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

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

FBI agent discusses mob life at Philly trial

Joaquin Garcia was an appropriate witness for a mob trial on Halloween.

Over two years, the Cuban-born FBI agent donned the most convincing disguise: Jack Falcone, a Miami-bred thief and scam artist who became such a trusted associate that a Gambino crime family captain proposed Falcone's induction as a made member.

On Wednesday, federal prosecutors at the trial of the alleged leaders of the Philadelphia mob cast Garcia in another role. He was the professor, the expert with real-life experience enlisted to provide jurors an inside look at La Cosa Nostra and to interpret its members' conversations at secretly recorded gatherings.

Garcia described the induction process, the hierarchy, and the way the mob makes its money.

"The source of their power is intimidation," Garcia said under questioning from Assistant U.S. Attorney David Fritchey. "The source of their power is their ability to conduct violence in furtherance of their objectives."

He also weighed for jurors the significance of reputed Philadelphia mob boss Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi's trip to a North Jersey restaurant in 2010. There, Ligambi met with John Gambino, a captain representing the administration of the New York crime families.

"This is a very important meeting," Garcia said after jurors heard secretly recorded excerpts of the gathering. "You're dealing with two families coming together to meet. And the fact that the New York Gambino crime family came to New Jersey to meet with Philadelphia shows that New York is recognizing Philadelphia to be a vital La Cosa Nostra crime family."

Garcia, 60, testified as the racketeering trial against Ligambi and six others entered its third week before U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno. Prosecutors say the defendants ran a network that used threats to control illegal gambling, extortion, and loan-sharking rackets across the city.

Defense lawyers say the charges are flimsy, lack any substantive proof of violence, and are built on the word of discredited informants and criminals trying to save themselves. During earlier testimony Wednesday, Ligambi's attorney pressed another FBI agent to explain how gathering for a meal in a public restaurant was a crime.

"That's a big part of their lifestyle, isn't it? A nice lunch, a nice dinner, maybe a snack in between," quipped the lawyer, Edwin Jacobs.

At roughly 300 pounds, Garcia might not disagree. "Bottom line is that we ate more with the mob than you do on a cruise ship," he later testified, detailing the lifestyle.

Now retired, Garcia is no stranger to Philadelphia. He was stationed here in the late 1990s, working undercover to detect and disrupt drug cartel pipelines that supplied dealers in North Philadelphia. But his mob work came a decade later, when he was recruited to infiltrate the Gambino crime family.

His dark hair and imposing frame gave him a presence, but Garcia said he realized he was always in danger. Undercover work, particularly within the Mafia, "is kind of like being an actor, except the difference is you don't get second or third takes," he said.

After passing himself off as a low-level criminal, he befriended and became the driver and confidant for Gregory DePalma, a Gambino captain, and gathered intelligence about the crime families.

Garcia said he once proposed to DePalma that they work with an associate in Philadelphia, a man who he secretly knew was an undercover FBI agent. But DePalma cautioned him against getting entangled with counterparts in the City of Brotherly Love.

"He said, if you go with Philadelphia, you got to watch out, it's the wild, wild West down there," the ex-agent said.

Garcia also described for jurors the initiation ceremony, where bosses and other members gather in a circle as the newly made member stands before a table that holds a knife and a gun.

"That's symbolic," he told jurors. "That means you're going to live and die by the process of those two things."

In decades past, mobsters had to have committed a murder to be considered for induction, because killers usually couldn't also be FBI cooperators, Garcia said.

That's changed.

"The mob has morphed over the years. They realize that guys with blood on their hands have cooperated, have testified," he said. "Now, foremost you have to be an earner."

His testimony is scheduled to continue Thursday.


International rights sold for upcoming mob movie

Brian O’Shea and Nat McCormick will attend the AFM with the real-life Bonnie And Clyde thriller to star Michael Pitt and Nina Arianda.

Raymond De Felitta will direct Rob The Mob from a screenplay by Jonathan Fernandez about ex-con lovers who rob mob social clubs frequented by New York criminals after it emerges during the trial of Gambino crime lord John Gotti that such establishments are gun-free.

When they discover a comprehensive list of mob family members it sparks the interest of rival gangs and the authorities. Bill Teitler will produce the project, which is said to be in the vein of True Romance.

“We are very excited to bring this thrilling real-life tale to our international buyers,” said The Exchange founder O’Shea. “Rob The Mob is a great film to sell; it has all the right ingredients – great stars, a fantastic story and a built-in marketing angle given the film is ripped from the headlines.


County changes rules to help trash hauling firm

A sometimes controversial trash hauling firm got a boost this month from Palm Beach County commissioners. A majority instructed staff to change bidding rules so that the firm could compete for millions in county business, despite its lack of experience with the biggest jobs.

At stake are lucrative hauling contracts created as the county changes its approach to how residential garbage is handled in unincorporated Palm Beach County.

Commissioners will consider easing requirements today to allow Southern Waste Systems to compete. The company’s founder, Anthony Lomangino, once was among New York City’s largest commercial haulers, but his Palm Beach County company has limited experience picking up residential garbage.

Instead of individual companies vying to service 11 districts, the county is moving to far fewer districts — possibly as few as three —with many more customers. The move, commissioners and Solid Waste Authority staff say, is meant to inject more competition by ensuring that there will be only a limited number of haulers, who will then compete by offering lower rates. Additionally, fewer haulers will result in more uniform rates.

