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

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Mob novel is based on New Jersey author’s real life godfather

Since 1975, Jon D'Amore had wanted to write a book about some members of his family – and, by extension, "La Famiglia." But the timing wasn't right back then. Many of the Hudson County mobsters central to the tale were still alive – and definitely not seeking publicity.

Jon D'Amore
Jon D'Amore
"It was while things were going on," D'Amore, who now lives in Los Angeles, says on the phone from Secaucus, on a visit home to promote his first, self-published novel. "I felt that these people deserved to be written about. I really believed they needed to be immortalized. I thought, 'What a great story it would make!' but for obvious reasons, I couldn't write that."
Not then. But now, with most of the primary players dead ("of either natural or unnatural causes"), comes "The Boss Always Sits in the Back," his novel based on a true story.

If you go
"This is a fictional story based on some guys I knew and some things I heard and saw," D'Amore writes in the preface, informing readers that he has changed all names ("except anyone named D'Amore").

He stresses that he has never been in the mob ("I wrote the book about being on the edge of it!") but because of several "connected" relatives, he knew of "people who were fairly high up in the food chain."
The book's central character is Gerald D'Amore – his oldest cousin and his godfather – whom he called Jerry. D'Amore describes him as underboss to New Jersey mob boss Rocco Casiano, a "made" member of the Genovese crime family.
A good chunk of the book takes place in Las Vegas, where Jerry invites the character based on the author, Jon, to join him for a celebration of Jon's 22nd birthday. Then Jerry enlists him in an elaborate scheme to scam the casinos out of lots of money. When their long-running operation was finally detected in October 1977, it led to gambling-law changes regarding credit lines, D'Amore says.
How much of the book (which includes sex, drugs and murder) is true?
"I'd rather not answer that," says D'Amore. "You could say that Jon says he took the fifth." As for the Sin City doings, all he'll say is: "I was definitely in Vegas for my 22nd birthday, and I saw these guys doing something that was fantastic."
In 1999, D'Amore learned that Jerry was dying of lung cancer. "He was literally on his deathbed, and I said, 'I want to know what happened here, here and here,' " says the author, who gave Jerry a tape recorder and cassettes and asked him to "fill in the blanks."
D'Amore, 58, spent his first 12 years in Union City. The family then moved to Secaucus, and D'Amore, who started out as a session musician, shuttling between both coasts, then worked for more than a decade in the corporate world. After moving to California 13 years ago, he took a screenwriting course and is now a script doctor and screenwriter. He has written a "Boss Always Sits in the Back" screenplay, which is being shopped around.
D'Amore says one of the book's funny tales is true: Mob VIPs arrived at his godfather's wedding reception in the back of a customized catering truck with a living room bolted into it. It was backed up to a service entrance so these guests could avoid being photographed by the FBI.
What about the story of the Hackensack guy, whacked in a restaurant, whose body was put in a rolling closet?
Says D'Amore: "I had heard stories about my cousin's right-hand man, I guess you could say, and how cool he was about making plans like that. And a rolling coat closet was one of the things I had heard."


Mobster might be cleared because of 1996 boxing brawl

One of the more infamous moments in modern boxing’s checkered past now may help clear a mobster of murder.
A free-for-all brawl that erupted among spectators in Madison Square Garden during a July 1996 match between Brooklyn native Riddick Bowe and Polish pugilist Andrew Golata took a central role today at the trial of a Gambino crime family wiseguy.
John Burke is charged with the murder of John Gebert, who was gunned down in a bloody Mafia hit elsewhere in the city at the same time as the boxing match.
Defense attorneys Richard Jasper and Ying Stafford say that Burke wasn’t involved in the Gebert rub-out - he was at home watching the boxing match on television with the woman who eventually became his wife.
Danielle Vaccaro, who is now Burke’s now ex-wife, testified yesterday that’s why events on that particular night are so easy to recall.
“A riot broke out in the ring. I had never seen anything like that before,” Vaccaro said on the stand in Brooklyn federal court.
“That was the night John Gebert was murdered?” she was asked.
“Yes,” Vaccaro said.
The Garden match went south in the seventh round after Golota landed several low blows and eventually was disqualified.
A frenzied fight began in the ring and soon spread into the stands, where spectators engaged in fistfights.
The testimony from Burke’s former wife comes as the defense begins its case, trying to convince the jury that the wiseguy played no role in three mob murders or drug trafficking.
His attorneys believe that Vaccaro’s testimony represents an important alibi defense that could counter the fed’s claim that Burke was at the Gebert murder scene.

Colombo family drug ring leader enters guilty plea

A reputed Mafia street boss in New York's Colombo crime family has pleaded guilty in connection with accusations that he led a drug trafficking ring.
Ralph DeLeo, a 69-year-old former Somerville resident, pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to one count of racketeering conspiracy and one count of being a felon who possessed firearms and ammunition.
The plea happened in a brief proceeding that was postponed three times previously, including last week when a transformer fire broke out at U.S. District Court in Boston.
A judge scheduled DeLeo's sentencing for September.
Prosecutors have said the drug ring DeLeo led sold cocaine and marijuana in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, Florida and Arkansas, while storing weapons to support the enterprise in Watertown, Mass.


Bonanno assasin loses bid to overturn conviction

Anthony Indelicato
An infamous mob assassin who murdered a man who threatened to kidnap the child of Bonanno crime family boss Vincent “Vinny Gorgeous” Basciano has lost a bid to overturn his conviction.
Anthony “Bruno” Indelicato cannot retract his guilty plea for the 2001 shotgun murder of Frank Santoro and must continue serving his 20-year sentence for the mob hit, a judge ruled in an order filed yesterday.
The Bonanno hit man appealed his conviction in 2009, arguing that he wouldn’t have plead guilty if he had known about certain information that might have helped him beat the charges.
Brooklyn federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis denied Indelicato’s appeal request in a brief order.
The 65-year-old Bonanno wiseguy is not scheduled for release from prison until 2023.
Indelicato, who was portrayed in the film “Donnie Brasco, was also one of the trigger men who gunned down Bonanno boss Carmine Galante in 1979.
He was convicted of the slaying in 1986 at the famous Mafia Commission trial.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Somerville man pleads guilty to racketeering charges

A Somerville mobster pleaded guilty to federal charges today, and faces up to 20 years behind bars.
Franklin M. Goldman, 69, pleaded guilty to charges of racketeering conspiracy. Goldman was a member of the so-called “Deleo Crew,” a group headed by a former street boss of the Colombo Family of La Cosa Nostra, a nationwide criminal organization, authorities said.
The U.S. District Attorney’s office said in a statement the Deleo Crew participated in loan sharking, extortion, and drug trafficking in primarily in Somerville, as well as Arkansas, Florida, New York and other parts of Massachusetts.
Prosecutors said that had the case gone to trial, they would have presented evidence that Goldman was involved in extortion, conspiracy to administer a beatdown on a rival and conspiracy to smuggle 250 pounds of marijuana.
Scheduled for sentencing in August, Goldman faces up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.


