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

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Son of deceased mob boss setenced to 16 years in prison for drug trafficking

Giuseppe "Joe" Violi of Hamilton leaned from the prisoners’ box and kissed his newborn daughter moments before he was sentenced to 16 years in prison for fentanyl and cocaine trafficking in Milton court on Friday.
The infant, born last Sunday, was held up to Violi, 47, by a family member before Justice R.J. LeDressay entered the Milton courtroom.
Guiseppe (Joe) Violi of Hamilton was sentenced to 16 years in prison for fentanyl and cocaine trafficking in Milton court on Friday.
Guiseppe "Joe" Violi of Hamilton was sentenced to 16 years in prison for fentanyl and cocaine trafficking in Milton court on Friday.
The son of a murdered mob boss, Violi, smiled broadly after he tenderly kissed his daughter. He wore handcuffs during the brief, emotional encounter.
Violi, who manages a linen and laundry services company, was arrested along with eight other alleged organized crime members in a sweeping investigation into the fentanyl and cocaine trades across southwestern Ontario and New York.
His older brother Domenico Paolo Violi, 52, was also charged in the case and has not yet come to trial.
LeDressay was provided with 10 letters of support for Violi’s character, including one from a priest who said he worked as an art historian from the Vatican before moving to Canada in 2015.
LeDressay noted Violi has no convictions since 1999, when he was found guilty of mischief under $5000, and 1996, when he was convicted of conspiracy to commit an indictable offence and sentenced to seven years and 10 months in prison for conspiring to smuggle cocaine.
Tom Andreopoulos, deputy chief federal prosecutor of the Ontario regional office, acknowledged that Violi has many powerful letters attesting to his community involvement but added that Violi is “a career criminal who is dedicated to and responsible for the unravelling of that very same community.”
The three-year RCMP case — called Project Otremens — relied on a police agent who was inducted into the mob during the investigation.
“The agent was a trusted associate and then official ‘made’ member of the New York City based ‘Bonanno’ crime family,” according to the agreed statement of facts in the case, drafted by Andreopoulos and defence lawyer Alan Gold.
“During the course of the investigation, one of the people the Agent dealt with was Giuseppe Violi,” the statement continued. “Violi was involved in a conspiracy to import cocaine, trafficking cocaine, and trafficking fentanyl.”
The agreed statement of facts noted that Violi worked with Massimigliano Carfagna of Burlington in a cocaine importation scheme to import 200 to 300 kilograms of cocaine into Canada.
“Ultimately, Violi, Carfagna, and the Agent travelled to Vancouver, British Columbia, and met with an undercover police officer who represented himself as being an associate of the Agent, and an experienced cocaine trafficker,” the agreed statement of facts states.
The agreed statement of facts notes that Violi and Carfagna sent someone called “Porkchop” to Colombia and had another contact in Vancouver called “Alex the Greek.”
Much of their communication was done with PGP encrypted messages, the agreed statement of facts states.
The court document includes a transcript of a March 30, 2017, conversation between the agent and Violi in which Violi talked of his history in drug trafficking in the Hamilton area.
“You were dealing with crack too?” the agent said.
“I’m the first one,” Violi said. “I was bringing the liquid in and turning into a powder … crack.”
“A lot of people here were crack heads?” the agent asked.
“Oh, after a year, me bringing … you should have seen the city,” Violi said.
The report notes how the police agent made a payment to Violi by leaving $40,000 in an old BBQ.
Details of the drug conspiracies contrast sharply with the portrait of Violi from the support letters, which describe him as a longtime benefactor of children’s sports and charities in the Hamilton area, as well as a loving family member.
Paramedic Mario Posteraro of Ancaster praised Violi for volunteering time and money for the Heart and Stroke foundation and the Canadian National Autism foundation.
“Joey has never said ‘No’ to any request made of his time,” Posteraro said.
Violi’s wife, Stephanie Violi, described him as the doting father of two boys and two girls, all under four.
“His Chair is empty, and they keep waiting for papa to come home,” she wrote.
She included a note from his 4-year old daughter, who wrote, “Right now my papa is at school” and “I want to tell papps that I love you and miss snuggling.”
Another of the letters of support came from Rev. Father Francesco Cucchi, who described himself as “former art historian of St. Peter Basilica in Vatican City, now in the Hamilton Diocese.” Cucchi said he met with Violi and his family often since arriving in Hamilton in 2015.
“He was always very funny, and he was so patient to give me some driving lessons with his SUV,” Cucchi wrote.
Violi’s older sister Nancy Violi wrote that he stayed in the same household as his widowed mother, even after his marriage in 2013.
Violi’s father, Paolo Violi, was murdered in 1978 in Montreal during a mob war with the crime family of the late Vito Rizzuto. Two of Violi’s uncles were slain during the same conflict in Montreal.
After the arrests last fall, police said their seeing a recent trend of organized criminals moving deeper into the opiate trade. Undercover officers allegedly bought six kilograms of fentanyl and carfentanil in six transactions in the operation.
Violi is a grandson of the late Giacomo Luppino of Hamilton, who was considered by police to be a founding member of the Crimine, a governing body for criminals in the ‘Ndrangheta crime group and a long-standing associate of the Buffalo mob.


