Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese, and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

FBI documents related to deceased turncoat Springfield gangster are released

After John Bologna's death in prison in mid-January, the annals of his cooperation with his FBI handlers became available. The files shine an often colorful light on the machinations of the mob from its seat in New York City to Western Massachusetts.

Bologna was apparently able to lull an FBI minder into relative complacency, judging from court records. He succeeded by filling the agent's ear with skirmishes, scams and shifts in power among all five New York crime families: Gambino, Bonanno, Genovese, Colombo and Lucchese — after becoming a bookmaker in Westchester County in the mid-60s.

Bologna, 75 when he died, was lining his pockets with illicit proceeds and was informed of pending murder plots, but dodged prosecution for decades, according to the records.

A mid-level player, he informed on bosses and underbosses in all five crime families, and ultimately took out his own mentor, Arthur "Artie" Nigro, of The Bronx, New York. Nigro, the onetime acting "street boss" of the Genovese family in the early 2000s, ultimately was sentenced to life in prison along with six mob associates from Greater Springfield.

Bologna's influence bled into the Genovese crew in Western Massachusetts, records show. He became entangled in the 2003 murder of slain boss Adolfo "Big Al" Bruno and was privy to power shifts here. Records show he lied to his minders to keep himself out of prison — until his time ran out when he and fleeting Springfield boss Anthony Arillotta flipped on one another to their own peril.

Arillotta, 48, was released from prison recently and returned to Springfield, opting out of the federal Witness Protection Program to reconnect with his family.

Bologna was not so lucky.

Here is a sampling from hundreds of FBI 302 reports memorialized primarily by retired New Jersey FBI Agent Robert Bukowski, based on Bologna's dispatches from the streets.

John Bologna was a target of the FBI in the early 1970s before becoming a tipster.

Bologna told FBI agents he was introduced into the mob life by getting into debt in the 1960s.

In later, undated hand-written notes taken by another agent, the agent reports that Bologna says his first foray into the mob was in 1966, when he borrowed money from a loan shark and couldn't pay him back. So, he worked it off, he told agents many years later. (Note: the upward pointing arrow denotes Bologna when agents did not want to memorialize his name in their notes.)

Bologna ramps up his cooperation with longtime FBI handler, retired agent Robert Bukowski

After a lag in reports in the 1980s and early 1990s, when Bologna's arrests were most frequent, he apparently tired of handcuffs and living behind bars. He ramped up as a weekly or monthly informant in the mid-90s, records show. Bologna began filtering information on the players of the New York mob.

Bologna's dispatches include reports of gangsters allegedly hobnobbing with the business and political elite.

In 1996, Bologna reported on which gangsters were allegedly hobnobbing with members of New York's political and business elite. These included state attorneys and even a future president, according to his accounts.

Bologna reported on power shifts in New York's five families, including some of the mob's most recognizable names.

Later the same year, Bologna tells Bukowski of shifts in power after in the Gambino crime family after late boss, John "Teflon Don" Gotti went to prison, documents show. Bologna identifies those rising in the ranks and others, including Gotti's son, who may have been vulnerable.

Bologna also highlighted players in the trash carting business, ever popular with La Cosa Nostra.

Bologna's accounts also provided a window into the ever-popular trash carting business which over the years has provided the mob a collective billions in profits and perks for its associates, including a healthy salary along with "cocaine and a car," Bologna said.

Three-page 1997 FBI report on Bologna's summary of New York rackets and players

In 1997, Bologna offers his handler a colorful summary of beefs, various gambling and illegal loan rackets including one led by the owner of a local junk yard, where he also receives stolen cars and hosts "sit downs" for gangsters.

Page one of the report is shown above.

Side note: the "O'Nofrio" referenced early in the report is Eugene "Rooster" O'Nofrio, who later became a capo in the Genovese family with longtime, close ties to Springfield. He recently was indicted in a sweeping racketeering case out of New York City that includes a handful of local reputed gangsters.

Page two of 1997 report on "Wise Guys" in New York City

Bologna was careful to provide specific information on the owners of the Harrison Social Club, which was a rival to Bologna's social club in nearby Port Chester where he ran high-stakes card games and hosted La Cosa Nostra meetings.

Page three of report on late 1990s happenings in the New York LCN

The final page in the three-page summary references Sammy "The Bull" Gravano, a Gambino underboss who had already turned federal informant three years earlier.

Bologna first reported on Bruno in 2002.

Bologna's first reference to Bruno turned up a year before Bruno's death as part of report on a wider Genovese crime family field of bosses and prospects for coronation. Bologna also reported on a new trend within the family designed to get rid of figures they believe have become a drag — a process intended to be less complicated than "whacking them."

The report shown above was transcribed in 2003, but dates to August 28, 2002.

Bologna continued reporting on Springfield in the early 2000s.

Eventually, Bologna's dispatches included reports of Springfield's Mafia landscape and its ties to New York. He highlighted now-slain boss Adolfo Bruno and said he was asked to travel to Western Massachusetts just "for show" to bolster Bruno's image, which had begun to flag. In this report, Bologna claimed he was not involved in "day-to-day business" in Springfield, which would later prove to be a lie. This FBI report was filed two months before Bruno's death.

