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Thursday, July 30, 2009

N.J. Supreme Court orders reputed NJ Lucchese family Boss back to jail

FBI mugshot of Martin Taccetta.Martin "Marty" Taccetta via Wikipedia
When a judge overturned Martin Taccetta's conviction on racketeering charges nearly five years ago, the reputed Lucchese crime family mobster celebrated his release from prison with a cigar.
Today, the state Supreme Court ordered that he be returned to prison to serve a life sentence.
Martin "Marty" Taccetta is alleged to be the current Boss of the Jersey Crew, a powerful faction of the Lucchese crime family based in New Jersey.
In a unanimous decision, the justices said Taccetta's conviction could not be overturned because he confessed to a judge during his appeal that he would have lied on the witness stand in order to take a plea deal allegedly offered by the state.
"Though we recognize that sometimes an accused, unknown to the trial judge, will perjure himself to put through a plea agreement, a court cannot give official license to such a practice," Justice Barry Albin wrote for the court.
The case involved allegations Taccetta and fellow Lucchese crime family figures initiated the golf-club beating death of an Ocean County businessman, Vincent "Jimmy Sinatra" Craporatta, to intimidate the victim's nephews into sharing profits in a Jersey Shore boardwalk arcade operation.
Taccetta, 58, of East Hanover, repeatedly denied, both during and after his trial, any involvement in the 1984 murder.
He was convicted in 1993 of first-degree racketeering, second-degree conspiracy to commit racketeering, and two counts of second-degree theft by extortion.
He was later acquitted of the murder charge but sentenced to life in prison plus 10 years when the judge found the overall criminal conspiracy led to the killing.
Today's decision was cheered by Attorney General Anne Milgram.
"For decades Marty Taccetta was one of the most prolific members of organized crime, whose power and control over the Lucchese family threatened the residents of New Jersey and illegally impacted commercial activity," Milgram said.
But Taccetta's lawyer, Steven Duke, said his client was "completely innocent" on all of his charges.
"The Supreme Court of New Jersey knows all that as well. It has decided, however, that because Martin Taccetta had the temerity to assert his innocence, he should spend the rest of his life in prison," Duke said.
Authorities arrested Taccetta this evening and took him to the Morris County Jail, said Peter Aseltine, spokesman for the Attorney General's office. Aseltine said he will be turned over to state prison officials today.
Taccetta had been placed under house arrest with an electronic monitor last year because of his criminal history.
In 1998, Taccetta filed a petition for post-conviction relief, claiming David Ruhnke, his trial lawyer, did not tell him he would serve a life-term if he was acquitted of the murder charge. Taccetta alleges he was offered a plea deal by the state for a 20-year sentence -- but turned it down because he believed he would get off on the most severe charges and serve a lesser term.
In 2005, Superior Court Judge James Citta in Ocean County agreed Ruhnke had misinformed Taccetta by telling him to reject a plea deal that would have seen him paroled in as little as eight years.
Citta sent his case back for a new trial and Taccetta was released from prison.
But today, the justices voiced their overwhelming opposition to Citta's ruling.
Even if Taccetta received bad advice from Ruhnke, the justices said, he was not entitled to a new trial after his appeal because he said he would lie to the court to get out of a lengthy prison sentence.
"He would have perjured himself at the plea hearing, and an unwitting court would have accepted the plea offer," Albin wrote. "That result is antithetical to our court rules, case law, and the administration of justice and, therefore, we must reject it."
http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2009/07/nj_supreme_court_lucchese_fami.html

John A. "Junior" Gotti's kidney stones plea rolled over

A Manhattan federal judge doesn't want to hear anymore of John A. (Junior) Gotti's whining about his kidney stones.

Judge Kevin Castel on Tuesday rejected Gotti's request to delay the Sept. 14 start of the mob scion's racketeering trial for 45 days.

Castel was not moved by lawyer Charles Carnesi's claim that Gotti hasn't been allowed to speak to his attorneys by phone from a Brooklyn federal lockup.

"This reality, coupled with the fact that Mr. Gotti suffered from the agonizing pain of kidney stones for six months, which severely affected ... his ability to concentrate on trial preparation, support the necessity for a trial date extension," Carnesi wrote.

Earlier this month, Carnesi called it "cruel and unusual punishment" that Gotti was locked up without medical treatment for kidney stone infections.

"It is common knowledge that the pain associated with kidney stones is worse than childbirth," his lawyers claimed.

Carnesi claims Castel's decision to refuse Gotti taxpayer funds to pay for a defense investigator has hampered his ability to dig up background evidence to impeach the credibility of the government's witnesses.

Gotti is accused in a decades-long conspiracy that includes three gangland slayings in the 1980s.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_crime/2009/07/29/2009-07-29_john_a_junior_gottis_stone_plea_rolled_over.html

Mafia Assassin’s Sentencing Postponed

John Gotti"Dapper Don" John Gotti via Wikipedia

Sentencing was postponed yesterday for Charles Carneglia, a Gambino crime family soldier who was convicted in March of racketeering, extortion and four gangland murders. Sentencing was expected Thursday, but was instead changed to Aug. 13.

Though the feared Mafia assassin faces life in prison, Carneglia was acquitted of the most infamous of the murders for which he was charged — that of a Brooklyn court officer in 1976.

Carneglia, 61, was acquitted of the murder of Brooklyn Criminal Court Officer Albert Gelb, and of the conspiracy to murder Gelb, who prosecutors said was shot to death to stop him from testifying against Carneglia on a gun charge. He was 25 years old and the city’s most-decorated court officer at the time of his death.

Although Carneglia was acquitted of that murder, he was convicted of four others, including Gambino family associates Michael Cotillo and Salvatore Puma. He was convicted of conspiracy and murder in the death of Louis DiBono, a Gambino soldier whose death was ordered for a perceived snub to “Dapper Don” John Gotti Sr., and was convicted of armed robbery and felony murder in the death of Jose Rivera, an armored-truck guard at JFK Airport.

