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

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Federal judge releases one and holds another Colombo mobster citing safety risk to Staten Island residents

A federal judge released one tough-talking Colombo crime family associate from custody Tuesday, but decided his seasoned wiseguy co-defendant was too dangerous to let loose.
Daniel Capaldo, 54, an alleged Colombo gangster, was held in custody at his Brooklyn federal court bail hearing, with U.S. Magistrate Judge Peggy Kuo citing his criminal record in deciding his release would pose a danger to Staten Island residents.
“It’s almost as if Mr. Capaldo can’t help but get himself in trouble — even if he’s being watched by the government,” she said. “So I find that I cannot release him under those circumstances.”
Prosecutors said career criminal Capaldo, who was sentenced to 14 years in federal lockup on drug trafficking and tax fraud charges in the late 90s and another three years for financing and extortion a few years after his release, used his larger-than-life presence to “intimidate and extort” victims in loansharking schemes.
“He’s committed crime after crime after crime,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Geddes.
The alleged mobster’s younger co-defendant, Anthony Silvestro, 28, was released on a $500,000 surety bond. Citing the Bail Reform Act and Silvestro’s clean record, Judge Kuo placed him on home detention with an ankle monitor, which she ordered him to pay for.
Geddes said an eager-to-please Silvestro was heard bragging about beatings and making “a grown man cry” in wiretapped calls, adding that he signed himself up for violent shakedowns without ever questioning their purpose.
“If you say you need me, I’m there,” she quoted Silvestro as saying on one call.
Silvestro’s mother, brother, aunt and uncle, who were all present in court Tuesday, co-signed the mammoth bond amount.
“That’s half a million dollars — that’s a lot of money,” the judge warned them.
Capaldo and Silvestro are two of 20 suspects charged with extortion by violent means, loansharking, racketeering and other offenses in three sweeping federal indictments unsealed Oct. 3.
The investigation started in November 2016 after workers at an MTA bus depot in New Springville, Staten Island, discovered a GPS tracking device planted on the oil pan of a city bus.
Prosecutors connected the device to alleged Colombo captain Joseph Amato — who they allege was stalking his then-girlfriend — and began wiretapping his calls.
During the back-to-back hearings, lawyers for the two men said the government failed to prove either man engaged in violent or criminal acts.
“Can you detain someone for talking tough?” Silvestro’s attorney Mathew Mari said. “Maybe he’s got the wrong friends . . . but I don’t think that’s enough to convict someone of these crimes.”
Capaldo’s lawyer, Vincent Romano, said Geddes’ arguments were “cut and pasted” from a 2011 detention memo filed against Capaldo in the same courthouse. The lawyer said his client has given the court no reason to believe he won’t abide by certain conditions under release.
“He’s got a 4-year-old at home. He’s got a wife,” Romano told reporters. “We’ll deal with the charges in court and hopefully he’ll be granted bail in the near future.”


Monday, October 7, 2019

Feds say former acting Lucchese boss ordered murder over $100K unpaid loan

Former acting Lucchese mob boss Matthew Madonna ordered a 2013 Bronx hit on a onetime ally after the man refused to repay a $100,000 loan, a prosecutor said Monday.
The statement came during opening arguments in the White Plains trial of Steven Crea Sr., Christopher Londonio, Terrence Caldwell and Madonna — who are accused of racketeering conspiracy and other charges for their respective roles in the Lucchese organized crime family.
Prosecutor Celia Cohen told jurors that Madonna and Crea ordered the murder of notorious Purple Gang leader Michael Meldish after Meldish told Madonna to “f–k off” when he asked about his money.
“Not repaying a boss is a dangerous game,” said Cohen, adding that Londonio and alleged triggerman Caldwell subsequently executed Meldish as he sat in his parked car in November 2013.
“Michael Meldish is dead because of these four men,” said Cohen.
In addition to racketeering, the reputed wiseguys are also accused of extortion, loansharking, illegal gambling and other acts of ruthless violence. Londonio is also facing a separate charge for stockpiling bed sheets while in custody — purportedly as part of a plot to escape out the window of a federal lockup.
Lawyers for the four men encouraged jurors to focus on the array of turncoat cooperators expected to take the stand during the trial.
“They have lied, stolen, cheated — they put their own personal interests above all else,” Crea’s lawyer Robert Franklin said of the government cooperators.
Caldwell’s lawyer George Goltzer also emphatically denied that his client killed Meldish — noting the two were such close friends that Meldish routinely drove Caldwell to the hospital for chemotherapy.
Later Monday, jurors heard testimony from a mother and daughter who discovered Meldish’s remains.
“We saw a car door and someone’s leg hanging out of the car,” retired nurse Janet Forbes testified. She drove the car around the block, and pulled up alongside to investigate, thinking he might be in a booze-induced stupor.
“When I saw him up close he didn’t look drunk, he looked dead,” said Forbes.
Madonna, 83, served as the Lucchese family’s “street boss” until 2017, when the formal boss Vittorio “Vic” Amuso — who’s serving out a life sentence for murder — allegedly appointed Michael DeSantis in his stead.
The trial continues Tuesday.


