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

Sunday, May 30, 2010

New Jersey Wiretaps Detail Alliance Of Lucchese Family And Bloods Street Gang

The Great Seal of the State of New Jersey.Image via Wikipedia
On one end of the line was a reputed soldier with the Lucchese crime family.
On the other was a ranking member of a North Jersey faction of the Bloods, one of the country's most violent street gangs.
The two men were talking business.
And state investigators were listening.
The wiretapped conversation from July 2007 is one of hundreds that are part of a racketeering indictment charging 34 reputed underworld figures.
More important, it offers a look at what one top New Jersey law enforcement figure has described as a "troubling alliance" - wiseguys and Bloods, outlaws from two different cultures and underworlds coming together to make things happen.
The indictment, returned this month by a state grand jury, alleges that organized-crime figures helped members of the Bloods smuggle drugs and prepaid cell phones into East Jersey State Prison (formerly Rahway State Prison), setting up a financial enterprise in which they all made money.
Cocaine, heroin, and marijuana were selling for what amounted to "a thousand percent profit," according to Edwin Spears, the self-described five-star general of the Nine Trey Gangster set of the Bloods.
Spears, 37, was an inmate in the prison and coordinated the sales.
Investigators tracked and recorded at least a dozen conversations the high-ranking gang member had with reputed mobsters Joseph Perna, 40, and Michael Cetta, 41.
The investigation, Operation Heat, also uncovered what authorities allege was the Lucchese family's involvement in a $2 billion sports betting ring and in extortion, money-laundering, and financial fraud.
Perna is the son of reputed Lucchese capo, or captain, Ralph Perna, 64, who also was charged.
While a relatively new phenomenon, the connection between mobsters and urban gangsters is not unexpected, one veteran investigator said.
"To see Bloods dealing with traditional organized crime doesn't surprise me at all," said Richard Norcross, a retired squad commander with the Camden County Prosecutor's Office and a gang expert. "It's about making money."
Spears, now a fugitive, was well-known to gang investigators, said Norcross, who described him as a "mover and a shaker" in the underworld.
How he and Perna connected has not been made clear, but their association created an alliance that Stephen Taylor, director of the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice, called troubling for law enforcement.
It was also clear from the taped conversations that Spears was happy to have made that connection.
"Yo, I love you guys to death, you know what I'm saying," he said in one phone call. ". . . I want you to feel me like I feel you guys, man."
Snippets of several conversations involving the prison smuggling operation are in a 195-page investigative affidavit that is part of the pending case. They underscore the relationship between the mobsters and the gang leader and offer insights into how inmates got around prison security.
At one point Perna asked Spears if he had a good place to hide his phone.
"I got it inside a soda can," Spears said. "I hollowed out the bottom of the soda can. . . . I take one soda out the case, because the case is wrapped in plastic, right. . . . I stick [the phone] in there. I stick it back in the case, the case looks like it's never been touched."
In the same conversation Spears talked about the amount of money he was making from the sale of drugs and asked Perna to arrange for an associate to "front" a shipment.
"Listen, tell him to front the five. I'm gonna pay him for it," he said. "I'm gonna see off the five, I'm gonna see seven thousand . . . minimum seven thousand."
The conversations outline the "full business cycle" of the operation, according to Christopher Donohue, an investigator with the Division of Criminal Justice, who filed the affidavit.
According to Donohue, Perna and Cetta provided cash to Spears' brother, Dwayne, who bought drugs and cell phones and gave them to Michael Bruinton, a prison guard. Bruinton then smuggled the contraband into the prison to Edwin Spears.
Dwayne Spears, 30, and Bruinton, 46, also have been charged. Bruinton has since resigned.
The conversations indicate that the inmates paid for the drugs and phones by having friends or relatives send money orders to two women working with Edwin Spears. The women, who also have been charged, arranged to get the money back to the mobsters.
Some of the cash was taken as profit, and the rest was rolled back into the "business" to buy more drugs and phones.
In one conversation, Edwin Spears told his girlfriend that Cetta was putting some of the cash aside for him as a nest egg. Spears, who was serving a 10-year term on assault and related charges, was released in March 2009.
"Mike . . . is putting the money up for me," he said.
Just how much money the operation generated was not disclosed in the affidavit or indictment.
But Norcross said the money would be significant.
As an example, he pointed to another case in which a state prison guard was charged with smuggling cell phones. The guard eventually pleaded guilty and provided details about what he had been doing.
"He was going to a rest stop on the turnpike and buying three cell phones at a time," Norcross said. "The phones cost $30 each. He'd sell them inside for $600 each. . . . He'd spend $90 and walk out with $1,800."
The markup for drugs inside a prison is similar, Norcross said, adding that Spears, as a leader of the Bloods, would have had no trouble finding customers.
"The Bloods would provide a large market share within the prison," Norcross said with a laugh.
The wiretaps also indicate that the relationship between the Bloods and the Lucchese crime family extended to the streets.
Perna told Spears that an associate of the mob family was being extorted by an individual who claimed to be a member of the Bloods. Perna planned to confront him but wanted Spears' support.
The gang leader was happy to intervene.
"All right, listen. When you meet him, tell him that . . . I'm your brother."
"I'm gonna tell him nicely to - just to back up, because this is not his situation," Perna said as the conversation continued.
Spears provided more advice while offering a look at the inner workings of the Bloods organization and throwing out the nicknames of some of its leaders.
"My gangster name, I'm saying, in my hood is Movelli, all right?" Spears said. "I got five star under Nine Trey Gangster Bloods, all right. . . . Now you tell him that Red Eye brought me home. I'm under Red Eye in New Jersey, and I'm under Frank White in New York. . . . Tell him I can get in contact with anybody from Jersey or New York. . . . Anybody. So whoever he know . . . let him know that, listen, your guy can find out who is who, you know what I'm saying? . . . Find out if the guy's official or not."
Spears also told Perna to mention Shinehead and Mobster Rule, two other gang leaders, even though both were dead.
"Mobster Rule got killed," Spears said. "Shinehead got killed. But throw those names, cause they, they carry a lot . . . of weight. Dead or alive."


Saturday, May 29, 2010

US Authorities Arrest Mafia Online Casino Operator

City Hall of Buffalo, New York, an Art Deco bu...Image via Wikipedia
A resident of Buffalo, New York, has been arrested by New Jersey police for suspicion of running Internet sports betting and online casino gambling for the Lucchese crime organization, according to the state's Attorney General. Paula Dow announced today that Brian Ronald Cohen had been apprehended and charged with money laundering and operating an illegal gambling business.

"We allege that this man was the primary facilitator for the Lucchese crime family's offshore gambling operation," Dow said. "He allegedly oversaw the acceptance and settling of billions of dollars in wagers and ensured that the Web site through which those bets were placed remained up and running."

Cohen was arrested as he returned to the US from Costa Rica. He was freed on bail of $100,000, but ordered by Judge Thomas Manahan to surrender his passport.

Over thirty alleged members of the Lucchese family have been indicted in the last month as a result of the Gamgs and Organized Crime Bureau's Operation Heat. Among those charged are two top members of the Mafia family, Ralph Perna and Nicodermo Scarfo.

While many forms of online gambling are debatably legal under US courts' interpretation of the Wire Act, no such ambiguity exists for online sports betting. Both the Wire Act and the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act specifically outlaw all forms of sports betting, including online gambling.


