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Sunday, February 19, 2017

Family of mob victim blasts judge for recommending his early release

Brooklyn Federal Judge Leo Glasser recommended prosecutors agree to a sentence of time served for John Imbrieco.
A Brooklyn federal judge may be seeking leniency for a convicted mobster-turned-model prisoner — but the victim’s family sure isn’t.
The family is outraged at the judge’s resentencing recommendation — saying the “chance that this animal can get out earlier than 20 years is taking its toll on me physically and mentally,” the dead man's 82-year-old mother wrote to the judge and prosecutors.
John Imbrieco is doing 20 years for a plea to RICO conspiracy and conspiracy to obstruct justice following a fatal 1994 shooting at a Genovese crime family social club in Williamsburg.
Sabato Lombardi was killed and another man was wounded in the shooting. Imbrieco was a Bonnano associate at the time, while Lombardi and the other shooting victim, Michael D’Urso, were members of the Genovese crime family.
Last month, Brooklyn Federal Judge Leo Glasser recommended prosecutors agree to a sentence of time served for Imbrieco.
Imbrieco is more than 15 years into his 20-year prison sentence. The 53-year-old former mobster had written Glasser — saying he was a reformed man, while co-defendants ultimately had no convictions for the shooting. Imbrieco noted his efforts to improve himself behind bars, ticking off completed programs including taking plumbing courses and even spin classes.
Lombardi’s family learned of the judge's request after reading the Daily News. Now they’re urging prosecutors not to disturb Imbrieco’s sentence.
It would be an injustice for Imbrieco to get out early, Lombardi’s mother, sister, brothers and would-be future sister-in-law told Glasser and Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Robert Capers.
In one of the letters submitted Monday, younger brother Antonio, 40, said the family sat through months of trials and appeals.
“An early release to John Imbrieco only makes us feel the judicial system failed us once again,” he wrote.
Lombardi’s mother, Pasqualina, said no mother should bury her son — especially the way she had to, without saying how much she loved Lombardi.
“Prison doesn't change murderers,” she wrote.
In an interview with The News, Lombardi’s older sister, Assunta, wondered: “Is Judge Glasser setting precedent for a murderer?”
She said Imbrieco “knows how to game the system.”
Whatever life her brother led, Assunta, 58, said Lombardi "kept us out of it.”
“Above all, he was a human being," she added.
Lombardi never came home that November 1994 night, Assunta said.
"We've been dealing with that for 23 years,” she said.
Prosecutors haven't filed a reply yet to Glasser's recommendation. A spokesman for the Brooklyn U.S. Attorney's office declined comment Tuesday.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Ailing Brooklyn gangster gets a year in prison over shakedowns

Ailing Lucchese crime family associate Daniel Capra, seen in August, got a year in the clink after begging not to go to jail for planning to shake down loan deadbeats.
An ailing Lucchese crime family associate got a year in the clink after begging not to go to jail for planning to shake down loan deadbeats.

When a Lucchese big was getting stiffed on full repayment for a $100,000 loan, he put Daniel Capra, his younger brother Michael Capra and a third man on the job of tough-talking debt collection.

“Shake him up a little bit,” Daniel Capra, 58, was heard telling his 52-year-old sibling as law enforcement eavesdropped on the call. The brothers later admitted to the extortion effort, as did reputed capo Carmine Avellino, 72.

On Wednesday, Brooklyn Federal Judge Ann Donnelly shook off Capra’s bid for no prison time. Days earlier, she gave Capra’s brother five years’ probation. Avellino is scheduled for sentencing next month.

Daniel Capra’s lawyers contended Avellino was running the show and their client shouldn’t be seen as some sort of superior.

To make the point Daniel Capra wasn’t bossing his little brother around, attorney Leonard Lato said his wife could give him a to-do list, like picking up the dry cleaning, without being the one calling the shots.

“We could argue who’s in charge there,” Donnelly said to chuckles in the courtroom.

Prosecutor Maria Cruz Melendez said the recordings showed it was the younger brother who checked with Daniel Capra on what to do next.

The defense said Daniel Capra was a good family man, with health issues including heart problems, who made a bad decision. And the victims weren’t exactly people trying to put their kids through college, said Lato, who went through some of the convictions on the debtors’ records.

But Donnelly, a longtime prosecutor before becoming a judge, said she’d “been in the business a number of years.” A high number of victims “tended not to be the nicest people themselves,” she said.

