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

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Crime family doesnt have resources to retaliate after drive by shooting at home of boss

Even with his home shot up and his brother gunned down, don't expect retaliatory violence from Pat Musitano directed at whoever is targeting him, a leading mafia expert says.

The notorious mobster's home in central Hamilton was targeted early Tuesday, as bullets blew through a window and took chunks out of the brick on the front of the house.

Antonio Nicaso, a Mafia expert who teaches about organized crime at Queen's University, says that someone is likely trying to "send a message" to Musitano, who, along with his younger brother, were key figures in Hamilton's criminal underworld for decades.

But as the Musitano family's power has waned in recent years, so too has their ability to strike back at anyone who would target them, Nicaso said.

"I don't think they have the power and the structure to retaliate," Nicaso said. "Now I think they're on the defensive."

"The two Musitano brothers have lost the people who used to make them feel safe and protected in Ontario."
'Anyone is entitled to take revenge'

A big part of the protection was the Rizzuto crime family, based out of Montreal. The two families were aligned in the 1990s, giving protection to the Musitanos. That relationship and the muscle behind it is nowhere near what it once was, Nicaso said.

The 2013 death of reputed Mafia boss Vito Rizzuto created a power vacuum within the organization, and now warring factions have weakened the once-mighty Montreal Mafia. That has left the Musitanos to fend for themselves.

"When you don't have someone to protect you, anyone is entitled to take revenge," Nicaso said.

And the list of people who could want revenge against the Musitanos is likely long. The family is linked to convictions for bombing and extortion in the 1970s, as well as the hit of mobster Domenic Racco in the 80s, and the murders of Carmen Barillaro and Johnny "Pops" Papalia in 1997.

Bullet holes could be seen in one of the front windows of Pat Musitano's home on St. Clair Avenue Tuesday morning.

Experts say anyone who was wronged over that vast criminal past could be looking to extract revenge — or, more modern gangs like the Hells Angels could be behind it. No one knows for sure.

Police say the family has not been working with investigators since Angelo Musitano was fatally shot in his Waterdown driveway in May, or since the most recent shooting at the elder Musitano's house this week. That cuts off a major line of communication for leads to detectives.

"They have not asked for any police assistance," said homicide Det. Sgt. Peter Thom.

An RCMP-led joint forces unit that once proactively investigated organized crime in Hamilton and Niagara would have likely worked on a case like this, but it was disbanded several years ago.
Angelo Musitano shot and killed in his driveway

The Musitano brothers had mostly been laying low over the last decade, according to police. They were both charged with first-degree murder back in 1997, in connection with the deaths of Papalia and one of his lieutenants, Barillaro.

They reached a deal and pleaded to conspiracy to commit murder in the death of Barillaro. In turn, the charges against them in connection with Papalia's death were dropped.

They were sentenced to 10 years in jail. They got out in 2007, and made little noise since then — though as Nicaso noted in a previous interview, silence is the "perfect landscape" for the mob to conduct business.

That silence was broken in a hail of gunfire this spring, when Angelo Musitano was gunned down in his Waterdown driveway, with his family inside his home. Friends say he found religion, and had reformed since his time in jail.

Police are still investigating, and analyzing security camera footage from the incident. Detectives say they're looking at the two shooting incidents as possibly connected.


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Bonanno captain tells judge he will never rat anybody out

Bonanno crime ​family capo Vincent Asaro assured a judge he’s no rat Tuesday, as he ​copped to charges that he ordered henchmen ​– including the namesake grandson of the late Gambino boss John Gotti — ​to torch the car of a driver who cut him off in 2012.
As Asaro took a plea deal, Judge Allyne Ross suggested he ditch defense attorney Elizabeth Macedonio, who is ​also ​representing his loan shark nephew Ronald Giallanzo, because it would be ​dangerous ​for Asaro to ​potentially ​turn ​government ​witness while his lawyer reps other ​wiseguys.
“Both you and Giallanzo are part of the same organized crime family so that his attorney has a potential conflict of interest,” the judge warned. “You may be inviting dangers that no one can anticipate at this time. It may be in your best interest to cooperate with the government.”
But the 82-year-old Asaro, who dodged prison for his role in the 1978 Lufthansa heist​ immortalized in the film “Goodfellas​,​” and ​who ​has previously threatened the life of the prosecutor in the arson case, told the judge in no uncertain terms that he’s no rat.
“I would never cooperate against my nephew ​– ​or anyone for that matter,” a defiant Asaro said.
Asaro became enraged after a driver cut him off on a Queens road in 2012, following the man and figuring out his identity before ordering Matthew Rullan and Teflon Don namesake grandson John Gotti to torch the ride. Rullan and Gotti also ple​d​ ​guilty ​to arson charges.
“I made arrangements for someone to take care of it and it was done,” Asaro bragged.
​All three face five to 20 years in prison at an Oct. 24 sentencing.
Rullan and Gotti also ple​a​d​ed​ guilty to an unrelated 2012 bank robbery in which they conspired with Gotti’s bank-teller girlfriend to steal $5,941 from a Queens bank less than two weeks after the car torching.


Bonanno captain admits to ordering the torching of a man's car while John Gotti's grandson cops plea deal

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Vincent Asaro — who beat 2015 charges in the infamous $6 million Lufthansa robbery at Kennedy Airport — said he didn’t know and never met the person responsible for the road rage revenge.

A “GoodFellas” gangster admitted his role Tuesday in the 2012 road rage torching of a Queens man’s car, raising the likelihood of his death behind bars.

After 82-year-old Vincent Asaro entered his plea, the grandson of late Gambino family boss John Gotti followed the octogenarian into Brooklyn Federal Court and pleaded guilty to driving the arson getaway car.