Tracking device led to 20 arrests of Colombo mobsters

A domineering mobster’s efforts to track his girlfriend with a GPS device led authorities to uncover an array of criminal schemes that included an attempt to fix a college basketball game, federal prosecutors said Thursday.
The stunning turn of events was revealed as 20 people — including 11 reputed members and associates of the Colombo crime family — were busted on charges including racketeering, loansharking and extortion.
Reputed Colombo capo Joseph Amato, 60, allegedly bought the electronic tracker to keep tabs on his then-girlfriend, identified only as “Jane Doe,” by secretly attaching it to her car.
Amato stalked the woman between Jan. 1, 2015, and Oct. 21, 2016, during which time he had to “regularly and covertly retrieve the device, charge it and then re-position it on Jane Doe’s car,” according to papers filed in Brooklyn federal court.
The controlling capo also allegedly sent the woman intimidating emails about his influence and power on Staten Island, including one that said, “This is my island. Not yours. I have the eyes all over.”
In another, Amato — who in 1995 was convicted in the shooting of a 15-year-old witness to an attempted rubout during the third Colombo family civil war — allegedly boasted that “I’m called a MAN’S MAN!!!”
“Anyone could end up in jail. I don’t wish it on anyone[.] Especially weak men. Who could never deal with it. I thrived there and anywhere I go,” court papers say he wrote.
The woman eventually discovered the GPS tracker, which then somehow wound up attached to the oil pan of an MTA bus, “likely to thwart Amato’s stalking efforts,” court papers say.
A mechanic found the device in November 2016 during a routine maintenance inspection at the MTA bus depot on Staten Island, leading the feds to launch an investigation, according to the Brooklyn US Attorney’s Office.
Wiretaps on the phones of Amato, his son Joseph Amato Jr. and reputed Colombo soldier Thomas Scorcia resulted in “thousands of intercepted phone calls and text messages,” court papers say.
The eavesdropping allegedly caught Amato Jr., 26, talking on a cellphone with Benjamin Bifalco, 25, about Bifalco’s plan to “pay thousands of dollars to multiple members” of an unidentified team to lose an NCCA Division 1 basketball game by more than the point spread.
But Bifalco apparently couldn’t pull off the December 2018 scam, with court papers saying that Amato Jr. sent two text messages to Scorcia, 52, shortly before the opening tip.
“Ok I wouldn’t trust the game I was telling u about” and “I’m not touching it personally,” Amato Jr. allegedly wrote.
Vincent Scura of the Colombo crime family leaves the Brooklyn Federal Court.
In court papers, prosecutors said that “was good advice given that the favored team did not cover the spread and the bets would not have been winning ones.”
The defendants — who include reputed Colombo soldiers Daniel “The Wig” Capaldo and Vincent “Vinny Linen” Scura, and reputed associate Anthony “Bugz” Silvestro — were being arraigned Thursday afternoon.


Colombo captain's GPS tracking device shook up the MTA

The Colombo crime family wasn’t the only victim of the GPS tracking device that sparked Thursday’s big mob takedown — it also shook up the New York City bus system.
When MTA mechanics found the tracker during a routine maintenance inspection in November 2016, the Staten Island depot where it was located was evacuated and explosives experts were called in to make sure it wasn’t a small bomb, two sources told The Post.
“It was considered a ‘suspicious package,'” one source said. The Yukon Bus Depot in New Springfield was evacuated for more than two hours “as a precaution.”
The device, which was stuck by magnets to the oil pan under a bus in the middle, quickly turned out to be “just” a GPS — and officials confirmed it hadn’t been installed as part of any official MTA study.
Still, the undercarriage of every bus in the five boroughs was searched for any similar devices using mirrors on metal poles.
“We searched every bus as soon as it happened,” one MTA source said.
The mystery of who might want to track the comings and goings of a Staten Island bus — Terrorists? A disgruntled employee? Some renegade, amateur transit geek? — was quickly solved by the feds.
They tracked the tracker with help from an unlikely source, reputed Colombo capo Joseph Amato Sr. who, amazingly, had reported it lost.
Amato had been keeping tabs on his girlfriend by secretly sticking the GPS on her car for “a period of months,” the feds said in court papers.
“Joseph Amato had purchased the device to place a girlfriend, identified herein as Jane Doe, under close surveillance,” the feds said.
The jealous capo would have to “regularly and covertly retrieve the device, charge it and then reposition it on Jane Doe’s car,” the feds said in the papers, which sought to convince a judge to keep Amato and four other defendants held without bail.
“He abandoned the surveillance only after he discovered that the tracker was no longer attached to Jane Doe’s car, at which time he reported the device lost to the electronic service provider administering the tracking service,” the feds said.
“The device apparently had been discovered and was placed on the MTA bus, likely to thwart Amato’s stalking efforts.”
It didn’t work — Amato promptly bought a new GPS, the feds said.
“Apparently not deterred by the discovery of the first device, in May 2017, Amato obtained a replacement tracking device and again took efforts to place it on Jane Doe’s vehicle and surveil her movements.”
Still, the damage was done: it was upon the discovery of the first tracking device that “the government commenced a larger investigation into Amato,” the feds said.
The FBI investigation, which would loop in the Drug Enforcement Administration and the NYPD, found through wiretaps, search warrants and witness interviews that “the Colombo family is thriving and continues to engage in criminal activity including, among other crimes, acts of explicit violence, extortion, loansharking and the operation of illegal gambling businesses,” the feds wrote.
Twenty defendants have been hit with charges that include racketeering, loansharking and extortion.
Amato faces racketeering charges relating to six alleged victims, two counts of cyberstalking and one count of threatening to commit a crime of violence; he pleaded not guilty Thursday and is being held without bail.