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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Alleged Genovese Associates Are Sentenced

The current Boss of the Genovese crime family,...Image via Wikipedia

Brothers Felice, Angelo and Anthony Masullo were sentenced today in a Manhattan federal court to 41 months, seven months, and one year and a day, respectively, following their guilty pleas last November according to a press release by the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.  The three men were among a dozen indicted in February 2009 which targeted the Genovese crime family including reputed ex-acting boss Daniel "The Lion" Leo and reputed New Jersey boss Anthony Palumbo.  The press release states:
Felice Masullo was an up-and-coming associate in the Genovese Family, and had been proposed to be a made Soldier in the Genovese Family. Felice Masullo was a member of co-defendant Anthony Palumbo's crew and functioned, in part, as Palumbo's driver, accompanying him to meetings and delivering messages between Palumbo and other members and associates of the Genovese Family. In furtherance of the Genovese Family's criminal endeavors, Felice Masullo operated a loansharking and gambling business, and also financed the purchase of distribution quantities of cocaine by a confidential informant. In connection with his criminal businesses, Felice Masullo relied on the assistance of two of his brothers, Angelo Masullo and Anthony Masullo, who, among other things, collected cash payments from loansharking victims and gamblers. Felice Masullo, Anthony Masullo, and Angelo Masullo operated these illegal businesses out of a restaurant they operated together in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, New York.
Daniel Leo, already serving a 60-month sentence on an extortion conviction, and his nephew Joseph Leo, a reputed lieutenant in the crime family already is serving a 46-month sentence, both pleaded guilty last January to federal racketeering charges involving loan sharking and conspiring to operate an illegal gambling business in connection with the indictment.
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Former Underboss Of NJ Lucchese Faction Faces Trial

Two years after 23 reputed members and associates of the Gambino and Lucchese mob families were indicted for what the FBI called a "veritable smorgasbord" of crime, only one defendant has refused to accept a plea deal.
The last man standing is Martin Taccetta, a reputed former underboss of the Lucchese crime family's New Jersey faction, who is already serving a state prison sentence of life plus 10 years.
Taccetta, 59, of East Hanover, broke off plea negotiations in December and is scheduled to stand trial July 6 in federal court in Newark.
"I expect it to go to trial and we expect him to be vindicated," Taccetta's lawyer, Maria Noto, said Monday. "He's not guilty of the charges and we look forward to an acquittal by the jury."
If the trial on extortion and labor racketeering charges goes forward this summer, it will be a reunion of sorts for Taccetta and V. Grady O'Malley, the career federal prosecutor who will try the case.
As younger men, they squared off in a notorious 1988 Mafia case that became one of the longest criminal trials in the nation's history. After 21 months, the trial ended in acquittal for all 20 defendants, but in 1993 two of the defendants — Taccetta's brother, Michael, then the acting head of the Lucchese Jersey faction, and Michael Perna, a top lieutenant – confessed to tampering with the jury as part of a guilty plea that included more than a dozen murder conspiracies, extortion and other charges.
"I've lost three cases in 31 years," said O'Malley, former chief of the organized crime and labor racketeering unit in the U.S. Attorney's Office in Newark. "I go into every case expecting to win."
Referring to the fix in the 1988 case, O'Malley said, "They acknowledged that they conspired to bribe somebody but our evidence was that they had paid one of the jurors $175,000 to make sure that no verdict came in."
Last week, U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler rejected Taccetta's requests for a preview of the government's witness list and details of its evidence against him. Prosecutors have identified one confidential informant they intend to call, a reputed enforcer who is currently in a witness protection program, according to court filings.
The May 2008 federal indictment targeted a Gambino crew led by Andrew Merola and outlined schemes to shake down a lunch truck vendor, put mobsters in no-show jobs, use union muscle to collect payoffs from contractors allowed to ignore union rules, and rake in millions of dollars in bets on sporting events and casino-style games over a website based overseas.
The mob's victims included retailers like Best Buy, Home Depot and a Lowe's Home Improvement store in Paterson, where they swapped bar codes to buy power tools and televisions at cheaper prices and then returned them for full credit. The ring also stole personal information from customers who applied for Lowe's credit cards and obtained temporary credit cards in their names.
Taccetta was charged in only three of the 30 counts in the indictment. He is accused of conspiring to use extortion to collect a loan from an unidentified debtor. He also is charged with conspiring with Merola and others to demand and receive about $20,000 in unlawful payments to allow non-union labor on a construction project at a Morristown BMW dealership in 2007.
Merola, 42, of East Hanover, pleaded guilty in January to racketeering conspiracy charges and will be sentenced with the other defendants on Oct. 21.
Taccetta was convicted in 1993 on state racketeering and extortion charges, but acquitted of murder for the 1984 golf-club beating death of an Ocean County businessman. He served 12 years before a judge released him and ordered a new trial on grounds he been misinformed by his lawyer on the impact of his plea agreement. Last July, the New Jersey Supreme Court overruled the lower court and reinstated his life sentence.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Concrete Encased Body Pulled From Lake Ontario Believed To Be Rizzuto Family Consigliere

Montreal police have been in contact with Toronto police regarding the concrete-encased body that was pulled out of Lake Ontario Sunday, but neither police force will say whether they suspect the body could be that of alleged Montreal Mafia kingpin Paolo Renda, who vanished last week.
“Yes, Montreal police have been in contact with Toronto police about this, but we can’t confirm anything as it is a case for the Toronto police department,” said Montreal police Constable Daniel Lacoursière.
Toronto police, acting on a tip, pulled a rusted oil drum from Toronto harbour Sunday around noon, near a construction site. The barrel, found in about six meters of water by police divers, contained human remains.
Toronto police Detective Justin Vander Haden told reporters police have a “good idea” whose body it is, but that identification will be done by the coroner and will take at least 48 to 72 hours.
Vander Haden said the crime was obviously deliberate, would have required the work of several people and looked like an “organized effort."
Renda, reputed to be one of the highest-ranking members of the Montreal Mafia, was reported missing Thursday by his wife when he did not return to their Cartierville home as expected. His car was found parked a short distance from their home, with the windows open and keys still in the ignition.
Renda had been released from a federal penitentiary Feb. 12, after serving time for possession of proceeds of crime and a related gangsterism charge. His nephew and godson, Nicolo (Nick) Rizzuto Jr., was murdered while Renda was in prison, and extra conditions were imposed on Renda upon his release because of fears the Mafia would seek revenge for Rizzuto’s murder.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

