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

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Gambinos held secret meeting on Staten Island days after murder of acting boss Frank Cali

Four days after Gambino acting boss Francesco "Franky Boy" Cali was killed outside his Hilltop Terrace home, members of the mob family organized a “clandestine meeting” on Staten Island, as they launched their own investigation into the murder, prosecutors say.
Andrew Campos, 50, who prosecutors identified as a captain in the Gambino family, and Vincent Fiore, 57, an alleged Gambino soldier, met with multiple other high-level crime family members to discuss the then-unclear circumstances surrounding Cali’s death, the U.S. Attorney, Eastern District of New York, wrote in a detention memo that was unsealed on Thursday afternoon.
The detention memo does not detail where exactly on Staten Island the group met.
In the following days, Campos and Fiore, of Scarsdale, N.Y., and Briarcliff, N.Y., respectively, actively helped the Gambino family investigate the murder, the memo alleges.
The day after the meeting, on March 18, Fiore talked to his ex-wife about the session, telling her that he and Campos met with “a half dozen” people, prosecutors wrote in the memo.
Fiore also told her that he had seen the surveillance video of Cali’s slaying and speculated on a possible motive “relating to a woman” who had been at the Hilltop Terrace home on the day of the slaying, the memo says.
Prosecutors do not specifically say who that woman could have been.
The accused Gambino soldier affectionately called Cali “Frankie” and described him as someone who “was loved," according to the memo.
Fiore, however, had started discussing Cali’s murder the morning after he died, when he received a call from James Ciaccia, 51, of the Bronx, an accused Gambino family soldier, according to the memo.
During the phone call, Fiore said Cali’s death was “a good thing” because Campos, to whom both Fiore and Ciaccia reported, was likely to gain more power in the family, prosecutors allege in the memo.
On March 16, Anthony Comello, 25, of Eltingville, was arrested in connection with the slaying.
He has been in jail since then and made several inconsistent statements to investigators when he detailed what happened that night in March.
On Thursday morning, Justice William E. Garnett denied a motion to suppress the statements Comello made to investigators. 
The details about the Gambino family meeting were revealed after the Eastern District of New York announced the arrests of 10 alleged members and associates of the Gambino family on Thursday.
The defendants are facing charges that span from racketeering conspiracy, bribery, loansharking, fraud, obstruction of justice and related offenses.
None of the people arrested are from Staten Island.
“The outstanding investigative work by this office’s prosecutors and our law enforcement partners uncovered a litany of crimes allegedly committed by members and associates of the Gambino organized crime family, who still don’t get it – handcuffs and a jail cell are waiting for criminals who threaten violence and commit fraud, money laundering and bribery in furtherance of their enterprise,” said United States Attorney Richard P. Donoghue.
The arrests, conducted in conjunction with the FBI, the NYPD, the IRS and the Queens County District Attorney’s Office, were based on alleged crimes that occurred since 2013.