A none-too-pleased Asaro, his arms folded across his chest, acknowledged calling some mob associates to set the car ablaze after its driver cut the Bonnano family capo off in Howard Beach.

“Another person burned a car at my request,” said Asaro during his court appearance. “I made arrangements with this person to take care of it and it was done.”

Asaro — who beat 2015 charges in the infamous $6 million Lufthansa robbery at Kennedy Airport — said he didn’t know and never met the person responsible for the road rage revenge.

The 1978 heist became a centerpiece of the Martin Scorsese mob class “GoodFellas.”

Asaro acknowledged calling some mob associates to set the car ablaze after its driver cut the Bonnano family capo off in Howard Beach.

Once Asaro finished, 23-year-old John Gotti entered the courtroom to confess his role in the arson and a second co-defendant admitted his participation.

“I agreed with others to set fire to a vehicle in Broad Channel, Queens,” said Gotti, wearing a navy blue prison outfit. “My role was to drive the getaway car.”

Both men were due back for sentencing on Oct. 24, and Gotti is already serving a term of eight years for his conviction for running a $1.6 million oxycodone ring in his Howard Beach neighborhood.

“We’re hoping for a fair and just sentence that not only takes into account his crimes committed, but also factors in his age and health,” said Asaro defense lawyer Elizabeth Macedonio.

John Gotti is already serving a term of eight years for his conviction for running a $1.6 million oxycodone ring in his Howard Beach neighborhood.

Both Asaro and Gotti face up to 20 years in prison.

The feds charged the May-December crime team collaborated in the torching of a Queens man after his car cut in front of Asaro at a red light.

The mob veteran tracked down the driver before reaching out for his fiery revenge.

Asaro made it clear that his long-ago oath of omerta remained in effect when asked by Federal Judge Allyne Ross if he wanted to change lawyers.

Macedonio represents Asaro’s nephew in a separate case, raising conflict of interest issues. Ross said the dual representation could prevent Asaro from cutting a deal to testify against his nephew.

“I want to stay with Ms. Macedonio,” said Asaro after the brief chat. “I used her before and was more than satisfied with her performance.

“I would never cooperate against my nephew. I would never cooperate against anyone.”

Pleading guilty along with Gotti was co-defendant Matthew "Fat Matt" Rullan. The heavyset suspect left the courthouse without speaking to reporters.


Jailed Bonanno mobster Vinny Gorgeous wants life sentence thrown out

Wiseguy ​Vincent “Vinny Gorgeous​” Basciano​ has filed yet another appeal of his life sentence for the 2004 murder of a renegade underling. ​
​Citing ineffective counsel, the ex-mob boss wants a federal judge to toss his conviction and sentence for the murder of Bonanno associate Randolph Pizzolo.
An appeals court last upheld his conviction in 2012., after Basciano — known for his immaculate suits and coiffed hair — failed to argue that prosecutors withheld exculpatory evidence.
The 56-year-old was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder, murder in aid of racketeering, and an illegal gun charge in 2011, yet managed to dodge the death penalty.
Prosecutors said he orchestrated the hit because Pizzolo was considered reckless and disobedient.
Basciano is also serving a second life sentence for the 2001 killing of Frank Santoro.


Bullets fired into the home of notorious Ontario mobster

Hamilton police were called to this home on St. Clair Avenue early Tuesday morning after reports of shots fired.
Bullets were fired into the home of notorious mobster Pat Musitano overnight, just weeks after his brother Angelo was gunned down outside his own home.

In a news release, police announced that officers were called about reports of multiple gunshots fired on St. Clair Boulevard in central Hamilton just before 2:30 a.m.

Investigators got there and found "multiple spent bullet casings on the roadway and damage to a home believed to be from bullets," the news release reads. "No one was injured as a result of the shooting."

"Detectives believe this home was specifically targeted and confirm the home is associated to the Musitano family. Detectives continue to investigate and are considering the possibility that information and or evidence may be connected to other ongoing investigations including the murder of Angelo Musitano." 

Three bullet holes were visible through the front windows of the home Tuesday morning. A CBC reporter approached a man walking out the front door, but the man ignored his questions and walked off.

Homicide Det. Sgt. Thom, who is heading up the investigation into Angelo Musitano's death, told CBC News Tuesday morning that the family still has not asked for any police assistance or protection.

Neighbour Nick Dismatsek heard the shots at 2:17 a.m.

"It was eight big loud blasts," he said. "Then I saw everybody crowding in the area."

"I thought, 'Jesus Christ — gunshots blasting off? Wow. You don't hear that every night.'"

Bullet holes could be seen in one of the front windows of the home Tuesday morning.

Dismatsek's mother heard the shots too. She bolted up in the middle of the night, first thinking that it was her son's new e-bike battery exploding. By the eighth shot, she realized that wasn't the case.

"It had a rhythm to it," she said, adding that her husband saw a car leaving the scene. Within five minutes, police were on the street, she said. Police say they believe that a vehicle was used to by the person or people involved in the shooting. 

Staff Sgt. Mike Cunliffe told CBC News that it's too early to say how many suspects police might be looking for. "We're still investigating to see what the motive was, and how many people were actually involved," he said. Officers are currently canvassing the area nearby, searching for security camera video.

Cunliffe couldn't say for sure if this shooting was directly linked to the previous one that killed Angelo Musitano. "If the evidence has any similarities, we'll be sharing information with the homicide unit if it goes that way," he said.
Vehicle set on fire on the same street

Police were called to the same home in September of 2015, responding to reports of a vehicle that was set on fire. Police say there were damages to a 2013 Ford Edge and adjacent homes estimated at $60,000.

Nick said he's lived in the area 15 years, and remembers that night, too. But, he said, he's not worried for his safety.

"Those people wouldn't do it to anyone else other than who was targeted," he said.