A 2004 FBI report memorializes a brazen lie by Bologna.

In 2004, Bologna tells his handler a brazen lie about Arillotta's standing in the Genovese family. Later reports show he was well aware of Arillotta's role in Bruno's death and the attempted murder of New York union official Frank Dadabo because Bologna was involved in the run-up and aftermath of both shootings. Bologna later concedes Arillotta, whom he said he called "junior," gave him a box of pricey cigars for his role in facilitating Arillotta's formal induction to the crime family in 2003.
Stephanie Barry | sbarry@repub.com

Bologna adds details to his new version of events, details Springfield's Genovese standings.

Bologna ultimately admits he was intimately familiar with Springfield's crime family standings and Arillotta's rise to power.

Bologna comes clean on Bruno, Dadabo shootings seven years later.

Once Arillotta began cooperating with the government after his arrest in 2010 for the Bruno murder conspiracy and other crimes, the information he offered to investigators showed Bologna had been playing his handler for years regarding his complicity in many crimes. Bologna later was forced to tell the truth, and in 2011 pleaded guilty to murder conspiracy, extortion and a litany of other criminal schemes.

In these hand-written notes by New York FBI agent Joy Adam, Bologna concedes Nigro wisecracked about Arillotta's unsuccessful attempt to murder Dadabo and hopes the Springfield Crew has better luck taking out Bruno. They did. Bruno was killed in a hail of gunfire outside a social club in Springfield on Nov. 23, 2003. The entire conspiracy, including Bologna's role, only came to light seven years later.


Wannabe mobster set to testify in New Jersey trial

A wannabe mobster who admitted to killing a man with a pickaxe testified Tuesday that he murdered the Edison man in 2011 to impress his friend, who he believed was connected to the Mafia.

Daniel Medaglia, 32, has already pleaded guilty in the death of Kelvin Dumo, whose body was found at a Sayreville site on Jernee Mill Road, but authorities have accused Michael Doce was the "mastermind" behind the Edison man's killing.

Medaglia is the state's key witness in the case against Doce, who faces charges of murder and conspiracy. Medaglia, of Edison, man struck a deal with prosecutors for 30 years in prison in exchange for his testimony against his former friend, Doce.

On Tuesday, Medaglia took the stand where prosecutors expect him to testify before a jury of 10 women and six men that Doce had ordered Dumo killed.

His testimony is expected to last at least three days with the first day's proceedings stopped by numerous objections from the defense and side bar discussions.

Medaglia had yearned to become connected to organized crime and when he met Doce in 2009, he believed he had found his in to the criminal underworld in New Jersey, according to his testimony.

"[Doce] said he was going to introduce me to members of the family," Medaglia said before a jury Middlesex County Superior Court. "Money. Cars. It was an attractive lifestyle."

Michael Doce is accused of convincing Daniel Medaglia to kill Kelvin Dumo, who was found in 2011 bludgeoned with a pickaxe on a Sayreville industrial site

Medaglia testified he had "no reason not to believe" Doce when he claimed his "Uncle Paulie" ran Genovese crime family in New Jersey, that he was an underboss or he'd been kidnapped by a rival crime family and held in a storage container in Staten Island.

Daniel Medaglia testifies in court Tuesday, May 23, 2017.

"It made sense," Medaglia said, noting Doce's construction job and his family's concrete company.

Doce told Medaglia of his ties to the organized crime about six months into their friendship in 2009, he said from the stand in Superior Court Judge Dennis Nieves' courtroom.

Doce even claimed to have shortened his last name from Docessa to hide from authorities or mobster enemies, according to his testimony.

Medaglia testified that Doce forced him to wait around the corner on Inman Avenue in Edison when the two went to buy hundreds of pills from a man who Doce said was high-up in the mafia.

"I thought it was all real," Medaglia said as Assistant Prosecutor Vincent Vitale questioned him.

Doce had also introduced Medaglia to a handful of friends who claimed to be hit-men for the mob and loan sharks, Medaglia said in his testimony. Medaglia had wanted to set up his own loan sharking operation and Doce said he could help, Medaglia testified.

Doce's defense attorney Eric Breslin said in his opening statements that his client was innocent in the killing and was simply playing around with Medaglia as he texted wild stories of organized crime, often lifted from popular movies and shows.

Doce used the stories as a way to rebuff Medaglia when he wouldn't leave him alone, Breslin said.

Medaglia, who said he was "best friends" with Dumo at J.P Stevens High School in Edison, had introduced Doce and Dumo in 2010, according to his testimony.

The three had sold pills back and forth, according to Medaglia, who testified that he was taking close to 30 oxycodone and Xanax pills a day while dealing.

Medaglia and Dumo grew apart shortly after an incident at a 7-Eleven where Dumo was arrested, he testified.

Doce had offered to help Dumo with the charges for $500, claiming he had "deep" connections in the prosecutor's office, according to Medaglia.

Dumo declined and told Medaglia he didn't believe Doce had any ties to the mob.

