Adsense new ad unit

Friday, July 31, 2015

Family of man killed by Mafia Cops settles for $5 million

The last that Israel Greenwald’s daughters saw of him was in February 1986. Yael, then 7, had the flu, and her father stayed up all night with her; the next morning, he hugged Michal, 9, when he left her at her bus stop. They never saw him again. The married father of two girls, a diamond dealer and a religious man with no criminal record, simply seemed to disappear.

It was not until two decades later, when a government witness led investigators to Mr. Greenwald’s makeshift grave in a Brooklyn garage, that his family began to find out what had happened. Mr. Greenwald had been killed by two New York Police Department detectives who were secretly working with the Mafia.

On Thursday, Mr. Greenwald’s family settled a civil suit against the City of New York for $5 million. Several more lawsuits against the city brought by families of those killed by the two detectives, Stephen Caracappa and Louis Eppolito, known as the Mafia Cops, are scheduled to go to trial this fall in Federal District Court in Brooklyn. Another family settled with the city in January for $5 million.Photo

Louis Eppolito in 2006. He and Stephen Caracappa, former New York police detectives, were known as the Mafia Cops.

The detectives were convicted in 2006 of eight murders, two attempted murders and one murder conspiracy, among other crimes. They are serving multiple life sentences.

Several years after joining the police force in 1969, the detectives agreed to a partnership with Anthony Casso, known as Gaspipe, the No. 2 man in the Lucchese crime family, the jury found at the detectives’ trial. Over six years, they killed at the direction of Mr. Casso and provided him with confidential information. They were paid a total of the $375,000.

Mr. Greenwald’s tangential involvement with the Mafia started in 1985, when he went to Britain to help a business associate buy Treasury bills there. When he returned, the Federal Bureau of Investigation questioned him about the source of the bills. Mr. Greenwald said the source was legitimate, as he believed it was. However, the bills had apparently originated with someone linked to Mr. Casso.

In 1985 or 1986, a longtime criminal named Burton Kaplan, who worked for Mr. Casso, hired Mr. Eppolito and Mr. Caracappa to kill Mr. Greenwald to prevent him from cooperating with the F.B.I.’s inquiry. Mr. Kaplan had heard about the detectives through a cousin of Mr. Eppolito’s whom he had met in prison.

Mr. Casso welcomed the inside help, Mr. Kaplan said in trial testimony.

In February 1986, the rogue detectives used a confidential police database to find Mr. Greenwald’s home address, the type of car he drove and its license plate number. They pulled over the car, told him they were detectives and asked him to come to the precinct because he was a suspect in a hit and run. Instead, they took him to a warehouse on Nostrand Avenue, where Mr. Caracappa and another man killed him, while Mr. Eppolito acted as a lookout.

They buried the body in the garage, where it stayed for almost two decades, until a person cooperating with the government in 2005 told investigators where it was. That led to the arrests of Mr. Caracappa and Mr. Eppolito, who had both retired. (Mr. Eppolito had retired in 1990, and Mr. Caracappa in 1992.)

Until Mr. Greenwald’s body was found, his wife and two daughters had no idea what had happened. Without it, the family had not been able to get life insurance or social services, their lawyers said in a statement, and “the family lost their home and their car.”

After killing Mr. Greenwald, Mr. Caracappa and Mr. Eppolito committed several other murders for Mr. Casso, including the killings of a Staten Island man whom they stuffed into a trunk, another man gunned down while changing a tire on his car and another who was left dead with a canary stuffed into his mouth after the detectives identified him as an informer.

The lawsuit on behalf of the Greenwald family says that city officials knew about the detectives’ Mafia connections. In 1984, for instance, Mr. Eppolito was suspended after the F.B.I. alerted the Police Department that he had given intelligence files to a member of the Gambino crime family.

The city had opposed the lawsuits from the victims’ families, but last year, Judge Raymond Dearie of Federal District Court in Brooklyn said they could go forward. Judge Dearie wrote that there was a “systemic failure” in the Police Department to handle corruption during the detectives’ tenure, and that had Mr. Eppolito been effectively disciplined or dismissed when he was caught handing over the confidential records, these murders might not have occurred.