The smaller number of haulers will be responsible for servicing tens of thousands of homes, one reason why county staffers originally wanted any winning bidder to have handled large contracts of 30,000 or more residential customers.

Southern Waste Systems handles only about 7,000 curbside households in Palm Beach County, according to the Solid Waste Authority, although the company says it services 12,500 homes in Lauderhill.

Those relatively modest numbers didn’t stop commissioners from pushing to ensure it would have a shot at the business.

Despite concerns expressed by the waste agency’s staff, commissioners agreed with Southern Waste representatives that the experience of individuals in the firm — not the track record of large accounts — should count.

Staffers cautioned that the company hasn’t demonstrated its ability to handle contracts of this size and argued that even with experienced managers, it was essentially a start up.

“It’s very likely that if you relax standards too far, someone is going to fall on their face,” said one.

Commissioners weren’t buying it.

“This is like saying if Lee Iacocca started a new company to build cars we would turn him down because (the company) has no previous experience,” Commissioner Burt Aaronson said at an Oct.10 workshop. “I don’t buy that all.”

Aaronson said he was not familiar with the company, but added, “People who have experience and people who have the financial wherewithal should be entitled to bid.” Commissioners Karen Marcus, Shelley Vana, Priscilla Taylor and Steven Abrams made similar comments of support for opening bidding to Southern Waste.

“It goes back to people,” Southern Waste Vice President Patti Hamilton said. “It always goes back to people.” She and company lobbyist Ken Pruitt, a former state Senate president, have urged the change.

Lomangino, who started Southern Waste in Lantana in 1999, was the first to launch wide-scale construction debris recycling in New York in the 1970s. He grew his family’s business into one of the largest commercial haulers in the city.

At the time, New York’s commercial waste hauling was tightly controlled by trade associations, which carved the city into districts. Some associations used violence and intimidation to force out competitors and rig bids, keeping commercial rates in that city among the highest in the nation.

The trash-hauling groups were the target of a sweeping series of indictments in the mid-1990s. Lomangino was never charged with wrongdoing. “Anthony Lomangino has never been charged with a crime, never indicted and really the reason why he left New York is because he wouldn’t play that game with the cartel people,” said Bruce Rogow, Southern Waste’s attorney.

Lomangino sold his business for about $200 million to Waste Management Inc., which kept him on. In 1997, trade industry reports said that Lomangino left that company because the New York City Trade Waste Commission had balked at approving its license.

He left because regulators “floated” the idea of requiring the company to hire an internal monitor, a burden Lomangino did not want to put the company through, said attorney Amy Galloway, who also represents Southern Waste.

The controversy surrounding the indictments — and Lomangino’s Italian nationality —worked against him, Galloway said. “It was obviously continuing to dog him in the sale of his company so the man did … seemingly made a business decision, which was, you know what? Let me just go ahead and step aside so there is no power or shadow that is going to continue to create expense or further resource commitment to your moving forward.”

Lomangino no longer has an affiliation with Waste Management, which does residential business in Palm Beach County.

Lomangino moved to South Florida and created Southern Waste. Among Southern’s key employees is Anthony Badala. In 2005, Badala was one of 23 arrested in a Broward County crackdown centering on Bonanno crime family captain Gerard Chilli. At the heart of the investigation were allegations of loan sharking, stock market scams, offshore sports betting and stealing $300,000 worth of liquor, salmon and veal.

Badala was charged with racketeering and bookmaking. The charges were dropped. Instead, Badala entered a plea of guilty to gambling for money and was sentenced to six months of probation. “That does not make him part of the folks who were running that bookmaking organization or entity in any respect,” Galloway said. “He was ultimately found guilty of placing a bet, not being part of any family or criminal enterprise.”

The company has racked up successes. As part of a joint venture, it was instrumental in opening parts of Broward County’s garbage operations to competition. Sun Recycling, an affiliated company, is the region’s top construction debris recycler. And Southern Waste has won contracts to service municipalities in Palm Beach County, including Pahokee and South Bay.

Success hasn’t come without bumps. Last August, the city attorney for Miami wrote that Southern Waste had failed to comply with its contract “in numerous respects, including, but not limited to, the payment of all franchise fees due to the city.” In 2010, Miami auditors determined Southern Waste had not paid $36,704 in franchise fees. Those fees subsequently were paid. In Miami Beach in 2011, Southern paid $13,647 in franchise fees after auditors found a shortfall.

A similar problem had cropped up in 2006 in Martin County, where Martin terminated its franchise agreement in part because Southern had not paid roughly $19,392 in franchise fees, according to county documents. The county eventually agreed to a payment of about $3,000, said Galloway, and granted the company another franchise.

In Broward in 2007, that county’s environmental protection department slapped Sun Recycling with a fine of more than $280,000 for illegal dumping. Sun already had begun to clean up some sites, but in justifying the six-figure fine, the hearing officer wrote in 2007 that, “The evidence reflects a history of noncompliance.” Galloway, who describes the resolution to the dispute as “cooperative,” said “Sun stepped up” to accept responsibility, and in a later finding, the same hearing officer said Sun’s work on remedying the problem was commendable.