Medaglia said he described Doce as the "real deal member of the mafia" and tried to convince Dumo to pay for Doce's help.

The five-week trial is expected to continue Wednesday morning with Medaglia on the stand again.


Chicago mobster indicted for social security fraud

A reputed mob figure has been indicted on charges he fraudulently qualified for early retirement benefits from the Social Security Administration.
John A. Matassa Jr., then secretary-treasurer of the Independent Union of Amalgamated Workers Local 711, put his wife on the payroll in a do-nothing job in February 2013 while lowering his own salary, authorities charged.
He then applied for the early retirement benefits from SSA's Old-Age Insurance program, listing his reduced salary, which enabled him to qualify for those benefits, the indictment alleged.
The charges also alleged that Matassa personally signed his wife's paychecks from the union and had them deposited into the couple's bank account.

Matassa, 65, of Arlington Heights, is scheduled to be arraigned next week in federal court on two counts of wire fraud, two counts of theft of government funds, four counts of embezzlement from a labor organization and two counts of making false entries in union records.
In the late 1990s, Matassa, nicknamed "Pudgy," was kicked out as president of the Laborers Union Chicago local over his alleged extensive ties to organized crime.
Matassa's name also surfaced during the 2009 trial of a deputy U.S. marshal who was convicted of leaking sensitive information to a family friend with alleged mob ties, knowing the details would end up in the Outfit's hands. The leak involved the then-secret cooperation of Outfit turncoat Nicholas Calabrese, whose testimony led to the convictions of numerous mob figures in the landmark Operation Family Secrets.
His lawyer declined to comment on the indictment.


Gambino associate ordered to get mental health check

When a wiseguy tried acting as his own lawyer last week in an arraignment on federal extortion charges, he was removed from the courtroom.
When he tried pulling the same schtick Thursday, a Brooklyn federal judge ordered his removal — this time to a North Carolina hospital for a mental health check.
Brooklyn federal prosecutors charged Battista "Benny" Geritano, a reputed Gambino crime family associate, for using the mail to commit extortion.
Geritano, 44, is already serving a 12-year sentence in state prison for a 2012 stabbing.
The new federal indictment says Geritano used the mail in February to commit the extortion. But little more is known about the allegedly threatening letters because prosecutors haven't been able to get through an arraignment yet.
During last Thursday's attempt, Geritano fired his appointed lawyer on the spot, demanded to know the names of clerks and told a magistrate judge he was running the show in the courtroom. Marshals ended up putting Geritano back into the holding pen.
On Thursday, Judge Sterling Johnson signed a force order to get Geritano in front of him.
When Geritano came to court, he started in talk about accepting a "proof of claim," among other jargon. Geritano said he also wanted to know "what roles each of you play here today."
Johnson wasn't having it. He decided to send Geritano to a federal medical center in Butner, North Carolina.
"I do not consent and do not accept your offer," Geritano told the judge.
Johnson said he wasn't looking for Geritano's consent and wasn't "offering anything."
Though Geritano still hasn't been formally arraigned, the charge carries up to 20 years in prison.


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Gambino family linked prescription drug ring busted on Staten Island

Two Staten Island men were busted in connection with a prescription drug trafficking ring that sold more than $25,000 in opioid painkillers on Staten Island and Brooklyn, officials announced Thursday.

Raymond Raimondi, 64, of Elm Park, Jeffrey Tesoro, 50, of Westerleigh, and four other people were arrested and indicted for conspiracy and criminal sale of a controlled substance for allegedly scheming to obtain the painkillers from pharmacies and selling them on the black market, according to the Special Narcotics Prosecutor's office.

The ring operated from August 2016 to October 2016.

"With so many lives already lost to addiction, law enforcement must remain vigilant in our fight against the opioid crisis on Staten Island and across the city," said District Attorney Michael E. McMahon. "Investigations like this are vital to putting drug dealers behind bars and keeping them off our streets."

Raimondi, the alleged ringleader, is also accused of selling oxycodone pills to an undercover NYPD officer 15 times, said authorities. Raimondi sold 1,900 pills for $25,000 cash during the transactions with the officer, prosecutors allege.

Authorities claim the sales occurred near a Brooklyn high school and in the parking lot at the Home Depot on Forest Avenue in Mariners Harbor, officials said. Prosecutors said Tesoro was with Raimondi during one of the sales in October 2016.

The two, along with co-defendants Vincent Maniscalco, Paul Consentino, Robert Florio and Louisa Valentin, allegedly worked together to fill prescriptions of painkillers at pharmacies on Staten Island and Brooklyn.

During the three months, the defendants filled prescriptions for over 2,800 oxycodone pills, authorities allege.

Raimondi, officials said, collected the pills from the group and sold them to customers on Staten Island and Brooklyn. Maniscalco allegedly sold oxycodone to customers in Brooklyn.

Authorities said the group used cellphones and coded language to discuss obtaining and filling the prescriptions and selling the pills.

Raimondi and Maniscalco, according to a law enforcement source, are known Gambino associates.

The wiretap investigation was conducted by the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor, the Richmond County District Attorney's Office and the New York City Police Department's (NYPD) Criminal Enterprise Investigations Division.