From Behind Bars To Behind The Counter

John M. Cicilline, once a prominent defense lawyer, took the rap and now he is making the wraps at his new downtown sandwich shop and pizzeria: Federal Wrap.
The affable older brother of Mayor David N. Cicilline honed his new skills during 16 months at a federal prison in Massachusetts, where a fellow inmate affectionately nicknamed him “Johnny Wraps.”
Now, Cicilline has traded in his expensive dark suits for a T-shirt and jeans. He works 15-to-18-hour days kneading dough, slicing pepperoni and sliding pizzas into 600-degree ovens at his business at Richmond and Friendship streets.
“I’m making a living,” said Cicilline, who lost 80 pounds in prison. “I’m not killing it, but I’m making a living. I just got out of jail and I didn’t have a job. I dove into this thing.”
Cicilline is not running away from his time spent behind bars. The menu board high above the counter has wraps named after inmates he befriended at Fort Devens, the federal prison compound about 40 miles west of Boston. There’s Rex’s Wrap, Steak Joost, the Riggi Reuben, Ralphy Wrap, and Ernie’s Veggie. He also makes Deven’s Dog, which is a hot dog smothered with cheddar cheese and caramelized onions.
Cicilline’s world was turned upside down on Oct. 21, 2008, when he was sent to federal prison after pleading guilty to scheming to collect $150,000 from drug-dealer clients to manipulate the criminal-justice system.
Five of his closest friends dropped him off at Devens. Making wrap sandwiches in Providence was the furthest thing from his mind.
He spent the first four days in a cramped isolation cell. He was locked up 24 hours a day in the tiny quarters that had nothing more than a cot, toilet, shower and writing table. His meals were delivered to him through a slot in the door.
Periodically, a guard would stop by. “You all right?” he would say. “You want to kill yourself?”
Cicilline said the boredom was numbing and he wasn’t even allowed to have a book.
On the fourth day, a guard stopped by to talk.
“I know your brother,” he said.
“Is that a good thing, or a bad thing?” he said.
“It’s a good thing,” the guard said.
He returned with five books, a gesture that made the coming weekend more tolerable.
A few days later, Cicilline was moved to the low-security prison camp at Devens for inmates with no history of violence. He said that he experienced no problems in his new environs that the prisoners called Camp Cupcake.
But his time there was short-lived. Cicilline, who arrived at the prison weighing 300 pounds, saw his blood pressure skyrocket and prison officials decided to move him to the medical facility within the more secure section of the prison complex.
Cicilline was nervous about the transfer. He knew that many, if not most, of the inmates “behind the wall,” were career criminals who had spent decades in federal prisons. A friend from the camp gave him the names of two inmates who would take care of him: Rex Cunningham and Blind Eddie.
Cunningham, a tough-guy from Springfield, Mass., is a longtime associate of the New York-based Genovese crime family who has specialized in loansharking, racketeering and collecting debts from deadbeat gamblers. Blind Eddie is a Boston mobster.
The first day, Cicilline wandered over to the prison track to look for his new contacts. One of the guys walking the track was Bobby Joost, a mob associate and career criminal from Providence, serving a 26-year sentence for plotting an armored car robbery.
“Hey, John,” yelled Joost. He hustled over and gave him a big hug.
“He took care of everything,” Cicilline said. “Bobby looked out for me.”
The prison was loaded with wise guys from Boston, New York and New Jersey. Most of them knew Cicilline’s father, John F. “Jack” Cicilline, the longtime lawyer for the Patriarca crime family, otherwise known as the New England Mob.
Cicilline’s new friends were Theodore “Teddy” Persico, brother of Carmine “The Snake” Persico, the one-time boss of the Colombo crime family in New York. He said that Persico, 72, was like a “grandfather” to him during his 18-month prison stay. He also grew close to Giovanni “John” Riggi, the 85-year-old boss of the DeCavalcante crime family in New Jersey.
Tony Soprano and the family in the HBO series were based on Riggi and his Newark-based criminal outfit.
Sometimes, Cicilline walked the track with Samuel B. Kent, a federal judge from Galveston, Texas, who was sentenced to 33 months in prison for lying to investigators about sexually abusing two female employees.
Cicilline also bumped into former clients, including a convicted drug trafficker who was completing the 12th year of a 20-year sentence.
“A lot of guys knew who I was,” he said. “They were very nice. They knew I was coming.”
Cicilline quickly picked up on the rhythms of prison life. He knew that being with the right people and doing the right things could make his life easier. At first, he was puzzled when some of the mob guys approached him and said, “Want to get into the car tonight?”
He learned that getting into the car was joining the other guys in the recreation area or hanging on a bench in the prison yard on a summer night. The mobsters used the phrase to harken back to the days when they had the freedom to drive around Brooklyn or Boston’s North End.
About three months after he arrived, Cicilline said that Joost made him a salami and cabbage wrap “that was unbelieveable.”
The wrap sandwich got the wheels turning in Cicilline’s head. He had always enjoyed cooking, so he decided to hone his culinary skills in prison and parlay them into a possible business venture when he was released. He bought packages of wraps and other ingredients at the prison commissary. He also developed a network where prisoners would smuggle food from the dining hall for the wraps.
One day, he said, a guard stopped him leaving dinner. She pulled him aside and conducted a pat-down search. There, in his right pant pocket, were two baked potatoes. They were still warm. She confiscated the spuds and Cicilline’s plans to make a potato, pepperoni and cheese wrap were foiled.
In the ensuing months, Cicilline kept making more and more wraps. On some days, he made as many as 15 for his newfound friends. He said that Teddy Persico gave him the nickname, “Johnny Wraps,” and the mobster was instrumental in coming up with the name of his new business.
Cicilline was released from prison on Feb. 8 and, on April 1, he launched Federal Wrap with financial help from family and friends. He’s in the heart of the nightclub district and his best business has come on weekend nights. He said that it appears that he will bring home about $600 a week for now, a far cry from the days when he was a lawyer bringing home more than $100,000 annually.
Many of his old friends have stopped by for a bite to eat or to wish him luck. He’s hoping to tap into the lunchtime crowd at the Garrahy Judicial Complex, across the way, where he used to roam the halls and defend criminal clients.
Among those who have dropped in is his brother the mayor, who is running for Congress, and Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch, a candidate for governor. On Wednesday, four state prosecutors stopped in for lunch.
The mayor, through his spokeswoman, had little to say about Federal Wrap.
“As with every new business in Providence, the mayor has every hope for its success,” she wrote.
Cicilline is divorced and the oceanfront house in Narragansett is gone. He has three daughters who help him with the business. He grew teary-eyed talking about how one of them couldn’t go to Hofstra University last year because he couldn’t afford to pay the tuition.
Cicilline can’t afford his own apartment, so he lives with his parents on Broadway.
“Today, I appreciate the value of a dollar,” Cicilline said. “I didn’t appreciate it before I got in trouble. I don’t want to say I’m glad it happened, but everything happens for a reason.”

Saturday, May 22, 2010

New York Mobsters May be Gunning For Montreal

Reputed Rizzuto crime family consigliere Paolo Renda apparently was kidnapped from the streets of Montreal, QC Canada on Thursday, and only days earlier "police officers were warned to expect a threatening move against the powerful mob clan, possibly from the United States" as reported by Adrian Humphreys for the National Post:
Police officers in Montreal were told this week that someone might be making a move against the clan, a move expected sometime in the next month, and to work sources for more information, a law-enforcement source told the Post on condition of anonymity. The threat was believed to have emanated either directly from New York or through Buffalo and Toronto, the source said.
Renda is the brother-in-law of reputed Montreal boss Vito Rizzuto who is serving a 10-year sentence at a federal penitentiary in Colorado following his racketeering conviction involving the 1981 murder of three Bonanno crime family capos in New York City.
Regardless of who is behind the seeming war against the Rizzuto clan it has been brutal in recent months.  Nick Rizzuto Jr., the son of Vito, was murdered last December, and Frederico Del Peschio, a close associate of the reputed boss, was murdered last August.
Paul Cherry from the Montreal Gazette has put together a background story ("Kiss of death for Montreal's Rizzuto clan?"), and concludes with biting understatement that Paolo Renda's "apparent abduction . . . appears to be another sign that the group . . . no longer commands the respect it once did."