Feds takedown money making Gambino captain and his crew

Two indictments and one complaint were unsealed today in federal court in Brooklyn variously charging 12 defendants with racketeering conspiracy, bribery, loansharking, fraud, obstruction of justice and related offenses.  Those charged with racketeering conspiracy were Andrew Campos, an alleged captain in the Gambino organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra; James Ciaccia, George Campos, Vincent Fiore and Richard Martino, alleged Gambino family soldiers; and Renato Barca, Jr., Benito DiZenzo, Mark Kocaj, Frank Tarul and Michael Tarul, alleged Gambino family associates.  The charges relate to the defendants’ criminal activities throughout the New York metropolitan area since February 2013.
Eleven defendants were arrested this morning and are scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Ramon E. Reyes, Jr.  One defendant is a fugitive.
Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI); Jonathan D. Larsen, Special Agent-in-Charge, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI); and Dermot F. Shea, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), announced the charges.
“The outstanding investigative work by this Office’s prosecutors and our law enforcement partners uncovered a litany of crimes allegedly committed by members and associates of the Gambino organized crime family, who still don’t get it – handcuffs and a jail cell are waiting for criminals who threaten violence and commit fraud, money laundering and bribery in furtherance of their enterprise,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue.  Mr. Donoghue thanked the Queens County District Attorney’s Office, the United States Probation Departments for the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York and the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor for their assistance during the investigation.
“The Gambino members arrested in this case ran the gamut of criminal activity.  Everything from the usual thuggish behavior of beating people up, forcing people to take the fall for their crimes, all the way to defrauding the federal government,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney.  “Several suspects even went to prison, were released, and allegedly went right back to breaking the law.  At some point, these crime families should realize we see what they're doing, and their actions are going to lead them right back to the same prison cells.”
“Financial gain is the primary motivation of any criminal enterprise and these allegations are no different,” stated IRS-CI Special Agent-in-Charge Larsen.  “The criminal investigators of IRS-Criminal Investigation specialize in unraveling such serious charges where multiple financial frauds and extreme measures are utilized for personal enrichment.”
“The NYPD and its law enforcement partners remain committed to eradicating organized crime in New York City,” stated NYPD Commissioner Shea.  “Associates of the Gambino Crime Family – or any other enterprise that seeks to enrich its members through racketeering, bribery, loansharking and fraud – should know that investigators will build strong cases against them, and they will be prosecuted.  I commend the members of the NYPD, the FBI, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their work on this case.”
As alleged in the government’s court filings and summarized below, Andrew Campos and members of his crew used bribery, fraud and extortion schemes to infiltrate the construction industry and earn millions of dollars in criminal proceeds.
Honest Services Wire Fraud Bribery Schemes
Andrew Campos, Fiore, Kocaj and DiZenzo operated a carpentry company, CWC Contracting Corp. (“CWC”), and are charged with paying bribes and kickbacks to employees of numerous construction companies and real estate developers.  In exchange, these employees took steps to benefit CWC, including awarding contracts and approving change orders to add or delete from the original scope of a contract.  Specifically, between approximately June 2018 and June 2019, CWC paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and kickbacks to multiple employees of a real estate development company (described in the indictment as “Construction Company #1”), including John Simonlacaj, the company’s current Managing Director of Development.  CWC paid the bribes in the form of hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of free labor and materials used for renovations on Simonlacaj’s residence that was paid for by a fraudulently approved change order.  As Kocaj stated, although the work was paid for by a change order, “it should have been pro bono” because Construction Company #1 “do[es] 50 million a year in business”, and it was “worth it to do some of the paperwork.”  In another intercepted conversation, Fiore described the benefits provided by Simonlacaj, “This director, John.  There’s a beautiful in there.  There’s things we can do with [Kocaj] there, he whispers what he needs to whisper and we get things done.”
Obstruction of Justice – Martino’s Concealment of Financial Assets 
In 2005, Andrew Campos and Martino were convicted in the Eastern District of New York for their role in a massive scheme to defraud users of adult entertainment services.  Martino was ultimately sentenced to 108 months’ imprisonment and ordered by the court to pay $9.1 million in forfeiture.  After his release from prison, Martino, together with Frank Tarul and others, concealed Martino’s substantial wealth and income, falsely reporting that Martino had limited assets and worked for Tarul’s flooring company.  In reality, as revealed by court-authorized wiretaps, Martino operated multiple companies that earned millions of dollars, including construction work, investments in pizzerias and other business ventures.
Loansharking and Extortion
As detailed in the government’s court filings, various defendants used extortionate means to collect money.  For example, Andrew Campos and Fiore used threats of violence to collect at least $100,000 from one victim.  In a lawfully wiretapped phone conversation on March 13, 2019, Fiore warned the victim, “When you get punched in the face and your teeth get knocked out . . .  you’re not going to laugh no more, okay? . . .  At the end of the day, when you’re upside down [i.e., unable to make certain payments], you deal with him,” referring to Campos.
Kocaj and Lopez, a former professional boxer, are charged with loansharking, including Kocaj’s recovery of tens of thousands of dollars of a gambling debt on behalf of an Albanian organized crime figure.  Kocaj bragged about his ability to violently collect money, stating that he could send “a couple of my Albanian guys” and have somebody “grab [a potential victim] by the f-----g neck.”   Kocaj helped collect over $30,000, threatening that if the victim did not pay, “[h]e’s going to get his head split open. . . .  These are not the guys to f--- around with. . . .  These Albanians, you know what they’ll do.”  Earlier this morning, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Lopez’s home and seized $25,000 in cash, brass knuckles and several large knives.
Retaliation Against Grand Jury Witness – Obstruction of Justice
Andrew Campos allegedly directed that a CWC worker believed to have testified before the grand jury be fired.  Subsequently, during a lawfully recorded conversation on November 22, 2019, Fiore directed that the CWC worker be fired as “a personal favor to Andrew,” because the worker “could’ve pled the Fifth.” 
Additional Charged Schemes
The indictments and complaint include additional alleged criminal schemes, including (1) laundering money by cashing checks made out to others, purportedly for work performed in connection with CWC construction projects; (2) fraudulently procuring cards from the United States Department of Labor indicating completion of certain Occupational Safety and Health Administration training courses when, in fact, the courses were never completed; (3) defrauding the U.S. government by paying CWC employees millions of dollars in cash without making the required payroll tax withholdings and payments; (4) overbilling CWC clients by causing them to pay for fraudulent or inflated work orders; and (5) evading taxes and money laundering, including by having CWC construct Andrew Campos’s residence.
The charges in the indictments and complaint are allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Organized Crime & Gangs Section.  Assistant United States Attorneys Keith D. Edelman and Kayla C. Bensing are in charge of the prosecution, assisted by EDNY Special Agent Erik Nesbitt.  Assistant United States Attorney Claire S. Kedeshian is handling forfeiture matters.
The Defendants:
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 19-CR-575 (FB)
RENATO BARCA, JR. (also known as “Ronny”)
Age: 32
Bronx, New York
Age: 50
Scarsdale, New York
Age: 72
Peekskill, New York
Age: 51
Bronx, New York
BENITO DIZENZO (also known as “Benny”)
Age: 53
New Rochelle, New York
Age: 57
Briarcliff, New York
MARK KOCAJ (also known as “Chippy”)
Age: 49
Tuckahoe, New York
Age: 60
Rye, New York
JOHN SIMONLACAJ (also known as “John Si” and “Smiley”)
Age: 50
Scarsdale, New York
FRANK TARUL (also known as “Bones”)
Age: 45
Bronx, New York
MICHAEL TARUL (also known as “Perkins”)
Age: 43
Bronx, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 19-CR-577 (FB)
MARK KOCAJ (also known as “Chippy”)
Age: 49
Tuckahoe, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 19-MJ-1126
ADRIAL LOPEZ (also known as “Adriel Lopez” and “Andrew Lopeck”)
Age:  56
Bronx, New York