Two rising stars in Gambino crime family shipped off to prison

Two rising stars in the Gambino family were shipped off to federal prison Wednesday - one getting tearful waves from his family, the other getting smiles and thumbs up.

Michael "Roc" Roccaforte, 35, gave his family an exaggerated “What can I do?” shrug after U.S. District Court Judge Richard Berman socked him with a 118-month sentence that was four months harsher than what federal prosecutors sought.

A visibly relieved Anthony Moscatiello, 41, got 43 months from the same judge. He turned to his smiling family and jokingly advised an unidentified grinning man in a loud pin-striped suit to "Spend a few dollars. Buy a new suit."

Each had pleaded guilty in February to breaking various laws for more than a decade, including racketeering, selling drugs, gambling and loan sharking.

They were among 27 accused mobsters arrested in a 2011 sweep in the Southern District of Manhattan. Of the 27, two dozen have pleaded guilty, including 11 members of the Gambino family. As of yesterday, six Gambino associates have been put behind bars.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Elie Honig said both men were handpicked by Gambino bosses Ronald and Alphonse Trucchio to be made men in the Gambino gang and predicted that both would come back to the Gambinos when they get out.

He said Roccaforte, a first offender, has promised to change his life after prison, but added: "He's not leaving the mob. If he wanted to say that, he could do so right now."

Honig noted that Roccaforte was the only person below the rank of captain in the Gambino family to attend a major mob summit of New York and Philadelphia gangsters in May 2010. "He is a rising star in the mob," he said.

Roccaforte's lawyer, Alan Futerfas, urged that his client, who had never been arrested before, get the minimum possible sentence of 97 months, but Honig said Roccaforte spent more than a decade breaking laws. "He didn't have a bad day.a bad week or a bad month. He had a bad 15 years."

As Roccaforte left the courtroom, the same man in the pinstriped suit that appeared at the Moscatiello sentencing sat with the mobster's family and waved vigorously. A dejected Roccaforte finally gave a weak wave back.


Former Hartford gangster accused of sex crimes in Florida

A Hartford gangster who the FBI said was once targeted for death by the Mafia is back in the custody of the law.
This time, Luis "Tito" Morales is under arrest in Florida. He is accused of sexually assaulting children while acting as a self-declared "Apostle" of a church he founded and for which he jetted into Latin America to perform exorcisms.
Since he came to law enforcement's attention a quarter-century ago, associates and police sources said that Morales has moved from thief to significant other of a Hartford Mafia daughter to subject of a Mafia murder contract to drug dealer to Christian missionary. If the trajectory is difficult to follow, it should be, according to his wife. She is known at Morales' church, located in the couple's home in Ormond Beach, Fla., as The Prophet Linda.
"Satan is the accuser of the brethren," Linda Morales said. "So anyone who makes an accusation against a man or woman of God is on Satan's team."
Linda Morales explained the eternal struggle to news reporters as she left the federal courthouse in Orlando on May 18. Inside, a judge denied bail to Tito Morales, indicted two days earlier and charged with transporting two girls, aged 12 and 13, between states in 2009 and 2010 for the purpose of sexual activity.
Morales, 57, is accused of transporting one of the girls between Arizona, Florida and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He is accused, with Rebecca Rivera, 27, of East Hartford, of transporting the second child between Hartford and Florida. Rivera was taken into custody in Hartford, where court records show that a judge ordered her held without bail and taken to the federal courthouse in Orlando.
Neither Rivera nor Tito Morales was available for interviews.
Federal prosecutors in Florida said that they believe that Tito Morales has molested as many as six minors, perhaps in connection with ministerial work that called him to the Caribbean, Central America and South America. Rivera declares on the Internet that she also is a prophet in Morales' ministry, which is called En Fuego (On Fire) for Jesus.
On an Internet blog, Rivera identifies herself as a Mexican living in the U.S. and traveling the world to preach the good news of Jesus Christ and offer prayer that she implies can cure cancer.
A television news station in Honduras has posted a video recording on the Internet that purports to show Morales exorcising the devil from a writhing, flopping, apparently tormented woman somewhere near Tegucigalpa.
Morales achieved a different sort of celebrity in the wrong circles in Hartford 1980s and '90s. At the time, the bustling Puerto Rican neighborhood around Park Street was expanding south, and Italian racketeers were trying to hang on to shrinking territory that they held around Franklin Avenue.
Tito Morales lived for a while on Adelaide Street, which then was also the address of John "Sonny" Castagna, an associate of the Patriarca crime family and one of Hartford's most notorious gangsters. Morales became friendly with Castagna's son Jackie Johns, and the two men went into business robbing drug dealers, according to law enforcement sources and court records.
Tito Morales also became friendly with Louis Failla, a sworn Patriarca soldier who lived with his wife and children in East Hartford. Tito Morales became even more friendly with Failla's daughter Debbie. They had a son, according to friends and information presented in court.
Tito Morales' relationship with his putative father-in-law soured, a deterioration that was well-documented because it took place during an organized crime investigation in the late 1980s and 1990 that resulted in a sensational Mafia trial.
Among other things, the investigation created an opportunity that the FBI used to make what the bureau called the first audio recording of a Mafia initiation ceremony. It also generated evidence that the FBI used to leverage Castagna and Johns to cooperate and join the witness protection program.
The authorities also accused Louis Failla of conspiring to murder Tito Morales, the father of his grandson.
There are differences of opinion about what led to the never-realized conspiracy to kill Tito Morales.
Some believe that Italian gangsters on Franklin Avenue were concerned that Tito Morales was showing too much interest in their gambling operation. Others believe that Failla became enraged after learning that friends of Morales had behaved abusively toward his wife or daughter.
The FBI tipped Tito Morales to the plot against him.
Conspiracy to commit murder was just one of a long list of charges that Failla faced in 1991 at the monthslong Mafia trial that followed the investigation. Much of the evidence against him came from a secret microphone that the FBI planted in the garrulous gangster's midnight blue Cadillac.
Failla's defense at the trial was that he was all talk and no action. His lawyer told the jurors that, if they had any doubt, they needed only to listen to the tapes made from the microphone. The defense failed.
When he emerged from prison a sick, old man, Failla and his family moved to Florida, not far from the place where Morales set up his home and church.
Morales got caught selling 8 ounces of cocaine in the parking lot of a Rocky Hill strip mall in 1989. After he was sentenced to 10 years in prison, Debbie Failla became involved with the state police detective who made the arrest.
In a prison interview with The Courant after his arrest, Morales showed signs of things to come when he denied feeling any animosity toward his old girlfriend or her new police officer boyfriend.
"I would go to him and say, 'I hope you find the Lord,'" Morales said. "I would hug and kiss him, and thank him for allowing me to spend time in jail and find my savior. ... Something good came out of it."


