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

Friday, May 7, 2010

Turncoat Genovese Boss Absent From U.S. Court

Western MassachusettsWestern Massachusetts via Wikipedia
Reputed Western Massachusetts mob boss Anthony J. Arillotta was a no-show for a pretrial conference in federal court on Thursday, effectively solidifying his previously speculative status as a government informant.
Arillotta, 41, was arrested in February and charged along with six other defendants in a sweeping racketeering indictment out of New York that included the alleged 2003 contract hit on local crime boss Adolfo “Big Al” Bruno.
However, a day after his arraignment in March, he virtually disappeared from the federal prison system – a hallmark of retreating into protective custody as an informant.
Neither Arillotta’s lawyer, Thomas Butters, nor federal and state investigators would address his whereabouts or his status in the case. They remained mum even after a horde of FBI agents and state police descended on a wooded area in Agawam last month to dig up what are believed to be the remains of Gary D. Westerman, a 49-year-old Springfield man with ties to Arillotta. Westerman disappeared in 2003.
Officials have not yet publicly confirmed that bones recovered in an 8-foot makeshift grave were Westerman’s, and no charges have been brought.
But all the defendants in the racketeering case appeared in court Thursday – except Arillotta.
U.S. District Judge P. Kevin Castel surveyed the courtroom in lower Manhattan with a quizzical look after the defendants and their lawyers had assembled.
“Is Mr. Arillotta here? Is there anyone here representing him?” Castel asked.
After a pause, Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Lanpher stood.
“I think the court can excuse his presence,” the prosecutor said, squashing any further discussion on the matter.
Also charged with Bruno’s murder are Fotios Geas, 43, of West Springfield, and Arthur “Artie” Nigro, 65, the alleged former acting crime boss of the Genovese crime family.
Investigators believe Nigro, of Bronx, N.Y., sanctioned the hit on Bruno, who was the then-regional leader of the powerful crime family. Prosecutors have said Arillotta sought permission to kill Bruno because he believed Bruno was an informant and to secure his own role as a brash young leader of the local underworld.
Investigators said Geas was the “muscle” for Arillotta during a violent spurt in 2003 when Arillotta was vying for power.
Frankie A. Roche, who pleaded guilty to killing Bruno and has entered the Witness Security Program, told law enforcement officials that Geas paid him $10,000 to shoot Bruno as he left his regular Sunday night card game on Nov. 23, 2003, in Springfield. Roche is awaiting sentencing.
Geas and Nigro could face the death penalty if found guilty of Bruno’s murder.
A pre-trial date of July 26 was set and a trial date of Nov. 1 for the defendants.

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