Angelo Musitano (right) and Pat Musitano leaving Provincial Court for lunch in 1998. Shots were fired into Pat Musitano's home Tuesday morning.

Pat's brother Angelo was shot and killed in the driveway of his Waterdown home in early May, just a few days before his 40th birthday. Police say he was gunned down while his family was inside the home.

Organized crime expert James Dubro, who has written extensively about the Mafia in Ontario, told the CBC after Musitano was killed that Pat was the more "fearsome" of the two brothers. "[Pat] will, in time, be killed," he said. "There's no question about that."

The brothers were both charged with first-degree murder back in 1997, in connection with the brazen shooting of Hamilton crime boss Johnny "Pops" Papalia and one of his lieutenants, Carmen Barillaro.

They reached a deal and pleaded to conspiracy to commit murder in the death of Barillaro. In turn, the charges against them in connection with Papalia's death were dropped.

They were sentenced to 10 years in jail. They got out in 2007, and had mostly flown under the radar ever since.


Monday, June 26, 2017

Letter written by deceased Gambino boss John Gotti fails to sell at auction

Artifacts connected to some of the nation’s most notorious gangsters sold for more than $100,000 at auction Saturday.
A diamond pocket watch that belonged to Al Capone and was produced in Chicago in the 1920s, along with a handwritten musical composition he wrote in Alcatraz in the 1930s, were among the items that sold at the “Gangsters, Outlaws and Lawmen” auction. The watch fetched the most — $84,375 — according to Boston-based RR Auction.
The winning bidder of the watch was not identified. The buyer is a collector who has an eye for interesting American artifacts, said RR Auction Executive Vice President Bobby Livingston. He was among about 30 internet, telephone and in-person bidders.
Capone’s musical piece entitled “Humoresque” sold for $18,750. The piece shows Capone’s softer side. It contains the lines: “You thrill and fill this heart of mine, with gladness like a soothing symphony, over the air, you gently float, and in my soul, you strike a note.”
Livingston told The Associated Press he wasn’t surprised that lyrics written by a man better known for organized crime than his musical talents sold at the auction because of the way Capone “resonates in the American imagination.”
“The musical artifact gives insight into who this man was,” Livingston said. “It humanizes him, and shows that he had an imagination and creativity. These people had talents and they used those talents, unfortunately for criminal endeavors.”
Livingston was referring not just to Capone, but to infamous couple Bonnie and Clyde. An autographed “So Long” letter written by Bonnie Parker and signed by Clyde Barrow just before their deaths sold for $16,250. A pair of Texas arrest warrants fetched $8,125.
Parker’s silver-plated, three-headed snake ring fetched $25,000. The ring was not made by Barrow— a skilled amateur craftsman who engaged in jewelry making, woodworking and leathercraft behind bars — as originally believed, according to RR Auction’s website.
Clyde Barrow’s nephew, Buddy Barrow, and Bonnie Parker’s niece, Rhea Leen Linder, were in attendance.
“I asked Buddy Barrow what his uncle would be thinking about the auction, he felt that Clyde would have said ‘make as much money as you can’,” Livingston said.
A letter written by John Gotti, the reputed head of the Gambino crime family in New York, didn’t sell. The 1998 letter to the daughter of a mob associate urges the recipient to tell her father “to keep the martinis cold.”


Colombo soldier claims Bill Cosby gambled thousands of dollars on football

Bill Cosby’s other secret vice was gambling, a convicted bookie and Mafia scion claims.
For four years in the 1980s, “America’s Dad” bet hundreds of thousands of dollars on his favorite NFL team — the Miami Dolphins — with New York City bookmakers, according to Chris Colombo, the youngest son of late crime-family godfather Joseph Colombo.
“He loved them, bet on them every week,” said Chris Colombo, who claimed to “have knowledge” of Cosby’s bets but did not handle them personally.
Colombo, who spent a year in prison for running a $3.6 million-a-year bookmaking operation, said Cosby would place weekly wagers on the Fish between 1983 and 1986 — during the team’s glory days with quarterback Dan Marino and when “The Cosby Show” was at the height of its popularity.
The bets amounted to nearly $400,000, Colombo estimated, with Cosby dropping $5,000 on each week’s game, plus $10,000 on the five Dolphin playoff games in that period. He also lost a $20,000 bet on the 1985 Super Bowl XIX, when the San Francisco 49ers crushed the Dolphins 38-16.
Cosby placed the bets through an NBC employee, Frank Scotti, who phoned in the wagers, Colombo said. Scotti later became Cosby’s personal assistant.
Colombo wasn’t sure if the calls came from the Brooklyn studios where the hit sitcom was filmed, but he said Cosby would be “right there” as Scotti made the bets.
Asked if the comic had a code name like many habitual gamblers, Colombo laughed, saying, “Bill Cosby . . . Dr. Huxtable.”
Scotti, an NBC facilities manager who died in 2015, confessed in a series of 2014 interviews that for years he had funneled young women to Cosby backstage.
He claimed Cosby would give him bags of $100 bills, which Scotti would use to pay off the women.
Scotti never mentioned a gambling habit in those interviews.
Colombo said he met Cosby through Sammy Davis Jr. in the ’80s.
On occasion, Colombo said, he attended Cosby’s Thursday-night dinner parties in the star’s dressing room, where guests feasted on catered cuisine, drank $1,000 bottles of wine and grooved to jazz.
“Bill loved his fine Italian food. Once he sent me in a helicopter to pick up a $1,000 bottle of red wine,” Cosby’s former assistant Christopher Gambale said. “The dinner parties were always filled with 6-foot blond women. When we’d get a call that Cosby’s wife was on her way to the studio, I would bring the women in my office.”
Colombo said Cosby “bet with his heart” and when it was time to pay up, Scotti would deliver cash to the bookie in a plastic or paper bag. Any winnings would also be sent in a plastic or paper bag.
The bets were written on slips, placed in a ledger and later burned, Colombo said.
He said Cosby fell out of love with the Dolphins after they went a mediocre 8-8 in 1986.
“When they weren’t in contention, he wasn’t playing them,” ­Colombo said.
Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt scoffed at the betting claims.
“I’m not aware of any of that,” he said. “That’s the first I’m hearing.”