Although some of the various counts against Carneglia were not proven, jurors mostly returned convictions — for charges including marijuana distribution, kidnapping, securities fraud and for the robberies of a Sears store and a funeral home. However, he was acquitted of extorting residents at the Greentree Condominums in Queens.

Carneglia was accused of five murders and various other conspiracy charges for crimes he allegedly committed for the Gotti organized crime family. He was convicted of four of the five murders.

Today, in Brooklyn Criminal Court hangs a bronze plaque commemorating Gelb, who had arrested Carneglia and was days away from testifying against him when he was killed. It still says that Gelb was killed “at the hand of an assassin.”

With evidence against him including hundreds of pages of documents from the FBI, jurors were certainly expected to take multiple days before returning a verdict. It took just about a week.

Carneglia’s defense was that he had retired from the mob in 2001, outside the five-year statute of limitations for racketeering.

Defense attorney Curtis Farber gave a passionate closing and criticized the government’s lack of evidence against Carneglia. He said Carneglia was a drunk with money problems, not a mafioso.

Witnesses called by the defense included Carneglia’s former barber and some of his friends. The barber, Frank Selvaggio, has cut Carneglia’s hair for years and said that around 2001Carneglia told him he was retired and that he was upset people still considered him a mobster.

John White, a younger man and bank robber, was with Carneglia in Fort Dix Federal Correctional Institute. He testified that Carneglia protected him when a convict named “Moe” stalked him for jailhouse sex.

Two friends from Howard Beach also testified that Carneglia was a good person and said he was dedicated to his 95-year-old mother, whom he told that he’s currently working in California rather than admit he’s in prison.

http://www.brooklyneagle.com/categories/category.php?category_id=4&id=29775

Friday, July 24, 2009

Anthony Tassone, reputed Gambino soldier, dead at 82

Anthony Tassone Sr., reputed mob boss of Mercer County and one of the last remnants of the city's old-school gangsters, died Thursday at his home in Ewing. He was 82.

Tassone, who was formerly connected to the Gambino organized crime family, was a colorful character who once testified in court he made his living "playing cards and shooting dice." Much of his business was conducted in the neighborhoods of North Trenton that transitioned from heavily Italian to mostly black over the last several decades of his lifetime.

According to court rulings, Tassone was also involved in fixing horse races. He served four years of a 30-year sentence in federal prison for race fixing in the 1970s in Rhode Island, then again between 1983 and 1984 for doing so in Michigan.

He also served time in state prison for orchestrating the armed robbery and kidnapping of the wife and daughter of prominent dentist Arnold Gordon in 1972.

Recently, Tassone had been living quietly in his Nursery Drive residence after he was declared incompetent to stand trial for charges regarding the running of a numbers game in 2001.

He is survived by a large family and many friends, some of whom expressed their condolences in the Times online Guest Book.

"Tass always treated me fairly, and was a good and faithful friend to me and our family," said Mike Kuzma. "He will always be remembered as a hard worker, who cared for those around him."

Albert Stark of Lawrence law firm Stark & Stark expressed his sympathies to the family.

"I want to extend to you and the family my heartfelt condolences," Stark wrote. "I will remember him as a friend whose word I could trust, a man with a terrific sense of humor. I knew how much he loved you and the family."

"He was and always will be one of a kind," Stark said.

http://www.nj.com/news/times/regional/index.ssf?/base/news-17/1248149136300730.xml&coll=5

Gotti lawyers question credibility of G-man who has been on mobster's tail

John A. "Junior" Gotti's lawyers raised questions about the integrity of the G-man who's been on the mob scion's tail for the past several years because of his involvement in a Mafia investment scheme.

In court papers filed Thursday, Gotti attorneys Charles Carnesi and John Meringolo ask Manhattan Federal Judge Kevin Castel to hold a hearing into what they say is the "prosecutorial misconduct" of FBI Special Agent Theodore Otto.

At issue is Otto's late 2007 firing by the FBI for an alleged failure to declare profits on stock-related investments.

Otto was rehired a few months later when FBI officials learned the money was actually lost to a shady broker who was arrested with more than 100 others in the so-called "Mob on Wall Street" case, according to Gotti's attorneys.

"An evidentiary hearing is mandatory to determine the extent of the taint of this prosecution that Agent Otto's direct or indirect involvement with mobbed up brokerage firms had on his relationship with four cooperating witnesses against Mr. Gotti," the lawyers wrote.

Several onetime wiseguy pals of Gotti are expected to testify at the September racketeering conspiracy trial of the Dapper Don's son.

Gotti, 45, is accused in three gangland slayings, as well as drug trafficking dating back to the early 1980s.

Otto has been the case agent in the government's prosecution of Gotti in three previous conspiracy trials over the last five years, each of which ended in hung juries.

FBI officials declined to comment, citing employee privacy concerns.

But in court papers, Manhattan federal prosecutors say even if the allegations about the 20-year veteran are true, they have no connection to Otto's work on the Gotti case.

"Agent Otto has never been suspended, terminated, or otherwise disciplined in connection with the Gotti case or any other case," the prosecutors say.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_crime/2009/07/24/2009-07-24_gotti_lawyers_question_credibility_of_gman.html

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Gangster who ratted out the Mafia Cops dies