Federal judge blocks New Jersey from leaving Waterfront Commission

In one of his final acts as governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie signed what appeared to be a death warrant for an agency that has policed the ports around New York Harbor for 65 years. But that execution was stayed late last week.
On Friday evening, a federal judge in Newark temporarily barred Mr. Christie’s successor, Philip D. Murphy, from withdrawing the state’s support for the agency, the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor. The judge, Susan D. Wigenton, determined that it was in the public interest for the commission to continue trying to keep organized crime off the docks and issued a preliminary injunction.
When the commission was formed by a compact between New Jersey and New York in 1953, there was no question about mob influence in the ports. A series of articles on the subject in the New York Sun yielded an Oscar-winning film, “On the Waterfront,” that helped make a star of Marlon Brando.
But in recent years, lawmakers in Trenton have argued that the commission does more harm than good by impeding hiring and limiting the economic impact of the shipping industry. The Democratic-controlled State Legislature repeatedly passed a bill that would effectively end the agreement with New York, but they could not get it past Mr. Christie, a Republican.
The former governor vetoed the bill in 2010, saying that it would be unconstitutional for New Jersey to unilaterally break a two-state compact that had been endorsed by Congress. But just before leaving office in January, Mr. Christie signed the 2017 version of the bill without explaining his turnabout.
The Waterfront Commission immediately sued, naming Mr. Murphy, a Democrat, as a defendant in a federal lawsuit on his first day in office. The commission’s executive director, Walter Arsenault, argued that New Jersey’s withdrawal would cripple the commission, which relies on a tax on every container of cargo that moves through the ports.
As recently as 2014, dockworkers’ union officials pleaded guilty to extorting money from their own members on behalf of the Genovese crime family, Mr. Arsenault said in an affidavit in the case.
Judge Wigenton wrote that “allowing one state to dictate the manner and terms of the commission’s dissolution, and the subsequent distribution of the agency’s assets” would run counter to the terms of the compact. She noted that New York officials have remained silent on the matter.
Michael A. Cardozo, a partner with the Proskauer law firm in Manhattan, which represents the commission, said that New Jersey could appeal the injunction. But, he said, Judge Wigenton had indicated that she did not accept any of the state’s arguments for the legislation. “What else is left to litigate?” Mr. Cardozo said.
Leon Sokol, a lawyer representing the New Jersey Senate and Assembly, which joined the case as defendants, said his clients were still studying the ruling and exploring their options. He said they would await a decision from the office of the state’s attorney general. A spokesman said the attorney general’s office was reviewing its options.


Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Judge tells Colombo mobster Tommy Shots and feds to settle

She wants an offer no one can refuse.
The judge who will rule on jailed mobster Thomas “Tommy Shots” Gioeli’s $10 million case against the feds for a prison rec-room slip-and-fall wants the two parties to settle.
Gioeli is suing the feds because he broke his kneecap after slipping on a puddle while retrieving an errant ping-pong ball during a game at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn in 2013.
But Brooklyn Federal Court Judge Kiyo Matsumoto nudged the two sides to strike a deal, rather than forcing her to issue a bench ruling on the case.
“Mr. Gioeli needs to lower his expectations,” Matsumoto said, referring to his $10 million ask. “The government ought to think about increasing its offer.”
Matsumoto indicated both sides may be at fault for the injury — the lockup for not addressing the underlying cause of the puddle, and Gioeli for chasing the ball into an area he knew was hazardous.
Gioeli, who has since been moved to a federal pen in North Carolina, is serving 18 years on a racketeering conviction.
He was convicted in 2012 of plotting the murders of gangland enemies and a general charge of orchestrating violence against rivals to gain power.
But Gioeli was acquitted of several murders in that case that could have sent him to jail for life, including the 1997 hit on NYPD cop Ralph Dols, who was rubbed out allegedly because he married the ex-wife of Joel “Joe Waverly” Cacace, a former Colombo consigliere.
Gioeli and Colombo soldier Dino Saracino were also cleared of the 1999 slaying of Colombo underboss William “Wild Bill” Cutolo, and the 1995 execution of Colombo associate Richard Greaves.
Both sides have until July 18 to make submissions laying out the facts of the case — then they’ll be given two weeks to respond to one another before Matsumoto can issue a ruling.
Gioeli, who has since been moved to a federal pen in North Carolina, is serving 18 years on a racketeering conviction.


Monday, June 4, 2018

Jailed Colombo mobster Tommy Shots testifies in $10M suit against the feds for prison fall

A ping-pong paddle and a shower shoe were among the key evidence at the slip-and-fall trial for a portly ex-Colombo mob boss who is suing the feds for $10 million, claiming he fell and broke his kneecap during a 2013 ping-pong game in prison.
Thomas “Tommy Shots” Gioeli, who was found guilty of racketeering a year earlier and sentenced to 18 years for plotting murders with a henchman, sued the Metropolitan Detention Center for his spill.
Gioeli says he went to retrieve a stray ping-pong ball and slipped on a puddle that frequently gathered outside of the unit’s showers due to a leaky slop sink.
The 65-year-old fat-fella — who appeared in Brooklyn federal court Monday aided by a walker — testified that he had repeatedly complained about the puddle to orderlies and prison personnel. “I got bad eyes to begin with so I didn’t see the water. I didn’t see it, just the ping-pong ball,” the murderous mobster said.
“I was walking to get the ping-pong ball and as I rounded the stairs I must have hit the water and I slipped and landed on my knee. My head went back and I was laying in the water,” Gioeli described.
Gioeli said the cement ground — which is covered in a glossy paint — was so slippery “it was like ice.”
The former wise guy – who testified he played table tennis a few times a week for exercise — was in the hospital for 30 days following the fall.
Government lawyers displayed Gioeli’s off-brand Crocs that he and other inmates use for showers, asking if tracked water from the shoes of the 120 men in the unit caused the puddle rather than a leaking sink.
“They stamp their shoes in the shower and then they walk out…that’s not the type of water I fell in. I fell in a deep puddle,” Gioeli answered.
Later a government lawyer, Kevin Cleary, brought out a ping-pong paddle asking if it could be used as a weapon and also attempted to ask Gioeli about his “goodfellas” friends in prison – questions which Judge Kiyo Matsumoto did not allow Gioeli to respond to.
A prison orderly, Sharif Stewart, backed up Gioeli’s testimony about the slippery conditions when he told the judge he had to clean up the puddle twice daily and had complained to three different prison staffers at least five to 10 times about the slippery area and the leaky sink.
During opening statements, Gioeli’s lawyer, Thomas Sofield, said, “The evidence will show that this was nothing more than an accident waiting to happen.”
Another government lawyer, Michael Castiglione, said in opening remarks that it was “a very unfortunate accident,” but that the prison, “exercised reasonable care.”
Castiglione added that Gioeli, “knowing the risk, seeing the risk went after the ping-pong ball.”
The bench trial is expected to conclude on Tuesday with Matsumoto issuing a ruling at a later date.