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Feds prosecuting Gambino associate because he wouldn't snitch on Junior Gotti

A loose cannon defense witness Tuesday blurted out to a jury that the feds are prosecuting his Gambino associate pal for three murders simply because he wouldn’t snitch on John A. "Junior" Gotti.

Patrick Sutherland appeared in Brooklyn Federal Court to back up longtime prison pal John Burke’s claim that he quit the mob in 2002 after becoming disenchanted with the Gambinos and finding religion.

Instead, Sutherland’s blabbing wreaked havoc on the government’s case against Burke.

“This case started in 2007 when you brought him to Florida and tried to get him to turn on John Gotti Jr.,” Sutherland testified.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Whitman Knapp immediately objected and Federal Judge Sterling Johnson ordered the remark stricken from the record.

Sutherland also blabbed in court that Burke was previously tried for the murders in state court and acquitted of two of them — which the jury is not supposed to know either.

“I probably put a target on my back (by testifying),” Sutherland, 50, cracked.

Sutherland’s testimony aligned with Burke’s own Internet rants on a blog that he writes from the Metropolitan Detention Center. The blog features an American flag draped across the top and a Memorial Day tribute to the armed services.

“The Federal Government has been seeking my cooperation against John Gotti Jr. for a long time now,” Burke posted. “I refuse to lie against other men in order to set myself free.”

Prosecutors rested their case last Thursday without calling Gotti Jr.’s ex-crony John Alite, who has previously testified that the mob scion had approved the rubout of Queens drug dealer John Gebert, one of the murders for which Burke is charged.

Burke is serving 25 years to life in state prison for whacking Bruce Gotterup in 1991, which Manhattan federal prosecutors tried and failed to prove was ordered by Gotti Jr.

The federal charges of murder in aid of racketeering are different than state murder charges.


A Mobster’s mobster to the very end

Much has been written about Mafiosi making their peace with God before shuffling off this mortal coil. Carlo Gambino, the unofficial boss of bosses, spent decades – most notably from the mid-1950s to mid-1970s – murdering and thieving while he ruled the crime family that still has his name today, in 2012. Dying in his bed having never served a day in prison, Gambino is famously said to have made a deathbed confession to a hastily summoned priest and died in a “state of grace,” cleansed of probably the most violent and horrible sins of which a human being is capable. Gambino took control of the family by killing his own boss – Albert Anastasia, former CEO of Murder Inc., a group of professional hit men, mostly Jewish, to whom the Mafia families would outsource any work, meaning murders, they needed done.

Before his death, Gambino left his empire in the hands of his cousin Paul Castellano; Carlo was paying back an ancient favor – without the Castellanos, he probably never would’ve made it to the position of boss, and he was a brilliant boss, making the Gambinos into the largest, wealthiest family of his time. Paul wasn’t so brilliant. Carlo had picked the wrong successor, which created a fault line in the family between the so-called white- and blue-collar wings, which eventually gave rise to one John Gotti. As famous as Gotti is, he destroyed the Gambino family and did deep harm to La Cosa Nostra.

Mobsters like Stephen “Beach” DePiro, who has been described by federal authorities as a major player in the New Jersey underworld who now oversees the highly lucrative rackets along the North Jersey waterfront, think nothing of parading their religion before the judge when they are seeking parole. But the true test of a believer is how he acts when the Grim Reaper comes a-knocking.

Russel Bufalino, boss of the tiny Pennsylvania Bufalino crime family from 1959 to 1989, although he was still a significant player in LCN on a national level, also got religion waiting to meet his maker while dying in the Springfield prison hospital.

These were men who, at least the smarter ones, left little to chance; otherwise, they would have ended up dead in the streets much, much earlier in their careers; it takes a certain something – a special combination of cunning and courage, daring, poise and, to an extent, even fear, plus the ability to act both rationally and irrationally, as an entrepreneur one minute, and the terminator of human life the next – to make it in “the life.” Pragmatism also plays a role. So if there were the chance of an afterlife, why spend it burning in hell for murdering however many people when all it takes is a little remorse expressed to a priest (a nice, fat donation doesn’t hurt either).

Old-time Godfather Joe Profaci, whose crime family was taken over by Joe Colombo and renamed after his death, giving birth to the Colombos, also one of the five families in New York that is still very much with us. Profaci, who lost his legacy because he had fallen out of favor with his fellow dons, had a rather bizarre notion of what it meant to be a good Catholic: Profaci was devout and made generous cash donations to Catholic charities. His New Jersey estate actually contained a private chapel. But then on one occasion, two thieves stole a relic from a New York church. Profaci mobsters recovered the relic and reportedly strangled to death the two thieves with rosaries. Still, in 1949, a group of New York Catholics petitioned Pope Pius XII to confer a knighthood on Profaci. However, the Brooklyn District Attorney quashed it.