Thursday, November 28, 2019

Saturday, November 23, 2019

FBI arrests New England mobster Big Billy

A Saco man was arrested by Massachusetts State Police and FBI agents with the Boston organized crime task force on Thursday and faces one count of Hobbs Act robbery, which is robbery that affects interstate or foreign commerce.
William “Billy” Angelesco, 48, was taken into custody Friday morning and faces one count of interfering with commerce by threats of violence. The crime is alleged to have occurred on or about Sept. 20, 2018, in Abington, Massachusetts, according to the indictment unsealed Thursday. There are no further details about the nature of the allegation in court records.
Angelesco made an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Portland on Friday, and will be held until Wednesday, when he is scheduled to appear again in Portland for a detention hearing, said Liz McCarthy, spokeswoman for Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling.
McCarthy said Angelesco’s case will be transferred to Massachusetts at some point.
Angelesco was charged with the brazen 2001 killing of a nightclub manager but was acquitted after witnesses gave differing descriptions of the gunman who killed the manager inside the crowded Revere strip club where Angelesco worked.
Massachusetts court records from a different case indicate that in 2001, investigators with the Massachusetts State Police suspected Angelesco of being connected to organized crime, and was a “made man” in the Boston Mafia for his participation as the shooter in a slaying for which he was never prosecuted.
In 2006, Angelesco, then living in Chelsea, Massachusetts, was charged with running an illegal gambling ring. He pleaded guilty two years later and was sentenced to 2½ years in jail. It’s unclear how long he lived in Saco.