Trial kicks off for man dubbed Mini Mike Tyson for Brooklyn mob boss

A Manhattan federal court trial kicked off Monday for a professional boxer once dubbed “Mini Mike Tyson” who the feds say had a secret side job using his pugilistic skills to serve as an “enforcer” and “soldier” to a Brooklyn mob boss.
In addition to being a WBO prizefighter, Avtandil Khurtsidze, 39, “was the man who bloodied others” on behalf of Brighton Beach mob boss Razhden Shulaya, prosecutors said at the opening of their joint racketeering trial.
“Shulaya acted as the boss and Khurtsidze acted as his solider,” prosecutor Andrew Thomas told the jury.
Khurtsidze, a middleweight, has been in federal lockup since his arrest last year and faces as a much as 40 years if convicted.
He sat slumped in his chair as prosecutors went through their evidence, including multiple security videos they say will show the boxer threatening or bloodying people on behalf of co-defendant Shulaya.
In one video, the jury is expected to see Khurtsidze stand up and punch a man directly in the face after he is accused of stealing money from a Brighton Beach poker ring Shulaya allegedly ran, court papers show. Shulaya then slaps the man’s face and tells him he had better pay up or be punished further, court papers say.
“You will hear threat after threat after threat,” Thomas said of Khurtsidze, who was known as “The Hammer” by Shulaya and other members.
Khurtsidze’s lawyer, Megan Benett, said the two men knew each other from their days in post-Soviet Georgia and that they “socialized together” — but were not in cahoots together. “We are confident the government’s case is going to leave you with reasonable doubts,” Benett said.
Shulaya stands accused of being the mastermind behind three illegal operations: the buying and selling of untaxed cigarettes, running an illegal poker ring that also cheated its players and hacking the code on slot machine software so that members of the alleged mafia could rig the winnings.
Shulaya’s lawyer, Jennifer Louis-Jeune, said the evidence will show that the feds were behind Shulaya’s shenanigans, including selling him the untaxed cigarettes mentioned in the indictment and coughing up the dough needed to buy them off him as well.


Saturday, June 2, 2018

Now that the boss is dead who is running the Chicago Outfit?

Now that John "No Nose" DiFronzo is no longer running the Chicago Outfit, who will fill the void left by his death is an open question.

As the ABC7 I-Team first reported this week, DiFronzo died Sunday from complications of Alzheimer's. He was 89.

"This is obviously an organization that promotes from within" said Chicago mob expert John Binder. "They don't take ads in the Wall Street Journal announcing a job search."

Although illicit businesses such as the Outfit don't have open meetings or put out annual reports, there are internal rules and succession plans in place to deal with the death of the boss-whether it occurs naturally or at the end of a gun barrel as was the case with Sam "Momo" Giancana in 1975.

John "No Nose" DiFronzo

DiFronzo's declining health the past few years may have allowed the mob to restructure its upper crust in anticipation of his death. The top two spots in the Outfit are now thought to be occupied by one infamous gangland name and one less recognized.

Salvatore "Solly D" DeLaurentis is the best known, un-incarcerated Chicago mob figure today-and considered "consigliere" to the Outfit.

DeLaurentis, 79, was released from federal prison in 2006 after serving a long sentence for racketeering, extortion and tax fraud. The north suburban resident is notorious for using the phrase "trunk music." That is the gurgling sound made by a decomposing corpse in a car trunk.

These days ex-con DeLaurentis claims he has gone clean--literally.

"I'm in the carpet cleaning business," DeLaurentis told the I-Team on Friday. He laughed off those who said he was the boss or involved in mob rackets at all and said the FBI should know that because the bureau monitors his activities.

DeLaurentis has long been a mob-denier. "The Outfit is like a group that comes in here to paint the walls" he told investigative reporter Chuck Goudie during a 1993 interview. "It's the painting outfit."

During that television interview conducted at the federal lock-up in Chicago, DeLaurentis said he was "a bricklayer by trade" and a part-time gambler. "We gamble" he said "but as far as Mafia, I don't know what that is."

GOUDIE: "So you contend that if there is a Chicago Outfit it's an outfit of gamblers?"

DELAURENTIS: "Yea. Right. An outfit of guys who gamble. If they were any other kind of businessmen they'd be in the chamber of commerce."

The new head of the FBI in Chicago disagrees with statement's that there is no mob-or that it is washed up.

"Are they out there leaving people dead in the streets?" asks FBI special agent in charge Jeffrey Sallet. "No. But just because people aren't killing somebody doesn't mean that they don't represent a threat" Sallet said. "Mob guys or Outfit guys-whatever you want to call them-are resilient. Where there is an opportunity to make money, they will engage. The reason they don't kill people the same way they did 25 years ago is because it's bad for business."

The second in command of the Chicago Outfit, according to some mobwatchers, is convicted enforcer Albert "Albie the Falcon" Vena, 69. The squat Vena did beat a murder charge in 1992 after the killing of a syndicate-connected drug dealer. He is thought to oversee day-to-day operations of the Outfit.

Albert "Albie" Vena

Vena is a protégé of notorious West Side mob boss Joey "the Clown" Lombardo, who is imprisoned for life following conviction in the 2007 Family Secrets mob murder case.

Regardless of what some see as an evolving line-up atop the Chicago mob, defense attorney Joe Lopez, who has represented numerous top hoodlums, says the Outfit is a thing of the past.

"I don't think anybody is ruling the roost. I think the roost was closed" Lopez told the I-Team.

He disputes that DeLaurentis has succeeded John DiFronzo. "He's old too" said Lopez, who proudly carries his own nickname "The Shark." Lopez said that Chicago mob leaders "became obsolete" and were put out of business by the "digital revolution has changed the entire world." Other mob experts differ.

"The outfit is a criminal enterprise, it's still functioning" said John Binder, author of "The Chicago Outfit" book. Binder maintains that the mob has a working relationship with Chicago street gangs. He says the Outfit is "involved in the wholesaling and to some extent importation" of cocaine and heroin that gangs sell on city streets. "Just because it's not the Outfit guys standing on the West Side or South Side selling it doesn't mean they aren't actively involved in making a lot of money off of narcotics themselves."