The Sun Recycling plant drew complaints in 2010 from residents of the Osborne neighborhood in Lake Worth of noise, odors, vibration and dust that triggered health problems. A consultant hired by Southern Waste concluded the offshoot of debris processed at the plant did not exceed federal guidelines, and in 30 inspections by Solid Waste Authority staffers, only one violation was found.

County Commissioner Abrams, who is chairman of the county’s Solid Waste Authority, said he wasn’t concerned about Sun’s Palm Beach County plant. “They resolved the issues promptly,” Abrams said.

But it’s not complaints that worried county staff. It is the smaller size of Southern Waste’s current residential contracts. If it wins one of the contracts for county services, it could be serving as many as 90,000 customers.

“It’s really a scale issue,” SWA Managing Director Dan Pellowitz said.

Still, at the commission’s direction, the staff revised its requirements to allow Southern Waste to bid. Previous requirements called for a hauler to service at least 30,000 residences before it could be considered. The requirements to be considered today have no minimum.

That’s not a problem, said Southern Waste’s Hamilton, who expressed confidence that the company could quickly buy enough trucks to handle the work. The main point, she said, is the opportunity to bid. “We aren’t guaranteeing that we are coming in with the lowest price and we may not win, but we just want the opportunity to participate.”


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Godfather upgrades security after returning to Montreal

Embattled former mob boss Vito Rizzuto is preparing for battle,sources told QMI Agency.

He recently acquired an armoured vehicle that cost over $100,000,according to a source.

Moreover,sources told QMI Agency that he is officially living in Montreal in a well-guarded downtown apartment.

Rizzuto was let out of a US. prison after serving eight years for a mob triple-murder in 1981. His father Nick Rizzuto Sr.,Vito's son Nick Jr. and several other associates were murdered while he was in prison.

It was unclear if the former Don planned to return to Montreal after serving his U.S. sentence. However,sources told QMI Agency that Rizzuto was spotted at least twice in the northern part of the city since his release from prison.

One of those sightings was during a visit Rizzuto allegedly made to a northern Montreal dentist a few days ago.

Police investigation expert Richard Dupuis told QMI Agency that the news of the bullet-proof car and the home in the city’s core should be understood in three important ways.

“First,(Rizzuto) knows his life is in danger and he wants to protect himself,” Dupuis said. “Secondly,he wants to stay in Montreal. And thirdly,is he not an easy prey.”

The 66-year-old's return to Canada coincided with another round of mysterious firebombings to several Montreal businesses. The recent attacks came as no surprise to experts who had predicted a spike in violence once Rizzuto was let out of a U.S. prison.

Sources told QMI Agency that the city’s police are waiting for the bullets to start flying.

Mafia experts have also told QMI Agency that the next few days will likely be critical with regards to any possible changes to the power scheme of organized crime in the city.


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Sports betting software used by four NY mob families created by Arizona couple

An Arizona couple’s sports-betting software made them $20 million in licensing fees — and the mob more than $1 billion in illegal gambling proceeds, law-enforcement sources say.
Robert Stuart, 53, and his wife, Susanne, 50, accused of creating and licensing software used in illegal sports betting from California to New York, were hauled in handcuffs yesterday into a Manhattan court.
Each faces a single count of felony promoting gambling, although their company, Extension Software, licensed the software only to bookmaking operations based in Costa Rica, the Caribbean and Canada — where such betting is legal.
Susanne Stuart’s brother, Patrick Read, 53, is similarly charged. Prosecutor Michael Gates told Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Bonnie Wittner that the defendants made at least $2.3 million in three years — but their real haul is 10 times that, a source told The Post.
Sources say New York’s four crime families — the Gambinos, Bonannos, Luccheses and Genoveses — are among the biggest users of the software, even if they don’t license it directly from the Stuart family.
The software “allows the mob to move out of the back rooms of Bensonhurst and into offshore gambling and the 21st century,” a law-enforcement source said.


Friday, October 26, 2012

Hot tempered mobster to plead guilty to drug and gun charges

Robert Gentile, the mobster locked in a standoff with federal authorities over hundreds of millions of dollars in artworks stolen from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, might plead guilty Monday to drug and gun charges.

The admission would put the hot-tempered Genovese crime family soldier in prison for about four years. But it was unclear late Friday whether Gentile, 75, whose relationship with authorities has been a stormy one, was prepared to concede guilt to all the charges in the deal proposed by the U.S. Attorney's office.

He was scheduled for an appearance Monday morning at U.S. District Court in Hartford. Even if Gentile decides to admit guilt to everything, the admissions aren't likely to resolve the government's interest in him.

Authorities suspect that Gentile, of Manchester, has information that could crack the $500 million Gardner case, the world's richest and most notorious art heist.

Two men disguised as police officers talked their way into the museum about 1:30 a.m. on March 18, 2000, and shocked the art world. They bound the museum's two security guards, battered priceless paintings from their wall mounts and frames, stuffed the canvases into a little red car and disappeared.

Among the stolen masterpieces are three Rembrandts — including his only known seascape, "Storm on the Sea of Galilee" — a Vermeer, a Manet and five drawings by Degas.

Gentile — white-haired, overweight and unable to walk without a cane — claims to know nothing about the Gardner heist or the missing masterpieces. He accuses the FBI of exaggerating his reputation as a criminal and building minor drug and gun cases to leverage him into producing information he doesn't have.