Burton Kaplan, the bespectacled Jewish gangster from Brooklyn whose turncoat testimony was pivotal in bringing the murderous "Mafia Cops" to justice, has died.
Kaplan, 75, was in the federal witness protection program and had been relocated outside New York State, sources told the Daily News. They said he died of natural causes.
The mob rat's daughter, Deborah Kaplan, a respected Manhattan Supreme Court justice, declined to comment.
For years, Kaplan was the go-between for gangster Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso and NYPD Detectives Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa, who passed confidential information to the crime boss and carried out hits for the Luchese crime family.
"Without Burt Kaplan's cooperation, the full scope of their corruption and betrayal would never have been known," said Mark Feldman, the former chief of the organized crime section for the Brooklyn U.S. attorney's office, which prosecuted the dirty duo.
In 2004, Kaplan was suffering from prostate cancer and serving a 27-year sentence

for marijuana trafficking when he was approached by an investigator from the Brooklyn district attorney's office who convinced him to flip.
"I can't honestly say I did this for my family," Kaplan, a garment industry businessman, explained at the Mafia Cops' trial. "I did it, in all honesty, because I felt that I was gonna be made the scapegoat in this case."
Former NYPD Detective Thomas Dades, who was instrumental in cracking the case, said Kaplan was haunted by the murder of innocent victim Nicholas Guido, who was gunned down on Christmas Day 1986 by hit men acting on bad information from the Mafia Cops.
Eppolito and Caracappa were convicted of eight murders and are serving sentences of life without parole.


http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_crime/2009/07/22/2009-07-22_gangster_who_ratted_out_mafia_cops_dies.html

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

'MIKEY CIGARS' CONVICTED OF RACKETEERING, CLEARED OF MURDER

A Genovese capo who spent nearly 11 years on the lam to avoid arrest for a decades-old mob rubout was convicted of racketeering today, but cleared of the murder.

Michael "Mikey Cigars" Coppola is facing up to 20 years in prison after jurors in Brooklyn federal court found him guilty of extorting a waterfront union for more than 30 years and possessing false identification while he was a fugitive.

The gangster could have faced a life sentence if he was convicted of killing mob associate Johnny "Coca Cola" Coppola in the parking lot of a New Jersey motel in 1977.

Coppola became a fugitive in 1996 after authorities got a tip from a mob turncoat and demanded a DNA sample for comparison to evidence from the crime scene.

After nearly 11 years of evading the feds, Coppola was caught in the Upper West Side, where he and his wife had been living in a studio apartment.

Coppola used a myriad of bogus names including: Jose Quinones, Joseph Carro, Michael Rizzoli, Joseph Rizzoli, Michael Rizzo, Joe Quinn and Hector Carro.

"We're pleased that the centerpiece of the government's case, the John Lardiere murder, was not proven," said defense attorney Henry Mazurek, who argued that Coppola ran because he didn't want to be arrested for a murder he didn't commit.

"As I said at the outset, Michael Coppola never ran because he was guilty of any murder and the jury saw that correctly," Mazurek said.

http://www.nypost.com/seven/07212009/news/regionalnews/brooklyn/mikey_cigars_convicted_of_racketeering___180562.htm

Monday, July 20, 2009

Vinny Gorgeous vows to act as own lawyer at trial

Vinny Gorgeous, US Attorney's OfficeVincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano by Thomas Roche via Flickr

Mobster Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano is threatening to play lawyer at his own death penalty murder trial - possibly cross-examining his ex-boss turned mob rat, fallen Bonanno chieftain Joseph Massino.

The truth-is-stranger-than-fiction twist could pit the two Mafia heavyweights against each other in a Brooklyn federal courtroom in October.

Basciano, already imprisoned for life on a separate murder conviction, insists he's not bluffing about representing himself.

"It's not a threat your honor," Basciano told Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis, according to a transcript filed last week.

The flamboyant mob thug is trying to force Garaufis to reinstate a fourth lawyer to his defense team. His lawyers, paid for with tax dollars because Basciano says he's broke, have already cost $1.7 million.

The judge hasn't balked. "I'm not going to make my decisions based upon some veiled threat," Garaufis said.

Basciano is accused of murdering a mob associate and plotting to kill Bonanno-buster prosecutor Greg Andres. He's also suspected of drawing up a hit list naming Garaufis and several turncoats as targets.

He faces the death penalty if convicted of the murder.

Basciano appears to be ripping pages from the playbook of jailed-for-life Colombo boss Carmine "The Snake" Persico, who represented himself at his 1986 trial and allegedly put out a hit on prosecutor William Aronwald. The hapless death squad staked out the wrong address and wound up killing the prosecutor's 79-year-old dad, George, an administrative law judge.

Key evidence against Basciano is a conversation between him and Massino in jail - secretly recorded after Massino became the highest-ranking active New York mob chieftain to flip.

The possibility of Basciano representing himself came after the judge dismissed court-appointed lawyer Jane Smith from the case.

Garaufis noted the law only provides for two court-appointed lawyers. Basciano still has three, yet lead attorney George Goltzer is whining they can't be ready for the trial unless Smith returns.

"[Basciano] says to me point-blank ...'Goltzer, if you can't be ready, I'm going to ask this judge to go pro se," Goltzer said, using the legal term for representing oneself at trial.

"It's not something I even want to begin to contemplate."

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_crime/2009/07/20/2009-07-20_vinny_gorgeous_vows_to_act_as_own_lawyer.html

REPUTED MOBSTER 'MIKEY CIGARS' WENT ON LAM TO AVOID JUSTICE: US ATTORNEY

Reputed Genovese capo Michael "Mikey Cigars" Coppola packed up his wife and spent nearly 11 years as a fugitive to avoid what is happening to him today -- his fate being put in the hands of a federal jury.

As jurors prepared to begin deliberating, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Dennehy told the panel not to be fooled by Coppola's claims that he was framed for a 1977 murder and ran from the law to be with his wife.

"He ran because he didn't want to face a jury like you. He hid because he didn't want to face a jury like you," Dennehy said in Brooklyn federal court. "This case is about justice ... it's not about whether Michael Coppola would rather be on the beach with his wife."

Coppola and his wife, Linda, fled the feds in August 1996, when he came under suspicion for the long-unsolved murder of mob associate Johnny "Coca Cola" Lardiere.

During their life on the lam, the couple used numerous aliases to travel between apartments in San Francisco and the Upper West Side of New York, where they were captured by the FBI in March 2007.

Both pleaded guilty to conspiring to harbor a fugitive last year.