The defendants are scheduled to be arraigned Thursday afternoon in Manhattan Supreme Court.

"These six defendants are facing conspiracy charges and lengthy prison sentences for allegedly trafficking potentially-deadly opioid painkillers," said NYPD Commissioner James P. O'Neill. "While we've modified our approach to this epidemic in order to save lives, those who peddle oxycodone and other deadly drugs should know that we're seeking them day and night - with precision."


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Aging Lucchese captain is given house arrest

Carmine Avellino, a 72-year-old capo in the Lucchese crime family, was sentenced to the year of home confinement and five years of probation for a shakedown scheme seven years ago.
The sickly gangster who sicced goons on a loan deadbeat years ago is finally being punished — with house arrest, a Brooklyn federal judge ruled Tuesday.

Carmine Avellino, a 72-year-old capo in the Lucchese crime family, was sentenced to the year of home confinement and five years of probation for a shakedown scheme seven years ago.

Judge Ann Donnelly noted Avellino's ailments, including heart attacks, a mini-stroke and progressing Parkinson's Disease.

Though prosecutors were recommending an approximately two-year sentence, Donnelly said she weighed Avellino's age and health.

Avellino also apologized Tuesday and begged to stay out so he could be treated on the outside. "At this point in my life, I know what's important. My family, and only my family," he said.

Avellino's lawyer, Scott Leemon, said his client's situation was worsening and prison wasn't the place to get the treatment he needed. "We don't need this man dying in jail," Leemon said.

About seven years ago, Avellino doled out a $100,000 loan to a man. But the guy fell behind on his payments. Prosecutors said when the recipient's friend tried to talk to Avellino about the loan — knowing about Avellino’s gangland rep — the mobster also put him on the hook for repayment.

Avellino dispatched his cousins, Michael and Daniel Capra, and another man, to make sure the recipient and his friend made good on the loan.

The feds said they had recordings of Daniel Capra, 59, talking about the deadbeat, telling his brother to “shake him up a little bit.”

Days later, Michael, 52, called his brother to say he slapped the shaking guy five times.

The Capra brothers were arrested in 2013 and Avellino was arrested a year later. Avellino pleaded guilty to conspiring to use extortionate means to collect credit in August 2016.

In February, Donnelly hit Daniel Capra, 59, with an 18-month sentence and gave his younger brother, Michael, 52, five years of probation.

On Tuesday, Leemon said his client was a changed man since the offense. He was an early riser who worked at his kids' business, saw his doctors and went to bed at 8 p.m.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Cruz Melendez said Avellino was a “high-ranking member of an organized crime family” and noted his 1996 racketeering conviction in Brooklyn federal court. She asked Donnelly to treat Avellino like any other person convicted of the same crime and similar facts.

Leemon gave Avellino a hearty hug when the sentencing was over.

Avellino declined to talk with reporters, but Leemon said, "We think the sentence was fair and just under the circumstances.”


Saturday, May 20, 2017

Son of Philly mob underboss is busted for drug overdose deaths

The son of jailed mob underboss Joseph “Mousie” Massimino was arraigned Saturday on charges of selling narcotics that caused the overdose deaths of two Queen Village residents in April, according to police.
Joseph Massimino Jr. was charged under a Pennsylvania law establishing harsh penalties for dealers convicted of selling narcotics involved in overdose deaths. Police arrested Massimino several weeks ago following a raid on his Mountain Street house in South Philadelphia, where they allegedly seized $200,000 worth of heroin and other illegal narcotics, $7,000 in cash, and firearms, a police source said.
Massimino is being held. His bail was set at $1.5 million.
In the past, authorities typically treated overdose deaths as accidents and dealers were not held criminally liable for more than the sale of drugs. But in reaction to the opioid epidemic, Pennsylvania joined other states in enacting so-called “drug-dealer liability” laws that impose harsher sentences on dealers whose clients overdose.
Massimino’s lawyer, Greg Pagano, said he planned to vigorously contest the charges.
“We plan to defend against these charges and investigate everything thoroughly, hire our own experts if necessary, and review all the evidence,” Pagano said.
Joseph Massimino Sr. was convicted in 2013 of racketeering and conspiracy in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia following a three-month trial. Judge Eduardo Robreno sentenced Massimino to more than 15 years in prison.