Son of Colombo captain released on $1M bail

The son of reputed Colombo capo Joseph Amato Sr. was granted release on $1 million bail — four days after federal prosecutors objected to his release because he keeps dropping his dad’s name around town.
But Brooklyn federal court Judge Leo Glasser — a bench veteran who presided over the 1992 John Gotti murder trial and other mob cases — said Monday that Joseph Amato Jr. would be allowed out under house arrest because has no criminal record, even if he “comes off as a very tough guy.”
“To my knowledge, 25 years ago, when I dealt in a case with his father has no use here,” Glasser said. “This man has no prior arrests. I’m not suggesting a threat isn’t as serious, but that’s what we have.”
Prosecutors argued the younger Amato has a penchant for throwing out his infamous dad’s name to intimidate people — and once beat a man who told him he didn’t know who his father was.
“Home detention isn’t viable for pretrial for the safety of the community,” Assistant US Attorney Elizabeth Geddes told Glasser Monday. “The defendant has a history of using electronic devices to carry out his threats of violence and it’s hard to supervise.”
“It’s clear the defendant not only turns to his father, he debriefs him and seeks his approval on acts,” she added,
Amato Jr.’s lawyer called comparing “watermelons to oranges.”
“This is not a case for remand. My client has no criminal history, there’s no allegations of violence and no allegations of destruction. They are hypothesizing that somehow, this will lead to violence,” attorney James Froccaro told the judge.
Both Amatos were scooped up last week in a wide-ranging federal sweep alleging criminal activity dating to 2014 — brought on by the elder Amato using a GPS device to keep tabs on his girlfriend that was discovered by the feds.
Amato Jr. was charged with racketeering, conspiracy, extortion and conspiracy to distribute marijuana.