Former girlfriend takes the stand at mob murder trial in Boston

A key witness in the murder trial of former mob boss “Cadillac” Frank Salemme returned to the stand Friday for a fourth straight day, but the spotlight was on the ex-girlfriend of Salemme’s son.
Salemme is charged with killing Stephen Disarro in 1993 at his Sharon home, but prosecutors say it was his late son Francis Salemme Junior who actually strangled The Channel Nightclub owner as his father looked on.
Jurors in South Boston’s John Joseph Moakley Courthouse heard from 47-year-old Becky Geiger after Robert DeLuca, 72, finished his testimony. Geiger was 21 when she worked as a dancer at the infamous Naked Eye strip club in Boston’s Combat Zone in 1991.
Geiger testified that she met Frank Jr. at the Naked Eye, became his girlfriend and left to work at The Channel, which featured rock bands.
Geiger told the court that Frank Jr. had a bad temper and once beat down a drummer at the nightclub who had grabbed her. She said he became convinced Disarro was stealing money.
“Frankie said he was pretty much done with him and he was mouthing off. He was madder than he normally gets but he was a hothead anyways,” Geiger said.
Geiger testified that Frank Jr. didn’t tell her about Disarro’s murder.
“I think it was just a general conversation that I won’t see Stephen anymore,” Geiger said.
Former New Hampshire state trooper Bruce Matthews told the jury he worked undercover in 1987 and busted a cocaine deal involving Frank Jr. and his close friend Paul Weidick, the co-defendant in the case.
Disarro’s half-brother could testify Monday. On paper, he was the co-owner of The Channel.


Friday, June 1, 2018

Secret FBI tapes reveal turncoat New england mob boss warning son not to trust nightclub owner

Jurors in the trial of Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme heard secretly recorded FBI tapes that reveal the former mob boss warning his son not to trust Steven DiSarro, who was later murdered.
“DiSarro is going to turn on you,” Salemme is heard recounting in a conversation he had with his son in December 1991. "He’s a snake. He’s a sneak. He’s no [expletive] good.”
The recording was captured at the Logan Airport Hilton by FBI agents who had set up in an adjacent room, according to retired FBI agent Vincent delaMontaigne.
Steven DiSarro, a Boston nightclub owner and Providence native, vanished in May 1993. His body was exhumed from behind a Providence mill building in 2016.
delaMontaigne testified on the seventh day of the trial against Salemme, 84, and codefendant Paul Weadick, 62. The pair - along with Salemme’s late son - are accused of killing DiSarro because they feared he was going to cooperate with the FBI.
Investigators say Salemme watched as his son strangled DiSarro while Weadick held his legs at Salemme’s home in Sharon, Massachusetts.
Notorious mobster Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi is expected to testify that he walked in while the murder was happening. Salemme and Weadick have pleaded not guilty.
Rhode Island mobster Joe DeLuca, 78, testified on Wednesday that Salemme then drove DiSarro’s body to North Providence, and gave it to DeLuca. From there, DeLuca said he along with three others buried DiSarro behind a mill building on Branch Avenue in Providence owned by William Ricci.
According to The Boston Globe, Salemme’s attorney questioned delaMontaigne about whether a mob boss would do grunt work such as driving a body to another state.
“If I’m the boss, I can do anything,” delaMontaigne said.
Also expected to testify is Rhode Island capo Robert “Bobby” DeLuca, 72, Joe DeLuca’s younger brother.
Investigators say Bobby DeLuca received a call from Salemme that he should expect “a package,” which DeLuca knew to mean a body.
The younger DeLuca is in custody awaiting sentencing for lying to the FBI about what he knew of the DiSarro murder.
The FBI tape also references a longtime Rhode Island mobster, Luigi “Baby Shacks” Manocchio. Salemme is heard talking about how he wants to elevate Manocchio from capo.
“If I could make Louie an acting underboss,” Salemme is heard saying, “when I'm out of town he takes over. Sometimes I get called down there or whatever - if a problem comes up, he handles it."


FBI agent says mob murder victim refused to cooperate with feds

The made man who once proved allegiance to Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme by arranging a hit gave up the ex-Mafia godfather without hesitation yesterday for the gangland execution of Steven DiSarro.
Surrounded in U.S. District Judge Allison D. Burroughs’ courtroom by plainclothes U.S. marshals, former mafia capo Robert “Bobby” DeLuca testified it was he who counseled Salemme to “get rid of” DiSarro, 43, if he believed the Westwood dad was ripping “the family” off via their secret partnership in The Channel rock club, as well as leaking information about Salemme to the feds.
“I said, ‘Get rid of him. Throw him out. You don’t need him.’ He said, ‘Yeah, Frankie Boy will take care of that,’ ” DeLuca, 72, claimed Salemme — who was referring to his late son Frank Jr. — assured him over a 1993 meal in Providence’s Little Italy.
But a former fed testified the mobsters may have been wrong about DiSarro.
Robert Walther, the now-retired FBI special agent who tried to recruit DiSarro as an informant against the mob shortly before he was killed by using a looming bank-fraud indictment as leverage, told jurors, “He never called me back, that’s for sure.”
DeLuca has been incarcerated since his arrest in 2016. He is awaiting sentencing in Boston for his guilty plea to lying to investigators about the DiSarro murder. He also faces up to 10 years in Rhode Island for conspiring in 1992 to murder Kevin Hanrahan, 39, a mob enforcer Salemme feared was plotting to blow him up. DeLuca ruthlessly recounted yesterday how he not only orchestrated Hanrahan’s killing in Providence by two hit men, he watched from across the street as Hanrahan was shot to death so he could report to Salemme, “Things look good.”
DeLuca testified ­Salemme, 84, confided in 1993 he watched as his son “picked up” DiSarro by hooking an arm around the doomed nightclub owner’s neck and “was strangling him and killing him” while Paul Weadick, the elder Salemme’s murder ­co-defendant, held DiSarro’s legs in the Sharon home of Salemme Sr.’s ex-wife.
DeLuca said he was less forthcoming when he later had to answer Salemme’s prying questions about whether he and his brother Joe DeLuca had followed his orders to clean out DiSarro’s pockets, remove the tarp he was wrapped in and bury him with lime to speed up the decomposition. “I didn’t tell him that I wasn’t there,” said DeLuca, who also didn’t mention to Salemme the two men he let do his dirty work. “I said, ‘Yeah, I got three bags.’ I never got no lime. And the tarp was still on him.”