Sunday, November 17, 2019

Philadelphia soldier sentenced to 12 years in prison

A Philadelphia La Cosa Nostra mobster was sentenced Thursday for staging a robbery of a New Jersey pawnshop and check cashing business so the owner could collect insurance money, federal prosecutors said.
Salvatore "Sam” Piccolo, 68, of Atlantic City, also has admitted that he sold nearly a half-pound of crystal meth to undercover FBI agents, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Piccolo was sentenced to over 12 years in prison and was also ordered to pay $174,025 in restitution to the insurance company the shop owner filed the claim with, Northland Insurance of Minnesota, officials said
Clad in a nylon mask, Piccolo and an associate entered the pawnshop on April 19, 2014, chained the front doors closed and pulled out a handgun, authorities said.
They bound the owner and then stole cash, jewelry and a gun from a safe in the business, according to the statement. The owner claimed the safe contained $60,000 in cash and eventually was paid the $174,025 claim by the insurance company.
The money was transferred from the insurance company’s Citibank account to the business owner’s Bank of America account in November 2014, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said in the statement.
Piccolo also sold meth to undercover FBI agents three times in 2017; once in Sicklerville restaurant parking lot and twice in Atlantic City, federal prosecutors said. The agents paid him over $11,000 in cash for the drugs.


Saturday, November 16, 2019

Lucchese family leaders facing mandatory life sentences after being convicted of murdering notorious Bronx gangster

Four Lucchese mobsters were found guilty Friday of the brutal Bronx hit of a notorious gangster who’d refused to make good on a gambling debt.
Matthew Madonna, Steven “Wonder Boy” Crea, Christopher Londonio and Terrence Caldwell were convicted in White Plains federal court of carrying out the 2013 murder of Michael Meldish, 63, the leader of the ruthless Purple Gang.
Meldish’s crew once did dirty work for the Lucchese, Genovese and Bonanno crime families. But the trial revealed that Meldish made the fatal mistake of refusing to pay a gambling debt owed to Madonna, who was then the acting boss of the Lucchese family.
Madonna, 84, ordered Meldish be taken out. Crea, the underboss, helped Madonna make the decision and relayed the order. Londonio, a made member of the family, helped set up Meldish, who was his friend. Caldwell, a mob associate, fired the fatal shot and fled the scene in a car driven by Londonio.
Meldish was found Nov. 15, 2013 dead from a bullet fired to his head in a car parked in Throgs Neck.
“The violent and disturbing acts of these four organized crime figures included the brutal murder of associate Michael Meldish. Fittingly, all four defendants have been found guilty of their heinous acts of fraud, extortion, and murder on the six-year anniversary of Meldish’s death," Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said.
Meldish’s Purple Gang once controlled the drug trade in the Bronx and Harlem. Authorities suspected his brother and longtime partner in crime, Joseph Meldish, was responsible for as many as 70 contract killings.
Joseph Meldish, 56, was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison in 2011 for a 1999 murder.
Joseph Coffey, a former commanding officer of the NYPD’s organized crime homicide task force, did not mourn Michael Meldish’s death.
“Michael was a stone-cold killer,” Coffey told the Daily News in 2013.
“It should have happened a long time ago. I call it vermin killing vermin — poetic justice.”
The four men face a mandatory sentence of life in prison for murder in aid of racketeering. Fifteen other people have pleaded guilty in connection with the case.
Londonio, 45, was acquitted of attempting to escape the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn after he was arrested.
That bizarre caper in 2017 allegedly involved a plan to use dental floss to weaken a window — the implausible idea was to poke a hole in the window, and use the floss like a string saw to gradually wear it down.
The caper also involved a stash of bedsheets that in inmate would have used to climb out of an eighth-floor cell. A priest was supposed to smuggle a hacksaw to Londonio. The 350-pound gangster also lost weight so he could fit through the window, authorities said.
Londonio’s attorney John Meringolo said that version of events was full of holes. Prosecutors didn’t prove Londonio had any foreign objects in his cell. A priest never actually visited MDC, he said. Dental floss was never smuggled in and the investigation of the supposed plan was seriously flawed, Meringolo said.
“He’s definitely going to appeal and we’re disappointed in the verdict,” Meringolo said. “We’re happy we beat the escape, but we won the battle and lost the war.”


