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

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Searches made in South Philly drug probe

Only on Fox 29: state investigators swooped down on South Philadelphia on Thursday as allegations surface about drug dealing and possible ties to the local Wiseguys.
Agents from the Pennsylvania State Attorney General's office executed search warrants at the homes of a former Pagans motorcycle gang member and several organized crime associates with past criminal convictions.
No charges have been filed in the case.
Law enforcement sources say it's part of a long term investigation into prescription drugs, purchased legally from legitimate doctors and then re-sold illegally out of bars and taverns in South Philly.

State investigators executed search warrants at the second floor apartment of former pagans gang member Joseph "The Goat" Ferrari at 10th and Tasker.
When Fox 29 arrived Thursday morning he was not to happy to see us. They also went to the home of convicted drug dealer Nicky Volpe on the 1000 block of cross street.
Volpe just got out of federal prison a few years ago.
Then they raided a second floor apartment at 21st and Passyunk where Billy Andrews lives.
Law enforcement sources describe all three men as associates with ties to the local mob.
Sources say they are also looking at the activities of high ranking mobster Joseph "Mousey" Massimino.
Mob watchers say investigators are breaking new ground trying to link the local mob to the drug trade.
According to sources investigators believe they got the drugs from local doctors using prescriptions, the pills were purchased legally from local pharmacies, then allegedly re-sold on the street illegally.
No charges have been filed, but Fox 29 was told there was extensive use of electronic surveillance on this case.


Leaked US Cables Reveal Organized Crime Running Amok In Montreal

Massive telemarketing fraud. Brazen video piracy using hidden camcorders in theatres. Trafficking of underage girls for exploitation in strip clubs and prostitution rings.
Montreal has literally become a "Bangkok of the West," a North American hot spot for questionable sex trade activities and other criminality, American diplomats suggest in newly leaked cables.
Penned by diplomats stationed at the U.S. Consulate in Montreal between 2003 and 2007, the cables were among the latest batch of sensitive documents made public by Wikileaks after unknown people leaked them to the group.
They were among hundreds Wikileaks published about Canada this week.
Written after interviews with RCMP officers and Montreal police detectives, the U.S. diplomats described a major Canadian city grappling with extensive underworld criminality.
A common factor: Hells Angels outlaw biker gang involvement, the diplomats wrote.
The officials also reported that, based on their private chats with Mounties, the national police force lacked sufficient resources to properly investigate such crimes or considered some, like video piracy, a lower priority.
One cable discussed the extensive use of - and trafficking in - underage girls in Montreal strip clubs and prostitution operations. In addition to exploiting runaway local teens, organized crime smuggled and imported foreign women and girls into Montreal to work the sex trade.
Such operations are expanding from Montreal to Ontario cities such as Ottawa, Toronto and Niagara Falls, a U.S. diplomat wrote in a 2003 cable, adding that Chinese girls (using fake Japanese passports), Russians and Indian girls were brought to Quebec for the sex trade.
U.S. diplomats obtained data from the Canadian Motion Picture Distributors Association that suggested 18% of all pirated movies sold around the globe were traceable to recording in Montreal theatres, costing Canadian members alone more than $118 million in 2005.
The RCMP did arrest one unidentified video pirate in Montreal, but reportedly told U.S. diplomats they only did so "as a personal favour" to an unidentified CMPDA official, one cable suggests.
At the time, Mounties complained there was no criminal code provision to prosecute illegal camcorder pirates, making such probes a "low priority." They said they would focus intellectual property crime investigations on counterfeit drugs instead.
Since that cable was written, the federal government passed legislation that makes it a criminal code offence (in addition to a Copyright Act offence) for people to make video recordings of movies playing in a cinema or movie theatre for commercial purposes.
U.S. diplomats also complained U.S. senior citizens were being targeted by well-organized telemarketing fraud "boiler rooms" in Montreal and Toronto, working in cahoots with U.S.-based fraudsters.
Montreal is a favourite for such scams, the diplomat wrote, because of cheap call centre labour and hydro-power and "lax regulations."
Annual losses total $700 million, with the Hells Angels biker gang running the larger boiler rooms, a U.S. diplomat wrote in March 2006.
"In the U.S., telemarketing scammers can be charged with mail fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering. In Quebec, regulations are significantly more lax," the cable stated, noting that strict Quebec privacy laws make it harder for Canadian police to get cell phone account information for probes than their U.S. counterparts.
Though the RCMP has responsibility to pursue telemarketing scammers in Canada, "in many cases (it) lacks the resources to pursue and convict suspect operations," a U.S. diplomat added.


Informant set up deadly stick-up says jailed mobster

A jailed gangster claims the case against him is about to collapse because a key informant set up a botched robbery that ended in murder.
In court papers filed last night, reputed Gambino crime-family soldier Anthony Moscatiello cited an online news report alleging that mob rat Howard Santos was the "inside man" on a deadly 2009 home invasion in Queens.
Defense lawyer Joseph DiBenedetto -- who's seeking Moscatiello's release on bail -- wrote that "this undoubtedly deals a crushing blow to the government's case which is built almost exclusively on an informant who clearly lacks credibility."
A spokeswoman for the Manhattan U.S. Attorney's Office didn't return a request for comment.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Marilyn Monroe spent her last night with mafia boss Sam Giancana at Frank Sinatra's lodge

Marilyn Monroe spent her last night alive at Frank Sinatra’s lodge with a Mafia boss, according to extraordinary new claims.
The Hollywood actress is said to have spent the evening with Sam Giancana after taking the singer’s private jet to Cal-Neva Lodge in Lake Tahoe, Nevada.
There the gangster – with whom she was allegedly in love – apparently tried to persuade her not to go public about her affair with President John F Kennedy.
Marilyn Monroe with Frank Sinatra (right) at a casino
Marilyn Monroe with Frank Sinatra (right) at a casino. A new account claims she spent the night before her death at his retreat in Lake Tahoe
She flew home to Los Angeles early the following morning and was found dead that night. Later a coroner ruled that the death was a ‘probable’ suicide.