Turncoat gangster testifies he feared he would be killed if he didnt bury body

Defense attorneys hacked away at the credibility of Rhode Island mobster Robert "Bobby" DeLuca during blistering cross-examination at federal court in Boston on Wednesday.
DeLuca, 72, told jurors on day one of his testimony that in 1993 then-mob boss Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme told him he needed to dispose of the body of Steven DiSarro, a Boston nightclub owner who investigators say was strangled in Salemme’s Sharon, Massachusetts, home.
DeLuca said he and his brother Joseph (who would later be inducted into the crime family by Salemme) followed through on mafia don's order, or they risked grave consequences.
“We didn’t want to get killed,” DeLuca said.
One of Salemme’s lawyers, Elliot Weinstein, pressed DeLuca on his lying to federal investigators in 2011 about what he knew of the DiSarro murder. DeLuca has pleaded guilty to perjury and making false statements in that case and will be sentenced later this year.
“You lie to people and they didn’t know you were lying, correct?" Weinstein asked.
“That’s correct,” DeLuca said.
After cooperating in a 2011 case that brought down nine members and associates of the New England crime family, DeLuca moved to Florida with his wife and kids. DeLuca said he got out of Rhode Island for his safety and that of his family. But he said he refused the government's offer to be entered into the federal witness protection program.
Weinstein asked DeLuca if he received nearly $64,000 in payments from the federal government in relocation expenses for several years starting in 2011 to fund the move. DeLuca said he didn’t know how much, but did admit he gambled while living in Florida.
Weinstein asked if he gambled with government funds.
"I don’t know what pocket the government’s money was in, and what pocket my money was in,” DeLuca said.
DeLuca said he is now locked up in a secure federal facility for his protection - as he awaits sentencing - and refused to say where when Weinstein asked the location. But he did say it was a better facility than the Plymouth County Correctional Facility in Massachusetts, where he was placed when he was arrested in 2016.
“Anything is better than Plymouth,” he said.
DeLuca said he hasn’t made up his mind if he will go into the witness protection program after he is sentenced in the DiSarro case and for pleading guilty to conspiracy in the 1992 murder of mob enforceer Kevin Hanrahan.
Asked if he expects the government to ask a judge for leniency for cooperating when he is sentenced, Deluca said, “I’m hoping they do."
At the end of the day, DeLuca became frustrated with defense attorney Mark Shea – who represents Weadick – over the meaning of wording in transcripts from grand jury testimony.
Shea waived the paperwork in front of DeLuca and told him to read the testimony.
“I’m not going to read nothing,” DeLuca snapped. “I know what I’m talking about.”
U.S. District Court Judge Allison Burroughs decided to recess for the day after the heated exchange.
DeLuca is expected back on the stand Thursday.
Salemme, 84, and Weadick, 62, are each charged with murder of witness for the DiSarro killing. Prosecutors have said Salemme - and his late son Frank Salemme, Jr. - feared Disarro was going to cooperate with the FBI.
Salemme and Weadick have pleaded not guilty. Salemme Jr. died in 1995 of lymphoma.