Daniel Capra told the judge he made a “huge mistake. I don’t know what I was thinking.” He asked not to be separated from his family members, who were watching. “They are very important to me,” he said.

A defendant’s family suffers at every sentencing, Donnelly retorted — and she wondered out loud why people didn’t think of them when committing crimes.

“A sentence of incarceration is unwarranted. We are now deciding whether an appeal is worthwhile,” Anthony LaPinta, another lawyer for Daniel Capra, said after the sentencing.

Bonanno mobster Nicky Mouth Santora sues NYC after falls in jail

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpi
Reputed Bonanno underboss Nicholas “Nicky Cigars” Santora is suing over a failed hit– by the City of New York.

The 74-year-old Donnie Brasco-era wiseguy suffered four “potentially fatal” falls in jail and is in “critical condition” in a Nassau County hospital after Department of Corrections officials refused to give him a wheelchair or treat him for head injuries, according to a new Manhattan Supreme court suit.

“We don’t even know if he’s going to make it out of the hospital,” Santora’s attorney, Michael Talassazan, told The Post.

Santora whines in court papers that he was held on an excessive $1 million bond for “nonviolent, white-collar offenses” of corrution, loan-sharking, gambling and drug dealing.

His suit says the district attorney “used a phone call between Mr. Santora and his son-in-law to fabricate a tale that insinuated that Mr. Santora was attempting to smuggle a weapon into jail.”

Talassazan said his client was recorded saying,”Go call the girl with the 22,” although he was talking about a niece who won a $22 million personal injury case and not a .22 caliber gun.

The DA also “maliciously downgraded the severity of Mr. Santora’s serious health concerns on numerous occasions during bail applications, solely to keep Mr. Santora in jail,” the suit says. Talassazan said his client takes blood pressure medication and has poor balance.

“The Department of Correction has humiliated him, caused him to be permanently injured and deprived him of constitutional, civil and human rights,” the suit says.

Specifically he wasn’t given prescribed medications or treated for provided with medical care after repeatedly falling and hitting his head, the suit says.

Santora first landed in Rikers Island in 2013. A 2016 proceeding resulted in a mistrial and a new trial is scheduled for April.

A day after he was finally released from jail last month Santora took another tumble, hitting his head and face and has been hospitalized ever since, according to court papers.

A spokesman for the city’s Law Department said, “We will review the allegations in the complaint.”

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Members of the Lucchese crime family are busted for murder and shooting of Bonanno soldier

Two reputed members of the Lucchese crime family were arrested by the FBI and charged with the murder of a fellow family member — along with the attempted murder of a reputed Bonanno soldier.

Christopher Londonio, 43, and Terrance Caldwell, 58, were charged by federal prosecutors based in Manhattan with the murder of Michael Meldish, a drug kingpin who had been one of the city’s most dangerous criminals.

A federal grand jury in White Plains also indicted Caldwell with attempted murder for his alleged role in the shooting of Enzo “The Baker” Stagno, 47, a reputed Bonanno solider from Whitestone, Queens.

Stagno, whose nickname derives from “The Godfather” character, was struck in the chest in May 2013 as he made a phone call in his SUV near his home, authorities said.

A few months later, Meldish — who had ties to both the Lucchese and Genovese crime families and who once led the notorious Purple Gang in Harlem and the Bronx — was shot in the head as he sat in his luxury car in the Bronx.

It is the first time charges have been brought for the attempted murder of Stagno.

Londonio and Caldwell were already behind bars on Bronx state charges tied to the Meldish murder. Attorneys for the two did not return calls for comment

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Former mafia informant loses lawsuit against the FBI

