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

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Bonanno associate pleads guilty in $26 million loansharking case

Robert Pisani (c.) being taken into custody on a new assault case outside the Brooklyn federal courthouse on May 4, 2017. A Queens deli owner tangled in a mob loansharking case pleaded guilty Friday.
Robert Pisani, 44, was part of a decades-long wiseguy outfit that raked in $26 million, federal prosecutors said.
The reputed Bonanno crime family associate copped to collection of unlawful gambling debts in Brooklyn federal court.
The plea closes one case for Pisani, but he's got another to go.

Robert Pisani (c.) being taken into custody on a new assault case outside the Brooklyn federal courthouse on May 4, 2017.
Police arrested him in May for allegedly groping a worker at his Broad Channel deli and putting her hand down his pants.
Pisani plans to fight that case.
His lawyer, Seth Ginsberg, told the Daily News his client was “satisfied with the equitable result” on the federal case and Pisani “looks forward to putting this behind him.”
As for the forcible touching charge, Ginsberg said Pisani's an innocent man, adding, “we're going to trial.”
Pisani and 11 other men were charged in the loansharking case. He and three other men have pleaded out, so far.


Italian Mafia's Boss of Bosses dies at 87

Salvatore Riina, the Mafia’s murderous “boss of bosses,” who earned multiple life sentences and the nickname the Beast for his cruelty and for unleashing a war against law enforcement that claimed the lives of Italian prosecutors and police officers, died early Friday in a hospital in the northern Italian city of Parma. He was 87.
The Ministry of Justice announced his death. He had recently undergone surgery and been placed in a medically induced coma.
As the head of Sicily’s infamous Cosa Nostra crime syndicate since the 1970s, Mr. Riina, known as Totò, had a long criminal reach that spilled blood across Italy and extended a black hand of extortion and trafficking across the globe.
He retaliated against the Italian government’s campaign to crush the Mafia by striking back hard, ordering in 1992 the bombing assassinations of two leading anti-Mafia magistrates, Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino. He also orchestrated the kidnapping, strangling and dissolving in acid of the young son of a mob informer.
A car bombing ordered by Mr. Riina killed Paolo Borsellino, Sicily’s top anti-Mafia investigator, and his bodyguards in 1992.
In 1993, the Italian authorities captured Mr. Riina in Sicily’s capital, Palermo, and judges ultimately gave him 26 life sentences. He spent a good deal of the next quarter-century in isolation, with little time outside his cell in Milan.
The Italian justice minister, Andrea Orlando, allowed family members to visit Mr. Riina in the hospital on Thursday, his birthday. He had four children, one of whom, Salvo, wrote on Facebook, “You’re not Totò Riina to me, you’re just my dad.” Another of Mr. Riina’s sons is in prison for committing four murders.
Mr. Riina, who was rife with nicknames — he was also called U Curtu, or Shorty, because of his 5-foot-2 height — came from Corleone, a town in the Sicilian hinterland made famous as the birthplace of the fictional character Vito Corleone in the “Godfather” movies.
But Mr. Riina’s butchery was all too real. After serving time in his youth for killing a man in an argument, he became a soldier under the Mafia boss Luciano Leggio. He rose through the ranks, eliminating competitors and at times running his gang in hiding, though apparently always from Sicily. By the early 1980s, Mr. Riina had solidified his dominance over the island and its global criminal activities.
Salvatore Riina was placed behind bars in the courtroom during a trial in Rome in April 1993.
His organization’s tentacles reached deep into all facets of Italian life, from small businesses forced to pay for protection, to large sectors of commerce, where they skimmed millions of dollars. In Sicily, the mob had a reputation for delivering votes in exchange for favors. And nationally, Italy’s leading politicians were often accused of entanglements with the sticky, and often invisible, Mafia web.
Mr. Riina’s onetime driver, who became a state informant, alleged that Giulio Andreotti, a former prime minister who dominated postwar Italian politics, once exchanged an embrace and kiss with Mr. Riina. Mr. Andreotti denied it.
The codes of omertà, or silence, that governed the Mafia and protected its bosses began to erode in the 1980s as rival families and informants turned state’s evidence. Enormous trials in the early 1990s resulted in the arrest and jailing of more than 300 gangsters.
Tommaso Buscetta, a crucial Mafia turncoat living in the United States under witness protection after losing out to Mr. Riina in Sicily, began to testify in such trials in 1984. He eventually mapped out a criminal organization presided over by Mr. Riina. In response, Mr. Riina is said to have ordered the murder of Mr. Buscetta’s two sons, his brother and 33 of his other relatives. 
A mock public funeral poster announces the death of Mr. Riina in Ercolano, near Naples, on Friday. It lists the names of Mafia victims, including the magistrates Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino.
But it was the bombing murders in Sicily of the two anti-Mafia magistrates, Mr. Borsellino (and five of his bodyguards) and Mr. Falcone (along with his wife and two bodyguards) that shook Italians the most and doomed Mr. Riina. Subsequent bombings in Rome, Milan and Florence in 1993 led to the crackdown on the Mafia and also contributed to the collapse of an old political guard corroded by corruption.
Upon Mr. Riina’s arrest in 1993, the mayor of Corleone at the time proclaimed it “a moment of liberation for us.” Children were let out of school to celebrate.
Bernardo Provenzano, who died last year, succeeded Mr. Riina in 1993 as the operational “boss of all bosses.” But even from prison, Mr. Riina found a way to continue his brutality, ordering the kidnapping and strangling of the 14-year-old son of an informant. The boy’s body was then dissolved in acid.
With Mr. Riina in prison, other mobs around Italy grew in brutality and influence, including the Camorra in Naples and the ‘Ndràngheta from Calabria, which operates a worldwide drug trade.
But the specter of Mr. Riina, who rarely spoke in public, hung over the country. In one of his 1993 trials, he refused to address the allegations of one of his accusers.
“He does not have my moral stature,” Mr. Riina said.