Rhode Island mobster testifies about body disposal

Joe DeLuca had a problem: he forgot to remove the tarp that was wrapped around the body.
The admitted mobster took the stand Wednesday in the trial of Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme and codefendant Paul Weadick, who are both charged in the 1993 gangland slaying of Steven DiSarro.
DeLuca, 78, of Providence, calmly described how he retrieved the body from Salemme in North Providence in May 1993, then drove to meet his brother, capo Robert “Bobby” DeLuca, to figure out what to do with it.
The day before, Joe DeLuca said, his brother’s pager had gone off. It was Salemme, and he needed to talk to Bobby, his trusted underworld friend.
“He said that Mr. Salemme had a package for us and he was bringing it down the next afternoon or morning,” DeLuca said.
Joe DeLuca didn’t want his brother – who had a criminal record – to be involved in getting the body.
“There is no sense in both of us going,” said DeLuca, who hadn't been on the law enforcement radar for decades. “One of us [has] got to stay on the street in case something happens.”
When Joe met with the then-mob boss in North Providence, Salemme wasn’t pleased to find Bobby missing, he said. But the two men reached into the car Salemme was driving and removed a body, wrapped in a tarp, and put it in the trunk of a rental car DeLuca was using.
Salemme had a specific instruction for Joe DeLuca.
“Make sure the tarp comes off,” Deluca said Salemme told him. “There are a lot of prints on there.”
DeLuca said Salemme then handed him a bag containing pepper to sprinkle on the body so “the animals wouldn’t get it.”
At a meeting with his brother later in the day, Bobby said he had an idea. “Billy Ricci is burying some hazardous waste down at his mill,” DeLuca said his brother told him. “He’s digging down there. He says to me, ‘Let’s take a ride.’”
Ricci, Deluca said, suggested they put the body in a furnace in the mill building. But the idea was shot down. Instead, Joe DeLuca decided he would get his nephew, Richard Cinquegrana, and come back later that night to put DiSarro in the hole. Later that day, DeLuca said Charles “Harpo” Garabedian drove the car with the body and picked up him and his nephew.
(Garabedian's son, who is serving as his father's attorney, called DeLuca's allegations "completely false," adding: "Amid his patently self-serving testimony, Joe DeLuca claimed to recall what my father allegedly said in 1993 word for word, but couldn't even remember key stuff as recent as 2016.")
At the mill, Joe DeLuca recalled, he felt uneasy because there was a house abutting the rear of the property – near where they intended to bury the body – that had its lights on.
"They certainly aren't going to think anything legitimate is going on," DeLuca said.
Hours later, Joe DeLuca got a “rusty hand truck” from the mill building and they placed the body on it. He told the men they had to run as fast as they could to the hole that Ricci had already dug. But it didn’t go smoothly.
“Harpo fell down and the body fell off the hand truck,” DeLuca said. “We dragged it across the lot.”
(DiSarro’s widow Pamela Disarro wiped away tears as sat in the courtroom listening to DeLuca's testimony alongside her sons and daughter-in-law.)
Later that night, Joe DeLuca said, he met with his brother Bobby, who was upset.
“Bobby wasn’t too happy because we left the blue tarp on him,” DeLuca said. As many as five days went by without them doing anything about it, he said, and then his brother brought it up again. “Bobby says, 'That blue tarp has got to come out of there ... there are a lot of prints on there.’”
Joe DeLuca learned that his brother lied to Salemme, telling the mob boss that they had retrieved the tarp and thrown it in a dumpster.
Joe DeLuca reached out to Ricci again, and the pair met behind the mill building, where he said Ricci used a backhoe to dig up Steven DiSarro. DeLuca said Ricci was able to hook the backhoe on a rope wrapped around the remains and pull it out of the hole, but the tarp ripped and the body tumbled back into the pit.
After retrieving the tarp, DeLuca testified that he disposed of it and he and his brother never spoke of the event again until years later.
The topic first resurfaced when Joe DeLuca said his brother was asked about the DiSarro case by federal investigators, and again in March 2016 when investigators were digging behind the mill building searching for DiSarro’s remains.
Under cross-examination, DeLuca admitted there was “some concern” there could be problems when Ricci was arrested in 2015 for running an illegal marijuana grow operation at the property. The concern was justified: Ricci cooperated in the case and informed the FBI where the body could be found, according to prosecutors.
Joe DeLuca, Cinquegrana, Ricci and Garabedian have all been granted immunity from prosecution.
Salemme, 84, and Weadick are both charged with murder of a witness. Investigators say the pair along with Salemme’s late son killed DiSarro – a Boston nightclub owner and Providence native – because they were concerned he was going to cooperate with the FBI.
Salemme and Weadick have pleaded not guilty.
Robert DeLuca has pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators regarding what he knew about the DiSarro case and is expected to be sentenced after he testifies in the Salemme trial.
DeLuca testified that after he helped dispose of the body, he was inducted into the mob by Salemme. Present at the ceremony was his brother, Salemme's brother Jackie Salemme, and then-underboss Luigi "Baby Shacks" Manocchio, he said.
During cross-examination, defense attorney Elliot Weinstein asked DeLuca about the oath he took when he was inducted into the mob, swearing him to secrecy.
"That oath didn't mean a darn thing to you, did it?" Weinstein asked.
"Currently, it doesn't mean much," DeLuca responded.


Mob trial in chaos as defense attorneys and turncoat mobster get into shouting match

The wheels came off the murder trial of former gangsters Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme and Paul Weadick yesterday as the first of 18 jurors dropped out and the judge recessed early in order to silence a round robin of barb-slinging by the trial teams and mafia capo Robert “Bobby” DeLuca.
DeLuca, 72, whose future freedom may rest on his ability to help the government nail Salemme and Weadick for the 1993 hit on nightclub owner Steven DiSarro, snapped after nearly four hours of needling and cross-examination by the defense.
“I’m not going to read nothin,’ ” a petulant DeLuca shouted at Weadick attorney Mark Shea after Shea, who was pressing him to authenticate evidence from a 2017 Rhode Island grand jury and told the mobster, “You’re going to sit there and read this.”
U.S. District Court Judge Allison D. Burroughs pulled the plug on the proceeding when Shea remarked it appeared he and DeLuca were “stuck” and assistant U.S. Attorney Fred Wyshak Jr. shot to his feet and retorted, “The only one who’s stuck is Mr. Shea.”
Burroughs commanded the lawyers to join her at sidebar, which led to more raised voices and the recess. She had announced earlier in the day one juror would not be returning, but did not say why.
DeLuca and convicted serial killer Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi — whose highly anticipated first public appearance in five years is expected next week — are the only witnesses who can put Salemme, 84, and Weadick, 63, at the scene of the murder.
Flemmi, 83, the partner of Salemme’s rival James “Whitey” Bulger, will tell jurors he walked into the Sharon home of Salemme’s ex-wife just as Frank Salemme Jr. was strangling DiSarro as his father watched and Weadick held the thrashing man’s legs.
DeLuca, the footman Salemme entrusted to dispose of DiSarro’s body in Providence, testified, “I didn’t want to be involved in it.” But he was, roping his older brother Joseph in for good measure, because he feared the then-godfather of the New England La Cosa Nostra would have them both whacked for not following orders. “Of course we were going to get killed,” Robert DeLuca stressed.
DeLuca is facing up to 20 years in federal prison for his guilty pleas to obstruction of justice and lying to investigators in the past about the killing of DiSarro, 43, who the Salemmes suspected was stealing from their silent investment in his rock-and-roll club, The Channel, and ratting them out to the FBI. Also hanging over his head is a concurrent 10-year sentence in Rhode Island for admitting he orchestrated the 1992 murder of mob enforcer Kevin Hanrahan. DeLuca testified yesterday he watched from a car as Hanrahan stepped out of a restaurant in Providence and was shot in the head at point-blank range. “Yeah, I seen it,” he muttered.
Though he prays for leniency from prosecutors every night, DeLuca lamented, “I know it’s not going to come through. I can’t hope for more.”


