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

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Lucchese family used Staten Island to conduct secret mafia initiation rituals

The Lucchese crime family established a strong presence on Staten Island over the years, with the Mafia clan holding a clandestine initiation ritual here and numerous members of its so-called Brooklyn crew operating on the borough, a mob snitch said last week.
During detailed testimony in Manhattan federal court, John Pennisi, a family member turned FBI informant, explained to prosecutors how many of the family’s members migrated to Staten Island from Brooklyn, establishing a stronghold here.
“We were the Brooklyn faction of the Lucchese family, but we operated out of Staten Island,” said Pennisi, 49, according to a transcript of his testimony obtained by the Advance.
Pennisi testified during the trial of family soldier Eugene "Boobsie" Castelle, 59, of Annadale, who was charged in a massive bust involving several mob families early last year.
During his testimony, Pennisi explained how about seven or eight people were part of each crew.
Crews were spread all over the New York City area, including two in the Bronx, two on Long Island and one in Manhattan.
Each crew was run by a captain, Pennisi explained.
“There was no real Staten Island crew,” said Pennisi. “Although we were in Staten Island, we were the Brooklyn part of that family.”
“If you live on Staten Island why are you considered Brooklyn?” asked Assistant U.S. Attorney Hagan Scotten, of the Southern District of New York.
The answer was simple.
“Because everybody from Staten Island came from Brooklyn,” Pennisi testified.
Pennisi said that, at the time, he was living on Long Island and traveled to Staten Island for family business.
“It’s just wherever they put you," he said. "It doesn’t mean that you have to come from Brooklyn.”
His testimony didn’t specify exactly where the crew was operating, but the New York Post reported it was mostly based in Tottenville.
Pennisi, himself, lived on Staten Island for a short time after getting out of prison in 2007.
He started cooperating with the Federal Bureau of Investigation sometime after October 2018, when he walked into the Bureau’s office to share his “concerns and basically crimes that [he] committed,” he said under oath.
He has been sharing information about the inside operations of the Mafia family since then.
Pennisi said he became a member of the Lucchese family in 2013, during a secret initiation ceremony at a house on Staten Island on his wife’s birthday.
Matty Madonna, the acting boss of the Lucchese family, presided over the ceremony, he said.
In the darkness of a basement, Pennisi sat in front of a table.
“There was a gun, a knife, there was a picture of a saint, an ashtray, a lighter, and like a diabetic pin, needle to check your blood,” said Pennisi.
Madonna, from the Bronx, asked Pennisi what his trigger finger was and shortly after, John "Big John" Castellucci, a Staten Island resident and crew captain, who was sitting next to him, poked his finger with the needle, according to his testimony.
“They took the saint, and they poured blood drops onto the saint, and then he said to me we're going to light the saint on fire, and you're going to put your hands out and you're going to move the paper of the saint back and forth in your hands and repeat after me,” said Pennisi.
“Matty [Madonna] said if I was ever to betray any member of the family, that my soul would burn like the saint is burning,” he said.
He did not specify where on Staten Island the ritual took place.
The feds have struck back hard against the family in recent years.
Both Madonna and Castellucci were among those charged in a massive Lucchese bust in 2017, which included several Staten Islanders. Madonna was 81 at the time and Castellucci 57.
After a two-week trial, Castelle was found guilty on one count of attempted extortion and one count of illegal gambling on Friday.
He remains out on bail after his brother put up his New Brighton home in January of 2018, according to court documents.
Pennisi is currently under FBI protection.
(Both court filings and officials from the U.S. attorney’s office spell the family name as “Luchese.” Many outlets, however, spell the family name as “Lucchese.”)