The claims are the first time that any mention has been made of such a trip in the days before Monroe died in 1962. If true, they would rewrite the final act in the actress’s life and raise fresh questions about her death.

The disclosure was made by George Masters, Monroe’s hair and make-up stylist, in recordings he made a month before his death in 1998.

It has emerged that Marilyn Monroe spent the night before she died at Frank Sinatra's Cal-Neva Lodge, in the company of mob boss Sam Giancana
It has emerged that Marilyn Monroe spent the night before she died at Frank Sinatra's Cal-Neva Lodge, in the company of mob boss Sam Giancana
The cassette tapes were found by his nephew, Jeff Platts, and have now been made public. In a frail voice, Mr Masters can be heard on the recordings saying: ‘The night before she died, the last time I saw her, was in Lake Tahoe at the Cal-Neva Lodge. She was there with Sam Giancana, who was the head of the Mafia.’
Monroe and Mr Masters apparently flew back to Los Angeles where he dropped her off at her home around 9am on Sunday August 5 1962. It has been documented that Monroe was at Sinatra’s lodge two weekends before her death, but now it appears that she was called back for a one-to-one chat with Giancana, a friend of Sinatra.
Monroe in the 'River of No Return'
Marilyn Monroe in a publicity shot for How to marry a millionaire
Monroe in 'River of No Return' and (right) publicising How to marry a millionaire
Mr Platts, 60, a sales consultant from California, said: ‘What if this trip George talks about was a last-ditch effort to get her to agree not to talk [about the Kennedys]?

‘What if Sam Giancana said, “Look, Frank, you didn’t get it done. She’ll listen to me. Let’s bring her back again so I can have a shot at it”.
‘George specifically told me that Marilyn spent the evening with Sam Giancana. The only other person he mentioned that was there was [singer] Buddy Greco.
‘No Frank Sinatra, no Dean Martin. George also said that the person she was really in love with at that moment was Sam Giancana.’
Mafia don Sam Giancana walking into a federal building in Chicago 1965
Mafia don Sam Giancana walking into a federal building in Chicago 1965
Following Monroe’s death a host of conspiracy theories emerged, but on the tapes Masters is clear about the reason why she died.
‘It was because of the Kennedys. I really think the FBI did it,’ he says. Masters also appears to confirm the theory that Monroe was moved around before she died.
‘Did you know she was pronounced dead, and then they brought her back to the house, and she was still alive, and they took her back to the hospital, and brought her back home, and then the coroners came over, and they found her dead in another bed – somebody moved her,’ he says.

Feds indict Belleville man for shaking down nonprofit used clothing company

John Gotti Government PhotoImage via WikipediaA Belleville man was indicted by a federal grand jury in Newark last Thursday for allegedly extorting a nonprofit company that collected used clothing from bins in local communities, including Belleville, Kearny and Bloomfield.

U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said the defendant, Michael Arpaio, 57, also allegedly identified himself as a police officer with a connection to organized crime, but, as the indictment reads, Arpaio “was neither an officer nor employee of any police department in the State of New Jersey or elsewhere.“

Arpaio had been arrested Nov. 8, 2010. Last week, he appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Esther Salas and was released on a $100,000 bail. He will be expected for an initial appearance and arraignment on the indictment in Newark on a date to be determined, Fishman’s office said.

The nonprofit, based in New York and identified in court documents only as “Company One,” placed clothing-collection bins in New York and northern New Jersey, sold the donated garments and gave the net profits to charity, Fishman’s office said. But the bins reportedly began to disappear last summer.

According to court documents filed in the case: “Beginning in July 2010, after the bins were stolen, Arpaio met an individual from Company One . . . . falsely represented himself as a police officer who had a family member associated with organized crime, [and] told the individual that his permission was needed to place clothing bins in northern New Jersey, which Arpaio referred to as his territory.”

Arpaio also allegedly demanded payment for the stolen bins before they would be returned.

Arpaio reportedly met twice with the company representative, on Sept. 29 and Oct. 29. The meetings were recorded, Fishman‘s office said.
According to the court documents, at the September meeting, Company One’s rep gave Arpaio approximately $1,000 in cash, and “Arpaio stated, among other things, ‘This thousand dollars is gonna return some of your boxes to you and it’s gonna make sure none of your other [expletive]’s gone.’”

At the October meeting, Arpaio allegedly demanded money for the privilege of keeping the collection bins on the property of a Belleville retail store, with which Arpaio actually had no connection.

The defendant allegedly lied that he had paid the store $400 to allow placement of a bin, but when the Company One rep asked to see a receipt, the request reportedly was not received graciously.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, the response from Arpaio (who apparently has a way with certain words) was: “You’re lucky I’m on the [expletive] job cause I’d break every bone in your [expletive] body right now. You don’t think I’m capable? I’d break every [expletive] bone in your body.”

The indictment also quotes Arpaio as claiming that his uncle is “connected”: “My uncle used to work for a guy . . . . [who was a] captain in the Genovese crime family but he worked directly for John Gotti. Now you know who John Gotti is, right?”

If convicted on the extortion count, Arpaio faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward, for the investigation leading to the indictment.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Donald Trump's Mob Ties

Donald Trump in February 2009For years, Donald Trump has boasted that his casinos are free of the taint of organized crime, using this claim to distinguish his gambling ventures from competitors. But Trump's casinos turn out not to be so squeaky clean.