"Lies, lies," Gentile hissed during an earlier appearance in court. "It's all lies."

Over half a century, Gentile has had a reputation in Hartford mostly as a hustler and a thief, according to a variety of law enforcement and underworld sources. But in the past decade or so, federal authorities have developed information suggesting that Gentile's interests might have been wider than originally thought, the same sources said.

The new information suggests that, in the 1990s, Gentile began traveling regularly to Boston. He became a made, or sworn, member of a crew of the Genovese crime family operating in Boston in 1998 at age 62, according to law enforcement and other sources.

While in Boston, he also became associated with the crew of gangsters in Dorchester that included the FBI's best suspects in the Gardner job, according to the same sources.

The Gardner investigation has focused on Gentile since about 2009. He and members of his family have repeatedly met with federal investigators or appeared before a federal grand jury since 2010.

Federal authorities won't discuss any specific allegation against Gentile.

"The government has reason to believe that Mr. Gentile had some involvement with stolen property out of the district of Massachusetts," Assistant U.S. Attorney John Durham said during a hearing at federal court earlier this year.

Gentile's lawyer, A. Ryan McGuigan of Hartford, declined to discuss the case but has said in the past that Gentile knows nothing about the stolen art.

After months of denials by Gentile of any knowledge of the stolen Gardner paintings, federal authorities in February charged him with illegal possession and distribution of prescription painkillers. He is accused of selling pills in 2011 to an informant working for the FBI.

After his arrest on drug charges, he was charged as a felon in possession of firearms and silencers when searches of his modest ranch house turned up what a federal magistrate called a "veritable arsenal" of explosives, guns, silencers, handcuffs, brass knuckles and other weapons.


Witness explains why he wore a wire against the mob

Deep in debt and unable to pay, Michael F. Orlando Jr. had a proposal. He asked his South Philadelphia loan shark if he might earn credit - and good will - by working as a street collector.

But the alleged shark, Damion Canalichio, nixed the idea. Orlando's loan wasn't his to forgive, Canalichio said. It belonged to "Stevie and Joey," shorthand that Orlando took to mean reputed mob boss Joseph Ligambi and a lieutenant, Steve Mazzone.

"It's Uncle Joe's money?" Orlando asked in the 2002 conversation, recorded by the FBI.

"Yeah," Canalichio said.

Federal prosecutors on Friday played that tape - and a handful of others - in a bid to persuade jurors that even the smaller loans were part of a larger organized gambling, extortion and loan-shark racket controlled by Ligambi and his associates, and that the money flowed up.

The testimony came on the second day of Orlando's coming out as a government cooperator at the trial for Ligambi, Canalichio and five others. It was also his first day of cross-examination, and the lawyers pounced.

Under questioning from Ligambi's lawyer, Orlando conceded he was never beaten over his mounting debt, and that he never saw Canalichio or others on trial beat someone else who owed them money. He also agreed that tough talk and name-dropping is routine in South Philly, the false currency that people trade to get things done.

The lawyer, Edwin Jacobs, Jr., suggested that Orlando deliberately inserted Ligambi's name into the conversation that day, when Canalichio could have been referring to someone else named Joey.

"You were a cooperating witness for the government, and you knew darn well what they were trying to do was get something on tape that implicated Joe Ligambi," Jacobs asserted.

Orlando denied it.

"I was not instructed to use his name, Uncle Joe," he said "That's not true."

Often looking toward the defendants, Orlando, 45, has portrayed himself as tortured over the decision to cooperate.

Canalichio, he said, was "a dear friend." Reputed underboss Joseph "Mousie" Massimino had his utmost respect, "treated me very well" and may have intervened to keep one particularly aggressive loan shark off his back.

But Orlando told jurors he felt like he had no choice after learning in 2001 that his half-brother had been wearing a wire and gathering evidence against mobsters, including when he paid off some of Orlando's debts.

The defense lawyers have argued the case is built on fabrications from criminals trying to save themselves.

At the time he began cooperating, Orlando owed thousands of dollars to several sharks, loaned at 30 percent interest that compounded weekly.

"One of the reasons you had debt was because you're a complete gambling degenerate, isn't that right?" said Canalichio's lawyer, Maggie Gross, delivering a point Orlando didn't contest.

Jacobs noted that Orlando had admitted staging a fake auto accident, running a credit scam, selling drugs and robbing a drug dealer - but that none of the proceeds went to the defendants who prosecutors contend controlled South Philadelphia crime.

He parsed the plea agreement, one that Orlando signed with prosecutors after being charged in the credit scheme almost a decade ago. He faced up to 16 months in prison under federal sentencing guidelines, but ended up getting probation.

"The bottom line is that for the bank fraud, drug dealing, the robbery, bogus auto accidents . . . The total time you did in jail is what, zero? Not a day in jail?" Jacobs asked.

"I put my life at risk just wearing a wire," Orlando said. "I put my life at risk here today testifying. That's enough to do. For the rest of my life I have to look over my shoulder."

"But not one day in jail, right?" Jacobs shot back.

"Not one day in jail," Orlando conceded, "but maybe a bullet in my head someday."

Orlando has spent nearly a decade in the witness protection program. He said he is married with children and a steady job in another state.