Thursday, October 3, 2019

Feds bust major Colombo family operations on Staten Island

Three indictments were unsealed today in federal court in Brooklyn variously charging 20 defendants with racketeering, extortion, loansharking, stalking, attempted sports bribery and related offenses.  Among those charged with racketeering were Joseph Amato, an alleged captain in the Colombo organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra (“the Colombo family”); Daniel Capaldo and Thomas Scorcia, alleged Colombo family members; and Joseph Amato, Jr. and Anthony Silvestro, alleged Colombo family associates.  An additional alleged Colombo family member, Vincent Scura, was also indicted.  The indictments relate to the defendants’ charged criminal activities in Staten Island and elsewhere since January 2014.
The defendants were arrested this morning, and are scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Vera M. Scanlon.
Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI); and James P. O’Neill, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), announced the charges.
As alleged in the indictments and the government’s detention letters, the investigation began in November 2016 when a GPS tracking device was found concealed on an MTA bus.  Amato had earlier obtained the device to surveil his then-girlfriend and boasted about the resources at his disposal to keep her under close surveillance.  In one email, Amato stated, “This is my island. Not yours.  I have eyes all over[.]”  In another email, Amato stated, ‘I’m a MANS MAN!!!”  His then-girlfriend discovered the device on her vehicle and removed it, and it was subsequently attached to and recovered from the MTA bus at a depot n Staten Island.  Thereafter, the government obtained court-authorization to intercept communications over various cellular telephones used by the defendants.
As detailed in the government’s court filings, Amato and members of his crew used violence and threats of violence to earn illegal proceeds and solidify the crew’s reputation and standing.  On one occasion, an individual confronted Amato Jr. for insulting a woman in a bar.  Amato Jr. told the individual to back off, and threatened, “Do you know who my father is?”  The following day, the individual was lured to a location where Amato, Amato Jr. and other members of Amato’s crew brutally beat the victim, leaving him bloodied and in need of staples in his scalp.  On other occasions, court-authorized intercepts captured: (1) Scorcia boasting, “I told the guy sit in the car, and the kid had the tears,” (2) Silvestro advising Scorcia, “[Y]ou send him a smack.  If he raises his hand back to you, we beat the bricks off him, that’s it” and (3) following the commission of one of the charged crimes of violence, Amato Jr. described the crime and the victim’s reaction, “[W]e abused him so bad.  Yo I had, bro, me and Pap (Silvestro), bro, had him shaking bro.  He was in tears, he was crying.”
The court-authorized wiretaps also captured the defendants’ scheme to fix an NCAA college basketball game.  To further the scheme, defendant Benjamin Bifalco offered members of a college basketball team thousands of dollars to intentionally lose the game.  
Two firearms, two stun guns, a canister of purported tear gas and thousands of dollars in U.S. currency were recovered during court-authorized searches of residences of Amato and Scorcia.
“The mafia is not the criminal threat it once was, but we remain vigilant and will vigorously investigate and prosecute members and associates who engage in violence and extortion to intimidate victims and enrich themselves and their crime family,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue.  Mr. Donoghue extended his grateful appreciation to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New York Drug Enforcement Task Force for its assistance during the investigation.
“One of the stunning things revealed in this investigation, it seems members of the mafia families that were once almost romanticized by Hollywood and pop culture, have resorted to acting like playground bullies.  As alleged, they are still up to their old extortion and bribery schemes, and terrorizing their victims, but they are also still getting caught.  The FBI New York Joint Organized Crime Task Force wants to send a clear message to members of the families in our communities who continue to operate, we will do all we can to stop a true resurgence from ever happening,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney.
“The successful outcome of this investigation shows our continued efforts to target and hold responsible organized criminal syndicates,” stated NYPD Commissioner O’Neill.  “I thank our investigators and law enforcement counterparts whose cooperation was vital to bringing these individuals to justice.”
The charges in the indictments are allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Organized Crime & Gangs Section.  Assistant United States Attorneys Elizabeth A. Geddes and Megan E. Farrell are in charge of the prosecution.
The Defendants:
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 19-CR-442 (S-1)(ILG)
Age: 60
Colts Neck, New Jersey
Age: 26
Staten Island, New York
Age: 27
Staten Island, New York
DANIEL CAPALDO (also known as “The Wig” and “Shrek”)
Age: 54
Staten Island, New York
Age: 31
Staten Island, New York
Age: 21
Staten Island, New York
Age: 30
Staten Island, New York
Age: 61
Staten Island, New York
JOSEPH MARRA (also known as “Joe Fish”)
Age: 58
Brooklyn, New York
Age: 57
Brooklyn, New York
DOMINICK RICIGLIANO (also known as “The Lion”)
Age: 30
Staten Island, New York
Age: 52
Staten Island, New York
VINCENT SCURA (also known as “Vinny Linen”)
Age: 58
Staten Island, New York
ANTHONY SILVESTRO (also known as “Bugz”)
Age: 28
Staten Island, New York
Age: 26
Staten Island, New York
Age: 39
Staten Island, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 19-CR-443 (CBA)
Age: 26
Staten Island, New York
Age: 30
Staten Island, New York
Age: 55
Staten Island, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 19-CR-444 (ARR)
Age:  25
Staten Island, New York


Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Peter Gotti's lawyers insist their client is a changed man and deserves to be released

Even Stevie Wonder could see that mobster Peter Gotti is a changed man, his lawyers claimed Tuesday.
The off-color comment came as attorneys for the former Gambino acting boss continue attempts to spring their ailing client from prison on compassionate release 17 years into his 25-year sentence.
“He is a very sick old man who simply wants to die, when the time comes, at home,” wrote the 79-year-old’s lawyer James Craven.
“And not to make light of a very serious matter, we submit that Stevie Wonder could see that Peter Gotti is now as dangerous as he looks,” the filing says, referring to the blind, Grammy Award-winning musician. “He is truly a changed man in so many ways. We should be thankful for that.”
Meanwhile, the feds maintain that Gotti — brother of infamous “Teflon Don” John Gotti — is still a danger to the community.
Prosecutors argue that Gotti’s litany of illnesses — including an enlarged prostate, gastric reflux and early onset dementia — won’t impede his ability to order hits or carry out other crime family business.
A judge has yet to rule on the motion.
Gotti is serving his sentence in a North Carolina federal prison. His release is scheduled for 2032.
Wonder could not immediately be reached for comment.