The department did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Nicholas Paolucci, a spokesman for the city’s Law Department, said that “settling this case was in the best interest of the city.”

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Bonanno soldier tells judge in letter his violent outbursts are therapeutic

My violent rants are therapy: reputed mobster
A reputed mobster awaiting trial channeled his inner Robert De Niro for a letter to the judge that reads like a scene from the 1999 mob comedy “Analyze This.”

“The prosecution is trying to label me violent,” Anthony “Skinny” Santoro says in the hand-written jailhouse missive.

Letter written by Anthony “Skinny” Santoro to Judge Melissa Jackson.

“Your Honor the fact is I do talk a bit crazy, even stupidly at times, it’s how I ventilate (sic) my feelings in private, it’s a therapeutic technique I’ve learned that it keeps me from acting out in a negative way, as we all know, they’re only feelings and they go away, just check Psychology 101.”

“Since when is talking about your feelings a crime?” the reputed Bonnano soldier added, taking a page from the movie where De Niro plays a mob boss who is treated by a psychiatrist played by Billy Crystal.

Santoro — who despite his nickname tips the scales at 300 pounds — is locked up on enterprise-corruption, loan-sharking and gambling charges.

In his letter to Justice Melissa Jackson, he refers to a plea offer of nine to 18 years in the slammer as “outrageously high” and implores the judge to “step in and settle this matter fairly.”

“I am not trying to paint myself as an angel, but I’m not guilty of enterprise corruption — I would gladly plea to one of the underlying pattern acts,” he generously wrote.

Santoro, 52, penned the letter on Dec. 2, but it was just recently made public.

Prosecutors claim to have wiretap recordings of the Staten Island resident engaged in several of his self-described “therapy” sessions.

Crime family members Vito Badamo (left) and Ernest Aiello (right) appear with Anthony Santoro (center) in court.

“I’m gonna split his ­f–king head with a hatchet,” he fumed to an associate about one foe, according to court papers.

“I’ll put two holes in his ­f–king forehead. I’ll double-tap his forehead right now!”

Defense lawyer Tim Parlatore insists Santoro is all bark and no bite. “My client describes himself as a rough and tough cream puff,” he said. “He talks tough. He never ­actually does anything ”

Santoro was busted in 2013 along with reputed capo Nicky “Cigars” Santora, 72, who inspired the character played by the late Bruno Kirby in the 1997 film “Donnie Brasco.”

Deceased gangster suggested Jimmy Hoffa is buried under the Pulaski Skyway

New evidence has emerged about Jimmy Hoffa’s possible fate.

His disappearance 40 years ago is one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in U.S. history, and now new evidence has emerged about Jimmy Hoffa’s possible fate.

A mobster who was believed to be involved in the labor boss’s disappearance suggested before he died last year that the feds were on the right track when they searched a New Jersey dump for Hoffa’s remains, a bombshell report says.

Investigative reporter Dan Moldea confirmed that the FBI searched the dump in 1975, looking for a 55-gallon drum they believed the Teamsters boss had been entombed in.

Moldea’s source was Phillip (Brother) Moscato, the mobbed-up owner of the toxic site under the Pulaski Skyway when it was dug up.

I ain’t telling you nothing. But I’m telling you that he (Hoffa) ain’t (at the farm).

Moldea revealed in a story being featured Thursday on the Web site that he conducted several taped interviews of Moscato about the Hoffa case before the oldfella died of natural causes on Valentine’s Day 2014.

“I promised him (Moscato) I wasn’t going to cause him any trouble while he was alive,” Moldea told the Daily News.

Moscato, an associate of the Genovese crime family, confirmed that snitch Ralph Picardo told the FBI in 1975 that Hoffa was buried in a drum at the dump, Moldea said.

“They dug the dump up for three months,” Moscato said, according to the new report. “That was Hoffa in the 55-gallon drum. (Picardo) said a pickup truck brought . . . the truck in and Hoffa was in it and we buried him.”