Sunday, June 25, 2017

John Gotti Jr is angry recently released Colombo mobster was in jail for so long

Junior Gotti has a brand new beef with the feds — he’s outraged that geezer gangster John “Sonny’’ Franzese was held in prison past his 100th birthday.
“The government should be ashamed of themselves for holding [Franzese] that long,” said Gotti who served as acting boss of the Gambino crime family after his late father, John J. Gotti, was sent on a one-way trip up the river.
“Most civilized countries have a compassionate release program,” Gotti noted.
“The US system rarely gives you that compassionate release unless you’re a rat,” he said — which Franzese was not.
Junior pointed out that releasing elderly prisoners would save the government money because “the taxpayers would no longer have to support them.’’
Gotti said he met Franzese, who was sprung from a Massachusetts prison hospital Friday, “maybe a few times.”
But he fumed that he knows first-hand about the feds not having compassion, since they kept his dad “until his last breath.”
“In the case of Sonny Franzese, he was not doing a life sentence. He was doing a 7-year sentence,’’ Gotti said. “He was wheelchair bound. It’s vindictiveness on the part of the government.”
Gotti cut the interview short because he was “driving on the highway and didn’t want to get a ticket.”
Franzese is now living with a daughter in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
A woman who answered the door Saturday said, “It’s a joy to have him back.’’ She added, “He’s old. He’s spending time with his family.’’


Saturday, June 24, 2017

Daughter very happy 100 year old Colombo mobster was released from prison


It was family reunion 100 years in the making — and worth the wait.

The daughter of century-old ex-Colombo family underboss John "Sonny" Franzese was thrilled Saturday as her oft-jailed dad enjoyed his first full day of freedom in eight years.

“I’m very delighted that he’s home,” said Loraine Scorsone after the venerable gangster — sprung from prison Friday — spent the night with family at her Brooklyn home.

Her brother Michael, who accompanied their dad on the ride down from the Federal Medical Center in Devens, Mass., agreed the family patriarch’s presence was a welcome addition.

“Dad enjoyed a nice, quiet and well-earned night at home,” Michael said Saturday via email. “The day was a bit overwhelming for him, I’m sure.

John "Sonny" Franzese arrives at a relative's home in Brooklyn after his Friday release from federal prison.

“He has four remaining children, several grandchildren and a bunch of great-grandkids who want to know him, love him and give him some happiness in his remaining years. He deserves it.”

All told, Sonny Franzese spent more than four decades of his life behind bars.

He arrived at the two-family Greenpoint home on Friday night and went inside without saying a word. He was greeted with hugs after his latest prison stint, and there was no sign of him Saturday.

Franzese, a native of Naples, Italy, was the oldest inmate in the federal system following what he hopes was his final arrest. The made man, already in his 90s, was convicted of shaking down a pair of Manhattan strip clubs.

Missing from the long-awaited get-together was Sonny’s namesake son John Jr., who became an informant and testified against his dad in 2010.

“He took the stand, swore to tell the truth and then lied through his teeth to save his own skin,” said Michael, who followed his father into the Colombos before walking away from organized crime.

Michael Franzese — once ranked by Forbes magazine as No. 18 on its list of the 50 most powerful American Mafiosi — became a born-again Christian, father of seven and motivational speaker.

The frail Sonny, who used a walker to get inside from a white Range Rover, flashed a smile Friday evening as he headed inside.

Franzese was first arrested in 1938.

Franzese, who turned 100 on Feb. 6, wore a gray sweatshirt with matching sweatpants.

He was a contemporary of the crime family’s namesake Joe Colombo, and reportedly rubbed elbows with Frank Sinatra at the old Copacabana nightclub.

Franzese joined the Colombos in the 1930s, taking his first arrest in 1938 for assault. He was jailed a half-dozen times over the years on parole violations.

But mob lore has long held that Sonny was convicted in 1967 for a bank robbery that he did not commit. Michael, in his email, insisted that was true.

“My father was framed 50 years ago,” he said. “He was no bank robber, and I’ll take that to my grave. My father and I have had our disagreements. Obviously, I walked away from a life that he continued to honor.

“But we love one another to this day.”


Friday, June 23, 2017

Man with links to Gambino crime family is charged with murder

john gotti
A man whose father and grandfather served as Gambino crime family associates was charged with killing a 50-year-old man over a drug deal, police said Wednesday.

Robert Sasso, 35, whose family members were previously linked with aiding the Gambino family in illegal activity, has once again been faced with charges involving murder. He killed Richard Brown in July 2016 and has been charged with murder and criminal possession of a weapon. According to police officials, Sasso shot Brown approximately at 11:55 p.m. because Brown owed Sasso money for a drug transaction. The alleged murder occurred in Flushing, Queens.

Sasso’s father, Robert Sasso Jr., was faced with gun trafficking charges in 1994 and served three years in jail. In 1992, his grandfather, Robert Sasso, resigned as head of the most influential union in New York’s construction industry and was accused of helping John Gotti, then the boss of the Gambino crime family, extract payments from contractors. According to court officials who presented the claims, Sasso did not admit to any of the allegations.

In 1968, organized crime was defined as “the unlawful activities of the members of a highly organized, disciplined association engaged in supplying illegal goods and services, including but not limited to gambling, prostitution, loan sharking, narcotics, labor racketeering and other unlawful activities of such organizations” by the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act.