Coppola, 63, is facing a maximum sentence of life in prison if he is convicted of racketeering charges, including murder, a three-decade extortion scheme targeting waterfront unions and conspiracy to possess fake identification.

http://www.nypost.com/seven/07202009/news/regionalnews/brooklyn/reputed_mobster_mikey_cigars_went_on_lam_180385.htm

Saturday, July 18, 2009

DNA a pain in ash for "Cigars"

It's never a good day when someone wants your DNA.

Reputed Genovese capo Michael "Mikey Cigars" Coppola wrote in his date book that Aug. 8, 1996 -- the day the feds subpoenaed his DNA -- was a

"sh- - day," a Brooklyn federal prosecutor said yesterday at the wiseguy's racketeering trial.

Investigators needed the sample to compare with evidence from the 1977 murder of Johnny "Coca Cola" Lardiere.

Six days later, entries in the book stopped, and it was nearly 11 years before the feds caught him hiding out on the Upper West Side.

Defense lawyer Henry Mazurek told jurors that Coppola has admitted to making a "rash" decision to flee, but it doesn't prove he's a killer.

"He didn't want to stand trial for a murder he didn't commit," Mazurek said.

http://www.nypost.com/seven/07182009/news/regionalnews/brooklyn/dna_a_pain_in_ash_for_cigars_179967.htm

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Witness To Mob Murder Testifies He Was Having Sex During Slay

A witness to decades-old mob murder testified that he got more action than he'd planned for when he hit the sheets with his first love at a New Jersey motel in 1977.

Raymond Zychlinski, 53, said he and his old flame had tuckered themselves out in a room at Red Bull Inn in Somerset when Johnny "Coca Cola" Lardiere was killed in front of their door on April 10, 1977.

"We were young. She was my first girlfriend. We had a room and we were making use of it," Zychlinski said, sending jurors in Brooklyn federal court into fits of laughter. "By that time we were pretty much complete."

As the girlfriend dozed, Zychlinski heard a car pull up outside, followed by a "horrifying scream."

"It was a scream like I'd never heard in my life. He knew he was going to die," said Zychlinski, who testified as a defense witness at the trial of Michael Coppola, 63, a reputed Genovese capo accused of carrying out the hit.

A series of gunshots boomed right outside the window.

"I grabbed my girlfriend and pulled her off the bed," the witness said, adding that he went outside after the car pulled off and saw Lardiere's body lying in front of the door.

Coppola's lawyers called Zychlinski to the witness stand to refute earlier testimony that Lardiere taunted the gunman during the hit, telling him, "What are you going to do now tough guy?"

"I heard no conversation," said Zychlinski.

Prosecutors rested their case earlier in the day and Coppola's defense team is expected to rest tomorrow, which will be followed by closing arguments.

http://www.nypost.com/seven/07162009/news/regionalnews/brooklyn/witness_doing_boom_boom_didnt_hear_bang__179630.htm

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Grumpy old mob rat George Barone is out at Mikey Cigars trial

A reputed mobster on trial for murder caught a break Tuesday when the 85-year-old mob rat testifying against him had one too many senior moments on the witness stand.

George Barone was such a handful as a witness that the prosecutor apparently decided it wasn't worth the risk asking him about the 1977 murder of gangster John "Johnny Coca Cola" Lardiere in New Jersey.

Last summer, out of the blue, Barone fingered Michael "Mikey Cigars" Coppola in the hit, sources told the Daily News.

Barone has been cooperating since 2001, but had never claimed to know who was responsible. His midsummer epiphany could have wrecked his credibility, sources said.

"Have mercy on an old man, can't I go home?" Barone whined after being surly to the prosecutor and Coppola's lawyer.

"We're all thinking the same thing," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Dennehy, provoking laughter.

On cross-examination, Barone couldn't remember how many murders he had committed. "I didn't keep a scorecard," he said, later conceding the total was about 20.

Barone implicated Coppola in a waterfront union scam that involved postponing the shutdown of a clinic where Coppola's brother worked.

Barone's harshest attack was directed at his handlers, insisting he was innocent of the crimes he had pleaded guilty to and complaining his $3,000-a-month government stipend "forced me into poverty."

"Yes, it's a paltry amount of money; I'd like to have more," he fumed. "They're a cheap bunch of people. ... If they didn't subsidize me, I'd starve to death and I wouldn't be a witness sitting here now!"

His testimony completed, the grumpy old man shuffled out, muttering: "Enough, enough."

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_crime/2009/07/15/2009-07-15_grumpy_old_mob_rat_george_barone_is_out_at_mob_trial.html

Bernie Madoff begins 150-year term at N.C. prison alongside Colombo Boss Carmine Persico

Carmine PersicoColombo Boss Carmine Persico via Wikipedia

Inmate number 61727-054 — Bernard Madoff to you — arrived today at the medium-security Federal Correctional Institution Butner in North Carolina and is settling in to the non-penthouse accommodations he'll occupy for the rest of his life.

The 71-year-old king of swindlers went through orientation about the rules, punishments and security at the complex, located near the Research Triangle area of Durham, Raleigh and Chapel Hill. He became the 725th male inmate there.

As USA TODAY's Kevin McCoy explains, the former Wall Street icon will be busy making money during his 150-year sentence — 12 to 40 cents an hour for a seven-hour day tending grounds, cleaning bathrooms or working in the kitchen.

Medium-security federal correctional institutions "have strengthened perimeters (often double fences with electronic detection systems), mostly cell-type housing, a wide variety of work and treatment programs, an even higher staff-to-inmate ratio than low security FCIs, and even greater internal controls," according to the Bureau of Prisons.

Butner has the largest medical and psychological complex in the federal prison system.