Phillip (Brother) Moscato, pictured, said Jimmy Hoffa was buried in drum near Pulaski Skyway.

Although Picardo allegedly implicated Moscato as helping to dispose of Hoffa’s remains, the wily wiseguy does not explicitly admit he participated.

Moscato was a longtime associate of mob enforcer Salvatore "Sally Bugs" Briguglio, who has long been suspected of carrying out the hit on Hoffa.

Moscato was reminded that FBI agents had also dug up a farm owned by a Teamsters official in Wixom, Mich., where Hoffa was believed to have been slain.

Investigative reporter Dan Moldea confirmed that the FBI searched the dump near the Pulaski Skyway (pictured) in 1975, looking for a 55-gallon drum they believed the Teamsters boss had been entombed in.

“Put that to rest,” Moscato reportedly said in the interview. “I ain’t telling you nothing. But I’m telling you that he (Hoffa) ain’t (at the farm).”

Moldea told The News he believes Hoffa was shot dead on the farm and his body was driven to the Garden State in a truck for burial in the toxic soil.

Moldea writes that he also interviewed the husband and wife who lived on the Michigan farm at the time.

Moscato was reminded that FBI agents had also dug up a farm owned by a Teamsters official in Wixom, Mich., where Hoffa was believed to have been slain.

They told him a large hole had been dug on the property several weeks before Hoffa vanished and they observed cars speeding in the direction of the hole on the afternoon Hoffa was last seen alive at the Machus Red Fox restaurant in a suburb of Detroit. That’s where he was supposed to meet mob capo Anthony "Tony Jack" Giacalone and New Jersey Teamsters boss Anthony "Tony Pro" Provenzano.

“I have not solved the case,” Moldea, author of “The Hoffa Wars,” told The News. “I’ve put together the most reasonable scenario of what happened.”

Efforts to reach Moscato’s widow were not successful.

Besides the garbage dump and the farm, there have been reports over the past four decades that the corrupt labor leader’s body was buried under the west end zone of Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands, and incinerated in a garbage disposal plant.

Hoffa was declared legally dead in 1982. It is believed that the politically connected Hoffa was whacked by the Mafia because he refused to back off from trying to regain the presidency of the powerful Teamsters union.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Federal judge denounces the mafia as he sentences Bonanno rat

Anthony Basile, a member of the Bonanno crime family, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for the 1992 rubout of a newspaper delivery foreman the mob feared would talk to authorities.

A federal judge denounced Hollywood’s glorification of the Mafia as he sentenced a mob rat to 12 years in prison for participating in the 1992 rubout of a New York Post delivery foreman.

The foreman, Robert Perrino, was whacked for fear he would cooperate with authorities probing mob activity at the paper.

The feds charged that Perrino was lured to a Brooklyn social club, where he was shot in the head and stabbed in the ear with an ice pick.

His remains weren’t found until 2004.

“There is absolute nothing in ‘The Godfather,’ in ‘Goodfellas,’ or in ‘Donnie Brasco’ that should be deemed an allure,” said Brooklyn Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis. “It is the most sordid level of behavior which should be rejected.”

Prosecutors were asking the judge to sentence Bonanno associate Anthony Basile, 45, to life in prison for the Perrino murder with no credit for his two attempts at snitching.

Judge Nicholas Garaufis blasted Hollywood glorification of the mob in movies such as 'The Godfather' and 'Goodfellas,' calling it 'the most sordid level of behavior.'

Basile had tried to cut a deal after he and Bonanno soldier Baldassare "Baldo" Amato were convicted of Perrino's murder at trial in 2006.

The feds ripped up cooperation agreements after Basile was caught lying to the FBI and misbehaving in prison.

But defense lawyer Morris Fodeman convinced the judge to consider some helpful information his client had provided and the danger he will face for the rest of his life for ratting.

With credit for good time, Basile will be a free man in 13 months.

“I promise you I won’t let you down,” Basile, 45, vowed to the judge.

Florida appeals court upholds murder conviction of FBI agent linked to Whitey Bulger

A divided appeals court on Wednesday upheld the murder conviction of a former FBI agent in the 1982 slaying of a Florida gambling executive in a case connected to imprisoned New England mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger.