Feds say former Colombo boss knew of dangers involved with playing ping pong

Court papers filed this week argue that Thomas (Tommy Shots) Gioeli knew about Ping-Pong's perils — including walking on water to track down errant balls.
Mob life is dangerous. So, apparently, is Ping-Pong.
The feds, in seeking to toss a slip-and-fall suit filed by Colombo crime family big Thomas Gioeli, say that table tennis is a risky endeavor.
The 65-year-old wiseguy sued the government, saying he slipped in a puddle and hurt himself while playing the game while in federal lockup.
But court papers filed this week argue that Gioeli knew about Ping-Pong's perils — including walking on water to track down errant balls.
"Gioeli, by playing pingpong and retrieving a ball near the showers, assumed the risk of slipping on a wet floor," Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevan Cleary wrote.
Gioeli said he slipped in August 2013 at the Metropolitan Detention Center while facing off with a twentysomething inmate he knew as "De."
During the fateful game, Gioeli, nicknamed Tommy Shots, missed a shot.
The ball rolled into the common area, near shower stalls. Gioeli slipped in a puddle and fractured his right kneecap. He needed an operation and physical therapy, according to court papers.
Front Cover of the New York Daily News on February 7, 2017. 
Gioeli's suit insists prison staff fell down on their jobs to create and maintain safe conditions. He claimed he had long been complaining about the slippery situation.
But Cleary insisted the case had to get tossed. Gioeli played even though he knew of the room's showers and puddle, as well as the hazards of retrieving balls.
"Scoring points in Ping-Pong entails hitting the ball past the opponent. Thus, an errant ball is the essence of Ping-Pong,” he said.
A trial on liability for the injury is scheduled for next month.
Gioeli's lawyer could be immediately reached for comment.
Gioeli was convicted for racketeering conspiracy in relation to murder plots. He is now incarcerated at a low-security prison in Connecticut, serving an almost 19-year sentence.


Acting Bonanno captain who was recorded initiating an undercover informant into the mafia denied bond

A Roslyn Heights man charged with drug trafficking and money laundering as the alleged leader of the Bonanno crime family was denied bond Thursday in federal court.
Damiano Zummo, 44, was arrested Nov. 8 and charged with engaging in a cocaine trafficking conspiracy, including one sale on Sept. 14 of more than a kilogram of cocaine for $38,000 inside a Manhattan gelato store, and laundering more than $250,000 with business checks issued to a false consulting company, Acting United States Attorney Bridget Rodhe said in a press release.
In a letter to the Second Circuit Court submitted Wednesday, Rodhe said Zummo’s history warranted detention.
“As an acting captain within a violent organized crime family, Zummo poses a particular threat if he were released because of his ability and demonstrated history of directing those who report to him to commit crimes on his behalf,” Rodhe said in the letter.
Secret recordings from a cooperating witness have been submitted as evidence against Zummo, including conversations about family induction ceremonies, physical assaults and police bribery.
“Every Christmas … we put $1,000 to a pizzeria and then we give them the money and then the cops go there to eat,” Zummo said according to the transcript.
“They eat, you know, we treat them good here,” Zummo continued. “They stay away, they don’t bother us.”
Rodhe said Zummo poses a danger to the community and is a significant flight risk as a citizen of Italy where his parents live.
“The defendant’s apparent willingness to bribe law enforcement poses a heightened risk that the defendant will further attempt to obstruct justice by corruptly interfering with the government’s case,” Rodhe said.
Zummo is charged alongside Salvatore Russo, 45, of Bellmore, who allegedly assisted in the Sept. 14 cocaine sale, as well as Paul Semplice, 54, and Paul Ragusa, 46, both of Brooklyn.
Semplice, an alleged member of the Gambino crime family, is charged with conducting a loansharking scheme in which he and others extended extortionate loans with interest rates of up to 54 percent each year, generating thousands of dollars every week.
Russo, represented by Stanley Kopilow, was released on $500,000 bond secured by real property. Ragusa and Semplice, represented by Michael Brown and Allen Frankel respectively, were held on a permanent order of detention.
All four pleaded not guilty Nov. 9. Zummo’s attorney, Todd Greenberg, did not respond for comment.


