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

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Tommy James: Me, the Mob, and the Music

1960s pop star Tommy James is out with his autobiography which details the not-so-hidden hand of the Genovese crime family in the music industry.  In Me, the Mob, and the Music, James writes of his experience with Morris Levy, the head of Roulette Records, with whom he was forced to sign through mob influence as reported by Chris Jordan for Courier News:
James tells of an awkward working relationship with Levy, for whom James felt affection and fear. Levy, as James points out, was an associate of Genovese Family types like "Fat Tony'' Salerno and Vincent "The Chin'' Gigante, whose stable of artists included Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers and Joey Dee and the Starliters. James is the first big-name artist to openly tell the story of the mob's influence on the recording industry in the 1960s. "There was a lot of intimidation,'' James said. "People are reluctant to name names and tell it like it was.''
The story is headed to the big screen, and "is being developed by Barry Rosen's Triangle Entertainment" as reported by Chris Jordan for Inside Movies.
Morris Levy died in 1990 of liver cancer at the age of 62 following his 1988 extortion conviction for which he was sentenced to ten years in prison

Friday, February 26, 2010

NY Mafia's Social Clubs: Then and Now

WIMPY BOYS SOCIAL CLUB -- 7506 13th Ave., Brooklyn.
For years this was Colombo capo Greg Scarpa Sr. home away from home. At one point, one of Scarpa's crew murdered a young woman they feared would turn informant. The woman was shot in the head, rolled up in a rug and disposed of elsewhere. Days later a dog running around the club walked up with the woman's ear in its mouth. Today the club is Sal's Hairstylist and Barber Shop. On a back wall is a black-and-white artist's rendering of the Dapper Don John Gotti sitting beside Marlon Brando's Vito Corleone. There are also headshots of Al Pacino as 'Scarface' and other celebs. City records show the property has been owned by Salvatore Pellegrino since the 1970s. 'He's away,' a worker said Thursday when asked if Pellegrino was available. (Pictured: Carmine Sessa outside in black jacket)

Lawyers Try And Move Bruno Hit Case To New York

Lawyers for Fotios “Freddy” Geas, who is set to be tried here next month for the 2003 Mafia hit of Adolfo “Big Al” Bruno, are asking a federal judge to move the case to New York.
The request comes in the wake of last week’s indictment of two of Geas’ alleged co-conspirators in a federal court in Manhattan.
The defense motion on behalf of Geas also suggests prosecutors believe a then-swelling mob faction in Springfield may have been responsible for a series of unsolved crimes, including the disappearance of a convicted drug dealer that occurred the same year Bruno was killed.
Geas was indicted in 2008 in connection with the contract killing of Bruno. The regional leader of the New York-based Genovese crime family was gunned down in a parking lot after his regular Sunday night card game on Nov. 23, 2003. Admitted killer Frankie A. Roche claims Geas, the reputed “muscle” for a rival faction, recruited him for the shooting and attached a $10,000 bounty.
Jury selection in the Geas case is scheduled to begin in U.S. District Court in Springfield on March 22. Two other men – including reputed Bruno successor Anthony J. Arillotta – were charged with the same crime in U.S. District Court in Manhattan on Feb. 16.
Geas was curiously absent from the New York indictment, which charged Arillotta, of Springfield, and former acting Genovese boss, Arthur “Artie” Nigro, 65, with Bruno’s murder and other crimes. Four other New York organized crime figures also were accused in the charges of unrelated gambling and extortion conspiracies.
Investigators have long suggested the conspiracy to eliminate Bruno stretched from here to New York City. But, law enforcement officials have refused to explain why the prosecution would be split between two jurisdictions.
Defense attorneys recently argued that dividing the case was not a matter of legal strategy but territorialism by federal law enforcement officials.
“Indeed, it appears that the only reason that (the cases have not been consolidated) is jurisdictional squabbling within the Department of Justice,” states a motion filed Monday by Geas’ lawyers, David P. Hoose and Peter L. Ettenberg.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul H. Smyth, who leads the Geas prosecution in Springfield, did not respond to a call for comment.
The late-coming satellite charges in New York add yet another layer to an already convoluted prosecution.
Roche, 36, told investigators he fled Western Massachusetts after shooting Bruno six times outside the Mount Carmel Society club in the city’s South End. He was captured in Florida months later by the FBI. An agent accidentally shot him in the back during his arrest – prompting a $150,000 legal settlement for Roche – who was charged with murder in Hampden Superior Court in 2005. He was days from being tried in that venue in 2007 when he turned government informant.
Roche implicated Geas, 42, who was then charged in state court along with Brandon D. Croteau, 30. Croteau helped him plan the murder and sweep him out of town, Roche said.
Roche later admitted to murder in federal court under a deal with prosecutors that allowed him to duck a potential death penalty and perhaps a life sentence. He is in an undisclosed prison under the federal Witness Security Program.
Geas was subsequently charged in federal court while Croteau dangles in state court. The federal case lumbered along until U.S. attorneys recently sought delays in the trial and the lead prosecutor was bounced under mysterious circumstances.
Smyth has insisted the Geas trial will go off as planned despite the New York indictment. But, defense lawyers argue the government should not get multiple bites at the apple.
“It’s bad enough he’s already charged with murder in state and federal court,” Hoose said. “It’s unfair to take a third opportunity.”
Their motion contends that Geas could conceivably be acquitted for murder in aid of racketeering in Springfield, and then charged in the New York indictment under separate federal statutes.
In comparison, Geas’ lawyers offer the case of John “Junior” Gotti, son of the late “Dapper Don” Gambino family crime boss.
The younger Gotti was charged and tried multiple times in New York for an array of federal offenses. That case yielded four hung juries in as many years before prosecutors said they would not be inclined to seek a fifth trial. Gotti, who earned the nickname “Deadlock Don,” was indicted the fourth time with murder conspiracy and other crimes in Florida on peripheral grounds, but a judge sent the case back to New York.
Beyond objecting to the division in the Bruno murder case, the defense motion for Geas suggests there was a seismic shift in the Springfield prosecution when the government on Feb. 3 told the defense it would attempt to bolster its case by telling jurors of a litany of additional offenses.
Court filings state prosecutors intend to present evidence that Geas, his younger brother, Ty Geas, and Arillotta were involved in a series of increasingly violent capers designed to boost street credibility and revenue, and erase competition.
According to the motion, they included:
• In 2002 and 2003, Arillotta and New York mobster John Bologna, now believed to be among the government’s top witnesses, extorted money from the Mardi Gras strip club in Springfield;
• In 2003, Fotios Geas allegedly offered Roche $10,000 to kill rival gangster Giuseppe Manzi, and later fired shots into a downtown bar at members of Manzi’s crew;
• In October of 2003, Fotios and Ty Geas allegedly paid Roche $1,000 to beat a man “who needed to be taught a lesson;”
• In the fall of 2003, Fotios Geas allegedly offered Roche another $10,000 to kill bookmaker Louis Santos and obtained a stolen car to use in the endeavor;
• In November of 2003 the Geases and Arillotta killed Gary D. Westerman, an ex-convict and close associate who went missing that month; no arrests have been made in that case; and
• The Geases allegedly beat another member of the Genovese crime family. (The court filings do not identify the target or timing of this allegation.)
U.S. District Judge Michael A. Ponsor, who presides over the Springfield case, may not let any of that evidence reach a jury – primarily because none of those allegations has produced criminal charges.
Lawyers are scheduled to argue over the transfer issue during a pretrial hearing on Wednesday.


