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

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Hollywood makeup artist to undercover agents at trial of turncoat New England mob boss

An FBI surveillance photo from 1993 shows Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme on the left; his son, Frank Jr. on the right; Stephen Flemmi with his back to the camera in a white shirt; and Rhode Island mobster Louie “Baby Shacks” Manocchio.

In an effort to disguise two undercover agents expected to testify in the trial of Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme, the government is going to use a “movie-industry” quality makeup artist.
At issue are two inspectors from the federal Witness Security Program who an attorney for the U.S. Marshals Service said work undercover. The lawyer wrote in a recent court motion that protecting their identities “is a matter of life and death.”
“We are not asking he not be cross examined,” Harvey Smith, a special assistant U.S. attorney who represents the U.S. Marshals, said as he discussed one of the individuals. “We are only asking that the public not be able to see the witness security inspector.”
At federal court in Boston Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Allison Burroughs chastised Smith for making the issue a public matter in the first place.
“I’m willing to venture had you not filed [the motion] in this way, there would be very little interest in the testimony of these two people,” Burroughs said. “But we are where we are.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Fred Wyshak said prosecutors want to call the inspectors to testify in an effort to show Salemme fled when he learned he could be arrested.
Salemme was apprehended in August 2016 and charged with murder of witness for the 1993 gangland slaying of Steven DiSarro. At the time, Salemme had been relocated and given a new identity after testifying in a separate mob trial.
Wyshak said Salemme was taken into custody in Milford, Connecticut, with $28,000 cash on him and a suitcase full of clothes.
“There were conversations between field agents and Mr. Salemme - whether or not it should have occurred - it would have heightened Mr. Salemme’s concern about the possibility he could have been arrested,” Wyshak said.
The possibility of bringing in a screen to shield the identity of the investigators from the public in the courtroom, but still keeping them in the view of the jury, was previously rejected by the judge, who referred to one of the unnamed witnesses as "bachelor number one."
Mark Shea, an attorney for codefendant Paul Weadick, said defense lawyers object to the idea of clearing the courtroom, or having the witnesses wear sunglasses and a hat.
“Anything that empties a courtroom for a witness is going to catch the attention of the jury,” Shea said. “If someone is in some kind of guise to hide their identity that clearly communicates to the jury they are in some danger.”
He added that those optics would be "very damaging to the defense."
One of Salemme’s defense attorneys, Elliot Weinstein, suggested utilizing a “movie industry” quality makeup artist – at the Marshals' expense – to mask the witnesses' identities.
Smith said he was unfamiliar with the process, but since the witnesses weren’t expected to be called until the end of the prosecution’s case, there would be time to work out logistics. Burroughs signed off on the idea.
Salemme, 84, and Weadick, 62, have been on trial for two weeks in the murder of DiSarro, who was a Boston nightclub owner and Providence native. Prosecutors have said the pair – along with Salemme’s late son – killed DiSarro because they feared he was going to cooperate with the FBI.
Salemme and Weadick have both pleaded not guilty.
Testimony in the trial was abruptly canceled Monday and is expected to resume next week. Neither prosecutors nor defense attorneys would reveal what has caused the delay.