"Can you ever come back to Philadelphia?" Assistant U.S. Attorney John Han asked.

"Absolutely not," Orlando said. "What I'm doing here today will be my death sentence."

His testimony is scheduled to resume Tuesday.


Whitey Bulger's lawyers request eight month trial delay

Lawyers for Boston mobster James "Whitey" Bulger asked a judge Friday to delay his trial by eight months.
Bulger, the former leader of the Winter Hill Gang, is charged with playing a role in 19 killings.
His trial is scheduled to begin in March, but his lawyers have said they cannot be ready by then because they are reviewing more than 300,000 documents turned over by prosecutors. They have asked that the trial be moved to November 2013.
Bulger's lawyers say in court papers filed Friday that the current trial date infringes on Bulger's constitutional rights to effective counsel and due process.
James "Whitey" Bulger
Bulger's lead attorney, J.W. Carney Jr., has repeatedly complained that prosecutors have turned over documents in a disorganized fashion. Prosecutors have accused Carney of using stall tactics.
Bulger fled Boston in 1994 and was captured last year in Santa Monica, Calif.
The defense says Bulger, now 83, was an FBI informant who had immunity to commit crimes while he was providing information about the Mafia, his gang's main rival. In court papers filed this week, Carney identified former U.S. Attorney Jeremiah O'Sullivan as the federal official Bulger claims gave him immunity. O'Sullivan died in 2009.
Prosecutors say Bulger never received immunity from anyone.
A spokeswoman for prosecutors could not immediately be reached for comment on Bulger's request for a delay.

Gambino mobster wins big at Atlantic City and Las Vegas poker tournaments

A Gambino wiseguy charged with conspiring to distribute marijuana went after a different kind of pot in Atlantic City and Las Vegas, law enforcement sources say.
While Drug Enforcement Administration agents probed his alleged buying and selling of several pounds of marijuana, Lee Fama, 44, won thousands in casino poker tournaments.
Fama hauled in $22,000 in three poker tourneys at the Borgata in Atlantic City this year, and $666 at a tourney during the summer at Las Vegas’s Rio hotel, poker Web sites report.
Fama, of Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, is not on the list of 266 people excluded from New Jersey casinos. Nor is he on the much shorter list of people excluded from Nevada casinos.
Casino exclusion rules differ in the two states. New Jersey can bar “a career or professional offender.”
Nevada’s rules are more lenient — a spokesman for the Nevada Gaming Control Board said the state probably wouldn’t bar a convicted criminal from gambling, but might bar that person from operating or working in a casino.
Fama was arrested on the conspiracy charge Tuesday, and is expected to be released on bail later today.
In August 2011, Fama was caught on wiretaps buying two pounds of “high quality” marijuana from the cooperating witness, says a DEA affidavit.
In November, Fama sold another pound of marijuana to the same witness, the affidavit said.
His lawyer, Fred Sosinsky, said he's going to fight the drug charges, and denied his client is a made member of the Gambino family. A law-enforcement source say he is.

Son of Vinny Gorgeous busted in $50 million sports betting ring

MORE THAN two dozen people are behind bars — including the son of reputed mafia boss “Vinny Gorgeous” — after authorities busted up an illegal sports gambling ring, authorities announced Thursday.
The mob-connected ring stretched across five states and manipulated sports betting lines set by Las Vegas oddsmakers, officials said.
“Internet gambling has been compared by many to the crack epidemic of the early ’80s,” said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, adding that the enterprises are often connected to other violent crimes.
The arrests, announced with the unsealing of a 250-page indictment, came after an 18-month probe of the massive enterprise that netted more than $50 million in wagers on various sporting events.
One of the suspects cuffed was Vincent Basciano Jr. — the son of Bonnano crime family boss Vincent  “Vinny Gorgeous” Basciano, who is serving two life terms in prison for two murders. Eight of the 25 people collared lived in Queens.
The busts resulted in the seizure of property and more than $7.6 million in cash and gambling chips, authorities said.

Gambino wiseguy takes Mob Wives boyfriend along on a drug deal

There's more man trouble for the "Mob Wives."
A reputed Gambino wiseguy took a boyfriend of "Mob Wives" star Carla Facciolo’s along on a drug deal in Staten Island, according to court papers.
Lee Fama was busted Wednesday after allegedly selling a pound of marijuana to an informant, but Facciolo's purported love interest is referred to in the complaint only as "co-conspirator 1."
Fama showed up with an associate on Aug. 17, 2011, but the informant — who was secretly recording the conversation — didn't recognize the person.
"Who's the kid?" he asked Fama, according to the complaint.
"That's the mystery boyfriend, Carla's boyfriend," Fama replied.
The informant admitted he doesn't watch the show much.
"From 'Mob Wives?'" he pressed.
Fama acknowledged that was the guy and added Facciolo's co-star Renee Graziano was always yakking about the boyfriend.
Last season, the show was rocked by the real-life revelation that Graziano's ex-husband, Hector Pagan, was a rat and secretly taped incriminating conversations with her father, Bonanno capo Anthony “TG” Graziano and other gangsters.
Claudia Mora, a spokeswoman for Facciolo, said the so-called boyfriend might be someone Facciolo dated during the show's first season.
"Carla's trying to find a boyfriend," Mora told the Daily News. "She hasn't had a boyfriend in years."
Defense lawyer Fred Sosinsky denied the allegation in the complaint that Fama claims he is an inducted member of the Gambino crime family.

