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

Monday, August 31, 2009

34 arrested in Genovese run sports gambling ring in Bergen county

34 individuals have been arrested in Northern New Jersey and Westchester County, and approximately $1.3 million in cash has been seized, in connection with a large-scale illegal sports gambling enterprise.
The eight-month-long investigation, dubbed "Operation Strikeout", focused on what authorities termed "traditional organized crime activities" occurring in and around Bergen County. The operation involved law enforcement officers from the FBI and local law enforcement agencies.
Search and arrest warrants were executed beginning Tuesday evening, with search warrants executed in Bergen County, Essex County, Somerset County, and Monmouth County.
The sports betting ring investigation began in September 2008, and also included alleged money laundering activities. According to authorities, undercover detectives infiltrated a bookmaking operation being run by Thomas Conforti and John "Blue" DeFroscia. Authorities state that DeFroscia is a documented "made" member (soldier) of the Genovese organized crime family, and Conforti is a high-level associate of the same crime family.
Each reportedly ran separate bookmaking and money laundering enterprises. Authorities claim that both passed a portion of their earnings to the hierarchy of the Genovese Family.
Conforti and DeFroscia reportedly had a large network of operatives or "agents" that ran gambling "packages" for them, who in turn were paid a "commission" or percentage of the profits being earned by those above them. Mid-level organization members were responsible for numerous gambling packages and would meet with the individual agents or package holders and then pass the proceeds to DeFroscia and Conforti, authorities say.
The investigation determined that hundreds of bettors utilized a system of code names and passwords to place wagers on various sporting events each week. It was the agents that actually collected losses from or paid winnings to the actual bettors. The wagers were placed via toll free telephone numbers or the internet. The actual "wire room" providing the betting lines and accepting the wagers is located in Costa Rica, which is reportedly a common practice employed by organized crime families to avoid apprehension of those running the wire room.
The investigation further determined that DeFroscia and Conforti used "middle men" as a buffer between themselves and their agents, to insulate themselves from law enforcement detection. In the case of Thomas Conforti, authorities claim that an individual identified as Michael Cirelli helped run the operation for him. John DeFroscia reportedly employed Paul "Shortline" Weber and Gerald "Jay" Napolitano, among others, to help run his network of agents. Authorities state that Napolitano would deliver weekly profits to DeFroscia by dropping envelopes of cash at Racioppi's Taralles, a store on Bloomfield Avenue in Bloomfield, New Jersey. According to authorities, Nicholas "Pigeon" Restaino would temporarily hold the cash at the store until "Blue" (DeFroscia) picked it up.
Authorities claim that Weber, Napolitano, and other ranking members of the enterprise would meet with co-conspirators surreptitiously in area parking lots, bookstores, diners, and on the street to exchange cash. For example, authorities state that Napolitano was observed on multiple occasions meeting with one of his agents, Louis Orangeo, in various parking lots in Clifton, New Jersey. Orangeo, who is employed as a mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service, would reportedly meet with Napolitano while on duty in his mail truck, and they would exchange an envelope through the mail truck window as if it were ordinary mail.
In addition, authorities state that Weber, who is employed as a vendor at both CitiField and Yankee Stadium, has been meeting with co-conspirators in each stadium while working. Detectives who conducted physical surveillance of Weber at the stadiums with the assistance and cooperation of Major League Baseball security, allegedly observed him exchange cash proceeds from this enterprise with various co-conspirators.
According to authorities, this illegal enterprise placed over one million dollars per week in illegal wagers. Individuals managed gambling packages in both New Jersey and New York.
The arrests were the result of cooperation among and between the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bergen County Police Department, Bergen County Sheriff's Department, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, New Jersey State Police - Casino Unit, Westchester County District Attorney's Office, the New York City Police Department, Major League Baseball - Office of the Commissioner, and the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office.
The investigation is ongoing and more arrests are anticipated. The suspects are scheduled for their first appearance on Thursday, April 30 at 9:00 a.m. before Judge Harry G. Carroll at the Bergen County Justice Center in Hackensack, New Jersey.
Thus far, the following individuals have been charged:
1) LAWRENCE ACKERMAN, 46, Old Tappan, NJ
2) DULO BOLIJEVIC, 36, Dover, NJ
3) COSMO BRONGO, 45, Nutley, NJ
4) WILLIAM BUDD, 47, Fort Lee, NJ
5) JOHN CAMIDGE, 50, Belmar, NJ
6) GERARDO CIANCI, 46, Bloomfield, NJ
7) THOMAS CONFORTI, 44, Fairfield, NJ
9) MICHAEL CIRELLI, 49, Nutley, NJ
10) PATRICK CUOMO, 55, Congers, NY
11) JOHN DEFROSCIA, 48, Warren, NJ
12) JOSEPH DIMAGGIO, 37, Garfield, NJ
13) SAMUEL ERIK, 29, New Milford, NJ
14) DAVID GREEN, 48, New York, NY
16) EUGENE LEE, 33, Cliffside Park, NJ
18) VINCENT MARCHELLO, 43, Belleville, NJ
19) MICHAEL McNAMARA, 64, Brooklyn, NY
20) PABLO NAPOLITANO, 29, Caldwell, NJ
21) GERALD NAPOLITANO, 60, Belleville, NJ
22) FRANK NISTA, 56, Bayside, NY
23) LOUIS ORANGEO, 41, Newark, NJ
24) AGOSTINO PETRILLO, Jr., 39, Livingston, NJ
25) NICHOLAS RESTAINO, 56, Bloomfield, NJ
27) NURI SAYILIK, 45, New Milford, NJ
29) PAUL WEBER, 40, New Rochelle, NY
30) ROBERT WALSH, 44, Fort Lee, NJ
31) JOHN VENEZIA, 46, North Caldwell, NJ
32) PATRICK NUFIIO, 48, Cedar Grove, NJ
33) ROBERT CAPRIO, 53, Belleville, NJ
34) ANTHONY BOGOSIAN, 44, Paramus, NJ
sports gambling ring suspects
sports gambling ring suspects from "Operation Strike Out"

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Concern Is High That the Mob May Seek a Cut of the Stimulus Pie

Everybody is looking for stimulus money.

From bridge builders to food stamp recipients, from roofers to subway riders, from teachers to housing project residents, people are eager to feel some part of a tidal wave of federal dollars in their lives.

The mob is eager, too.

Federal and state investigators who track organized crime believe that some members have geared up to take advantage of the swift and enormous cash influx — if they have not already — looking, as the old Sicilian expression goes, to wet their beaks.

Nimble, innovative and with a seemingly boundless appetite for the taxpayer’s dollar, the mob’s more sophisticated cadre has plundered municipal, state and federal coffers for generations.

So the F. B. I. office in New York has conducted an extensive analysis of the money flowing into the area to create a blueprint of its vulnerabilities, a process, an official said, that is being continually updated.

Also, some of the 28 inspectors general who have oversight of the federal agencies receiving stimulus money are considering having federal agents sit in on selected screening interviews of contractors to tell them that if they lie to a federal officer, they could be charged with a crime, officials briefed on the matter said.