Monday, May 21, 2018

Aging Genovese gangster pleads guilty to tax evasion

An aged mobster pleaded guilty to attempted tax evasion in Brooklyn federal court on Monday for avoiding taxes on $2 million profits from the sale of properties in 2014.
Old-fella Salvatore “Sallie” DeMeo – a reputed Genovese crime family soldier – pleaded guilty for failing to pay the IRS $367,000 he owed on the sale of two Brooklyn properties that he inherited from his father in 1991.
“I attempted to evade capital gain taxes…I was aware I was responsible for paying taxes on these capital gains and I never filed the appropriate returns or made those payments,” the 78-year-old admitted in court as his daughter and two cousins looked on in support.
“I avoided depositing the checks I received from the proceeds of the sale of the property into accounts that were not readily traceable to me as a means to avoid detection,” DeMeo added.
Prosecutors alleged that DeMeo funneled $1 million of the profits through another wiseguy’s plumbing company.
DeMeo’s lawyer, John Meringolo, confirmed the payments were made to Christopher Chierchio’s Staten Island company, RCI Plumbing.
“There was nothing unlawful with that transaction,” Meringolo – who also reps Chierchio – said.
Chierchio is also an alleged Genovese crime family soldier.
Outside of court DeMeo’s lawyer, Gary Farrel, said “we are hoping for a lenient sentence for a man in the golden years of his life.”
The Brooklyn wiseguy could face two-and-a-half years in prison at his Oct. 11 sentencing. He will also be expected to pay $367,673 in restitution to the IRS.
DeMeo’s lawyers said he plans to pay back the money before his sentencing by selling another Brooklyn property he owns.
This is not DeMeo’s first encounter with the law.
He was convicted for stealing nearly $400,000 from a Manalapan, N.J. bank in 1996 and was sentenced to 57 months in federal prison on racketeering charges after spending a year on the lam.
And in another case, the septuagenarian was sentenced in Brooklyn state court to probation last September for running an illegal off-shore gambling ring in Costa Rica.


Sunday, May 20, 2018

Jurors set to hear tape of mafia summit during murder trial of turncoat Patriarca family boss

A 1990 State Police surveillance photo of (left to right) Steven DiSarro, Frank Salemme Jr., Thomas Hillary, and Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme coming out of a Brookline restaurant. The Salemmes allegedly killed DiSarro in 1993.

Jurors in the murder trial of Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme will this morning hear a clandestine conversation the FBI intercepted 27 years ago in which the then-New England Mafia godfather disparaged a doomed Steven DiSarro as untrustworthy to high-level hoods visiting from Vegas.
The wiretap of Room 1410 at the Hilton Boston Logan Airport Hotel was conducted Dec. 11, 1991, less than two years before prosecutors allege Salemme, his late son Frank Jr. and their associate Paul Weadick choked DiSarro, 43, to death because they feared he was going to tell the feds about their secret investment in The Channel. Salemme Jr. was caught on electronic surveillance bragging months earlier that the South Boston rock concert hall was “the biggest nightclub in the city of Boston.”
“The Channel is our (expletive) nightclub. We own it,” Frank Jr. crowed to a cooperating witness, according to a court document prosecutors filed Tuesday.
Vince delaMontaigne, a former FBI special agent in Boston who was deep undercover in La Cosa Nostra for three years dabbling in drugs, bookmaking and loansharking, will introduce the 20-minute recording of Salemme Sr. and Natale “Big Chris” Richichi. DelaMontaigne testified yesterday tech agents armed with a court order were rolling tape and he was listening through the wall thanks to fibbing to the Hilton’s front desk that another room he’d checked into under an alias had “too much noise” from flights taking off and landing.
As luck would have it, “They gave me 1408,” he said.
Salemme, 84, softly drummed his left hand on the defense table yesterday as delaMontaigne described how the Boston bureau was tipped off Dec. 10, 1991, by its agent counterparts in Nevada that Richichi, a capo with New York’s Gambino crime family overseeing a crew in Las Vegas, was boarding a plane to Boston to meet with Salemme that night. He said the FBI “really didn’t know” what was going down, but went on high alert so agents could start tailing the now-late Richichi the second he landed at Logan.
Richichi, he said, was picked up at the airport by gangland associate Kenneth Guarino. After checking in at the Hilton, the men repaired to a bar downstairs, where they rendezvoused with Salemme and Frank Jr., Robert DeLuca and a fourth person delaMontaigne said, “I didn’t recognize.”
He recognized DeLuca from the FBI’s infamous October 1989 wiretap of the made man’s induction to the Mafia at a swearing-in ceremony in Medford.
“We had surveillance agents on the parking lot, in the hotel,” he told jurors. The six men eventually left to have dinner at Ristorante Saraceno in the North End. When they later returned to the Hilton and Room 1410, he said Guarino and DeLuca excused themselves, leaving Richichi and Salemme to conduct boss business.
The 18 jurors will be provided a 15-page transcript by prosecutors so they can follow along with the wiretap.
DiSarro was killed in 1993. His remains, buried in a hazardous-waste dump on private property in Providence, were not located until 2016.