One of his prime Atlantic City developments, the Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino, relied on a partnership with two investors reputedly linked to the mob, prompting New Jersey regulators to force Trump to buy them out. And he employed a known Asian organized crime figure as a vice president at his Taj Mahal casino for five years, defending the executive against regulators’ attempts to take away his license, according to law enforcement officials.

As the famously brash developer now considers a run for the presidency, this history could complicate his efforts to project an image of a trusted power in the business world. It exposes a seamy underside to Trump's rise to fortune -- one that involved intimate links to unsavory characters.

As voters learn more about such links between Trump and reputed organized crime figures, "it will get more difficult for him," says John Geer, a political science professor at Vanderbilt University. "Under that withering examination, his past associations and troubles will all emerge and could make it tough in a Republican primary."

In his 2000 book, “The America That We Deserve,” released to coincide with an earlier prospective presidential campaign, Trump boasted:

“One thing you can say about Trump, as the holder of a casino gaming license, is that I’m 100 percent clean -- something you can’t say with certainty about our current group of presidential candidates.”

Trump has sought to lean on such claims while sometimes intimating that industry competitors are themselves tainted by mob associations -- in order to saddle them with restrictions on their casino licenses.

On Oct. 5, 1993, Trump told a Congressional panel examining the rise of Indian casinos -- then, a rapidly emerging threat to Atlantic City -- that the proprietors were vulnerable to organized crime.

It is “obvious that organized crime is rampant,” Trump told the panel, according to a transcript, drawing a direct contrast to his own operations. “At the Taj Mahal I spent more money on security and security systems than most Indians building their entire casino, and I will tell you that there is no way the Indians are going to protect themselves from the mob.”

That broadside garnered Trump a reprimand from then-House Interior Committee Chairman George Miller, a California Democrat, who complained that he had never heard more irresponsible testimony. But Trump continued, predicting that Indian casinos would spawn “the biggest crime problem in the nation’s history.”

Trump’s neglected to mention that his initial partners on his first deal in Atlantic City reputedly had their own organized crime connections: Kenneth Shapiro was identified by state and federal prosecutors as the investment banker for late Philadelphia mob boss Nicky Scarfo according to reports issued by New Jersey state commissions examining the influence of organized crime, and Danny Sullivan, a former Teamsters Union official, is described in an FBI file as having mob acquaintances. Both controlled a company that leased parcels of land to Trump for the 39-story hotel-casino.

Trump teamed up with the duo in 1980 soon after arriving in Atlantic City, according to numerous news reports and his real estate broker on the deal, Paul Longo. The developer seized on a prime piece of property and partnered with Shapiro and Sullivan, but the state’s gambling regulators were concerned enough about Shapiro and Sullivan’s mob links that they required Trump to end the partnership and buy out their shares, according to several Trump biographies.

Trump's office did not respond to requests for comment. Both Sullivan and Shapiro died in the early 1990s.

Trump later confided to a biographer that the twosome were “tough guys,” relaying a rumor that Sullivan, a 6-foot, 5-inch bear of a man, killed Jimmy Hoffa, the Teamsters boss who disappeared in July 1975.

“Because I heard that rumor, I kept my guard up. I said, ‘Hey, I don’t want to be friends with this guy.’ I’ll bet you that if I didn’t hear that rumor, maybe I wouldn’t be here right now,” Trump told Timothy L. O’Brien, the author of “TrumpNation” and current national editor of The Huffington Post.

Trump told a different story to casino regulators who were deciding whether to grant him the lucrative gambling license. “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with these people,” he said about Shapiro and Sullivan during licensing hearings in 1982, according to "TrumpNation : The Art of Being The Donald." “Many of them have been in Atlantic City for many, many years and I think they are well thought of.”

Sullivan's unsavory reputation did not stop Trump from later arranging for him to be hired as a labor negotiator for the Grand Hyatt, a hotel project on Manhattan’s East Side, according to People magazine and the Los Angeles Times. Trump also introduced Sullivan to his own banker at Chase, though he declined to guarantee a loan to Sullivan, reported the L.A. Times.

Longo, the real estate broker Trump used in Atlantic City on the Trump Plaza deal, says he wasn’t aware of Shapiro or Sullivan having any mob ties, and insisted Trump didn’t have any problems at all obtaining his gaming license. “In AC, you always had to be careful who you were dealing with, but Donald did things on the level,” Longo told The Huffington Post. But Wayne Barrett’s biography, “Donald Trump: The Deals and the Downfall,” alleges Trump considered using Shapiro as a go-between to deliver campaign contributions to Atlantic City mayor Michael Matthews, in violation of state law.

Casino executives are prohibited from contributing to Atlantic City political campaigns in New Jersey. Sullivan later claimed that he was present when Trump proposed funneling contributions through Shapiro. Trump denied the allegation in an interview with O’Brien. Matthews, who was later forced out of office and served time in prison for extortion, did not return calls from HuffPost.

Barrett also reported that Trump once met Anthony “Fat Tony” Salerno, front boss of the Genovese crime family, at the Manhattan townhouse of their mutual lawyer -- infamous J. Edgar Hoover sidekick Roy Cohn. The author explained that Salerno’s company supplied all the concrete used in the Trump Towers in New York.

At the time of its publication, Trump slammed Barrett's book as “boring, nonfactual and highly inaccurate.”

Barrett's book prompted New Jersey casino regulators to investigate some of its allegations, but the state never brought any charges. "If there had been a provable charge, they would have brought it,” said former casino commission chairman Steven P. Perskie.