“Because there is so much money involved, criminals will look to exploit the system,” said Guy Petrillo, chief of the criminal division in the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan, referring to the New York area’s five Mafia families.

Because the money is being widely dispersed — flowing to federal agencies, then to states and localities and then to contractors and smaller groups — opportunities for fraud abound at a level rarely seen.

And despite recent improvements, the screening of contractors sometimes still presents a challenge for local, state and federal agencies, which time and again have failed to halt the flow of public money to companies accused of having ties to organized crime or having otherwise troubling histories.

Indeed, even with the mob’s power waning, some members have profited handsomely in the past few years on projects large and small. They have benefited from new baseball stadiums for the Yankees and the Mets, the city’s $3 billion water filtration plant and the post-9/11 cleanup at ground zero, as well as from work on federal buildings, state highways and city schools and playgrounds.

The audacity and accomplishment exhibited by some contractors seem to match the gusto they have for government work. One mob associate, convicted in 1994 in a case stemming from organized crime’s control of lucrative Housing Authority window replacement contracts, pleaded guilty nearly a decade later in a case involving window replacement work on city schools. After serving nearly three years in prison, he got in trouble again last year for improprieties involving another window replacement contract, this one at the same federal courthouse where he was convicted in 1994.

In another case, Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani’s pet project to spruce up City Hall Park was delayed because two successive concrete contractors were found to have ties to organized crime. The mob also had long cornered the market on the city’s lucrative emergency snow removal contracts, as well as controlling city school bus contracts.

The distinctiveness of the immediate challenge surrounding the stimulus money is owed in part to the bill’s twin imperatives: Get a lot of money out and get it out as fast as possible. And it is compounded by the fact that law enforcement agencies like the F. B. I. and prosecutors’ offices are hip deep in the competing priorities of counterterrorism and the explosion of corporate and mortgage fraud cases.

Making matters worse, the money is flowing into familiar territory for those with a history of feeding at the public trough. Two of the largest portions of the stimulus pie in the New York City area are going to sectors of the economy — Medicaid and infrastructure projects — where the mob and Eastern European crime groups have flourished for decades, perfecting old schemes and developing new ones.

And it is not just criminals who are causing concern. Several officials noted that in an area where close to two dozen state and city legislators have been indicted in recent years, the flow of stimulus funds through government agencies will provide ample opportunity for corrupt public employees.

Marc La Vorgna, a spokesman for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, whose administration will dole out nearly $1 billion for infrastructure projects and $2.5 billion in Medicaid and social service money, played down concerns about the vetting of contractors. The amounts to be awarded, he said, are far from astronomical for a city with a $60 billion budget and “robust fraud- and waste-prevention measures,” which include a staff that has doubled in eight years and an additional layer of review for stimulus contracts.

Mr. La Vorgna added, “The notion that the city’s vendor integrity mechanisms will somehow be taxed is false.”

State officials said they, too, were comfortable with their vetting procedures. Gov. David A. Paterson appointed a panel last month to coordinate the state’s antifraud efforts.

And Congress has appropriated about $220 million in additional money to assist 23 of the 28 federal inspectors general involved in overseeing stimulus money, said Ed Pound, a spokesman for the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, the federal stimulus watchdog.

But despite these measures, the speed with which the program has been put in place, along with what many officials have called insufficient oversight, has left some in law enforcement with grave concerns.

“It’s coming out without the internal controls in place,” said a law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the issue publicly. “It’s like putting a bank robber in a toll booth.”


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Divorced From The Mob, And Now His Wife

Lewis Kasman, the former John Gotti confidant who joined Team America to bring down the Gambino family, is in the midst of a divorce proceeding in Palm Beach County, FL, and the usual issues -- asset division, child visitation -- are exacerbated by his life as a prosecution witness as reported by Jane Musgrave for the Palm Beach Post:

It's not easy being in the federal witness protection program for ratting out members of the Gambino crime family - particularly when you're going through a messy divorce. There's those pesky FBI agents that you have to drag around with you everywhere - even if you just want to take your kid out to dinner. Then, there's the understandable reluctance of your soon-to-be ex-wife to let you take any of your children anywhere given that you've been named as a target by mobsters who really don't like having their own turn into finks. * * * Visitation is just one of the issues swirling around the unconventional case, turning Kasman vs. Kasman into an epic battle that has raged since 2007 and chewed through several judges. Like most divorces, the main issue is money. * * * Turning state's evidence has crimped Kasman's earning power. He told [Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Charles] Burton he's a pauper, living on a $250-a-week government paycheck. Still, Eileen Kasman is convinced he's hiding money. Pointing out that she's spent two years and more than $250,000 trying to find it, Burton urged her to face the probability that there is no hidden "treasure chest," get divorced and move on with her life. She and her attorney Carol Kartagener said they weren't ready to do that - yet. A three-day trial is to be held in October to determine how they will divide up what appears to be few remaining assets.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Junior Gotti Trial Update

Prosecutors in the upcoming trial of John "Junior" Gotti intend to call former Bonanno crime family member and turncoat Dominick Cicale to the stand. In all likelihood Cicale, whose exploits with Vincent Basciano are outlined in "King of The Godfathers" at Chapter 28, will be asked to testify about a conversation he may have had in which Basciano said that he agreed with Gotti's defense of withdrawal from the mob. The government, court papers show, appears to believe that Gotti sought the approval of the mob for such a defense, and thus didn't really withdraw from mob life. Prosecutors have been asked to turn over documents to the Gotti defense team about Cicale. A key witness against Basciano, Cicale testified he was involved in the killing of Frank Santoro in the Bronx. Cicale also allegedly fabricated a murder plot to falsely implicate Basciano, according to documents filed in Basciano's case in Brooklyn federal court.

Waterfront cops guard against the Mob - but not on nights or weekends

Waterfront Commission cops are charged with guarding the docks against the Mafia and other criminals - as long as it's not at night or on weekends.

Detectives for the famed police force have been working bankers' hours since late last year, the Daily News has learned.

"It's a joke," complained a source familiar with the police division's schedule. "Does the mob work Monday through Friday?"

Commission Executive Director Walter Arsenault said he would like to put a night shift back into action sometime soon, but defended the weekdays-only schedule.

"We have limited resources and have to try to pick the right priorities," Arsenault said.

Earlier this month, New York's inspector general blasted the bi-state agency as being rife with patronage, corruption and mismanagement.

The findings led New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine to fire Commissioner Michael Madonna.

Arsenault said the police division - with a force of about 50 cops - had lost sight of its mission by trying to act like first responding defenders of New York Harbor.

The commission's meat and potatoes, he said, should be investigations of organized crime and fair hiring practices.

"We don't do patrol. That's the Port Authority's responsibility," Arsenault said.

Law enforcement sources said in addition to day shifts, the commission police used to work 3p.m. to 11 p.m. shifts and some weekends checking longshoremen's licenses, looking for no-show jobs and enforcing waterfront rules of conduct.