Witness points out wrong defendants during mob trial

Growing up in South Philadelphia, Michael Francis Orlando Jr. dreamed of following in his father's footsteps.
He wanted to join the mob.
Orlando's dad was a bookmaker and loan shark. But the son set his sights higher. He sold pot and cocaine, robbed a drug dealer, staged fake accidents, and ran a credit-card fraud scheme.
Orlando hoped to impress the local mob leaders, but instead ended up in their debt, unable to make his $150 weekly interest payment.
One day he woke to find his car windshield smashed. On another, an enforcer paid his 85-year-old grandmother a friendly visit that Orlando interpreted as a threat. If he didn't pay, Orlando knew, he would get beaten - or worse.
"That's how things get done, through violence and intimidation," he told a federal court jury Thursday.
Orlando, 45, was the second in a string of FBI informants and insiders expected to testify at the racketeering trial of reputed Philadelphia mob boss Joseph Ligambi and six codefendants.
Armed with more than 15,000 recordings and 9,000 surveillance reports gathered over a decade, prosecutors are trying to persuade jurors that the men ran extensive gambling, extortion, and loan-sharking operations across the city and beyond.
Defense lawyers have portrayed the accusations as overblown fabrications, built on the word of untrustworthy turncoats trying to cut deals to save themselves. Orlando can expect such treatment when he faces cross-examination as soon as Friday.
Under questioning from Assistant U.S. Attorney John S. Han, he admitted his cooperation helped win him leniency in a 2003 federal fraud prosecution. That crime carried a maximum prison term of 15 years, Orlando said.
Instead, he got probation. (The sentencing order is sealed from the public.)
That fraud was one of his better "scores," Orlando testified, one that got him notice within the mob.
He had co-opted a source within TransUnion, the credit reporting agency. For a fee, Orlando would arrange for her to rewrite scores, making poor credit risks or people with a history of unpaid debts look like a safe bet.
"Did people approach you in South Philadelphia to get their credit fixed?" Han asked.
"Yeah," Orlando said, a wide smile crossing his face. "Just about everybody."
One, Albert Lancelotti, asked Orlando to fix the credit score for his uncle Michael, Orlando said. Michael Lancelotti was prominent, a "made man" within the Mafia, according to the witness.
"I said, 'Absolutely, no problem. Of course I'll take care of him,' " Orlando recalled. He didn't charge Lancelotti, and got a gracious thank-you note in return, he said.
His debts, however, eventually caught up with him.
Orlando said he owed $5,000 to Damion Canalichio, one of the defendants Orlando said he knew well.
(He said the same about another defendant, Gary Battaglini, but then twice picked the wrong man when he was asked to identify Battaglini in the courtroom.)
A decade or so ago he and Canalichio were friends, Orlando said. When Canalichio got out of prison, Orlando arranged to get him a black Cadillac, so Canalichio could be seen driving a nice car.
He also knew Canalichio wasn't shy when it came to collecting debts, and said he had heard the man talk often about giving debtors a beating.
When Orlando began falling behind in his payments, he said, he began to hear warnings from others at a deli that Battaglini ran at 19th Street and Snyder Avenue.
Orlando said he fled to New York City, where he was in hiding for about a month. One day, Orlando's brother called and told him not to worry, that he had been paying down the debts.
Soon after, Orlando returned to the area. Then his brother asked him to come to his Delaware County apartment.
There, Orlando said, his brother confessed that he had been working as an FBI informant and gathering evidence against the loan sharks. His apartment was wired, he said, and he recorded conversations and payoffs.
Orlando said the news made him so sick he vomited on the way home. In his mind, a mob turncoat or informant was "lower than a pedophile," he testified.
Then he realized he had no option but to become one.
Not long after that, Orlando walked into Battaglini's deli to make his weekly interest payment - and a recording for the FBI. Jurors are expected to hear those tapes when trial resumes Friday.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Gambler never sought witness protection after being threatened by the Philly mob

As the trial for accused Philadelphia mob boss Joseph Ligambi continues, a gambler and bookmaker — and now cooperating witness — has testified that his failure to repay money he owed to the mob resulted in threats.
But the defense today was countering the testimony of the FBI agent on the case, saying that the alleged threats were all talk and no actual violence — and making the point that the witness is still alive and well.
Henry Scipione, 55, testified earlier that he had met with alleged mobster Anthony Staino, on trial now with Ligambi and five others, and needed to make a payment of $5,600 but didn’t have a penny.
(Scipione:)  “I told him I didn’t have anything. I told him I had nothing, I used the money.  And he got real agitated.”
(Prosecutor:)  “What did he say to you?”
(Scipione:)  “He said, ‘Where’s my f—ing  money?  I should shoot you in the f—ing head,’ taking my money.”
(Prosecutor:)  “How did that make you feel?”
(Scipione:)  “Not good.”
But defense attorney Edwin Jacobs  questioned FBI case agent John Martinelli, suggesting that Scipione couldn’t be too concerned about his safety, even after his cooperation became known with the indictment.  Jacobs has pointed out through his questioning of Martinelli that Scipione has never sought relocation or witness protection, and isn’t in hiding.