Turncoat mobster's recorded prison conversations played during Boston trial

Robert DeLuca used three nicknames for someone during cryptic conversation recorded while he was in prison, and none of them were flattering.
“The Pumpkin.” “The Midget.” “Fatso.”
In court, the mystery man was identified by a single name: “David.”
All four names refer to the same person: Wayne David Collins, a bail bondsman who was a close friend of the late Providence Police Col. Urbano Prignano.
The conversations were played in federal court in Boston on Thursday in the trial against former Mafia don Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme and codefendant Paul Weadick.
Salemme, 84, and Weadick, 62, are accused of killing Boston nightclub owner and Providence native Steven DiSarro in 1993. They have pleaded not guilty.
DeLuca, 72, an admitted mob captain, was on the stand for a third day of testimony in the trial, and was cross-examined by Mark Shea, an attorney for Weadick.
At the time of the recorded conversations, DeLuca was being held in the Plymouth County jail after being arrested in 2016 for lying to federal agents about what he knew of the murder. He is now one of the star witnesses for prosecutors in their case against Salemme and Weadick.
In the recording, Joe DeLuca, recounting what they are going to tell investigators, says “it will be a real mess if we bring up ‘The Pumpkin.’”
“We’ll see what happens,” Robert DeLuca responds.
In another call, Robert DeLuca tells his brother he is struggling to remember some details of the night they coordinated to dispose of DiSarro’s body.
“I’ve been trying to think, and think, and think about the car and I can’t,” Robert DeLuca said.
His brother tells him not to worry about the nitty-gritty details, because he was the one who met with Frank Salemme that night to retrieve the body. (Joe DeLuca testified to those details earlier in the trial.)
“You know what the key is? Me and him,” Joe DeLuca said on the call. “That’s what the midget told me.”
Collins became a public name in Rhode Island during the 2002 federal investigation against former Mayor Vincent “Buddy” Cianci. According to court records, investigators said Collins provided at leat one police officer with answers for the Providence Police sergeants' exam. The federal investigation never led to any criminal charges, but resulted in sweeping changes at the department. Prignano died in 2017.
Collins, who operates a bail-bondsman operation in Florida, declined to comment when reached by phone.
“At this time, unfortunately, I have no comment due to the fact I have to respect the integrity of the trial,” Collins said. “I have to respect the judicial process and let the jury decide what the facts are.”
Shea was using the calls to ask DeLuca if he was coordinating testimony with his brother.
DeLuca appeared to be well aware the calls were being recorded, warning his brother at one point, “Let’s not talk too much.”
In another call, DeLuca acknowledged his testimony would be valuable to prosecutors, telling his brother he will be able testify that Salemme told him who was involved in the murder.
“I’m the one they are going to need the most because I’m the one he told who was there,” DeLuca said in the recording. “’The other guy’ walked in, but I’m going to corroborate his testimony.”
“The other guy” was a reference to notorious Boston mobster Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, who prosecutors have said walked in on the murder of DiSarro at Salemme’s home in Sharon, Massachusetts.
Shea questioned DeLuca about whether he and his brother were trying to manufacture facts to enhance his value on the stand in an effort to get leniency. DeLuca is scheduled to be sentenced in June.
At one point, DeLuca lamented to his brother that he might not get much leniency for his cooperation.
“I testify in the DiSarro case, are they going to give me a little [expletive] credit for it?” he said on the recording.
In court, he testified that he said that because he was worried about his long criminal history.
“I don’t think I’m going to get much [leniency] after what I’ve done,” he said.


Old time mobsters show up during Boston mafia trial

Francis P. Salemme, 84, arrived in federal court this week in a wheelchair, his hunched frame shrouded in a loose suit and his feet tucked into easy black sneakers. He gripped the arms of a wooden chair behind the defense table, gingerly rising for the jury’s arrival. His slight face, papery skin and wispy gray hair were a startling departure from his mug shots of long ago, back when his jaw was set like concrete.
It can be hard to absorb that this frail man used to be known as Cadillac Frank, a fearsome gangster who admitted to multiple killings, went to prison for a car bombing that blew a man’s leg off, and survived an assassination attempt outside an International House of Pancakes. He was once a powerful mafia boss, the head of the New England family of La Cosa Nostra, the authorities say, and a contemporary of James “Whitey” Bulger, the notorious Boston crime boss.
Not long ago, human remains turned up behind a mill building in Providence, R.I., setting into motion this new murder trial against Mr. Salemme. But the authorities say the crime itself took place a quarter-century ago. And most everything feels like a flashback in the trial that began this week, including the who’s who of underworld players trudging into court in sensible shoes. It is a reminder that it has been a long time since a clear-cut set of larger-than-life gangsters controlled New England’s criminal underworld.
Anthony Cardinale, a defense lawyer who has represented mobsters — including, decades ago, Mr. Salemme — described the trial here as a “last vestige” of such federal prosecutions. “Everybody’s been burned to a crisp here by informants,” he said.
These days, organized crime in New England is “in a continuous state of uncertainty and disarray because of so many leadership changes,” said Brendan Doherty, the former superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police. “It’s not what it was 20 to 25 years ago, but there’s no one trial that’s going to put an end to it.”
Mobsters today, Mr. Doherty said, have expanded to more sophisticated crimes than nightclub shakedowns, like major bookmaking operations, high-end loan sharking, offshore gambling, real estate flips, fraudulent loans and drug trafficking.
“The new young criminals coming in — they don’t even know who these old-time mobsters are,” Mr. Doherty said.
The trial is unfolding in a city that is in some ways far different from the one where Mr. Salemme and other bosses once held so much sway. South Boston, the home of Mr. Bulger, has been transformed by the arrival of young professionals. Even The Channel, a squat nightclub that the authorities say Mr. Salemme was involved in 25 years ago, is long gone. A glassy new headquarters for General Electric has broken ground in the area.
Prosecutors say that back in 1993, Mr. Salemme and a son, Frank Salemme Jr., had a secret stake in The Channel, which was managed by a real estate developer, Steven DiSarro. The Salemmes worried that Mr. DiSarro might help investigators build a case against them, the prosecutors say. They say Mr. Salemme stood by as his son strangled Mr. DiSarro while another associate, Paul M. Weadick, held his legs, then had him buried in Providence. The younger Mr. Salemme died years ago; the other two men now stand charged with one count of murdering a witness.
The two men have pleaded not guilty and their lawyers called the government’s witnesses “accomplished liars with a history of lying.” Steven Boozang, a lawyer for Mr. Salemme, said his client has admitted to gangland killings, but not to this one. “It was a little bit of kill or be killed back then,” Mr. Boozang said of Mr. Salemme, who previously pleaded guilty to racketeering. “Just because he’s done these bad things doesn’t mean he’s done this.”
Mr. Salemme helped federal prosecutors in the early 2000s by testifying against a corrupt F.B.I. agent enmeshed in Mr. Bulger’s world, and had been living a quiet existence in a government witness protection program, prosecutors said, when Mr. DiSarro’s bones were discovered in Providence in 2016. Mr. Salemme took off, and the authorities caught up with him in Connecticut, where his car was found to contain $28,000 in cash, prosecutors said.
“These are the remains of the marquee, the ‘glory years’ of organized crime in Boston, whether it was the mafia or the Bulger gang,” said Dick Lehr, an author and a professor of journalism at Boston University. “You had a host of marquee names and players and Cadillac Frank was one of them. No one’s emerged in the past 20 years to capture the public eye with that kind of swagger and notoriety.”
Prosecutors say they plan to call on an array of witnesses with complicated reputations and nicknames to testify against Mr. Salemme over the coming weeks. Among them: Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, a well known confidante of Mr. Bulger, who is said to have walked in on the killing. And Robert “Bobby the Cigar” DeLuca, who is expected to testify about the burial of Mr. DiSarro.
On Thursday, Thomas Hillary, 73, an associate of Raymond L. S. Patriarca Sr., the onetime head of New England organized crime, emerged from his life in the witness protection program and described a bygone world from the stand.
“We were connected,” Mr. Hillary said, breezily recalling drug deals and rip-offs. At one point, he sputtered with anger as he said that Mr. Salemme had throttled him at a Chinese restaurant and run him out of town in 1990.
“Frankie goes crazy, grabs me by the throat, bada-bing, bada-boom,” Mr. Hillary said, before the lawyers interrupted to ask what, precisely, he meant.