Perhaps the earliest and most famous deathbed “conversion” in mob land was that of Dutch Schultz (born Arthur Flegenheimer), a New York City -area Jewish American gangster of the 1920s and 1930s who made his fortune in bootlegging alcohol and the numbers racket . In 1935, in an effort to avert a pending conviction, Schultz had gone to the Commission – consider it as the board of directors of the Mafia – for permission to kill New York Prosecutor Thomas Dewey. His request was declined. Lucky Luciano and others were concerned, however, that Schultz would kill Dewey anyway (and he probably would have) so “the Dutchman’s” assassination was ordered that same year. So… he was critically wounded on an October evening of that year while holding court with three cronies in the Palace Chop House in Newark, New Jersey. Rushed to a hospital, he registered as being of the Jewish faith. But the next morning, feeling sure that he was going to die, he called for a Catholic priest. Father Cornelius McInerney was summoned. Schultz wanted to die a Catholic. Father McInerney gave him a few simple instructions, baptized him, and gave him the last rites of the Catholic Church. Dutch Schultz died on Oct. 28, 1935, and was buried in a Catholic cemetery, the Gate of Heaven, in New York City.

The list is endless. “Wild Bill” Cutolo, who was underboss of the Colombo family when he was murdered because he was so feared, the bosses thought he was poised to take over the entire family, also found religion after serving a stint in prison (he was facing a life sentence, but got off scot-free).

He even began living a sort-of double life as a mobster by day and charity fundraiser by night.

I spoke with a retired NYPD detective who arrested Wild Bill several times and also ran surveillance on him; the detective not only believes Wild Bill’s praying and churchgoing were sincere, he actually witnessed proof of it.

The detective and Wild Bill belonged to the same church. “He went to the same church as I did and I saw him there quite often,” the detective said.

Going to mass once a week once a week wasn’t enough for Cutolo, though. “Wild Bill had in his backyard a life-sized religious statue, I forget if it was a cross or the Blessed Mother,” the detective recalled. “Every morning he knelt before it and prayed.”

Also, the detective’s mother and aunt quite by chance were deeply involved in one of the same charities as Wild Bill, and they actually knew him, so the detective knows all about Bill’s fundraising work. And it was legit; the detective admits Wild Bill was a lifelong criminal who murdered people, but says that the Colombo gangster did not steal from that charity.

There is always at least one exception to the rule.

It would seem that no such religious epiphanies ever came to “Fat Tony” Salerno, at least based on what was probably his last act as a Mafiosi; but the thoughts/inner feelings of another human being are inscrutable to us, unless the person in question tells us. Tony didn’t tell us. I am just conveying facts and reasonable assumptions based on those facts. And the facts are, while dying in the same prison hospital that Bufalino had resided in at a different time, Salerno – jailed for life in the Commission Case, which launched Rudolph Giuliani’s career – gave a contract to another inmate in the sick ward, an outlaw biker named Sailor who was dying of cancer but poised to be released on a medical hardship. Salerno sent Sailor to whack someone who had testified against the old-time Cosa Nostra street boss in one of his trials, according to an anecdote buried near the end of Charles Brandt’s, “I Heard You Paint Houses.”

Frank Sheeran, the book’s subject and the contract killer who is widely believed to have put the bullet in the back of Jimmy Hoffa’s head, as well as upstart mobster Joe Gallo, who started two Mafia wars and whom Jimmy Caan befriended while preparing for a role in a film called “The Godfather.”

Sheeran was in the hospital with Salerno and claimed to have witnessed these events. The subject of the hit has not been revealed; we don’t even know if it was ever carried out, but judging by Fat Tony, I’d lay odds that it was.

Salerno served as the “front” boss of the Genovese clan, actually tricking the Feds and something like half the mob into believing he was the boss, when he really wasn’t. (Vincent “The Chin” Gigante, a criminal mastermind who outplayed so many lesser but higher-profile men, was happy being in the shadows, limping around the Village in his ratty bathrobe in a rehearsed, beard-stubbled stupor.)

Back in the mid 1980s, when so much was made about John Gotti being the mobster from Central Casting, to me, it was Fat Tony who was the embodiment of the real mobster. There are no books about his life, but that’s the way it should be. The Mafia is a “secret society,” even though it is covered on a daily basis by nearly every major newspaper in the world.

Anthony “Fat Tony” Salerno (August 15, 1911 – July 27, 1992) was convicted in 1986 as part of the Commission Case, which put away most of the legendary bosses, including Lucchese family boss Tony “Ducks” Corallo. Who could forget the precious few news clips of Salerno, crumpled fedora planted firmly on his head, chewed-up unlit cigar in his mouth, waving his cane and barking at the surrounding paparazzi. Gotti, refusing to duck, smiled and bowed at the mobs of press – like a prince offering his blessings to the f—ing peasants; Salerno hit them with his cane. There’s the difference.

I am not going to regale you with the story of his life, but I will touch on the highlights.

Born in East Harlem in 1911, Salerno established his base there and never strayed far from the community, even while it evolved around him, maintaining his headquarters at the Palma Boys Social Club, much like Neil Dellacroce, underboss to Carlo Gambino for 30 years, did downtown in Little Italy at the Ravenite. Dellacroce was also underboss to Castellano, running the blue-color wing of the family (the street guys who did the dirty work) until he (Dellacroce) died of brain cancer, paving the way for Dellacroce protégé John Gotti to have Castellano killed in a spectacular early evening hit in front of Sparks Steakhouse, still open today.

By the 1960s, Salerno was said by prosecutors to be grasping the helm of Harlem’s biggest numbers racket, which they estimated earned as much as $50 million a year. Yet despite his notoriety among prosecutors, Salerno’s first criminal conviction did not occur until 1978, when he pleaded guilty to federal tax and gambling charges, for which he was sentenced to six months in prison. The infamous former crony to communist hunter-in-chief Senator Joseph McCarthy, Roy M. Cohn was Salerno’s lawyer. He, whose ticket would later be punched by AIDS, described his client as a “sports gambler” in a New York Times article.

In early 1981, after his release from prison, Salerno suffered a mild stroke and retreated to his Rhinebeck estate to recuperate. At the time of his stroke, Salerno was Genovese underboss.

During the 1980s, following the retirement of Philip Lombardo, Salerno ostensibly became boss of the Genovese family. He had reached the pinnacle of his power–and would spend almost all his remaining life behind bars.

And although law enforcement at the time thought that Salerno was the boss of the Genovese family, it later became clear that Salerno was not the true power: Salerno was only a “front man,” taking part in a family subterfuge that goes back to its roots.

Ever since the death of boss Vito Genovese in 1969, the real family leader had been “Benny Squint” Lombardo. Lombardo used several “acting” bosses to disguise his true status from law enforcement and the other four New York crime families. At the same time Lombardo was grooming Vincent Gigante as his successor. According to turncoat “Fish” Cafaro, Salerno became front boss in 1981 to protect Gigante, who seems to have taken a page from Lombardo’s book and ran all the way to the nuthouse with it.