When organized crime in the United States began in the 1970s, it was mostly a domestic issue, with crime families each securing a territory and maintaining their dealings within that territory. Oftentimes, the allies of crime families were their rival crime families.

The Gambino crime family, founded in 1910, spanned from New York to California in its dealings. John Gotti, the man whom both Sasso’s father and grandfather were convicted for helping, became the boss of the family after the 1985 murder of Paul Castellano. Gotti became known as “The Teflon Don” because he was tried three times in federal and state courts, but was acquitted each time. He was sentenced to life in jail with no parole in 1992 after one of his associates betrayed him by testifying against the Gambino family. After Gotti went to prison, he continued to rule the family until his death in 2002.

Some of the dealings the Gambino crime family participated in were racketeering, fraud, money laundering, drug trafficking and murder.

In 2014, Sasso was charged for shooting and almost killing his childhood friend Dean Oku. The tattooed Sasso was smoking marijuana with Oku in Whitestone, Queens on Aug. 29, 2014. At around 2 a.m., he shot Oku in the abdomen, left leg and left arm.

Two days before the shooting, Sasso was charged with punching his girlfriend and pushing her out of a car on Astoria Blvd. In 2010, Sasso was suspected of ordering a failed hit on a construction supervisor who fired him. He was sentenced to three years in prison in 2001 on drug charges. Sasso reportedly convinced his “associate” Anthony Manco to shoot his construction supervisor Louis Lamburini. After the shooting, they drove away in a getaway car. This appeared to be Sasso’s only attempt at involving outside help in his attempted crime.

Sasso, who has mostly acted alone, has not achieved the criminal status of his father and grandfather, who were both linked to the Gambino family.

Almost one year after Brown’s murder, Sasso was arrested Tuesday for his previous arrests, including ones for burglary and tampering with a witness. His arraignment is pending at Queens Criminal Court.


100 year old legendary Colombo family underboss is released from federa prison

Sonny Franzese, the mob underboss who reigned over the Colombo crime family’s Long Island rackets in the ’60s from his Roslyn home with ferocity and guile, was released from a U.S. lockup Friday at age 100, the oldest inmate in the federal prison system.

Franzese, whose given name is John, left the Federal Medical Center in Devens, Massachusetts, in a wheelchair just before noon.

He was picked up by two men in a white Land Rover. He was dressed in a gray sweatshirt and appeared noticeably thinner than in the past.

Franzese said nothing when a reporter asked him if he was Sonny Franzese.

His son Michael Franzese of California confirmed, however, that it was his father after receiving a picture taken at the scene. The elder Franzese was planning to go to his daughter’s home in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

The embodiment of the Mafia’s tattered code of omerta, Franzese spent 35 years of a 50-year sentence for bank robbery behind bars.

“He’s one of a kind,” said Robert Lewicki, a retired FBI agent who persuaded Sonny’s son John Jr. Franzese to wear a wire against the mob in 2005. “There’s never been a guy like Sonny. There will never be another guy like Sonny, the last of a dying breed.”

In his prime, according to news accounts, Franzese had a financial interest in restaurants, topless bars, clubs, several record labels and even the classic porn film “Deep Throat.” He favored the traditional mob methods of making money — loan sharking and extortion.

And although law enforcement authorities believe Franzese committed or ordered the murders of up to 50 people, Lewicki is not the only former FBI agent who has a grudging respect for him.

“I think it’s amazing that he stood up,” said Bernard Welsh, a former FBI agent who arrested Franzese several times on parole violations. “He never gave anybody up.”

Franzese defied criminal stereotypes by living quietly on Long Island, adhering to a disciplined work schedule and maintaining a stable family life, his son Michael said. He was the subject of a December 1965 Newsday profile headlined “The Hood in Our Neighborhood” by former Investigations Editor Bob Greene, who called Franzese “a prototype of the rising young executive.”

But a year later, he was embroiled in three separate investigations for heinous crimes: accused of ordering the murder of a one-eyed mob gunman turned informant, Ernie “The Hawk” Rupolo, who was found in Jamaica Bay with a weighted rope around his neck and a chain around his legs; charged with masterminding the home-invasion robbery of an Oceanside jukebox executive, in which the man’s teenage sons were handcuffed to a pipe in the cellar; and conspiring with four hoods to rob banks from Utah to Massachusetts.

The cases generated a steady stream of headlines and photos starting in the fall of 1966. Franzese’s reputation for brutality was so great that when a Newsday photographer snapped a dramatic picture of Franzese being escorted out of the Nassau County courthouse by policemen carrying shotguns, the picture appeared in print without crediting the photographer.

Franzese was acquitted in the murder and home-invasion cases but convicted in April 1967 in the bank-robbery conspiracy — a crime his family maintains he didn’t commit.

“My father was who he was in my former life, but he was no bank robber,” said Michael Franzese, himself once a Colombo capo who made his own headlines when he left the crime family and lived to talk about it. “He was absolutely framed.”

For former FBI agent Lewicki, whether he conspired to rob banks may be irrelevant.

“It’s an absolute certainty that he committed numerous other crimes, including violent crimes, murder, etcetera,” he said. “He got away with a lot, but he was convicted of something he may or may not have done. It’s also true he’s got bodies under his belt.”

In an extraordinary move, then-federal Judge Jacob Mishler sentenced Franzese to 50 years in prison, with no minimum term. With that hanging over his head, prosecutors offered to get his time reduced if he talked.

He didn’t.

“That’s unusual today,” Welsh said. “You look at all these bosses, they have rolled over, every one of them.”

Michael Franzese recalled that when Mishler sentenced his father, Sonny Franzese declared, “You watch. I’m gonna do the whole 50.”