Killer Klansman's Mob Claim

Gregory Scarpa Sr.Greg "The Grim Reaper" Scarpa via Wikipedia

Former Ku Klux Klan leader Edgar Ray Killen, serving 60 years for the 1964 slaying of three civil rights workers, has filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit alleging that J. Edgar Hoover's FBI paid an organized crime figure to beat and intimidate people to extract information in his case.

In all, the 16-page lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Jackson, Miss., against the FBI and Mississippi Attorney General's Office, claims the FBI used secretive and illegal tactics that violated Killen's rights to a fair trial and suppressed his constitutional right to speak freely over the years. It alleged the state of Mississippi knew about the FBI abuses but chose to cover it up during Killen's second trial, in which he was convicted.
Edgar Ray Killen is escorted into the Neshoba County Courthouse in
 Philadelphia, Mississippi, in 2005.
Marianne Todd, Getty Images
Edgar Ray Killen is serving a 60-year sentence after being convicted on manslaughter charges in the deaths of three civil rights workers. Here, he is shown before his sentencing in June 2005.

The suit alleges that the FBI in 1964 became frustrated with the investigation into three missing civil rights workers and turned to Colombo crime family mobster Gregory Scarpa Sr. (aka the "Grim Reaper"), saying Scarpa intimidated, assaulted and pistol-whipped local residents to help locate the "burial site of the murdered civil rights workers and obtained confessions for the prosecution."

In turn, the suit alleges the FBI paid Scarpa at least $30,000 and gave him "carte blanche to engage in all types of legal and illegal activities."

The FBI declined to comment. Mississippi Attorney Gen Jim Hood said in a statement: "I get sued every day and criticized for playing by the rules and doing my job. I guess I am getting used to the job. Our in-house lawyers are defending state agencies in over 3,000 lawsuits pending against us now, and this is just another one of them."

In a 1967 federal trial, seven people were convicted and eight acquitted in the deaths of civil rights workers James Chaney, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman. Killen and two other men got off as the result of a hung jury.

