summer of 2004 for operating a multi-million-dollar sports book from his homebase in Wheeling, Illinois. He did two years in federal prison and was released in October 2006.

FBI records indicate Pascucci was known on the streets for taking big bets.

“I only want the big guys, no little fish,” Joey Pooch was heard telling an associate on an FBI wire from the early 2000s.

Some people called him “Joe Grapes” for the fact that he made his own homemade wine. His first major gambling arrest came in 1964. Pascucci did time behind bars in the 1970s and 1980s for gambling offenses. In February 1987, he was nailed for overseeing a cluster of backdoor casinos that were clearing $1,000,000 per month in profits. He conducted most of his affairs out of his bar, Champaign John’s in Wheeling.

Joey Pooch came up in the Outfit under Joe Ferriola, a Cicero captain who later became boss of the Chicago mob. Ferriola died in 1989 having heart surgery. Pascucci bumped heads with Ferriola’s replacement as capo of the Circero crew, Ernest (Rocky) Infelise, per federal documents, sending him to seek shelter from Northside crew leaders after Ferriola refused to intercede on his behalf.

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