The full 3rd District Court of Appeal’s decision in the case of ex-agent John Connolly reversed that of a three-judge panel of the same court. In a 6-4 ruling, the new decision concluded Connolly could be convicted of second-degree murder with a firearm even though he was 1,500 miles away when a hit man fatally shot World Jai-Alai President John Callahan in Fort Lauderdale in 1982.

The judges agreed with prosecutors that the firearm enhancement was proper because Connolly, as an on-duty FBI agent at the time, was certainly armed when he tipped Bulger’s gang that Callahan was about to implicate them in another killing.

“The evidence as to both his participation in the murder and his possession of a firearm during his participation are overwhelming,” Judge Leslie Rothenberg wrote on behalf of the majority. “The law does not require that the defendant be the actual shooter.”

The law does not require that the defendant be the actual shooter.

Connolly was Bulger’s FBI handler in Boston and was convicted in 2002 in federal court of racketeering for protecting members of his Winter Hill Gang from prosecution and tipping them about informants in their ranks. He completed a 10-year sentence in that case, then was convicted and sentenced to 40 years in prison for the Florida murder.

The Florida jury that convicted him in 2008 specifically found that although Connolly’s gun was not used in the slaying, the charge could be “reclassified” to include his own FBI firearm as part of the crime — overcoming a statute of limitations in place in 1982 that would otherwise have required Connolly’s acquittal.

The four dissenting judges accused the majority of an “overbroad” interpretation of the firearms law as it relates to felonies such as murder and predicted the decision would trigger confusion in cases across Florida. The dissenters said they will formally ask the Florida Supreme Court to weigh in on the question.

James “Whitey” Bulger was tipped by ex-FBI agent James Connolly that Callahan would implicate him in another murder.

“Up until today, (state law) has been interpreted throughout the state to require the defendant to have carried, displayed, used, threatened or attempted to use the weapon actually used or available for use in commission of the felony,” wrote Judge Richard J. Suarez in the dissent.

“The law is as clear as our duty to apply it. Connolly did not carry a firearm during the commission of the murder,” Suarez added.

Connolly’s attorney did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment about possible further appeals.

Bulger, the loose blueprint for the Martin Scorsese film “The Departed,” was a fugitive for 16 years until his 2011 capture at an apartment in Santa Monica, California. Bulger is serving a life sentence for convictions in August 2013 of numerous crimes, including involvement in 11 murders.

Scarfo Jr gets 30 years in prison for hostile corporate takeover

It was a hostile takeover with mob overtones.

And in federal court today, the son of a reputed Philadelphia-area crime family boss was sentenced to 30 years in prison for his role in a scheme to take control of a publicly traded mortgage company and loot $12 million from shareholders.

Nicodemo Scarfo Jr., 50, of Galloway—son of jailed Philadelphia mob boss Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo—was convicted in July 2014 on more than 20 counts of mail, bank and wire fraud and racketeering conspiracy in connection with a white-collar scheme to loot Texas-based First Plus Financial.

The shakedown, said authorities, allowed Scarfo and associate Salvatore Pelullo to buy weapons, ammunition, a Bentley, an airplane, a house, expensive jewelry and a $850,000 yacht named "Priceless."

Federal prosecutors had charged Scarfo along with 12 others of using threats of violence to take over the board of the company, and then forced it buy shell companies they owned so they could plunder its assets.

"Scarfo and his crew gave new meaning to the term 'corporate takeover,' pushing out the legitimate leadership of a publicly traded company and then looting it," said U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman. "They used false SEC filings, phony consulting agreements and more traditional mob methods to steal $12 million from the company's shareholders. That's a risk that investors should never have to take."

U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman in 2011 announcing the arrests of Scarfo and others in the mob takeover of FirstPlus Financial Group.

Five other defendants—Cory Leshner, Howard Drossner, John Parisi, Todd Stark and Scarfo's wife, Lisa Murray-Scarfo—have pleaded pleaded guilty to various charges related to their roles in the conspiracy.