Aging Gambino captain facing the rest of his life in prison after pleading guilty

An aging Long Island Gambino crime-family captain is facing the rest of his life in prison for running a gambling and loan-sharking operation, officials said Thursday.
John “Johnny Boy” Ambrosio, 74, could get up to 20 years after pleading guilty to racketeering in Central Islip federal court.
From 2014 to 2017, he oversaw a scheme with six other Gambino and Bonanno goodfellas that included poker games, sports betting and gaming machines.
The Huntington wiseguy was arrested along with associates Thomas Anzalone, Alessandro “Sandro” Damelio and reputed Bonanno soldier Frank “Frankie Boy” Salerno.
During a search, officials found letters addressed to Ambrosio from the late Gambino “Teflon Don” John Gotti Sr.
Ambrosio’s lawyer did not return requests for comment.


Thursday, May 31, 2018

Boss of the Notorious Chicago Outfit is dead at 89

Reputedly a top figure in the Chicago Outfit for decades, John DiFronzo, 89, died on Monday of complications from dementia in his River Grove home, according to his grandson John.
Despite more than two dozen arrests in his life, DiFronzo — known in the media as “No Nose” for having part of his nose shot off by police in 1949 during an attempted robbery — mostly avoided prison and shunned the spotlight, living inconspicuously for decades in the near western suburb.
DiFronzo was born in Italy and moved with his father, Michael, a metal plater, and his mother, Delores, to Chicago in the mid-1930s. He attended Wells High School on the North Side.
In 1946, DiFronzo was arrested for burglary and was placed under court supervision for six months. In 1949, he was living in Stone Park when he was arrested at age 20 with an accomplice and charged with a robbery on the Gold Coast.
More burglaries followed — so many that DiFronzo and his colleagues were referred to as the Three Minute Gang because they could burglarize a store and leave within three minutes, which was the average time it took police to respond to a burglar alarm.
In December 1949, DiFronzo and an accomplice were looting the Fey-Manning dress shop at 304 N. Michigan Ave. in Chicago when they were surprised by police. Both DiFronzo and his accomplice were shot and seriously wounded, with police shooting off part of DiFronzo’s nose. He later underwent plastic surgery to repair his nose.
DiFronzo was sentenced to six months in Cook County Jail in April 1950 on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon related to the dress shop burglary.
For the rest of the 1950s, DiFronzo was part of the burglary gang run by the legendary thief Paul “Peanuts” Panczko, which specialized in rapidly stripping stores of entire stocks of merchandise.
By the early 1960s, DiFronzo was identified by Chicago police as an enforcer and collector for a loan shark gang on the West Side. Later, he sold cars and also co-owned a construction company with his brother, Peter.
With the 1989 death of reputed mob boss Joseph Ferriola, DiFronzo was identified by Tribune reporters to have emerged as the operating boss of the Chicago Outfit.
DiFronzo remained a target for prosecutors. When two other leading mob figures, Sam Carlisi and James Marcello, were indicted in December 1992 on racketeering charges, Lenny Patrick, a turncoat mobster who testified in that case against his former colleagues, stated that DiFronzo and Carlisi had muscled Patrick out of “street taxes” he had collected from one gambler for 15 years.
In 1993, a federal jury in San Diego convicted DiFronzo and an associate, Donald Angelini, of mail fraud, wire fraud and conspiring to gain control of an Indian reservation’s gambling casino near San Diego. DiFronzo was sentenced to 37 months in prison, but his sentence later was reduced to 16 months, and he was released in 1994.
In 1997, the Chicago Crime Commission identified DiFronzo as being at the top of the Outfit’s organizational chart, working with the help of advisers Joey “the Clown” Lombardo and Angelo LaPietra.
And although DiFronzo remained in federal prosecutors’ crosshairs, he evaded further prosecution, despite extensive investigations into his activities in the 1990s and early 2000s, including relating to efforts by Rosemont officials to land a casino.
DiFronzo was never indicted as part of the Operation Family Secrets investigation, which resulted in a dozen indictments of mobsters on murder and racketeering charges in 2005. Ultimately, the investigation produced life sentences for Marcello, Lombardo and Frank Calabrese Sr.
Calabrese’s brother Nick testified during the Family Secrets trial that DiFronzo had been among the dozen or more men who fatally beat mob chieftain Anthony Spilotro and his brother Michael in 1986. But DiFronzo was never charged.
In addition to his brother and grandson, DiFronzo is survived by his wife, Rosemary; a son, Michael; and another grandchild.
Services are private.