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

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Feds hope to nix Gambino soldier's wedding to Ramona Rizzo from Mob Wives

U.S. prosecutors are trying to keep slinky 'Mob Wife' Ramona Rizzo from marrying Gambino bigshot Joseph Sclafani before he starts a 15-year stint in federal prison.

The feds are trying to prevent a “shotgun” wedding between a convicted Gambino gangster and his “Mob Wives” moll before he goes off to serve a 15-year-sentence for cocaine trafficking.

Reputed mob soldier Joseph Sclafani is seeking a furlough from New York's Metropolitan Detention Center to visit his 73-year-old father, Augustus, who is gravely ill with liver cancer.

But federal prosecutors oppose the home visit because they suspect Sclafani, 47, and his beautiful fiancée Ramona Rizzo, 41, are plotting to get hitched to benefit the reality TV show’s storyline.

“Recent episodes center around whether [Sclafani] will be released from custody for a short period of time so that he can attend his wedding,” Assistant U.S. attorneys Allon Lifshitz and Robert Polemini wrote in documents filed in Brooklyn, N.Y., federal court.

“[Rizzo] emphasizes that the wedding plans need to be flexible because if the defendant were to be released from custody, he would be given only 48 hours notice of his release ... as a result she and the defendant are planning a ‘shotgun’ wedding that needs to come together within a short period of time,” the party-pooping prosecutors said.

The U.S. Bureau of Prisons could grant a 16-hour furlough for humanitarian reasons, which could include an overnight stay, at the Staten Island, N.Y., home of Sclafani’s parents.

Joseph Sclafani, set to do 15 years in federal prison, wants to visit his gravely ill father — but prosecutors worry the convicted mobster and 'Mob Wife' Ramona Rizzo plan to get married instead.

U.S. District Judge John Gleeson, who slammed Sclafani with the stiff sentence Aug. 17, told prosecutors he was not interested in how the “Mob Wives” show factored into the request, and prodded them to reach an accommodation for the father and son.

After consulting with U.S. marshals and prison officials, prosecutors have suggested an “extended” farewell meeting in the visiting room of the prison or the courthouse cell block. They noted Augustus Sclafani has visited his son 42 times at the MDC, most recently on Aug. 20.

Defense lawyer Tim Parlatore told the Daily News that offer was unacceptable.

“With a 15-year sentence, he’s never going to see his father again on the outside and the visiting room is not conducive to say goodbye to his father with some sense of dignity,” the mobster’s mouthpiece said.

Parlatore said there was no wedding planned and that the rules governing prison furloughs specifically prohibit inmates from getting married while they are on the emergency release. He also said there’s a provision for inmates to exchange vows in a prison ceremony, but Sclafani and Rizzo have not made that request.

Rizzo is the granddaughter of late Bonanno mobster Benjamin “Lefty Guns” Ruggiero, who lives in Mafia infamy for welcoming undercover FBI agent Joseph “Donnie Brasco” Pistone into the crime family.


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Staten Island family who snitched on Bonanno family awaits sentencing

Richard "Shellackhead" Cantarella (above) testified against Bonanno family boss Joe Massino. "The Cantarella family's cooperation was, by any measure, substantial and extraordinary, resulting in the conviction of numerous members of the Bonanno family," Assistant U.S. Attorney Amy Busa stated in court papers seeking reduced sentences for the turncoat trio.

The family that snitches together gets sentenced together.

Ex-Bonanno capo Richard "Shellackhead" Cantarella, 69, his wife Lauretta Castelli, 66, and mobster son Paul Cantarella, 42, will all be sentenced together next month in an unprecedented family affair in Brooklyn Federal Court, the Daily News has learned.

This modern Mafia family pleaded guilty to a host of crimes after their arrests more than a decade ago and subsequent decision to help the feds demolish the Bonanno crime family.

"The Cantarella family's cooperation was, by any measure, substantial and extraordinary, resulting in the conviction of numerous members of the Bonanno family," Assistant U.S. Attorney Amy Busa stated in court papers seeking reduced sentences for the turncoat trio.

Richard Cantarella is facing life in prison for three mob hits, but is more likely to get a free pass as a reward for testifying against then-Bonanno boss Joseph Massino and his successor, Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano.

Reputed mobster Joe Massino (right) during the trial of Gene Gotti (left), who was on trial with brother John at Brooklyn Federal Court.

Cantarella inducted his son as a wiseguy in 1995 and also involved his wife in laundering proceeds from extortion rackets. She was a "shield used by me" to protect himself from getting arrested, Cantarella admitted in 2007.

Their world was turned upside down Oct. 2, 2002, when the FBI busted the Cantarellas at their Staten Island home. Richard Cantarella, who became a multi-millionaire parking lot mogul after he was fired from a no-show job as a New York Post deliveryman, was facing the most serious charges.

Cantarella had killed men suspected of being rats, including Enrico Mazzeo, a corrupt deputy commissioner of the city Marine and Aviation Department who had awarded no-bid newsstand concessions to the Bonannos at the Staten Island ferry terminals.

He had resisted previous offers from the feds to cooperate, until his wife was arrested on money laundering charges and Paul became unhinged in prison, sources said.

Paul was the first to flip — but the feds needed Richard Cantarella because of his close relationship with Massino and wide knowledge of the crime family's illicit activities.

Paul Cantarella, son of Richard "Shellackhead" Cantarell.

"(Paul) Canterella's cooperation was essential to securing the cooperation of his father Richard," Busa wrote in court papers to Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis.

Castelli's role in the family's decision is described in murkier terms by the prosecutor. She pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge and agreed to transfer $805,000 in restitution to the family of a deceased extortion victim.

"She did not possess the same wealth of information as her husband and her son, (but) Castelli was willing to assist the government in whatever fashion she could," the prosecutor stated. "Simply put, without Castelli's cooperation the government would not have secured the cooperation of Richard and Paul Cantarella."

Richard and Paul Cantarella ratted out nearly three dozen gangsters from the city's five crime families and the DeCavalcante crime family of New Jersey. Prosecutors credit them with more than two dozen convictions.

Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis could sentence Paul Cantarella to 20 years in prison and his mother up to one year.

Defense lawyer James Kousouris, who cross-examined Cantarella at Basciano's murder trial in 2007, predicted the Cantarella family will never see a day in jail.

"Here again, a trifecta of cooperators will be sent home with the thanks of the government and the court notwithstanding the trail of murder and mayhem they left," Kousouris told The News.


Monday, August 26, 2013

Famous tennis match was orchestrated by the mob

Tennis star Bobby Riggs, top, and Billie Jean King are shown in action during the "Battle of the Sexes" match in the Astrodome in Houston, on Sept. 20, 1973.

The greatest woman-beats-man match in sports history could have been an elaborate, mob-set fraud, according to jaw-dropping ESPN report.

Retired tennis champ Bobby Riggs lost to Billie Jean King on Sept. 20, 1973, in a remarkably hyped event that’s still revered in the annals of the women’s liberation movement.

Artfully playing the brash male chauvinist pig, the 55-year-old Riggs lost in three straight sets to the world’s No. 2 female player of the time, King.

Billie Jean King watches her return to Bobby Riggs in the "Battle of the Sexes" match at the Houston Astrodome on Sept. 20, 1973.

Four months earlier, Riggs had easily dispatched then-No. 1 Margaret Court, making the King victory all the more stunning to 30,472 fans at the Houston Astrodome and millions more watching on TV.

A country club co-worker of Riggs believes the tennis champ threw that match under mob pressure.

Hal Shaw, fixing golf clubs after midnight 40 years ago at the Palma Ceia Golf and Country Club in Tampa, Fla., said Riggs was visited by an infamous group of organized crime figures.