While Trump was making his bold statements about the integrity of the Taj Mahal at the 1993 congressional hearing on Indian gaming, a reputed organized crime figure was running junkets for the hotel, bringing in well-heeled gamblers from Canada. Danny Leung, the hotel’s former vice president for foreign marketing, was identified by a 1991 Senate subcommittee on investigations as a member of the 14K Triad, a Hong Kong group linked to murder, extortion and heroin smuggling, according to the New York Daily News.

Canadian police testified at a 1995 hearing before New Jersey’s casino commission that they observed Leung working in illegal gambling dens in Toronto alongside Asian gang leaders. Leung, who denied any affiliation with organized crime, had his license renewed by the commission over the objection of the Division of Gaming Enforcement.

Back in the early 1980s, just as Trump was dipping his toes into Atlantic City real estate, the developer did express concern to the FBI that his casino ventures might expose him to the mob and “tarnish his family’s name.” He even offered to place undercover FBI agents in his casinos, according to an FBI memo uncovered by TheSmokingGun.com. When Trump asked one of the agents his “personal opinion” on whether he should build in Atlantic City, the agent replied that there were “easier ways that Trump could invest his money.”

That proved prescient: In early 2009, Trump’s casino company in Atlantic City filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, just days after Trump resigned from the board.


Mob trial testimony links love child to Anthony LoBianco, former co-owner of Staten Island's Trattoria Romana

As a former co-owner, Anthony LoBianco had been a public face for Trattoria Romana, one of Staten Island's most popular and celebrated restaurants.

The Dongan Hills Italian eatery has served as the meeting place for a who's who of city, state and borough politicians as well as community leaders of all sorts.
But LoBianco, whose interest in the restaurant was bought out four years ago by his partner and brother-in-law, Vittorio Asoli, did a lot more than serve up sumptuous dishes while at the eatery, a mobster testified in court.

Salvatore Volpe, a low-level Bonanno crime family associate, told a jury in Brooklyn federal court that LoBianco -- identified only as "Anthony" of Trattoria Romana in court -- impregnated Volpe's wife in 2003, according to the New York Post.
And LoBianco literally paid for his life afterward.
He shelled out a $50,000 "adultery tax" to forestall a mob hit on him, according to Volpe's court testimony.
"It was basically a penalty," the Daily News quoted Volpe as saying Tuesday during the murder trial of Bonanno acting boss Vincent (Vinny Gorgeous) Basciano.

Basciano, who was based in the Bronx, is accused of ordering a hit on alleged mob turncoat Randolph Pizzolo.
Reached by telephone yesterday, LoBianco said, "I don't know anything," and declined further comment to an Advance reporter.

Asoli said yesterday that LoBianco has not been involved with the restaurant since the buyout and he knew nothing of his former partner's alleged liaison with Volpe's wife.
"What he did in his life is not my business," Asoli said in telephone interview.
Trattoria Romana was a family operation. Asoli and LoBianco were partners since they applied for a certificate of incorporation in 1994. They also are brothers-in-law. Asoli's wife is LoBianco's sister.
Another of LoBianco's sisters still works as a hostess in the restaurant. Before LoBianco left, his father often greeted people at the door and occasionally would serenade waiting customers with opera songs.

The stunning details dished out by Volpe offer a glimpse into mob workings and allegedly link LoBianco to New Jersey's DeCavalcante crime family.
Volpe testified he broke up with his wife after her affair with LoBianco -- and after she tried to pass off her unborn child as Volpe's. Volpe then went to his Bonanno crew leader, who confronted LoBianco at the restaurant, he testified.

LoBianco, through a contact, reached out to the DeCavalcantes, Volpe testified. The DeCavalcantes and Bonannos had two sit-downs at Alfredo's, a one-time dining mainstay in Great Kills, since shuttered.

The DeCavalcantes initially thought LoBianco should be rubbed out to appease the Bonannos, Volpe testified; however, he testified that it was agreed that LoBianco's life would be spared if he paid a $50,000 tax. The DeCavalcantes got $10,000 for changing their minds, while Volpe kept the rest, less his standard kickback to the Bonannos.

Launched in 1994, Trattoria Romana has been an Island standard for almost two decades.
It was voted the borough's best overall restaurant in 2008 by Advance readers, named one of America's 1,000 finest Italian restaurants that year in the Zagat Survey, and received a four-star rating from the Advance.

Trattoria Romana annually receives favorable grades from the Zagat Survey.
Each year, the restaurant participates in Dine Out Against Hunger, which raises money for the Island's needy and less fortunate. It also is involved with other charitable causes. The restaurant has been a stop on the Staten Island Museum's "Lunch and Learn" program, which organizes monthly educational culinary outings.

The relationship between Asoli and LoBianco began to sour in the early-2000s. It was thought then that LoBianco -- who appeared quiet and reserved -- resented Asoli's outgoing personality and creative talent as a chef. Asoli, the owner, is a heralded chef whose popular cooking classes are widely attended and regularly televised on Staten Island Community Television.
Talk of a possible breakup was gossip among Trattoria regulars for well over a year.
"I work very hard to make my name," said Asoli, the restaurant's sole owner today.
"I'm an honest person. I had nothing to do with nobody, [but] people think I am involved, and that is a big issue."