Madoff joins other notorious figures at the complex: former Adelphia Communications CEO John Rigas, serving 15 years for a $2.3 billion securities fraud; Omar Abdel Rahman, the blind Islamic sheik sentenced to life for conspiring to blow up the United Nations headquarters and other New York landmarks; Jonathan Pollard, the ex-U.S. Navy intelligence analyst serving a life term for spying for Israel; and Carmine Persico, the former boss of the Colombo crime family sentenced to life for murder and racketeering.

http://blogs.usatoday.com/ondeadline/2009/07/madoff-begins-150year-term-at-nc-prison-.html

Genovese linked NYC School Bus Inspectors Sentenced, Union Officials Indicted in Bribery Scam

Even with the Genovese Crime family no longer in the driver's seat, Local 1181 of the Amalgamated Transit Union hasn't been entirely clean. But the union's legacy of corruption recently received a major blow in Manhattan federal court with a round of criminal actions. On May 26, Neil Cremin, a former New York City Department of Education (DOE) school bus inspector, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to four months of incarceration to be followed by four months of home confinement and ordered to make $30,000 in restitution to the DOE. Some two weeks later on June 8, George Ortiz, a former DOE school bus inspector, was sentenced to two and a half years in prison to be followed by two years of supervised release and ordered to make restitution of $5,000. Each had been accused of extorting and/or accepting bribes. Between these actions, brothers Nicholas and Paul Maddalone, former board members and assistant trustees of the Queens, N.Y.-based Local 1181, which represents about 15,000 New York City school bus drivers, mechanics and escorts, were indicted on June 1 for extortion, unlawful payments and conspiracy to commit bribery.

Last May, Cremin and Ortiz were arraigned following their indictments for acts of bribery and extortion dating back to the mid Nineties totaling at least $1 million. The pair, along with two other inspectors, Milton Smith and Ira Sokol, allegedly used a federally-subsidized transportation program for special-education students to demand cash payments from participating bus operators in exchange for granting them more lucrative routes. "The amount of cash payments...ranged from hundreds of dollars per year from certain bus company owners, up to tens of thousands of dollars per year from [others]," noted the indictment. In addition, the defendants knowingly overlooked vehicle safety violations and falsely designated certain bus routes as "extended" so as to pick up extra income. All four declared their innocence at the time.

The arrest and indictment of the Maddalones underscore the continuing influence of the Genovese family on ATU Local 1181. Nick Maddalone, 54, a resident of Staten Island, N.Y., served with the union from about 1984 until last year; Paul Maddalone, 60, a resident of Neposit, N.Y., served from approximately 1993 until last year. They represent the fourth and fifth persons atop the union hierarchy to be prosecuted. For some two decades, Local 1181 President Salvatore Battaglia, Secretary-Treasurer Julius Bernstein, and Pension and Welfare Director Ann Chiarovano enriched themselves through racketeering activity that included extortion, robbery and obstruction of justice. Battalglia was a known member of the Genovese, while Bernstein, who since has died, was an associate. Each pleaded guilty some three years ago, and the parent union placed the local into trusteeship.

The Maddalone brothers allegedly participated in these activities. Through their status as union officials and mob associates, they obtained tens of thousands of dollars from bus company owners through intimidation and threats. If convicted, each faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on each of two unlawful payment counts. Their arrests followed an extensive probe by the FBI, the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Inspector General and Office of Labor-Management-Standards, and the New York City Police Department.

http://www.nlpc.org/stories/2009/07/14/nyc-school-bus-inspectors-sentenced-union-officials-indicted-bribery-scam

MOB TURNCOAT: I'VE KILLED A LOT OF PEOPLE

Anthony SalernoDeceased Genovese "Front" Boss Anthony "Fat Tony" Salerno via Wikipedia

A mob turncoat took the witness stand again today, lashing out at prosecutors for forcing him into a life of poverty and admitting that he killed "a lot" of people during past mob wars.

"I had a job," snapped 85-year-old mob rat George Barone when asked about his 2001 arrest. "You people took it away from me. You people forced me into a poverty position. Why I got arrested was all wrong."

Barone, who said he was wrongly arrested for extortion, testified in Brooklyn federal court against Genovese capo Michael "Mikey Cigars" Coppola, who is charged with the 1977 gangland slaying of John "Johnny Cokes" Lardiere.

Barone, a former hit man and official in the International Longshoremen's Association, played a key role when the Genovese crime family took control of the city's waterfront almost thirty years ago.

Asked on cross-examination how many murders he had committed, Barone said, "A lot. I didn't keep a score card. A lot. Many. I'm 85 1/2. I don't remember the specifics. I was in a war [referring to World War II]. . . I killed a lot of people. I was in a war on the West Side of New York [referring to his time with the Jets gang that inspired West Side Story]. A lot of people were killed on both sides."

When pressed, he estimated about 20.

Barone also detailed his falling out with the Genovese family started during the late 1980s while he was in prison --something that intensified in 1992 when his longtime capo Anthony "Fat Tony" Salerno died behind bars.

"I was next to the throne with Fat Tony. When he died I was decimated," he said.

In the 1990s, Barone said he was edged out by a new generation of wiseguys who tried to strip him of his union control and then plotted to kill him.

"They've been trying to kill me for nine years now," he said. "They haven't made it yet and they're not going to...They were trying to make me a bum and I'm as good a man as anyone in the Mafia."

http://www.nypost.com/seven/07142009/news/regionalnews/brooklyn/mob_turncoat__ive_killed_a_lot_of_people_179258.htm

Monday, July 13, 2009

LexisNexis warns of potential breach by Bonanno family

nformation broker LexisNexis has warned more than 13,000 consumers, saying that a Florida man who is facing charges in an alleged mafia racketeering conspiracy may have accessed some of the same sensitive consumer databases that were once used to track terrorists.

Lee Klein, 39, of Boynton Beach, Florida, was charged by the U.S. Department of Justice in May following an undercover sting operation that netted 11 suspects from an alleged South Florida crew of the Bonanno crime family.