The commission was founded in 1953 to root out crime and organized crime's influence on the docks, as depicted in the acclaimed film "On the Waterfront."


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Junior Gotti's lawyer doesn't want rat Little Joey D'Angelo to testify at trial

Junior Gotti's lawyers are attempting to prevent Joseph "Little Joey" D'Angelo from testifying that the mob scion's claim of withdrawal from the Gambino crime family was a scam concocted to skate past the five-year statute of limitations which applies to racketeering conspiracy as reported by Thomas Zambito for the Daily News:

Joseph D'Angelo Gotti's lawyers on Friday asked Manhattan Federal Judge Kevin Castel to prevent mobster Joseph (Little Joey) D'Angelo from telling jurors about his 2005 prison chat with the mob scion. Prosecutors said that while the two were in a federal lockup awaiting trial, Gotti told D'Angelo he'd won approval from the heads of New York's mob families to claim he'd withdrawn from the Mafia. Such a strategy violated a long-held mob oath to deny the existence of a secret underworld society at all costs.

Gotti's lawyers reportedly "say the conversation with D'Angelo is protected by the attorney-client privilege since it occurred while the two were discussing a joint defense strategy"; however, Junior's lawyers are unlikely to succeed in preventing D'Angelo from testifying because the attorney-client privilege -- even assuming it applies to the prison chat -- cannot be used to provide cover for an alleged fraudulent scheme.

Earlier this week Judge Castel denied a motion by Junior Gotti's lawyers to postpone the upcoming September 14 trial.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Gotti's Taped Conversations to Be Played at Trial: Judge

John Gotti Jr. won the right Tuesday to play edited versions of prison conversations at his upcoming trial that his defense contends show that the mob scion had rejected the gangster life.

However he lost bids to delay his upcoming murder conspiracy trial and limit the prosecution's evidence.

This is the fourth time Gotti Jr. is being tried on allegations that he still ran his late father's Gambino crime family years after allegedly relinquishing "the life."

Some of these prison conversations have been played previously at trial.

One conversation was between Gotti and his father in 1999 inside a medical center for federal prisoners where John Gotti Sr. was serving a life sentence. The others are Gotti Jr.'s talks with associates who visited him in prison several years later after he pleaded guilty in 1999 to racketeering.

Federal Judge Kevin Castel allowed the recordings in again-- but this time in an edited form. Defense attorney Charles Carnesi said after court that the edits still allowed him to make his case that Gotti Jr. had withdrawn from mob life.

Gotti's sisters Victoria and Angel were in court but declined comment. Jury selection for his trial is scheduled for September 14th.


Man Charged With Witness Intimidation For Allegedly Playing The John Gotti Card

The victim of an aggravated assault was intimidated by a suspect's father as he recovered from traumatic head injuries at St. Luke's Hospital in Fountain Hill, according to court papers.

Luigi Scotto-DiCarlo, 55, of Allentown, phoned Marcelo Columba from the lobby at St. Luke's Hospital and told him that following through with the prosecution of his son -- Salavtore Scotto-DiCarlo was charged for his alleged part in beating Columba Tuesday -- would be a mistake, police allege.

Columba was at the hospital in the intensive care unit recovering from fractures to his jaw, orbital bones, and other injuries sustained when two men attacked and beat him with a baseball bat in his apartment in the 200 block of West Fairview Street.

A witness told police that an unidentified man struck Columba in the head with a wooden bat until it splintered.

Scotto-DiCarlo allegedly told Columba that he was "Luie from New Jersey" and was connected to now deceased mafia kingpin John Gotti.

Police said video surveillance from St. Luke's places both Luigi and Salavtore Scotto-DiCarlo in the lobby at the time of the alleged phone call. Luigi is seen using the lobby telephone to place a call, according to court papers.

Scotto-DiCarlo was charged with intimidation of a witness and sent to Northampton County Prison in lieu of $20,000 bail. His son remains free on $20,000 unsecured bail.

Police are still investigating the alleged beating and trying to identify the unknown assailant.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Gotti Jr. won't get trial delay as judge rejects request

Frankie Gotti Agnello (second from left) and pals show their support for his uncle, John A. (Junior) Gotti.

Junior's judge refused to budge.

Manhattan Federal Judge Kevin Castel on Tuesday turned down John A. (Junior) Gotti's request to delay the Sept. 14 start of the mob scion's racketeering conspiracy trial.

Gotti lawyer Charles Carnesi wanted another month to prepare after prosecutors two weeks ago added two new murder charges.

Previously, prosecutors accused Gotti of having a role in the murders as part of a long-running conspiracy dating to 1983.

The new indictments add the murders of George Grosso in 1988 and Bruce Gotterup in 1991 as separate charges.

"We are now in a position where we have to meet these murders head-on," Carnesi said.

As Castel shot down several defense requests, Gotti's sisters, Angel and Victoria, shook their heads in disbelief.

"John didn't look very happy," Victoria Gotti said as she left the courtroom.

The former star of the TV reality show "Growing Up Gotti" turned up in court with her blond tresses trailing down the back of a white summer outfit.

This will mark the fourth time in the past five years that he has gone to trial for a series of crimes, including the 1992 assault and kidnapping of radio host Curtis Sliwa.



The star witness in the failed case against FBI agent Lindley DeVecchio is suing Hollywood studio Morgan Creek Productions, saying it stiffed her out of a $150,000 consultant's gig on a Nicolas Cage project, according to a suit filed yesterday.

The witness, Linda Schiro, claims in court papers she was promised the money to share the story of her years with a longtime boyfriend, feared Mafia killer Gregory "The Grim Reaper" Scarpa.

According to the suit, filed in Superior Court in Los Angeles, scriptwriter Nicholas Pileggi -- the scribe behind "Goodfellas" and "Casino" -- personally interviewed Schiro and her daughter, also named Linda, and committed Morgan Creek to hiring them.

Although Pileggi has already completed the story treatment, he wants the Schiros hired to boost its authenticity when the project, set to be directed by Antoine Fuqua, formally gets rolling.

"We were told by Antoine Fuqua and Nick Pileggi that they couldn't make this movie without us," said Schiro's daughter. "We lived it. This story is my mother's whole life. They said they needed to know my father's mannerisms, the way he walked, the way he talked. I feel that Morgan Creek feels they can take information from other sources."

That's not possible, said the Schiros' lawyer, Perry Wander, because his clients had already received verbal promises from Pileggi, Fuqua and producer Irwin Winkler.

"If they're going to go forward with the movie, they're going to have to tie up the loose ends with the rights," said Wander.

Morgan Creek told The Post yesterday it hadn't yet received a copy of the suit.

The movie, tentatively titled "Scarpa," will depict the life and times of one of the New York underworld's most feared killers, a ruthless Colombo soldier who claimed more than 50 murders over his 30-year career.

In 2007, prosecutors in Brooklyn alleged that he had forged a dirty relationship with DeVecchio, one of the FBI's top mob-busters, handing the G-man law-enforcement tips in exchange for information that helped Scarpa rub out mob rivals and squealers.