But in 2005, Killen was convicted in state court on three counts of manslaughter and got 60 years. Killen, 85, who is in a maximum-security prison in Pearl, Miss., has denied guilt, according to his attorney.

Books and articles have noted that Scarpa, who died in 1994, was a longtime FBI informant.

The Associated Press reported that Scarpa mistress Linda Schiro testified in a 2007 trial in New York involving suspected crooked FBI agent Lindley DeVecchio. Schiro said she saw Scarpa shove a gun into a Klansman's mouth in Mississippi to get information for the FBI.

Authorities found her testimony suspect overall, and the agent was cleared of having played a role in some mob murders.

Still, after that trial, New York Supreme Court Justice Gustin Reichbach expressed concern about Schiro's testimony, the AP reported.

"That a thug like Scarpa would be employed by the federal government to beat witnesses and threaten them at gunpoint to obtain information ... is a shocking demonstration of the government's unacceptable willingness to employ criminality to fight crime," the judge said in a court order.

Killen attorney Rob Ratliff told AOL News that he pieced together the allegations in the lawsuit from public FBI documents and newspaper clippings, and was hoping to get more documents through discovery in the lawsuit to fill in some holes.

While Ratliff admits the mob allegations are the headline grabber in the case, he said there is something that outrages him more. The suit alleges that one of the lead defense attorneys in the first trial in 1967, Clayton Lewis, was an "ongoing paid informant for the FBI."

Ratliff said that tainted the second trial, which relied on the reading into the record a lot of evidence presented in the first trial because many witnesses were dead.

"Those are the kind of things that are mind boggling things to me," he said.

He said he hopes any newly discovered material in the lawsuit will aid Killen's appeal on his criminal conviction in federal court. Killen exhausted his appeals in state court.

"We just want to know what happened," Ratliff said. "Who did what, and to whom, in the investigation of the case. If they want to reprosecute him while he's still alive, that's fine, but let's do it with an open book, let's disclose everything."


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Bonanno Captain Threatens Indebted Lucchese Mobster

Look out, Tony Robbins! When it comes to motivational speakers, it's tough to beat Bonanno family captain Anthony Mannone.

Nine Lucchese And Bonanno Wiseguys Slapped With Charges

A superseding indictment was unsealed yesterday out of a federal court in Brooklyn, NY which charges nine individuals in connection with Bonanno and Lucchese crime family rackets according to a press release by the government:
Four of the defendants – Carlo Profeta, Eric Maione, Anthony Mannone and Jerome Caramelli – were arrested [on Wednesday] . . . .  The remaining five defendants [Nicholas Bernardo, John Paul Cruz, Domenico Cutaia, Joseph Cutaia and Salvatore Cutaia] charged in the superseding indictment are incarcerated or detained pending trial and will be arraigned separately.
According to the press release:
Mannone is a captain in the Bonanno family; Caramelli is a Bonanno associate; Domenico Cutaia is a captain and Profeta is an acting captain in the Luchese family; Salvatore Cutaia is a soldier in the Luchese family; and Joseph Cutaia and Eric Maione are associates of the Luchese family. The charges include counts pertaining to Mannone, Caramelli, Profeta, Salvatore Cutaia, and others, engaging in extortionate means to collect money from three individuals involved in a gambling operation run by Caramelli. During recorded conversations, Mannone and Caramelli, with support from Profeta and Salvatore Cutaia, threatened the individuals with physical harm for failing to repay their debt.
Seemingly threatening statements made by Mannone were secretly recorded by an unidentified member from the Lucchese family with a nearly $200,000 gambling debt who began cooperating with the feds after growing tired of the perAsuasive efforts to make him pay as reported by Tom Robbins for The Village Voice.
Last December Joseph Cutaia -- "grandson of Luchese crime capo Domenico Cutaia and son of reputed soldier Salavatore Cutaia" -- was "charged in the violent attempted robbery of a Brooklyn businessman and is a suspect in five other armed heists" as reported by John Marzulli for the Daily News, and Domenico Cutaia is serving a three-year sentence for bank fraud.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Hit on Genovese Capo "Big Al" Bruno

Stephanie Barry from The Republican has been ahead of the curve in covering the criminal proceedings involving the 2003 hit against New England Genovese capo Adolfo "Big Al" Bruno in Springfield, MA, and she now has a three-part series following the federal indictment out of Manhattan last week of Anthony Arillotta -- the reputed capo who allegedly succeeded Bruno -- and reputed former acting Genovese boss Arthur Nigro in connection with the murder:  Part I; Part II; and Part III.  Barry writes:
The records unsealed in Hampden Superior Court show that [self-admitted shooter] Frankie Roche reported to authorities that "among the reasons Fred Geas provided for Bruno's murder was that Bruno was a rat and having money concerns with New York," according to a motion by assistant district attorney Carmen W. Picknally, who is prosecuting the state court case.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Colombo family mobster-turned-Christian speaker Michael Franzese beats bad check-writing rap

