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

Monday, September 17, 2018

Gambinos brace for Gotti to rejoin the crime family after prison release

“Dapper Don” John Gotti’s younger brother, Gene, is back on the streets after serving 29 years in prison for dealing heroin — and the mob is bracing for what it will mean to their rackets, The Post has learned.

An exclusive Post photo shows Gene Gotti, 71, outside his family home in Valley Stream, Long Island, following his release on parole from a federal lockup in Louisiana last week.

The picture shows the stark change in appearance he underwent during nearly three decades behind bars.

Although Gene went away sporting dark hair, the geriatric gangster is now nearly bald — and what little hair he has left is snowy white.

The Gambino organized crime family once run by his late brother — who died in prison in 2002 — is now headed by Domenico Cefalu, with Frank Cali as its “street boss,” law enforcement sources say.

But as a made man who was a mob captain when he headed off to the slammer, Gotti is entitled to a role in the Gambino family — which has his cronies worried about the scrutiny that could bring, sources said.

“The Gambinos are running smoothly — gambling, pills, construction unions, etc.,” one law enforcement official said.
Gene Gotti leaves his home in Valley Stream, LI.

“The last thing they want is someone to put them back in papers and on TV.”

John Gotti’s penchant for publicity “set them back 30 years,” the source added.

“They don’t want no flashy leaders, no weekly social-club meetings,” the source said.

It’s unclear whether Gotti — who allegedly oversaw a lucrative loan-sharking operation while behind bars — will demand that he resume his role as a “capo” or even insist on a higher rank.

“Everyone hopes he will be low-key and just make a living, but that is very un-Gotti-like,” one source said.

Gene Gotti was infamously caught blabbing over telephones tapped by the FBI, which recorded him describing his older brother as a ”powerhouse captain” about three years before John allegedly took over the Gambinos by ordering the 1985 assassination of boss Paul “Big Paul” Castellano outside Sparks Steak House in Manhattan.

No one answered the door Sunday at Gotti’s home, which is owned by his wife, Rosalie.

A sign on the front door says “Nana and Papa’s Nest — where the flock gathers.” A white Mercedes-Benz sedan was parked in the driveway.


Saturday, September 15, 2018

Lucchese associate pleads guilty to attempted murder

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that VINCENT BRUNO pled guilty today before United States Magistrate Judge Paul E. Davison to attempting to kill, and conspiring to kill, a Bronx man in 2012.  In May 2017, BRUNO and 18 other members and associates of the Luchese Family of La Cosa Nostra were arrested and charged in a nine-count Indictment, for their involvement in offenses including racketeering, murder, attempted murder, narcotics trafficking, and gun crimes.  Since the unsealing of the Indictment, BRUNO and nine other defendants have pled guilty, and have been or will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Cathy Seibel.
U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “Bruno’s attempt to murder a man at the behest of his mob superiors has ended where it should:  With Bruno behind bars.  We will continue to work with the FBI and our other partners in law enforcement to stamp out the remnants of La Cosa Nostra.”
According to the superseding information to which BRUNO pled guilty, his statements when pleading guilty, the allegations in the Indictment, and statements made in related court filings and proceedings:
In 2012, armed members and associates of the Bonanno Family of La Cosa Nostra forced their way into a Bronx social club controlled by the Luchese Family.  During the ensuing confrontation, one of the Bonanno Family associates (the “Associate”) acted in a manner that a leader of the Luchese Family, Steven L. Crea (“Crea Sr.”), perceived as a personal affront. To avenge this supposed offense, Crea Sr. ordered his son, Steven D. Crea (“Crea Jr.”), to have the Associate killed.  Crea Jr. passed the order to Paul Cassano Jr., a/k/a “Paulie Roast Beef,” and BRUNO.  On a subsequent night, BRUNO and Cassano travelled to the Associate’s Bronx residence.  There BRUNO, armed with a gun, tried to find the Associate in order to kill him, but failed.  The dispute between the rival families was then resolved before the murder was carried out.
In conjunction with this incident, Cassano pled guilty to attempted assault in aid of racketeering in 2017.   Crea Sr. and Crea Jr. are also charged with attempting to have the Associate killed and other crimes, and are scheduled to begin trial before Judge Seibel in 2019.
*                      *                     *
BRUNO, 34, pled guilty to one count of attempted murder in aid of racketeering, and one count of conspiracy against the United States.  In total, the counts to which BRUNO pled guilty carry a maximum sentence of 15 years.  BRUNO will be sentenced before Judge Seibel.
The allegations contained in the Indictment as to Crea Sr., Crea Jr., and the other defendants who have not pled guilty are merely accusations, and these defendants are presumed unless and until proven guilty.
Mr. Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI’s Joint Organized Crime Task Force, which comprises agents and detectives of the FBI, NYPD, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor.  He also thanked the Queens County District Attorney’s Office.
The case is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division.  Assistant United States Attorneys Scott Hartman, Hagan Scotten, and Jacqueline Kelly are in charge of the prosecution.