But the case against DeVecchio collapsed when tapes surfaced of Schiro telling newspaper reporters versions of key events that differed from her trial testimony.


Firm with WTC pact tackles fraud rap

A company that won a big contract to rebuild a major Ground Zero artery is negotiating with the feds to settle corruption allegations in a $19 million fraud scheme, the Daily News has learned.

Two key former executives of Perini Corp. are charged with paying crooked minority businesses - including one linked to the mob - to steer federal contracts to the company.

The Peekskill-based builder, an arm of Tutor Perini Corp., is not expected to be indicted, but has been negotiating for more than eight months to reach a civil settlement, documents show.

The company is eager to settle for fear of losing out on lucrative federal public works contracts.

Perini recently was awarded a $192 million Port Authority contract to rebuild Greenwich St. as the main public access to the 9/11 Memorial.

Last January, a federal grand jury indicted ex-Perini civil division President Zohrab Marashlian and the company's former purchasing chief, John Athanasiou, on fraud charges involving federal highway projects in Manhattan and Queens.

All the contracts required a percentage of the work to be subcontracted to "disadvantaged business enterprises."

Prosecutors say Marashlian and Athanasiou bribed three no-show minority firms - V.V.S.S. Co. of Flushing, Land-Site Contracting of Glendale and Fairview Contracting of Elmsford - to put Perini workers on their payroll and process bogus invoices.

The companies received 3% to 5% of the $19.3 million in subcontracts, authorities said.

V.V.S.S. owner Vijay Havaldar pleaded guilty in 2001 to similar contract scams involving Scalamandre Construction Co., a firm with ties to the Lucchese mob.

He has not been sentenced and is believed to be cooperating in several prosecutions, including the Perini case, sources said.

Marashlian and Athanasiou no longer work for Perini. They worked for the firm from 1998 to 2007 as the scheme unfolded. Each is free on $1 million bond. No trial date has been set.

In February, Perini Corp. said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that federal prosecutors had decided "not to bring any criminal charges against the company ... and that the matter would be best resolved by a purely civil settlement."

"Those people are gone ... and we have a new president of the highest integrity," Perini CEO Jack Frost said. "That's not to say the other guys did anything wrong. It is what it is and we've moved on."


Genovese Family Captain Sentenced to Life in Prison

ANGELO PRISCO, a captain in the Genovese Organized Crime Family of La Cosa Nostra, was sentenced today to life in prison by United States District Judge NAOMI REICE BUCHWALD in Manhattan federal court. PRISCO was convicted on April 27, 2009, after a two-week jury trial, of murder, racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, robbery, extortion, firearms offenses, arson, stolen property offenses, loansharking, and operating an illegal gambling business. According to documents filed in this case, the evidence at trial, and statements made at today's sentencing proceeding:

PRISCO was "made," or inducted, as a member of the Genovese Organized Crime Family in the late 1970s, and was later promoted to the supervisory position of captain. In his capacity as a captain, PRISCO supervised, oversaw, and profited from the criminal activities of his own crew of Genovese Family Soldiers and associates, which operated in the New York City area and in New Jersey.

On June 2, 1992, PRISCO arranged the murder of his first cousin, ANGELO SANGIUOLO. PRISCO received the order to kill SANGIUOLO from VINCENT GIGANTE, a/k/a "The Chin," who was then the boss of the Genovese Organized Crime Family. GIGANTE ordered the murder because SANGIUOLO had been stealing from another Genovese Organized Crime Family soldier, ANTHONY PALUMBO. PRISCO assigned two of his own crew members, JOHN LETO, a/k/a "Johnny Balls," and PAUL GACCIONE, a/k/a "Doc," to carry out the murder. PRISCO then devised a plan to lure SANGIUOLO to PRISCO's Bronx, New York, social club. After SANGIUOLO arrived, PRISCO told him to get into a van with LETO and GACCIONE, on the pretense that LETO and GACCIONE would help SANGIUOLO with a problem SANGIUOLO was having with another person. Inside the van, LETO shot SANGIUOLO numerous times, killing him, then left his body in the back of the van in the parking lot of a Bronx McDonald's. PRISCO then picked up LETO at the McDonald's, and went with him to dispose of the murder weapon.

PRISCO also was convicted of conspiring to commit robberies with members of his crew. In 1991 and 1992 robberies, PRISCO oversaw various crew members who carjacked and robbed at gunpoint jewelry dealers transporting large quantities of gold and other jewelry they had purchased in the Dominican Republic. PRISCO received $20,000 in cash from one robbery and a bag of gold worth about $50,000 from another robbery. PRISCO then bragged at his Bronx social club about the armed robberies, passing around a relevant newspaper article.

From 2003 to 2005, PRISCO ordered, approved, and supervised multiple violent home invasion robberies targeting individuals believed to keep cash in their homes, during which numerous victims were tied up and beaten. PRISCO had to "green light" the robberies before they could occur, and received a portion of any money stolen. PRISCO also instructed his crew members to "play dumb" if they discovered they had robbed another person tied to organized crime.

PRISCO also was convicted of committing extortion and conspiracy to commit the extortion of a Manhattan construction company owner. PRISCO and his crew first extorted the victim's company in 1997, when PETER RIZZO, an associate under PRISCO at the time, assaulted and broke a glass coffee pot over the head of the victim's business partner. Members of PRISCO's crew then pressured the victim and his business partner to drop the charges against RIZZO stemming from this 1997 assault. Seven years later, various other members of PRISCO's crew -- acting on his orders and following his advice about how to collect the money -- returned to the same construction company and threatened to cut off the victim's finger and harm the victim's family. The victim paid PRISCO and his crew a total of $50,000. Since the 1990s, PRISCO has extorted various other individuals and businesses, including the owner of a diner in the Bronx; the owner of a night club in Manhattan; and an electrical contractor in Brooklyn.

United States Attorney PREET BHARARA stated, "This conviction and the life sentence imposed today on Angelo Prisco puts an end to his decades-long career as a leader of the Genovese Organized Crime Family -- one marked by violence and intimidation. Today's sentence, and the dismantling of the defendant's mafia crew, serves as a reminder that those who pledge themselves to a life of crime will pay a high price in the end."

Mr. BHARARA praised the work of the FBI; the New Jersey State Commission of Investigation; the Orange County, New York District Attorney's Office; the Westchester County, New York District Attorney's Office; the New York State Police; the New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner; the New York Police Department; the United States Bureau of Prisons; the Morris County, New Jersey Prosecutor's Office; and the Rockaway Township, New Jersey Police Department for their contributions.