Charges were dismissed against a Colombo family mobster-turned-Christian motivational speaker who was busted for writing bad checks, officials said Wednesday.
Michael Franzese, a Brooklyn-born wiseguy once nicknamed "The Prince of the Mafia," was arrested in Tennessee last month for writing a pair of phony $5,400 checks to a former business manager.
The charges were dropped Tuesday after Franzese paid a variety of court fees, according to a clerk at the criminal court in Williamson County, Tenn.
Franzese, 54, who had claimed the checks were the result of "a misunderstanding" with ex-business manager Robert Johnson, expressed relief that the case was resolved.
"It was an unfortunate incident," said Franzese, who tours the country speaking to church groups, students and professional athletes about the dangers of gambling and fraud.
"I'm pleased with the outcome," he said.
Franzese has written a series of mob-themed inspirational books with titles like "The Good, the Bad, and the Forgiven" and "I'll Make You an Offer You Can't Refuse."

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Genovese Mob Boss Indicted On Racketeering Charges

Anthony Arillotta has been arrested in connection with the 2003 hit against New England Genovese capo Adolfo "Big Al" Bruno in Springfield, MA as reported by Stephanie Barry for The Republican.  Frankie Roche, the admitted triggerman, alleges that he was paid $10,000 by Fotios "Freddy" Geas to whack Bruno, and Geas was a supposed sometime enforcer for Arillotta who allegedly became Bruno's successor.  Barry writes:
Sources familiar with the investigation say the arrest warrant was issued out of U.S. District Court in New York City. Organized crime figures from that state also have been charged in a broad indictment, which has not yet been made public. Investigators' theory of the case is that Bruno's murder was a classic mob hit, paid for by a group looking to wrest power over local rackets from the then-local leader of the New York-based Genovese crime family.
Arthur Nigro, a reputed former acting boss of the Genovese crime family who currently is serving time for extortion, has been indicted with Arillotta for his alleged role in the Bruno rubout as reported by Bruce Golding for the New York Post:
Today's Manhattan federal court indictment adds allegations that Bruno was rubbed out "to prevent his communicating to a law enforcement officer and judge of the United States information relating to the commission and possible commission of federal offenses." Those offenses included "crimes committed by members of the Genovese organized crime family," the indictment says.
In addition, the indictment further charges alleged Genovese member Steve Alfisi with racketeering, and Marcos Caio, James Coumoutsos and George Coumoutsos with participating with Alfisi in an illegal gambling operation according to a press release by the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Who's Fire Bombing Montreal's Italian Cafes?

Following a series of eighteen fire bomb attacks primarily against Italian cafes in the north end of Montreal, QC Canada since last September, police now are openly considering the possibility of a turf war brewing between rival Mafia families as reported by Canwest News Service:
Montreal police deputy Chief Jacques Robinette said on Tuesday that's one hypothesis on which police are working. He said it involves a possible conflict between rival Mafia clans based in Montreal, with one group made up of members of Sicilian origin and the other of Calabrian background. But he also said investigators haven't discounted the possibility that a group of Mafiosi from Toronto is exerting pressure on the Montreal Mob when it appears to be experiencing a leadership void. Vito Rizzuto, 63, the man reputed to be the leader of the Montreal Mafia for decades, is serving a 12-year sentence in the U.S. for a racketeering conviction involving the 1981 murders of three mobsters in New York.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Paolo Renda Gets Out

Paolo Renda, the brother-in-law of currently jailed reputed Montreal mob boss Vito Rizzuto, is scheduled to be released from prison on Feb. 16 as reported by Paul Cherry for The Montreal Gazette:
According to a written summary of a recent National Parole Board decision, Renda will not be allowed to communicate with anyone with a criminal record until the end of his sentence which expires on Oct. 16.  Renda, described in the summary as "one of the leading members of the Mafia in Montreal," is also required to supply information about his income and expenses to his parole officer on a monthly basis.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Brooklyn baker's mob hit sentence overturned - for the second time

A Brooklyn baker convicted of a mob hit walked out of prison a free man Friday after an appellate court overturned his 2008 conviction.
It was the second time Mario Fortunato, 63, serving a 15-to-life sentence for helping murder a Lucchese crime family loanshark at a Williamsburg social club in 1994, had his case overturned.
"The game is over. There will be no further prosecution," said defense lawyer Paul Shechtman.
"Mario stopped to get a haircut and now he's back at the bakery. And it's a happy day at the Fortunato Brothers Bakery."