Junior Gotti's family slams Curtis Sliwa

The bad blood is boiling over again between members of the Gotti family and Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa.
The family is livid about a Page Six story on a wedding Sliwa and John Gotti Jr. attended over the weekend. We wrote that Sliwa and Junior — who was accused of kidnapping and attempting to murder Sliwa back in the ’90s — were kept on the opposite sides of the room at the Staten Island nuptials.
Sliwa even told us that he was “mad-dogging” — translation: shooting nasty looks at — Junior all night and that “people were reminding me this was my friend’s wedding — don’t make a scene; don’t get into a dust-up.” (Sliwa only said he was staring at Gotti Jr., and not vice versa.)
Now, the Gottis are accusing Sliwa of playing up the situation for press. Gotti Jr.’s sister Angel tweeted in response to our story, “Sliwa still whoring I see. Big mouth trouble makers NEVER change, always desperate for attention … It was a BEAUTIFUL wedding you Doofus!”
She told us when reached for comment, “[Sliwa would] sell his kids for attention and publicity. I don’t know who is worse, he or [Gambino family turncoat] John Alite. Two [people] who can’t seem to get attention unless they’re lying about Gotti, Gotti, Gotti!”
Either way, Frank Gotti Albano, grandson of the Dapper Don, chimed in by tweeting: “I sat next to my uncle the entire wedding we had a great time.” He added of Sliwa, “I think he was jealous that more people from the wedding came to our side of the room and lined up to take pics [with] my uncle and my family and no one gave a s–t he was there wearing his goofy red beret.”
Sliwa — who founded the Guardian Angels in 1979 and is now a radio host — was kidnapped in a stolen taxi in 1992 and shot multiple times by a gunman who had been hiding in the front seat. Gotti Jr. was tried but never convicted. (An online commenter darkly joked of Sliwa’s attendance, “Did he come in a cab?”)
The colorful nuptials were for AM 970 host Frank Morano and Rachel O’Brien.


Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Junior Gotti locks eyes with former kidnapped rival at Staten Island wedding


Would you like the chicken or the old beef?
Temperatures ran high at a Staten Island wedding over the weekend because Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa and John Gotti Jr. were both guests — which was awkward, since Gotti Jr. was charged with the kidnapping and attempted murder of Sliwa back in the ’90s.
We’re told that the pair were kept “on opposite sides of the room” at the nuptials of AM 970 host Frank Morano at the Hilton Garden Inn.
Sliwa — who founded the amateur crime-fighting group in 1979 — was kidnapped in a stolen taxi in 1992 and shot multiple times by a gunman who had been hiding in the front seat.
Sliwa had made disparaging remarks about Junior’s father, John Gotti, the late boss of the Gambino crime family. Gotti Jr. was tried multiple times, but never convicted.
After the wedding, Sliwa told us that he struggled to keep his mind off his fellow reveler.
“I would look in [Gotti Jr.’s] direction … You couldn’t miss John and his sister [Victoria Gotti].”
“To use street terminology, I was mad-dogging him,” he said, meaning that he was staring daggers at Junior. He added, “People were reminding me this was my friend’s wedding — don’t make a scene; don’t get into a dust-up.”
“There were a lot of people … taking my temperature and trying to distract me,” he said.
Also at the celebration was Maureen Gioeli, the wife of Tommy “Shots” Gioeli, an alleged high-ranking member of the Colombo crime family, and lawyer-turned-felon Frank Gangemi.
Former New York Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey, Assembly member Nicole Malliotakis, Staten Island Borough President James Oddo, City Council Minority Whip Joe Borelli, former Rep. Dan Donovan, billionaire John Catsimatidis and Harvey Weinstein lawyer Arthur Aidala also attended.
Former “SNL” star Joe Piscopo, who brought model Carol Alt, sang “New York, New York” and “That’s Life.”