Despite his lack of cooperation, Franzese managed to get paroled at least six times, according to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons. But each time, he ended up back in prison — typically for associating with other felons. He last got sent back in 2010 when, at the age of 93 and in a wheelchair, he was found to have been shaking down the Hustler and Penthouse strip clubs in Manhattan and a pizzeria in Albertson.

He did his time, and is now facing life on the outside as a centenarian, having outlived virtually everyone else in the case that cost him a third of his life. Three of his co-defendants, his attorney and the judge who sentenced him in the bank-robbery case are all dead.


Man linked to cocaine trafficking out of Queens pizzeria is sentenced to 20 years


The last member of a Queens clan busted for importing $1 million worth of cocaine into the U.S. ​through their mom-and-pop pizzeria was sentenced to 20 years in prison Thursday.

Angelo Gigliotti will now join his mother, Eleanora, and father, Gregorio, behind bars for his role in the family drug-trafficking business.

Given the 36-year-old’s criminal history, he had faced anywhere between 20 years and life in prison for his part in the scheme.

Angelo’s wife, Brooke, sniveled in the gallery throughout the proceeding, at times her squeaks louder than Brooklyn Federal Court Justice Raymond Dearie’s statements to the parties.

The father-of-two was so distraught he was nearly unable to speak, instead turning to point at his wife, eyes brimming with tears, as he mumbled “it’s tough, that’s all.”
“Your honor has seen this trial from beginning to end,” defense attorney Gerald McMahon reminded Dearie Thursday. “So your honor has a flavor for the facts of the case, and all of its nuances, as well as insight into the family and all of their foibles.”

“I do believe 20 years is excessive,” Judge Dearie admitted before handing down the steep sentence–which he was obligated to dispense under federal guidelines. “But you’re here by your own hand.
Cucino a Modo Mio pizzeria

“Perhaps I’m the Pollyanna in the crowd, perhaps the family has foibles,” Dearie continued, “But this family also has loyalty.”

“You’ve got to get away from the fast-track,” the jurist told Angelo before nodding to the packed pews. “Because the people in the back deserve it.”

Gregorio Gigliotti–an alleged associate of the Genovese crime family– was previously sentenced to 18 years behind bars, while Eleanora was given 7.

The trio were variously convicted on a slew of charges, including drug dealing, importing and conspiracy, for funneling an estimated 120 kilos of Costa Rican cocaine through their Corona Italian eatery, Cucino a Modo Mio.

The drugs were secreted inside the the flaps of Yucca boxes, prosecutors said. Drug money, guns, ammunition and record books detailing their illicit transactions were also discovered in the restaurant’s back-office.

Angelo has previous convictions for gang assault and marijuana distribution, which contributed to the lofty sentence.

His wife declined comment as she left court.


Court restores Colombo mobster's 40 year sentence


A federal appeals court has reinstated the full 40-year sentence of a convicted mobster who passed along a tip leading to the recovery of explosives stashed away in the one-time home of convicted Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols.

In 2016, Colombo solider Gregory Scarpa Jr. saw his sentence shaved down to a 30-year term by Brooklyn Federal Judge Edward Korman, who said Scarpa deserved credit for the valuable information.

On Thursday, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals overruled Korman and kept the 65-year-old wiseguy's full sentence intact. The appeals court said it agreed with Brooklyn federal prosecutors who said they had justifiable reasons why they didn't want to seek a sentence reduction for Scarpa — including his failing a lie detector test in connection to the Nichols information.

Fire personnel gather at the base of the nine-story Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City Thursday, April 20, 1995. Scarpa passed along a tip about explosives in the former home of one of the conspirators in the bombing.

Scarpa was convicted in 1999 for racketeering and other offenses. Scarpa said he got the information about the explosives from Nichols, serving a life sentence, when they were housed near each other in 2005 in the Supermax prison in Florence, Colo.

Scarpa's lawyer, Georgia Hinde, declined to comment Thursday on the ruling.


Thursday, June 22, 2017

Five men who admitted roles in Montreal mafia murders are sentenced

Five men who pleaded guilty last week to conspiracy charges involving the murders of two of ‎the Rizzuto organization’s rivals received sentences on Wednesday that left them with prison terms ranging between four and 11 years.

Superior Court Justice Guy Cournoyer agreed with the sentence recommendations presented to him last week after the five — Édrick Antoine, 29, Olivier Gay, 34, Stanley Minuty, 33, Kevin Tate, 33, and Léonard Faustin Étienne, 37 — admitted they were part of a conspiracy to kill Gaetan Gosselin, 70, who was shot in front of his home in Saint-Léonard on Jan. 22, 2013.

Gay also admitted he was part of a conspiracy to kill Vincenzo Scuderi, 49, who was shot nine days later.

Gosselin was a longtime friend of Raynald Desjardins, a former close associate of Vito Rizzuto who apparently was unwilling to cede the power he had established within the Montreal Mafia while Rizzuto was incarcerated in the U.S. Gosselin was also a business partner of Desjardins. At the time, police sources speculated Gosselin was killed to send a message to Desjardins while he was detained and awaiting a possible trial for the murder of Mafioso Salvatore Montagna.

Project Clemenza, an RCMP investigation into drug trafficking, revealed that Scuderi took orders from Giuseppe "Ponytail" De Vito while De Vito was behind bars for cocaine smuggling. De Vito despised the Rizzuto organization and died of cyanide poisoning inside a federal penitentiary months after Scuderi was killed.

Vito Rizzuto was the head of the Montreal Mafia for decades before he died of natural causes in December 2013.

The five men who pleaded guilty last week are alleged to have ties to a Montreal street gang called Unit 44.