Thursday, September 13, 2018

Former New England boss turned rat sentenced to life in prison for 1993 murder

Former New England Mafia boss Francis "Cadillac Frank" Salemme was unrepentant Thursday as he was sentenced to life in prison for the 1993 killing of a nightclub owner, declaring that the "real story" will come out one day.
Salemme, the 85-year-old onetime head of the New England family of La Cosa Nostra, looked down at the table in front of him and read a document while the children of the man he's convicted of killing described the pain of losing their father and not knowing his whereabouts for more than two decades.
"While there is closure in this case, for me the healing is just beginning," Steven DiSarro's daughter, Colby, told the court. "This is not a movie. This is and has been our life: the story of a family who was robbed of the love and affection of their father."
Salemme and his co-defendant, Paul Weadick, were found guilty in June in the slaying of DiSarro, whose remains were discovered in 2016. Weadick also received a mandatory life sentence on Thursday.
Before being sentenced, Salemme rose from his chair, called the proceeding "ridiculous" and said DiSarro's family hasn't been told the truth.
"The real story about what happened here has not been out yet," said Salemme, who wore his gray hair slicked back and a bright orange jumpsuit. "But it will come out. It will come out in time," he said.
Longtime federal prosecutor Fred Wyshak at one point choked back tears as he spoke about the crimes of the mobster, after whom Wyshak has been going since the 1990s.
"This man is ruthless, barbaric and he is an individual who richly deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison," Wyshak said.
Salemme's trial transported jurors back to a time when the Mafia was a feared and powerful force in Boston and its environs. With slicked-back grey hair and a frail frame, Salemme is almost unrecognizable from the bulky mob boss depicted in grainy surveillance photos from his heyday.
Another former mobster told authorities that he saw Salemme's son strangle DiSarro while Weadick held the nightclub owner's feet and Salemme stood by. Salemme's son, known as "Frankie boy," died in 1995.
Authorities at the time were looking into Salemme's involvement in DiSarro's nightclub, the Channel. Federal authorities had told DiSarro he was about to be indicted and should give them information on Salemme.
Salemme and Weadick's lawyers said the other mobster, Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi, was lying to take Salemme down and help himself. Flemmi, who was notorious gangster James "Whitey" Bulger's partner and once good friends with Salemme, is serving a life sentence for killing 10 people.
Salemme and Weadick insisted they had nothing to do with DiSarro's killing.
Salemme, who has admitted to a slew of other killings, was living in Atlanta under the name Richard Parker in 2016 when the FBI received a tip the remains were buried near a mill building in Providence, Rhode Island. Salemme's lawyer questioned why he would admit to those slayings but never fess up to ordering DiSarro's death.
Salemme decided to cooperate with the government after learning that Bulger and Flemmi had been informing the FBI behind his back. In exchange, the government cut his sentence for a 1999 racketeering conviction and he entered the witness protection program.
He was kicked out of witness protection in 2004 when he was charged with lying to investigators for suggesting another mobster killed DiSarro, but was later allowed back under government protection.