Vinny Gorgeous issued no kissing edict

He gave mob smooches the kiss of death.
After Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano took control of the Bonanno crime family, he became so paranoid about the government that he ordered his underlings to stop kissing each other on the cheek, a mob associate-turned-rat testified yesterday.
Giuseppe "Joey" Gambina, testifying at Basciano's capital murder and racketeering trial, said he met the new boss for the first time on a Bronx street in early 2004 and promptly planted kisses on both of his cheeks, a traditional mob greeting repeated countless times in movies like "The Godfather."
BUSS STOP: Late mob boss John Gotti gives a Mafia peck to John D'Amato in a surveillance video. Vincent Basciano later banned such kisses.
BUSS STOP: Late mob boss John Gotti gives a Mafia peck to John D'Amato in a surveillance video. Vincent Basciano later banned such kisses.
But he was quickly rebuffed by Basciano.
"We don't kiss in public no more," Gambina, 42, said a suddenly bashful Basciano told him.
"The government's taking pictures," Gambina quoted Basciano as saying during his testimony in Brooklyn federal court yesterday.
Basciano currently has a new concern -- better lunches.
His lawyer, George Goltzer, yesterday pleaded with Judge Nicholas Garaufis, to allow his client more for lunch than the "one slice of bologna" he ate yesterday.
Goltzer -- who promised he'd pick up the tab -- asked for permission to get food from the court's cafeteria, rather than have the US marshals provide it. Garaufis said, "I don't think that's unreasonable."
Earlier, an FBI agent testified how the vain boss said he was glad they'd given him extra time to "get dolled up" for his mug shot when he was arrested in 2004.
"From what I read in the newspapers, you guys usually do this at 6 a.m.," FBI Special Agent Michael Breslin testified Basciano told authorities as they arrived at his home shortly after 9 a.m.
Basciano is on trial for ordering a hit on Bonanno associate Randy Pizzolo.
Gambina also revealed yesterday that a key Basciano lieutenant, Dominick Cicale, approached him around Thanksgiving 2004 to participate in the Pizzolo murder.
As Gambina recalled how Cicale told him that he'd get "membership" in the Bonanno family, Basciano could be seen with a look of disgust on his face.
But Gambina said he declined the offer because he feared Cicale had turned informant and was trying to get him arrested.
Cicale's plan had Gambina driving Pizzolo to murder an unidentified person. Then Anthony "Ace" Aiello would rub-out Pizzolo. Gambina declined.

Judge rules 'Vinny Gorgeous' can have a cafeteria sandwich for lunch

The food fight is over.
Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano will be allowed to have a hearty sandwich at lunch, rather than the one slice of bologna the US Marshal had been giving him throughout his murder and racketeeting trial, a federal judge said today.
Basciano's lawyer George Goltzer had petitioned the judge for his client to have a better lunch than the "one slice of bologna" he ate on Wednesday inside Brooklyn federal court.
In his ruling this morning before the trial resumed, Judge Nicholas Garaufis said, "The court has consulted with the US Marshal and the marshall agrees to accept for the defendant a sandwich each day, which must be purchased at the third-floor cafeteria."
Vincent 'Vinny Gorgeous' Basciano.
Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano.
The judge said the sandwich would "be examined" before it is delivered to Basciano.
When the trial broke for lunch, Goltzer went to the courthouse cafeteria to buy lunch for the mobster.
At first, he ordered a Caesar wrap but changed his mind because the judge had specified "sandwich."
He then got Basciano a chicken hero with swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato and mayo, along with a carton of orange juice for a total of $7.89. He paid with a $20 and did not get a receipt.
"It's a mitzvah," Goltzer said, using the Hebrew word for good deed, of why he was buying Basciano lunch.
The decision comes a day after an FBI agent testified how the vain boss said he was glad they'd given him extra time to "get dolled up" for his mug shot when he was arrested in 2004.
"From what I read in the newspapers, you guys usually do this at 6 a.m.," FBI Special Agent Michael Breslin testified Basciano told authorities as they arrived at his home shortly after 9 a.m.
Basciano is on trial for ordering a hit on Bonanno associate Randy Pizzolo.
This morning, Bonanno thug turned rat Giuseppe "Joey" Gambina testified that Pizzolo was worried his Mafia work would interfere with his anger management classes.
"It was the first day he had to start anger management," Gambina said, repeating Pizzolo's worry he'd be late.
At the time in 2004, Pizzolo and Gambina were casing a home in Astoria, Queens, they had been told to rob.

Mobster Vinny Gorgeous complains over his court issued baloney sandwich

Giuseppe (Joey) Gambina (left) testified in murder trial of Vinny Gorgeous (right) on Wednesday.
Giuseppe "Joey" Gambina (left) testified in murder trial of Vinny Gorgeous (right) on Wednesday.

Vinny Gorgeous had a question about the baloney sandwich he got in court Wednesday: Where's the beef?
The U.S. Marshal Service's ration of a single slice of deli meat between two slices of bread wasn't enough for former Bonanno boss Vincent Basciano.
So he brought the meaty issue to Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis.
"He wants a sandwich from the Carnegie Deli?" the judge asked.
Defense lawyer George Goltzer said Basciano, who faces the death penalty if convicted of ordering the murder of mob associate Randolph Pizzolo, merely wants a sandwich from the courthouse cafeteria.
Goltzer said he would spring for the sandwich after prosecutor Taryn Merkl objected to the government footing the bill; taxpayers already have shelled out more than $4 million for Basciano's defense.
Wednesday's trial menu also featured evidence about a mob wedding and testimony from an ex-Bonanno thug who was a no-show at Pizzolo's rubout.
Prosecutors played a surveillance video of a New Rochelle catering hall where the Bonannos gathered in December 2001 for the wedding of soldier Emmanuel "Manny from the Bronx'" Guaragna's son.
Several days after the nuptials, investigators seized a gift list from Guaragna's Bronx apartment.
Then-boss Joseph Massino gave $300; Basciano and his then-wife, Angela, also gave $300; future acting boss Salvatore "Sal the Ironworker" Montagna kicked in $500, as did capo Anthony "T.G." Graziano. Underboss Salvatore Vitale coughed up a measly $200.
Less festive was the pathetic testimony of mob rat Giuseppe "Joey" Gambina, who graphically described beating a deadbeat with a hammer but said he balked at whacking Pizzolo because of a sore back.
Gambina, who received the order from a capo and a soldier and did not know who put a contract on Pizzolo, said he was once admonished by Basciano for kissing him on both cheeks.
"He said, 'We don't kiss in public no more,'" Gambina said.
Gambina pointed out Basciano in court as the "gentleman with salt-and-pepper hair," prompting a shrug from the stylish gangster.
True to form, on the day Basciano was arrested in 2004 on racketeering charges, he expressed gratitude the feds came for him around 9 a.m. instead of banging on his door at the crack of dawn, FBI agent Michael Breslin testified.
"He said, 'You let me get all dolled up first,'" Breslin recalled.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Vinny Gorgeous Basciano trial: mobsters cough up serious cash for wedding gifts for gangster's son