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Forfeiture in Gambino Gambling Case

The New York State Attorney General has sued Carmine Sciandra, Benedetto "Benny" Casale, Michael Murdocco, John D'Arpa and Vincent LaFace to recover nearly $10 million which allegedly was obtained from a Gambino gambling and loansharking racket for which the defendants and others were indicted last November.  In connection with the attorney general's forfeiture action, Frank Donnelly reports for the Staten Island Advance:
The five defendants in the civil suit are accused of various counts of criminal enterprise, bookmaking, loansharking and bribery. They are free on bond ranging from $250,000 to $750,000 and are due back in state Supreme Court, St. George, for a March 8 conference. According to the civil suit, Sciandra, Murdocco and LaFace accepted $8.4 million in illegal wagers, while Sciandra, Murdocco and D'Arpa took nearly $1.3 million in illegal bets. Sciandra, Murdocco and Casale gave out illegal loans of at least $40,000. The attorney general seeks to reclaim that collective $9.7 million.
According to a press release last November by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and New York Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly announcing the criminal indictment Sciandra is an "alleged Gambino capo . . . who owns a chain of popular supermarkets on Staten Island called 'Top Tomato,'" and Casale is an "alleged Gambino associate . . . who owns the Casale Tile store in Staten Island."

Nicolo Rizzuto Pleads Guilty

Nicolo Rizzuto, father of the U.S.-jailed reputed Montreal mob boss Vito Rizzuto and grandfather of the recently gunned down Nick Rizzuto Jr., pleaded guilty this morning to tax evasion as reported by CTV:
The 85-year-old has agreed to pay a $209,000 fine. * * * The Canada Revenue Agency says Rizzuto admitted to hiding income, and had to pay back the entire amount, plus the fine. "The Canada Revenue Agency investigation revealed that, for the 1994 and 1995 tax years, Mr. Rizzuto voluntarily contravened the Income Tax Act by not reporting foreign interest income totalling $627,906," the agency said in a statement. Revenue Canada had charged Rizzuto after $5.2 million was hidden in Swiss bank accounts.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Son of Mafia Cop Sentenced

Anthony Eppolito -- the son of infamous Mafia Cop Louis Eppolito who was convicted with NYPD partner Stephen Caracappa of eight murders for the Lucchese crime family -- and his co-defendant Guido Bravatti were sentenced following their convictions last September on methamphetamine trafficking charges as reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal:  "[they] were sentenced to one day in jail - for which they were given credit for time served, five years probation with the first six months served in a halfway house, followed by six months of home confinement, said Eppolito's attorney Richard A. Schonfeld."  John L. Smith thinks the boys got off light:  "In a move rarely seen in U.S. District Judge Philip Pro’s courtroom, Anthony Eppolito and Bravatti received substantial leniency."

Diabetic Colombo Mob boss Thomas (Tommy Shots) Gioeli suffers stroke

A diabetic mob boss who has sparred with the feds over his junk-food habit suffered a stroke a day after failing to convince a judge his poor health earned him a get-out-of-jail card.
Reputed Colombo crime chief Thomas (Tommy Shots) Gioeli complained of "dizziness, neck pain, weakness of his left leg and an inability to move his left arm" last Wednesday, prosecutor Elizabeth Geddes said.
He was rushed from the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn to an unidentified hospital, where doctors diagnosed a stroke.
A source said Gioeli remained hospitalized yesterday. Although the stroke was characterized as "minor," he suffered some facial paralysis.
Gioeli, who also has a heart condition, fell ill a day after appearing before Brooklyn Federal Judge Brian Cogan to ask for bail because of deteriorating health. The judge denied the application.
The stroke has apparently led jail officials to drop their objection to giving Gioeli a glucometer so he can monitor his blood-glucose levels in his cell.
Defense attorney Adam Perlmutter refused to comment on the gangster's condition.
He has done plenty of complaining in the past about his client's dental problems, the jail's failure to keep Gioeli's prescriptions filled and allegations he's not getting proper food for a diabetic.
Prosecutors fired back with copies of Gioeli's commissary purchases - doughnut sticks, Hershey bars, potato chips, macaroni and cheese and Spam.
"He has tried to maintain a proper diet," Perlmutter insisted at a Feb. 2 court appearance.
Gioeli is awaiting trial on racketeering and murder charges.
The U.S. attorney general will decide soon whether to seek the death penalty against the mob boss.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Italy Probes Mafia-Led Insider Trading in the U.S.

Feb. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Shares of Infinex Ventures Inc., a U.S.-based mining company, were manipulated by Italians working for an organized-crime family, netting them 15 million euros ($21 million), Milan’s financial police said.
The stock was manipulated in U.S. trading from 2004 to 2008, according to an e-mail distributed today by the financial police, which conducted the investigation. The shares are also traded in Germany.
While none of the 18 Italians in the probe are facing charges for involvement in organized crime, the Infinex shareholders who benefitted from the fraud were members of the Canadian Mafia clan allegedly led by Vito Rizzuto, police said. The suspects were probed for conspiracy to manipulate the market and insider trading. Police said the case is related to a 2007 investigation in which two brothers were identified as suspected members of the Rizzuto clan.
Rizzuto, referred to by Canadian police as the “godfather” of the Montreal Mafia, is currently in prison in the U.S., and he may face extradition to Italy to face charges, the Milan financial police said.
Michael De Rosa, Infinex’s president and controlling shareholder, said his company has no connection to the Mafia, and he has paid a high price for agreeing to explore a property owned by the brothers.