On Friday, the office of the New Hampshire Attorney General posted a letter that LexisNexis sent out to consumers last month, warning that Klein may have used his access to LexisNexis' Seisint databases "in order to perpetrate certain crimes."

LexisNexis has had problems with credit card fraudsters using its database in the past, but Klein's alleged crimes are different.

In court filings, the DOJ says Klein would provide Bonanno family members with names, addresses and account numbers as part of a fake check-cashing operation. But he's also accused of using computer databases to get information on potential extortion or assault targets as well as "individuals suspected by the Enterprise members of being involved with law enforcement."

In a statement, LexisNexis said Monday that "the former Seisint customer involved in this matter should have provided notice to potentially affected individuals. However, because the customer is no longer in business we provided the notice." The company said it sent out 13,329 notification letters.

Seisint is best known as the creator of the ill-fated MATRIX (Multi-State Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange) terrorist data-mining project, which was shut down in 2005 following privacy concerns. LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier, acquired Seisint in 2004 for US$775 million. It sells two Seisint products: Accurint, which provides information on individuals and their assets, and Securint, a background screening tool.

LexisNexis has had problems preventing criminals from using its databases for identity theft. Last May, the company warned that ID thieves had accessed around 32,000 records using its services. In March 2008, LexisNexis settled charges brought by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which said the company wasn't doing enough to prevent its data from being abused.

In the letter posted to the New Hampshire Attorney General's Web site, Lexis Nexis also warned that another man used its databases in an unrelated incident. On May 8, Yomi Jagunna, 44, pleaded guilty to fraud charges, saying he set up a fake debt collection company called the Elam Collection Agency. Using his account, Jagunna obtained and then sold Social Security numbers, charging $30 for each one.

Jagunna, who faces a sentence of up to 15 years on a conspiracy charge, was allegedly part of an eight-man identity theft ring.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Colombo captain gets 10 years for gambling, assault

== Summary == This is a mugshot of former Colo...Family Godfather Joe Colombo via Wikipedia

Michael Uvino, 42, of Little Neck, who is a reputed Colombo Crime Family captain was convicted of running illegal card games on Long Island and assaulting two men who robbed one of his clubs was sentenced Friday in Brooklyn to 10 years in prison.

Uvino got the stiff sentence despite insisting that he was a victim of gambling addiction, and despite pleas for mercy from his ex-cop father and a nun who praised his charitable work.

The weepy wiseguy cried a river, blamed the victims for provoking the attack and claimed he was brandishing only a BB gun in the beatdown.

"I've had many sleepless nights replaying that fateful day," Uvino said, wiping tears from his eyes. "I cannot say how dumb I was when I let my emotions get the better of me," Uvino told Weinstein, claiming that he only meant to scare the robbers and that he never laid a hand on them.

U.S. District Judge Jack B. Weinstein told Uvino that even nonviolent mob rackets like gambling had contributed to the Mafia’s destructive effects on the New York City region over four decades.

“He’s sworn to be a man of the Mafia for his life, and I’m convinced he’ll go back,” Weinstein told Uvino’s lawyer.

“The youngsters in this city have to understand that they can’t join this organization, and that when they do they destroy their lives.”

Prosecutors accused Uvino of bookmaking and running illegal gambling clubs on Wellwood Avenue in Lindenhurst and out of a Sons of Italy hall on Sunrise Highway in West Babylon. He was convicted in December.

“His sin is the gambling,” the defendant’s father, Carmine Uvino, told Weinstein. “I think you’re being overly excessive.”

Two associates of Uvino received lesser sentences from Weinstein Friday. Brian Dono, 38, of Lindenhurst, was sentenced to 46 months in prison, and Philip Costanza, 46, of the Bronx, received a 24-month prison term.

According to court papers, the government has seized the William Paca Lodge in West Babylon. The proceeds of a forfeiture sale will be split 50/50 with the local affiliate, which has been severed from the statewide Sons of Italy because of the charges.

http://www.nypost.com/seven/07112009/news/regionalnews/brooklyn/crying_capo_gets_10_yrs__178705.htm

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_crime/2009/07/11/2009-07-11_nun_testifies_on_good_deeds_of_colombo_family_capo_.html


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Junior Gotti loses another NY bail attempt

John GottiDeceased Gambino Boss John Gotti via Wikipedia

A day after John “Junior” Gotti complained about the agony of kidney stones, a judge ruled Wednesday that the Mafia scion must remain jailed until his fourth consecutive racketeering trial in the fall.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel came after lawyers for the 45-year-old Gotti claimed in court papers that federal authorities were insensitive to the defendant’s behind-bars bouts with kidney stones - a condition that causes “pain worse than childbirth.” They argued that there was no guarantee he would receive proper medical attention if his affliction returned.

The concern never came up during the bail hearing in federal court in Manhattan, and defense attorney Charles Carnesi afterward told reporters, “It’s not an issue.” But Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa - a longtime rival of Gotti who attended the hearing - said he was rooting for a kidney stone recurrence.

“As far as I’m concerned he can’t have enough of them,” Slwa said.

Three previous cases alleging Gotti orchestrated a kidnapping and attempted murder plot against Sliwa ended in hung juries and mistrials in 2005 and 2006. The son of notorious mob boss John Gotti used the defense that he had quit the mob for good in the 1990s.

In the latest case, Gotti has pleaded innocent to being involved in three slayings in the late 1980s and early 1990s and possessing and trafficking more than 5 kilograms of cocaine.

At a trial of a Gambino hitman earlier this year, mob turncoat John Alite testified for the first time that Gotti drafted him for a hit on an associate who had dared to ignore one of his father’s orders. Alite also implicated his former friend in the slaying of two men in Queens amid drug turf wars.

Defense lawyers say Alite - who’s slated to testify against Gotti - and other cooperators are lying to protect themselves.