It's a delicate question: What should a gangster give another gangster's son for a wedding gift?
In the Bonanno crime family, $300 appears to be about right.
The murder trial of former mob boss Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano featured a scrap of paper with gift amounts for the December 2001 wedding of Bonanno soldier Emmanuel "Manny from the Bronx" Guaragna's son.
NYPD Det. William Dwyer testified Wednesday that the list was seized from Guaragna's apartment on Williamsbridge Rd. several days after the nuptials of son Steven and bride Maria.
Then-boss Joseph Massino gave $300; then-capo Basciano and his then-wife Angela also gave $300; future acting boss Salvatore "Sal the Ironworker" Montagna kicked in $500 as did capo Anthony "TG" Graziano. Underboss Salvatore Vitale coughed up a measly $200.
Several capos gave envelopes listing their first names and "friends" - referring to soldiers in the crew - with gifts of $700.
Another list noted that the total gift amount from the Bonannos was $12,100.
The wedding cards, which were seized, appeared to be marked "Dad" if the gifts came from crime family members, not Guaragna's nuclear family.
The wedding at a New Rochelle catering hall was surveilled by investigators hiding inside a limousine with tinted windows.
The limo was also equipped with a screen inside the window that rendered the glass completely opaque, according to retired NYPD Det. William Gillespie.
Video of the surveillance played for the jury in Brooklyn Federal Court showed Basciano was the center of attention in the driveway, surrounded by Bonanno gangsters.
At one point, Basciano approached the limo and the image on the screen darkened because the investigators raised the interior screen.
On the day Basciano was arrested in 2004 on racketeering charges, he expressed gratitude that the feds came for him around 9 a.m. instead of banging on his door at the crack of dawn, FBI agent Michael Breslin testified.
"He said, 'You let me get all dolled up first," Breslin recalled.

Police: Mobster's friend, neighbor raid Idaho home

Burglars targeted the former home of a mobster who hid out in Idaho for more than a decade before his February arrest, authorities say.
A friend and neighbor of 42-year-old Enrico Ponzo are each charged with felony conspiracy, burglary and grand theft charges in Owyhee County. Kelly Verceles, of Marsing, and Robert Corson, of Meridian, are accused of stealing cash and valuables from the southwestern Idaho home Ponzo left empty after his capture.
A preliminary hearing for the men has been set for May 2, the Idaho Press-Tribune reports.
Ponzo lived under the assumed name of "Jeffrey Shaw" in Marsing, a farm town west of Boise, before he was caught earlier this year and brought back to Massachusetts to face almost a dozen federal charges, including plotting to kill a former mob boss. He was described by neighbors as hardworking and a proud father of two children, but to the FBI, he was a New England mobster who vanished in 1994 after a botched attempt to whack his boss.
Ponzo faces charges from a 1997 indictment accusing him and 14 others of racketeering, attempted murder and conspiracy to kill rivals. He is also charged in the 1989 attempted murder of Frank Salemme. Known as "Cadillac Frank," Salemme is the ex-head of the Patriarca Family of La Cosa Nostra. He has pleaded not guilty.
After Ponzo was caught, the FBI said a search of his Idaho home turned up 38 guns, $15,000 in cash and at least 50 books and manuals describing ways to create aliases.
But apparently there was more to be found.
Verceles and Corson are accused of breaking into Ponzo's home to steal a safe he had buried under a layer of concrete.
"It is alleged that these individuals jack-hammered the concrete floor, located the safe and used a blowtorch to cut the safe open," Owyhee County Prosecutor Douglas Emery said.
Authorities say they have recovered more than $100,000 in cash, some gold, documents, papers and one or more pieces of diamond jewelry.
"It's believed there were additional funds and/or valuables taken by each of those individuals," Emery said.
An attorney for Corson did not immediately return a phone call to The Associated Press. An attorney for Verceles was in court and could not be reached.


Vinny Gorgeous dressed to impress before being arrested, FBI agent testifies

They don't call him "Vinny Gorgeous" for nothing.
Acting Bonanno boss Vincent Basciano didn't have too much to say when he was arrested on racketeering charges early on Nov. 19, 2004, according to FBI agent Michael Breslin. But the dapper and always well-coiffed Basciano was thinking appearances.
"From what I read in the newspapers, you guys usually do this at 6 a.m.," Breslin testfied, recalling what Basciano said about getting cuffed outside his home shortly after 9 a.m. "You let me get all dolled-up first."
Breslin's recollection came amid otherwise dry testimony during Basciano's murder and racketeering trial now in its third week in Brooklyn federal court. The immaculately groomed and well-dressed former mob boss faces the death penalty if convicted.
Reputed mobster Vincent 'Vinny Gorgeous' Basciano is on trial for ordering a hit on a mob associate.
Reputed mobster Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano is on trial for ordering a hit on a mob associate.
Testimony is scheduled to continue into June.