‘I’m Not Mafia’

Now he has trouble attracting investors and board members to the company, he said in a telephone interview from Montreal. Two years ago, he answered questions by the British Columbia Securities Commission about his business dealings, De Rosa said.
“I’m not Mafia,” De Rosa said he told the commission. “If a rabbi sits down with the pope, does that make him Catholic?”
De Rosa isn’t under investigation, the financial police in Milan said.
Organized crime flourished during the economic crisis in Italy, according to a report published last month. The country’s main crime groups boosted profit by 12 percent to more than 78 billion euros from 2008 to 2009, according to Rome-based anti- racketeering group SOS Impresa’s annual report.
The Infinex case is an example of “Mafia infiltration of the real economy,” according to the police statement.
Infinex, based in Las Vegas, is a mineral exploration company. Infinex gave one of the brothers 100,000 shares in exchange for the rights to explore for gold on Texada Island, British Columbia, De Rosa said. No gold was found. The shares were last traded at less than one cent a share.


The company warned shareholders with a release on PR Newswire on Jan. 9, 2006, of a “pump-and-dump” scam that would be of “no benefit to the company’s shareholders other than those unknown individuals attempting to make a personal gain.” False e-mails were being sent “in an attempt to increase the share value, which is totally unwarranted,” according to the release, which cited De Rosa.
A Milan brokerage, which wasn’t named, encouraged about 100 investors to buy the shares based on insider information or false news, police said. Unidentified shareholders would then sell when the stock rose, officials said.
In 2004, investigators revealed that Italian members of the Rizzuto crime family, which has been linked to drug trafficking to North America from South America, were seeking to invest in building a bridge linking Sicily to the Italian mainland. A separate 2007 probe uncovered people tied to the clan operating in Rome, Milan, Vicenza Verona, Bologna, Florence, Bari, Reggio Calabria, Catanzaro and Agrigento, according to a statement from that investigation.
In 2007, police uncovered a plan to launder $600 million in illegal proceeds and sequestered 150 million euros in assets in Italy associated with the crime syndicate.


Nicolo Rizzuto faces Tax Evasion Charges

Vito RizzutoImprisoned Boss Vito Rizzuto via Wikipedia
Nicolo Rizzuto, father of reputed mob boss Vito Rizzuto and grandfather of Nick Ruzzuto Jr. who was gunned down last December, is "facing new charges alleging he committed tax evasion by not paying taxes on certain income in 1994 and 1995" as reported by Graham Hughes for The Montreal Gazette:
The charges allege he failed to pay more than a total of $150,000 in taxes the government alleges he owes from both those years. The undeclared income is alleged to come from more than $620,000 in interest made on investments not disclosed in the charges filed at the Montreal courthouse. According to La Presse, the investigation was generated by the 1994 discovery of three Swiss bank accounts that were in the names of other people.
Meanwhile, "four other Rizzutos are due in court over the sale of a defunct Ontario ad company" as reported by Tu Thanh Ha for The Globe and Mail.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Monday, February 8, 2010

Investigators seize $1.1M in profits from marijuana money-laundering ring in Little Italy flat


Investigators have seized $1.1 million in cash from a Little Italy flat - profits from a huge marijuana money-laundering ring with possible ties to organized crime, the Daily News has learned.
It is "by far" the biggest stash ever seized in the city linked to a marijuana ring, city special narcotics prosecutor Bridget Brennan said.
"Marijuana, and particularly Canadian Bud, is clearly big bucks," Brennan said.
Prosecutors believe the cash - packaged in shrink-wrap and heat-sealed - is profit from a large-scale hydroponic pot operation.
The ongoing probe of the suspected money ring at 153 Mulberry St., an apartment adjacent to the Italian American Museum, has been dubbed "Here we go round the Mulberry bush" by investigators.
Last month, detectives from Brennan's office and federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested Daniel McGehean, the apartment's 32-year-old tenant, and Canadian national Richard Doyon, 37.
Investigators also seized a photo of McGehean standing in a marijuana field and drug records from the well-appointed flat.
McGehean and Doyon are set to be arraigned today in Manhattan Supreme Court.
Two other suspected members of the ring, Dehran Duckworth, a drummer in the band Narhed, and real estate agent Richard Burke, were busted last month with a duffel bag holding 5pounds of pot in Burke's BMW, which was parked near Stuyvesant Town, authorities said.
Some of the $1.1 million was headed to California, where itwas to fund a Mexican cocainebuy, prosecutors said. The rest was to be shipped north to Canada.
Dealers packaged the cash in shrink-wrap to hide the odor of pot and chemicals that are used to process the drugs, according to court papers.
Officials also are investigating whether the mob gets a cut of the lucrative business, prosecutors said. The Mulberry St. apartment is located within the Bonanno crime family's turf.
McGehean and Doyon are charged with illegal money transmitting, Brennan said. Duckworth and Burke are charged with criminal sale and possession of marijuana.
Duckworth's and Doyon's lawyers declined to comment. McGehean's and Burke's lawyers did not return calls.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Mirage Makes The News... Again