In a 1986 article, Fortune magazine rated Salerno as the most powerful and wealthiest gangster in America, citing earnings in the tens of millions from loan sharking, profit skimming at Nevada casinos and charging a “Mafia tax” on New York City construction projects. At the time, he maintained a home in Miami Beach, a 100-acre estate in Rhinebeck, N.Y., and an apartment in Gramercy Park. (How on earth could Fortune calculate his net worth? And how could they know he was the wealthiest?)

“He was extremely powerful,” said Howard Abadinksy, professor of criminology at St. Xavier University in Chicago and the author of several books on organized crime, in a New York Times article . He compared Salerno to the reputed head of the Gambino family at that time, Paul Castellano. “Castellano was perhaps first among equals, but Fat Tony would have been the other most powerful figure on the East Coast.”

In 1986, after the Commission Case trial that helped establish the use of RICO statutes against the mob, Salerno and seven other defendants were convicted of operating the “commission” that ruled the Mafia throughout the United States. He and others were given sentences of up to 100 years.

Salerno also was convicted in 1988 for a scheme to allocate contracts and obtain payoffs for constructing the concrete superstructures of 16 Manhattan buildings, including the Jacob J.Javits Convention Center. He was sentenced to an additional 70 years on that conviction.
Salerno, who had been in failing health since entering the prison system in 1989, died of complications from a stroke that he suffered on July 18, the officials said. But not before sending Sailor out on that little mission. Salerno was 80 years old.

On a wiretap at a mob hangout, federal agents once recorded Salerno bemoaning a disrespectful young gangster who had called him “Fat Tony” to his face.

“If it wasn’t for me, there wouldn’t be no mob left,” Salerno said glumly. “I made all the guys.”

How true, Tony, wherever you are…


Backpack full of cash and questions

William Coyman. An allegation in court papers is that the cash was part of drug deal.
The cash was bundled in rubber bands and stuffed in two plastic bags found in the backpack of a 75-year-old man who dropped dead after stepping off a train in Manhattan's busy Pennsylvania Station one day last summer.
Ten months later, authorities are still trying to unravel the mystery of the money - $179,980 - and the hapless courier, one William "Billy" Coyman, a retired Teamster with a checkered criminal past that included ties to the mob and the drug underworld.
Federal authorities, who have seized the cash, are not saying much about the case.
But the sketchy details and the cast of characters sound like a story line from The Friends of Eddie Coyle, a classic movie about low-level wiseguys in the Boston underworld, or the sequel to The Town, the Ben Affleck movie based on a group of Charlestown bank robbers.
A six-page forfeiture complaint filed in federal court in New York in February includes the allegation that the money was part of a drug deal and the assertion that Coyman was working for 180 Entertainment Inc., a Philadelphia-based company whose business address is a house in the Northeast.
Records indicate that the house, in the 200 block of Parkview Drive, is owned by Anthony S. Fedele Jr., described by law enforcement sources as an associate of mob boss Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino. That connection has provided an added twist to the case, but one that Fedele said in a phone interview last week is all media hype, smoke and mirrors without any substance.
"Somebody took two and two and came up with 6 1/2," said Fedele, 40, who said he has known Merlino for more than 10 years and has tried to put a movie deal together based on the flamboyant wiseguy's life.
The cash in the backpack, Fedele said, is not his. Nor is it Merlino's.
"I'm out of the loop on this," he said.
Steven D. DiLibero, a lawyer from Providence, R.I., who is attempting to recover the cash for 180 Entertainment, said after a status conference hearing in New York on Wednesday that the money belongs to Joseph Burke, another principal in the company. In papers filed in opposition to the government's forfeiture claim, DiLibero denied that the money was tied to a drug deal, argued that the seizure was illegal, and asked that the cash be returned to Burke.
The dispute is now part of a civil court docket in federal court in Manhattan. A trial is tentatively set for December.
In a telephone interview after last week's hearing, DiLibero said the cash was being returned to an entertainment promoter in North Carolina who was helping Burke finance a concert in Boston. When the concert deal fell through, Burke wanted to return the money. DiLibero declined to identify the North Carolina businessman but said the man would be filing an affidavit supporting Burke's claim.
Burke, like Coyman, is from Charlestown just north of Boston. Like Coyman, he also has a criminal history, having served nearly 20 years on bank-robbery and drug charges. Released from prison in 2010, he was recently sent back to jail on a parole-violation charge.
Story continues below.
"He's a stand-up guy who was trying to return the money," the lawyer said, adding that Burke did not trust or understand the more sophisticated systems for transferring cash. Instead, he chose a courier, which is what he would have done 20 years ago.
"Guys who've been away that long don't trust anybody," he said. "This guy didn't know what a cellphone was when he came out."
To date, the story has played out this way:
Coyman boarded a train in Boston on Aug. 23. A few hours later he stepped onto the platform in New York's Pennsylvania Station, where he collapsed. Efforts to revive him failed. He had suffered a massive heart attack.
In an attempt to identify him, authorities looked in the backpack he was carrying and found "two plastic bags filled with a large amount of United States currency bundled with rubber bands," according to the government's forfeiture claim. The cash totaled $179,980.
Coyman was also carrying a black briefcase.
Later, drug-sniffing dogs "alerted" to both the backpack and the briefcase, "indicating the presence of narcotics," according to the complaint filed in federal court in Manhattan.
Court documents provide few other details, but the incident is now part of an ongoing DEA investigation.
In their court papers, federal authorities said that Coyman's son William, who lives in California, was contacted by investigators and said he had no claim to the money. The younger Coyman said a friend of his father's told him his father was working for 180 Entertainment and was on his way to Philadelphia to deliver $180,000 in cash.
Investigators point out, however, that Amtrak records indicated that Coyman had purchased a ticket from Boston to New York, not Philadelphia.
Last week when asked about the source of the cash, Fedele offered the same explanation as DiLibero; the money was originally part of a deal to set up a concert. When the concert deal fell through, Fedele said, Burke decided to send the money back. Fedele said he believes Coyman was supposed to meet with a representative of the North Carolina concert promoter in New York City.
Why cash rather than a wire transfer or check?
That, said Fedele, is just one of the quirks of the "concert and club business."
"People deal in cash," he said, comparing it to politics and street money.
Fedele said he got his start in the entertainment business through the late Stephen "Eppy" Epstein, a well-known Philadelphia music producer and longtime Merlino friend. He said he met Merlino through Epstein and stayed in contact after Merlino was jailed on racketeering charges in 1999.
The 180 Entertainment company was set up to develop movie deals, he said. From prison, Merlino suggested Burke's history as a bank robber as a possibility. Merlino and Burke were fellow inmates at a federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind. Burke agreed to provide his life rights to the company in exchange for a deal that made him a partner, Fedele said.
The concert promotion was something that Burke undertook using 180 Entertainment, he said.
The company is also trying to secure the life rights to the story of a former member of the Junior Black Mafia in Philadelphia and of a Croatian nationalist Burke met in prison with Merlino.
Fedele said that he has not spoken with Merlino in a few months but that he sees him on occasion when he is in Florida. Merlino, who was released from prison last year, is living in a posh condo in Boca Raton and according to Fedele is now focused on developing and opening a restaurant in the area.
One of the cars Merlino is driving in Florida, a late-model Sonata, belongs to Fedele's mother.
"Joey said he needed a car, and my mother, who lives in Florida, wasn't using hers, so I told him he could drive it," Fedele said.
A movie on Merlino's life no longer seems possible, he added.
"Joey heard John Gotti Jr. was getting $3 million, which wasn't true, but Joey wanted $4 million," Fedele said. "That's not going to happen."