Thursday, November 7, 2019

Former mob wife hosts fundraiser for Staten Island Assemblywoman

Just a month after one of her aides was busted in a mafia-linked scheme, Staten Island Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis is having a Nov. 19 birthday fund-raising bash for her congressional bid that is being co-hosted by a real life ex-mob wife, The Post has learned.
Sandra Corda Sciandra — the ex-wife of Carmine Sciandra, a reputed Gambino crime family capo who co-owned the Top Tomato grocery chain on Staten Island and pleaded guilty to running a massive sports betting and loan sharking ring — is one of six hosts listed for the Staten Island event.
“Celebrate Nicole’s Birthday and Support Her Congressional Race. Enjoy Live Music, Surprise Guest Appearances, a Buffet and Specialty Drinks. Rolling Stones cover band Sha-Doobie live!” the Malliotakis campaign invite said of the event at Violette’s Cellar.
“This event will be hosted by Sandra Corda-Sciandra, Laura Fitzsimmons Volsario, George Christo, Bob Cutrona, Mark Lauria & George Passariello.”
Carmine Sciandra was sentenced to four-and-half-years in prison and agreed to pay $1.2 million in penalties after pleading guilty to charges of enterprise corruption in 2010.
It’s not Malliotakis’ first brush with people associated with the mob.
Last month, a Staten Island man who was an aide to Malliotakis was busted in a mob-linked scheme to rig a college basketball game.
Malliotakis fired Benjamin Bifalco, 25, who she hired a month prior as a community affairs director, after hearing of the indictment. Bifalco pleaded not guilty to the charges.
As for Carmine Sciandra’s mob ties, they were fairly well known.
In 2005, Sciandra was identified as a reputed Gambino capo on Staten Island after he got shot in the gut at one of his grocery scores. An ex-NYPD detective, accompanied by two reputed Bonanno crime family members, was accused of shooting him but was not charged because Sciandra refused to ID his assailant.
Sciandra and ex-cop Patrick Balsamo were both wielding baseball bats.
Carmine and Sandra Sciandra are listed jointly as paying off a mortgage in 2016 on a mansion property on St. James Place in the Todt Hill section of Staten Island, according to records filed with the Richmond County Clerk’s office. She is listed as the sole mortgage holder of the McMansion where she currently resides.
Sandra Sciandra listed her address at one point at 4045 Amboy Road, the same location as a Top Tomato store, according to deed records.
Malliotakis is the Republican Assemblywoman running for Congress in the 11th Congressional District covering Staten Island and parts of southern Brooklyn in a bid to oust Democratic freshman incumbent Rep. Max Rose.
Malliotakis defended Sandra Sciandra’s fundraising role in the campaign despite her past association with a mobster.
“Sandra Corda-Sciandra has been divorced from her ex-husband for a number of years, and she has moved on with her life,” said Malliotakis campaign spokesman Rob Ryan.
Sandra Sciandra declined comment outside her Staten Island home. The ex-mob wife previously donated $64 to Malliotakis’ campaign for Assembly in 2014, state Board of Election records show.


Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Defense lawyer says Lucchese soldier was stockpiling bed sheets not plotting prison escape

Stockpiling bed sheets isn’t a crime, the lawyer for a Lucchese associate accused of plotting to escape a Brooklyn lock-up using a linen ladder told jurors Tuesday.
“People have sheets,” attorney John Meringolo said of the 17 bed sheets found wadded under Christopher Londonio’s bunk in his eighth-floor cell of the Metropolitan Detention Center in 2017. “I submit to you, bed sheets in his room, that’s not gonna cut it.”
The remarks came as Meringolo tried to convince jurors to acquit his client following a four-week racketeering conspiracy trial alongside associates Terrence Caldwell, Steve Crea and acting Lucchese street boss Matthew Madonna.
Jailhouse snitch David Evangelista testified that Londonio’s elaborate plan involved cutting through the window with braided dental floss, severing bars with a hacksaw smuggled in by a priest, and a crash diet in which he binged on bran.
Once the 350 pound wiseguy could fit out the window, he allegedly intended to climb down the knotted sheets to the parking lot below.
“Where’s the hacksaw, where’s the dental floss, where’s the priest?” Meringolo asked Tuesday, before decrying the idea that his client dropped pounds to fit out a window.
“It’s okay to lose weight, you’re allowed to lose weight,” Meringolo bellowed.
Londonio did end up losing some 200 pounds, but only after his plot was discovered and he was thrown in solitary confinement, Meringolo previously told The Post.
The mobster lost so much weight a former associate who took the stand against him, Joseph Foti, couldn’t point him out among the people at the defense table.
Foti testified that Londonio admitted to his involvement in the 2013 slaying of rival Purple Gang leader Michael Meldish, who was shot while sitting in his car in the Bronx.
Prosecutors say Madonna ordered the hit after Meldish failed to repay a $100,000 gambling loan.
The jury is expected to get the case Wednesday.


Jailed NYPD cop who committed murders for Lucchese family dead at 71

Mafia cop Louis Eppolito — who along with his partner Stephen Caracappa helped whack several men for the Lucchese crime family — died on Sunday while serving a life sentence in federal prison, law-enforcement sources told the Post. He was 71.
The ex-NYPD detective was serving a life sentence at the United States Penitentiary in Tucson for the eight contract killings that he and Caracappa helped carry out starting in the 1980s.
“Louis died in a hospital with dignity and caring people around him,” his wife, Frances Ann Eppolito, told The Post.
His daughter, Andrea Eppolito-Fisher, mourned her father’s death in a Facebook post Sunday.
“My father, Louis John Eppolito, died peacefully in his sleep at 9:03 pm,” she wrote in the message.
“He died like he lived, on his own terms, as a fighter. And I will miss him and love him forever,” she added.
His cause of death was not immediately known. A source said he’d been struggling with health issues for years.
Eppolito and Caracappa were arrested by Drug Enforcement Administration agents in 2005 and convicted for their involvement in the eight murders in 2006.
In a deal struck with Lucchese underboss Anthony “Gaspipe” Casso, the two NYPD detectives agreed to pass intelligence reports about mob rats to the crime family in exchange for a monthly salary.
In two of the slayings they did for the mafia family, Eppolito and Caracappa used NYPD intelligence to track down Lucchese rivals and deliver them to mob executioners.
One of the victims, Israeli diamond dealer Israel Greenwald, was pulled over by the dirty detectives after they tracked his license plate using an NYPD database.
They drove him to a warehouse on Nostrand Avenue in Brooklyn, where Caracappa and another mafia hood killed him, while Eppolito acted as a lookout, it was revealed at their trial.
Greenwald’s remains were buried underneath the warehouse, until they were excavated in 2005.
In another one of the contract-hits, Caracappa and Eppolito shoved a canary into the mouth of a Lucchese associate suspected of informing on the mob outfit.
Caracappa died at a medical detention facility in Butner, North Carolina, in 2017. He was 75.