In the latest incident surrounding the Mirage nightclub in Tampa, FL two men were shot on Friday morning, and "before fleeing in a vehicle, the shooter pointed a gun at an officer and tried to run over another" as reported by Jessica Vander Velde for the St. Petersburg Times:  "Police tracked down the suspect after he showed up at Brandon Regional Hospital with a gunshot wound to his right arm."  Mirage apparently attracts the troubled among its clientele:  "Police are regularly called to Mirage. From August 2008 to August 2009, there were 137 calls for service — that's about one call for each night the club was open."  According to the St. Petersburg Times article, in 2008 federal prosecutors alleged that Mirage was "a mob investment founded on dirty money":  "Indictments filed that year against six people — including alleged Gambino mob boss John A. 'Junior' Gotti — listed Mirage as one of the mob's investments."  Also among those indicted was James V. Cadicamo who reportedly is identified in state records as a principal in the business.  Download Indictment Against James V. Cadicamo

Friday, February 5, 2010

Gambino Hitman Turned Outsider Artist

1983 Federal Bureau of Investigation mugshot o...Former Gambino Hitman Dominick Montiglio via Wikipedia
Dominick Montiglio has turned from Gambino hitman to outsider artist as reported by Susan Donaldson James for ABC News:
Anthony "Nino" Gaggi and his crew, headed by Roy DeMeo, set an early example for Montiglio, reportedly murdering 200 people and dismembering their bodies at Brooklyn's Gemini Lounge, also known as the "Horror Hotel." "I lived the life," said Montiglio, now a 62-year-old struggling artist, who admits he was involved in scores of those killings, then testified against the family before entering the federal witness protection program in 1983. "But I don't make any excuses," said Montiglio, whose mob nickname was "The Cape." Now, instead of cutting up corpses, the former hit man creates paintings, depicting the dark anguish caused by a life of organized crime.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Feds: Politician Took Cash From Colombo Street Boss

A North Little Rock city alderman charged in a federal public corruption indictment received campaign cash from a co-defendant identified by federal prosecutors as a “made man” in the Mafia, prosecutors say in a court filing.
The filing late Wednesday was the first attempt by federal prosecutors to tie alleged mobster George Wylie Thompson to Alderman Sam Baggett in Baggett’s role as an elected city official.
According to the filing, in August 2008, while running for the Ward 3 position, Baggett received a $500 campaign donation from the Arkansas Karate Association, a nonprofit organization of which Thompson identified himself as president and CEO in 2007.
Baggett won the election in a run-off and remains on the North Little Rock City Council.
Baggett was indicted in December 2009 with Thompson and former alderman Cary Gaines. He faces six federal felony charges in his role as a gun dealer in selling weapons and ammunition to Thompson, a convicted felon. Baggett has since surrendered his federal license to sell guns.
“The charges before did not seem to relate to his duty as an alderman,” said North Little Rock City Attorney Jason Carter Thursday. “These new allegations seem based on his duty as an alderman.”
Baggett did not immediately return calls seeking comment today.
Gaines resigned his seat in November before his indictment on charges he participated in a kickback scheme related to city construction projects and lied to the FBI about his dealings with Thompson.
Gaines’ 2006 campaign finance report did not show any contributions from Thompson. Gaines largely funded that campaign with $4,000 of his own money.
Thompson faces a wide-ranging indictment in Arkansas that includes weapons charges and an alleged scheme to rig bids for North Little Rock public works projects.
In Wednesday’s filing, the U.S. attorney’s office alleged Thompson provided “significant funding of Baggett’s campaign” for the City Council.
Thompson’s $500 contribution was the largest of itemized contributions totaling $3,045 Baggett reported receiving in the initial filing period of the campaign.
The address listed for the karate association in Baggett’s campaign finance report is a North Little Rock post office box that appears to be a personal box used by Thompson.
Baggett’s attorney, John Wesley Hall, and Chuck Banks, the attorney for Gaines, filed motions last week seeking to have their clients tried separately from Thompson. Federal prosecutors opposed severing the cases in Wednesday’s filing.
Neither Hall nor Banks returned calls seeking comment today.
Baggett, Gaines and Thompson are set to be tried together Aug. 24.
The filing also contains the transcript of a portion of a wiretap conversation between Thompson and a man said to be Ralph Francis Deleo, an alleged boss in the Colombo Mafia crime family in New York, in which Thompson says he “has two people on the council now in North Little Rock.”
Deleo, Thompson and two others are charged in a separate federal racketeering indictment in Massachusetts. In Wednesday’s filing, prosecutors said they do not anticipate introducing any Mafia-related evidence in the Arkansas trial.
Prosecutors also alleged Gaines paid kickbacks to Thompson to “lessen … losses from gambling and personal debts” he owed to Thompson. They alleged Gaines prepared
Thompson’s taxes and made false statements to federal agents regarding Thompson’s “illegal gambling business, of which Gaines was fully aware.”