The Gambino crime family has been the subject of a steady stream of government indictments and prosecutions since the elder Gotti, the so-called “Dapper Don,” was sentenced to life in prison in 1992. He died behind bars in 2002.

http://breakingnews.nypost.com/dynamic/stories/N/NY_JUNIOR_GOTTI_BAOL-?SITE=NYNYP

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Reputed Genovese hitman Michael (Mikey Cigars) Coppola did hit job 'with tears,' says mob rat

Reputed Genovese gangster Michael "Mikey Cigars" Coppola was a hit man with a soft spot for at least one gangland victim he gunned down, a government witness testified Tuesday.
Coppola admitted killing gangster John "Johnny Coca Cola" Lardiere outside the Red Bull Inn in New Jersey in 1977 - but wasn't proud of the deadly deed, mob rat Thomas Ricciardi recalled
FBI surveillance photograph of Tino FiumaraGenovese Family Capo Tino Fiumara via Wikipedia
in Brooklyn Federal Court.
"Some you do with tears in your eyes," Coppola said, according to Ricciardi, who pleaded guilty to participating in 11 murders.
Ricciardi, a soldier with the Luchese crime family, said Coppola openly discussed how the rubout went down several years later while the two wiseguys were talking shop in a restaurant.
"What I got out of it was I don't think he agreed with the decision [to kill Lardiere]," Ricciardi, 57, told Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Dennehy.
Coppola made it clear in their conversation that he was in no position to question the orders from Mafia superiors.
"Don't get me wrong ... you may not agree with what you gotta do, but you gotta do what you gotta do," Ricciardi quoted Coppola as saying.
Coppola praised the victim with being a tough guy who "'died like a man,'" Ricciardi said.
After Coppola hit Lardiere with one shot, his gun jammed and the victim cracked: "What are you going to do now, tough guy?"
Coppola drew a second handgun from an ankle holster and calmly finished off the hood.
Ricciardi implicated Genovese capo Tino Fiumara in the Lardiere killing. Fiumara, a Newark hood tied to waterfront rackets, has not been charged.
NY Daily News

Junior Gotti says stone agony 'worse than childbirth' in bid to get freed on bail

John GottiFormer Gambino Boss John Gotti by 4PIZON via Flickr

Maybe he should just have a baby.

Lawyers for former Gambino Acting Boss John A. "Junior" Gotti say the excruciating pain he's endured from kidney stones is far worse than the pain only a woman could know.

"It is common knowledge that the pain associated with kidney stones is worse than childbirth," Gotti lawyers Charles Carnesi and John Meringolo write in court papers filed Tuesday.

The lawyers made the painful comparison in a bid to get the mob scion freed on bail before the start of his September racketeering trial.

They call it "cruel and unusual punishment" to leave Gotti locked up in a Brooklyn jail cell without getting him the proper medical treatment to cure infections from kidney stones.

"The government glosses over the incontrovertible fact Mr. Gotti was left to suffer the agonizing pain of kidney stones," the lawyers write.

In a footnote, they add: "Fortunately, the writer of the government opposition has never experienced the excruciating pain of kidney stones."

To back up their claim, the lawyers sent Judge Kevin Castel a link to a medical Web site in which women who've endured both take Gotti's side.

"I had a kidney stone after giving birth to two daughters," one writer said. "Childbirth has nothing on kidney stones. When you are in labor the pain is like a wave. With a kidney stone it is constant. I would have 10 births before ever wanting to go through the pain of a stone."

For the fourth time in five years, Gotti, 45, is fending off a laundry list of crimes that date back to the mid-1980s.

Gotti is accused of three gangland slayings, as well as drug trafficking and extortion. Three previous trials ended in hung juries.

A bail hearing is set for today.

NY Daily News

Current Leadership of all Five Families

These charts and names have been compiled through research, wikipedia, forums articles, and news reports.

Gambino Crime Family

Genovese Crime Family

Bonanno Crime Family

Lucchese Crime Family
  • Boss: Vittorio “Vic” Amuso (jail)

    Victor AmusoLucchese Boss Vic Amuso via Wikipedia

  • Acting Boss: Steven "Wonder Boy" Crea (parole)
  • Ruling Committee/Panel: Matthew Madonna, Joseph "Joey Dee" DiNapoli
  • Underboss: Aneillo "Neil" Migliore
  • Consigliere: Joseph "Joe C." Caridi (jail)
  • Estimated Membership: About 100 Made Members