Gaetan Gosselin, 70, was shot in front of his home in St-Léonard on Jan. 22, 2013. Montreal courthouse

Gay was left with the longest sentence of the five because of his role in both murders. ‎His overall sentence is 18 years, but with time served factored in he was left with a prison term of 11 years and 10 months.

Minuty was sentenced to an overall sentence of 16 years because there was evidence he was the person who pulled the trigger of the gun that killed Gosselin. Minuty was left with a prison term of nearly 10 years to serve starting on Wednesday.

Étienne received an overall sentence of nine years because the evidence related to him was the weakest in the investigation of Gosselin’s murder. He was left with a prison term of four years and five months.

Tate’s sentence — an overall prison term of 15 years — takes into account that he has already been convicted in connection with a homicide in the past. He killed a friend of his by accident during a fight in a bar in Laval more than a decade ago. He was convicted of manslaughter in that case. As of Wednesday, he was left with a prison term of eight years and 10 months.

Antoine was also sentenced to an overall prison term of 15 years, and, like Tate, he has eight years and 10 months left to serve.


Mobster who spent 33 years in prison for murder he didnt commit is dead at 83

for Metro - 02limone - (070110 Woburn, MA) Peter J. Limone, 76, of Medford pleads no contest to gaming charges at Middlesex Superior Court Thursday morning. Limone was sentenced to five years probation, ordered to wear a GPS bracelet and told him to stay away from his reputed mafia associates. Thursday, July 01, 2010. (Ted Fitzgerald/Boston Herald) Library Tag 07022010 National/Foreign
Peter J. Limone spent 33 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit, then became a local legend after winning his freedom and a $101.7 million judgment against the FBI for framing him and three other men.

A fighter to the end, Mr. Limone, 83, died Monday after a five-year battle with cancer.

“The guy was the epitome of what stand-up guys are,” said attorney Anthony Cardinale, who knew Mr. Limone for years and often crossed paths with him in Boston’s North End. “He was a guy who took it on the chin, did the best he could with his family, did his time like a man, and didn’t come out with a chip on his shoulder. He maintained dignity throughout the process. He was an icon.”

Mr. Limone was raised in Boston’s West End and lived much of his life in Medford. He was only in his 30s when he was sent to prison, leaving his wife, Olympia, to raise their four young children alone. By his own account, the years he spent behind bars were difficult.

“It was a hard road,” Mr. Limone said after a federal judge ruled in 2007 that the FBI was responsible for framing Mr. Limone and three others for the 1965 slaying of Edward “Teddy” Deegan in Chelsea. “They could never give me back what I lost. All the money in the world couldn’t give me 33 years.”

US District Judge Nancy Gertner found the FBI deliberately withheld evidence that Mr. Limone, Joseph Salvati, Louis Greco, and Henry Tameleo were innocent, then covered up the injustice for decades as the men grew old behind bars, and Greco and Tameleo died.

The discovery of secret FBI files that were never turned over during the men’s 1968 trial prompted a state judge to overturn Mr. Limone’s conviction in 2001 and set him free.

The documents showed the FBI knew that the key witness in the case, notorious hitman Joseph “The Animal” Barboza, may have falsely implicated the four men while protecting one of Deegan’s true killers, Vincent “Jimmy” Flemmi, who was an FBI informant.

At the time, the FBI had a national mandate to target La Cosa Nostra, commonly known as the Mafia. Mr. Limone was a reputed leader in the Boston mob, and Tameleo was the reputed consigliere of the New England Mafia.

Initially, Mr. Limone, Greco, and Tameleo were sentenced to die in the electric chair, then their sentences were reduced to life in prison after the death penalty was abolished in Massachusetts in 1970.

During the 2007 civil trial, Mr. Limone’s wife testified that she was a stay-at-home mother with children ages 1, 4, 7, and 8 when her husband was arrested for Deegan’s slaying. She sewed drapes and cleaned homes to support her family. Her children also testified, recounting frequent trips to prison, where they would be frisked before entering and frightened by the sound of heavy metal doors clanging.

Mr. Limone’s share of the $101.7 million judgment awarded to the four men and their families was $26 million.

After his release from prison, Mr. Limone embraced family life and loved spending time with his wife, four children, and 10 grandchildren, according to several friends.

“He was a good man,” said Bernie Cherbitsky, a car dealership manager and longtime friend of Mr. Limone and his son. “He loved his family.”

Attorney Victor Garo, who represented Salvati during the civil trial against the government, said he often bumped into Mr. Limone on weekends at a popular doughnut shop in Medford center, where Mr. Limone would frequently buy four dozen doughnuts at a time and drop them off to friends or at a local senior center.

“I always saw him treat people with respect and kindness,” Garo said.

Yet a year after his legal victory, Mr. Limone was back in court facing charges that he operated a ring that raked in hundreds of thousands of dollars in gambling profits.

Stephen Johnson, a retired Massachusetts State Police detective lieutenant, said Mr. Limone was alleged to be the acting boss of the New England Mafia in 2008 when he and another trooper approached him at a charity event with a warrant that allowed them to search him and his Medford home for possible evidence of gambling, loan sharking, and extortion.

“He acted like a complete gentleman,” said Johnson, recounting that Mr. Limone was surprised, but remained cordial. “He was very pleasant.”

Later, Mr. Limone pleaded no contest to state charges of extortion, organizing a gambling syndicate, and loan sharking, and was placed on probation for five years.

Cardinale said Mr. Limone remained upbeat, even after spending time on death row, and was just happy to be back home with his family.

“Never once did I hear him complain about what happened to him,” he said. “Here was a guy who could maintain his dignity and his respect, knowing every day of those 33 years that the FBI had framed him.”