Friday, May 21, 2010

Scarfo's bail set at $350,000 in betting operaton

Nicodemo S. Scarfo told a Superior Court judge here Tuesday that he was an unemployed "research analyst" who did "legal consulting work for attorneys."
State prosecutors said he was an organized crime figure who played a key role in a $2 billion Internet-based sports betting operation while also engaging in extortion and money-laundering.
Those two pictures of the son of jailed Philadelphia mob boss Nicodemo D. "Little Nicky" Scarfo emerged during a brief bail hearing before Judge Thomas V. Manahan in Morris County Superior Court.
Manahan, after reading Scarfo the charges against him in a racketeering indictment, set bail at $350,000 for the 44-year-old mob figure.
Scarfo has been held in the county jail here since his arrest Friday at his home in Atlantic County. Lawyers said they hoped he would be released Wednesday or Thursday after real estate owned by a family member and a friend were posted as collateral.
Dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit and handcuffed and shackled at the ankles, Scarfo was escorted to and from the hearing by sheriff's officers.
A reputed member of the Lucchese organized crime family, he faces racketeering, conspiracy, money-laundering and gambling charges related to what authorities allege is an Internet-based betting operation that funneled action to a wire room in Costa Rica. Bettors used passwords to gain access.
Scarfo was one of 34 reputed members or associates of the Lucchese organization charged in the case following an investigation by the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice.
Dubbed "Operation Heat," the probe ran for about 15 months beginning in August 2006. One customer, according to the New Jersey Attorney General's Office, wagered $2 million during one two-month period while authorities were monitoring the gambling ring.
James Leonard Jr., a lawyer who has represented Scarfo in the past, called the case "trumped-up gambling charges," pointing out that Scarfo was not arrested when authorities charged more than 30 members of the crime family nearly two years ago.
Scarfo was one of three new defendants added to the case when the indictment was announced last week.
Leonard had intended to represent Scarfo at Tuesday's hearing, but was barred from doing so by Manahan. The judge said there was a potential conflict of interest because Leonard had represented a member of the Bloods street gang charged in the same case when the arrests were made in 2008.
The allegations in the case are based in part on hundreds of secretly recorded conversations picked up by New Jersey investigators on wiretaps and from electronic listening devices.
Scarfo, who has two gambling convictions for which he has served jail time, is also the target of an ongoing, multimillion-dollar financial fraud investigation being run by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Camden.
Authorities allege that he and Elkins Park businessman Salvatore Pelullo siphoned millions of dollars from FirstPlus Financial, a Texas-based company they secretly controlled.
No one has been arrested in that case. Officials at FirstPlus have denied any wrongdoing.

Rizzuto Family Mobster Kidnapped Off Streets

Paolo Renda is shown here in 2006 being arrested as part of police
 raids in the Operation Colisée investigation. 
The assault against the Rizzuto clan continues in Montreal, QC Canada.  Paolo Renda, the brother-in-law of reputed mob boss Vito Rizzuto, appears to have been abducted off the streets as reported by Paul Cherry for The Montreal Gazette:
Renda was reported missing by his wife, Rizzuto's sister, Thursday afternoon and his luxury vehicle was found on Gouin Blvd. W. not far from his home in the Cartierville area. The windows were open and the key was still in the ignition.
Nick Rizzuto Jr., the son of Vito, was murdered last December, and Frederico Del Peschio a close associate of the reputed boss, was murdered last August.  Vito Rizzuto is serving a 10-year sentence at a federal penitentiary in Colorado following his racketeering conviction involving the 1981 murder of three Bonanno crime family capos in New York City.

Family patriarch Nicolo Rizzuto Sr. was scheduled to appear in court this morning on an impaired driving charge but the hearing was adjourned over safety concerns as reported by Paul Cherry for The Montreal Gazette.

Meyer Lansky's Mafia Secrets Exposed By Daughter

By Robert W. Welkos

For decades, underworld boss Meyer Lansky kept mob secrets so explosive that if the truth ever came out it would alter American history. Now his little-known daughter, who kept her own Code of Silence over the years about her father’s activities, is drawing back the dark veil of the mob’s influence at the highest reaches of government and world events.

Sandi Lansky Lombardo, now 72 and living in an undisclosed location in Florida, carried on the mob tradition of silence to protect her late father and family all the while knowing revealing details about President Nixon’s threat to withhold the sale of fighter jets to Israel because Lansky refused to cut Nixon in on a casino deal; Lansky and Charles “Lucky” Luciano’s plot to assassinate Hitler and Mussolini; and, legendary singer Frank Sinatra hiding out in the basement of a Catholic Church to avoid being killed on the orders of Chicago mob boss Sam Giancana.
For years, Sandi was tailed by FBI agents trying to put her dad behind bars. The late underworld chief had built a far-flung gambling empire while forging a nationwide crime syndicate with his boyhood pal Luciano, leaving a trail of bullets and blood across a continent.
She even had a torrid love affair with one of J. Edgar Hoover’s boys before finally breaking off the romance and remaining true to her father. The agent was assigned to investigate Meyer Lansky.
Producer/writer Bob DeBrino, who owns the film and literary rights to her story and whose critically-acclaimed film “Find Me Guilty” starred Vin Diesel and was directed by Sidney Lumet, and producer/writer Nicholas Pileggi, whose screenwriting credits include “Casino” and “Goodfellas,” are working with Sandi on her memoirs. DeBrino, with Pileggi’s help, is simultaneously preparing a pitch for a feature film.
“The story is not about Meyer Lansky,” said DeBrino. “This is her story, how she saw her father. We all know about Meyer Lansky but we don’t know the truth about what she knows. There are many discrepancies and inaccuracies that she will clear up. The studios have told me that there will eventually be a big Lansky movie. The fact that there is a living family member involved in the project also is important to the studios and talent.”
In interviews with Sandi Lansky Lombardo, including DeBrino’s meticulous research as well as independent research, HollywoodNews has been able to piece together some of the bombshell revelations that most thought Meyer Lansky took to his grave, but that, in truth, he revealed to his daughter during the final years of his life.
They include:
–President Nixon, already angry that Lansky had supported JFK for President years earlier, conducted a vendetta against the underworld boss after Lansky rebuffed Nixon’s attempt to be cut in on a lucrative casino deal in the Bahamas because in those days only “wise guys” were partners with each other. After being tipped by an FBI agent that he was being framed, Lansky fled to Israel to avoid prosecution on U.S. tax evasion charges. Nixon then threatened to withhold the sale of Phantom fighter jets, which Israel desperately needed to defend itself from its Mideast neighbors unless Prime Minister Golda Meir had Lansky deported. Lansky voluntarily left Israel before he could be deported and later was tried in the U.S. and acquitted of the tax allegations.
–Frank Sinatra cancelled all his engagements and hid out in the basement of a Catholic church (giving the priest $50,000 for the church because he helped him hide out), after hearing that Chicago mob boss Sam Giancana was plotting to kill him. Giancana was upset that Sinatra was becoming too arrogant and carless and was pushing around members of Giancana’s gang. Sinatra called Lansky in tears, saying he would do anything – even playing a million gigs in all of Giancana’s joints – if Lansky would ask him to call off the plot. What Sinatra didn’t know was that Giancana was listening in on the other line and that Lansky quietly hung up the phone just as Giancana was about to burst out laughing.