Saturday, September 28, 2019

Feds seek to collect Tommy Shots $250K windfall for restitution

Mafia veteran “Tommy Shots” Gioeli’s lucky break — a fractured kneecap — is now a legal pain in the neck.
The one-time street boss of the Colombo crime family won a recent $250,000 settlement for an August 2013 slip-and-fall while playing ping-pong behind bars, only to find federal prosecutors want the cash to help cover $360,000 in court-ordered restitution owed to a bank and a fur store.
Gioeli, acting as his own attorney, filed a massive 83-page court document from his Connecticut prison cell arguing the injury payoff from the federal Bureau of Prisons was off-limits to authorities.
The tough guy, described by witnesses as a cold-blooded assassin during a 2012 trial where he was convicted of racketeering, wants the restitution order amended based on his limited “level of contribution” to the two heists.
“In the case of the Furs by Mina robbery, the jury declined to ‘convict’ the defendant of any wrongdoing on that charge,” wrote Gioeli, referring to himself in the third person. “(And) the defendant was never even charged with any crime which contributed to a loss by Chemical Bank.”
Gioeli, citing case law, argued it was “both noteworthy and relevant” that a 2012 ruling found the federal courts lacked the “inherent power” to impose payback as part of a sentence.
“The defendant respectfully contends that the $360,000 order of restitution is void ... insofar as the court lacked the authority to order him to pay restitution to either of the two victims," contended the gangster, who is less than halfway through his 18 1/2-year prison term.
The quarter-million dollar windfall came seven years after Gioeli’s racketeering conviction in Brooklyn Federal Court, where he was found guilty of conspiring to kill acolytes of family boss “Little Vic” Orena in a war for control of the Colombo family.
His fall occurred inside Brooklyn’s Manhattan Detention Center, requiring surgery and a month-long hospitalization.
The 67-year-old mobster is currently paying off the court-ordered debt at the rate of $25 every three months, with the current balance of money owed at $359,800, according to court papers.
U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue, in a response filed last week, insisted the government was within its rights to exact restitution from the convicted felon.
"The fact that Gioeli has received a judgment stemming from a personal injury does not entitle him to a modification of the restitution judgment,” Donoghue asserted in his four-page response. “... Jurisdiction is lacking for the court to modify the restitution and, even (if) there was jurisdiction, modification is not warranted.”
The prosecutor also challenged Gioeli’s claim that the jury verdicts spared him from paying back any money to either the store or the bank.
“Contrary to Gioeli’s suggestion, (he) was convicted of racketeering conspiracy, which included as relevant conduct proven by a preponderance of the evidence the Furs by Mina robbery and the Chemical Bank robbery,” wrote Donoghue. “It is irrelevant if the jury found either of those particular acts not proven.”


Six men linked to the Genovese family sentenced to jail in New jersey

Six men will be spending a lot of time of jail because of a New Jersey mob ring linked to the Genovese crime family that generated millions of dollars in illegal schemes, authorities said.
The six men were sentenced Friday for their roles in criminal schemes that generated millions of dollars through illegal loansharking, unlicensed check cashing, gambling, and money laundering, according to a release from the Office of Attorney General. The schemes were linked to the New York-based Genovese organized crime family.
The six were indicted in "Operation Fistful," a joint investigation by the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice and the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor, conducted with assistance from the New York and Queens County District Attorneys' Offices and other law enforcement agencies, according to the release.
Much of the illicit revenue was collected and laundered through licensed and unlicensed check-cashing businesses in New Jersey run by alleged Genovese associate Domenick Pucillo, according to the release.
Pucillo and the other associates who were indicted allegedly are part of a New Jersey crew that was operating under the supervision and control of two alleged "made" members of the Genovese crime family – Vito Alberti, a Genovese "soldier" and Charles "Chuckie" Tuzzo, a Genovese "capo" – who answer to the Genovese hierarchy in New York, according to the release.
The following six defendants were sentenced today by Superior Court Judge Donald G. Collester Jr. in Morris County:
  • Domenick Pucillo, 61, of Florham Park was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He pleaded guilty to first-degree conspiracy to commit money laundering.
  • Robert Spagnola, 72, of Morganville was sentenced to five years in prison. He pleaded guilty to second-degree criminal usury.
  • Vito Alberti, 60, of Morristown was sentenced to five years in prison. He pleaded guilty to second-degree criminal usury.
  • Manuel Rodriguez, 54, of Chatham was sentenced to four years in prison. He pleaded guilty to second-degree conspiracy to commit money laundering.
  • Vincent Coppola, 42, of Union City, who previously served 103 days in jail, was sentenced to time served and two years of probation. He pleaded guilty to third-degree promoting gambling.
  • Jerry Albanese, 52, of Scotch Plains, was sentenced to two years of probation. He pleaded guilty to third-degree promoting gambling.
An additional defendant, Abel J. Rodrigues, 57, of Bridgewater pleaded guilty to third-degree unlicensed check cashing and is awaiting sentencing. The state will recommend that he be sentenced to 364 days in the county jail and a term of probation. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 7, according to the release.
Assistant Attorney General Annmarie Taggart and Deputy Attorney General Mohammad Mahmood took the guilty pleas and handled the sentencing hearings for the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau.
"When those involved in traditional organized crime engage in schemes such as loansharking and illegal gambling, they profit at the expense of victims who are struggling with debt, gambling problems, and other issues," said Attorney General Gurbir Grewal. "By prosecuting the men who ran these schemes and putting key defendants behind bars, we send a message that we will not tolerate these corrosive criminal activities that harm individuals, families and society as a whole."
The defendants were charged, in varying combinations, with running the following criminal schemes, which allegedly generated "tribute" payments up the Genovese chain of command:
  • A massive loansharking operation that yielded about $4.7 million in illegal interest (Pucillo, Spagnola, Alberti, Tuzzo [charges pending against Tuzzo]);
  • An illicit multi-million dollar offshore sports gambling enterprise (Coppola, Albanese);
  • An unlicensed check-cashing business that made $9 million in fees in four years, while enabling customers to launder funds and evade taxes by skirting federal reporting requirements (Pucillo, Rodriguez, Rodrigues);
  • Tax fraud and evasion (Alberti, Spagnola, Coppola, Rodriguez and Rodrigues).