This case is being prosecuted by the Office's Organized Crime Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys ELIE HONIG and LISA ZORNBERG are in charge of the prosecution.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Update on Vincent Basciano September Death Penalty Trial

It seems like a particular prosecutor may have been on the mind of more than one gangster. In court papers filed in connection with Vincent Basciano's upcoming trial, his lawyers are asking the government to turn over records and witness statements in which assistant U.S. attorney Greg Andres, the alleged target of a death threat, was a topic of conversation. Defense attorney George Goltzer is asking for copies of statements made by Richard Berte to former Bonanno captain Richard Cantarella regarding Andres. Goltzer in his letter to the court also wants to see copies of any statements made by former boss Joseph Massino to Berte indicating that it was "Massino's original idea to kill AUSA Andres." The alleged death plot is talked about in recent trade paperback version of King of The Godfathers at pages 297, 307 and 310. Any evidence of conversations between Basciano, Massino, Berte and Cantarella about Andres are being sought by the defense.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


The feds are seeking to disqualify the lawyer for an allegedly mobbed-up contractors' representative accused of paying bribes in a massive labor-racketeering scheme.

The scheme led to the ouster of carpenters boss Michael Forde and two other union leaders.

Joseph Olivieri's attorney has a "non-waiveable" conflict of interest because she's a "fact witness" regarding a perjury charge against him, prosecutor Lisa Zornberg said in court yesterday.

Zornberg said lawyer Michele Bonsignore represented Olivieri, a reputed Genovese family associate, when he denied under oath having any business dealings with drywall contractor James Murray, who is under indictment.

Olivieri was named last week in a sweeping, 29-count Manhattan federal court indictment


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Mafia Assassin’s Sentencing Postponed Again

entencing was postponed yet again for Charles Carneglia, a Gambino crime family soldier who was convicted in March of racketeering, extortion and four gangland murders.

Sentencing was expected on July 30, but was adjourned to August 13. It was subsequently adjourned again until Sept. 17 in Brooklyn federal court.

A key witness in Carneglia’s trial is also expected to testify against John “Junior” Gotti in his trial later this year. It is unknown if Carneglia’s sentencing delays has anything to do with that.

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.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Gay-Bar Mafioso Released from Prison

An underworld figure with ties to New York gay night spots has been released from prison after serving two years on racketeering charges.

Matty “Horse” Ianniello–the nickname comes either from his having once been charged for possession of over twenty pounds of heroin, or due to his imposing physical build; accounts vary–finished a jail term last spring, reported the Web site Bitter Queen on June 25.

Of Ianniello, 89, the story noted, “one queries whether the… reputed Genovese capo ever intends on retiring.”

The article noted that Ianniello had been said to have some stake in “dozens of gay bars and discos” in New York over three decades, “including the hustler bar Haymarket, the tranny bar Gilded Grape, and the circus-like disco GG Barnum’s Room.

“Indeed, no man had more of an instrumental role in gay nightlife in New York City than Ianniello, and although straight he probably should receive an honorary plaque recognizing his achievements from the city’s Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce,” the article quipped.

The article excerpted content referencing Ianniello and a bar called the Ha Market from R. Thomas Collins Jr.’s book NewsWalker.

The excerpt read, in part, “In 1960 [Ianniello] formed a partnership with one of the [so-called] Sultans [of New York’s mid-town], Edward L. DeCurtis, a k a ’Eddie Dee,’ financier of afterhours gay joints in the Village.

“Such after-hours spots were a specialty of the rackets because their patrons were homosexuals who drank like fish,” the excerpt continued.

“You could serve liquor in private clubs without a license, and nobody watched the cash. Besides, such customers sometimes were involved in legitimate business one might wish to ’invest’ in.”

A separate Bitter Queen article on the history of New York’s gay clubs posted Dec. 23, 2007, excerpted another publication, an Aug. 1, 1977 story titled, “Crime Group Leader Said to Rule Many Bar Businesses in Midtown,” written by Selwyn Raab and Nathaniel Sheppard Jr.

That excerpt also mentioned Ianniello. Read the article excerpt, in part, “A confidential 1975 report prepared by intelligence officers in the Police Department’s Organized Crime Control Bureau found that Mr. Ianniello’s primary source of income at the time appeared to have been derived from a string of more than 80 New York bars and restaurants, many of which, the report said, were ’connected with prostitution, narcotics and homosexuals.’”

The article quoted an unnamed police detective who specialized in organized crime. Said the detective, “If you want to open a bar and grill or sex establishment in midtown Manhattan but don’t have the cash or have some other problem, you go see Matty Ianniello.”

Added the detective, “You don’t run a bar and grill or sex establishment between 34th and 59th Streets from Fifth Avenue to the Hudson River without Matty having a piece of the action.”

Indeed, the Mafia had a stake in many gay establishments, including, it is reported at a Wikipedia article, the Stonewall Inn, the site of the watershed Stonewall Riots forty years ago.

The Wikipedia article noted that the Stonewall Inn “catered to an assortment of patrons, but it was known to be popular with the poorest and most marginalized people in the gay community: drag queens, and representatives of a newly self-aware transgender community, effeminate young men, hustlers, and homeless youth.”


Mafia linked Carpenters Council case heats up

Contractor James Murray went on the lam in Ireland after he was indicted on federal fraud and embezzlement charges in 2006.

Sources said he has returned and is believed to be helping the feds prosecute Michael Ford, head of the politically powerful District Council of Carpenters.

Murray, owner of On Par Contracting, slipped into the country late last year and turned himself in.

Court records show he was freed on $8 million bond in November and began plea bargain negotiations with Assistant Manhattan U.S. Attorney Lisa Zornberg, who is prosecuting Forde.

Indicted with Forde in the 29-count bribery and racketeering indictment is contractor Finbar O’neill, a reputed Luchese crime family associate; Joseph Olivieri, a reputed Genovese crime family associate, and Carpenters Local 608 chief John Greaney.

Also indicted were shop stewards Michael Brennan , Brian Carson, Joseph Ruocco, John Stamberger and Michael Vivenzio.

Prosecutors refused to say if Murray is cooperating; his lawyer did not return calls for comment.

Prosecutors also would not confirm that On Par is one of six unnamed companies that paid bribes to Forde and his cohorts.

It appears Murray may be Contractor No. 1, the unindicted co-conspirator with the deepest involvement in the bribery scheme.

Contractor No. 1 is identified in the indictment as a major drywall company, as was On Par.

Among the numerous accusations linked to Contractor No. 1 is skulduggery at 63 Wall St., where On Par was a key player, and 3536 Cambridge Ave., a Bronx building in which Murray reportedly was a major investor.

Olivieri, the reputed Genovese mob soldier, is charged with perjury for lying about illicit finagling to get his excavation company a $1 million job at the Cambridge Ave. building and other Bronx job sites.

Contractor No. 1 was so enmeshed in the scheme that when he began to worry that Greaney might rat them out, Brennan, the indicted shop steward, assured him that would never happen.

Then, he added menacingly, if it did, “We’d f—in’ have to kill him,” the indictment said.

Brennan turned himself in to prosecutors Thursday.

Murray skipped to Ireland after he was indicted on charges similar to those leveled against Forde.

Prosecutors say he pocketed $10 million by paying workers off the books, hiring nonunion workers and claiming them as union members and misrepresenting the number of union workers on his work sites.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Corruption Found at Waterfront Watchdog

The Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor, created in the 1950s to break the mob’s grip on the docks, became its own bastion of lawlessness, employing some of the same corrupt, self-serving methods as the gangsters it was supposed to pursue, investigators said Tuesday in a scathing report.