Mob Wives recap: Drita and Ramona cool their jets

Host Joy Behar had a simple request: Don't get up from the couch. She obviously never dealt with the "Mob Wives" before because they're not known for playing by the rules. Part two of VH1's Reunion special picked up right where last week left off. Drita screamed in a rage off the set with Ramona verbally fueling the fire and Behar's horrified eyes glued to the scene of the wreckage.
"I think your anger is fine, but don't get up. Can you do that? Just stay in the seat. Because talking is not harmful. Hitting is harmful," Behar pleaded softly.
Professor Carla also chimed in with some words of wisdom, "Lower your voice and speak a little nicer. You're talking disrespectful to each other."
Reunion Pt 2 5.27.12.jpgHost Joy Behar tries to cool tempers during Part Two of the "Mob Wives" Reunion special.
Drita returned with a bang after Ramona insisted she was the one creating the drama and wasn't thug enough to truly take her on.
"After the show we're fightin'!" Drita declared.
Renee chided Behar to silence the madness once and for all. Voilà. Situation diffused.
Behar wasn't able to figure out why Drita was so incensed by Ramona playing referee at Renee's birthday bash. Nor could she get Drita and Karen to agree on what a friendship entailed.
She moved on to their love lives and had Carla's husband Joe and Karen's "baby daddy," Dave join the set for discussion. Joe revealed his opinion of "Mob Wives" as an over the top show, but said it is a hit back in the slammer. The women agreed Carla would eventually get back with the charmer Joe despite his cheating ways and affinity for younger women. After all, Carla is his, "number one. The girlfriend is number two."
Karen and Dave's future might not be rosy dosy as the two continued to disagree on whether settling down on Staten Island was the best move for the family. Being in prison for ten years of their relationship and having a fling with a correctional officer also is a bit of a damper.
Behar prodded them about the challenges of raising children as single mothers while their men were in jail and keeping their rage-a-holic tempers in check.
So who dropped the most f-bombs this season? That would be Renee with a total of 407 expletives according to VH1's swear counter as they cued up the footage.
The show's breakout star of smiles, Big Ang, finally got to delve into her past jail time.
Driving down Richmond Road on her way to a hot date one night, her car was surrounded by cops yelling at her to get out of the vehicle. She was busted for possession and the sale of cocaine after a close friend cooperated with the police or in their terms "ratted." She spent most of her time serving under house arrest though and wasn't super fond of the ankle bracelet.
Behar then proceeded to beat a dead horse –again –by revisiting Karen's book and the feud between Drita and Ramona.
Allegedly, the schism was due to Drita trying to block Ramona from joining the cast. Drita denied it but did say she wanted to block a major problem.
In her quiet, "Godfather manner," fiery eyes and legs innocently crossed, Ramona remarked on their future relationship with one another, "I'll keep it cordial. You don't bother me. I don't bother you."
It seems the ladies reached a détente...until Season Three that is.

Quotable: "I'd rather tangle with the Taliban." – Joy Behar


Mob Wives recap: Drita walks off Reunion special

Remember when the 'Mob Wives' peacefully broke bread at Big Ang's behest? Well, the smiles and hugs all went out the window in the first of two reunion specials.
Joy Behar was tasked with interviewing the women and making sense of the senseless of the past season. The View co-host has shared a table amidst catfights in her day, but probably none of such unstable magnitude.
Behar eased her way in with the event that – according to her – "left all of Staten Island stunned": Junior Pagan's takedown of his father-in-law. A potpourri of video clips recapped the betrayal that left Renee in tears which culminated in "The Feds are taking my dad!"
mw reunion 5.20.12.jpgOld wounds were reopened in Part One of the 'Mob Wives' Reunion
Jennifer Graziano, Renee's sister who is the show's creator and executive producer, also joined the cast on the set to answer questions. As far as the "selfish, self centered, evil" Junior is concerned, neither of the sisters have spoken to him since he worked as an FBI informant to take out their father and close friends. Apparently, he had used his watch to wear the wire.
So that's why Junior didn't exactly jump for joy at the new fancy watch Renee bought him for his birthday. Great job by Detective Behar.
Renee dropped a bomb rather nonchalantly that she was pregnant during the ensuing drama.
"Because of all this I miscarried back in January. That's actually why I ended up in the hospital," Renee revealed.
Though her sister Jenn momentarily questioned whether to keep the cameras rolling, her sister was already comfortable having her life as open as a book.
Other revelations from the reunion: The ladies think their colorful language must be a product of "the water in Staten Island."
Nothing bothers Big Ang, because she doesn't want to "die from the stress." She does like everything big though and doesn't mind being a size 36 J.
How did she avoid all those fights?
"I left," she said with her trademark throaty laugh.
Behar couldn't quite wrap her head around the ladies knack for violence and feuding. With friends like these, who needs enemies?
Renee was ready to crack Carla's head open in the beginning of the season after she neglected to call her during the rough ride in the hospital.
"I'm oversensitive, over emotional. I'm over the top," Renee conceded. But if Carla wasn't so darn calm, she wouldn't have gotten under Renee's skin so much.
Of course Ramona and Karen got on Carla's case for being Pro-Drita and they weren't fans of her comments after watching the season air back either.
With the sudden eruption of bleeps, it was hard to decipher what exactly they were screaming about. Did Carla have some sort of dirty dealings with Karen's uncle?
Behar saved the infamous Celebration of Life party for last.
Big Ang hoped it could be a venue for Drita and Karen to talk out their problems. Jenn was assured by both cast mates it wouldn't get physical. Yeah right. They couldn't even rehash it without going wild.
"I saw your body language, that's why I went over there. You're cuckoo. She's cuckooer," Ramona explained.
Drita didn't like the explanation and was certain Ramona came in the middle that night to rile her up. Mission accomplished, once again.
"I could have brought many people there for me and they would have unleashed like beasts," Drita shouted with flames in her eyes.
She and Ramona popped off their respective couches screaming while the other women stood to get in between the melee.
Behar sat back stunned, pathetically asking them to let Karen speak, and beckoned Drita who walked off, to come back.
In part one of the Reunion special, the fuse was lit. For part two, expect it to blow up.