NYC mayoral candidate returns to his table at famous Italian restaurant

It was getting toward the end of the night at Rao’s, the hedonistic swirl of food, banter, profanity and singalongs finally dying down, affording Bo Dietl the rare chance for reflection.
He leaned against the bar, his usual pink drink of Ketel One, club soda and cranberry juice in hand, his mind on the New York City of old and the race for mayor that could have been.
“Memories are so beautiful,” he said, punctuating his comment with one of many unprintable words and phrases heard that night. “That’s what I love about falling asleep and dreaming. The old days was a lot better. You didn’t have some towel-head running you over.”
He added, as if to acknowledge his offensive remark about a terror attack in New York days before Election Day: “I’m so happy I’m not running for mayor. I can say what I want.”
Nine days after finishing sixth out of seven candidates in the mayoral race, Mr. Dietl returned to his usual Thursday night table at Rao’s in East Harlem, the Italian restaurant famed for its exclusivity and straight-from-central-casting history as a mobster’s redoubt.
For Mr. Dietl, as for other regulars, the restaurant remains a kind of refuge, a place out of time where there is no menu, nearly every diner breaks into song when the jukebox begins playing its usual list of Sinatra and standards, and Christmas decorations hang year-round — a quirk born, the owner said, of some long-ago laziness that grew into a signature décor.
It is a place where bygones can be bygones, and Bo can be Bo.
It is also, perhaps, the one place where Mr. Dietl could plausibly claim to be mayor. Men and women — but mostly men — crouched to kiss his cheek and offer words of encouragement as they entered and left through the restaurant’s red doors, a path that forced all to pass by Mr. Dietl, who sat in his usual perch at Table 1, reserved for him every Thursday night, by the front door.
“I agree with everything he says,” said a longtime Rao’s regular, Gigi Napolitano, 75, who grew up next door to the East Harlem restaurant. 
Another praised Mr. Dietl. “The debates were great,” said the man, referring to the two raucous televised mayoral debates in which Mr. Dietl shared the stage with Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Republican candidate, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis.
“Thank you, Lou,” Mr. Dietl replied.
“A little quiet,” the man observed sardonically.
“If I was any more animated, I would have punched him in the face,” Mr. Dietl said.
Mr. Dietl began coming to the restaurant as a police officer assigned to the local precinct in the 1970s. He said he secured his table in 1977 from the owner at the time, Frank Pellegrino, when it was much less difficult to get in, and many of the regulars were believed to have mob connections. He credited the table with launching his business career after he left the Police Department several years later.
“Rao’s has been responsible for my life taking off,” he said. “It was not cop and wiseguys. It was like family.”
For much of the campaign, and his life before, Mr. Dietl has traded on his table at Rao’s. He has given it up for charity, and offered it as a inducement during his mayoral campaign to donors though there were no takers. “That didn’t work too good,” he admitted.
After the first mayoral debate, he offered to take Mr. de Blasio and his wife, Chirlane McCray, to Rao’s as a way of making amends for a racially insensitive comment Mr. Dietl made about Ms. McCray. They did not take him up on it, and perhaps for the best. The mayor had few overt supporters in the restaurant.
Thursday’s visit was Mr. Dietl’s first since the election. He shook hands and exchanged jokes. He complained about the news media coverage of his campaign to Joey Pisacano, a former bookmaker, and Anthony "Bowat"Baratta, a one-time reputed captain in the Lucchese crime family.
“Hey, there’s my heart doctor!” Mr. Dietl said of a man leaving the restaurant.
“You don’t have a heart,” the man replied. (He confirmed his medical relationship to Mr. Dietl but declined to give his name.)
Mr. Dietl has noted his similarity to President Trump, because he said they both often spoke from the heart, even if what they said was not always politically correct. By night’s end, Mr. Dietl had provided ample evidence to support his side of that thesis. 
By the time the plates of veal, shrimp, lemon chicken and eggplant Parmesan had come and gone, and Mr. Dietl had already told the story of the patron murdered in 2003 in the seat next to his (Mr. Dietl was not there at the time), he summoned those at his 10-person table to listen to a quote from Theodore Roosevelt.
“This is poliphical,” he said, grasping for a word — and coming up with a garble — to capture how applicable he found the words of a former president to his own poor electoral performance. “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena,” he read, barking in his usual cadence above the restaurant din and the jukebox crooning “My Way.”
During a singalong to “My Girl,” Mr. Dietl sang heartily, substituting a different answer to the question, “What can make me feel this way?”
“Viagra!” Mr. Dietl joked.
With Mr. Dietl on Thursday night were employees of a German bank as well as Andrew M. Murstein and his father, Alvin Murstein, who run a taxi medallion financing company. The younger Mr. Murstein achieved some internet notoriety for hosting a lavish bar mitzvah for his son that included Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the singer Nicki Minaj.
Mr. Murstein detailed his years of trying to secure a spot in the restaurant. Now that he is friends with Mr. Dietl, he comes regularly, and said he had dined with the actor Leonardo DiCaprio and the former baseball player Hank Aaron.
By night’s end, Mr. Dietl, back in his element, embraced President Trump, saying he would apologize for calling the president a “lying narcissist” during the mayoral campaign. He added that he was thinking that, after having registered as a Democrat during the city’s election, he would return to the Republican Party.
“I like Donald,” Mr. Dietl said. “He’s kind of like me. He tells you what he feels, and it’s not politically correct.”
“You’re so right,” Ms. Napolitano said, laughing.
“I’ll never run again. I hate politics,” he said.
Mr. Dietl left the restaurant with leftovers in a plastic bag. His silver Mercedes sat double-parked in front, where it had been for the duration of the meal. He climbed in and drove off.