Saturday, June 1, 2019

Lucchese soldier found guilty in illegal gambling case

A reputed mobster called “Boobsie” gambled in Manhattan court Friday — and lost.
Eugene Castelle, an alleged foot soldier for the Luchese crime family, had turned down a plea deal from the government that would have likely got him between eight and 14 months in prison on raps including illegal gambling and racketeering.
Castelle decided instead to fight his case before a jury and was convicted.
He now faces a sentence of between 30 to 40 months in prison, according to guidelines.
He was allowed to walk free on a $1 million bond.
Castelle was rounded up in 2016 with five other defendants for running an illegal sports-gambling website.
Castelle’s lawyer, Gerald McMahon, said his client was convicted for something that’s becoming increasingly legal in New York — the only difference, he said, is that Castelle was doing it with an “Italian veneer.
“Is gambling still a crime in America?” said. “Do we need to put him in jail for gambling? Come on.”
Castelle was prosecuted alongside Bonnano bosses Joe “Joe C” Cammarano and John “Porky” Zancioccio, who fared better in their trials earlier this year and were able to walk free after a jury acquitted them of racketeering charges.


Monday, May 27, 2019

Former Bonanno consigliere linked to Mob Wives stars dies at age 78

Reputed Bonanno crime family consigliere Anthony Graziano, whose daughter Renee starred on the reality show “Mob Wives,” has died at age 78.
The passing of the Staten Island-born gangster known as “T.G.” was announced Saturday by Renee in a heartfelt Instagram posting. Her sister Jennifer was the creator of the popular VH-1 program that reportedly caused problems for the Graziano patriarch with his organized crime colleagues.
“I can’t believe you’re gone, life will never be the same without you,” wrote Renee. “My hero, my protector, my rock, my dad and the best man in the world ... We sure are gonna miss you ... rest in peace Daddy.”
Graziano, owner of a seventh-grade education, became a well-respected gangster and top family earner who moved up through the Bonanno ranks to capo and then consigliere under boss Joseph "Big Joey" Massino — who eventually flipped and became a federal witness.
In contrast, Graziano’s reputation among his fellow Mafiosi was sterling. A co-defendant, once asked if Graziano could ever turn on his mob compatriots, ridiculed the idea: “Are you nuts? That man is a man and a half.”
Graziano was famously ratted out by his son-in-law Hector Pagan, who wore a wire in a case that stuck Graziano with a 19-month prison sentence in 2012.
He previously did time for a 1990 conviction for tax evasion, and served another prison term for a 2002 racketeering conviction.
Graziano’s disdain for his daughters’ television careers led him to stop speaking with them for a period of time until fences were mended. And there were reports that the daughters’ involvement in the reality show led his fellow mobsters to take away many of the father’s organized crime responsibilities.


Saturday, May 18, 2019

Philly mobster pleads guilty and asks judge to be sent to jail immediately

A reputed Philadelphia mobster has pleaded guilty to extorting a man who took out a loan from him, and asked the judge to send him to prison right away.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that after a bit of confusion, it was determined Philip Narducci could surrender Monday and begin earning credit toward the prison term of 12 months and one day he agreed to serve in a deal with prosecutors.
Narducci is no stranger to serious allegations. A former member of Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo's crew, he spent decades in federal prison after he was convicted in 1988 on racketeering charges. He also was convicted of participating in the 1985 gangland hit on bookmaker Frank "Frankie Flowers" D'Alfonso, but was later acquitted in that case.
Lawyer Brian McMonagle says 56-year-old Narducci is eager to return to the restaurant he runs called Chick's — named after his father, purported mob captain Frank "Chickie" Narducci Sr.


Mob lawyer gets time served for helping put Vinny Gorgeous away for life

A former mob lawyer who turned canary against Bonanno crime family boss Vincent “Vinny Gorgeous” Basciano was sentenced Friday to time served — three days — by the same judge Basciano once tried to have killed.
Defendant Thomas Lee cried and hugged his attorney after Brooklyn federal court Justice Nicholas Garaufis handed down the sentence.
“Good luck, and have a good life,” Garaufis told Lee, nearly 14 years after the defendant took the stand against Basciano to finger him for racketeering, including acts of murder, murder conspiracy, and solicitation of murder.
Lee admitted to abusing his power as a lawyer to pass messages from acting boss Basciano to the family’s incarcerated official head, Joseph Massino, in 2004 regarding a murder plot.
“I don’t blame my upbringing, I don’t blame my neighborhood, I don’t blame my father’s drug addiction,” Lee told the court Friday, referencing his mob-tinged childhood in The Bronx. “The most important thing is that I’ve broken the cycle.
“The self-inflicted wounds are the worst,” the 51-year-old said. “And the difficulty is, the story I injected myself into is folk, it’s created.”
Lee spent three days in jail, just long enough to be arraigned, in 2005 before being set free on $2 million bond and heading straight into the federal Witness Protection Program, where he remains.
While he had faced between 121 to 151 months behind bars following his guilty plea to a charge of racketeering, prosecutors went to bat for him in a letter to Garaufis, given his testimony at multiple trials.
The judge Friday thanked prosecutor Amy Busa for the submission, which he described as “all these many years later, bringing back these memories I had hoped to forget.”
Garaufis was named on a 2006 hand-written hit-list Basciano passed off behind bars while he was awaiting retrial, after a jury deadlocked on his first trial.
Basciano was eventually convicted on racketeering charges, including acts of murder and murder conspiracy, and is serving life in prison.
Lee declined to comment through his lawyer, Joel Cohen, though the attorney lauded the sentence.
“I think he earned the sentence he got,” Cohen said.


Thursday, May 9, 2019

Killer of Gambino boss knew he was a marked man right after shooting

Anthony Comello knew he was a marked man as soon as he pulled the trigger.
Within moments after gunning down Gambino crime boss Frank “Franky Boy" Cali outside his Staten Island home, the unhinged 24-year-old murder suspect frantically fired off a text, reading “I’m on the run.”
“My family is marked,” he wrote, according to Staten Island prosecutors at a bail hearing for Comello Thursday.
Comello has been indicted for the execution-style killing of Cali in front of his victim’s home on March 13. Police sources said that Comello was outraged that Cali demanded that his niece stop seeing the Staten Island resident.
Cops arrested Comello three days later at his family’s New Jersey home.
His attorney, Robert Gottlieb, asked that Comello be released on $1 million bail at Thursday’s hearing but a judge refused the request, claiming that he had already showed that he was flight risk by leaving the state after the murder.
At previous court appearances, Gottlieb expressed fears about the accused killer’s continued safety behind bars.
Mob-style retribution against Comello is expected.
FBI perp walk Frank Cali Prosecutors claimed that Cali acted as the Gambino ambassador to the Sicilian mobsters and as a liaison between D'Amico and the Sicilian connections to the Inzerillo family. Cali was charged with racketeering, extortion, and conspiracy along with D'Amica and DiMaria.
FBI perp walk Frank Cali Prosecutors claimed that Cali acted as the Gambino ambassador to the Sicilian mobsters and as a liaison between D'Amico and the Sicilian connections to the Inzerillo family. Cali was charged with racketeering, extortion, and conspiracy along with D'Amica and DiMaria.
“He must know his life is worth nothing,” one-time Bonanno family associate Joe Barone told the Daily News in March. “He doesn’t have a chance in hell. It’s a matter of time. Even if the wiseguys don’t get him, he’ll get whacked by somebody looking to make a name.”
Comello is accused of driving his truck to Cali’s Todt Hill home and crashing the vehicle into the mobster’s parked SUV. When Cali came out to investigate, Comello opened fire on the unsuspecting mob boss, prosecutors say.
Sources indicated the suspect’s fingerprint was recovered from a license plate on the victim’s damaged Cadillac Escalade.
Comello pumped 10 bullets into the doomed boss, officials said. During an extradition hearing following his arrest in New Jersey, he had inked “United We Stand” and “MAGA Forever” on the palm of his hand.


Monday, May 6, 2019

FBI subpoenaed Long Island town seeking records on Genovese crime family members

Oyster Bay Town Hall received a federal subpoena seeking records about members of the Genovese crime family, a town official said Monday.
“Names that they’ve asked us about seem to tie into the Genovese crime family,” said Deputy Town Supervisor Gregory Carman Jr. “There are no members of the Genovese crime family that I know of that work for the town.”
Carman said the information request was “very broad” and asked for “any records” of the people named.
“I don’t think it has anything to do with the town,” Carman said.
John Marzulli, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District, declined to comment.
Two plainclothes agents arrived at Town Hall shortly before noon and left about 10 minutes later. After they left, one of them showed a reporter FBI identification and referred questions to the FBI press office. Calls to the New York City FBI press office were not returned Monday.