–Concerned that President Harry Truman was wobbly in his support for creating a new nation of Israel, Lansky reached out to the Kansas City underworld and they used their connections in the White House to persuade Truman, whose home state was Missouri, to change his mind, reminding the President of the union support that helped elect him to office.
–Lansky plotted with “Lucky” Luciano to have gangster Vito Genovese assassinate Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini. But by then, Mussolini had already been overthrown in Italy and Vito didn’t want to kill Hitler because he was raking in so much money on the black market that he didn’t want the war to end.
–The U.S. Navy sought out Lansky’s help to guarantee labor peace on the docks during World War II and to thwart any would-be Nazi saboteurs and spies on the waterfront. As a result of the cooperation with the mob, a Nazi submarine was reported by an Italian-American fishing fleet from the docks. The submarine was seen off the coast of Long Island where the Nazis helped several of their spies land on the each. This incident was reported by the fishermen to Luciano and Lansky, who gave the information to the FBI and Naval Intelligence. As a result, eight German spies were caught, tried, and six were executed. They had plans to blow up several key defense installations and to poison the water supply.
–The commonly held story that Bugsy Siegel was assassinated by the mob over money missing from the Flamingo Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas is a lie. Sandi said that according to Luciano’s lawyer, Moses Polakoff, and others close to Luciano and Lansky, Siegel was killed for disrespecting Luciano by telling the Boss of Bosses to “Go fuck yourself” after Luciano gave the cocky Siegel a dressing down for arriving late with bagels to an important meeting to discuss legal strategy to prevent him going to jail for life. She said there was nothing her father could do to save Siegel’s life after that happened.
–Joe DiMaggio tearfully asked Lansky if he could use his influence to reunite the Yankees slugger with his former wife Marilyn Monroe after Monroe’s divorce from playwright Arthur Miller. Lansky had his boys tail Monroe, but couldn’t do anything about Marilyn’s life spiraling out of control after her illicit affairs with John and Bobby Kennedy and her growing dependence on prescription pills.
As Meyer Lansky’s daughter, Sandi was always treated royally. She traveled the world, staying at 5-star hotels, attending private schools, driving luxury cars and having her pick of designer clothing. She met many high profile people from Sinatra and Dean Martin to Jack Kennedy and Revlon cosmetics executive Charles Revson.
But there were also men she called her “uncles” who drifted in and out of her life in those early days.
These “uncles” were mobsters like Bugsy Siegel (“We never used the name ‘Bugsy,’” she notes); Frank Costello, nicknamed the “Prime Minister of the Underworld” as head of the Genovese crime family; Santo Trafficante, the most powerful organized crime figure in Florida; Guarino “Willie” Moretti, an underboss of the Genovese crime family who was gunned down at Joe’s Elbow Room restaurant in Cliffside Park, New Jersey; Joe Adonis, a New York mobster who was deported to Italy; Anthony “Little Augie Pisano” Carfano, a New York gangster who was shot in the back of the head on his way to the airport; Samuel “Red” Levine, a member of Murder, Inc., and one of three hit-men reportedly sent by Lansky to assassinate Sicilian mafia boss Salvatore Maranzano; Abner “Longie” Zwillman, known as the “Al Capone of New Jersey”; Frank Erickson, right-hand man to early mob boss Arnold Rothstein; Anthony “Fat Tony” Salerno, who ran a $1million-a-year numbers racket in Harlem; and, Joe Fischetti, a Miami-based mobster who was one of Sinatra’s close pals.
Over the years, Sandi has turned down many offers to tell her life story. She even balked, she said, when “big shots” at Paramount Pictures tried to woo her cooperation’s for a movie.
“I was hounded by everybody,” she recalled. “They were like vultures. You can’t blame them. They wanted to do something about dad, but I wasn’t interested.”
Until she turned 13, Sandi said, she wasn’t aware of her father’s real line of work. As she tells it, she was heading home from school one day when she went to buy a movie magazine and saw her father’s picture staring at her from the cover of a magazine. This was in the early 1950’s, when Tennessee Sen. C. Estes Kefauver was conducting his much-publicized hearings on organized crime.
Her mother, Anne, who had been divorced from Meyer Lansky since 1947, discovered her daughter reading about him in her room and told her if she had any questions about her dad to ask her. “And then she told me how wonderful Dad was,” Sandi recalled.

Sandi moved frequently while living in New York with her mom and her brothers, Paul and Buddy. Today, Paul lives in the Midwest. Buddy, who suffered from cerebral palsy, died in 1989.
Sandi’s life changed after her mom began showing signs of mental illness. “She was in and out of hospitals,” Sandi recalled. “Up until I was 13, she wasn’t that bad. When I turned 14, it was terrible. She was a very good mother but she couldn’t take care of herself.”
At 15, Sandi moved down to Florida to be with her father, who had remarried in 1948. But Sandi said didn’t get along with Lansky’s wife, Teddy, claiming she treated the teenager like the “other woman.”
It was on a trip to a horse show at Madison Square Garden in New York that teenager Sandi Lansky met up with a childhood friend, Marvin Rapoport, whose family owned the Rapoport Dairy Restaurant in New York. She was 16 and he was 24 when they married. On a visit to Europe, the couple went to Italy and visited Luciano, who put them up in a top hotel and accompanied them to an A-class dinner. While visiting Luciano, Sandi noticed they were being followed everywhere. The couple returned to America on the SS Andrea Doria, which would sink the following year in one of the world’s most famous maritime disasters.
After the birth of a son, Gary, the couple’s marriage fractured and they were divorced in 1957.
By now, Sandi had been transformed from naïve schoolgirl and young wife to self-confessed “party girl,” dancing the night away at swank NYC watering holes like The Copacabana, El Morocco and the 21 Club. She also frequented Basin Street East, The Harwyn, Bemelmans Bar at The Carlyle, The International Nightclub and Danny’s Hideaway, often ending up for breakfast at The Brasserie.
She knew singer Vic Damone, comedian Joe E. Lewis, performer Jimmy Durante, actor Walter Matthau, actor/comedian Dick Shawn and jazz great Duke Ellington. She hung out so often with crooner Bing Crosby’s son, Gary, at the Essex House in New York that people mistakenly thought they were having an affair. She also became friends with columnists Walter Winchell and Ed Sullivan. Through her dad, she was introduced to future President Jack Kennedy at the Warwick Hotel in 1958.
She met her current husband, Vince Lombardo, a one-time “made-man” in the Genovese crime family, while “on a dopey date with a friend of his, who was a horror,” Sandi recalled with a laugh. It was a Saturday night and they went to a restaurant that Vince helped run, but she grew bored with her date and spent the night in a phone booth talking to her ex-husband. “That’s where (Vince and I) met,” she said. “I couldn’t stand his friend.”
Meyer Lansky liked Vince, but told him if he was going to marry his only daughter, there was one stipulation: Vince had to get out of the “family business.” So, her dad made all the arrangements and Vince separated from the mob without an obligation, payment or continued stipend to the family, something unheard of at the time.
She was 26 when she married Vince in 1964, but there was a nine-month period when her addiction to diet pills forced the couple to separate.
“I wanted to become a model,” she recalled. “That’s when I got addicted to diet pills. I’d stay up for days and then sleep for days. I’d do everything my way.”
She and Vince got back together and settled in Florida, where they ran a janitorial and chemical business.
The FBI would follow her around whenever her father would be away, she recalled.
One of her most memorable encounters with the FBI occurred in the fall of 1958, after her divorce from Marvin and before she had met Vince.
An FBI agent named Ed Hartnett had shown up at her apartment and told her he had been a cadet at West Point at the time Sandi visited her brother, Paul, who was also was a cadet at the U.S. Military Academy. It was obvious that Hartnett was using his connection to West Point to get close to Sandi so he could get information about her father.
Sandi phoned her father from a pay phone and told him about the encounter. Lansky told his daughter he would call her back in 20 minutes. When he called back, she told him that Hartnett’s visit made her uncomfortable. Lansky put his daughter in touch with an old time associate, Bobby Blanch, who met her at a restaurant on Broadway and instructed her to call the FBI agent and agree to meet him again. Then after the meeting, Sandi was to tell Bobby whatever the agent had told her. If they offered her money, he said, take it and say she needed it for her rent.
But the meetings with Hartnett soon turned into romance. Neither was sure if they were in love or if they were each being set up. Sandi eventually decided to call it off.
After Meyer Lansky’s death at age 80 from lung cancer in 1983, it was widely rumored that he was worth a staggering $400 million, and maybe as high as $600 million. Sandi scoffs at that rumor.
“He had almost nothing (when he died),” she said. “When he got in trouble (with the IRS), he turned everything over to his brother. We calculated it was about $15 million. But (Dad) said there was nothing.” Asked who got rich, she said it was her uncle’s family. “His two children got it,” she said. “They’re multimillionaires.”
Still, producer DeBrino is convinced Lansky left a vast fortune.
“He might have had $15 million but he was controlling over $1 billion,” DeBrino told HollywoodNews, noting that much of Lansky’s fortune was likely laundered through Swiss banks.
“Meyer was good at that,” Debrino explained. “He took for himself a well deserved, huge salary, but he controlled and invested all the mafia families’ money. Remember, during this time, there were 34 mafia families spread across all the major cities. I’m sure by now this money is all cleaned up and in legitimate businesses. Come on, how can anyone believe Meyer had no money at the end? He had over 100 casinos that were known, race tracks, dog tracks, slot machines and many legitimate businesses.”