Colombo Crime Family

Monday, July 6, 2009

North Jersey Genovese Enforcer on Trial

FBI surveillance photograph of Tino FiumaraGenovese Captain Tino Fiumara via Wikipedia
A reputed North Jersey mob figure who spent more than a decade on the run from a murder investigation was once part of a notorious Genovese crime family hit team known as “The Fist,” according to government documents filed in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn.
Michael Coppola, who goes on trial this week in a racketeering-murder case, was part of a Mafia assassination squad that “performed murders ordered by the Genovese family administration” in the late 1970s and 1980s, prosecutors said in a motion filed last month.
One of those murders, the 1977 killing of mobster John “Johnny Coca Cola” Lardiere, is part of the pending racketeering case against Coppola, who fled New Jersey in 1996 as state authorities sought a DNA sample they hoped would link him to the long-unsolved gangland slaying.
Described in a second government motion as a seasoned Mafia enforcer, Coppola served as “the right-hand man to Tino Fiumara, a powerful and violent . . . crime family captain [and] part of the Genovese family administration,” even while living in hiding, prosecutors allege.
Fiumara was labeled an unindicted coconspirator in the pending case.
Coppola, 63, is facing racketeering and conspiracy charges that include the Lardiere murder and the systematic extortion of an International Longshoremen’s Association union that works the New Jersey waterfront.
The labor-racketeering charge stems from an ongoing federal investigation in which authorities allege that the Genovese and Gambino crime families have used violence, intimidation, and extortion to corrupt the ILA and control the docks in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and North Jersey.
A civil suit filed by the U.S. Justice Department alleges the mob generates millions of dollars through a labor-racketeering scheme that one law enforcement expert said echoes the 1954 movie classic On the Waterfront.
While not part of the current case, federal authorities also allege Coppola and Fiumara, the Genovese crime family’s reputed New Jersey boss, orchestrated the 2005 slaying of Lawrence Ricci, an ILA official then on trial for racketeering.
Jury selection in the Coppola case begins tomorrow in Brooklyn federal court. For security reasons, prosecutors have asked that the members of the panel be chosen anonymously.
The trial is expected to include hundreds of secretly recorded, wiretapped conversations that allegedly tie Coppola to the corruption of ILA Local 1235, based in Newark.
In one phone conversation Coppola is heard bragging about how the mob controlled a former union president.
“We were right next to him all the time during this whole thing,” Coppola is quoted as saying.
The indictment alleges that since 1974, the Genovese crime family has had its hooks into Local 1235. During that time, investigators say, the mob arranged no-show jobs for associates, extorted shipping companies by threatening labor slowdowns and work stoppages, and received hundreds of thousands of dollars annually in tribute payments from the union itself.
Two underworld informants, George Barone, a mob soldier and former ILA official, and Thomas Ricciardi, an admitted Lucchese crime-family hit man, have provided information about Coppola, according to court documents, and are expected to testify in the pending trial.
Identified only as “CW” (cooperating witness) in several pretrial motions, Ricciardi has told authorities that Coppola boasted about the Lardiere killing, which took place in the parking lot of a Somerset County motel on Easter Sunday 1977.
Lardiere was serving a sentence for contempt at the time, but had been granted a two-day prison furlough. Authorities said the Genovese crime family ordered him murdered because, while in prison, he had gotten into a fight with and shown disrespect to a high-ranking mobster who was also in jail.
Coppola became a “made” or formally initiated member of the Genovese organization after carrying out the hit, authorities say.
The shooting, which Ricciardi has said Coppola confirmed to him when they first met in 1983, has taken on folklore status in the New Jersey underworld.
Coppola allegedly approached Lardiere in the parking lot of the Red Bull Inn, pulled out a gun, and tried to open fire. But the gun jammed.
Lardiere laughed and said, “What are you going to do now, tough guy?”
With that, the story goes, Coppola reached for another gun he had in an ankle holster and shot Lardiere five times.
Prosecutors also had hoped to use testimony from Ricciardi to link Coppola to the 1988 slaying of Ray “The Barber” Barberio, who was killed in the Downeck section of Newark. Barberio was slain, authorities say, for failing to pay a loan-sharking debt he owed to the Genovese organization.
Ricciardi told authorities that while having drinks with Coppola a few nights before the murder, Coppola told him he was “on the road,” an underworld phrase that meant he was actively assigned to a murder. He said Coppola also showed him the gun he was carrying.
After Barberio was killed, Ricciardi said, two other mobsters told him Coppola was the hit man.
Prosecutors argued that the slaying and Coppola’s willingness to discuss his “work” with Ricciardi should be admitted because it demonstrates a pattern of criminality and demonstrated Coppola’s relationship with Ricciardi.
A federal judge, however, responding to a motion filed by Coppola’s lawyer, has barred any testimony about the Barberio hit, ruling that it might unduly prejudice the jury.
It was also Ricciardi who told authorities that Coppola, along with Fiumara and several others, comprised the Genovese hit team known as “The Fist.” He said the group was based in the Downeck section of Newark, a once predominantly Italian American neighborhood where, in the 1980s, several crime families maintained clubhouses.
Coppola spent more than 10 years on the run before he was arrested on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in March 2007. Authorities say he and his wife, using aliases and aided by the Genovese organization, lived in an apartment there and in another in San Francisco during the decade that New Jersey authorities searched for him.
The DNA test, which was administered after he was apprehended, proved inconclusive.
A murder charge against Coppola stemming from the Lardiere killing is still pending in Somerset County.
Coppola and Fiumara remain targets of an ongoing federal investigation into the Ricci murder, which, authorities allege, was carried out by Coppola on Fiumara’s orders.
http://www.philly.com/inquirer/local/20090706_Trial_for_accused_Mafia_hit_man.html

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Authorities fear civil war after gangland murder of Bonanno soldier in Staten Island

A Bonanno crime family soldier was gunned down at a Staten Island bus stop Thursday, sparking fears of a brewing mob civil war. Anthony "Little Anthony" Seccafico, a hot-headed "made man" in the notorious Mafia family, was shot several times near his home at 4:30 a.m. Seccafico, a union construction worker, was waiting on a deserted corner for an express bus into Manhattan when a man stepped out of the shadows and approached him. He recognized his attacker and tried to flee, but the man opened fire, getting off at least seven shots and hitting the mobster several times in the chest.
The murder comes just months after the feds deported Bonanno boss Salvatore
"Sal the Ironworker" Montagna to Canada, creating a fight for power atop the family"The timing is curious," a law enforcement source said.
Investigators were exploring several possible motives for the execution. One theory is that it was a revenge killing because Seccafico had recently assaulted the son of a respected Bonanno soldier who is in jail, sources said. Sources said Seccafico - a stocky 5'5" kick-boxer - had a lengthy rap sheet which included arrests for assault, menacing and attempted murder. He served time for a drug sale conviction in the late 1980s, record show.
In 2002, he was among 20 Bonanno associates busted for running a $2.5 million gambling and loansharking ring. Former Bonanno capo Patrick DeFilippo, soldiers Emmanuel Guaragna, Anthony Frascone and John Spirito were among the others arrested amid the takedown by the NYPD and Manhattan district attorney's office. Seccafico's father was a gangster in the Colombo crime family, sources said.Neighbors, who said the dead man took the X17 bus every morning at 4:30 a.m., claimed they knew nothing of Seccafico's mob ties and remembered him only as a devoted caretaker of his wife and children.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_crime/2009/07/02/2009-07-02_suspected_gangster_from_bonnano_crime_family_gunned_down_on_staten_island.html