Scarfo's father was also named as a co-conspirator, but not brought to trial.

According to court filings, board members of FirstPlus were told by Scarfo and Pelullo to "shut up and step aside."

The scheme began in April 2007, when prosecutors said Scarfo, Pelullo and others targeted FirstPlus Financial Group, pushing out FPFG's management and board of directors. They brought in William Maxell, 56, of Houston, a Texas attorney who was designated "special counsel," and his brother, John Maxwell, 63, of Dallas, who became the new CEO.

"If you ever rat, your wives will be [expletive] ... and your kids will be sold off as prostitutes," Pelullo allegedly told one board member after the takeover, according to the indictment. He told another, according to authorities: "Don't [expletive] with me."

The company is now defunct.

During the months-long trial in Camden, defense attorneys argued that FirstPlus went under because of the poor economy, and argued that the government invoked that shadow of Scarfo's family and his mob ties to make him and the others look guilty.

In the sentence handed down by U.S. District Judge Robert B. Kugler, Scarfo was also ordered to forfeit his interest in certain properties and to pay $14 million in restitution.

The Maxwell brothers, along with Pelullo were convicted as well in the case and are scheduled to be sentenced later this week.

Scarfo, meanwhile, still faces trial in an unrelated gambling case. He was among 34 Lucchese members and associates charged in 2010 by the state Attorney General with allegedly running the crime family's underground sports gambling operation involving billions of dollars in illegal wagers.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Colombo captain picked up extortion payments while on chemotherapy

Luca DiMatteo, 70, is battling bladder cancer, but that hasn't stopped him from collecting extortion and loanshark payments, according to a federal prosecutor.
Not even cancer can keep a mobster down when it comes to making an illegal buck.

A 70-year-old reputed Colombo capo was picking up extortion and loanshark payments from a victim in between his chemotherapy sessions, a federal prosecutor charged.

Luca DiMatteo’s health issues and his hands-on racketeering were an open book for the feds, who had a wiretap on the gangster’s phone for months, said the prosecutor.

DiMatteo is charged with shaking down an unidentified business owner in Brooklyn every week for more than a decade. When he was diagnosed this year with bladder cancer, that didn’t stop the alleged shakedowns.

On days that he received chemo treatments, DiMatteo sent his brother or nephew to run criminal errands for him, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Geddes.

Otherwise, prosecutors said DiMatteo made the pickups himself. “The defendant traveled from his home in Merrick, L.I., all the way to Brooklyn to collect a measly $200,” Geddes said last week in Brooklyn Federal Court.

Defense lawyer Flora Edwards sought her client’s release on $1.5 million bail, playing the health issues card. Besides bladder cancer, DiMatteo also suffers from a heart condition and diabetes, Edwards said, offering to put surveillance cameras around the mobster’s house and have him wear an electronic ankle bracelet if he were sprung.

“Mr. DiMatteo is seriously ill,” his lawyer said with a serious face.

The prosecutor shot back that DiMatteo’s health didn’t stop him from committing crimes or directing others to commit crimes for him, so he can’t use it as an excuse to get of jail.

Federal Judge Leo Glasser agreed, pointing out that DiMatteo is charged with extortion, which is a crime of violence. “An illness doesn’t justify criminal behavior,” Glasser said.

DiMatteo winked at family members as he was led out of the bail hearing after his arrest.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Cleveland judge grants bail to Gambino mobster

A judge in Cleveland loosened the bail restrictions for Victoria Gotti ex Carmine Agnello on Thursday, allowing him to return to the salvage yard where prosecutors say he ran a $3 million scrap-metal scam.

Prosecutors had cited Agnello’s ties to the Gotti family in demanding high bail that barred him from his Eagle Auto Parts yard — but his lawyer, Ian Friedman, said Agnello’s ties to his former father-in-law, legendary Mafia boss John Gotti, are from “long ago” in a faraway galaxy named Queens.

“What’s the beginning to ‘Star Wars’? Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away?” the lawyer joked before Judge Joseph Russo in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.

Agnello and Victoria split in 2002.