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Alleged Gambino Linked Firm Dropped From Project

Image representing New York Times as depicted ...Image via CrunchBase
New York Dirt Contracting no longer will be involved with the construction of the Long Island Rail Tunnel from Queens to Grand Central Terminal in New York City "because the city's Business Integrity Commission has concluded that the company has been too cozy with organized crime figures and revoked its authority to do business in the five boroughs" as reported by William K. Rashbaum for The New York Times:
The decision was based in part on affidavits and wiretaps that detail a clandestine meeting in a nursing home between company officials and an influential mob figure, who boasted that he had helped them get a contract on another huge public works job in the city and arranged for them to dump debris from it in a Westchester cemetery. The company's owner denied wrongdoing. * * * The company and its owner, Edward Raffetto, fought the revocation of their authority to do business in New York City in court, noting that Mr. Raffetto had testified against the organized crime figure with whom he was accused of associating, Gregory DePalma, a Gambino crime family captain. And the prosecutor in that case wrote a letter to city regulators citing that cooperation. But the Business Integrity Commission decision, signed by the agency's chairman, Michael J. Mansfield, and the five other members of the panel, dismissed Mr. Raffetto's defense, saying he voluntarily sought out Mr. DePalma, asked him for help with his business and made cash payments to him, knowing of his role in the mob.
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Persico Celebrates Release From Jail With Pizza And Pasta

Colombo crime scion Michael Persico had at least two things on his mind as he was released from jail on Wednesday night: pizza and pasta.
Of course, he planned to celebrate his freedom - secured with $5 million bail - at his own Bay Ridge restaurant, Bella Luna.
Persico, 53, spent more than two months behind bars on extortion charges while his lawyers battled with federal prosecutors over bail.
"I lost weight," he said outside Brooklyn Federal Court after changing from drab prison duds into a dress shirt with colorful stripes.
Asked if he was looking forward to sleeping in his own bed, Persico replied, "Of course. I was in a dormitory with 120 guys."
A successful businessman with no prior criminal record, Persico is the son of Colombo crime boss Carmine Persico and brother of acting boss Alphonse Persico - both serving life for racketeering and murder.
Brooklyn federal prosecutor Michael Tremonte filed a letter yesterday with a list of people Persico can't see while free on bail and reminded him to get the government's permission before meeting with anyone older than 17.
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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Mob Cops Appeal Convictions

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Imprisoned mob cop Louis Eppolito's new attorney griped to federal appeals judges yesterday that the ex-NYPD detective wasn't allowed to testify in his own defense after his trial lawyer threatened him by saying, "I would attack you if you take the stand."
Eppolito's appeals lawyer, Joseph Bondy, claimed that trial lawyer Bruce Cutler also botched the cop's defense by not properly arguing that the prosecution of Eppolito for murders at the behest of the Luchese crime family was barred by the statute of limitations.
"It's unheard of for a defense attorney to cede a crucial part of the case," Bondy told the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan.
Co-defendant Stephen Caracappa's appeals lawyer, Dan Nobel, told that panel that the ex-detective's conviction should be reversed because of "prosecutorial misconduct" at the 2006 trial in Brooklyn.
Nobel said that prosecutors "overstepped their bounds" during closing arguments by claiming that a conversation between turncoat witness Burton Kaplan and another witness was the equivalent of a priest receiving someone's confession.

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The Colombo Family Prince Is Sprung

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Michael Persico -- son of reputed Colombo boss Carmine "The Snake" Persico and brother of reputed ex-acting boss Alphonse "Allie Boy" Persico -- is getting sprung from jail on $5 million bond "after the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that another judge had made a procedural error at Persico's earlier bail hearing" as reported by John Marzulli for the Daily News.  Persico was indicted last March on federal racketeering charges for allegedly participating in a kickback and extortion scheme involving debris removal at the World Trade Center ground zero site.
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Reputed Lucchese Member Sentenced

A Staten Island ex-convict was sentenced yesterday to up to three and a half years in prison for loansharking out of his brother’s New Dorp saloon.

Joseph Datello, 59, and his sibling, Frank Datello, 62, ran an illegal gambling and money-lending operation from Frank Datello’s bar, the Night Gallery on New Dorp Plaza, according to state Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo.

Court papers said the scheme ran between October 2007 and July 2009.

Gamblers could place bets for sporting events through the brothers via an offshore wire room, or use illegal “Joker Poker” machines at the bar, court papers stated.

The brothers often loaned some gamblers thousands of dollars at an interest rate exceeding the criminal usury rate of 25 percent, authorities said.

Islander Michael Peterson was employed to collect debts. The crew then paid a “tribute” from the earnings to alleged Lucchese capo Anthony Croce of Manhattan, who allegedly spearheaded the operation with Joseph Datello.

The brothers each pleaded guilty three weeks ago in state Supreme Court, St. George, to a felony count of attempted first-degree usury.

Under the deals, Joseph Datello was sentenced yesterday to one and three-fourths to three and a half years in prison. His brother is to be sentenced June 23 to a minimum of one year in jail and a maximum of one to three years behind bars.

Frank Datello remains free on $125,000 bail, according to online state court records.

Croce pleaded guilty in March to first-degree criminal usury and awaits sentencing on June 22. Peterson’s case is pending.