Friday, May 19, 2017

Colombo crime family boss is close friends with Bernie Madoff in prison

Shortly after Bernie Madoff arrived in prison, at the start of a 150-year sentence, the mastermind behind the largest fraud in financial history was slapped across the face.
Madoff was closely following the way his case was being reported in the media and had gone to the jail’s TV room to watch “60 Minutes.” When he changed the channel—in defiance of the prison’s unwritten rules, he soon learned—another inmate objected and wanted it changed back. There was a scuffle, and then a smack on the cheek.
It was then that Carmine John Persico Jr., the notorious boss of the Colombo crime family, known as “The Snake,” who has been serving his own century-plus sentence at the same prison, intervened.
“Carmine sent his boys over, or his ‘friends,’ rather, to ‘have a talk’ with the guy who delivered the slap,” recounted Steve Fishman, a journalist who has covered Madoff for years. Persico’s men “issued what Madoff called ‘an extraordinarily stern warning,’ and talked it all out. After that, Bernie got to watch” whatever he wanted.
It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship between a pair of notorious, geriatric inmates (Madoff is just shy of 80 and Persico is 83) serving what amounts to life in prison.
According to Fishman, the host of “Ponzi Supernova,” an audio series about the case that features extensive interviews with the jailed Madoff, the mobster and the Ponzi schemer have become “good buddies,” with Persico also acting as both protector and mentor to the disgraced former nonexecutive chairman of the Nasdaq Stock Market.
“It was Carmine who first greeted Bernie when he arrived,” Fishman said. “Carmine sent him shower slippers, tried to make him feel at home. Bernie didn’t know the rules of prison, and that was something Carmine was able to help with.”
The NYPD Organized Crime Task Force suspects that Persico, who served as his own attorney during his criminal trial in 1987, may be linked to multiple murders; nonetheless, Madoff calls him a “very sweet man,” Fishman said. “He talks about how Carmine was visited by his grandchildren, what a tender scene that was, and how gentle he was with them.” Madoff has lamented his own lack of family visits.
The former Wall Street money manager, who once hobnobbed with the deep-pocketed elite, has assembled an unusual fellowship in jail.
“He doesn’t really fit into the prison life, which is very segregated by race and sexual orientation, among other things,” Fishman said. “He moves from group to group. He has social relationships with some of the gay prisoners, the child molesters, the mob guys. It doesn’t matter to him.”
Madoff is incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Complex, in Butner, N.C. It is a medium-security facility, one that is sometimes referred to as “Camp Fluffy” for being relatively comfortable. Madoff has a picture window in his cell, and his door isn’t locked at night. He has access to a computer where he fires off emails, and to a kitchen. The prison yard features both a sweat lodge and a bocce ball court, where Madoff and Persico “hang out,” according to Fishman, who got these details from Madoff himself.
As per the rules of the prison, Madoff has various jobs, including working in the commissary, “kind of like a grocery store clerk,” and mopping the cafeteria floor.
Madoff, who cooked his books to the tune of a $65 billion fraud, “wanted to do something finance related,” Fishman reported. “He volunteered to keep the prison’s books, but the supervisor just laughed. ‘I don’t think so,’ he said.”
To the extent he can, Madoff has remained somewhat active in finance. As Fishman previously told MarketWatch, he has doled out stock advice to other prisoners—or “colleagues,” as he calls them—and bought up the commissary’s supply of Swiss Miss hot chocolate, cornering the market and reselling them for profit.
Mostly, however, he spends his free time reading and talking with his lawyers. Fishman suspects he continues to have contact with Ruth Madoff, his estranged wife, but couldn’t say definitively.
Madoff stays apprised of the fallout from his Ponzi scheme, and even watched the miniseries that was produced about his crimes last year. His only objection to the film, according to Fishman, was a scene in which Richard Dreyfuss—who plays the title role—slaps one of his sons. He took umbrage to that particular characterization.
“People forget, but he really was a good family man,” Fishman said. “He was very careful about how his relationship with his family was portrayed.”
Both of Madoff’s sons died after the fraud was uncovered. Mark Madoff hanged himself on the second anniversary of his father’s arrest, while Andrew Madoff, at the time the last surviving progeny of the swindler, died of lymphoma, a cancer whose return he blamed on the stress of his father’s crimes, having previously been in remission.
Another on-screen account of Madoff is being released, this time with Robert De Niro as Madoff and Michelle Pfeiffer as his wife. The film, The Wizard of Lies, will premiere on HBO on May 20. As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, De Niro didn’t attempt to meet Madoff to inform his performance.
“I always want to meet the person that I’m playing, but I felt, in this case, I was a little wary,” De Niro said, adding he that he was concerned “that that would be a mixed message that I was endorsing him.”
“Bernie thinks he’s come full circle,” Fishman said. “He started as a struggling guy, and now he’s back to making his own bed and ironing his own khakis. His health isn’t great, but he’s a survivor.” In 2016, ABC News reported that Madoff had a “little bit of a heart problem,” citing his lawyer, Ira Sorkin.


Trial of 5 gangsters linked to Genovese family is moved

The case involving five Springfield alleged mafia associates is moving to Worcester. Attorneys for the five men were in federal court Friday for a status conference.
22News cameras were not allowed to shoot video inside the courthouse. The next hearing will be on July 24, in Worcester, in front of a U.S. District Court Judge.
Ralph Santaniello, Giovanni Calabrese, Jarold Daniele, Francesco Depergola, and Richard Valentini were arrested last August. They are accused of loansharking, collecting unlawful debt, and extorting money.
The men are alleged associates of the Genovese La Cosa Nostra crime family in New York, but all live in Hampden County. According to court documents, four of the defendants allegedly threatened a towing company owner. The victim claims that they threatened to cut off his head and bury him in the woods if he did not pay $20,000.
Another victim was allegedly threatened over a gambling debt.
Four of the men have been out on bail since August, while Santaniello was ordered held on bail, after a judge determined that he could be a danger to the community.
If convicted, the defendants could receive sentences of up to 20 years in prison.