Saturday, September 8, 2018

Former boxer turned Russian mafia enforcer sentenced to 10 years in prison

A WBO boxer once dubbed “Mini Mike Tyson” was sentenced to 10 years behind bars on Friday for using his boxing skills as an “enforcer” and “soldier” to a Brooklyn mob boss.
Middleweight prizefighter Avtandil Khurtsidze was a successful and gifted athlete “who squandered all of those gifts for prestige and thrill and power,” prosecutors said at his Manhattan federal court sentencing.
They said Khurtsidze deserves more than the six years recommended by probation officials because he didn’t need to help mob boss Razhden Shulaya, who was also convicted at trial.
“There is no reason other than the enjoyment of inflicting pain and the power and prestige he thought he could bring to himself,” prosecutor Andrew Adams told Judge Katherine Forrest.
The judge agreed, calling Khurtsidze’s crimes of violence “breathtaking and extraordinary.”
She chided him for being so devoted to Shulaya that he once offered to sexually assault a woman Shulaya was angry with.
“If you tell me it is needed I will give her a good f—k when I see her,” the WBO boxer told his boss, it emerged at trial.


Monday, September 3, 2018

Brother of John Gotti set to be released this month after finishing nearly 30 year sentence

If the late John Gotti’s long-jailed brother finds the 21st-century Mafia unrecognizable later this month, he knows where the blame lies.
Gene Gotti, behind bars since 1989 for running a multi-million dollar heroin distribution ring, is set for a Sept. 15 release from the Federal Correctional Institution in Pollock, La. The Long Island father of three, now 71, wore a white jogging suit and cracked wise about his upcoming prison time when surrendering in the last millennium at the Brooklyn Federal Courthouse.
Twenty-nine years later, there’s little to laugh about.
Back in the ’80s heyday of his immaculately-dressed older brother and the Gambino family, FBI bugs captured Gene discussing topics from drug dealing to hiding illegal cash to changes in mob hierarchy.
The recordings of the Gambino capo and his mob associates became the first damaging domino to fall for the family in 1983, setting in motion the demise of their criminal empire.
What remains is a faint whisper of the roar that followed the ascension to boss of John "Dapper Don" Gotti, who took over after ordering the Dec. 16, 1985, mob assassination of predecessor “Big Paul” Castellano — in part to save his smack-dealing sibling’s life.
“What is Genie coming home to?” mused one long-retired Gambino family hand and Gotti contemporary. “There’s nothing left.”
When Gene Gotti started his 50-year prison bid, George H.W. Bush was in year one at the White House, an earthquake rocked the Bay Area World Series and the lip-syncing duo Milli Vanilli topped the charts.
Gene Gotti was convicted at his third federal drug-dealing trial, with jury tampering cited for a mistrial in the first one and a hung jury in the second. He and brother John were also cleared in a 1987 federal racketeering case where a juror was bribed.
Angel Gotti, Gene’s niece and the daughter of John, expects her uncle to find his footing in freedom.
“My uncle has been away 29 years so I'm sure he will be spending all his time with his wife, kids and grandchildren,” Angel told the Daily News.
Gene became one of five Gotti brothers to embrace “The Life” of organized crime. Though John emerged as the top gun, Gene earned his own spurs and became a valued mobster.
“He was a bona-fide wiseguy,” said ex-FBI agent Bruce Mouw, former head of the agency’s Gambino squad. “He wasn’t there because of his brother. He made it on his own.”
When the Dapper Don's brother, Gene Gotti, behind bars since 1989 for running a multimillion-dollar heroin ring, gets out this month, he'll come home to a faded family business.
When the Dapper Don's brother, Gene Gotti, behind bars since 1989 for running a multimillion-dollar heroin ring, gets out this month, he'll come home to a faded family business.
But bona fide wiseguys are hard to find in 2018. Big brother John is dead 16 years, and sibling Peter appears destined to die behind bars, too. John’s namesake son Junior Gotti quit the mob after doing time for a strip club shakedown; he then survived four prosecutions that ended in mistrials. The Gotti crew’s Bergin Hunt & Fish Club in Ozone Park, Queens, is gone, replaced by the Lords of Stitch and Print custom embroidery shop.
Even the Mafia “brand” is down: The recently-released movie with John Travolta playing the “Teflon Don” grossed a mere $4.3 million — hardly “Godfather” numbers.
“The American Mafia has a recruitment problem: Who the hell wants to be a member?” said mob expert Howard Abadinsky, professor of criminal justice at St. John’s.
The new generation is filled with wanna-bes “who have either seen too many Mafia movies or losers who do not have the smarts or ambition for legitimate opportunity,” he added.
The older generation was not always a Mensa meeting, either — and Gene Gotti was Example A.
By the early 1980s, Gene was partnered with pals John Carneglia and Angelo Ruggiero in a lucrative heroin operation that ignored a Mafia edict against dope dealing. Gambino boss Castellano imposed a death penalty for violators, worried that drug convictions with lengthy jail terms provided an incentive for mobsters to rat out the family’s top echelon.
Gotti and his cohorts not only ignored the decree, they were caught discussing their drug dealing on an FBI bug planted in Ruggiero’s home.
“Dial any seven numbers and it's 50/50 Angelo will pick up the phone,” a disgusted Carneglia later observed of his chatty cohort.
For Mouw, the recordings that led to Gene Gotti’s August 1983 arrest altered the landscape for the feds and the felons under their watch.
“Without those conversations, a lot of things could have changed,” he said.
Instead, Castellano was soon pressing the Gotti faction for the damning tapes turned over by prosecutors as part of pre-trial discovery. The boss’ demand was greeted with excuses and delays, until Castellano was whacked 10 days before Christmas outside a Midtown steakhouse.
Decades later, it’s too late to change anything — including Gene’s decision to reject a plea deal that might have freed him after just seven years in prison.
“His brother John said no,” recalled Mouw. “He and Carneglia, they would have been home 20 years ago.”
The past is the past. What does the future hold for Gene Gotti?
“That’s the big question,” said Mouw. “Are you going to retire and enjoy your grandchildren? Or are you going to get active, and return to jail?"


Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Turncoat New England captain gets five years for lying to the feds about 1993 murder


A former New England Mafia capo has been sentenced to more than five years in prison for obstructing an investigation into the 1993 killing of a nightclub owner.
Federal prosecutors say 72-year-old Robert DeLuca was sentenced Tuesday in Boston's federal court.
DeLuca pleaded guilty in November 2016 to obstruction of justice and making false statements for lying to prosecutors about what he knew about the 1993 killing of Boston nightclub owner Steven DiSarro.
DeLuca was later a key witness in the trial of former New England Mafia Boss Frank Salemme Jr., who was convicted in DiSarro's slaying.
DeLuca said in a letter to the judge that he has denounced the Mafia.
His attorney, Carlos Dominguez, called it a fair sentence, given DeLuca's cooperation with prosecutors.
DeLuca also faces sentencing in a separate Rhode Island case.


Sunday, August 26, 2018

Turncoat New England captain says he found God and asks judge for leniency reveals he flipped earlier than publicly revealed

A made man in the New England Mafia facing 20 years in prison for lying to the FBI about the 1993 murder of Boston businessman Steven DiSarro claims he turned his back on the mob seven years ago and was "saved" by God.
Robert "Bobby" DeLuca, 73, is asking U.S. District Court Judge Denise J. Casper to punish him with no more than four years behind bars when she sentences him Tuesday .
"I done wrong by lying so I have to do my time out," the father of four wrote Casper in a letter.
Federal prosecutors are recommending DeLuca receive 5 1/2 years as reward for his star testimony that led to former godfather Francis "Cadillac Frank" Salemme and Paul Weadick being convicted earlier this year of strangling DiSarro to stop him from becoming an FBI informant against La Cosa Nostra.
Casper is not bound by either request for leniency.
In anticipation of Salemme's and Weadick's trial, DeLuca pleaded guilty in November to obstruction of justice and making false statements.
After leaving Providence several years ago and moving to Florida to enter witness protection as an informant himself, DeLuca said he started attending two churches regularly.
"I became a good Christian and was friendly with both pastors," DeLuca told Casper. "I went out and got saved and was going to get baptized" when he was arrested following the discovery of DiSarro's remains in a hazardous waste pit in Providence in March 2016, 23 years after the owner of the former The Channel nightclub in South Boston vanished.
"It will be one of the first things I do when I get out," DeLuca promised Casper of his christening.
One of DeLuca's ex-wives, Natalie DeLuca, 72, with whom he has two adult children -- both born with cerebral palsy -- is also trying to come to his rescue.
She wrote Casper, "I believe in my heart that he tried to change, but his past mistake wouldn't let him ... Robert has always been a good father to our children. They love him like there is no tomorrow."