Shaw insists he saw mob attorney Frank Ragano, Florida mob boss Santo Trafficante Jr. and New Orleans crime boss Carlos Marcello enter the club for a meeting with the tennis pro, according to the report.

Ragano told the men that Riggs was going to "set up two matches … against the two best women players in the world," Shaw told ESPN’s “Outside the Lines.”

"He mentioned Margaret Court — and it's easy for me to remember that because one of my aunt's names was Margaret so that, you know, wasn't hard to remember — and the second lady was Billie Jean King,” the 79-year-old Shaw told “OTL.”

"Mr. Ragano was emphatic … Riggs had assured him that the fix would be in — he would beat Margaret Court and then he would go in the tank" against King, but Riggs pledged he'd 'make it appear that it was on the up and up.'"

Riggs’ pal Gardnar Mulloy, a tennis star of the 1940s and '50s, said Riggs told him not to bet on him to beat King.

The son of 1930s tennis great Don Budge also claims his dad told him the King match was fixed.

However, both men said they don’t believe Riggs threw the famous match because bookies would have noticed any huge money going on King.

Riggs was an overwhelming pick in Las Vegas and bookies could barely entice any action on King, despite long odds.

"King money is scarce,” famed handicapper Jimmy the Greek said at the time. "King money is scarce. It's hard to find a bet on the girl."

Riggs was 77 when he died on Oct. 25, 1995.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Book on New Jersey mafia by undercover cop contains major inconsistencies

Mike Russell writes that he helped take down wiseguy Vincent "The Chin" Gigante, who is pictured here. Russell is not in this photograp

As an undercover New Jersey state trooper, Mike Russell says he infiltrated the mob and brought down dozens of wiseguys, all after taking a .32-caliber bullet to the head. It is quite the tale told in “Undercover Cop: How I Brought Down the Real-Life Sopranos,” which was released Aug. 6.
Publisher’s Weekly gave it a glowing review, writing, “This tell-all page-turner is all the better for being true.”
Except it’s not entirely true. Some important facts are at best stretched, at worst fabricated.
Mike Russell was never employed as a New Jersey state trooper, according to State Police Sgt. Brian Polite.
That isn’t to say he didn’t work with, or for, the State Police, but he was never a trooper as he claims on Page 3.
Nor was he ever a Newark cop, according to Newark Sgt. Ron Glover, as Russell claims to have been on Page 86.
Russell, in a phone interview from his home in Florida, acknowledged the error.
“The titles were bouncing all over the place,” he said, but he maintained the crux of the story is about him and the mob, not the agency he worked for.
Speaking of titles, the book refers to Russell’s state police contact James “Big Jim” Sweeney as a Master Sgt — a rank that does not exist in the New Jersey State Police.
The crux of the story, if not the details, appears to be accurate. Russell, who says he was known as “Mikey Ga-Ga,” was indeed influential in helping take down major figures in organized crime, said retired State Police Capt. Nick Oriolo, whose name is misspelled in the book.
Oriolo was his handler and described Russell’s role as more akin to a confidential informant than a trooper. That doesn’t diminish his importance in the case, the retired trooper said.
Russell did infiltrate the mob and did pass on valuable information, Oriolo said. But Oriolo estimates that only about 20 percent of the book is true. He does not recall Russell being shot in the head, which the book describes as a very emotional moment for the State Police sergeant, who was “blubbering” at Russell’s bedside.
Oriolo remembers the scene differently. He remembers Russell being beat up almost beyond recognition, but not shot in the head.
“I never talked to (Russell’s) wife about being shot,” Oriolo said. “Real-life Sopranos? This reads more like his real-life fantasy.”
Russell writes that the bullet, fired at point-blank range, did relatively little damage, entering his skull, bouncing off bone and exiting an inch above the entrance wound.
“Note to would be hitmen,” he writes. “If you’re going to whack someone, use a round that can kill.”
The book is published by St. Martin’s Press, a division of MacMillan, and the publisher is standing by the story.
Mike Russell was shot in the head, said Joe Rinaldi, associate director of publicity at St. Martin’s Press.
“Mike Russell’s publisher has every reason to believe ‘Undercover Cop’ is substantially accurate,” Rinaldi said in an e-mail. “According to Mike Russell’s account, which is consistent with the 1988 HBO documentary, Mike was a New Jersey cop who worked undercover for the New Jersey State Police. The main focus of his book is an undercover operation that resulted in numerous mobsters pleading guilty and doing jail time.”
Except — in many places — the book is not consistent with the HBO documentary in which Russell said he was a truck driver before his undercover work began, not a Newark cop. The movie, which can be found on YouTube, finds Russell saying he received 60 stitches because of the bullet wound he suffered in 1980. In the book, it’s down to 28 stitches and though the year isn’t mentioned, it is implied that it is the mid '80s.
In the documentary, Russell says he was an East Orange cop before trying something else with his life. That part checks out. He was, in fact, an East Orange cop, though his stint with that local department is never mentioned in the book.
There are other inconsistencies between the documentary and the book as well. Talking to HBO cameras, Russell says he made contact with Andy Gerardo, a top man in the Genovese crime family, after coming upon him at the scene of an auto accident where he was being attacked by “two black guys.”
In the book, the two black men are mugging Gerardo when Russell intervenes. In the documentary, this is the genesis of the undercover work. In the book, Russell has been on the job for months, looking for a way to infiltrate the mob.


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Imprisoned Bonanno soldier accuses his attorney of stealing millions from him

An incarcerated mob soldier who says his attorney stole millions from him cannot use his imprisonment as an excuse to avoid discovery.

Salvatore Puccio has about a year left from the 96-month sentence that a federal judge in West Palm Beach, Fla., handed down in 2006 after Puccio pleaded guilty to securities fraud, money laundering and conspiracy to commit arson.

Officers arrested the now 42-year-old Puccio as part of a mob sweep in Broward County that also took down Gerard Chilli, a "capo" for the Bonnano crime family. Police confiscated numerous high-powered rifles at Puccio's house, along with 18 computers allegedly purchased with illegally obtained financing.

Puccio had been a branch manager at LH Ross, the now-defunct brokerage shut down on charges that it defrauded investors of at least $11 million through sales of unregistered stock, and schemed to illegally manipulate the market in the stock of Trident Systems International. The firm's manager, Franklyn Michelin pleaded guilty and agreed to a permanent ban from the securities industry.

From prison last year, Puccio sued attorney Thomas Sclafani who had represented him on the criminal charges. The federal complaint accused Sclafani of stealing assets entrusted to him before Puccio went to prison, including $382,000 in cash and 5 million shares of Renegade Energy Corporation worth $2.5 million.

Sclafani allegedly paid himself $25,000 per month out of Puccio's account until the funds were depleted.

Sclafani moved to compel discovery, and U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Seltzer granted the request last week to prevent Pucci from using his incarceration "as a shield to avoid responding to proper requests for production."

Seltzer said that he "appreciates the difficultly that plaintiff may have in obtaining responsive documents while he is incarcerated. Nonetheless, plaintiff brought this law suit (while incarcerated) and has made serious allegations that impugn defendant's personal and professional reputation. Defendant is entitled to the requested discovery to assist in his defense." (Parentheses in original.)

If plaintiff has friends or family who may be able to retrieve responsive documents for him, he is obliged to ask for their help to comply with the order, the court said.

In his civil action, Puccio is represented by Natalie Knight-Tai of Coral Springs.


FBI team honored for bringing down the Colombo and Bonanno families

Busting up gangsters may be the stuff of a Hollywood blockbuster, but it's also the very serious — and dangerous — job of an FBI team known as C-38.

Led by Supervisory Special Agent Seamus McElearney, C-38 has been taking apart the notorious New York Colombo and Bonanno La Cosa Nostra crime families since 2008.

"The Colombo family has pretty much been decimated. They are in complete shambles and disarray," said Belle Chen, assistant special agent in charge at the FBI's New York Field Office. "The Bonanno family has been severely disrupted."

