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

Friday, July 8, 2011

Gambino informant never gave up life of crime

He was a major mob informant who aided the FBI in rounding up New York wiseguys and helped crack the grisly Staten Island "haunted house" Mafia-murder case.But federal prosecutors say Volkan Mergen, a former Gambino crime-family associate who became a valuable FBI informant, never gave up his life of crime.
It's a classic case of needing a crook to run with the crooks - but Mergen went too far, prosecutors say.
The feds want Brooklyn federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis to slam Mergen with a stiffer prison sentence for dealing drugs, planning a robbery and helping firebomb a house at the same time he was a government rat.
Prosecutors conceded, however, that Mergen's assistance to the FBI was "particularly significant" and pointed out that the former wiseguy "contributed substantially" to successful prosecutions of several Bonanno mobsters for the Staten Island "haunted house" rub-out.
Mergen secretly recorded a conversation with another mobster about the gruesome March 2005 murder of Bonanno associate Robert McKelvey, the feds say.
Several mobsters took part in the hit at the old Kreischer Mansion, a turreted 19th Century residence built by an industrialist in the Charleston section.
It was there that McKelvey was stabbed, ran away from his attackers, was tackled and stabbed again repeatedly, and then forcibly drowned in a pond. His body was later dismembered, officials say.
Mergen - an ex-con who was known as "The Turk" - began his work for the FBI in 2001, first passing on information about the inner workings of the Gambinos.
Then in 2005, he began associating with a Staten Island-based crew of the Bonanno crime family.
The feds say Mergen eventually made some 275 secret recordings while wearing a concealed "wire," delivering hard evidence about crimes committed by the mob family.
He focused his efforts on a crew lead by Bonanno crime family associate Michael Maggio, who reported to Gino Galestro, a soldier.
But Mergen was also committing extracurricular crimes at the same time he was a rat - something not permitted under federal rules that reward informants for helping catch criminals as long as they keep their own noses clean.
While he was running with the Bonanno crew, Mergen and another wiseguy sold cocaine and marijuana to street dealers, took part in a mob plot to rob the owner of a check cashing firm and played a role in the mob-linked propane tank and gas canister firebombing of a house on Staten Island, according to Assistant US Attorneys Evan Norris and Jack Dennehy.
Mergen was scheduled to have been sentenced on those racketeering convictions today, but the judge postponed the proceeding after Mergen announced at the hearing that he was surprised he could receive a sentence of more than five years in prison.
Garaufis explained to Mergen that he actually was facing a sentence ranging from 30 years to life in prison - a reality the former mobster was informed of at his trial last year.
The judge then adjourned the proceeding so the former mobster could consult with his new attorney and review the case records.
Mergen's former defense attorney, Martin J. Siegel, declined to comment.


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