Restaurant owner knocked up my wife and paid $50G to live, mobster testifies at Vinny Gorgeous trial

Mobster Salvatore Volpe (right) testified in murder trial of Vinny Gorgeous (left) on Tuesday.
Mobster Salvatore Volpe (right) testified in murder trial of Vinny Gorgeous (left) on Tuesday.

A saucy Staten Island restaurateur who impregnated a Bonanno crime associate's wife had two choices once word got out about the bun in the oven: Pay with his life or cough up a lot of dough.
Cuckolded gangster Salvatore Volpe testified Tuesday that the unidentified restaurateur shelled out $50,000 to escape getting whacked - with $10,000 of the amount going to a Garden State crime family for brokering the deal.
"Instead of [the restaurant owner] getting killed, he'd have to pay a tax," Volpe said in Brooklyn Federal Court at the murder trial of Bonanno boss Vincent (Vinny Gorgeous) Basciano. "It was basically a penalty."
In his debut as a government witness, Volpe dished about the "Sopranos"-like breakup with his wife after learning of her affair with the owner of Trattoria Romana restaurant on Hylan Blvd. and her attempt to pass off her unborn child as Volpe's.
The mobster said he didn't initially seek counsel from a divorce lawyer, but from his crew leader, Bonanno soldier John Palazzolo.
Palazzolo confronted the gigolo, who also didn't lawyer up but, through a contact, reached out for protection from the New Jersey-based DeCavalcante crime family, according to Volpe.
While the DeCavalcantes believed the restaurant owner should have been killed in his trattoria's basement, the Bonannos sought a more realistic ending to the daddy drama.
They agreed on a $50,000 tax - and the DeCavalcantes kept $10,000 for changing their minds about killing the guy they were supposed to protect.
The tax was a welcome sum for Volpe, who testified that aside from the homes of a capo and his daughters, the Bonannos barely steered any work to his plumbing business.
Volpe's testimony is part of the case against Basciano, who is accused of ordering the hit on Randolph Pizzolo.
The mob rat said on the stand that Pizzolo had once taken $5,000 from him.
Volpe also testified Pizzolo sealed his death warrant after drunkenly boasting in a Queens restaurant that he was going to "level the Bronx" in retaliation for not getting inducted into the crime family. That was a reference to Basciano, who was the acting boss in 2004 and based in the Bronx.
Volpe said there was also discussion of whacking defense lawyer Gerard Marrone after he proposed himself for membership in the Bonannos.
But Marrone said Tuesday he never asked to join the crime family.

Junior Gotti's rat buddy John Alite gets 10 year prison sentence

John "Junior" Gotti's former best friend - and the feds' chief witness against the mob scion at his last trial - was sentenced Tuesday to 10 years in prison for his own career of crime.
John Alite had pleaded guilty to two gangland murders and a slew of other crimes, and got more jail time than infamous rats Salvatore "Sammy Bull" Gravano and Salvatore Vitale, who were more prolific killers.
Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn and Tampa wrote letters to Federal Judge Susan Bucklew praising Alite's cooperation as "extraordinary" and "substantial."
"People have done a lot more and gotten a lot less," said a law enforcement source who worked on the Gotti case.
"It's a very heavy-handed sentence," the source added.
Alite has already served more than six years in prison, so he has less than four years to go before he's sprung with credit for good time.
Defense lawyer Tim Fitzgerald declined to comment.
Alite began cooperating in 2007 after he was extradited from Brazil, where he was on the lam from a Gambino-related indictment in Florida.
Junior Gotti was the best man at Alite's wedding and for years the two worked hand in hand in criminal ventures as the younger Gotti rose in the ranks of the Gambino crime family.
Alite had his own crew wreaking havoc in Ozone Park, Queens, and prosecutors revealed new details about his relationship with crew member Nicholas Tobia, who went on to become a cop.
"In the mid-1990s, Tobia received permission from Alite to join the Suffolk County Police Department," according to court papers filed in Tampa Federal Court.
"Tobia also provided Alite with a bulletproof vest when Alite was concerned about Gotti killing him," the papers state.
Tobia, who allegedly participated in the 1988 murder of George Grosso with Alite, resigned from the force in 2009.
Alite made his first appearance as a government witness in the trial of Gambino hit man Charles Carneglia in Brooklyn Federal Court and dropped the bombshell that he had a fling with a then-married Victoria Gotti.
The mob princess furiously denied Alite's claim and even took a lie detector test to make her point.

"John Alite provided information that materially contributed to the conviction of numerous members and associates of the Gambino organized crime family," Assistant Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Roger Burlingame wrote to the judge.
"John Alite's criminal history is galling but over the course of scores of hours spent discussing it with him, I came to believe that he was disgusted by the life he led and that he genuinely hoped to make some amends for it."