A former mafia informant for the FBI who sued his handlers for arresting him in a murder case lost his case on Monday after a New York judge ruled there was not enough evidence that the agents had conspired to punish him by falsely charging him.
Joseph Barone had sued over his 2009 arrest on what his lawsuit described as "trumped-up charges that he had participated in a murder-for-hire plot," in a case that offers a glimpse at the sometimes conflicted relationship between informants and their government handlers.
A federal jury acquitted him in 2010 after he had spent 19 months in a Brooklyn prison, much of it in solitary confinement.
Barone, now 55, accused his handlers at the Federal Bureau of Investigation of wanting to punish him for refusing an assignment to trick a gangster from the Gambino crime family into discussing criminal activity over the telephone.
Judge Andrew J. Peck ruled that those allegations were unfounded on Monday, saying in a court order that the FBI had "probable cause" to arrest him and had done nothing outrageous that would warrant damages.
Barone grew up in the suburbs of New York City as the son of a member of the Genovese crime family, and began cooperating with the FBI in 1991 after he was indicted on weapons and extortion charges.
He continued to work as an undercover informant for the FBI after his release from prison in 1995, posing as a Genovese gangster and providing what his complaint called "18 years of dedicated and undisputedly valued service to the FBI" up until his 2009 arrest.
The arrest came only three months after Barone's main FBI handler, Vincent Presutti, retired. Afterwards, Barone got into arguments over his informant methods with his new handlers, according to court filings.
Barone argued he had free rein to discuss criminal plots with gangsters on the understanding that he would pass on important information to the FBI.
This is all he was doing, his lawsuit said, when he discussed a murder plot with a man called Michael Cooks. Neither man knew the other was an undercover informant, in Cooks' case for the New York Police Department, according to the judge's order.
Judge Peck ruled that the FBI acted reasonably in arresting Barone because the informant failed to report the conversations and so appeared to be acting outside his remit.
"Not one of the FBI agents involved in Barone's handling or his subsequent arrest and prosecution testified that Barone was even arguably authorized to discuss murder for hire," Peck wrote in his ruling.
The FBI declined to comment on the ruling and a lawyer for Barone did not respond to questions.

Leonardo DiCaprio to star in new mafia movie called The Black Hand

According to Deadline, Leonardo DiCaprio is set to star in and produce an adaptation of Stephan Talty’s book The Black Hand. The story is set in the early 1900s, with the Italian Mafia first making headway in the United States by kidnapping people and leaving ominous ransom notes for their families attributed to “the Black Hand.”
DiCaprio will play NYPD officer Joe Petrosino, a man apparently nicknamed “the Italian Sherlock Holmes,” as he works to expose the dirty dealings of the mob. Unfortunately, at the risk of spoiling history, Petrosino does eventually get killed by so-called Black Hand thugs. So that makes this a crime drama, a period piece, and a thriller where the main character will probably die at the end, all of which are basically DiCaprio’s favorite things to have in a movie.
As Deadline also points out, Talty is the ghostwriter behind A Captain’s Duty, which was adapted into the film Captain Phillips. It’s way too early to say how well The Black Hand will work out, but that’s definitely a good sign.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

John Gotti's grandson gets 8 years in prison in plea deal over drug charges

John Gotti’s grandson, also named John, took a plea deal that landed him eight years behind bars.
The namesake grandson of legendary mob boss John Gotti took a drug case plea deal Wednesday that came with a stiff eight-year prison sentence.

John Gotti, 23, entered his guilty plea to three charges in connection with “Operation Beach Party,” an investigation targeting the Dapper Don’s grandson and his Queens drug operation.

Gotti entered the plea at Queens Supreme Court in return for the prison stretch plus five years of supervised release. He also agreed to forfeit $259,996 in seized drug money.

The sentencing was set for March 2.

Gotti pleaded guilty to criminal sale of a controlled substance, criminal possession of a controlled substance, and conspiracy in a courtroom packed with family members.

Gotti entered the courtroom at 12:46 p.m., handcuffed and wearing a orange prison uniform. He sported a nearly-trimmed beard and wore glasses.

The defendant smiled at his grim-faced relatives while his mom wept in her seat. His dad Peter Gotti wiped away tears as he stared straight ahead at his son.

Young Gotti was busted twice last year on drug charges. The first, in July, came during a traffic stop where Gotti was busted for possession of Oxycodone, methadone and other drugs.

The second, a month later, came inside the same Howard Beach home where the Gambino crime family boss lived during his hey-day. Cops found 500 Oxycodone tablets and $40,000 in cash inside the house.

John’s infamous grandfather died in prison 15 years ago after his conviction for racketeering. He was 61 years old.

The Gotti grandson admitted in a jailhouse interview with the Daily News that his involvement in drug dealing was a less than shining moment.

“I was young, stupid and dumb,” Gotti told The News.

Prosecutors charged Gotti and a crew of dope dealers peddled Oxycodone pills on the streets of Howard Beach and Ozone Park for $23 to $24 a pop.

In a cruel twist, young John Gotti was — much like his grandfather — brought down by a hidden listening device. The grandson’s bug was installed inside his Infiniti sedan, while the Teflon Don’s was placed in a Little Italy apartment about his Ravenite Social Club.