Michael J. Madonna in 1996, when he was president of the New Jersey State Patrolman's Benevolent Association.

Top officials at the $11-million-a-year bistate agency divided spoils, helped cronies evade the law and thwarted security provisions meant to safeguard the port against terrorism, according to the report by the New York State inspector general, which capped a nearly two-year investigation in 2007 and 2008 that the commission had sought to block in court.

As a result of the findings, virtually the entire executive staff has been ousted — with the New Jersey commissioner, Michael J. Madonna, a former police officer and union representative, dismissed last week, the commission revealed. The former New York commissioner, Michael C. Axelrod, who was also faulted for abuses, was not reappointed after his three-year term ended last year.

New leadership was put in place starting last year.

“It was an utter disaster when we stepped in,” the inspector general, Joseph Fisch, said in an interview, calling the state of affairs then “a remnant and continuation of the old waterfront.”

Largely unscrutinized for more than half a century, the commission is a throwback to days when the gun and the knife ruled the nation’s shipping lifeline and a screenwriter named Budd Schulberg, who died last week, captured the violence and heroics for a film that became a classic, “On the Waterfront.”

With 100 employees and offices in Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn and Port Newark, the commission, created in 1953, licenses the 52 companies now operating on the waterfront and maintains a registry of nearly 6,500 longshoremen and other workers.

The 61-page report, deploring a “complete breakdown of the commission’s audit and enforcement functions,” found that the commission’s general counsel, Jon Deutsch, later fired, masterminded a scheme to conceal a convicted felon’s ownership of a company so he could continue to operate on the waterfront. It also found that federal antiterrorism grants were misused or could not be accounted for, calling for further investigation by the Department of Homeland Security.

Mr. Deutsch, reached at home, said he had not yet read the report. Later, his lawyer, Lawrence S. Lustberg of Newark, called the inquiry “a witch hunt,” saying Mr. Deutsch had “persuasively rebutted every single one of the allegations” and had been denied a look at the draft. But Mr. Lustberg declined to cite any specifics

until, he said, “we evaluate our legal remedies.”

The reported failings ranged from the critical to the comical. The report said the commission — often stalemated by differences between the two $43,500-a-year commissioners — abandoned background checks on the longshoremen who unload ships and the stevedoring companies that employ them, creating a critical breach in the nation’s security web.

Instead, the report said, commission detectives spent their mornings parked in the commissioners’ designated parking spots in Lower Manhattan, guarding them from interlopers.

It portrayed the agency as a patronage-laden favor bank where staff members took cars for personal use, a boat that was bought with federal money to fend off a “waterborne attack” was used primarily to ferry V.I.P.’s during Fleet Week, and friends got friends jobs with high salaries and little work.

One detective failed his entry exam twice, for example — until Commissioner Madonna himself slipped him the test, the report said, and he ended up turning in the highest score in the history of the commission.

The detective later lied under oath about the matter and tried to get colleagues to falsely back him up, the report said. adding that the matter had been referred to the Manhattan district attorney for further investigation. Mr. Fisch said new leadership under the current New York State commissioner, Ronald Goldstock, a director of the New York State Organized Crime Task Force from 1981 to 1994, and a new executive director, Walter M. Arsenault, a former Manhattan homicide prosecutor, had implemented changes. “The commission investigated by the inspector general clearly no longer exists,” Mr. Arsenault said.

No one answered the phone at Mr. Madonna’s home in New Jersey. The inspector general wrote that Mr. Madonna “acknowledged that many problems existed in the agency, but refused to accept any responsibility,” placing the blame on commission staff members.

Mr. Axelrod did not respond to a message left at his Long Island law office.

The waterfront was long notorious. The longshoremen’s union was once known as the “pistol local” because of frequent gunfire and murders, wrote Thomas A. Reppetto in his book “American Mafia: A History of Its Rise to Power” (Henry Holt, 2004); on rumors that one or another informer was about to squeal, high New York politicians suddenly dropped re-election plans.

In 1953, with Washington calling the port “a national disgrace,” President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed enabling legislation for a Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor “to investigate, deter, combat and remedy criminal influence in the Port of New York and New Jersey.”

But who, over the next half a century and more, was watching the Waterfront Commission?

No one, the inspector general reported. Only once in its more than 55 years was the agency examined — in 2005, when the New York State comptroller audited its hiring practices. But little came of it

The investigation, generated by an employee complaint, was referred to the inspector general’s office in May 2007 by Gov. Eliot Spitzer.

His successor, David A. Paterson, who appointed Mr. Fisch, authorized expansion of the inquiry in cooperation with the office of the New Jersey governor, Jon S. Corzine.

Commissioner Madonna fought the investigators’ subpoena, until a federal court forced compliance, the report said.

“The most egregious instances of misconduct” were committed by the general counsel and former licensing director, Mr. Deutsch, who was “plagued with conflicts of interest” before being dismissed last October, the report said.

It said he covered up the drug-related arrest of a former state senator’s son who was hired for a stevedoring job and intervened on behalf of a friend’s father, Albert Cernades Sr., a longshoremen’s union official later indicted in a federal investigation.

And, it said, Mr. Deutsch “fashioned a scheme” to allow a felon, Frank Cardaci, who had been convicted of federal charges of illegal domestic sales of goods intended for foreign shipment, to hide his ownership of a waterfront warehouse by placing it in his wife’s name.

The report also found that none of the 53 stevedoring companies supervised by the commission had been granted permanent five-year licenses, as required, and that payroll audits of them were as much as 14 years behind.


Former Mafia loan shark dies in motorcycle crash

A former Mafia loan shark who owned a health-food restaurant after he got out of prison died early yesterday in a motorcycle accident in Staten Island, cops said.

Louis "Bobo" Malpeso Jr., 47, was fatally injured when he lost control of his bike around midnight at Forest and Bruckner avenues in Mariners Harbor, police said.

Malpeso was a former Colombo associate who pleaded guilty in 1996 to shaking down a man over a $100,000 loan. He also admitted manipulating the stock market. He was sentenced to nearly four years in prison for the two crimes.


Sunday, August 9, 2009


Mugshot taken of Richard Kuklinski, taken foll...Image via Wikipedia

THE author of a best seller about vicious Mafia hit man Richard Kuklinski has pulled the plug on a deal with Hollywood producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura, who had optioned the rights, because he says he couldn't stomach the idea of Channing Tatum in the title role.

Phil Carlo tells us that after he penned "The Ice Man: Confessions of a Mafia Contract Killer" in 2006, the book was optioned by di Bonaventura, producer of "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra" and the upcoming Angelina Jolie drama "Salt."

When the 18-month option ran out last month, di Bonaventura asked to extend the contract for two more weeks, hoping he could complete financing for the movie. But Carlo says that when he heard Tatum was being wooed to star in the lurid gangster tale, he decided not to go ahead.