After Joseph Datello entered his plea, his lawyer, Sanford Talkin, said his client “looks forward to getting on with the rest of his life.”

In 2000, Joseph Datello, a reputed Lucchese soldier and “made man,” was arrested as part of a criminal enterprise that allegedly rigged bids and extorted millions of dollars in public and private construction projects. Datello was eventually convicted of enterprise corruption and served two years in state prison.

The Datellos were arrested in November as part of a major mob bust.

Twenty-two suspects, including 11 Islanders, were nabbed. Some of the biggest fish have already cut plea deals, including reputed Gambino crime family capo Carmine Sciandra, 57, and alleged Gambino associate Benedetto (Benny) Casale, 68.

Assistant Deputy Attorney Generals Peri Kadanoff and Dana Roth are prosecuting the case.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Gambino Goon Cops A Plea

A mobbed-up Tampa, Fla., nightclub owner with ties to John Gotti Jr. pleaded guilty yesterday in Brooklyn federal court to charges of robbery and selling pot.
Gambino family associate James Cadicamo, 34, faces up to nine years in prison when he's sentenced Sept. 24.
But in exchange for his plea, he got prosecutors to drop the more serious charge that he threatened a federal witness.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Busting Roberto Settineri

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Last March the FBI arrested Roberto Settineri on charges of money laundering and obstruction of justice, and Jay Weaver and Amy Sherman report for the Miami Herald how convicted Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein helped in busting the Miami Beach, FL wine merchant whom U.S. and Italian authorities suspect as an intermediary between the Gambino crime family and the Santa Maria de Gesu clan from Cosa Nostra or the Sicilian Mafia:
U.S. and Italian authorities . . . point to preparations for last summer's meeting at the Pompano Beach social club, held to resolve an unspecified "dispute'' involving the Colombo crime family, court records say. According to wiretapped phone conversations last June, Settineri asked Gambino soldier Gaetano Napoli to travel from New York to represent him at the Pompano "sit-down'' because Settineri was not a "made'' man and couldn't meet one-on-one with the Colombo capo, prosecutors said in court papers. Speaking in Italian, Settineri used the phrase "come sono combinato'' to describe his affiliation with Sicilian organized crime, prosecutors said. The phrase generally translates to "how I am joined'' -- a reference to Settineri's mafia membership, they said. Authorities have said they don't know precisely what happened at the July 1 meeting, but they do know from surveillance and phone recordings that Napoli was present. They say he "protected'' Settineri and that the dispute was resolved.
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Genovese Mobster Gets 20 Years

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John "Wizzie" DeLutro has been sentenced by a federal judge in Brooklyn, NY to 20 years in prison for his role in the 2008 slaying of Staten Island jeweler Louis Antonelli during a botched robbery outside a restaurant two years as reported by Frank Donnelly for the Staten Island Advance.  Reputed Genovese capo Anthony "Big Nose" Antico allegedly planned the heist because the jeweler owed money, and he is scheduled for trial in the case on July 6.
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Three Arkansas Men Plead Guilty To Gambling Charges

In Little Rock, AR three men have pleaded guilty for their roles in a gambling operation which allegedly included George Wylie Thompson as reported by The Associated Press:
U.S. Attorney Jane Duke's office named the three as Dana Kuykendall, 55, of Little Rock; Tony Milner, 38, of North Little Rock; and Gene Baker, 60, of Little Rock. Authorities said each pleaded guilty to one count of aiding and abetting in an illegal gambling business. * * * In addition, authorities said, Kuykendall pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering and Milner pleaded guilty to one count of providing a gun to the felon accused of running the gambling operation. The U.S. Attorney’s office said all three were associated with a gambling operation that included George Wylie Thompson, 64, of Cabot. Thompson was indicted Nov. 16, accused of weapons, gambling and bid-rigging violations. * * * He has pleaded not guilty.
Thompson also was indicted last December with reputed Colombo street boss Ralph Deleo in a Massachusetts federal court on racketeering charges which include allegations of drug and weapons violations.

Judge Shows Leniency For Former Mobster

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Michael Finnerty was sentenced yesterday "to time served and three years' probation" for crimes he committed on behalf of the Gambino crime family when he ran with Junior Gotti's Howard Beach, Queens crew as reported by Alison Gendar and Corky Siemaszko for the Daily News.  Finnerty faced up to six years in prison but Judge Denise Cote was persuaded to be lenient after hearing that he had changed his mob ways in the early 1990s, and later testified against his former boss: "Unlike some cooperators - who were only sorry they got caught - Finnerty was genuinely repentant and 'humiliated by the crimes he committed,' Assistant U.S. Attorney Elie Honig told the judge. 'I don't see any purpose sending him to jail.'"
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Feds Indict 34 Lucchese Mobsters In New Jersey