Colombo associate accused of beating driver for honking horn

The city will hit you with a $350 ticket for horn honking — but the mob really makes you pay.
In a scene right out of “GoodFellas,” mafioso Edward “Tall Guy” Garofalo Jr. allegedly turned a truck driver’s face into a bloody pulp when he dared honk his horn while the Colombo associate was chatting with a family capo.
With a build that’s a cross between an NFL linebacker and a commercial-grade refrigerator — and a fuse as short as Joe Pesci’s in the classic mob movie — Garofalo dislikes anything that can be interpreted as disrespect.
Brooklyn federal prosecutors say that Garofalo and Colombo captain Theodore “Teddy” Persico Jr. — at whose upcoming racketeering trial the feds want to tell the tale of mob violence and intimidation — were standing at a Mafia-run trucking firm back in 2004, where they were chatting with a driver who was sitting in his cab.

That’s when a second driver drove up to the Spencer Avenue facility on Staten Island and began “repeatedly honking his horn,” Assistant US Attorney Nicole Argentieri recently wrote a judge.
Garofalo believed that the trucker was honking at him, and so he told Persico that he “would handle the situation” personally, the feds say.
So the mobster pulled the driver from the cab, and hit him hard in the face, the feds say.
The trucker collapsed to the ground, where he lay unconscious, prosecutors say. But Garofalo kept pummeling the trucker’s face with his fist, turning it into a bloody mess, the feds say.
Garofalo and Persico slipped quietly away as an ambulance arrived.
It was one of the wiseguy moments that Garofalo later boasted about, unaware that his acquaintance was secretly taping the conversation, the feds say.
“I f--kin’ knocked out one of [the] drivers one day,” Garofalo bragged.
A supervisor at the trucking firm now tells drivers there to take heed of Garofalo and not to disagree with him, according to a transcript of the conversation.
“You know what he does, any time he sees me yell at somebody outside?” Garofalo asked.
“He goes, ‘Eddie, Eddie. No argue,’ ” Garofalo said, repeating the advice the trucking firm’s employee tells drivers.
The men can be heard laughing on the tape.
After the beating, the victim contacted police to report the assault, the feds say.
Prosecutors say that Garofalo and Persico later paid a visit to the trucker’s boss in an effort to ensure that the employer would prevent the man from testifying.
“Garofalo and Persico advised [a colleague] that, as planned, the employer had communicated a threat to the victim to ensure that he would not press charges,” prosecutors wrote the judge.
Now the feds want a government cooperator to take the witness stand and recount the beating and witness-intimidation incident at Persico’s mob trial next month.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

My dad was the Mafia's Grim Reaper

Suitors were beaten. Friends were scared away. And when a man tried to rape her, Linda Schiro learned the horrible Mafia truth . . .

It was 1983, and Linda Schiro, a 14-year-old Catholic-school sophomore from Midwood, smoked pot for the first time with her best friend, a boy from the Brooklyn neighborhood.

When her dad somehow found out, he, like any father, was upset.

But he wasn’t any father. He was Greg Scarpa, a top Colombo captain and one of the most feared wiseguys in history.

Scarpa flew into a rage, tracked down the boy and delivered a savage beating, pummeling his face into mush.

The father of the battered teen was no less angry. He took his son, whose eyes were grotesquely puffed up and nose was broken, to the Scarpa house and demanded an apology.

But Scarpa was still angry. Brushing off the father, he frog-marched the beaten boy upstairs — and made his daughter look at the boy’s mangled face.

“How he survived, I don’t know — it was a massive beating,” Schiro recalls. “Greg said, ‘See, this is what happens when you give my daughter drugs!’ ”

It worked: She never touched pot again.

“Little Linda” Schiro, now 42, has spent her life dealing with the guilt and turmoil of being the daughter of a mobster. She’s working on a memoir and agreed to sit down with The Post for a sneak peek of what she calls “my twisted tale.”

Her dad was a legendary character who bragged that he stopped counting his murder victims when he reached 50. Among his nicknames were “The Grim Reaper” and “The Mad Hatter.” He called himself “The Killing Machine” and signed letters to his family “KM.”

Schiro grew up seeing it all, knowing he made millions dealing drugs, running numbers and taking bets, through loan-sharking and shakedowns.

She would hear him talk about murder plots and shootouts — and learned that he worked with the FBI, doing dirty jobs for the bureau and getting a free pass on a spate of killings during the bloody internal war that engulfed the Colombos during the 1990s.

“It was like growing up with a serial killer,” says Schiro, who believes her father’s murder victims included Scarpa’s own brother, Sal, her uncle.

“He could transform himself. He could go kill someone and five minutes later he’d be home watching ‘Wheel of Fortune’ with my brother and me.”

The most brutal story, one that haunts her to this day, came the same year she witnessed the revenge on her pot-smoking pal.

Schiro had just started her sophomore year at Bishop Ford HS in Windsor Terrace when a car-service sedan pulled up one morning to take her and her younger brother Joey to school.

“My brother was sick that day,” she says. “The driver was Spanish, the same guy who drove us almost every day. He said, ‘Why don’t you sit up front, if you’re all by yourself.’ ”

Schiro, who went by the nickname “Little Linda” — her mother being “Big Linda” Schiro — had dressed for school in a buttoned-up blouse, miniskirt and leggings. She innocently hopped in.