"I had to turn him down. I really hated the idea of Channing Tatum. I told di Bonaventura that this is not the guy to play one of the most feared killers of the 20th Century," Carlo said. "I think Mickey Rourke would really be good. He's got that sense of danger, and there's a similarity between the two. But it's not Channing Tatum."

Kuklinski was a notorious contract killer who worked for the Gambinos and boasted about having murdered more than 200 men. He earned his ghoulish nickname because of his method of disguising the time of death of his murder victims by chilling their bodies in an industrial freezer.

In Tatum's defense, he's tackled rough-and-tumble roles before. He portrayed Pretty Boy Floyd in the recent Johnny Depp hit "Public Enemies" and plays a tough field commander named Duke in "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra."

Di Bonaventura's spokesman, Paul Bloch, declined to comment.

Carlo's next true-crime tale is "The Butcher: Anatomy of a Mafia Psychopath," about Bonanno crime family killer Tommy Pitera, out from HarperCollins in October.



A union big who landed a hug from Mayor Bloomberg after endorsing his re-election bid was indicted yesterday for allegedly taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes in a mob-tainted scandal.

The overall $10.5 million scheme, allegedly headed by carpenters-union leader Michael Forde, dubbed illicit cash payments "turkey" as it was being "delivered" to some of its participants.

Bloomberg -- who included video of the union's Forde-led endorsement on his re-election Web site -- called the arrests of the leader and nine others "sad" and "a surprise."

"I don't know whether any of the charges that I read about this afternoon are true or not. I will leave that to the courts," the mayor said.

Forde, 54, was among eight carpenters union officials and a contractors' representative accused by the feds of pocketing a total of $1 million in bribes.

The powerful executive secretary-treasurer of the Carpenters Union District Council beat an unrelated bribery rap last year after his previous conviction was overturned on appeal.

According to yesterday's 29-count, Manhattan federal court indictment, Forde and the others took cash and gifts -- including Super Bowl tickets -- to let contractors hire illegal aliens, pay union workers off the books and avoid making millions in payments to pension and other benefit funds.

The scheme also involved alerting the contractors to job-site inspections by an independent investigator assigned to monitor the long-troubled union as part of a 1994 move to root out corruption and mob influence.

According to the feds, Forde received "numerous cash payments" totaling "hundreds of thousands of dollars" from the head of an unidentified drywall company between 2000 and 2004.

Another union member, shop steward Michael Brennan, allegedly told the head of the drywall company "that he never shared the cash bribes he received . . . with Forde or [John Greaney, president of Local 608] because he knew the 'turkey' had already been 'delivered' to them," according to the indictment.

Several defendants were also charged with perjury, including Joseph Olivieri, a reputed Genovese crime family associate, nd executive director of the Wall, Ceiling and Carpentry Association of New York.

He's accused of lying under oath in 2007 about his relationship with reputed Genovese crime family captain Louis Moscatiello Sr., including a claim that he "never met with him."


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Peter Gotti to Remain in Prison, NY Judge Rules

Peter "The Dumbest Don" GottiPeter "Cyclops" Gotti via Wikipedia

Peter Gotti, the brother of former Gambino family boss John Gotti, lost his bid to have his sentence vacated. A federal judge in Manhattan refused to reconsider an April decision denying Gotti's habeas corpus petition.
U.S. District Judge Harold Baer Jr. said Gotti's arguments "failed to convince me that I overlooked any point of fact or controlling law in reaching those conclusions."
He said if Gotti wants to argue that the court's conclusions were wrong, "those arguments could be raised on appeal."
Gotti was convicted in 2003 of racketeering and money laundering related to the Gambino family's activities on the Brooklyn and Staten Island waterfronts, and for trying to extort actor Steven Seagal.
He was sentenced to over 20 years in prison.
In 2004, he was convicted on racketeering charges and for plotting the murder of former Gambino family underboss-turned-government informant, Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano.
He received an additional 9.5 years in prison.
Gotti claimed that he should be sprung early, based on allegedly withheld FBI tapes and a judge's failure to consider possible jury tampering.
The former garbage man assumed the role of acting boss of the Gambino family in 1997, when John Gotti went to prison and John Gotti Jr. was beset by legal woes, officials said.
Peter was tasked with carrying out his brother's orders from prison to have Gravano killed for testifying against the "Teflon Don" and effectively sinking the crime family. Gravano's location had been disclosed in a newspaper article.
Peter ordered two family members to travel to Arizona and kill him. Before the would-be assassins could complete their assignment, Gravano was arrested for running an ecstasy ring.
FBI special agent Bruce Mouw, who oversaw Gravano's protective custody, testified at Gotti's trial for attempted murder. During their investigation of Gravano's drug operations, the Phoenix police purportedly recorded conversations between Mouw and Gravano in which they allegedly swapped confidential information. None of the recordings mentioned Peter Gotti, but he argued that the tapes could "undermine the integrity of the FBI" and "establish Mouw's bias and motive to fabricate for Gravano."
The government said it was never in possession of the tapes during trial.
Judge Baer Jr. said the "fly in the ointment" was Gotti's failure to explain how the alleged relationship between Gravano and Mouw could have impacted the special agent's testimony.
"Gravano did not testify at trial, and apparently his only role at the trial was as the target Petitioner had directed be killed," he wrote in his April 15 opinion.
Gotti also claimed that a juror approached the court and tried to change his guilty vote. The judge said Gotti's request to hold an evidentiary hearing might carry some weight "but for the fact that he has failed to produce a scintilla of evidence that the recantation was the result of jury tampering."
Baer noted that reconsideration is an "extraordinary remedy to be employed sparingly" and said "the difficult burden imposed on the moving party has been established in order to dissuade repetitive arguments on issues that have already been considered fully by the court."
He added, "A motion for reconsideration is not an opportunity for the moving party to argue those issues already considered when a party does not like the way the original motion was resolved."


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Vinny Gorgeous petitions for visits by his son

Vincent BascianoImage via Wikipedia

Lawyers for Vincent Basciano (pictured to right) have asked that he be allowed visits from Debra Kalb, the woman with which he fathered a son, in the Metropolitan Detention Center. Attorney Richard Jasper and others wrote after the MDC said regulations didn't permit a visit by Kalb. "The MDC policies cited in the government's letter, have the effect of severing the defendant's relationship with his 7 year old son, and his son' mother," the attorneys wrote. The lawyers said Basciano' ability to parent his youngest son from prison is mitigation if the death penalty should have to be considered. Basciano has in the past had visits with his youngest son, Anthony, in the confines of Brooklyn federal court. Basciano is awaiting trial later this year and is being held under strict administrative measures at the MDC.