Botched murder in the Bronx reminds people of mafia past

The shots popped at 6:30 on the sunny morning of July 11, at the corner of a quiet street near the water in the Bronx. Just off Tierney Place in Throgs Neck, Salvatore Zottola, 41, was ambushed by a gunman, who sped off while Mr. Zottola, full of gunshot wounds, rolled on the pavement.
The attack lasted 17 seconds and was caught on a grainy security camera video released by the New York Police Department. As far as murder attempts go, it wasn’t much of one. The gunman was sloppy. Gravely injured but alive, Mr. Zottola was whisked to Jacobi Medical Center.
That same afternoon, his father, Sylvester Zottola, was in court for charges stemming from his own brush with death. In June, the elder Mr. Zottola had brandished an unlicensed gun at someone who threatened him outside his home, the police said. The unknown thug vanished, and the 71-year-old was arrested and charged with criminal possession of a firearm.
It all might be chalked up as a bizarre coincidence, had both Zottolas not kept company with reputed mobsters. The police say the father and son are noted associates of New York’s Bonanno crime family.
Who is after the duo remains a mystery. The police said they are looking at whether the two episodes are connected, and that the younger Mr. Zottola, who has since recovered, has spoken with detectives.
But the police stopped short of characterizing those discussions as “cooperation,” and would not comment further. The Bronx district attorney’s office said it has handed the case over to federal investigators, who, after a flurry of media attention, have gone quiet.
The ordeal adds another footnote to the epilogue of the mafia’s golden age. Gone are the days when crime bosses like Paul Castellano were gunned down outside Midtown restaurants by hit men. From Boston to Philadelphia, the aging dons of America’s most notorious crime families have been knocked off, locked up or have settled into less illicit — or at least less violent — retirements.
But every so often there is a reminder that those organizations, though weakened, are still here.
“I don’t think the heyday of the mob is dead,” said Nicole Argentieri, a former federal prosecutor who worked on several organized crime cases in New York, including one that involved the Zottolas. “I think people have romanticized it and are sympathetic to them.”
Indeed, bullets with mob fingerprints — if only figurative — have flown across the five boroughs over the last decade, albeit infrequently.
In June 2016, a Brooklyn pizzeria owner, Louis Barbati, 61, was gunned down in his backyard in what was widely rumored to be a mob hit. In 2009, Anthony Seccafico, who the police said was a member of the Bonnano family, was shot to death on Staten Island.
“The fact that they aren’t as flagrant and notorious as they used to be doesn’t mean they’re not there,” David Fritchey, a retired federal prosecutor who helped put away Philadelphia’s bosses in the early 2000s, said of organized crime families. “They’re still operating and they still have some power.”
According to court filings, the elder Mr. Zottola, known as “Sally Daz,” is one of that bygone era’s dwindling crew. His eponymous D.A.Z. Amusements supplied “Joker Poker” slot machines to mob-controlled gambling hubs, court documents show.
According to the documents, it was the elder Zottola’s proclivities that brought his son, Salvatore, into the circle of Vincent J. Basciano, the boss of the Bonanno crime family in the early 2000s. The father and son helped service Mr. Basciano’s poker machines, the documents charge, and Mr. Basciano’s girlfriend, Debra Kalb, lived at the Zottolas’ Throgs Neck compound at the turn of the century.
The extent to which the traditional structures of New York organized crime families have been decimated by prosecutors in recent years is difficult to overstate. Even as the Justice Department’s organized crime resources were shifted to terrorism after Sept. 11, sweeping racketeering cases put most of the bosses in the Northeast into prison cells.
Mr. Zottola’s syndicate clients met similar fates. Mr. Basciano, known as “Vinny Gorgeous,” led the Bonanno enterprise only briefly before he was convicted of racketeering and murder, for which he is now serving a life sentence.
The Zottolas are mentioned sporadically in court filings from Mr. Basciano’s case, but it is unclear what, if any, of their mafia ties remain. John Meglio, a lawyer for the Zottolas, said his clients would not comment.
Salvatore Zottola’s would-be killer remains at large, and his father’s next court date has been pushed to September. For now, the Zottola’s compound in Throgs Neck remains quiet.
“They’re not out of business by a long sight,” Mr. Fritchey said of crime families. But, he added, “They’re not what they were.”