Monday, September 23, 2019

Feds dont want to release Peter Gotti on compassionate grounds


The feds aren’t feeling much compassion for Peter Gotti.
The 79-year-old former Gambino boss begged for compassionate release earlier this summer — asking to be sprung 17 years into his 25-year sentence due to medical issues including an enlarged prostate, gastric reflux and early onset dementia.
But prosecutors think the aging mafioso still poses a “substantial danger to the community” despite his laundry list of ailments, they wrote in a letter filed Monday.
“Gotti argues that he is incapable of his violence due to his age and medical condition,” writes Assistant US Attorney Jun Xiang while insisting that argument should be rejected.
“The danger posed by a Gambino Family leader like Gotti is not that he will personally engage in acts of violence, but that he can command others to do so.”
Gotti served as the acting boss of the Gambino organized crime family from 1999 to 2002, according to court papers, and spent an estimated $70,000 on failed attempts to hunt down Salvatore “Sammy the Bull” Gravano after the turncoat landed his brother John Gotti behind bars.
A judge has yet to rule on the request.
Gotti is serving time in a North Carolina federal lockup and is slated for release in 2032.


Saturday, September 21, 2019

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Bonanno associate pleads guilty to selling cocaine out of gelato shop

Would you like some coke with your gelato?
A reputed associate of the Bonanno crime family copped a plea Thursday in a narcotics-trafficking scheme that involved the sale of $40,000 worth of cocaine in a Manhattan gelato shop.
Salvatore Russo, 46, faces a maximum 40 years in prison after pleading guilty to distributing more than 500 grams of the drug.
Under terms of a deal with Brooklyn federal prosecutors, Russo agreed to serve the mandatory minimum sentence of five years, but can appeal if he gets slapped with any more time.
The beefy wiseguy, a naturalized US citizen who spoke with a heavy Sicilian accent in court, also faces a fine of up to $5 million.
“He’s accepted his responsibility and hopes for the best,” defense lawyer Joseph Conway said outside court.
Russo, who remains free on $500,000 bond pending his unscheduled sentencing, was busted last year in what authorities said was a coordinated, cross-border crackdown on mobsters operating in both the US and Canada.
He was indicted as a co-defendant and accomplice of reputed acting Bonanno captain Damiano Zummo, who was allegedly caught on a secret recording while taking part in a Mafia induction ceremony in the Great White North during 2015.
“You only answer to the Bonanno family,” Zummo told the newly “made” mobster, according to prosecution court papers.
Zummo and Russo conspired to sell more than five kilograms of cocaine between July and October 2017, according to their indictment.
More than one kilo was sold inside an unidentified Manhattan store that sold gelato, or Italian-style ice cream, on Sept. 14, 2017, according to the Brooklyn US Attorney’s Office.
Zummo also pleaded guilty to a drug charge in December and is awaiting sentencing.


