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

Monday, November 29, 2010

Rizzuto Crime Family Still Wealthy

The Rizzuto crime family might be in decline, its leaders mostly dead or missing, but it's far from destitute.
The family's black-market income and registered businesses remain intact despite the murder of patriarch Nicolo (Nick) Rizzuto.
It will prove difficult for police to unravel the complex financial empire that the Rizzutos took 30 years to build.
Mafia Inc., a new book about the mob by La Presse journalists Andre Noel and Andre Cedilot, says Rizzuto revenues include cash from a protection scheme that strong-arms as many as 600 Montreal-area businesses.
News reports last year also suggested the Rizzutos have their hands deep in the construction industry, taking a 5% cut on contracts held by several firms. Cedilot, a retired crime reporter, says the family's power and influence remains entrenched.
"Being rich and investing in legitimate businesses gives them a network of contacts," Cedilot told QMI Agency. "The Rizzutos have been in power for 30 years in Montreal. They brought in tonnes of hashish, cocaine and heroin from the start. They are immensely rich."
Cedilot says the Rizzutos also launder money through car dealerships, food services, real estate and even stock markets. All of the business activity is run by intermediaries.
A QMI Agency examination of public records paints a partial picture of Rizzuto above-board holdings.
The names of Nick and his son, Vito, do not appear in Quebec business records for the family construction firm, Renda Construction. But their wives, Libertina Rizzuto and Giovanna Cammalleri, are listed as shareholders. Vito's wife is also listed as a shareholder in the funeral home, Loreto Funeral Complex. Nick Rizzuto's body will be displayed there this weekend.
The wives are listed as sole owners of the two family mansions built in the 1980s on a quiet street in north-end Montreal. Nick Rizzuto's home was evaluated last month at $714,500 while his son's was valued at $1,000,100.
Transferring the homes to their wives' names would make it difficult for law enforcement to seize the properties under proceeds of crime laws.
Cedilot says another sign of the family's reach were their plans to bankroll a $7-billion project to build a suspension bridge between their native Sicily and the Italian mainland. The bridge was never built, but had the project gone ahead, it would have likely been the largest money-laundering operation ever undertaken by the Mafia.
Other Rizzuto financial activity
2010: Nick Rizzuto fined $209,200 for dodging taxes on $5.2 million funnelled to Swiss bank accounts
2010: Family fights a $900,000 tax bill for the sale of a recycling company that reportedly netted them $7.5 million.
1986-1988: Civil court documents show that Nick's son Vito used cash-wielding middlemen to buy a $1.4-million share in Penway Explorers, a mining firm later embroiled in a stock-manipulation scandal.



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