Feds nix death penalty against top Lucchese family leaders

Federal prosecutors will not seek the death penalty for five reputed members of the Lucchese crime family who were charged in a law enforcement sweep last year, according to court papers filed this week. 
The alleged mobsters, including Tuckahoe resident Steven "Wonder Boy" Crea and his son, Steven Crea Jr. of New Rochelle, were among 19 reputed Lucchese members and associates charged in a racketeering indictment unsealed May 31, 2017. 
In papers filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan on Monday, the U.S. Attorney's Office said they would not seek death against the Creas and three other men — Matthew Madonna, Christopher Londonio and Terrence Caldwell.
Madonna was identified as the alleged "street boss" of the Lucchese family, while Londonio was identified as a reputed soldier and Caldwell as an associate. All three were already in prison when they were charged in the sweep last year. 
The sweep was one of the largest roundups of reputed mobsters by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office in recent years. The suspects had colorful street names like "Paulie Roast Beef," "Joey Glasses" and "Spanish Carmine," prosecutors said. 
Earlier this year, the New York State Attorney General's Office carried out a separate sweep of reputed Lucchese family members who were allegedly running an illegal gambling operation out of two New Rochelle storefronts. 


NYC union big tied to mafia sentenced to five years

A union official was sentenced to five years in federal prison Friday for using his mob ties to threaten businesses into hiring his members.
Roland Bedwell, business manager for United Plant and Production Workers Local 175, pleaded guilty in August to threatening the owner of a construction business.
The feds recorded Bedwell telling his victim that if he did not employ Local 175 members, he would use a crew of 15 "ex-military" men, unafraid to go to prison, to interfere with business in a way that would cost a lot of money.
"Honestly, whatever they do or don't do — pretty much up to them...either you're gonna sign the contract...or these boys are gonna do it again," Bedwell said on a recording.
In another case, Bedwell and his cohorts threatened another construction business by slashing the tires and threatening the drivers delivering asphalt to a job at LaGuardia Airport.
The construction company owner was told if he didn't hire Local 175 workers, the asphalt would not be delivered to the work site, the feds said.
Bedwell's victims were not publicly identified.
Bedwell said in a written statement read by his lawyer Edward Sapone in court on Friday that he takes "full responsibility" for what he did and thanked the judge for changing his life at 58 years old.
Brooklyn Federal Court Judge Nicholas Garaufis was troubled by Bedwell's Gambino family connections.
"Mr. Bedwell used his position to intimidate, threaten, and extort law abiding citizens for the benefit of his employer and for his own benefit," Garaufis said.


Saturday, May 19, 2018

Friday, May 18, 2018

Volatile mobster played Russian Roulette with former girlfriend and child

A reputed Gambino wiseguy, who faces charges for sending death threats to his former lawyer, once callously risked his ex-gal pal’s life playing a twisted game of Russian roulette, Brooklyn federal prosecutors say.
Battista “Benny” Geritano played sick mind games with his ex and their daughter in 1994 and the feds want to tell a jury about it at his upcoming trial, new court documents reveal.
Prosecutors say Geritano, 45, forced his former flame and their 4-year-old child to come to his Brooklyn apartment where, “as the former girlfriend held their daughter in her arms, [Geritano] put one bullet into a revolver, pointed the gun at her and pulled the trigger.”
Her life was spared as the gun didn’t fire, though it’s unclear if the chamber was empty or if it malfunctioned.
Prosecutors say Geritano’s former lawyer — who repped him in a 2012 Bay Ridge stabbing case for which he was convicted and is serving 12 years prison — knew about Geritano’s history of domestic violence because it was described in sentencing papers.
Therefore, the lawyer had reason to take the death threats — which were aimed at the attorney’s son — seriously.
“Among other things, the sentencing letter details numerous alleged acts of domestic violence [Geritano] committed against two women, including a sexual assault, a stabbing, menacing with a knife and razor blade, death threats, and incident involving Russian roulette, and repeated acts of witness intimidation,” the court papers claim.
Geritano beat a 2011 rap for a knife fight he had with a Carroll Gardens pizzeria owner but heads to trial on June 11 in his current extortion case.
He allegedly stabbed the Lucali restaurant owner, Mark Iacono, in a dispute over a woman, but the case fell apart when Iacono refused to testify against his former friend.
Geritano’s current lawyer, Walter Mack said, “You can be certain there will be a response in writing.”
Mack asked why the 1994 alleged threats, “would have any place in a trial that is designed to cover something that occurred in 2016 and 2017.”