Flashy mob boss Skinny Joey Merlino wants trial moved to Philadelphia

Accused Philly mob boss Joey “Skinny Joey” Merlino wants to stay close to the cheesesteaks.
Merlino filed papers in Manhattan federal court Monday requesting that his racketeering trial be moved from Manhattan to his hometown Philadelphia.
Merlino, known for his flashy clothes and cars, says the basis for the request rests with the feds who, in a criminal complaint, accused him of being the boss of the “Philly Mob.”
Merlino, 55, is one of the last defendants left from a massive roundup of 46 wiseguys from four out of the five major crime families, including reputed Genovese capo and Arthur Avenue restaurateur Pasquale “Patsy” Parrello.


Notorious Sicilian mafia boss to get compassionate release from prison

A ​ruthless Sicilian mob boss ​known as “The Beast” — who once ordered a hit on Rudy Giuliani and had a 13-year-old boy dissolved in acid — ​could soon be sprung from an Italian prison so he can “die with dignity.”
Politicians, prosecutors and cops have been fuming since Italy’s supreme court said on Monday that ​Salvatore “The Beast” Riina (inset) ​— who suffers from cancer, heart disease and Parkinson’s disease ​— should be freed.
Riina, 86, has “the right to die with dignity,” the justices said.
The final decision on Riina’s freedom will come from the parole board in Bologna, near Parma, where the gang boss is locked up.
Chief Mafia prosecutor Fran​​co Roberti said Riina still poses a threat to society.
“We have evidence to prove this theory [that Riina is harmless] wrong and show that Riina is still the head of La Cosa Nostra,” Roberti told the Corriere della Sera newspaper.
For years, Riina was also known as the Sicilian Mafia’s “Boss of all Bosses.”
Riina was finally busted in 1993 and is now serving 12 concurrent life sentences.
But from behind bars, he notoriously ordered the murder of ​the youngster, who was strangled ​before his body ​was ​dissolved in a vat of acid in 1996.
The cowardly hit — one of some 150 murders to which Riina has been linked — was in retaliation for the boy’s dad​ having ratted out the mob boss​.
Riina also once ordered the murder of then-US Attorney Giuliani in the 1980s, associates have said.
Riina went as far as sending an assassin to the United States to murder the future mayor because of Giuliani’s friendship with crusading Italian judge Giovanni Falcone.
But Riina changed his mind, fearing US attacks on the Sicilian mob.
Falcone, and another courageous anti-Mafia judge, Paolo Borsellino, were killed on Riina’s orders in 1992.
Salvatore Borsellino, the slain judge’s brother, was outraged that Italy’s high court could give Riina the benefit of the doubt.
“The court should have remembered that the person before them is the same one who blew to bits servants of the state and ordered that a little boy be dissolved in acid,” he said.


Genovese mobster pleads guilty to federal gambling charge

Alex Conigliaro, seen in this 2005 photo, a reputed member of the Genovese organized crime family, has pleaded guilty to conducting an illegal gambling business. (AP Photo/Mike Derer)
A reputed member of the Genovese organized crime family from Staten Island, who was among 46 alleged wise guys arrested and charged with racketeering and other crimes, has pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of conducting an illegal gambling business.
Manhattan federal prosecutors announced the arrests and charges against Alex Conigliaro, 56, and his co-defendants in August of last year.
The defendants, federal officials said then, were alleged leaders, members and associates of the Genovese, Gambino, Lucchese, Bonanno and Philadelphia Organized Crime Families of La Cosa Nostra ("LCN"). They allegedly operated in various East Coast locations, from Massachusetts to Florida.
Conigliaro was accused of trying to extort a victim in February 2012.
The man was working as a bookmaker and had accounts with a co-defendant John "Tugboat" Tognino, who worked under Conigliaro, alleged authorities.
Conigliaro had suspected the victim was allowing professional bettors to place wagers, and as a result, Conigliaro was on the hook for about $400,000 to the winning bettors, federal officials alleged.
A Genovese capo summoned the man to a Bronx restaurant. There, Conigliaro, the capo, and another alleged mobster confronted the man in a small room in the basement, threatening and intimidating him, alleged authorities.
Conigliraro ultimately refused to pay the money he owed, officials said.
In pleading guilty to conducting an illegal gambling business, Conigliaro admitted to supervising and financing an illegal bookmaking and sports-betting operation between 2011 and 2014, court records show.
The business involved at least five people, remained in continuous operation for more than 30 days and pulled in $2,000 in a single day, said court papers.
Conigliaro will be sentenced Oct. 26 in Manhattan federal court.
The sentencing range is eight to 14 months behind bars, according to court papers; however, the judge is not bound to it.
In view of the reduced charges and Conigliaro's compliance with his bail conditions, a judge recently authorized the removal of the defendant's electronic monitoring ankle bracelet and lifted a curfew against him, court records said.
Conigliaro previously beat extortion and illegal gambling charges in an unrelated case.
In 2004, a Manhattan federal court jury acquitted him of running an illegal gambling business with the help of five others, which raked in gross revenues of $2,000 in a single day, Advance records show.
Conigliaro's lawyer in the current case could not immediately be reached for comment.


Mafia rat accidentally erases evidence on his phone against Philadelphia mob boss

Exported.; TO SEND;
A ham-fisted mob informant erased one year’s worth of recordings when he reset his phone — undermining the case against former Philly crime boss Joseph Merlino, court papers claim.

The unidentified informant turned over extensive audio and video recordings to the feds as part of their long-running investigation into gambling, arson and extortion activities.

The Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office hit Merlino, 55, and 45 alleged New York wiseguys with racketeering charges last August.

Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino talks to reporters Thursday, Feb. 20, 1997, outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia.

Prosecutors planned to use the recordings against Merlino, Manhattan Federal Court documents filed Monday indicate.

But Merlino’s lawyers say audio and video recordings and all texts from the informant’s phone are unavailable, making it impossible to determine how much material existed and to authenticate it.