Queens woman gets 7 years in prison for role in mafia linked cocaine operation

Eleonora Gigliotti (l.) was fully involved in the operation run by her husband Gregorio Gigliotti (r.), according to Brooklyn Federal Judge Raymond Dearie.
A Queens woman got a seven-year prison sentence Thursday for helping run an international cocaine trafficking operation out of the family’s pizzeria.

While the family’s patriarch might have been the ringleader, Brooklyn Federal Judge Raymond Dearie said Eleonora Gigliotti, 56, was fully involved in a crime that was also a “family tragedy, to be sure."

Gigliotti, her husband, Gregorio, and their son, Angelo, were charged in 2015, after authorities nabbed cassava shipments with cocaine stashed inside.

Prosecutors said the operation had links in Italy and Costa Rica, importing at least 120 kilos of cocaine since 2012.

When law enforcement raided the Gigliotti's Corona restaurant, Cucino a Modo Mio, they found a stockpile of weapons, a drug deal ledger and more than $100,000 in cash, authorities said.

When the trio were first detained, prosecutors said the Gigliotti family had "close business ties" to the notorious Calabria-based crime organization the ‘Ndrangheta and pointed to Italian authorities who said Gregorio was hashing out a drug sale with members of the organization.

Law enforcement officials also said Gregorio, 60, and Angelo, 36, were tied to the Genovese crime family.

In April 2016, Dearie said Gigliotti wasn't mentally fit for trial. She was hospitalized for about six months and ended up pleading guilty to a lesser offense this past January.

Eleonora Gigliotti, 56, was sentenced to 7 years for her involvement.

Jurors convicted Gregorio and Angelo in July 2016. Gregorio received an 18-year term last month, while Angelo is awaiting sentence.

Gigliotti said Thursday she was sorry for what she’d done — adding she wanted "to be a good mother and grandmother when I get out."

She waved and blew kisses to family members in the front row when the sentencing was done.

The defense pressed for a five-year term — the lowest sentence possible.

Defense lawyer Nicholas Kaizer said his client married a "dictatorial, patriarchal figure."

Kaizer said he personally witnessed Gregorio's temper and domineering ways. He said Gregorio "exploded at me" when learning his wife was taking a plea deal without consulting him.

Gigliotti's "deep seated psychological problems" left her without self-esteem. If she hadn't married Gregorio, Eleonora wouldn't have been mixed up in such a crime, Kaizer said.

When law enforcement raided the Gigliotti's Corona restaurant, Cucino a Modo Mio, they found a stockpile of weapons, a drug deal ledger and more than $100,000 in cash, authorities said.

What happened was “Shakespearean in tragedy,” he added.

Gigliotti's time in jail and treatment there had already been tough enough, Kaizer argued.

But Assistant U.S. Attorney Keith Edelman said Gigliotti played a "crucial role" in the trafficking scheme — like her multiple trips to Costa Rica to hand off cash to coke suppliers.

Dearie said he "acknowledged Gregorio's dominance" and that Eleonora was "somewhat vulnerable."

But evidence showed she was a "serious player" in the operation.

Outside the courtroom, Kaizer said the prison term was "a difficult sentence, no doubt.”

Still, Gigliotti would serve her time and then looked forward to getting back to her family, he said. Family members declined to comment on the sentence.


Mobster couldnt be arraigned because he was too busy flirting in court

A Gambino crime family associate who beat the rap for stabbing the owner of popular Brooklyn ​pizzeria Lucali​ ​–​ ​​only to w​ind up behind bars for another stabbing​ ​–​ ​is now using the prison mail system to deliver threats, prosecutors said.
Battista “Benny” Geritano was back in court Thursday to face charges he’d been using the mailing system at Green Haven prison to commit extortion​ ​–​ ​but was too focused on ​a feamle Brooklyn federal ​court clerk to be arraigned under the new indictment. The objects and content of his pen-pal blackmail remained unclear.
“Can I know what her name is?” the 44-year-old ​flirtily asked, interrupting Magistrate Judge Viktor Pohorelsky as he tried to explain to the proceeding. “I need to know what her name is.” When the judge told him the clerk’s name was irrelevant, Geritano​ ​–​ ​who’s served four years of a 12-year sentence in an all-male facility​ ​–​ ​became agitated.
“You’re in my court now,” the incarcerated mobster barked​ back, catching the judge​ off guard. “I’m a sovereign, Christian male.”
Pohorelsky turned to an equally taken-​a​back ​lawyer ​Michael Sporn, who had yet to be assigned to represent Geritano, to ask if ​he felt Geritano was competent to continue the proceeding.
“Oh I’m competent,” the twitchy inmate said, again interrupting the judge as he glanced at the clerk.
Pohorelsky ordered the marshals to eject the Gambino associate, who thrashed as three men descended on him and pushed him out of the courtroom.
“Based on his performance, I don’t think he’s ready to be arraigned,” said Assistant US Attorney Lindsay Gerdes, who successfully prosecuted Geritano as an Assistant DA in his 2012 Brooklyn Supreme court ​stabbing case.
The sinewy goon was convicted on assault charges for knifing Nunzio Fusco inside a Bay Ridge ​b​ar​ ​– just a year after he was cleared of stabbing ​Lucali owner Mark Iacono over a purported love triangle.
The Brooklyn DA’s office dropped the case after Iacono refused to testify against his former friend, who had become convinced the ​Carrol gardens pizzeria owner was trying to steal his gal pal.
Geritano is slotted to return to court Tuesday.


