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

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Mob rats in duel as stoolies finger each other in $1 million murder-for-hire insurance ploT

One of these two snitches is lying through his teeth.
A Genovese gangster who spent 18 years as an FBI informant was implicated Tuesday by an NYPD stoolie who claims the mobster hired him to be the hit man in a $1 million insurance murder plot.
A lawyer for mobbed-up Joseph (JB) Barone insists that his client is a righteous man who stopped murders and saved the life of a federal judge while on the feds' payroll.
"He was not just good at gathering information, he was the best they ever had," defense lawyer Jose Muniz said in opening arguments at Barone's trial.
"Better than Donnie Brasco."
Muniz contradicted the tale of NYPD informant Michael Cooks, who testified for the prosecution that "JB" was a cold-blooded killer eager for a big payday.
Cooks, a 35-year-old career criminal, said Barone offered him $100,000 to whack a Connecticut businessman. Cooks said he backed out over fears for his own life - and guilt pangs.
"I'm not a killer, that's for sure," Cooks said on the first day of the trial. "My conscience pretty much came in effect, and I let [my NYPD handler] Angel know."
Barone and his businessman buddy, Anthony Piliero, both 49, were accused of the murder-for-hire scheme set for last year.
Assistant U.S. Attorney John Zack said Piliero held a $1 million life insurance policy on a fired former employee of his, Douglas Agnessanto.
Piliero contacted Barone in 2008 when the policy rates were about to skyrocket and asked him to arrange a hit, Zack said in his opening statement.
The killer was supposed to make the slaying look like a home invasion, Zack said.
Barone allegedly reached out to Cooks - who says he was previously recruited for a plot to assault one of JB's ex-girlfriends, but chickened out.
"What Barone did not know is that Cooks had been an informant with the NYPD," the prosecutor said. "And with that the net began to close around Joseph Barone and Anthony Piliero."
Cooks said he cased the street and the New Milford, Conn,. house of the intended target.
Barone began working for the feds after his father - a made member of the Genovese family - was killed by the mob, Muniz told the jury.
His recruitment of Cooks was just another ruse in a lifetime of doing the FBI's bidding, Muniz said.
"He was arrested for being so effective," the lawyer said "... All his dealings with Mr. Cooks were a farce."


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