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Convicted felon charged with ripping off Social Security after falsely claiming respiratory disease

A convicted felon who pocketed $326,000 from the ill-fated Deutsche Bank demolition project was charged yesterday with raking in another $139,000 in disability payments - after falsely claiming he was too sick to work.
Bruce Greenberg, the brother of reputed Gambino family associate Harold Greenberg, had claimed he had contracted a respiratory disease while helping to clean up Ground Zero after Sept. 11, 2001.
Meanwhile, the 370-pound Staten Island man was zipping around town in a spanking new Corvette and supervising a crane at the toxic tower at 130 Liberty St., according to law enforcement officials.
Greenberg, 58, was charged with ripping off the Social Security Administration. Along with his wife Angela, 56, he was also accused of tax evasion for not reporting income from A&G Fabrications Corp., a contractor at the site that worked with the John Galt Corp., a mob-linked demolition firm.
Both pleaded not guilty and were released without bail.
Greenberg's brother, Harold, was linked to Safeway Environmental, another mob-connected firm whose execs ran the demolition job for Galt after Safeway was booted from the project.
Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan said the arrests resulted from the probe of the horrific Aug. 18, 2007, blaze at 130 Liberty St. that cost the lives of two firefighters.
"This defendant scammed taxpayers out of tens of thousands of dollars a time when most people are struggling to make ends meet, and many are just looking for honest work," said Donovan.
Greenberg is not accused of any crime linked to the fire or the two deaths, officials say. Steven Frankel, Greenberg's attorney, could not be reached.

It's style first for Vinny Gorgeous: Basciano KOs headphones as secret mob tapes roll in court

 Vinny Gorgeous doesn't do headphones.
Mafia boss Vincent Basciano has a solution to the dilemma of wearing clunky headphones over his perfectly coiffed hair during his murder trial in Brooklyn Federal Court.
He doesn't.
Basciano went headphone-free for long stretches of Monday's playback of tapes secretly recorded by Bonanno rat James "Big Louie" Tartaglione. And for those rare moments when he wanted to briefly listen, Basciano wore the headpiece tilted toward the rear of his head - not on top - while holding the right ear pad with his hand.
Asked if his client has an aversion to wearing headphones, defense lawyer George Goltzer told the Daily News: "I'm not going there."
Basciano remains a marvel of grooming, his hair meticulously combed back and his skin a healthy hue although he has spent the past four years in solitary confinement under conditions usually reserved for terrorists. Tartaglione told the jury that the defendant's nickname is derived from his ownership of a Bronx beauty salon called "Hello Gorgeous," and the mobster's looks were never far from their conversation.
"I gained about 30 pounds, and I got a lot grayer," Basciano complained in the December 2003 meeting with Tartaglione in the Seacrest Diner on Long Island.
"My age looks like I caught up to you," he said to the then-66-year-old capo.
Tartaglione, who had been wired-up by the FBI to get dirt on Basciano, was trying to make the point that the feds are famous for slamming mobsters with massive indictments.
"You know what the problem is, Vinny?" he began.
"I need to use more Grecian?" Basciano said.
In a secretly recorded sitdown a month later, Basciano marveled at Tartaglione's skin color. "All I know is you got some friggin' tan," Basciano said.
Last week, former Bonanno boss Joseph Massino testified that a high-ranking capo in the Genovese crime family had compared Basciano to the late John Gotti with his natty attire and supreme arrogance. Basciano's barber at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn seems to be on par with Gotti's hair stylist, who reportedly washed and cut the Dapper Don's hair daily.
Basciano may not be listening with his headphones, but he is actively engaged in his defense, furiously scribbling notes on Post-its. Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis admonished him for whispering questions to Goltzer during cross-examining.
"Hundred percent, I'm sorry your honor," Basciano said.

Wiseguy whacked for finding religion

He found God -- and it got him whacked.
A Bonanno family capo-turned-canary testified yesterday that a family associate who was the superintendent of deliveries at The New York Post was rubbed out because mobsters feared his born-again devotion would turn him into a rat.
James "Big Louie" Tartaglione, testifying during the federal murder and racketeering trial of Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano, said Post employee Robert Perrino was "whacked" in 1992 because Bonanno bigs feared that Perrino might cooperate with the authorities.
"He would go to church every day. He was praying every day. They thought he may flip -- that he found religion," Tartaglione explained in testimony. "Sal [Vitale, the then-underboss] had him whacked out."
VISIONARY:  Vinny Basciano says in a recording played yesterday, 'We're all gonna be in jail.'
VISIONARY: Vinny Basciano says in a recording played yesterday, "We're all gonna be in jail."
"He was saying certain things that he felt a little more religious," Tartaglione added.
Perrino was missing and presumed dead for years. His skeletal remains were unearthed in Staten Island in 2003.
The government said Perrino was told to go to Brooklyn social club Basile's, where a hit man shot him in the head and another thrust an ice pick in his ear.
Prosecutors yesterday also played recordings of a meeting at the Seacrest Diner on Long Islandbetween Basciano and Tartaglione, who was wearing a wire.
In the recordings, Basciano sounds almost prophetic about his possible future.
"The end of the day, we're all gonna be in jail. That's going to f - - king happen," the now-jailed Basciano fatefully predicted.
Basciano, 51, also had a man crush on late mob boss John Gotti, according to recordings played for the jury yesterday during his murder and racketeering trial in Brooklyn federal court.
"You know what? He did it the way he wanted, and he died the way he wanted," Basciano said on the recording, referring to the "Dapper Don," his role model in crime and style.
His salt-and-pepper hair perfectly in place, Basciano sneered and wore a mocking expression as the tanned, black-clad Tartaglione testified -- as his own boasts were replayed.
"I don't need anybody that anybody's gonna give me. I got my own guys. I do it myself," Basciano said.
The mob big also shared his philosophy about the organized-crime business during the fateful diner chat.
"If you're a hoodlum, Louie, I can show you the right direction; we can make money," he said. "But if you're a businessman, I can't show you how to be a hoodlum."
Basciano is on trial for allegedly ordering a hit on Bonanno associate Randy Pizzolo. He faces the death penalty if convicted.