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

After corpse is discovered turncoat New England mob boss is put on trial

Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme, 84, is facing federal charges related to the death of Steven DiSarro, who prosecutors say was strangled by Salemme’s son Frank Jr. on the order of his crime boss father.

On Monday, FBI agent Timothy Darling recounted the damning findings of a 2016 excavation at a vacant mill in Rhode Island, according to the Boston Herald.

“We found a piece of rope first. A few buckets later, we noticed something that appeared to be of evidentiary value: bones, and fabric that appeared to be wrapped around the bones,” Darling said about the March 30, 2016, dig.

Jurors in the Boston federal court trial were shown photos of thick rope that was found wrapped around DiSarro’s neck and body – which was “folded” in an 8-½-foot “wall of dirt” underneath bricks, wood and concrete blocks, Darling said.

The agent put on latex gloves to show the courtroom a yard of duct tape and a piece of torn fabric from the jogging suit DiSarro was wearing when he was killed.

Salemme is accused of standing near Frank Jr. as the son strangled DiSarro, 43. His co-defendant, mob associate Paul Weadick, who is also on trial, allegedly held down DiSarro’s flailing legs.
The former boss of New England’s Patriarca Family of La Cosa Nostra allegedly ordered the hit on DiSarro because he was set to cooperate with feds against Salemme and his son.

At the time, the feds suspect the Salemmes were silent partners in DiSarro’s nightclub, The Channel in South Boston.

The now wheelchair-bound senior lived for years in Atlanta under a new name as part of a witness- protection program following his testimony against former mobsters – until DiSarro’s remains were found.

Frank Jr. – whom the feds say was a made Mafia member — died of leukemia in 1995, his family said.

Salemme and Weadick have denied any involvement in DiSarro’s death.

The government’s star witness is Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, who’s expected to testify that he walked in on DiSarro’s murder as it was happening.

Flemmi was an associate of James “Whitey” Bulger, the notorious leader of the Winter Hill Gang who forged a close relationship with Salemme, according to Boston.com.

The trio were indicted in 1995 on racketeering charges. Salemme pleaded guilty in 1999 and was sent to prison for 11 years.

Angry that Flemmi and Bulger snitched on him to the FBI, Salemme testified against the pair in 2001.


Monday, May 14, 2018

Supreme Court ruling deals blow to core business of New York mafia

The mob’s gambling racket is about to sleep with the fishes.
The US Supreme Court’s sports-betting ruling dealt a losing hand to organized crime in the New York area, legal experts said Monday.
Gambling and loan-sharking have traditionally been the mob’s “bread and butter,” and the decision will “significantly reduce” its clientele, former federal prosecutor Thomas Seigel said.
“They will definitely lose a regular source of predictable income,” said Seigel, who ran the Organized Crime and Gangs Section of the Brooklyn US Attorney’ s Office.
Defense lawyer John Meringolo, who’s represented John “Junior” Gotti and reputed Philadelphia mob boss Joseph “Skinny Joey” Merlino, said legal sports betting “will have a detrimental effect on the mob and anyone who tries to make a living through this type of vice.”
“For what’s left of what they do, this would significantly hurt their bottom line, if not completely destroy it,” said Meringolo, also a Pace Law School professor.
“If there’s no gambling, there’s no core business.”
Seigel — who prosecuted crooked NBA referee Tim Donaghy on gambling charges — said he expected mobsters would come up with new scams, potentially involving crypto-currencies in an “analog to the penny stocks of the ’90s.”
“I wouldn’t fully count them out, because they are resilient, but it is definitely going to be a blow,” he said.