Reputed Genovese Associate Arrested

An alleged multi-million dollar sports betting ring has been busted in NYC, and among the 11 suspects are a reputed Genovese family mob associate and a retired New York City police officer. The press release from the Queens County District Attorney's Office states:

District Attorney Brown said that, according to an 86-count indictment filed in Queens County Supreme Court, the gambling ring promoted illegal sports betting in Queens County and elsewhere. The top two defendants – Michael Mildenberger, 71, and James Rossi, 49, a reputed Genovese crime family associate – are alleged to be co-bookmakers of the operation. It is alleged that they used an offshore wireroom located in Costa Rica which was accessible through a toll free telephone number and the website www.perfectwager.com. All of the defendants are charged with enterprise corruption. In addition, they are variously charged with first-degree promoting gambling, third-degree money laundering and fifth-degree conspiracy. Included among the defendants is Joseph R. Sofia, 63, who is a retired New York City police officer. It is alleged that Sofia acted as an "agent" who gave bettors access codes, collected payments and set limits on the amount they were allowed to bet.

Queens District Attorney Brown further stated that "the participants often use threats, intimidation and even physical force to collect debts."


Carpenters' Union Leader and 9 Others Indicted

Michael Forde, the executive secretary-treasurer of the New York District Council of Carpenters and Joiners of America, and nine other union officials and contractors have been indicted on racketeering, bribery, fraud and perjury charges:

The 29-count indictment was unsealed in Federal District Court in Manhattan hours after a predawn roundup in which many of the officials were arrested on their way to work. It charges that in exchange for bribes valued at about $1 million, they helped corrupt contractors steal millions of dollars more from the union and its benefit funds by allowing contractors to pay members cash wages below union scale without benefits, hire illegal aliens and nonunion workers and skip contributions to the union's benefit funds.

Among the others indicted is Joseph Oliveri, a benefit funds trustee and executive director of the Association of Wall, Ceiling and Carpentry Industries of New York, and Rashbaum writes:

F.B.I. reports and law enforcement officials say Mr. Oliveri has a long history of ties to the Genovese crime family, the powerful Mafia clan that for generations has held sway over the union. But while the indictment makes only passing mention of another Genovese family figure, it does not charge that organized crime wielded any influence over the district council. But several law enforcement officials said the investigation was continuing.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009


John "Junior" Gotti pleaded not guilty today to new murder charges that could have brought him the death penalty for allegedly ordering the rub-out of two Queens drug dealers more than a decade ago.

Prosecutors didn't say why they took execution off the table for the mob scion, who sat silently in Manhattan federal court as defense lawyer Charles Carnesi entered the plea for him.

Carnesi also tried to get Gotti, 45, sprung on bail pending his Sept. 14 trial, but Magistrate Gabriel Gorenstein refused to hear arguments after the prosecution said the judge in Gotti's case had twice turned down his release.

Outside court, Carnesi said the new charges -- which cover killings that were already part of a pending racketeering conspiracy charge -- showed that the feds are worried about beating Gotti's claim that he quit the mob in 1999.

That defense led to hung juries in three earlier trials of the Gambino family heir.

Radio host and "Guardian Angels" founder Curtis Sliwa, who survived a 1992 shooting allegedly ordered by Gotti, said he was disappointed the Justice Department opted against seeking capital punishment.

"I would have preferred we put the juice in this guy's caboose," Sliwa said.


Sunday, August 2, 2009

Paroled mobster Fat Tony banned from mafia eateries

He's whacked with hunger.
Mobster Anthony "Fat Tony" Rabito's appetite is cooked after probation officers put him on an involuntary diet last month -- telling him to steer clear of his favorite eateries for the next few years.
Rabito, the reputed consigliere of the Bonanno crime family, has been bada-banned from four old-school Italian eateries because they are well-known mob hangouts.
"They told me to stay away from hot places," the rotund Rabito, 75, bellyached to a friend recently.
The hit list includes Rao's in East Harlem, Bamonte's in Williamsburg, the Parkside Restaurant in Corona and Don Peppe in Ozone Park, Rabito said.
"I ate at them my whole life," the foodfella griped. But on the bright side, he said, "It'll save me some money."
Rabito was sprung from Loretto federal prison in Pennsylvania last month after a 2½-year stint for gambling, extortion and racketeering. While he's reportedly happy to be back home in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where he grew up, his beloved Bamonte's taunts him from just seven blocks away.
"I used to go there three, four times a week," he groused. "They got great mussels."
Rabito said his probation officer warned him that he'd be violating the terms of his three-year supervised release if he went to the 109-year-old pasta palace.
Prosecutors alleged as part of the case against him that Rabito held illicit business meetings inside the Williamsburg staple. It was never proven at trial; Rabito copped a plea instead.
The hungry hoodlum said a second probation officer also busted his chops, warning him to stay away from Rao's, as well as Parkside and Don Peppe in Queens, just to be on the safe side.
But Rabito still longs for a pizza the action.
"They all got great pasta dishes," he reminisced.
Rao's famously became the site of a fatal shooting after a Lucchese associate, Albert Circelli, insulted singer Rena Strober as she performed a rendition of "Don't Rain on My Parade." Livid at the show of disrespect, Luchese bookmaker Louis Barone shot a departing Circelli in the back, killing him.
"I had blood in my eyes," Barone later told cops.
It hasn't hurt the bottom line. Rao's 10 tables are permanently booked every night through this year, according to its reservation hot line.
Parkside is owned by reputed Genovese family capo Anthony "Tough Tony" Federici, who was once arrested for shooting a hawk from the restaurant's roof. He said the hawk had been feeding on his racing pigeons, which lived on the rooftop.
"They tell all the mobsters they're not allowed in here," Milo, the manager, told The Post. "On that respect, we do lose a lot of customers."
Genovese capo Ciro Perrone often held court at Don Peppe -- where he was caught on tape dissing the reality-TV show "Growing up Gotti" in 2004.
"It's a soap opera, and the kids look like girls," he said, according to feds.
Parkside maitre'd Alfredo Chiesa was saddened to hear the he had lost a good customer in Rabito but shrugged off the claim that his restaurant sells cuisine to the Cosa Noshstra.
"We sell lobsters, not mobsters!" he said.
When gangsters get out of prison, they are usually placed on supervised release for three years and prohibited from hanging out with other convicted felons or known mob members or associates.
Rabito's case, however, appears unique in that his probation officers allegedly told him to stay away from specific restaurants. Probation officials refused to comment.
Rabito's latest prison stint was not his first -- he served a 6½-year sentence in the '80s on drug charges in the wake of the Donnie Brasco case, when FBI agent Joe Pistone infiltrated the Bonanno family.
One of Rabito's underlings didn't mince words when describing his boss' tough side, saying, "Anthony is as serious as cancer. He's a stickler for f- - -in' things. Don't underestimate that f- - -in' guy 'cause he's got a cane . . . He's an old, old hoodlum. He really is," according to a taped conversation.
Rabito, who served in the Korean War, insists he's a legitimate businessman.
"I'm a pimp? I'm a gambler?" he said to his friend. "They'll say anything."
Meanwhile, instead of tucking into Bamonte's mussels, Rabito often eats at home, where the house specialties include his own scungili and puttanesca. It's not Rao's famous lemon chicken, but it's still better than what he ate in prison.
"I didn't eat their food," he said. "I wouldn't eat it. It's awful. All I ate was rice, rice, rice."
Always one to see the upside, he added, "But I lost 60 pounds!"