Prosecutor mocks Lucchese soldier's failed jail break

A Lucchese soldier who plotted to escape a lock-up using a bran-only diet and dental floss was mocked Monday by a federal prosecutor who tried to convince jurors they should convict the mobster and his cohorts.
“I want to be clear about one thing, this is a terrible plan,” Assistant US Attorney Hagan Scotten said of Christopher Londonio’s 2017 plot, which was foiled when his cellmate David Evangelista ratted him out to authorities.
The questionable scheme involved a priest smuggling in a hacksaw, Londonio sawing through the window with dental floss, squeezing out a window and climbing nine stories down 17 sets of knotted bed sheets to the parking lot below.
But first, the formerly 350-pound mafioso planned to drop over 100 pounds to even squeeze out the window — a feat he intended to accomplish solely by eating bran cereal.
“You all saw how narrow that prison window was,” Scotten told jurors. “He’s going to lower himself out a ninth-story window with sheets tied together … I don’t think Mr. Londonio has a mountaineering background.”
Londonio did lose the weight — but his attorney John Meringolo said it happened after he was thrown in solitary for the failed stunt.
Scotten’s comments came during closing arguments in the federal racketeering trial of Londonio and associates Matthew Madonna, Terrence Caldwell and Steven Crea.
The quartet are facing various charges, including murder, for the execution-style shooting for Purple Gang leader Michael Meldish in 2013.
Prosecutors claim Madonna, then the acting street boss, ordered Meldish whacked after he refused to pay back a $100,000 loan and told Madonna to “f–k off.”
“That kind of disrespect can’t be tolerated,” Hadden said Monday. “The mob is all about violence and respect.”
Defense closings are expected Tuesday.


Thursday, October 31, 2019

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Infamous Chicago mob boss Joey the Clown Lombardo dies in federal prison

They are the defiant, last words of notorious Chicago mob boss Joey "The Clown" Lombardo who died on Saturday while in prison.

"I am Positively Not Guilty of all charges in the lndictment. I rest my case Judge (sic)."

That is the conclusion of Lombardo's rambling letters this summer sent to U.S. District Judge John Robert Blakey and obtained by the I-Team. Lombardo sent the letters in connection with his 2015 civil suit aimed at vacating his life sentence from the Family Secrets mob murder case. In short, Lombardo wanted out of prison up to the very end.

The mostly handwritten letters are part legal argument, part revisionist history and part play on the heartstrings; i.e. tears of the Clown who was best known for his wisecracks, quips and courthouse antics.

"I am 90 years old, on 12 pills a day, had 32 radiation on my throat cancer, had 4 stents in my arterys at 4 different times, had golbladder removed, had 4 polips cut, all my teeth are gone, I've waited 6 months for dentures they tell me I have to wait my turn...(sic)." wrote Lombardo in a letter postmarked June 26. "Had my daughter die at June 30, 2015 she was 57 years old died from pancreatic cancer...(sic)."

The nonagenarian was doing time at the fed's so-called "Supermax" prison in Florence, Colorado-and had no chance of release-unless he were to win a super-longshot legal case challenging his life sentence.

In the first letter, addressed to the clerk of the court, Lombardo wrote: "I hope and pray that you and Judge Blakey correct the unjust guilty verdict by the jury."

Lombardo cites "positive proof of my innocents (sic) of a conspiracy enterprise and the murder of Dan Seifert. We were friends until he was killed."

There was nothing friendly about what happened to Seifert, according to federal investigators. The suburban businessman was ambushed and murdered 45 years ago outside his Bensenville plastics factory, as his wife and their four year old son watched. Authorities said Lombardo killed Seifert to prevent him from testifying a few weeks later. Seifert was to be the government's star witness in a Teamster pension fund embezzlement case against Lombardo. Instead, he was cut down first with a .38 revolver and then finished off with a shotgun blast to the head.