Feds prepare for last Genovese defendant to blink as trial date looms

Richard Valentini, of East Longmeadow, is shown here following his booking after his arrest on extortion charges on Aug. 4, 2016.
The government is poised for the last of five reputed La Cosa Nostra associates to blink as a Dec. 11 trial date in a long-running extortion case looms.
Four reputed Greater Springfield mobsters have either already pleaded guilty or have flagged their intentions to plead guilty, according to court records.
Meanwhile, an attorney for the fifth, Richard Valentini, of East Longmeadow, has said he intends to take Valentini's case to trial. He argues his client has been unfairly portrayed as part of a bully mob that squeezed Springfield tow company operator Craig J. Morel for $20,000 in "tribute" earmarked for organized crime.
Valentini, Ralph Santaniello, Gerald Daniele, and Giovanni "Johnny Cal" Calabrese, all of Longmeadow, were arrested on Aug 4, 2016, along with Francesco "Frank" Depergola, of Springfield and dozens of mob members up and down the East Coast.
The local five were charged with conspiracy, loansharking and extortion while other gangsters spread across several states faced additional charges.
Reputed Longmeadow mobsters Ralph Santaniello, 50, and Giovanni Calabrese, 54, pleaded guilty to extortion in U.S. District Court on Monday.
In terms of the local defendants, all but Daniele were charged in connection with shaking down Morel, who owns C.J.s Towing Unlimited, the largest towing company in Western Massachusetts. Santaniello and Calabrese first ambushed Morel at his property in Hampden in 2013, threatening to behead him if he didn't pay a "street tax."
Depergola and Valentini allegedly chimed in to advance the scheme in subsequent meetings, which Morel recorded on video and audio over three months at the behest of the Massachusetts State Police. Federal investigators ultimately assumed the case and it has progressed in U.S. District Court.
Santaniello and Calabrese have already entered guilty pleas and face six and five years in prison, respectively, at their sentencings in late January. Depergola and Daniele are now scheduled to plead guilty on Dec. 6. Their federal sentencing guidelines under plea deals have not yet been made public.
The maximum prison sentence for extortion is 20 years per criminal count.

Daniele, Santaniello and Calabrese also stand accused of extorting a separate victim for a gambling debt. Plus, Santaniello and Depergola were charged in a separate loansharking case out of New York City.
All five are accused of being associates of the New York-based Genovese Crime family, allegedly the most violent and tight-lipped of five La Cosa Nostra factions.
The Genovese family has long had a foothold in the Greater Springfield underworld, according to law enforcement officials.
For Valentini's part, he is scheduled to go to trial in Worcester on Dec. 11.
Valentini has a 2005 conviction in Hampden Superior Court for illegal gaming and loansharking. A former U.S. Postal worker, Valentini pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years of probation.
While Valentini was labeled as "third in command" in a street crew at that time, his current lawyer, Jared Olanoff, has said his client was a bit player, at best, in the Morel shakedown and did nothing more than nod at a meeting or two.
Marianne Shelvey, a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice's organized crime and gang units, during a pretrial conference on Monday told Judge Timothy Hillman that the clock was ticking for Valentini as the last holdout among the five defendants.
Shelvey, the lead prosecutor in the case, said Valentini could save himself about a year behind bars if he pleads guilty by Nov. 20, as opposed to rolling the dice at trial.
Under federal sentencing guidelines, prosecutors may seek "enhancements" that boost defendants' potential prison sentences; or by comparison, defendants may avail themselves of benefits that decrease their penalties.
Among the standards is one labeled "acceptance of responsibility," which subtracts three "points" from a given defendant's guidelines on one axis if they plead guilty before trial. Shelvey told Hillman that Valentini has exactly one week to plead guilty or the government will take away one of those three points, costing him several months to his detriment in the calculation.
It is ultimately up to the sentencing judge to decide the prison term, despite the maneuverings between lawyers. However, it is customary for attorneys to joust over sentencing guidelines as those typically instruct judges.
Asked for comment following Monday's hearing, Olanoff said he is going forward.
"We're continuing to gear up for trial," he said.