Bonanno mobster gets 7 years for role in gambling ring

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A member of the Bonanno crime family will spend up to seven years behind bars for his role in a gambling and extortion ring, prosecutors said Thursday.
Vito Badamo, 54, was one of several members of his crew busted in July 2013 for peddling drugs like Viagra and Cialis as well as running loansharking and gambling rackets.
The Brooklyn man pleaded guilty to attempted enterprise corruption in the case — to avoid a trial.
A previous case against him and three others ended in a mistrial in May 2016.
Charges are still pending against his alleged former boss, Nicholas "Nicky Cigars" Santora, 74, who is at liberty but is hospitalized.


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Judge denies $2 million bail package for aging Bonanno captain after threats surface

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A Brooklyn federal judge rejected the bail bid of "Goodfellas" gangster Vinny Asaro Thursday, days after the feds accused the aging mobster of trying to arrange the murder of a prosecutor on his arson case.
Judge Allyne Ross brushed off Asaro's $2 million bail package, saying the charges — having a car torched that cut in his traffic lane — and the new claims of a rub-out all combined to show "just how volatile, dangerous and violent the defendant remains."
Asaro denied making any threats. But Ross said the fact that authorities even had to investigate the incident showed there were “credible threats warranting a response.”
The judge said it made no difference if the 82-year Bonanno capo had health problems, as the defense argued. The high-ranking gangster only had to communicate his intentions to others in order to put people at risk, Ross said.
In 2015, Asaro was acquitted on charges that he was involved in the 1978 Luftansa heist immortalized in the 1990 gangland opus "Goodfellas."
But prosecutors indicted Asaro in March for having a car charred by mobster minions in 2012 when the driver cut in his lane. They nabbed him, plus six others who were accused of other crimes like a bank robbery and jewelry store stick-ups.
Asaro was held without bail when arrested on the new case.
And that's when prosecutors said an inmate passing through the Metropolitan Detention Center heard the alleged threats.
"We need to handle this and do something about this b---h," Asaro allegedly told another defendant in his case. According to sources, the person referred to is Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicole Argentieri, who wasn't at Thursday's court clash.
Another time, Asaro allegedly said, "We need to do something about this b---h, and not f--k it up like Vinny. We need to handle this."
"Vinny," according to the prosecution, is the onetime acting Bonanno boss Vincent Basciano who tried to get the prosecutor on his case whacked.
On Tuesday, Asaro's lawyer, Elizabeth Macedonio, said her client "adamantly denies" the allegations he was putting out any sort of hit request.
And even at the very best, Macedonio said this was "an angry, 82-year-old man sitting in prison lamenting he was back in prison" in the sights of the same government team that came at him in the Luftansa case.
Macedonio said she's had hundreds of defense clients through the years who've complained about the prosecutors on their case.
There was "nothing special except for the fact that the government is going after Mr. Asaro yet again."
The murder threat investigation turned up zilch, Macedonio said, noting authorities found no plans or anything in visitor logs and recorded calls.
She noted Asaro was thrown in the special housing during the investigation — but now he's back in general jail population with the other reputed Bonanno members and associates.
Asaro posed no danger to the community, she said. He's been minding his business since his 2015 acquittal, Macedonio said. The old-timer's been acting like any other old-timer — "cooking dinner, eating dinner, enjoying his family."
Assistant U.S. Attorney Keith Edelman said Asaro was doing more making blustery chit chat behind bars. He made "multiple, specific serious threats regarding a prosecutor," Edelman said.
In Asaro's world, phrases like "do something" and "handle this" were "specific words with specific meaning ... it’s murder."
Asaro's family and supporters blew him kisses and said "we love you" as he was taken out of court. They declined to comment outside the courtroom.
Macedonio told reporters she was "disappointed" the judge "relied on the government's baseless allegations. Now we're going to focus on the trial."
Asaro's trial is scheduled for August.


New Jersey mafia soldier gets 11 months for attacking driver in road rage incident

The man had a dash cam in his vehicle, which documented Jerry Balzano's tough talk, the 911 call of the driver's wife and the thuds of Balzano’s hits.
A convicted wiseguy’s fast and furious rough-up of a driver is getting him an 11-month trip to lock-up.
Jerry Balzano got the almost yearlong sentence Thursday in Brooklyn federal court for a road rage fury caught on camera.
Balzano, a reputed soldier in New Jersey's DeCavalcante crime family, was out on supervised release for racketeering conspiracy in November 2016 when he accosted a driver on Route 17 in Wallkill.
The man had a dash cam in his vehicle, which documented Balzano's tough talk, the 911 call of the driver's wife and the thuds of Balzano’s hits.
Balzano apologized for losing his cool when Judge Kiyo Matsumoto sentenced him. "To the gentleman I had the altercation with, I just lost control. It got blown out of proportion, like a snowball effect."
Matsumoto imposed a 21-month supervised release after the jail time.
Balzano pleaded guilty to violating his supervised release terms in April. Earlier this month, he pleaded guilty to state court charges for the incident, harassment and improper lane use.
This is his second violation of supervised release for his 2011 racketeering conspiracy conviction.