Philadelphia mobster tells judge he has left behind his former life of crime

After a life filled with Mafia hits and prison stints, onetime mob enforcer-turned-restaurateur Philip Narducci told a federal judge Tuesday he finally had traded in his crime family for a real one.
Sure, the occasion that had brought him to federal court was his sentencing in a loan-sharking case from just last year. And, yes, it featured claims of extortionate loans, Mafia-style threats, and an explosive encounter in which Narducci was said to have shoved his victim’s head against a car windshield.
But as he stood before U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Savage, Narducci — better known these days for the Washington Avenue gastropub Chick’s, which he co-owns with his wife — vowed that his priorities have changed.
“I just want to get back to my family and get back to work,” he said. “All my past is in my past.”
Savage was inclined to agree. Saying he believed Narducci would never risk returning to prison, the judge signed off on a deal to send him away for just one more year in exchange for his guilty plea to federal loan-sharking charges.
Narducci, 57, already has served roughly four months of that sentence, after asking to be taken into custody during a court hearing in May so that he could begin earning credit for time served. With early release for good behavior, he could get out as soon as next spring.
His sentencing Tuesday ended his latest bizarre case — one that brought the city’s long history of old-school Mafia prosecutions into sharp collision with a defense strategy that leaned on more modern anxieties surrounding immigration and terrorism.
A former member of Nicodemo “Little Nicky” Scarfo’s crew, Narducci has spent more than half of his life in prison and has been accused by investigators of involvement in at least three notorious gangland slayings, including the 1985 hit on Frank “Frankie Flowers” D’Alfonso.
A jury convicted him of that murder in 1989, but the verdict was overturned on appeal and a second trial ended in acquittal. After his release from prison on racketeering charges in 2012, Narducci had gone straight.
In January, though, federal agents arrested him again, alleging that he and a codefendant repeatedly threatened a South Philadelphia barber who owed him hundreds of thousands of dollars. Many of the pair’s efforts to collect were caught on an FBI wire.
But while prosecutors leaned on Narducci’s past to paint his new crimes as a return to the mob life, defense lawyer Brian J. McMonagle revealed in court this spring that the barber, his client’s primary accuser, had a complicated past of his own.
That man — a Lebanese national and frequent federal informant — once was found by a judge to have lied about his association with a political party with ties to the Iran-backed terror group Hezbollah. Narducci maintains that the man conned him and played on his sympathies by asking for money for an organ transplant for his mother, which he later frittered away through gambling.
Government lawyers accused Narducci’s defense of trying to inflame a jury pool with reckless character assassination before a trial could even begin. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Ortiz said Tuesday that the barber has received several threats since and still believes his life to be in danger.
Prosecutors have declined to discuss whether the one-year deal they cut with Narducci was motivated by concerns over the witness’ credibility in front of a jury.
“I believe the … sentence is fair and appropriate,” Ortiz said Tuesday.
McMonagle, meanwhile, pointed to the courtroom gallery filled with relatives and Chick’s employees as proof that Narducci has made a concerted effort to change his life. In addition to his business interest at the gastropub, the judge cited Narducci’s volunteer work with Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Children’s Fresh Air Home, a beach retreat for urban kids, in North Wildwood.
Before this case, McMonagle said, “he was getting to that corner that he never quite turned in life.”
Ultimately, Savage decided to give him another chance to turn it.
In addition to his prison term, the judge ordered Narducci to complete three years’ probation upon his release and pay nearly $48,000 in fines and forfeiture. His codefendant, James Gallo, 44, was sentenced later Tuesday to time served after spending roughly a month behind bars earlier this year.
But before U.S. marshals handcuffed Narducci and took him away, Savage remarked: “This [case] may have saved you — this may have pushed you along that road to turning the corner.”
Narducci blew his wife a kiss, then addressed his supporters in the gallery.
“I’ll see youse guys soon,” he said.


Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Bonanno soldier shows up to court in a tracksuit and crocs


He kept his enemies close, his friends closer — and his stylist nowhere in sight.
A reputed Bonanno crime family soldier got four years tacked onto his supervised release Tuesday over his seeming inability to cut ties with fellow accused wiseguys — but the most egregious misdeed on display at his appearance in Brooklyn federal court may have been his attire.
Hardly setting himself up to be confused with Dapper Don John Gotti, Joseph Chilli III ambled before a Brooklyn federal court judge wearing a blue-and-white Reebok tracksuit and a pair of black Crocs to explain his repeated connections to accused mobsters. 
Photos show Chilli sported a similarly casual look — including a collared Fila shirt and white sneakers — during an arrest in 1989, a year when he and his father pleaded guilty to federal racketeering charges, according to a Newsday article at the time.
Freed in 2015 after a cocaine and heroin distribution conviction, The Slobfather has been on supervised release under conditions that include avoiding his connected pals — but Chilli’s lawyer admitted he has kept to his own kind, meeting with at least three reputed mobsters between October 2018 and March 2019.
Post-prison, Chilli, 63, has been helming a produce-delivery service, for which former cellmate and fellow reputed wiseguy Dominic DiFiore was helping to find clients, said lawyer Vincent Licata.
The company — which keeps city restaurants and pizzerias stocked with “tomato sauce, olive oil and meat,” according to Licata — also employs the son of another purported mobster, Salvatore Palmieri, as a truck driver.
Not only that, Palmieri’s wife cleans Chilli’s house, according to Licata.
A third alleged member of La Cosa Nostra, Joseph Giddio, insisted on visiting the ailing Chilli at home to check on him, said Licata.
The attorney tried to argue that the connections were strictly business, but a fed-up Judge Nicholas Garaufis wasn’t buying it.
“I’ve been dealing with these problems with the Bonanno organized crime family for the last 18 years, including violations of supervised release,” said Garafius, extending Chilli’s monitoring by four years — just days before it was set to expire on Friday.
“It’s a little bit sophomoric and a little bit simplistic to say you’re engaging in business with [these] people,” said Garaufis.
“Work with people who don’t have these connections to organized crime.”