NJ mansion that belonged to infamous Gambino mobster sells for $6.9 million

A home built by one of America's most infamous mobsters has been sold.
The 6,529-square-foot hilltop mansion in Fort Lee, New Jersey that once belonged to Albert Anastasia - the head of Murder Inc - was sold by auction house Guernsey's for $6.9million. 
Anastasia, a founder of both the American Mafia and the mob's enforcement arm, was the boss of what would become the modern Gambino crime family.
In a report, authorities estimated that Anastasia was part of, in person or by direction, close to 30 assassinations by ice pick, strangling rope or gun. He was killed in October 1957 while making his daily visit to the barbershop at the Park Sheraton hotel in New York City.
Anastasia lived with his family behind a steel fence with two guard dogs at the 25-room mansion from 1947 until his death.
The seven bedroom, seven-and-a-half bath home sits on 1.2 acres on Bluff Road, on the Palisades Cliffs overlooking the Hudson River and the Manhattan skyline.
It's been rumored that the mansion came with a slaughter room - a tiled room with a drain in the floor since converted into a Jacuzzi room.
Amenities of the Italianate-style home include a butler's pantry; a spa with a sauna and hot tub; an in-ground swimming pool with a cabana and pool house; a two-car garage; and a master bedroom suite complete his/her dressing rooms, sitting room, large closets and a sizable bathroom.
The current owner bought the home for $5million, just days before it was to be sold at auction in June 2016.
The 6,529-square-foot hilltop mansion in Fort Lee, New Jersey that once belonged to the head of Murder Inc, the mob's enforcement arm, was sold  for $6.9million
Anastasia, a founder of both the American mafia and Murder Inc, was the boss of what would become the modern Gambino crime family
Anastasia lived with his family behind a steel fence with two guard dogs at the 25-room mansion from 1947 until his death
The first floor of the home includes a living room, a kitchen (pictured) a butler's pantry, a powder room, and a bedroom  as part of an apartment with separate outer entrance
The seven bedroom, seven-and-a-half bath home, sits on 1.2 acres on Bluff Road, on the Palisades Cliffs overlooking the Hudson River and the Manhattan skyline. (pictured, wood-paneled library)
Anastasia was killed in October 1957 while making his daily visit to the barbershop at the Park Sheraton hotel in New York City (pictured, living room)
It's been rumored that the mansion came with a slaughter room - a tiled room with a drain in the floor since converted into a Jacuzzi room 
It's been rumored that the mansion came with a slaughter room - a tiled room with a drain in the floor since converted into a Jacuzzi room
According to Zillow.com, property taxes on the home amounted to $84,525 in 2017
According to Zillow.com, property taxes on the home amounted to $84,525 in 2017
The home's owner was dis pursuing permits to subdivide the property into between three and five homes
The home's owner was dis pursuing permits to subdivide the property into between three and five homes
Borough Historian Tom Meyers said Anastasia's house doesn't have the same historic value as other properties the Fort Lee Historical Society would like to preserve
Borough Historian Tom Meyers said Anastasia's house doesn't have the same historic value as other properties the Fort Lee Historical Society would like to preserve
The current owner bought the home for $5million, just days before it was to be sold at auction in June 2016
The current owner bought the home for $5million, just days before it was to be sold at auction in June 2016
Amenities of the Italianate-style home include a spa with a sauna and hot tub, an in-ground swimming pool with a cabana and pool house, a two-car garage (pictured), and a master bedroom suite complete his/her dressing rooms 
Amenities of the Italianate-style home include a spa with a sauna and hot tub, an in-ground swimming pool with a cabana and pool house, a two-car garage (pictured), and a master bedroom suite complete his/her dressing rooms 
The seven bedroom, seven-and-a-half bath home, sits on 1.2 acres on Bluff Road, on the Palisades Cliffs overlooking the Hudson River and the Manhattan skyline
The seven bedroom, seven-and-a-half bath home, sits on 1.2 acres on Bluff Road, on the Palisades Cliffs overlooking the Hudson River and the Manhattan skyline
Previous owners of the home include former co-owner of the New York Yankees Del Webb and comedian Buddy Hackett
Previous owners of the home include former co-owner of the New York Yankees Del Webb and comedian Buddy Hackett


Gambino associate sent to infamous Supermax prison at his request

A notorious Florida conman will serve his 20-year sentence in solitary at the infamous federal Supermax prison — at his request.
A federal judge granted Jimmy Sabatino's request during a Monday hearing in Miami. The South Florida Sun Sentinel reports Sabatino told federal Judge Joan Lenard the only way to stop him from committing cons is to keep him from contacting the outside world.
Sabatino pleaded guilty to running a $10 million fraud from his cell at Miami's federal jail where he was being held for an earlier fraud. In his latest con, the 41-year-old Gambino crime family associate used smuggled cellphones to dupe luxury retailers to send jewelry, watches and other items to his outside co-conspirators.
The Supermax penitentiary in Florence, Colorado, holds some of the nation's worst criminals.
Sabatino has been in and out of prison his entire adult life. His past crimes include posing as an entertainment mogul to gain hundreds of free Super Bowl tickets and posing as a music executive while running up hundreds of thousands in unpaid hotel bills, according to the Miami Herald.
Sabatino spoke to CBS Miami in 2014, after he pleaded guilty to grand theft and organized fraud. He said he pretending to be a Sony Music executive or a Warner Brothers producer, he would book large blocks of rooms, including villas and presidential suites, with nothing more than audacity and a Gmail account.
The SLS, the Hilton Bentley, the Eden Roc, and the Omni Hilton, all fell victim to Sabatino's talents. Over a three month stretch, Sabatino ran up more than $600,000 in room charges before skipping out on the hotel staff before they realized Sabatino wasn't with Sony or Warner Brothers, CBS Miami reports.
"I would literally scratch my head in amazement that it worked, that it happened," he said. "It defied logic."
Although he now said being Supermax is the only way he would stop committing cons, he told CBS Miami in 2014 that being a con man "don't define me."
"In my entire career of being a con artist, I've never stolen anyone's pension, I've never took anyone's personal money, my victims have always been companies, corporations," he said in 2014. "Again I'm not justifying it but I'm saying in my mind there was some integrity to what I have done." 