Volatile mob associate busted for mailing threatening letters fires own attroney

Battista (Benny) Geritano at Brooklyn Federal Court where he testified at his own hearing.
It did not go well for a wiseguy who tried to act as his own lawyer Thursday in Brooklyn federal court.
Battista "Benny" Geritano was serving 12 years in state prison for a 2012 stabbing at a Brooklyn bar when the feds indicted him for mailing threatening letters.
The reputed Gambino associate is charged with allegedly using the mail in February to commit extortion — but Brooklyn federal prosecutors didn't get much farther in talking about the case because Geritano had to be removed from the courtroom.
"He's fired. I'm representing myself," Geritano said about Michael Sporn, his court-appointed defense lawyer for the day.
"We have a few wrinkles," Sporn told Magistrate Judge Viktor Pohorelsky.
When Geritano insisted on finding out the names of the clerks in the room, Pohorelsky said that wasn't something he needed know.
Actually it was, said Geritano.
"You're in my court," Geritano said, adding he was a "sovereign Christian male."
He tried handing a handwritten note when Pohorelsky told him not to. The magistrate asked the marshals to remove Geritano.
"No, it's better we do it now," he protested when at least three marshals swarmed. Geritano wriggled a little and they shoved him out the room.
Geritano refused to be fingerprinted or processed, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Lindsay Gerdes — who also had Geritano's stabbing case when she was with the Brooklyn District Attorney's office.
Geritano, 44, faces up to 20 years on the federal charge.
When Geritano was produced a second time, he insisted he was going to be his own lawyer. "He's not my attorney, he's fired," Geritano said of Sporn again.
The case is on for a second crack at an arraignment on Tuesday.
In 2011, Geritano was busted for allegedly stabbing pizza chef Mark Iacono in a fight over a woman. The charges were dropped when Iacono and Geritano didn't agree to testify.


Feds say jailed Bonanno captain threatened to kill federal prosecutor

Aging Bonanno capo Vincent Asaro has been overheard on jailhouse tapes threatening to whack his federal prosecutor, court papers say.
The 82-year-old Asaro told a fellow inmate he needed to take care of his “b​itc​h” prosecutor, Assistant US Attorney Nicole Argentieri, according to newly filed documents.
“We need to do something about this b​it​ch,” Asaro — who famously dodged prison for his suspected role in the 1978 Lufthansa heist​ immortalized in the film “Goodfellas” — said recently as he languished as a guest of the state awaiting trial for a road rage-related arson. Argentieri is one of three federal prosecutors working that case.
Asaro may have beaten the rap ​18 months ago ​​when federal prosecutors put him on trial in the notorious ​JFK ​heist, but he’s now accused of ordering henchman — including the namesake grandson of John Gotti​ ​—​ ​to torch the car of a driver who unwittingly cut him off.
“We need to handle this,” the elderly mafioso purportedly snarled while holed up in the Manhattan Detention Complex on his new case. “And not f–k up like Vinny.”
Prosecutors claim Asaro was referencing Vincent “Vinny ​Gorgeous” Basciano, former acting boss of the Bonanno crime family. Basciano currently is serving a life sentence for murder after a failed attempt to rub out his own prosecutor, according to the same filing.
The letter detailing the threats follows an attempt by defense attorney Elizabeth Macedonio to spring her elderly client on bond in his 2012 arson case.
Asaro was also allegedly overheard saying he would snuff out his “rat cousin” Gaspare Valenti if he ever saw him again. Valenti, who is now in the witness protection program, was a key witness in the Lufthansa trial.
Macedonio did not return messages.


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Bonanno associate needs to wait to learn whether his bond will be revoked

Robert Pisani (c.) was ready to duke it out with Brooklyn federal prosecutors on whether his $500,000 bond should be revoked for an unrelated arrest as he prepares for loansharking case.
A reputed wiseguy will have to wait a little longer to learn if he’s going to be fighting a Brooklyn federal loansharking case from the outside — or the inside.

Robert Pisani was ready to duke it out with Brooklyn federal prosecutors Tuesday on whether his $500,000 bond should be revoked for an unrelated arrest.

Police say Pisani forced himself on a woman working at his Broad Channel, Queens, deli last month. They arrested him this month when the alleged Bonanno associate left Brooklyn Federal Court. Pisani’s court papers call the accusations “fallacious.”

Prosecutors told Judge Dora Irizarry on Tuesday that they have a recording the alleged victim’s father made Sunday. That raised the question of potential witness-tampering, and Irizarry postponed the case a week. Pisani is under house arrest.