Seifert's murder was one of 18 unsolved killings that occurred during decades of mob hits, that federal agents and prosecutors cleared during Operation: Family Secrets, a landmark Outfit trial that began in 2007.

Mob boss Lombardo argued that he had nothing to do with the hit on Seifert and claimed he wasn't one of the two ski-masked assassins.

He also claimed, once in a newspaper classified ad, that he had nothing to do with the Chicago mob. Federal agents didn't believe him, and said that he was at the top of the Outfit's hierarchy for years-especially as his contemporaries died or were themselves imprisoned.

Gangland-Chicago has produced a roster of clever and usually fitting nicknames given to organized crime figures. The characters include:

John "No Nose" DiFronzo (whose schnozzle was partially sliced off while jumping through a Michigan Ave. plate glass window during a retail theft) to Victor "Popeye" Arrigo (who would remove his glass eye, place it on a stack of cash piled on the bar and announce he was "keeping my eye on my money.")

But in the annals of Outfit history, perhaps only Al "Scarface" Capone had a more memorable nickname than Joey "The Clown."

He made his mark, and lived up to the nickname, even in mugshots. An early police picture of the hoodlum has him with his mouth open, head cocked and looking skyward-appearing like a rabid dog.

Most of his comedic antics occurred while coming and going from federal court. Lombardo's most legendary (and frequently displayed) stunt was to take the day's newspaper-usually the tabloid sized Sun-Times-and place it over his face as a makeshift "disguise" complete with eye cutouts. Sometimes he would also cut a small mouth hole near his mouth to make room for a typically-present cigarette.

A Lombardo family member on Monday told the ABC7 I-Team that there were no funeral arrangements to announce but that "he probably won't be laid out."


Friday, October 18, 2019

Lucchese turncoat couldnt identify defendant due to massive weight loss

At least half the plan worked.
A reputed Lucchese crime-family soldier who allegedly plotted to slim down to escape through a Brooklyn jail window has dropped so much weight that a longtime crony failed to recognize him in federal court Friday.
Christopher Londonio — whose formerly 350-pound frame graced The Post’s “Veal Shank Redemption” front page  Friday — was unidentifiable to Lucchese turncoat Joseph Foti in court in White Plains, Westchester County, despite the witness knowing the defendant for years.
Foti first said on the stand that he couldn’t point to Londonio in the courtroom because he didn’t see him. Then when Londonio’s lawyer, John Meringolo, said his client was there beside him at the table, a seemingly genuinely stunned Foti let out a surprised whistle.
“You lost a lot of weight,” Foti muttered to Londonio.
Meringolo later told The Post that his client lost about 200 pounds after his alleged escape attempt — because he was thrown into solitary confinement for 19 months over the doomed plot.
The lawyer said the “terrible conditions” in solitary contributed to his client’s drastic weight loss. He declined to elaborate.
The feds have said Londonio was plotting to escape Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center while awaiting trial by stockpiling dental floss and bedsheets to help break out — and planning to lose enough weight so he could shimmy out the eighth-floor window when he finally did and climb to the parking lot below.
The scheme also involved the help of his parents, his estranged wife, a bookie and a priest, according to a newly unsealed FBI report on the 2017 incident.
Jurors seated the case were grilled Friday over whether they saw The Post’s front page.
Both federal prosecutors as well as lawyers for the once-sizeable suspect and his cronies, Matthew Madonna, Terrence Caldwell and Steven Crea, agreed the jurors should be individually questioned on whether they saw the report.
No panelist said he or she had seen the front page.
Foti testified Friday that Londonio admitted to him that he drove a triggerman to the scene of the 2013 execution-style slaying of Purple Gang leader Michael Meldish.
Prosecutors claim that Madonna, the street boss at the time, ordered the hit after Meldish refused to pay back a $100,000 loan and told Madonna to “f–k off” when he called to collect.
The four men are on trial for racketeering conspiracy and other various charges, including Meldish’s murder.