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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Jury follows the money trail at Philadelphia mob trial


FOLLOW THE money, right?

Depending on who's talking, the money flow could appear shady or innocent.

During the federal racketeering conspiracy retrial of reputed Philly mob boss Joseph Ligambi, 74, and his nephew, onetime mob consigliere George Borgesi, 50, jurors yesterday looked at two charts showing fund disbursements to a reputed mob leader, Anthony "Ant" Staino Jr., and to Ligambi's wife, Olivia Ligambi.

The money came from JMA Industries Inc., for which Staino filed an application for a fictitious name in 2001 with the Pennsylvania Department of State. Staino was the company's president.

Under questioning by Assistant U.S. Attorney Suzanne Ercole, IRS special agent Scott Fitzpatrick yesterday walked jurors through two charts showing how a portion of $684,073 in cash deposits into JMA Industries' business account ended up in Staino's personal accounts or in checks to Olivia Ligambi.

From July 2002 to June 2009, Staino signed $285,031 in checks to himself. The majority of that money ended up in his personal checking accounts.

Meanwhile, from 2004 to 2009, $107,977 in checks was issued to Olivia Ligambi, with memos on the checks saying they were for payroll. About $90,000 of that ended up in her personal checking account. Another $13,000 in checks were cashed at a check-cashing place in South Philly.

Authorities have alleged that Joseph Ligambi, Joseph "Mousie" Massimino, the reputed underboss of the mob, and Staino set up JMA Industries as a front company to funnel illegal income from their video-poker-machine business. JMA was derived from the first initials of their names or nicknames - Joe, Mousie and Anthony, authorities have said.

During his cross-examination of Fitzpatrick, Ligambi's attorney, Edwin Jacobs Jr., made the large monetary figures on the charts seem not so huge. He noted that $684,073 over a seven-year period, from 2002 to 2009, was less than $100,000 a year.

The $285,031 in checks made out to Staino, who was listed as president and a signatory of the company, when divided over a seven-year period, came out to about $40,000 a year. For Olivia Ligambi, the $107,977 over a six-year period, came out to $17,996 a year. The checks had the proper taxes withheld and looked like proper payroll checks, Fitzpatrick acknowledged.

"You didn't see Joe Ligambi['s name] on these documents?" Jacobs asked.

"No," Fitzpatrick said.

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20131218_Jury_in_mob_case_look_at_money_flow.html#47HDMgbSqDA7QrAi.99


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