In New Jersey state authorities have announced a sweeping indictment of 34 suspected members and associates of the Lucchese crime family on racketeering and other charges pursuant to "a continuation of Operation Heat, a year-long investigation that culminated in several arrests targeting a $2.2 billion underground gambling operation in 2007" as reported by Chris Megerian for The Star-Ledger:
Named in the indictment are the current and former leaders of the crime family's New Jersey faction: Ralph Perna, 64, of East Hanover, and Nicodemo Scarfo Jr., 44, of Ventnor. Two New York leaders are also included: Joseph DiNapoli, 74, of Scarsdale, N.Y., and Matthew Madonna, 74, of Seldon, N.Y. * * * Authorities said the investigation revealed connections between the Lucchese crime family and the Bloods gang. The indictment said Edwin Spears, 36, of Neptune, a high-ranking member of the Nine Trey Gangsters set, worked with former corrections officer Michael Bruinton, 46, of Ringoes to smuggle drugs and cell phones into East Jersey State Prison in Woodbridge.
Nicky Jr. is the son of 81-year-old Nicodemo Scarfo who is the former reputed boss of the Philadelphia Mafia now serving a life sentence in a federal prison in Georgia following his 1988 racketeering conviction as reported by Jim Walsh for the Courier-Post.  The junior Scarfo "has had run-ins with the law practically since he was old enough to drink and enter a casino" as reported by Michael Clark and Elaine Rose for the Press of Atlantic City:
He was arrested and charged with weapons offenses after an August 1987 incident inside Resorts International casino. The judge dismissed the charges at trial because the knife he was carrying was not involved in the fight. He was arrested again in 1988 for assaulting a woman in an elevator of Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia while visiting his brother who was a patient. He was later found guilty and sentenced to probation. Scarfo, then 24, was shot four times on Halloween night in 1989 while having dinner in a South Philadelphia restaurant, an incident authorities later said was part of a feud within his crime family. Scarfo Jr. was indicted in March 1991 on charges of running a criminal operation and distribution of illegal gambling machines. He was alleged to be relaying messages from his father, who at the time was serving a sentence in federal penitentiary in Marion, Ill. He was sentenced to seven years in prison after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy. In March 1997, Scarfo was sentenced to another 13 months in prison on weapons charges stemming from a fight a year earlier at the Deja Vu nightclub in Atlantic City. His last stint behind bars began in 2002, when he was sentenced to 33 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to running a gambling operation.
In connection with the gambling component of the indictment announced yesterday, NJ Attorney General Paula T. Dow and Criminal Justice Director Stephen J. Taylor stated through a press release:
Most of the defendants were initially charged and arrested in Operation Heat in December 2007. However, Scarfo and two other men were charged today for the first time in the ongoing investigation. The other two men are Frank Cetta, 71, of Las Vegas, Nevada, who allegedly ran the gambling operation's Costa Rican wire room, and Gary P. Medure, 56, of New York, N.Y., a close associate of DiNapoli who allegedly managed gambling "packages," groups of bettors who regularly gambled through the operation. Three other men named in the indictment were arrested after the initial arrests but prior to today's indictment. They are Michael A. Maffucci, 24, of Cedar Grove, N.J., Charles J. Bologna, 57, of Port Chester, N.Y., and Robert V. DeCrescenzo, 35, of Port Chester, N.Y. Each of them allegedly managed or assisted in the management of gambling packages. * * * It is alleged that DiNapoli and Madonna controlled the crime family's gambling operations and other criminal activities from New York. Both Perna and Scarfo are alleged to have overseen the Lucchese crime family’s operations in New Jersey. Also indicted were Perna's three sons, Joseph M. Perna, 40, of Wyckoff, John G. Perna, 32, of West Caldwell, and Ralph M. Perna, 38, of West Caldwell. The sons, led by Joseph, allegedly managed day-to-day gambling operations under their father's oversight. Two other men who were indicted, Michael A. Cetta, 43, of Wyckoff, and Martin Tacetta, 59, of East Hanover, the former New Jersey underboss for the family, allegedly exercised their own management control over family gambling operations. Tacetta is currently serving a life sentence in state prison as a result of a Division of Criminal Justice prosecution in the 1990s. Michael Cetta, who is Frank Cetta's son, has close ties to the Lucchese family through marriage.
And in connection with the alleged prison smuggling operation in which the Lucchese crime family hooked up with the Nine Trey Gangsters set of the Bloods street gang, the press release provides:
The prison smuggling scheme allegedly involved inmate Edwin B. Spears, 36, of Neptune, and a former corrections officer at East Jersey State Prison in Woodbridge, Michael T. Bruinton, 46, of Ringoes. Spears was at East Jersey State Prison at the time of the alleged conduct. Also indicted were Spears' brother, Dwayne E. Spears, 30, of Neptune, and Kristen A. Gilliam, 27, of Farmingdale. Another defendant, Francine Hightower, 52, of Tinton Falls, pleaded guilty on Feb. 21, 2008, to conspiring to launder money. It is charged that Edwin Spears, an admitted "five-star general" in the Nine Trey Gangsters set of the Bloods, formed an alliance with Joseph Perna and Michael Cetta to smuggle drugs and cell phones into East Jersey State Prison through Bruinton. The alliance allegedly extended beyond smuggling. In one instance, Joseph Perna allegedly sought assistance from Spears to stop an individual associated with the Bloods from extorting money from a man with ties to the Lucchese family. It is charged that Perna and Cetta would provide money to Dwayne Spears to acquire contraband including heroin, cocaine, marijuana and pre-paid cell phones. Dwayne Spears allegedly would give the contraband to Bruinton to smuggle into East Jersey State Prison. The drugs and cell phones were allegedly distributed to inmates who had previously placed orders through Edwin Spears. Cell phones are prohibited in prison. It is charged that the purchasers paid by sending money orders or checks to individuals including Hightower and Gilliam, who delivered the proceeds to Cetta to "re-invest" in the smuggling scheme. Samuel A. Juliano, 65, of Glen Ridge, is charged with supplying drugs for the smuggling scheme.

Cost Conscious Judge In Vinny Gorgeous Case

Vinny Gorgeous, US Attorney's OfficeImage by Thomas Roche via Flickr
Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano, already serving a life sentence without parole in connection with the murder of Frank Santoro, is facing another trial involving the murder of Randolph Pizzolo in which prosecutors are seeking the death penalty; however, citing the public purse, Judge Nicholas Garaufis has taken the unusual move in asking the feds to reconsider their quest for ultimate justice against the reputed Bonanno crime family boss as reported by John Marzulli for the Daily News:  "'To date, Basciano's defense has required the expenditure of over $3 million of public funds for legal fees and ancillary expenses,' Garaufis wrote to U.S. Attorney General  Eric Holder. 'The possibility of a death sentence ensures that these costs will grow substantially.'"
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Friday, May 7, 2010

Turncoat Genovese Boss Absent From U.S. Court

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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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'I gotta die someplace': 93-year-old mobster John (Sonny) Franzese unfazed by possible prison time

If he's convicted of racketeering, 93-year-old wiseguy John (Sonny) Franzese could spent the rest of his life in prison - but, hey, he's not worried.
"Who cares? I gotta die someplace," Franzese said Thursday after being arraigned on new charges of shaking down the Hustler and Penthouse strip clubs.
"I die outside, I die in jail - it don't matter to me."
The reputed Colombo underboss was a bit miffed, though, that Federal Judge Brian Cogan refused to adjourn his racketeering trial in light of the new extortion rap.
"They give the terrorists more breaks than us," he groused.
He walks with a wooden cane and is hard of hearing, but Franzese is powerfully built and looks 20 years younger than he is.
Asked about his longevity, Franzese said he doesn't smoke and eats "a lot of greens."
Prosecutors say he was pocketing a lot of green, too, through shakedowns of the jiggle joints, a pizzeria on Long Island and loansharking.
The government has lined up at least two cooperating witnesses to testify against Franzese - including his own son John Jr.
"What do I know about him? I don't even know where he is," Franzese said.
Portly co-defendant Joseph DiGorga, 69, could learn a thing or two from Franzese's health regimen. His bid to loosen house arrest restrictions so he can walk around the block was shot down by the judge who advised him to buy a treadmill.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Street Gangs Behind Montreal Italian Cafe Arsons

roundel adopted by Royal Canadian Air Force, f...Image via Wikipedia
In Montreal, QC Canada police arrested nine individuals with suspected ties to street gangs in connection with "five of 18 fires that occurred, mostly in Italian cafes, between Sept. 22 and Jan. 24" but remain at a loss to explain motivation as reported by Paul Cherry for The Montreal Gazette:  "Some theories that have emerged are that people associated with street gangs were hired to carry out the fires in an internal clash between two groups tied to the Montreal Mafia. Another is that people who have graduated beyond street gangs are using their old associates in a rivalry over drug trafficking turf with the Montreal Mafia."

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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Reputed Genovese mobster Paul "Doc" Gaccione faces murder rap in 1992 slay of rival

The getaway driver might not get away after all.

A reputed Genovese mobster was arraigned Tuesday on second-degree murder charges - for a 1992 rubout of a rival.

Paul (Doc) Gaccione pleaded not guilty to a single count of second-degree murder before Bronx Supreme Court Justice Steven Barrett. He was arrested at his New Jersey home last month after he was indicted by a Bronx grand jury.

Prosecutors say the 62-year-old Gaccione was the getaway driver in the murder of Angelo Sangiuolo, whom the Genoveses targeted when they thought he was robbing Bronx gambling operations controlled by the crime family.

Sangiuolo's bullet-riddled body was found in a van in a McDonald's parking lot in Pelham Bay in June 1992.

Sangiuolo's cousin, Genovese capo Angelo Prisco, ordered the hit and was sentenced to life in prison in federal court last year.

Triggerman John (Johnny Balls) Leto pleaded guilty

Gaccione's lawyer Michael Torres declined to comment outside the courtroom. Gaccione faces up to 25 years to life in prison if he is convicted.