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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Former gangster details life growing up in the mafia in new book

Frank DiMatteo witnessed his first mob murder at the age of 5.

It took place on the corner of Fourth Avenue and Union Street in Park Slope, Brooklyn, 20 feet from where he was standing. In 1961, brownstone Brooklyn was a different place than today.

Carroll Gardens hood Joseph “Crazy Joe” Gallo kept an actual lion to scare those who owed him debts. The Profaci crime family was famous for loan-sharking. And DiMatteo’s father, Ricky, provided gun-toting enforcement for the ultraviolent Gallo crime family.

DiMatteo learned that killing “is just business.” He tells his story in the memoir “The President Street Boys: Growing Up Mafia,” out Tuesday from Kensington Publishing.

He was raised on Sackett Street in Carroll Gardens, where celebs crossed the East River to rub elbows with thugs. “Lauren [Bacall] would come down to a neighborhood wiseguy place, Ju Ju,” DiMatteo recalls. “She was close to Frank ‘Punchy’ Illiano” — one of Gallo’s lieutenants.

DiMatteo, now 60, worked for Gallo. As a teen, he drove getaway cars for armed robbers — with his father’s blessing.

“We did a diamond heist,” he tells The Post. “Two Hasidic Jews in the shop refused to give up the diamonds. Then one got hit across the mouth and they went along. The score was $100,000 and I got $5,000.”

He got arrested 11 times, for crimes that included assault, gun possession and hijacking, but beat all charges. After breaking from the Gallos — for selling drugs, against their rules — he joined the DeCavalcante family.

“I was supposed to be made by them” in 1999, he recalls. “Then everyone in the family was suddenly in jail for . . . murder and extortion. There was nobody to work with. It was like a snake with no head.”

‘I’d rather live among yuppies than wiseguys. With the wiseguys there is too much drama.’ - Frank DiMatteo

It effectively ended his lifelong crime spree, but DiMatteo landed on his feet. He already owned an Italian eatery that doubled as a stash-house for hot jewelry, and he began helping distribute the pornographic newspaper Screw.

“They had trouble getting onto newsstands” because of the content, he says. DiMatteo’s confederates solved that problem by telling retailers, “If you don’t put it on your newsstand today, you won’t have a newsstand tomorrow.”

These days, he lives in Gerritsen Beach with his wife, Emily, the mother of his three children. Life is quiet — though DiMatteo does mention a recent shipment of 100 illicit Cuban cigars that he is looking to move.

Expressing no remorse for his transgressions, he says, “I did not hurt anybody who didn’t deserve to get hurt.”

As for Carroll Gardens’ current stroller-pushing residents, he says, “I’d rather live among yuppies than wiseguys. With the wiseguys there is too much drama.”

Friday, July 22, 2016

Father and son convicted of trafficking over 50 kilos of cocaine

Gregorio Gigliotti, picture here with  his wife Eleonora, was found guilty of trafficking more than 50 kilos of cocaine stuffed inside yuccas.
A father and son were convicted Friday of trafficking more than 50 kilos of cocaine into the U.S. in shipments of yucca using their Italian restaurant in Queens as part of the illicit operation.

Gregorio Gigliotti gave a two-thumbs up sign to family members minutes before the jury entered the courtroom, but the wife of his son Angelo Gigliotti apparently sensed it was going to be bad news and sobbed uncontrollably.

After deliberating three hours, the federal jury in Brooklyn found Gregorio, 60, guilty of all counts including possession of seven guns found in a safe in the basement of his Cucino a Modo Mio restaurant. Angelo, 36, was found not guilty of the gun charges.

Federal prosecutors Keith Edelman and Margaret Gandy argued that the Gigliottis smuggled cocaine to keep their restaurant and other businesses afloat.

The government's case was bolstered by a mountain of wiretap evidence in which the Gigliottis were intercepted discussing drug shipments from Costa Rica referring to the cocaine with absurd code words such as "pineapples" and "kitchens."

Gregorio Gigliotti's wife Eleonara has also been indicted in the case, but she is mentally unfit to stand trial at this time.

Gregorio, 60, was found guilty of all counts including possession of seven guns found in a safe in the basement of his Cucino a Modo Mio restaurant.

The Gigliottis are alleged to have ties to the Calabrian organized crime organization 'Ndrangheta, but that allegation was not disclosed to the jury.

Defense lawyers had allegedly tried to stack the jury with female jurors — a ploy to seek a panel that might be sympathetic to acquitting Angelo Gigliotti, government sources told The Daily News. As expected, Angelo's lawyer Alan Futerfas argued in his closing statement that the Gigliottis were "dominated by a man (Gregorio) engaged in all manner of schemes ... he manipulated his wife, he manipulated Angelo."

Gregorio Gigliotti’s lawyer Elizabeth Macedonio asked for a mistrial based on Futerfas' remarks, but Federal Judge Raymond Dearie shot back: "Were you surprised?" and denied the motion.

The family patriarch faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison, and Angelo faces a mandatory 20 years behind bars because of his prior criminal record.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Judge unseals secret case against turncoat New England captain that led to his cooperation

A secret 2011 case against a veteran Rhode Island mobster was quietly unsealed by a federal judge late Friday, revealing never-before-seen details about the case that ultimately led to Robert DeLuca wearing a wire for the FBI.

According to the case file, DeLuca, then 64, was charged with “RICO conspiracy” for his role in a scheme to extort protection payments for Providence strip clubs.

The case outlined against DeLuca said he and former mob boss Luigi “Baby Shacks” Manocchio worked together to arrange protection payments from the Satin Doll and Cadillac Lounge strip clubs beginning around 2006.

Manocchio was the head of the New England La Cosa Nostra (NELCN) at the time.

Payments from the strip clubs ranged between $4,000 to $6,000 a month, according to the court document, and DeLuca and Manocchio had two mob associates – Thomas Iafrate and Richard Bonafiglia – working inside each club to manage the payments.

“Approximately $125 a day was set aside from the proceeds of the Cadillac Lounge by delivery to the NELCN,” the criminal information document states. “This amount was kept in a safe in the manager’s office of the Cadillac Lounge, and covered the protection payments to the NELCN from the Satin Doll, Cadillac Lounge and the owner’s other adult entertainment businesses.”

Iafrate and Bonafiglia later pleaded guilty to their role in the scheme.

DeLuca was officially charged on July 8, 2011, the same day he signed a plea agreement with the Rhode Island U.S. Attorney’s Office where he pledged to cooperate with federal investigators.

“Defendant will meet with government representatives as often as necessary and provide complete and truthful information to them,” the plea agreement states. 

It also called on DeLuca to testify against his underworld colleagues if any of the cases went to trial. None of them did; each defendant eventually pleaded guilty under the threat of lengthy prison time.

For agreeing to cooperate, prosecutors said they would recommend a lower sentence for DeLuca, who already had a criminal record.

Oddly, there is no docket entry for Deluca’s Feb. 2, 2012, sentencing hearing before U.S. District Court Chief Judge William Smith. But an indictment against DeLuca out of Massachusetts, unsealed Monday, reveals DeLuca only served one day of incarceration: the day he was arrested.

Federal prosecutors acknowledge DeLuca was putting himself at risk by cooperating in a case against his longtime employer – and its outfit of mobsters and associates – and that they offered to give him protection.

“It is understood that defendant’s truthful cooperation with the United States is likely to reveal activities of individuals who might use violence, force, and intimidation against his family and loved one,” the plea deal states. “Should defendant’s cooperation present a significant risk of physical harm the United States, upon written request of defendant, will take steps that it determines to be reasonable and necessary to attempt to ensure his safety and that of his family and loved one.”

Those steps included the possibility of putting DeLuca into the U.S. Marshals’ Witness Protection Program or the FBI’s “relocation program.”

DeLuca vanished from the streets of Providence around 2011 and did not reappear on the public radar until his arrest in Broward County, Florida, on Monday.

It is unclear if DeLuca had been relocated by the FBI or in the Witness Protection Program at the time. Rhode Island U.S. Marshal Jamie Hainsworth referred questions to the FBI. Kristen Setera, a spokeswoman for the Boston office of the FBI, declined comment, citing the pending case against DeLuca, and referred questions to the Rhode Island U.S. Attorney’s Office. Jim Martin, a spokesman there, also declined comment.

Reached by email, DeLuca’s attorney, Marshall Dore Louis, declined to comment.

Piecing together documents previously released in the case, DeLuca’s cooperation with the FBI included wearing a wire to secretly record other members of the NELCN so prosecutors could build a case against them.

Following DeLuca’s cooperation in July of 2011, a flurry of additional indictments in the case came down that year and into 2012. In all, nine mobsters and associates were snared. Along with Manocchio – who faced additional charges in the new indictments – were then-underboss Anthony DiNunzio of Boston and Mafia capo regime Edward “Eddie” Lato.

On June 28 this year, Assistant U.S. Attorney William Ferland asked Judge Smith to unseal the 2011 case against DeLuca. Ferland said the reasons to seal the case, including “security interests,” were “overcome by more recent developments, not limited to the defendant’s indictment in [Massachusetts].”

“Therefore, the interests of justice dictate that an unsealing of this information occur,” Ferland wrote.

The new case against DeLuca alleges he wasn’t “truthful” with the government, despite his pledge to be in the 2011 plea agreement.

DeLuca was arrested Monday morning in Florida after he was indicted on charges that he lied to federal investigators about what he knew of the 1993 gangland slaying of Boston nightclub manager Steven DiSarro.
Broward County Sheriff’s Office booking photo of Robert DeLuca

The indictment alleges DeLuca claimed he knew nothing of DiSarro’s disappearance when he was questioned by investigators in 2011.

But prosecutors say not only did DeLuca know what happened to DiSarro, he helped coordinate where to bury the body: behind a Providence mill building owned by his friend William Ricci.

DeLuca, now 70, faces a three-count indictment including obstruction of justice and making false statements.

In March, the FBI and Rhode Island Medical Examiners Office exhumed the body of DiSarro after a week of digging behind the Branch Avenue building.

Ricci, 69, was charged in a separate drug and firearms case and struck a plea deal with prosecutors; he is set to be sentenced in October. The Rhode Island U.S. Attorney’s Office has declined to comment if there is a connection between the two cases.

On Friday, DeLuca waived his right to be released on bail, meaning he will eventually be transported to Massachusetts to face charges in federal court in Boston.

According to court documents, federal prosecutors are recommending Ricci receive 45 months in prison.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

NYPD closes in on killer of Brooklyn pizzeria owner

Detectives believe they have identified the suspect seen on video near the home of the co-owner of a renowned Brooklyn pizza joint when he was shot to death in an apparent botched robbery, the Daily News has learned.

The video does not capture the actual June 30 murder of L&B Spumoni Gardens boss Louis Barbati, 61, as he arrived at his Dyker Heights home from work carrying a loaf of bread for dinner and about $15,000 in cash, sources and police said.

Police have released surveillance footage of a suspect believed to be involved in the shooting death of Spumoni pizza restaurant owner Louis Barbati.

So cops are trying to connect the suspect to the murder by tracing his phone calls and trying to figure out who if anyone tipped him that Barbati would be carrying that much cash that night.

NYPD personnel investigate the scene around 7601 12th Ave, Brooklyn, where Louis Barbati, co-owner of L&B Spumoni Gardens was shot to death on June 30, 2016.

Barbati only carried home that much money about six times a year, his wife has told detectives.

The home of Louis Barbati, co-owner of L&B Spumoni Gardens pizzeria in Brooklyn, who was gunned down early Thursday evening. July 1, 2016.

"It's not clear how he knows [Barbati]," a source said of the suspect.

Louis Barbati was shot in the back while he was in the yard of his 12th Ave., Brooklyn home.

"We don't think he was acting on his own. The thinking is somebody had to know [Barbati] was going to have that money on him that day. Someone knew his schedule. That's the pieces they are trying to put together."

A hooded gunman pumped two shots into Barbati’s back while he was in the yard of his home on 12th Ave. near 76th St.

His wife, another woman and his two sons were in the home at the time of the shooting, sources said.

Mobsters from four of the five New York crime families busted in cross country pot operation

A Parisi Bakery scion and an elderly Gambino family captain are among a crew busted in a $15 million cross-country pot-distribution operation, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Massive loads of high-end prescription reefer were shipped from legal farms in California to New York City, where ringleaders John Kelly, 52, and Richard Sinde, 51, oversaw distribution to sellers, authorities said.

The conspiracy used shipping lines, FedEx parcels and cars to import high-end prescription pot, grown by legal farms in the "Emerald Triangle" in Northern California, cops said.

“They were overgrowing during their natural harvest season. They also used hydroponics inside, and also they grew this marijuana inside of greenhouses,” said Inspector John Denesopolis of the NYPD's Criminal Enterprise Investigation Unit. “They were doing it in excess of the amount they were allowed."

Sinde previously pleaded guilty in a Bonanno enterprise corruption case in Manhattan and is serving a two- to six-year prison sentence upstate, records show.

About two-dozen defendants were indicted on charges relating to a pot-peddling conspiracy, an Oxycodone business, tax fraud and an online gambling enterprise.

Frank Parisi is arraigned in State Supreme Court on Tuesday in New York for his involvement in a $15 million cross-country pot distribution operation.

Frank Parisi, 60, is accused of possessing more than 20 pounds of marijuana. He had packing supplies in an apartment that shares a building with the iconic Italian bakery in Nolita, according to an indictment.

“Mr. Parisi's role was to distribute that on the streets of New York,” Assistant District Attorney Brian Foley said at Parisi's arraignment in Manhattan Supreme Court.

Parisi's attorney described him as a “fourth generation” member of the family that famously runs an old world bread shop and deli a few blocks from the courthouse where Parisi sat in handcuffs.

“He works every day, every hour, every week in that bakery,” said lawyer Jeremy Schneider.

Bail was set at $50,000 for Parisi.

Massive loads of high-end prescription pot were shipped from legal farms in California to New York City. About two-dozen defendants were indicted on charges related to the pot-peddling ring.

Parisi is also accused of participating in a $1 million gambling racket based at, along with co-defendants Frank Galesi, 50, Carl Muraco, 52, and Stephen Gallo, 64.

Several defendants hail from four of the city's five Mafia families, police said. Reputed mobster Michael "Mickey Boy" Paradiso, 76, of Staten Island, faces a conspiracy count in the marijuana case. He has not yet seen a judge.

Larwrence Dentico of La Jolla, Calif., the 33-year-old grandson of Genovese capo Lawrence Dentico, was also busted, as were two Colombo associates and a Gambino associate.

Arraignments will continue in front of Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Neil Ross. Six of the nearly two dozen people arrested in the various indictments were charged with tax fraud for failing to report illegal profits. Four were also charged in an Oxycodone distribution ring.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Pizzeria owner linked to cocaine ring threatened business partner

The son who’s on trial with his father for allegedly smuggling $1 million worth of cocaine into the US in yucca boxes while using the family’s Queens pizzeria as a front threatened to kill a business partner if he snitched, according to testimony Thursday.

Witness Andrew Tabarovski testified that he and his father, Mauricio, went into business in 2012 with pizza patriarch Gregorio Gigliotti and son Angelo in their international drug-trafficking operation.

Tabarovski recalled to jurors how his now-late father was allegedly threatened by Angelo one night during a poker game.

The son said his father told him, “If I opened my mouth, [Angelo] said he would kill me, my family and my kids. He said he doesn’t care about jail. He said he loved jail.” Modal Trigger
Angelo Gigliotti leaving the Federal Courthouse in Brooklyn.

Andrew, who testified under a non-prosecution agreement with feds, also said Angelo once threatened to find a different business partner “a good resting place” for swiping a $7,000 payment that was never delivered to drug dealers in Costa Rica.

Gregorio and Angelo are charged with shipping 55 kilos of cocaine from the Central American country to their produce warehouse in The Bronx and storing a cache of guns in their Corona restaurant Cucino a Modo Mio.

Gregorio – a reputed associate of Genovese capo Anthony Federicci — once allegedly flashed a gun hidden in his desk in the basement of the pizzeria, telling Andrew and Mauricio, “You need to protect the merchandise.”

Andrew testified that Gregorio allegedly showed him a half-kilo of cocaine stored in a restaurant freezer while complaining about the quality of the drugs.

On cross-examination, Andrew admitted that despite the threats, he and his dad continued to do business with the Gigliottis.

The trial continues Friday.