McElearney and his team, which is made up of one analyst and nine agents, spearheaded an undercover operation in January 2011 that led to the arrest of 60 members of the two crime families.

Chen described McElearney as the linchpin of the FBI's investigation.

"His experience and knowledge of the families and their culture was a key to the success of this squad," she said.

For their efforts, the Partnership for Public Service named McElearney and his team as finalists for the 2013 Service to America Medal in the Homelande Security and Law Enforcement category. The medal honors a federal employee who has made significant contributions to the public in the areas of homeland security and law enforcement.

McElearney was recently interviewed by Federal News Radio's DoD reporter Jared Serbu on In Depth with Francis Rose. He also answered the following questions about himself and his career in the federal government

What three words best describe your leadership philosophy?
Delegate, Delegate, Delegate. I'm kidding. The three best words would be lead by example.

What's the best piece of advice (or words of wisdom) you've ever received and who gave it to you?
"Stand for something or you stand for nothing." My father always taught me to fight for what you believe is right.

Who is your biggest role model and why?
My parents. As teenagers, they immigrated to the U.S. from Ireland in the early 1960s with nothing. My father provided for his family and demonstrated a tremendous work ethic for my siblings to follow. After my father's death, my mom became a pillar of strength for the family. Because of my parents, I have been able to fulfill my dreams.

What's the last thing you read and what's next on your reading list?
My readings are work related. The last one was "We Are Going to Win This Thing" by Charles Brandt. My next reading will be "Vinny Gorgeous: The Ugly Rise and Fall of a New York Mobster" by Anthony DeStefano.

What's your favorite bureaucratic phrase?
We need to cut through "the layers of red tape." Constantly trying to overcome obstacles to get the job done in a quick efficient manner.


Gambino family lawyer accused of acting like a gangster

A lawyer who was once accused of being in bed with mobsters is now accused of acting like one.

Larry Bronson — who spent 16 months in federal prison for protecting Gambino crime family strip club investments — was arrested at his East 68th Street home on charges he stalked a woman in his building and then threatened to “crack (her) head open” with a baton when she rebuffed his advances, authorities say.

Bronson, 68, allegedly was calling and texting the 42-year-old woman who lived in his building. He refused to stop when she repeatedly asked him to leave her alone, police sources said.

Finally, on July 10, Bronson allegedly crossed paths with the victim, “approached her with a baton in his hand” and “slammed the baton on a table.”

“I will crack your head open,” Bronson allegedly told his victim, according to a criminal complaint.

The fearful tenant called the cops, who charged Bronson with two counts of menacing and weapons possession.

He was arraigned and released on his own recognizance with a court date set for October.

Bronson’s first brush with the law occurred in 2005 when he was charged with intimidating dancers at the posh Gold Club strip club in Georgia. He was accused of trying to pressure them not to testify in a 2001 federal racketeering trial against the club’s owner Steven Kaplan, a Gambino crime family associate close to John A. "Junior" Gotti — a captain whose father, John, was the family's Godfather.

The sensational trial involved Patrick Ewing, the New York Knicks great, and other sports stars who were club patrons and testified against Kaplan.

According to Bronson’s 2005 indictment, he allegedly used his role as an attorney to help mobsters learn who were potential witnesses to intimidate.

Bronson eventually was convicted on tax-related charges accusing him of failing to pay tens of thousands of dollars to the IRS. He blamed his problems on depression and drinking.

Attempts to reach him and his lawyer were not successful.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Genovese gangsters plead guilty to garbage industry extortion

Joseph Sarcinella is arrested by the FBI in 1975. He is one of three alleged Mafia figures who pleaded guilty in a recent scheme to control the garbage collection industry in New York and New Jersey.

Three mobsters owned up to their trashy behavior Wednesday, pleading guilty in a scheme to control the garbage collection industry in New York and New Jersey.

Genovese crime family soldiers Dominick Pietranico, 83, Joseph Sarcinella, 79, and William Cali, 59 were among 32 accused mafia members and associates busted in January on racketeering and other charges.

The Genovese honcho known as “Papa Smurf,” Carmine Franco, has pleaded not guilty.

“I tried to get some money back from this individual I was doing business with,” Cali told Manhattan Federal Court Judge Kevin Castel while copping to extortion conspiracy.

“I made him understand if he doesn’t pay me, it wouldn’t be good … I made him a little frightened, your honor.”

But Pietranico and Sarcinella, who said he has bladder cancer, pleaded guilty to making extortionate extensions of credit.

They loaned thousands of dollars to a trash collector they met at a Bronx social club, demanding 3% a week interest with threats to charge more. It turned out the borrower was an FBI mole.

The three initially faced multiple counts carrying max sentences of 20 years in prison. But under their plea deals, they could get 24 to 37 months, their lawyers said.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Bonanno captain tells soldier to stop acting like a clown

Defendants Santoro, Vito Badamo, and Ernest Aiello in Manhattan Criminal Court, July 9, 2013.

Aging Bonnano family capo Nicky "Cigars/Nicky Mouth" Santora told his soldier to quit "acting like a clown" in a Godfather-like rebuke that was caught on wiretap, Manhattan prosecutors said Wednesday.

"You gotta start conducting yourself in a certain way, you understand?" Santora told alleged accomplice Vito Badamo, 51, who he was grooming to take over the crew, according to excerpts read by Assistant District Attorney Gary Galprin at Santora's arraignment on Viagra trafficking charges.

"When I leave, you're going to take over this neighborhood — you got to know how, what the f--k you're doing," the 71-year-old capo added.

"Acting like a clown — those days are over," Santora said. "You gotta act like you're supposed to act. You understand?"

Santora was hauled into Manhattan Supreme Court Wednesday — more than a month after his alleged accomplices — to face his latest slew of charges related to a July takedown for Viagra trafficking, extortion and other alleged mob conduct.

Members of a crew of the Bonanno Organized Crime Family (left-right) Anthony Santoro (aka "Skinny"), Anthony Urban, Vito Badamo and Nicholas Bernhard after their arrests, wait in Manhattan Supreme Court on Tuesday, July 9, 2013. The indictment charges the Capo, three soldiers and five associates with enterprise corruption, extortion, loansharking, gambling, drug dealing, gun possession and sale and perjury.

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Melissa Jackson ordered bail set for the federal inmate at $1 million bond or $500,000 cash -- an amount he will have to post upon his release from federal custody as early as October.

Galprin said Santora, who was the basis for a character in hit mob film "Donnie Brasco," was clearly in charge of a mafia crew that peddled Viagra and Cialis, and ran a lucrative racketeering business that involved rackets, gambling and loansharking.

Eight affiliates, including Badamo, a union head and Santora were charged in a 158-count indictment for enterprise corruption, grand larceny and related crimes announced by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. on July 9.

The longtime gangster, who lives in Deer Park, was also caught blabbing to 51-year-old Nicholas Bernhard, the president of Local 917 in the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, saying he would "put two holes in the head" of a family foe.

Nicholas "Nicky Cigars" Santora is escorted to his arraignment in Manhattan Supreme Court on Wednesday, August 21, 2013.

Galprin went through Santora's roughly two-dozen arrests, a rap sheet that dates back to 1966, and his most recent federal conviction in which he's serving 24 months in prison for extortion.

"Suffice it to say your honor, this defendant has an extensive serious substantial criminal record," Galprin said.

But Santora's attorney, Michael Alber, said he expects to argue that "double jeopardy" applies in this case — that he was already charged in federal court for the alleged crimes.

He also said Santora was in prison for a large portion of the time that the new alleged mob activity occurred.

"There is no direct evidence in this case to link Mr. Santora to the indictment, no direct evidence at all," he said outside the courtroom.