From this day forward you’re gonna be an official member of the Bonanno family

Thirteen suspected gangsters have been arrested following a coordinated Canadian-US takedown of organized crime which saw police secretly record a mafia induction ceremony.
Four US men were arraigned in New York on narcotics trafficking, loansharking and firearms charges yesterday, the same day Canadian agents arrested nine suspects.
Damiano Zummo, 44, Salvatore Russo, 45, Paul Semplice, 54 and Paul Ragusa, 46, allegedly belong or are associated with the Bonanno and Gambino crime families, two infamous mobs that have long dominated organized crime in New York.
As part of the investigation, agents secretly recorded a 2015 induction ceremony in Canada in which a defendant sponsored a confidential informant to become a full-fledged member of the Bonanno mob, prosecutors said.
Court papers seen by the New York Post report Zummo as saying to the unnamed man being initiated: 'The reason why we’re here is from this day forward, you’re gonna be an official member of the Bonanno family.
'From this guy, this guy, this guy, everybody approved it, so from this day forward, you’re a member of the Bonanno family. Congratulations.' 
He later goes on to say: 'You only answer to the Bonanno family.' 
Acting US attorney in Brooklyn, Bridget Rohde, called the recording 'an extraordinary achievement for law enforcement'.
She added that it dealt 'a significant blow' to the mafia. 
The charges include accusations that Zummo and Russo sold more than two pounds of cocaine in a Manhattan gelato store. Zummo is also charged with laundering more than $250,000 in cash.
Semplice is accused of running a scheme that extended loans with interest as high as 54 per cent, generating thousands of dollars in profits a week.
While Ragusa is charged with being a felon in possession of nine firearms.
If convicted, Zummo, Ragusa and Russo risk life imprisonment. Semplice faces a maximum sentence of 20 years, prosecutors said.


Thursday, November 9, 2017

Feds reveal audio and video recording of Bonanno family induction ceremony as indictments come out

Earlier today, three indictments were unsealed in United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York charging four defendants with narcotics trafficking, loansharking and firearms offenses. The defendants—Damiano Zummo, an acting captain in the Bonanno crime family; Salvatore Russo, an associate of the Bonanno crime family; Paul Semplice, a member of the Gambino crime family; and Paul Ragusa, an associate of the Bonanno and Gambino crime families—were arrested yesterday and are scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Cheryl L. Pollak at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn. In a coordinated operation, Canadian law enforcement authorities today arrested nine organized crime members and associates in Canada, including members of the Todaro organized crime family, who are charged with, among other crimes, narcotics trafficking.

Bridget M. Rohde, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), announced the charges.

“Today’s arrests send a powerful message that this Office and our law enforcement partners here and abroad are committed to dismantling organized crime groups wherever they are located — whether local or international in scope,” stated Acting United States Attorney Rohde. “The recording of a secret induction ceremony is an extraordinary achievement for law enforcement and deals a significant blow to La Cosa Nostra.” Ms. Rohde praised the exceptional investigative efforts of the FBI, and extended special thanks to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the New York City Police Department (NYPD). Ms. Rohde also expressed her thanks to the Office’s law enforcement partners in Canada, including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the GTA Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit Public Prosecution Service of Canada, Ontario Regional Office.

“Criminal enterprises, both national and international, contribute to the breakdown of a lawful society,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney. “And yet, the allure of this gangland culture is often embraced and glamorized in movies and on television, where the threats posed to our economic and national security are seldom displayed. Dismantling and disrupting major international and national organized criminal enterprises is a longstanding area of FBI expertise, which is significantly enhanced through collaboration with our law enforcement partners and our Canadian partners. While we have more work to do, this operation is a giant step in the right direction.”

The coordinated investigation lasted more than two years and revealed criminal activity spanning the United States and Canada. As detailed in court filings, in 2015, one of the defendants sponsored a confidential informant to become a full-fledged member of the Bonanno crime family and as part of the investigation, law enforcement secretly video- and audio-recorded the induction ceremony, which occurred in Canada.

As detailed in the indictment and other court filings, Zummo, an acting captain in the Bonanno crime family, engaged in a cocaine trafficking conspiracy with Bonanno associate Salvatore Russo and others introduced by the confidential informant. In one transaction, on September 14, 2017, Zummo and Russo sold over a kilogram of cocaine inside a Manhattan gelato store. Zummo is also charged with laundering over $250,000 in cash by providing business checks issued to a fictitious consulting company that purported to bill the company for consulting services. Zummo took a fee of approximately 10 percent for each money laundering transaction.

As also detailed in the indictments and other court filings, Semplice, a member of the Gambino crime family, is charged with conducting a loansharking scheme in which he and others extended extortionate loans with interest rates of up to 54% per year. The alleged scheme generated thousands of dollars per week for Semplice and others. Paul Ragusa, a long-standing associate of the Bonanno and Gambino organized crime families, is charged with being a felon in possession of nine firearms, including three automatic assault rifles and one silencer. As alleged, Ragusa transported the firearms in exchange for $2,000 in cash.