But when the driver, Jose Guzman, pulled over at a secluded section of Prospect Park and killed the engine, an assault began.

“He ripped the buttons on my shirt and started licking my hand. He was all sweating, breathing on my neck. It was disgusting. I told him, ‘It doesn’t have to be this way. We could meet after school.’ ”

That quick lie saved her from a rape. She called her mother from the school, sobbing.

“I was hysterical crying. My mother went to the car service with a knife and threatened the dispatcher. I locked myself in my room.”

Scarpa had other plans.

He grabbed a cane, posing as a customer in need of a ride at the car service on McDonald Avenue, then demanded that the dispatcher reveal who drove his daughter — or else.

He and his crew sped to Guzman’s house in Sunset Park, where Scarpa turned on the charm, convincing the driver to come out and walk with him to the park.

That’s where the crew pounced, breaking Guzman’s nose, wrist and ribs. Scarpa hammered at him so furiously, he shattered his cane.

“I should have killed the motherf--ker,” Scarpa said, according to a witness.

Which his team later did — by calling the service for a car for two straight weeks until Guzman finally turned up behind the wheel.

He was shot dead, pleading for his life, by Scarpa’s oldest son, Greg Jr., in broad daylight in the middle of 62nd Street in Bensonhurst. Nobody saw nothin’. No one was ever charged.

When her dad got the call that the job was done, he calmly told her all would be OK.

“He said I didn’t have to worry about that guy anymore — he was gone,” Schiro recalls. “I looked at him and said, ‘What do you mean?’ ”

She soon found out.

The posse that carried out the hit gathered in the living room at the Scarpa family home on Avenue J, and she overheard them discussing how it went down.

How the driver sensed what was about to happen, sprinted from his car and was blasted in the head.

“And I knew it was true,” she says. “It was in the papers the next day.”

And though she believes Guzman would have come after her again, she can’t shake the knowledge that it was her complaint that sealed his fate.

“It was because of me,” she says. “I went through a lot of guilt. I didn’t want him to be killed. But what was I supposed to do, not say anything?”

Others in Linda’s life felt Scarpa’s wrath for lesser transgressions, including one unlucky suitor who made the mistake of stealing a kiss on the street. Scarpa’s gang spotted this act of puppy love and gave chase.

“They went into a club and they beat him bad, and for what? I was kissing him.”

She’d had enough — and wanted out of the house.

Scarpa, after all, was only her stepfather, she believed.

Her mother was still married to Charlie Schiro, though the two had long ago separated. He had a new life in New Jersey, and Big Linda became a sort of common-law wife to Scarpa and confidante in all things Colombo.

“So I called up Charlie and told him, ‘I want to come live with you,’ ” Little Linda says. “Greg, when I told him, he broke down. He cried. I told him I hated him, and I wanted to live with my father.

“He said, ‘No, you can’t. I’m your father.’ I said, ‘How could you lie to me all these years?’ ”

The reason: Both Greg and Big Linda were still married and had to abide by strict Mafia codes. Divorce was not an option. Having children out of wedlock was out of the question, even though that’s what was going on.

After that, Little Linda, then 16, came straight to Greg with any concern or complaint.

“Before, whenever I would get into trouble, I went to my mother and she’d tell him. So I cut her out. That’s how my relationship with my father became the way it did.”

Her big secret? Nobody liked her, she told him. Even though she was an attractive 16-year-old.

“I said, ‘What’s wrong with me? Am I ugly?’ I told him no one wanted to date me. He laughed. He said, ‘Do you know who I am?’ ”

She didn’t. But within months, she learned — and came to see her father in a new light.

“My father was a different type of gangster. He let us know what was going on — street business, if they need to hit someone. It made me fear telling him things. But I was so much of a daddy’s girl. And he was extremely loving and caring towards us. He was my best friend.”

During the height of the Colombo war, when Scarpa and his crew spent day and night searching for enemy soldiers to kill, the Grim Reaper burst into the house beaming with pride.

They’d just rubbed out a major figure from a breakaway faction headed by Vic Orena, a consigliere named Nicholas “Nicky Black” Grancio.

“When he killed Nicky Black, he was so excited. That was his trophy. He said, ‘I blew his nose off his face!’ ”

But dad was harboring a secret — he also worked for the feds.

“He used to tell us he was James Bond. So I asked, ‘What do you mean, you’re an agent?’ He loved those movies. He’d say, ‘I’m Bond, Greg Bond.’ ”

A frequent guest of their home was FBI agent Lindley DeVecchio. Once, when he called, she answered. “I said, ‘Lin’s on the phone!’ And Greg said, ‘Next time, just come get me. Don’t yell his name.’ I said, ‘Why?’ He said, ‘You ask a lot of questions.’ ”

Eventually he came clean:

“He said, ‘He’s my boss.’ I said, ‘I thought you were the boss.’ He said Lin was the big boss and that I should never mention his name outside of the house.”

Years later, DeVecchio would be tried for murder — for allegedly helping Scarpa carry out assassinations. Big Linda took the stand against him, but her testimony was rocked by a recorded interview years earlier in which she claimed the agent was not involved. Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes abandoned the case.

Little Linda eventually got married, at age 21, to a banker from Long Island. Scarpa intially supported the marriage, but came to believe the husband was a threat.

“He said, ‘I want to kill him, but I need your permission. I don’t want you to live with the guilt.’

“I said, ‘You can’t do that!’ But ultimately, he was right. My husband tormented me.”

Scarpa caught AIDS during a blood transfusion, then had his eye shot out during a gangland firefight in 1992. Gaunt from illness, he went to jail after pleading guilty to three murders. In 1994, he died in federal prison in Minnesota.

Schiro calls herself a survivor, having endured abusive relationships and now caring both for her mother, an 11-year-old son and twin 9-year-old girls. Scarpa’s millions vanished.

They live in a modest apartment on Staten Island.

“I went from being completely protected to being a victim of domestic violence,” says Schiro, who recently lost her job as a liquor- and beer-sales rep.

Her supporters include her agent, Jane Dystel, who is shopping her book, and former detective Tommy Dades, who worked on the DeVecchio case and arrested 11 people involved in Joey’s murder.

“The book has been very hard for me,” she says. “I don’t want to hurt people and I don’t want to glorify this life. This life destroyed my family.”