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Xaverian Coaches Had Criminal Records/Mob Ties

The New York Post reports further details concerning an investigation by the Brooklyn DA's office into a suspected mob-tied online sports betting ring in which the names of two Xaverian High School baseball coaches have surfaced:
Undercover cops posing as bettors forked over payments ranging from $200 to $2,000 to freshman baseball coach Gerard Bruzzese, 46, in some cases just half a block from the Bay Ridge Catholic school's ball fields, the sources said. * * * Bruzzese was hired by Dennis Canale, the respected head coach of the successful Xaverian baseball program. * * * As The Post reported yesterday, Canale, 67, resigned late last year as coach after the Brooklyn DA's Office filed court papers outlining Bruzzese's involvement in a multimillion-dollar illegal sports-betting Web site, nysportswager.com. Canale's on medical leave as building manager. Sources said Canale's name has surfaced in the current gambling investigation. * * * The gambling probe began when investigators tried to infiltrate a Colombo-family sports-betting operation, but were instead put in touch with Bruzzese's -- which is allegedly linked to a Gambino associate, Alfredo "Dark Al" Correa.
Incredibly, both Bruzzese and Canale, a retired NYPD cop, were employed at Xaverian notwithstanding their alleged criminal records:
Bruzzese, who resigned after last season, was hired as a coach at Xaverian despite a guilty plea to securities fraud -- a felony. He served a year in the federal pen from 2000 to 2001. That guilty plea came after he was charged, along with 84 others, in the Colombo- and Russian-mob-linked pump-and-dump stock-fraud operation. * * * Canale, too, had a prior brush with the law before he was hired as Xaverian's baseball coach and building manager. He was busted in 1996 on possession of gambling records, but pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, sources said.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Top Brooklyn HS coach in Gambino online bet probe

One of Brooklyn's most successful high-school baseball coaches is under investigation by the District Attorney's Office for his alleged involvement in a multimillion-dollar, mob-linked online sports-gambling operation, sources told The Post.
Dennis Canale, 67, a retired NYPD cop who has coached the Xaverian HS varsity team for 10 years, abruptly retired from his coaching duties and took a medical leave from his job as the school's building manager in late December.
His departure came shortly after prosecutors filed papers naming a former Xaverian freshman coach, Gerard Bruzzese, as a ringleader of the betting Web site.
Damion ReidFAIR OR FOUL? Dennis Canale retired as Xaverian 
HS baseball coach amid a Brooklyn DA investigation of ny sports 
Bruzzese, 46, the papers say, helped run nysportswager.com, a massive, illegal sports-betting site owned by Gambino crime-family associate Alfredo "Dark Al" Correa and the largest of three such sites currently being probed.
Sources told The Post that Xaverian officials are also looking into allegations that students placed bets with Canale and Bruzzese.
But Robert Alesi, president of the Bay Ridge school, balked at the idea of students betting.
"We have no inform ation on that at all," Alesi said. "And certainly, if we had, we would be concerned. I can tell you that there has been no information brought to my attention, or anything like that. We are a Catholic school and we pride ourselves on our Catholic tradition."
He confirmed that Canale asked to retire as coach of the baseball team "due to personal medical reasons," and was granted a leave of absence for the same reasons.
On portions of Brooklyn DA wiretaps, a bettor identified only as "Dennis" is heard asking Bruzzese for the address of the Web site, "Just to be able to look at the lines without having to call you and run down."
Bruzzese, a Canale hire, left Xaverian after the 2008-2009 school year.
"He vehemently is denying the charges," said Bruzzese's lawyer, Arthur Aidala. "He is confident when the DA's Office finishes their investigation, they will come to the same conclusion he has, which is he is not involved in any way with a big gambling ring."
Canale's lawyer declined to comment directly on the betting.
"Dennis Canale is an extraordinary man and baseball coach," said the lawyer, Alan Abramson. "He has helped countless kids realize their dreams of playing baseball in college as well as the major leagues. I hope the public will keep an open mind."
Under Canale, the team won four city championships and major league teams drafted eight Xaverian players.