Multimillion dollar sports betting ring busted in Queens

Twenty-five individuals—including three owners of a sports betting Internet website—have been indicted in five states on charges of operating an illegal sports betting enterprise in Queens County and elsewhere that profited by more than $50 million during an 18-month period by accepting wagers on various sporting events—including horse-racing and professional and college football, basketball, hockey, and baseball. In addition, dozens of search warrants and asset seizure warrants were executed in multiple jurisdictions in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and California, resulting, to date, in the seizure of real property and more than $7.6 million in cash and gambling chips.
The arrests and/or warrants were carried out by the New York City Police Department’s Organized Crime Investigation Division, the FBI’s Asset Forfeiture Section, the Nevada Gaming Control Board, the New Jersey State Commission of Investigation, the Monmouth County (New Jersey) Prosecutor’s Office, the New Jersey State Attorney General’s Office, the Pennsylvania State Police, and the Los Angeles Police Department. Furthermore, the Office of Loretta E. Lynch, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, has filed asset forfeiture warrants against the defendants’ assets.
Eight defendants were arrested Wednesday and arraigned in Queens County Supreme Court inKewGardens. Seventeen additional defendants were arrested Wednesday inNew Jersey,Pennsylvania,Nevada, andCalifornia. The defendants are all charged with enterprise corruption—a violation of New York State’s Organized Crime Control Act—as well as being variously charged with promoting gambling, money laundering, and conspiracy. They each face up to 25 years in prison if convicted.
Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said that the investigation leading to the indictment began in February 2011 when NYPD Organized Crime Investigation Division detectives developed information about an illegal sports betting operation and began a joint investigation with the District Attorney’s Organized Crime and Rackets Bureau. The investigation included physical surveillance, intelligence information, and court-authorized electronic eavesdropping.
According to the indictment, between April 13, 2011 and Oct. 18, 2012, the defendants conspired to acquire money illegally through the operation of an unlawful gambling enterprise involving the use of Internet websites that accepted bets on sporting events.
The indictment also alleges that the ring used non-traditional “wire rooms” in the form of off-shore, Internet-based gambling services—such as www.pinnaclesports.com, www.jazzsports.net/com, www.wager4you.com, and www.playhera.ag—used by bettors and agents to actually place their wagers. It is alleged that the members of the enterprise used the off-shore wire rooms to maintain the gambling accounts of numerous agents through the Internet website in an effort to evade law enforcement detection through traditional methods.
Law enforcement crackdowns on traditional mob-run wire rooms have led to the use by illegal gambling rings of off-shore gambling websites where action is available around the clock. Bettors can click on an off-shore gambling website over the Internet and be assigned individual login codes and passwords. Their wagers and win-loss amounts are recorded in “sub-accounts” maintained in the accounts of “agents.” These gambling websites typically store their information on computer servers outside theUnited States—such as inCosta RicaandPanama—and “bounce” their data through a series of server nodes in an effort to evade law enforcement.
The indictment charges that at least 15 of the defendants were “bookmakers”—Daniel Monreal and Pinnacle Sports owners Stanley Tomchin and George Molsbarger in California; Steven Diano, Jerald Branca, Kelly Barsel, Joseph Paulk, and Pinnacle Sports owner Brandt England in Las Vegas; Andrew Belardino, Michael Duong, and Gadoon Kyrollos in New Jersey; and Vincent Basciano, Jr., Edward Cappucci, Edward Iazzetti, and John Tognino in New York. These bookmakers were allegedly responsible for overseeing “agents”—such as Thomas Chiantese inNew JerseyandPennsylvania; Joseph Kornreich inNew York; and Ian Mandell and Michael Colbert inLas Vegas—whose jobs allegedly were to build a clientele of bettors who would regularly bet with the enterprise. It is alleged that the agents were the intermediaries between the bettor and the enterprise itself and were responsible for “squaring up” or “settling up” with the bettors—usually on a designated day each week—by collecting and paying out money owed.
According to the indictment, the enterprise also employed “money collectors,” “money distributors,” and “banks”—such as Paul Sexton in Las Vegas; Flora Wu and Daniel Bornico in New York; and Danny Belardino and Christian Rodriguez in New York and New Jersey—to handle the illegal flow of money between the participants of the enterprise. These individuals were allegedly responsible for the collection and distribution of illegal gambling proceeds between the bookmakers and the agents. They also allegedly transported money throughout theUnited Statesand to and fromPanamaand/orCosta Ricavia courier. It is additionally alleged that the money collectors and distributors that acted as banks were responsible for holding large amounts of money for the operation. Bookmaking enterprises use money collectors, distributors, and banks to avoid wire transfers and credit card transactions, which are prohibited by federal law for the payment and collection of gambling debts.