If convicted, Zummo and Russo each face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment; Semplice faces a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment on each of three loansharking charges; and Ragusa faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment under the Armed Career Criminal Act.

The charges in the indictments are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Organized Crime and Gangs Section. Assistant United States Attorneys M. Kristin Mace, Tanya Hajjar and Drew Rolle are in charge of the prosecution.

The Defendants:

Age: 44
Residence: Roslyn Heights, New York

Age: 45
Residence: Bellmore, New York

Age: 54
Residence: Brooklyn, New York

Age: 46
Residence: Brooklyn, New York


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Genovese gangsters line up for guilty pleas

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Newspaper investigation reveals Lucchese soldier's witness protection identity and new scams

The owner of a closed Destiny USA bar and restaurant was a murderer and loan shark in the New York City mafia, according to an investigation by an Arizona newspaper.
Through the help of the Federal Witness Protection Program, Frank Gioia jr., a mobster, was able to morph into Frank Capri, an Arizona businessman, real-estate developer and head of a chain of restaurants called Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill, according to investigation by the Arizona Republic.
Capri's past life as a member of the mafia and his transition to a businessman was uncovered in the news paper's investigation. The Arizona Republic is the state's largest newspaper and is owned by Gannett.
Capri is the owner of Boomtown Entertainment LLC, which owns Toby Keith's restaurant. The chain came to Syracuse and opened in Destiny USA in January 2013. The business struggled to pay its rent and closed in May 2015.
The Syracuse mall sued Boomtown Entertainment for $10.5 million for breaching its contract. State Supreme Court Justice Hugh Gilbert decided in favor of Destiny in January 2016 after Toby Keith's missed the deadline to contest the lawsuit.
It's is unknown if Destiny has collected any of the $10.5 million Capri and his company owes. Destiny's lawyer was unable to be reached Friday afternoon.
Country music star Toby Keith licenses his name to the business, but has no stake in the restaurant.
Pyramid, Destiny's owner, is not the only developer that Capri owes. The Arizona Republic's investigation reveals that there are at least 48 lawsuits filed in 31 cities against the company.
Judges have ordered Capri or his companies to pay plaintiffs $65 million in cases tied to their Toby Keith restaurants, according research by the Arizona Republic.
Here's what the investigation revealed about Frank Capri, according to the Arizona Republic:
  • Frank Gioia Jr. was a soldier in the New York Mafia. He's a confessed murderer, drug dealer, gun runner, arsonist and loan shark.
  • His criminal history was erased by federal authorities in exchange for his cooperation and testimony against more than 70 mobsters. He walked out of prison in 1999 with a new identity and into a new life as an Arizona businessman.
  • Gioia's new identity is Frank Capri, a real-estate developer and restaurateur. He is the head of Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill.
  • Capri and his companies negotiated deals to build Toby Keith restaurants with mall owners and developers throughout the United States, then took tens of millions of dollars meant to pay for construction and walked away.
  • The Federal Witness Protection Program has few controls in place to ensure criminals who enter the program don't commit new crimes.
  • Capri is accused in litigation of stealing money meant for tenant improvements, stiffing landlords on rental contracts and pocketing money meant to pay contractors and laborers who worked on his projects.
  • Capri declined interview requests and did not respond to questions from the Arizona newspaper. The paper pieced together Capri's identity through court records, business documents, background searches and interviews with past and current associates. Mafia lawyers, former prosecutors, organized-crime researchers and private investigators spoke about Gioia's transformation from drug dealer and murderer to government witness and businessman.
  • Only one of Boomtown's Toby Keith restaurants, in Foxborough, Massachusetts, remains open. Boomtown in 2015 transferred the restaurant to a holding company at the address of one of Capri's lawyers.

Turncoat Colombo captain facing life is sentenced to 11 years for helping feds bring down the crime family

