Samuel "Mad Sam" DeStefano (September 13, 1909 − April 14, 1973) was an Italian-American gangster who became one of the Chicago Outfit's most notorious loan sharks and sociopathic killers. Chicago-based Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents, such as William F. Roemer, Jr., considered DeStefano to be the worst torture-murderer in the history of the United States.
The Chicago Outfit used the mentally unstable and sadistic DeStefano for the torture-murders of Leo Foreman and Arthur Adler, the murder of DeStefano's younger brother, Michael DeStefano (an Outfit enforcer), and many others. However, due to DeStefano's deranged mental state, the Outfit never let him become a made man. At least one Outfit insider, Charles Crimaldi, claimed DeStefano was a devil worshipper.
During the early 1950s, DeStefano became one of the most prominent loan shark operators in Chicago. Using stolen money from his days as a bank robber, DeStefano began investing in Chicago real estate. He bought a 24-suite apartment building and used the rent money as legitimate income to bribe local aldermen and other politicians.
By the mid-1950s, DeStefano's influence extended to city officials, prominent judges, and law enforcement officers. DeStefano would brag "there wasn't any case he couldn't 'fix,'" and began offering his services accordingly. His fees ranged from $800 for fixing a robbery case to $1,500 for an assault case. DeStefano allegedly fixed a first-degree murder case for $20,000. DeStefano's arrangements became so routine, corrupt police officers would escort suspects to DeStefano's house. After DeStefano paid off the cops, the suspects would be "put on the juice" to DeStefano in exchange for his assistance.
By the early 1960s, DeStefano was a leading loan shark for the Outfit. DeStefano's loan shark victims included politicians, lawyers and small-time criminals; by the end of the decade, DeStefano was charging 20% to 25% a week in interest. DeStefano would accept very high-risk debtors, such as drug addicts or business men who had already defaulted on previous debts. The reason was simple: DeStefano enjoyed when debtors did not pay on time, since he could then bring them to the sound-proof torture chamber he'd built in his basement. Other gangsters said the sadistic DeStefano would actually foam at the mouth while torturing his victims. From time to time, DeStefano would also kill debtors who owed him small sums just to scare other debtors into paying their bigger debts.
DeStefano would give his loan shark victims presents, such as a gold watch with his name engraved on the back, so that if he had to kill his victim and the police accused him he could use the watch as proof of how close he was to the victim and why he could never have killed him. He wore thick black rimmed glasses, making people believe he couldn't see without them, when in truth he could see everything that was going on and would take mental notes on how people operated.
Under normal circumstances, the Outfit would have distanced itself from DeStefano due to his sadistic, irrational behavior. However, the bosses tolerated DeStefano because he earned them a great deal of money. DeStefano was such a successful earner, Giancana and Tony Accardo invested some of their own money in DeStefano's loansharking operations.
In November 1963, DeStefano had a violent argument with Leo Foreman, a real estate agent and one of DeStefano's "juice-loan" collectors, in Foreman's office. DeStefano was physically ejected by Foreman from his office, and then he went into hiding. Later on, DeStefano underlings Tony Spilotro and Chuck Crimaldi contacted Foreman and said DeStefano wanted to let "bygones be bygones". Foreman was lured to DeStefano's brother's house and was murdered soon after.
In another incident, Peter Cappelletti, a collector for DeStefano, fled Chicago with $25,000 from a loan shark victim. DeStefano's men located Cappelletti in Wisconsin and brought him back to Chicago. DeStefano chained Cappelletti to a radiator and tortured him for three days. While a banquet was going on, Cappelletti was secretly being tortured in the back of the restaurant. "Kill me man, please, I'm on fire!" Cappelletti implored, to which DeStefano replied "Then we need to put the fire out" before having his men drag the severely burned Cappelletti into the dining area and forcing the man's family to urinate on him in unison. Following the banquet, the family quickly paid back the stolen money.
In 1965, DeStefano was convicted of conspiracy and sentenced to three to five years in prison. On February 22, 1972, DeStefano was sentenced to three and one half years in prison for threatening the life of a witness, mobster turned informant Charles Crimaldi, an accomplice in the Foreman murder. DeStefano had encountered Crimaldi in the elevator of the Chicago Dirksen Federal Building and threatened him. Later in 1972, DeStefano was indicted on federal charges for illegal possession of firearms by a felon.
DeStefano and his associates were eventually indicted for the Foreman murder. As in his previous trials, DeStefano had raised a large amount of public interest with his bizarre behavior. He made demands to represent himself, dressed in pajamas, shouted through bullhorns, and rambled incoherently. DeStefano then started displaying similar behavior in the Foreman trial. The Outfit bosses began to worry DeStefano was not only jeopardizing his own defense, but also the defenses of his other crew members. In a secret meeting, the boss of the Chicago Outfit, Tony Accardo, gave DeStefano's crew permission to kill him.
On April 14, 1973, it was presumed that DeStefano was to have met with his brother, Mario Anthony DeStefano, and associate Tony Spilotro in the garage of his Galewood neighborhood home, in the 1600 block of North Sayre Avenue. Before the meeting began, Spilotro allegedly entered the lot and shot DeStefano twice with a shotgun, hitting him in the chest and tearing his left arm off at the elbow, instantly killing him. The murderer was never brought to trial.