The case was adjourned to Oct. 1. Santora is currently on work release and in a federal halfway house, Alber said.


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Inside the life of a Chicago Outfit extortionist

It was the holiday season, but Paul Carparelli was giving an order as chilling as the Chicago winter, the feds say.

“It’s easy, f - - - ing easy,” the 44-year-old Itasca area man was allegedly recorded telling a flunky in late November 2011.

“Catch the kid outside, beat the s - - - out of him, break his f - - - ing jaw, break his arm, and leave.

“It’ll take you five minutes. . . . That’s two grand. That’s your Christmas money right there.”

For the right price, Carparelli — the alleged leader of an Outfit-connected extortion racket — for years routinely and happily arranged similarly violent attacks, according to recent court filings.

Carparelli denies any wrongdoing. The court papers, though, suggest that while the Chicago Mob has received some heavy blows from law enforcement over the last decade, it is far from dead.

Arrested with little fanfare two weeks ago, alongside eight other alleged extortionists, Carparelli was a target of a two-year undercover FBI operation that resulted in thousands of phone calls being wiretapped.

For this first time, prosecutors recently laid out how they found $175,000 cash hidden inside Carparelli’s home and other details of their probe in an unsuccessful bid to persuade a judge to keep Carparelli locked up until his trial.

They paint a picture of a foul-mouthed man who took pleasure in arranging beatings for the Outfit, kept a cache of illegal guns, dealt cocaine and boasted of his commitment to organized crime figures, including convicted bomber and Outlaws Motorcycle Club ranking member Mark Polchan and mob boss Solly DeLaurentis.

On one occasion in 2010, he traveled to Nevada to look for a beating victim on behalf of a Carol Stream printing firm, it’s alleged.

On another, in 2011, he allegedly told a pal to be discreet, so that the FBI agents would think they had destroyed the Cicero crew.

“Let them think that they did their job, pat themselves on the back, go have a beer, great job, high-five each other,” he was recorded saying.

But just last month, the feds say, Carparelli was contracted by DeLaurentis’ partner “Micky D,” who allegedly paid $10,000 for Carparelli to arrange the beating of a debtor.

“They just want you to catch him and give him a f---ing thorough beating,” Carparelli was allegedly recorded on July 5 telling an underling, who was secretly working with the FBI. “I think the guy wants his legs broke.”

In an earlier call, it’s alleged, Carparelli was recorded laughing as the underling described how he’d busted a victim’s ribs and head with a pipe and broken his arm on Lake Street.

“That’s what [the customer] wanted,” Carparelli allegedly replied.

Though the cooperating witness told Carparelli he’d overseen the attack, the FBI made sure it and other contracted beatings didn’t actually happen, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Donovan told Magistrate Judge Arlander Keys.

Donovan pointed to conversations in which Carparelli discussed his hatred of “rats,” arguing that Carparelli’s violent nature and connections would put government witnesses in danger if Carparelli were released.

But Carparelli’s attorney Ed Wanderling suggested Carparelli was all talk. “Not one person was ever struck, injured, slapped on the wrist,” he said.

Wanderling argued that following the recent death of Carparelli’s ex-wife, Carparelli is the only person able to raise his young son, persuading Keys to release his client on bond after Carparelli and his mother both put up their homes as security.

Though prosecutors appealed the ruling, a second judge, Robert Dow, released Carparelli on Wednesday, under terms that allow him to open a Bloomingdale pizza business. Dow said he was convinced that Carparelli had “violent proclivities” but was “rational” enough to understand that “returning to his pre-indictment ways while on pretrial release would be reckless.”

It remains to be seen whether Carparelli will comply.

During a 28-minute telephone conversation in 2011 in which he allegedly discussed his ambition to move up inside the organized crime world, he allegedly boasted that he’d been involved with the Outfit “all my life.”

“I’m not about to change right now,” he was recorded telling an informant. “Because this is what I’m made of, this is where I f - - - - - - come from and I’m f - - - - - - proud of it.”


John Gotti didn't want grandson to become a steroids abusing baseball player

John Gotti was a successful mobster, and he knew a thing or two about what it took to be a successful athlete: use steroids.
The crime boss was seen and heard on a surveillance video recorded in 1998 - the same year that Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa both broke Roger Maris' single-season home run record - during his time in the federal penitentiary in Marion, Illinois telling his grandson that if he wanted to be an athlete, he had to take lots and lots of steroids.
"First of all, you got to be a good liar, a good lowlife, and an imbecile,” he said from behind plexiglass on a phone to his grandson. “You gotta take steroids. You must take steroids! And anybody that takes steroids is a garbage pail."
Fifteen years later, Gotti's remarks about steroid use proved to be true as baseball has become tainted with numerous drug scandals. There was BALCO in the mid 2000's, a Bay area lab which produced performance enhancing supplements for players such as Barry Bonds, who denied ever using steroids. Then the Mitchell Report of 2007 which named 89 former and current players who were tied to steroid use.

And of course, currently the Biogenesis scanal, in which Ryan Braun, Alex Rodriguez (who is appealing his 211 game suspension) and a slew of other top major leaguers were recently suspended for using performance enhancers.
After hearing his grandfather's displeasure with him becoming an athlete, he said "Fine, then I'll be a crook," which didn't go over well with the mobster, who died in 2002.


Friday, August 16, 2013

Mob Wives Ramona Rizzo's Gambino fiance gets 15 years for drug trafficking

They'll have to cut the wedding cake with a prison shank.

The Gambino crime family fiance of "Mob Wives" star Ramona Rizzo got smacked with a 15-year prison sentence in Brooklyn federal court today for his role in a Staten Island drug trafficking operation.

Dolled up in mafia princess standards - including black stilettos, a hip hugging skirt and a shoulder baring blouse - the raven-haired Rizzo looked on tearfully from the front row as Joe Sclafani was put on ice for the foreseeable future.

Quickly masking her sorrow with a pair of oversized sunglasses, Rizzo dashed out of court after the proceeding and would not discuss how the stiff term would impact her wedding plans.

Mob Wives star Ramona Rizzo's fiance got 15 years in prison today.

Sclafani offered a meek apology to Judge John Gleeson before being sentenced and admitted that he was foolish to still play the gangster game deep into his forties.

"I showed no consideration to my family," he said. "It was just selfish. My fiance entrusted her children to me. I disappointed my son...I'm 47 and I'm still letting people down."

Rizzo - who has four children from a prior relationship - has declared her love for the incarcerated mobster and insisted that she will proceed with their wedding even if it takes place behind bars.

The granddaughter of Benjamin Ruggiero - played by Al Pacino in the film "Donnie Brasco" - Rizzo has been immersed in the mob life since her childhood and touts her experieces on the popular "Mob Wives" show.

Sclafani - who was busted for growing marijuana in Staten Island growhouses - knew Rizzo when she was just a little child and their relationship eventually blossomed.

But the tender romance didn't appear to register with Judge Gleeson who said he was only sparing Sclafani more time because of his advancing age.

"If you were younger I would give you the top of this range because you deserve it," he said, noting that Sclafani has dedicated his entire life to breaking laws.

Gleeson did ask prosecutors to grant the goon one favor - some time out of jail to see his cancer stricken father before he passes away.


Monday, August 12, 2013

Memorable quotes from the James "Whitey" Bulger trial

The following is a collection of memorable quotations from the trial of James "Whitey" Bulger, the notorious Boston crime boss who was found guilty of gangland crimes, including murder.

J. W. Carney Jr., the defense lawyer for Mr. Bulger:

“James Bulger is of Irish descent. And the worst thing an Irish person could consider doing is becoming an informant. That was the first and foremost reason why James Bulger was never an informant against people.”

John "The Executioner" Martorano, former Bulger associate who testified against him:

“Family and friends come first. My father always taught me that. The priests and the nuns I grew up with taught me that. They taught me that Judas — Judas was the worst person in the world.”

Mr. Martorano, speaking of Mr. Bulger and Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi, another close associate:

“They were my partners in crime. They were my best friends. They were my children’s godfathers. After I heard that they were informants, it sort of broke my heart. They broke all trust that we had, all loyalties. I was just beside myself with it.”

Frank Capizzi, a former gambler caught up in Bulger-related gang wars:

Q: “Did something unusual happen when you were in the car with Bud Plummer?”

A: “Unusual? A firing squad hit us. For two and a half minutes, about a hundred slugs hit the automobile, and it imploded. … Unbelievably, although I had been hit in the head, and could feel warm blood running down my neck, and excruciating pain in my back, I said, ‘Let’s get the [expletive] out of this car, Bud, come on.’ And I put my hand up, and my hand went into his neck where his head should have been.”

Kevin Weeks, a longtime Bulger associate, referring to Mr. Bulger and Mr. Flemmi:

“We killed people that were rats, and I had the two biggest rats right next to me.”

“I’ve been lying my whole life. I’m a criminal."

Mr. Flemmi, explaining that life in prison was not exactly “Club Med”:

“I would have liked the conditions to be more humane. I mean, I’m a human being. … If I fed some of that food to my dog, he’d bite me. The hot dogs were burnt. The hamburgers were burnt.”

Mr. Flemmi, referring to Mr. Bulger:

“You want to talk about pedophilia, right over there at that table.”

Hank Brennan, Mr. Bulger’s defense lawyer, cross-examining Mr. Flemmi:

“So when you use the term ‘quid pro quo,’ that’s just Latin for rat, isn’t it?”

Robert Fitzpatrick, former F.B.I. agent:

Q: Have any of your medications affected your memory?

A: “Not that I recall.”

Mr. Bulger to Judge Denise Casper:

“I feel that I’ve been choked off from having an opportunity to give an adequate defense and explain about my conversation and agreement with [former federal prosecutor] Jeremiah O’Sullivan. For my protection of his life, in return, he promised to give me immunity. … And my thing is, as far as I’m concerned, I didn’t get a fair trial, and this is a sham. And do what yous want with me.”

Fred Wyshak, assistant United States attorney:

“The concept that the government buys testimony? Well, that is just a slanderous and lowlife remark by Mr. Carney. That is not how the government works.”


Boston mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger found guilty of 11 murders while an FBI informant

James "Whitey" Bulger
James "Whitey" Bulger, the feared Boston mob boss who became one of the nation's most-wanted fugitives, was convicted Monday in a string of 11 killings and other gangland crimes, many of them committed while he was said to be an FBI informant.

Bulger, 83, showed no reaction upon hearing the verdict, which brought to a close a case that not only transfixed the city with its grisly violence but exposed corruption inside the Boston FBI and an overly cozy relationship between the bureau and its underworld snitches.

Bulger was charged primarily with racketeering, a catchall offense that listed 33 criminal acts — among them, 19 murders that he allegedly helped orchestrate or carried out himself during the 1970s and '80s while he led the Winter Hill Gang, Boston's ruthless Irish mob. The racketeering charge also included acts of extortion, money-laundering and drug dealing.

The jury had to find he committed only two of those acts to convict him of racketeering. After 4½ days of deliberations, it decided he took part in 11 of those murders, along with nearly all of the other crimes.

Bulger could get life in prison. But given his age, even a modest term could amount to a life sentence for the slightly stooped, white-bearded Bulger.

During the two-month trial, federal prosecutors portrayed him as a cold-blooded, hands-on boss who killed anyone he saw as a threat, along with innocent people who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Then, according to testimony, he would go off and take a nap while his underlings handled the cleanup.

Among other things, Bulger was accused of strangling two women with his bare hands, shooting two men in the head after chaining them to chairs and interrogating them for hours, and opening fire on two men as they left a South Boston restaurant.

Bulger, the model for Jack Nicholson's sinister crime boss in the 2006 Martin Scorsese movie "The Departed," was seen for years as a kind of benevolent tough guy who bought Thanksgiving turkeys for fellow residents of working-class South Boston and kept hard drugs out of the neighborhood. But that image was shattered when authorities started digging up bodies.

"This is not some Robin Hood story about a guy who kept angel dust and heroin out of Southie," prosecutor Fred Wyshak told the jury in closing arguments.
Bulger skipped town in 1994 after being tipped off — by a retired FBI agent, John Connolly, it turned out — that he was about to be indicted.

During 16 years on the run, Bulger was on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list. He was finally captured in 2011 in Santa Monica, Calif., where he had been living in a rent-controlled apartment near the beach with his longtime girlfriend, Catherine Greig. She was sentenced to eight years in prison for helping Bulger evade the law.

His disappearance proved a major embarrassment to the FBI when it came out at court hearings and trials that Bulger had been an informant from 1975 to 1990, feeding the bureau information on the rival New England Mafia as well as members of his own gang while he continued to kill and intimidate.

Those proceedings also revealed that Bulger and his gang paid off several FBI agents and state and Boston police officers, dispensing Christmas envelopes of cash and cases of fine wine to get information on search warrants, wiretaps and investigations and stay one step ahead of the law.

At his trial, Bulger's lawyers tried to turn the tables on the government, detailing the corruption inside the FBI and accusing prosecutors of offering absurdly generous deals to three former Bulger loyalists to testify against him.

The defense portrayed the three key witnesses — gangster Stephen The Rifleman" Flemmi, hit man John Martorano and Bulger protege Kevin Weeks — as pathological liars who pinned their own crimes on Bulger so they could get reduced sentences.

But overall, the defense barely contested many of the charges against Bulger. In fact, Bulger's lawyers conceded he ran a criminal enterprise that raked in millions through drugs, gambling and loansharking.

His lawyers did strongly deny he killed women, something Bulger evidently regarded as a violation of his underworld code of honor. And they spent a surprising amount of time disputing he was a "rat" — a label that seemed to set off the hotheaded Bulger more than anything else, causing him to erupt in obscenities in the courtroom.

Bulger's lawyers argued that Connolly, Bulger's supposed handler inside the FBI, fabricated Bulger's thick informant file to cover up his corrupt relationship with the gangster and advance his own career. At the time, bringing down the Mafia was a major priority for the FBI.

The prosecution's witnesses also included numerous drug dealers, bookmakers and legitimate businessmen who described terrifying encounters with Bulger in which he ordered them to pay up or take a beating or worse.

Real estate developer Richard Buccheri said Bulger threatened to kill him and his family if he did not pay $200,000. Buccheri related how Bulger slammed his hand on a table in anger.

"With that, he takes the shotgun that was on the table — he sticks it in my mouth," Buccheri said as spectators in the courtroom gasped.

Before the trial, Bulger's lawyers said he would take the stand and detail the corruption inside the FBI. Bulger planned to argue he was given immunity for all his crimes by a now-dead federal prosecutor. But Judge Denise Casper disallowed such a defense, and Bulger did not testify.

"I feel that I've been choked off from having an opportunity to give an adequate defense," he complained to the judge as the trial wound down. "My thing is, as far as I'm concerned, I didn't get a fair trial, and this is a sham, and do what youse want with me. That's it. That's my final word."

Bulger's life story fascinated Bostonians for decades. He grew up in a South Boston housing project and quickly became involved in crime, while his younger brother, William, rose to become one of the most powerful politicians in Massachusetts as state Senate president.

William Bulger was forced to resign as president of the University of Massachusetts system in 2003 after he testified before a congressional committee investigating the FBI's ties to his brother and acknowledged receiving a call from him after he fled Boston.

Two years earlier, William Bulger told a grand jury he did not urge his brother to surrender because he didn't "think it would be in his interest to do so."

The verdicts:

Count 1: Racketeering Conspiracy - Guilty

Count 2: Racketeering Substantive Offense - Guilty

Racketeering Act No. 1: Conspiracy to Murder Members of the Notorangeli Group - Not proved

Racketeering Act No. 2: Murder of Michael Milano - Not proved

Racketeering Act No. 3: Murder of Al Plummer - Not proved

Racketeering Act No. 4: Murder of William O’Brien - Not proved

Racketeering Act No. 5: Murder of James O’Toole - Not proved

Racketeering Act No. 6: Murder of Al Notorangeli - Not proved

Racketeering Act No. 7B: Murder of James Sousa – Not proved

Racketeering Act No. 8: Murder of Paul McGonagle – Proved

Racketeering Act No. 9: Murder of Edward Connors – Proved

Racketeering Act No. 10B: Murder of Thomas King – Proved

Racketeering Act No. 11: Murder of Francis “Buddy” Leonard – Not proved

Racketeering Act No. 12: Murder of Richard Castucci – Proved

Racketeering Act No. 13B: Murder of Roger Wheeler – Proved

Racketeering Act No. 14: Murder of Debra Davis – No finding

Racketeering Act No. 15: Murder of Brian Halloran – Proved

Racketeering Act No. 16: Murder of Michael Donahue – Proved

Racketeering Act No. 17A: Conspiracy to Murder John Callahan – Proved

Racketeering Act No. 17B: Murder of John Callahan – Proved

Racketeering Act No. 18: Murder of Arthur “Bucky” Barrett – Proved

Racketeering Act No. 19: Murder of John McIntyre – Proved

Racketeering Act No. 20: Murder of Deborah Hussey – Proved

Racketeering Act No. 21: Extortion Conspiracy: “Rent” –

Racketeering Act No. 22: Extortion of Richard O’Brien –

Racketeering Act No. 23: Extortion of Kevin Hayes – Not proved

Racketeering Act No. 24: Extortion Conspiracy: “Fines” – Proved

Racketeering Act No. 25: Extortion of Michael Solimando – Proved

Racketeering Act No. 26: Extortion of Stephen Rakes and Julie Rakes – Proved

Racketeering Act No. 27: Extortion of Richard Bucheri – Proved

Racketeering Act No. 28: Extortion of Raymond Slinger – Not proved

Racketeering Act No. 29: Narcotics Distribution Conspiracy – Proved

Racketeering Act No. 30: (Concealment) Money Laundering Conspiracy – Proved

Racketeering Act No. 31: (Concealment) Money Laundering (Sale of 295 Old Colony Ave., South Boston, Massachusetts) – Proved

Racketeering Act No. 32(A): (Concealment) Money Laundering (Sale of 295 Old Colony Ave., South Boston, Massachusetts) – Proved

Racketeering Acts No. 32(B) – 32(PPP): (Concealment) Money Laundering (Mortgage Payments) – Proved

Racketeering Act No. 33: (Concealment or Promotion) Money Laundering (Transfer of $10,000 to John Martorano) – Proved

Count 3: Extortion Conspiracy: Rent – Guilty

Count 4: Extortion of Kevin Hayes – Not guilty

Count 5: Concealment Money Laundering Conspiracy – Guilty


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Key figure in Gambino gambling case pleads guilty

A federal prosecutor called him "the chief operating officer" for a Gambino-connected gambling ring in Fairfield County.

Now, Richard Uva can add another title to his resume -- convicted felon, following a raid in Stamford.

Uva, 44, of Trumbull, pleaded guilty Monday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas P. Smith to conspiring to violate the federal Racketeer and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.

Under the terms of a plea-bargain agreement worked out between Lindy Urso, Uva's lawyer and Assistant U.S. Attorney Hal Chen, Uva faces up to 51 months in prison and a $75,000 fine when he is sentenced Oct. 24 by U.S. District Judge Vanessa Bryant.

What's more telling is Uva agreed to forfeit $87,268, or half of the $174,537 that law enforcement agents seized from him on April 28, 2011.

He also agreed to forfeit another $162,731 within three years of his sentencing.

Uva was one of 20 people arrested last June following an FBI, IRS and Stamford police investigation into a multi-million Gambino-controlled gambling operation that included high-stakes card games in Stamford and Hamden, an offshore Internet gambling website and street bookies required to pay a percentage of their profits to the mob.

As a result Uva admitted that he committed acts of extortion while participating in the racketeering enterprise.

Chen accused Uva of collecting payments from independent sports bookmakers, which allowed them to continue to operate in Connecticut. A portion of those payments was forwarded to Gambino leaders in New York City, according to the prosecutor.

Federal investigators determined the Connecticut gambling ring took in $1.7 million from October, 2010 to June, 2011.

Chen accused Uva of being the ring's "chief operating officer" and second-in-command to his longtime friend, Dean DePreta, who the prosecutor called "the titular head of the Gambino crime family" in Southern Connecticut.

DePreta, 45, of Bartina Lane, Stamford, also pleaded guilty in June to conspiring to violate the RICO Act.

He is expected to be sentenced Oct. 9. DePreta, who agreed to forfeit at least $212,731, faces up to 87 months in prison.

So far 19 defendants have pleaded guilty to charges and have agreed to forfeit $1.3 million

Both the state police and Bridgeport police participated in the investigation.


Both sides rest their case at Whitey Bulger trial

James "Whitey" Bulger’s lawyers used their closing arguments Monday to go after three gangsters who took the stand against the Boston crime boss, while prosecutors painted Bulger as a violent, vicious killer who must be convicted.

Jury deliberations will begin Tuesday in the 8-week trial of Bulger, 83, who faces a sweeping, 32-count indictment that includes racketeering and extortion charges as well as 19 murders.

Defense lawyers took a patriotic tone, telling jurors they could stand up to government corruption by acquitting Bulger.

They attacked the credibility of three key government witnesses: former hit man John "The Executioner" Martorano, onetime Bulger protege Kevin Weeks and ruthless killer Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi.

Defense attorney J.W. Carney Jr. said the former Bulger loyalists decided to “add a little Bulger to the mix” to almost every crime they were questioned about so they could get time shaved off their sentences.

“The witnesses are selling their testimony to the government,” Carney said. “The currency that’s used here: How much freedom is the person going to get? The currency is the power of the government to keep someone locked up in a cell, surrounded by four concrete walls topped by barbed wires.”

Prosecution lawyer Fred Wyshak used his closing argument to recap Bulger’s worst crimes, including two male victims chained to chairs for hours, interrogated, then shot in the head; two women who were strangled; and two men who died in a hail of gunfire as they left a south Boston restaurant.

Wyshak went through the murders individually, tying each to Bulger.

“Mr. Bulger is the leader. He's the boss,” Wyshak said, while Bulger kept his head down and took notes.

Wyshak later called the defense team’s remarks that the government buys witnesses “slanderous and a low-life remark by Mr. Carney.”


Monday, August 5, 2013

Authorities plan to tackle the mob on the waterfront

He called himself the "last of the Marlon Brandos" on the waterfront.

Sabato "Sal" Catucci saw himself in the same light as the star of the classic film "On The Waterfront" which documented the pervasive corruption on the piers.

Catucci was a colorful and powerful figure on the docks, getting around on a customized Harley when he wasn't being driven in a stretch limousine.

While Brando's film character, Terry Malloy, is a dockworker who finds redemption by testifying against a dirty union boss, Catucci's dealings with the mob-busting Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor have often been contemptuous.

American Maritime Services, a long-time steveadore firm operating in both Brooklyn (above) and New Jersey, has hired a Chicago law firm to check for suspected mob activities.

But there's a new sheriff on the waterfront now joining forces with the commission. For the first time in its 60-year history, the commission is outsourcing a monitor to clean up a stevedore company with ties to the Mafia. And more monitors may be on the way.

In a historic settlement with the bi-state agency, American Maritime Services has agreed to hire a Chicago law firm to scrutinize the maintenance company that faced revocation of its waterfront license for hiring a Genovese crime associate convicted of money laundering and other serious violations.

The monitor is part of the Independent Private Sector Inspector General program that has been used to eradicate mob influence in the garment and construction industries, the Fulton Fish Market, waste transfer and has been championed by New York Waterfront Commissioner Ronald Goldstock.

Sal Catucci, CEO of American Stevedoring, located in Red Hook Marine Terminal in Brooklyn.

"It promotes the deterrence, prevention and detection of unethical and illegal conduct," Goldstock told the Daily News.

"The program serves to make a good organization better, or to change the ethical culture of an entity in need of that change.

American Maritime Services (AMS) clearly is in need of the latter change.

Ronald Catucci, treasuer of American Maritime Services and brother of president Sabato "Sal" Catucci. Ronald Catucci signed the agreement with Waterfront Commission to hire the Chicago-based outside monitor.

Catucci, who did not return a call, crumpled up a subpoena and threw it back in the face of a Waterfront cop in the 1990s in his Red Hook, Brooklyn, office, a source said.

Another time he ripped up his temporary waterfront license and mailed it back to the commission in pieces, the source added. "I guess it was to show his contempt for the commission," the source said.

In 2004 a Brooklyn federal prosecutor alleged at the sentencing for tax evasion of longtime AMS official Joseph Perez that Catucci and his brother Ronald had participated in a scheme to divide control of the New York and New Jersey waterfront between the Genovese and Gambino crime families.

Joseph Corcoran, AMS' lawyer, dismissed that contention. "Allegations are only allegations and that allegation was never proven in a court of law," Corcoran said, declining any further comment on the Catuccis or the monitor issue.

Joseph Perez, was director of operations and sales for AMS, is a convicted tax cheat who hired Genovese mob associate Robert Santoro to work at AMS.

During a 2010 public hearing, Catucci blasted the commission for giving waterfront operators a bad name.

"I didn't come in here with a black shirt today because I didn't feel that I wanted to be stereotyped by the Waterfront Commission," he said, according to a transcript. "I think you guys do a good job in some things, but you're not helping us as you should be helping us.

"I go to a bank for a letter of credit for a loan or anything, as soon as you hear 'waterfront' right away the people at the bank don't want to talk to you because you put things in the paper…"

Robert Santoro, Genovese crime family associate, worked at AMS after serving jail sentence for laundering millions of dollars stolen from the MTA.

Meanwhile, the commission had learned that Perez, as director of operations and sales for AMS. was hiring some sketchy employees.

One of the charges that threatened to sink AMS was Perez's hiring of Robert Santoro in 2008 after he served a 6-year-sentence for laundering $7 million stolen from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Santoro once owned the largest check cashing business in New Jersey and associated with Genovese capo Salvatore "Sammy Meatballs" Aparo.

Santoro worked at a company doing business as Integrated Industries Corp., which shares the same owners and addresses as AMS, according to commission documents.

Perez, also described by the federal prosecutor as a longtime organized crime associate, also hired a union official convicted of corruption to work on the docks even though he lacked a license.

With an application pending for a permanent license, AMS opted not to fight the charges and agreed to hire at its own expense the Chicago law firm of Pugh, Jones & Johnson, which was one of three candidates pre-qualified by the commission.

For at least the next two years, the law firm will be looking under AMS' skirt and reporting its findings back to the commission. Closing down AMS would put an estimated 100 employees on the New Jersey waterfront out of work.

"We're both protecting the port from organized crime as well as maintaining jobs," said the commission's executive director, Walter Arsenault. "This (monitor) is a way to make sure both ends of the spectrum are protected."

The Catuccis did not return calls seeking comment.


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Highlights from James "Whitey" Bulger's racketeering trial

Whitey Bulger
After 35 days of testimony and 73 witnesses, the racketeering trial of James "Whitey" Bulger is coming to an end with closing arguments scheduled for Monday. The 83-year-old reputed mob boss is charged in a broad indictment that accuses him of a long list of many crimes, including participating in 19 murders in the 1970s and '80s as leader of the Winter Hill Gang. He has pleaded not guilty.
Here's a look at some of the most explosive, memorable moments in the trial:

1. John Martorano testifies: Martorano, an ex-associate of Bulger, described several killings the reputed crime boss was allegedly involved in, including the death of Alfred Notarangeli in 1974. Martorano testified he and Bulger shot at a car they believed was driven by Notarangeli, only to later find out that it was not Notarangeli, but another man, named Michael Milano. According to Martorano, they shot Milano to death and then later killed Notarangeli and his brother, Joseph Notarangeli. Bulger is charged with killing all three.
2. John Morris testifies: John Morris, a former FBI agent who admitted taking payoffs from Bulger, offered a tearful apology to the family of one of Bulger's alleged murder victims while on the stand. Morris admitted he told fellow FBI agent John Connolly that Edward "Brian" Halloran had given authorities information about a murder Bulger's gang was suspected of committing. Morris testified that Connolly leaked this information to Bulger and that as a result, Halloran and an innocent bystander, Michael Donahue, were killed.
3. Kevin Weeks testifies: Kevin Weeks, the reputed mob boss' protégé, took the stand and called Bulger and his longtime cohort, Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi "the two biggest rats." Bulger responded, "You suck," from his seat at the defense table and then expletive-laced comments erupted between the two. Judge Denise Casper moved to restore order and reminded Bulger to let his attorneys speak for him.
4. Hearing from the alleged victims: Throughout the trial, several family members of Bulger's alleged murder victims testified tearfully how their family members' deaths impacted their lives. Jurors were also shown pictures of remains of some of Bulger's alleged victims.
5. Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi takes the stand: Bulger and Stephen Flemmi, his long-time associate, came face to face for the first time in nearly two decades when Flemmi was called to testify against the reputed crime boss. Before taking the stand, both he and defendant exchanged obscenities in the courtroom. Almost immediately after taking the stand, Flemmi began by saying that when he and Bulger ran the Winter Hill Gang, they were secret FBI informants for 15 years, something Bulger adamantly denies.
6. Flemmi details the killing of Debra Davis: Flemmi testified he set his one-time girlfriend Debra Davis' killing in motion when he accidentally told her he and Bulger were FBI informants. Flemmi testified Bulger decided Davis knew too much and strangled her in front of Flemmi.
7. Stephen Rakes found dead: Stephen Rakes, a 59-year-old former Boston liquor store owner who claimed to have been extorted by Bulger and had hoped to testify against him, was found dead July 17 on a street in Lincoln, Mass. Friends said Rakes was eager to testify against Bulger, but when prosecutors listed their remaining witnesses for the judge on the day before his untimely death, Rakes wasn't among them. It was announced Friday, Aug. 2 that police had arrested William Camuti, a Massachusetts man who owed Rakes money, for allegedly poisoning Rakes' iced coffee and then dumping his body in the woods.
8. Flemmi pins killing of stepdaughter on Bulger: Stephen Flemmi testified Bulger killed Deborah Hussey, Flemmi's stepdaughter, in 1985 because she was using drugs, getting arrested and dropping their names when she got in trouble. Flemmi said he reluctantly agreed to bring Hussey to a home in South Boston so she could be killed. The former associate of the mob boss testified Bulger strangled the girl. Flemmi admitted to carrying her body down to the basement with Bulger henchman Kevin Weeks, where she was buried in the dirt floor after Flemmi pulled out some of her teeth to make identification of her body more difficult.
9. Accusations of pedophilia surface: Flemmi admitted under cross-examination that he twice had "consensual" oral sex with Deborah Hussey, his stepdaughter who called him "Daddy" from a young age, in what he referred to as "a moment of weakness." He also went on to accuse Bulger of engaging in oral sex with Hussey when she was a teen in the 1970s. "You want to talk about pedophilia--right over there at that table," Flemmi said, gesturing towards Bulger.
10. Bulger says he won't testify: Bulger told the judge that he had "involuntarily" decided not to testify on the same day the defense rested its case. "I feel that I've been choked off from having an opportunity to give an adequate defense," he said. "My thing is, as far as I'm concerned, I didn't get a fair trial, and this is a sham, and do what youse [sic] want with me. That's it. That's my final word," he said to the judge without the jury present. Family members of Bulger's alleged murder victims looked dejected over his decision not to take the stand. "You're a coward!," one screamed.


Saturday, August 3, 2013

Former Colombo boss says the crime family is too weak to tamper with jury

The former head of the Colombo crime family has become so weak, he and his crew no longer have the wherewithal to properly tamper with a jury, his lawyers claim in Brooklyn federal court papers filed this week.
The mobster made the claim after prosecutors called ex-Colombo street boss Joel Cacace “incredibly dangerous” and asked a federal judge in Brooklyn to sequester jurors hearing his attempted-murder trial.
Cacace’s lawyers objected to the safety measures, saying the 72-year-old gangster and his buddies couldn’t hurt a fly.
“Reason and common sense do not lend to the conclusion that Mr. Cacace has either the power or the will to direct others to take unknown action against the jury on his behalf,” they argued.
Cacace is in a federal lockup for a prior murder conviction and has a 2020 release date. But he faces a lengthy extension of his term if convicted of the newer charge of conspiring to kill NYPD cop Ralph Dols in 1987.


Friday, August 2, 2013

Connecticut man impersonated mobsters to extort $200,000 from business owner

A Norwalk man extorted more than $200,000 from a small business owner by impersonating organized crime figures, prosecutors said Friday.
Joseph Casolo, 45, pleaded guilty Thursday in Hartford to extortion, the U.S. attorney's office said.
Casolo threatened the victim in person, in phone conversations and in text messages using multiple personas, authorities said. Prosecutors say he repeatedly stated or implied that if the victim failed to make the extortion payments, the victim, the victim's spouse, and the victim's daughter would be harmed with violence.
Authorities say Casolo also enlisted an individual who identified himself as Lorenzo, the organized crime family's enforcer, and made multiple threatening calls to the victim at Casolo's direction.
Casolo shared a portion of the money with the man who played the role of Lorenzo, Edward Memoli, prosecutors said. Memoli was charged with extortion for allegedly playing that role, authorities said.
Memoli's attorney, Eugene Riccio, declined to comment.
Casolo faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced Oct. 24.


Whitey Bulger calls his trial a sham as prosecutors reveal witness was poisoned

Massachusetts police have picked up a possible suspect in the suspicious death of a would-be witness in the sensational trial of James "Whitey" Bulger, who won't be taking the stand in his own defense, lawyers announced Friday.

Asked by the judge if he was freely giving up his right to testify, Bulger blasted the proceedings as a "sham" trial.

"I feel like I've been choked off to give an adequate defense and my conversation with (now deceased Assistant U.S. Attorney) Jeremiah O'Sullivan and his promise to give me immunity," Bulger raged, referring to a judge's ruling blocking him from using past agreements with law enforcement officials as part of his defense.

"As far as I'm concerned I wasn't given a fair trial. This is a sham and do what you will with me," he added bitterly.

That prompted an outburst from the wife of one of Bulger's victims.

"You're a coward," shouted Patricia Donahue. Her husband Michael Donahue was an innocent bystander who was killed in a Bulger shooting in the 1980s.

Stephen "Stippo" Rakes, who was not allowed to testify during the trial of nemesis James "Whitey" Bulger. Rakes was found dead on July 17.

It was an acrimonious end to a bizarre trial that's seen a rogues' gallery of former Bulger buddies take the stand - and the sudden, suspicious murder of potential witness Stephen "Stippo" Rakes.

Rakes' body was found on a remote woodland path July 17 about 30 miles outside of Boston — and authorities now suspect he was killed with poison, WCVB TV reported Friday.

Rakes, 59, might have died from cyanide, the station said, citing police sources.

It's believed the killer might have been someone he owed money to, the station said.

Authorities issued a search warrant for a "person of interest" in Sudbury, WCVB reported. That person has been hospitalized, the channel said.

The District Attorney's office handling the case has declined to comment until results come back from Rakes' toxicology report.

Pallbearers carry the casket of Stephen "Stippo" Rakes, who died from a possible cyanide poisoning. A person of interest has been arrested in the case.

When he was found last month he had no obvious signs of trauma and was not carrying his wallet or a phone. His car was found parked in a fast-food lot about seven miles away.

Despite his highly publicized enmity toward Bulger, Rakes' murder didn't appear to be tied to his trial.

Rakes was a daily spectator in the months-long courtroom spectacle that featured graphic and violent testimony from the likes of John "The Executioner" Martorano and Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi, two of Bulger's former right-hand wise guys.

Rakes claimed the mobster forced him to sell his South Boston liquor store at gunpoint in 1984 — a tale he looked forward to sharing with the jury.

The Quincy man was devastated when prosecutors decided not to put him on the stand.

Police and FBI surround the apartment in Santa Monica, Calif., where fugitive James "Whitey" Bulger lived. He was arrested in 2011 after being on the lam since the ’90s.

He stormed out of the court after learning he would not get to testify against his longtime nemesis.

Rakes' body was found the next day.

Bulger, who has resigned himself to spending the rest of his life in prison, his lawyers said, tried to set aside some of his ill-gotten gains for the families of victims.

His defense lawyers told Boston Judge Denise Casper that Bulger wants the $822,000 taken from his California hideout to go to families who had civil judgments overturned because the statute of limitations had expired.

Prosecutor Brian Kelly said it has always been the intention of the government to give Bulger's seized assets to victims' families, but he said he isn't sure the crime boss "can dictate which ones get" money.

The 83-year-old Bulger is on trial in a broad racketeering indictment that accuses him of participating in 19 murders in the 1970s and '80s.

He fled the city in 1994 and lived for 16 years on the lam. Authorities arrested him in 2011 after a tip led them to the rent-controlled apartment in Santa Monica, Calif., where Bulger was in hiding with a longtime gal pal.

Closing arguments are set for Monday.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Grandfather connected to Gambino gambling ring sentenced to prison

A 65-year-old Shelton grandfather was sentenced to six months in federal prison July 31 for running money within a large-scale gambling operation organized by two alleged associates of the Gambino crime family.
Prosecutors said Domenico Manchisi collected gambling proceeds in greater New Haven to give to Dean DePreta and Richard Uva, two “longtime organized crime associates” based in Stamford.
Manchisi was one of 19 people indicted by the feds in connection to the gambling ring, which used a website to lay bets and earned some $1.7 million in 38 weeks. Discussions about Manchisi’s role in the gambling ring were detailed through secretly-recorded conversations.
On March 28 Manchisi pleaded guilty to one count of operating an illegal gambling business.
Manchisi was far from a career criminal. He was a successful small businessman, operating several restaurants over the years, according to court documents.
He had a stable family life, having been married to the same woman for 42 years. He lived in Shelton with his wife, kids and grandchildren.
And he’s a first-time offender.
In a sentencing memo, prosecutors noted his background made his crime inexplicable. His lawyer called the crime a “terrible mistake.”
Manchisi’s lawyer argued he should receive probation, while prosecutors argued for a sentence of six to 12 months in prison.
U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant in federal court in Hartford July 31 ordered Manchisi to pay a $20,000 fine in addition to spending six months in prison.
The case was investigated by the FBI Fairfield County Organized Crime Task Force, the Internal Revenue Service, the Stamford Police Department, the Bridgeport Police Department and the Connecticut State Police.