The last time the world heard from Dino Calabro was in 2012 when, swaggering and ruddy-faced, he appeared in court as a government informant and testified about the brutal murders he had once committed on behalf of his mob employers.
Shrunken and remorseful, Mr. Calabro was back in court on Friday, this time facing a possible sentence of life in prison for his crimes and begging a judge for mercy. His pleas in Federal District Court in Brooklyn were answered as the judge concluded that his assistance as a witness had helped to bring down scores of Mafiosi. He was sentenced to a term of 11 years.
The sentence capped an inglorious career in which Mr. Calabro, known as Big Dino, rose from a teenage mobster to a vicious captain in the Colombo crime family who, by his own account, had over the years killed at least eight people, including Ralph C. Dols, a New York City police officer whose mistake was marrying the former wife of the Colombo family leader Joel Cacace, Mr. Calabro’s onetime boss. After he was arrested in 2008, Mr. Calabro turned informant and eventually testified at Mr. Cacace’s trial and at the trial of Thomas Gioeli, the Colombo family’s “street boss.”
For the last five years, Mr. Calabro, now 59, has been in the witness protection program and has continued to help the government pursue the mob, federal prosecutors said. Though many of the cases that he worked on still remain secret, one of the prosecutors, James Gatta, told the court on Friday that Mr. Calabro had helped the government essentially “incapacitate” the Colombo clan.
At his sentencing hearing, Mr. Calabro renounced his past, saying that he had been “intoxicated by the greed, power and notoriety” that went with the gangster life and now was “mortified by the criminal culture” in which he had chosen to invest his “life and identity.” He apologized to the relatives of his victims, some of whom were sitting in the room, and to his own family, which he acknowledged he had left in “shambles.”
Ralph C. Dols, a New York City police officer, was killed in 1997. Mr. Calabro was part of a crew responsible for his murder. Credit New York Police Department 
Among his victims was Frank Marsala who was shot to death in 1991 on 19th Avenue in Brooklyn after Mr. Calabro and members of his crew suspected him of having helped to kill a Colombo family associate named Ennab Awjab. The next year, as the Colombo family erupted into violent civil war, Mr. Calabro took part in the murders of John Minerva and Michael Imbergamo, two Colombo members who were fatally shot in a car outside a diner on Long Island.
Even in a city inured to violent crime, the murder of Officer Dols in 1997 was a shock. Federal prosecutors accused Mr. Cacace of ordering the killing because it was embarrassing that his former wife, Kim T. Kennaugh, would leave him for a man who worked in law enforcement. At Mr. Cacace’s trial, Mr. Calabro testified that he was part of a crew that staked out Officer Dols’ house in Sheepshead Bay and executed him outside.
But Mr. Calabro reached what he described as “a tipping point” after prosecutors in the United States attorney’s office in Brooklyn issued an indictment against him and 11 other Colombo family members in June 2008, charging them with robbery, extortion, drug trafficking, loan-sharking and four murders. (Officer Dols’ killing was not at first among them.) “Every ounce of arrogance and bravado that had once been the bedrock of my personality,” he said on Friday, “instantly sapped out of me.”
He began to work with his former pursuers, testifying at separate trials against Mr. Gioeli and Mr. Cacace, who, while acquitted on some of the charges, were ultimately both imprisoned. The trials were remarkable for the “level of hostility” with which the defendants’ lawyers treated Mr. Calabro, his own lawyer, Richard Jasper, said on Friday. Judge Brian M. Cogan, who oversaw the trials and issued Mr. Calabro’s sentence, agreed. “I recall it vividly,” Judge Cogan said. “I have never seen anything like it before or since.”
Before Judge Cogan handed down the sentence, Rosa Gargano, the mother of a young man the Colombo family killed, addressed the court. In 1994, Ms. Gargano’s son, Carmine, then 21 and a college student in Brooklyn, disappeared from his parents’ home. Years later, Mr. Calabro admitted in court that he knew about the murder and helped to hide the body, which has never been found.
“I am angry,” Ms. Gargano said, erupting into tears. “I want justice.”
After Mr. Calabro’s sentence was rendered, Ms. Gargano said she did not get it.
“My son got no mercy — he got mercy,” she said. “I am not happy.”


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Step grandmother asks judge for light sentence for John Gotti's grandson

John J. Gotti, who shares a name with his late, powerful Gambino boss grandfather, is up for sentencing on an arson charge as soon as November.
Go easy, judge!
A mob scion's step-grandmother is begging a Brooklyn federal judge to give the young man the minimum sentence so he won't become some hardened con during an extended prison stay.
John J. Gotti, who shares a name with his late, powerful Gambino boss grandfather, is up for sentencing on an arson charge as soon as November.
And when that happens, Elyse Lottier hopes the 24-year-old won't get the book thrown at him.
Lottier, 63, was the stepmom of Tricia Gotti — John J. Gotti’s mom — until 2000. Despite being divorced from Tricia’s father, John Radicem, for 17 years, Lottier told Judge Allyne Ross that "Tricia, her husband Peter and her five children have remained an integral part of my life."
Lottier, 63, of Long Island City, asked the judge for leniency, saying she loved John as if he were her "own flesh and blood."
"I think John knows what he did was wrong and understands that what he did only got him to where he is. I think he knows, now, that some things need to change," Lottier wrote to the judge.
In an interview with the Daily News, she called John "a good boy who got himself into some trouble” and was worried whether "having the last name Gotti could work against him."
In June, Gotti admitted he was the 2012 getaway driver on a tough guy task to torch a Queens car whose driver had cut off the "Goodfellas" gangster Vinny Asaro in traffic.
Prosecutors said the Bonnano capo wanted revenge for the traffic violation and told an associate to burn up the car. The associate roped in Gotti and another man for the job.
The charges carry a five-year minimum and a 20-year maximum. Gotti, in his plea, also stipulated to his involvement as a driver in a 2012 queens bank heist.
In addition to any federal time, Gotti has to serve out an eight-year state sentence he received in March for selling oxycodone in Howard Beach and Ozone Park.
According to Lottier, the young man's brush with the law could be divine intervention, and part of that was up to Ross.
She sought a light sentence "so that his time in prison is an opportunity for him to turn his life around and it does not make him hardened and victimized and institutionalized."
Asaro has also pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentence.