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

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Philadelphia soldier pleads guilty to selling meth and faking pawnshop robbery

An Atlantic City man Tuesday admitted staging a fake robbery of a Union County pawnshop to perpetrate an insurance fraud and distributing methamphetamine, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
Salvatore "Sam" Piccolo, 67, a Philadelphia mafia member, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Robert B. Kugler in Camden federal court to distribution of 216 grams of meth and one count of wire fraud, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said in a news release.
Piccolo said that on April 19, 2014, he and an accomplice entered a pawnshop in Union County, purportedly to sell some silver items. Once inside the shop, the accomplice displayed a handgun while Piccolo, wearing a nylon mask, chained the front doors closed to prevent anyone from entering.
The owner was bound, as a pretense, while Piccolo and his accomplice looted the safe of what the owner told police was about $60,000 in cash, several pieces of jewelry and a handgun.
The owner later submitted to his insurance company a fraudulent-loss claim for which he received about $174,000.
Piccolo also admitted making three sales of meth totaling 216 grams to an undercover FBI agent. Subsequent laboratory analysis determined the meth to be 99 percent pure.
The distribution of meth carries a minimum penalty of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison and a $10 million fine. The wire fraud charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for July 18.


Sunday, April 14, 2019

Feds relocate Rhode Island mobster in wake of shooting

Federal authorities have relocated a made member of the Patriarca crime family in the wake of Sunday's brazen shooting in Pawtucket, the Target 12 Investigators have learned.
Sources say Joseph DeLuca, 79, of North Providence, was moved to an undisclosed location out of an abundance of caution, amid concerns that there would be a flare-up of violence in the underworld.
DeLuca and his younger brother - former mob capo Robert "Bobby" DeLuca - both testified against Francis "Cadillac Frank" Salemme, the former don of the New England crime family, during his trial last year.
Following weeks of testimony at federal court in Boston, Salemme and codefendant Paul Weadick were found guilty of murder this summer and sentenced to life in prison.
Robert DeLuca is currently serving a federal prison sentence, also at an undisclosed location, for lying to FBI agents.
On Sunday, Napoleon Andrade, 37, of Central Falls, was gunned down shortly after leaving a Pawtucket halfway house where he was completing a federal sentence.
As Target 12 previously reported, detectives are looking to see whether Andrade was killed in retribution for a 2010 home invasion during which he tied up an associate of New York's infamous Gambino crime family.
On Wednesday night, the reputed Gambino crime boss Francesco "Franky Boy" Cali was assassinated outside his Staten Island home. But law enforcement sources tell Target 12 they believe the two shootings are unrelated.
In another development, Pawtucket detectives have obtained video surveillance from the day Andrade was murdered.
The video was taken from security cameras attached to St. John the Baptist Church, which is across the street from the halfway house.
The cameras did not capture the shooting, but they did show a car speeding away after the shooting.
Target 12 has learned investigators are trying to determine if the car was involved in the hit.
Another mob capo, Edward “Eddie” Lato, is currently staying at the halfway house as he nears the end of a nine-year prison sentence in a case that he shook down strip clubs for protection money.
There is no indication Lato has been moved.


Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Son of late Genovese boss pleads guilty to racketeering and forfeits $3.8 million

The love child of late Genovese crime family boss Vincent “The Chin” Gigante pleaded guilty to a racketeering conspiracy charge on Wednesday for participating in a scheme to shake down a labor union official for cash.
Vincent Esposito, 51, copped a plea deal with the government and prosecutors say they will not push for a prison sentence of more than 30 months. Esposito, who admitted before a federal magistrate judge that he worked with the Genovese crime family, will also forfeit $3.8 million.
“I knew my agreement was wrong and illegal,” said Esposito, who showed up to court in a gray suit and a baby-blue tie, to Manhattan federal court Judge Sarah Netburn.
Esposito will be back in court on July 10 for sentencing.
Gigante, the former head of the Genovese family who was dubbed the “Oddfather” for his penchant for shuffling around Greenwich Village in a bathrobe and slippers, fathered Esposito with his mistress, Olympia Esposito.
Esposito was charged along with two co-defendants with running a scheme to extort payments from a labor union official with threats of violence and loss of the officer’s job. One of the co-defendants, Frank Cognetta, himself a labor union officer, was also charged with running a kickback scheme in which he took bribes for steering union benefit plans into certain investments.


Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Mob associate arrested twice for harassing disabled former girlfriend

An ex-mobster turned filmmaker was arrested twice in the last two weeks for harassing a disabled former girlfriend, police said.
Danny Provenzano, 55, was charged on Tuesday with criminal contempt for sending a text message to Patricia O’Neil, 51, violating a protection order she had against him, police said.
Provenzano had also been arrested on March 26 for assaulting the same woman back in November 2018 in Midtown, according to cops. The two got into a fight in her apartment over money allegedly used to finance his animated film“Wiseguys and Whackjobs.” Provenzano threw her to the ground and slammed a door on her arm, cops said.
Provenzano’s attorney, Pamela Roth, called the latest accusations nonsense, claiming O’Neil had access to her ex’s iCloud account and sent the message in question to herself.
O’Neil denied the claim to The Post.
Provenzano, a nephew of Anthony “Tony Pro” Provenzano, a captain in the Genovese crime family who was believed to be connected to Jimmy Hoffa’s death, served more than four years in prison on racketeering charges in 2003. He last made headlines in 2017 when he sued Vincent Pastore — who played Big Pussy on “The Sopranos” — for not showing up to a three-day shoot of his television pilot “Manhattan, Kansas” in 2013.


Friday, March 29, 2019

Legendary 102 year old Colombo mobster brags about never ratting and his life of crime

Longtime Colombo under-boss John “Sonny” Franzese is the living embodiment of the ultimate mob rule — bragging in an interview about refusing to rat despite it making him the oldest federal prisoner at the age of 100.
Wheelchair-bound Franzese, now 102 and living in a nursing home, told Newsday about his life of crime — and how he stuck to the “Goodfellas” adage of “Never rat on your friends, and always keep your mouth shut” despite facing 50 years behind bars.
“They wanted me to roll all the time,” Franzese insisted. “I couldn’t do that. Because it’s my principle. I could never give a guy up because I knew what jail was. I wouldn’t put a dog in a jail pod.”
Speaking for the first time since his release in June 2017, Franzese bragged to the paper that “no one in history” had done as much, likening it to godliness.
“Jesus suffered,” he said. “He didn’t squeal on nobody.”
In an age where other mob bosses turned, his commitment also caught the attention of the late John Gotti, who called Franzese “one tough [expletive] guy” for his refusal to rat.
“He demanded so much respect because he did all that time and he never gave anyone up,” the late Bernard Welsh, an FBI agent who arrested Franzese for violating parole, once admitted.
Franzese’s commitment was so firm he reportedly went along with contracts on the lives of two of his sons who turned rat, though neither were killed.
One, John Jr., 58, even wore a wire and gave evidence against the Colombos and his dad, sending him back to jail when he was 93.
“I don’t know what happened to him,” the aging mobster told Newsday of the son who entered federal witness protection.
“Maybe all the drugs he took. Screwed his mind up.
“Listen, it broke my heart. He would be the last guy I thought would do that. But he did it.”
Franzese — who now has a pacemaker, hearing aids and a broken hip — had been tipped in the 1960s as a potential new Colombo boss.
He was linked by law enforcement to multimillion-dollar bookmaking, loan sharking and extortion rackets — and was even caught on tape seemingly alluding to multiple murders he claimed to have committed.
“I killed a lot of guys … you’re not talking about four, five, six, 10,” he allegedly said in a December 2006 conversation secretly taped by a mob associate.
Franzese did not seem shy in his interview about his role in the mob.
“What we done in New York is unbelievable,” he told Newsday.
“I wasn’t a guy that was afraid, you know. Don’t forget, I fought everybody.
“I was a good soldier,” he admitted.
He was also proud of the famous faces who became friends.
“I knew them all,” he said when asked about The Rat Pack, Dionne Warwick and Frank Sinatra.
“You asked the question the wrong way. You should have asked, ‘Did Frank Sinatra know Sonny Franzese?’”
Still, he insists a batch of charges in the 1960s — including the homicide of a one-eyed hitman from Long Island — were a “conspiracy to get me.”
“There is no question about it,” he told Newsday.
He beat all the cases but for conspiracy to rob banks across the country and was sentenced to 50 years in prison.
“Never happened,” Franzese insisted to Newsday. “It ain’t right for something I’d never done.
“I’d have to be a nut to rob banks.”
He went to prison in Easter 1970 vowing “to do the whole bid” because “I didn’t want to rat on anybody.”
After being paroled in 1978, he returned to prison five more times as he repeatedly violated his parole by associating with fellow mobsters.
He was 93 when he was sentenced in 2010 to eight more years after being convicted of extorting clubs, including the Hustler and Penthouse strip clubs in Manhattan, in part on tapes made by his son John Jr.
Despite spending more than a third of his life in prison, he insists, “I hate everything about it.”
“I’ll meet them in hell,” he said of the prosecutors and judges who sent him to prison, insisting, “I never hurt nobody that was innocent.”


Turncoat Lucchese acting boss dies while in witness protection at the age of 86

Former Luchese family boss turned informant Alfonse 'Little Al' D'Arco has died at the age of 86.
D’Arco, who became a federal Witness in 1991 and testified against powerful figures from the city’s five Mafia families, died earlier this month due to complications of kidney disease.
His evidence sent scores of mobsters to prison and helped unravel much of New York's Cosa Nostra. 
He had testified against 'Mafia Cops' Stephen Caracappa Louie Eppolito and Genovese family boss and Vincent 'The Chin' Gigante.
Others included Colombo boss 'Little Vic' Orena, ex-Luchese bosses Vic Amuso, Anthony 'Gaspipe' Casso and Anthony Spero.
His plea deal with federal agents also helped inspire other high-ranking mobsters to give evidence in various trials including Salvatore 'Sammy Bull' Gravano, a right-hand man to John Gotti.  
D’Arco, who was from Brooklyn, grew up near the borough’s Navy Yard and spent time around  various made men. 
His childhood was 'like being in the forest, and all the trees were the dons and the organized crime guys,' the mobster once recalled.
The Korean War veteran came back to Brooklyn and he subsequently teamed up with future Luchese family head Vittorio Amuso in 1959. 
He later earned money in a variety of illegal fields which included drug-dealing, hijacking, burglary, arson and armed robbery. He would later admit to eight murders.
New York Daily News reported  that D'Arco avoided getting involved in prostitution and pornography, which he believed were beneath him.
The 5 foot 7 inch gangster became a made man in August 1982 at a ceremony in kitchen in the Bronx. 
He became captain of his family after Luchese informant Henry Hill’s testimony led to the conviction of D’Arco’s predecessor Paulie Vario in 1984, which was immortalized in the movie 'GoodFellas.'
But D’Arco became convinced that his mob associates were setting him up for murder.
In September, 1991, D'Arco attended a meeting of Lucchese leaders and noticed that one of his soldiers had a gun hidden under his shirt and was wearing a bulletproof vest.
He believed that his life was threatened and D'Arco rushed out of the hotel. His driver had vanished and he believed this was another indication he was going to be killed. 
FBI agents warned D'Arco that he was in danger the following day and he decided to leave the mafia. 
He later offered to become a government witness and testified in a dozen trials along with various grand jury hearings. 
At that point, he was the highest-ranking member of a New York crime family to break his blood oath and testify against the mafia. 


Saturday, March 23, 2019

Gambino soldier sentenced to 28 months in prison for loansharking

Paul Semplice, a member of the Gambino organized crime family, was sentenced today to 28 months in prison by United States District Judge Pamela K. Chen at the federal court in Brooklyn for conducting a loansharking scheme in which he extended extortionate loans with annual interest rates up to 54 percent.

Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, announced the sentence.

“Semplice targeted victims desperate for loans and used his status as a Mafia soldier to make sure they paid the exorbitant interest rate,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue. “With today’s sentence, the defendant will pay for his crimes in prison.” Mr. Donoghue thanked the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New York City Police Department for their investigative work on this case.

Semplice, a long-time made member of the Gambino crime family, engaged in a conspiracy with others to make extortionate extensions of credit to multiple victims. During one recorded conversation with a cooperating witness (CW), Semplice boasted that he had a “very special relationship,” “like brothers,” with a captain in the family and “answer[ed] to nobody but him.” In another recorded conversation with the CW, Semplice explained that in connection with a $200,000 loan to victim John Doe #1, he collected $9,000 interest per month, or 54 percent, and personally kept $8,000. Semplice called the arrangement “a beautiful thing.”

On November 18, 2016, during a lawfully intercepted conversation, Semplice talked about abusing victim John Doe #2. “I started abusing him, right. He was in his forties…. Once I – I had to smack him. I go, ‘What?’ Bang! I go, ‘I’ll smack you again.’ He goes, ‘Why?’ ‘Cause I shouldn’t have to come see you.’ ”

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

The Defendant:

Age: 55
Brooklyn, New York


Wednesday, March 20, 2019

FBI and NYPD look on as slain Gambino family boss is laid to rest

The murdered head of the Gambino crime family was buried on Staten Island on Tuesday after a service attended by a little more than a dozen mourners — all under the watchful eye of authorities armed with high-powered cameras across the street.
Around 9:30 a.m., several cars including black Mercedes and a Chevy Suburban pulled up to the Scarpaci Funeral Home in Tottenville and drove around back for a service for Francesco “Franky Boy” Cali.
A pewter-gray Maserati Quattroporte remained in front of the funeral home as its male driver hopped out and went inside, leaving a woman dressed in black in the car.
Meanwhile, four unmarked black law enforcement cars were parked across the street, each with a male driver armed with a hand-held radio that they used to communicate with each other — and cameras with 500mm lenses about a foot wide.
As the cars drove by, the authorities snapped photos. At least two of them confirmed to The Post they were “law enforcement,” and a source separately said they were both FBI and NYPD.
“That’s just Standard Investigation 101,” the source said of the authorities’ photos. “They want to know who shows up, who the players are, who’s going to possibly take over, who’s active, who‘s not, the pecking order.
“Unfortunately, it’s very limited,” the source added of the scope of the group. “But they have to take what they can get.”
Then at 10:30 a.m. on the dot, cars began racing from the funeral home and headed to the Moravian Cemetery in New Dorp, where Cali was buried.
He was gunned down last Wednesday night outside his home, allegedly by right-wing nut and construction worker Anthony Comello.


Mafia associates pay $45k cash for burial plot for murdered Gambino boss

It’s a burial spot to die for — and bought in true Mafia style.
Slain Gambino crime family boss Francesco “Franky Boy’’ Cali was laid to rest in a white-pillared, red-marble mausoleum on Staten Island on Tuesday — after his associates “came in with a suitcase on Saturday and paid my boss $45,000 in cash,’’ a gravedigger there told The Post.
“He’s up in the mausoleum, in the middle section,’’ the longtime worker said of Cali’s final resting place at the Moravian Cemetery, pointing to the top of a sprawling hill where the murdered mob chief now occupies a space on the lower level of the two-tiered structure — with a view of the ocean.
About three dozen long-stemmed white roses were scattered in front of Cali’s crypt, which bore a temporary white-tape label that read “FRANCESCO CALI 1965 2019.’’
The worker said that after Cali’s entombment, the small group of people who attended it walked down to the parking area, which is near the cemetery’s chapel and office.
“Some guy from ABC was asking a question in the office. And [a] mob guy said, ‘Get the f–k out of here before I blow your f–king head off,’ ” the worker said, chuckling.


Cops let shooter of Gambino boss loose a month before murder

The right-winger accused of killing a Mafia boss landed on the NYPD’s radar last month for erratic behavior — but cops let him walk away without investigating further, police officials acknowledged Tuesday.
On Feb. 21, “There was an incident at the federal courthouse in lower Manhattan where he showed up asking to make a citizen’s arrest of a number of elected officials,” said NYPD Deputy Commissioner John Miller of Anthony Comello, 24, who is suspected of fatally shooting Gambino crime family chief Francesco “Franky Boy” Cali last week.
“These were rambling statements, but it involved that he wanted to make citizen arrests of Maxine Waters, Congressman Schiff,” Miller said.
Waters and Adam Schiff are both Democratic representatives from California.
Comello also “blamed Nancy Pelosi and all kinds of other people for stealing the election,” the deputy commissioner added.
Pelosi is the Democratic House speaker from California.
“Based on that incident and the language used there, his description and image, police officers who were assigned to Gracie Mansion recognized him as an individual they encountered the following day, Feb. 22, as somebody who showed up asking to make a citizen’s arrest of the mayor,” Miller said.
“They engaged in conversation with him, and while they were waiting for a sector car to show up, he walked off. That was the extent of the contact.”
Less than a month later, Comello gunned down Cali in front of the mafioso’s Staten Island home, possibly in a snit over being barred from dating the mobster’s niece, law enforcement sources have said.
Comello showed up in court Monday covered in scrawls related to President Trump and the conspiracy-theorist QAnon movement.
The suspect’s pals told The Post that in recent months, Comello appeared to become unhinged as he posted anti-Democrat and pro-Trump posts.


Shooter of Gambino boss exhibited erractic behavior before alleged murder

The construction worker charged in the murder of Gambino godfather Francesco “Franky Boy” Cali seemed unhinged leading up to the brazen hit, friends told The Post on Tuesday.
Anthony Comello — who showed up for his first court appearance Monday with “MAGA forever” and references to the conservative QAnon movement scrawled on his hand — managed the Instagram account “realamericasvoice_” which is filled with anti-Democrat and pro-President Trump posts, said the pals, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“He had a secret Instagram. He used to post crazy things about politics and Trump and Democrats,” a source said.
The account kicked off in October with a post about Christine Blasey Ford, the sex-harassment accuser of US Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
“Horrible how they can try to ruin a man and his family name and it was all fake just to win. I hope you Dems never get power,’’ raged the writer.
Another post was of Trump and Vice President Mike Pence from Jan. 20 with the caption, “This has been the greatest and amazing two years in this great country (THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA) for god, for country, for family @realdonaldtrump @vp you rocked the world. We the people are blessed for your SELFLESS PATH FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. THANK YOU.”
The 24-year-old suspect also used the social media platform in his bizarre bid to boot Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo out of office.
“He was on Instagram live in front of the mayor’s house a few weeks ago demanding de Blasio comes outside because he was under citizen’s arrest,” a source said. “He was reaching out to people to sign a petition to get the governor and mayor out of office.”
The source said Comello had been messaging him lately to sign the petition.
“I thought he was whacked out so I didn’t call him,” the person said. “In high school, he was a good kid. He hung out with the wrong crowd and did pills and smoked weed and got into fights, but now it’s like he’s someone else. It’s strange.”
Police sources said Comello showed up outside City Hall a few months ago in an attempt to make a citizen’s arrest of the mayor.
Investigators believe Comello may have whacked Cali because the Mafia kingpin barred Comello from dating Cali’s niece.
It’s unclear whether Comello knew whom he was dealing with, one of his friends said.
“I’m not sure if he knew who Cali was but I know that it was over a girl, and if you ask me, he wasn’t all in the head,” said the person. “And it’s sad, because of who he killed, it’s a matter of time before he’s found dead in jail.”
Comello is expected to be extradited to New York to face charges following his court appearance in New Jersey.
His lawyer, Robert Gottlieb, didn’t return messages.