Alleged Bookmakers (15 Defendants)
Kelly Barsel, 42, of 9400 Tournament Canyon Drive in Las Vegas,Nevada, is charged with enterprise corruption; fourth-, third-, second- and first-degree money laundering; and fifth-degree conspiracy.
Vincent Basciano Jr., JR., 31, of732 Wilcox Ave., Bronx, is charged with enterprise corruption, first-degree money laundering, first-degree promoting gambling, and fifth-degree conspiracy.
Andrew Belardino, 50, of 30 Ridgeview Way in Allentown, NJ,  is charged with enterprise corruption; fourth-, third-, second- and first-degree money laundering; first-degree promoting gambling; and fifth-degree conspiracy.
Jerald Brancha, 67, of 5415 West Harmon Ave., Las Vegas,Nevada, is charged with enterprise corruption; fourth-, third-, second- and first-degree money laundering; and fifth-degree conspiracy.
Steven Diano, 48 of 6464 Tara Ave., Las Vegas, Nevada, is charged with enterprise corruption; fourth-, third-, second-, and first-degree money laundering; and fifth-degree conspiracy.
Michael Duong, 36, of 30 Smock Court, Manalapan, NJ, and 147-27 72nd Ave., Flushing, Queens, is charged with enterprise corruption, second- and first-degree money laundering, first-degree promoting gambling, and fifth-degree conspiracy.
BrandtEngland, 46, of 2817 High Sail Court, Las Vegas, Nevada, is charged with enterprise corruption; fourth-, third-, second-, and first-degree money laundering; first-degree promoting gambling; fourth-degree conspiracy; and fifth-degree conspiracy.Englandis an owner of Pinnacle Sports, an online sports gambling website.
Edward Iazetti, 55, of 1103 Rhinelander Ave., Bronx, is charged with enterprise corruption, first-degree promoting gambling, fourth- and first-degree money laundering, and fifth-degree conspi racy.
Gadroon Kyrollos, 34, of 12 Autumn Lane, Freehold, NJ, is charged with enterprise corruption; fourth-, third-, second-, and first-degree money laundering; first-degree promoting gambling; fourth-degree conspiracy; and fifth-degree conspiracy.
Thomas Lacerra, 73, of 685 Sheldon Ave., Staten Island, is charged with enterprise corruption; fourth-, third-, and first-degree money laundering; and fifth-degree conspiracy.
George Molsbarger, 66, of 603 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica, Calif., is charged with enterprise corruption; fourth- third-, second-, and first-degree money laundering; and fifth-degree conspiracy. Molsbarger is an owner of Pinnacle Sports, an online sports gambling website.
Daniel Monreal, 61, of 1521 Stonewood Court, San Pedro,Calif., is charged with enterprise corruption; third-, second, and first-degree money laundering; first-degree promoting gambling; and fifth- degree conspiracy.
Joseph Paulk, 35, of 3750 Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas, Nevada, is charged with enterprise corruption; fourth-, third-, second-, and first-degree money laundering; and fifth-degree conspiracy.
John Tognino, 70, of 3191 Ampere Ave., Bronx, is charged with enterprise corruption, fourth-, third-, second-, and first-degree money laundering; first-degree promoting gambling; and fifth-degree conspiracy.
Stanley Tomchin, 67, of 727 Lilac Dr.m Montecito, Calif. is charged with enterprise corruption; fourth-, third-, second-, and first-degree money laundering; and fifth-degree conspiracy. Tomchin is an owner of Pinnacle Sports, an online sports gambling website.
Alleged Money Collectors/Distributors/Banks (Five Defendants)
Daniel Belardino, 57, of 25-09 Rosalie St., Fair Lawn, NJ, is charged with enterprise corruption, fourth- and first-degree money laundering, first-degree promoting gambling, and fifth-degree conspi racy.
Daniel Bornico, 67, of 732 Naples Ave., Franklin Square,Long Island, is charged with enterprise corruption, fourth-, third-, and first-degree money laundering, first-degree promoting gambling, and fifth degree conspiracy.
Christian Rodriguez, 33, of 695 Arlington Dr., Old Bridge, NJ, is charged with enterprise corruption; fourth-, third-, second- and first-degree money laundering; and fifth-degree conspiracy.
Paul Sexton, 29, of 2708 Robust Court, Henderson, Nevada, is charged with enterprise corruption; fourth-, third-, second-, and first-degree money laundering; and fifth-degree conspiracy.
Flora Wu, 37, of 920 Union St., Brooklyn, is charged with enterprise corruption;fourth-, third-, and first-degree money laundering; and fifth-degree conspiracy
Alleged Money Collectors/Agents (Five Defendants)
Edward Cappucci, 69, of 78 Todt Hill, Staten Island,  is charged with enterprise corruption; third-, second-, and first-degree money laundering; and fifth-degree conspiracy.
Thomas Chiantese, 64, of 101-66 Verree Road,  Philadelphia, Pa., is charged with enterprise corruption, third- and first-degree money laundering, first-degree promoting gambling, and fifth- degree conspiracy.
Michael Colbert, 32, of 10098 Peak Lookout St. Las Vegas,Nevada, is charged with enterprise corruption; fourth-, third-, and first-degree money laundering; and fifth-degree conspiracy. Colbert is a vice president of Cantor Gaming, which operates seven sportsbooks inLas Vegas.
Joseph Kornreich, 60, of 21-15 80th St. in East Elmhurst, Queens, is charged with enterprise corruption, third- and first-degree money laundering, first-degree promoting gambling, and fifth-degree conspiracy.
Ian Madenll, 43, of 1885 Cape Cod Landing,  Las Vegas, Nevada, is charged with enterprise corruption; fourth-, third-, and first-degree money laundering; and fifth-degree conspiracy.   10-25-12