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

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Mob Wives boyfriend slasher turns himself into police

A man accused of slashing the face of a “Mob Wives” star’s boyfriend has turned himself in, police said.
Rodolfo “Rudy” Lopez — who allegedly sliced “Mob Wife” Natalie Guercio’s beau on Sunday in Brooklyn — was jolted after catching a glimpse of himself on a TV news segment, a law-enforcement source said.
Lopez, 35, of Jersey City, surrendered to cops at the 94th Precinct in Williamsburg on Tuesday. He is charged with felony assault, reckless endangerment and criminal possession of a weapon.
Lopez allegedly slashed the curvy reality star’s boyfriend, London Rene, 37, outside the trendy Club Output on Wythe Avenue near North 12th Street, leaving him with gashes requiring more than 250 stitches.
On Sunday, Guercio posted pictures of Rene’s bloody face at Woodhull Hospital on social media.
Lopez and Rene are believed to be acquaintances.


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Genovese associate pockets $330,000 over wrongful murder conviction

A Brooklyn baker — and alleged mob associate — is rolling in the cannolis after pocketing $300,000 to settle a lawsuit charging he was unjustly convicted and jailed for participating in a gangland rubout, the Daily News has learned.

Mario Fortunato, a co-owner of the Fortunato Brothers Bakery in Williamsburg, was convicted in federal court and later in state court of the 1994 murder, but both verdicts were later overturned by appeals courts.

Fortunato is getting the dough for the 22 months he spent in state prison after the second degree murder conviction in Brooklyn Supreme Court. He did not file a lawsuit against the feds for the first conviction of murder in aid of racketeering.

A spokeswoman for state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman confirmed that Fortunato's suit was settled in the Court of Claims on Dec. 19. Fortunato's lawyer Irving Cohen declined to comment.

Fortunato — who federal prosecutors alleged was an associate of the Genovese crime family — was charged with luring loanshark Tino Lombardi to the San Giuseppe Social Club on Graham Ave., where he was whacked by a hit team as the men played an Italian card game called Ladder 40.
Mario Fortunato, defendant charged with murder, outside State Supreme Court in Brooklyn during his trial. Fortunato will get $330K for the 22 months he spent in jaril after the convictions were overturned.

Lombardi's cousin, mob associate Michael D'Urso, was also wounded in the ambush and subsequently became a government informant.

D'Urso, who still carries bullet fragments in his neck from the shooting, was astonished by the payday.

“I'm shocked. It's a complete disgrace,” D'Urso told The News on Monday. “I lived, my cousin died. My cousin Tino's wife, his mother, his children, they went through torture. For them to have to see (Fortunato) on the street every day, my heart bleeds for them.”

“Me, I don't give a f--- about him, but for my family it's heartbreaking,” D'Urso said.
Signage at Fortunato brothers bakery, which Mario co-owns.

D'Urso wore a hidden recording device in his Rolex watch for the feds to gather devastating evidence against Genovese gangsters, which led to more than 70 arrests including the late crime family boss Vincent "Chin" Gigante.

D'Urso testified at Fortunato's trial that they were targeted because Fortunato's alleged co-conspirator Carmine "Carmine Pizza" Polito wanted to get out of paying a $60,000 debt. Polito's federal conviction was also overturned by the U.S. Court of Appeals and when he was retried on state murder charges a jury found him not guilty.

Fortunato was convicted after a bench trial in state court but the verdict was thrown out by a panel of Appellate Division judges who found “the verdict was against the weight of the credible evidence.”

There was bad blood between Fortunato and D'Urso for years, according to D'Urso.
Mario Fortunato accompanied by his wife leaves Brooklyn Federal Court after reversal of his murder convictions.

"Since I was a kid I used to watch Mario abuse my father, he'd belittle him at the card table," D'Urso testified at the second trial. "He'd put a chair next to my father, get on the chair and fart on his head."

D'Urso made two failed attempts to kill Polito in revenge for the shooting.

Fortunato was sentenced in both cases to life in prison before his extraordinary good fortune kicked in and he was freed.

“He got away with murder and now he's won the lottery,” said a source involved in the prosecution.


Cops identify suspect in slashing of boyfriend of Natalie Guercio from Mob Wives

Cops have identified the man wanted for slashing “Mob Wives” star Natalie Guercio's boyfriend during a brawl at a Brooklyn nightclub early Saturday, cops said Monday.

Rodolfo "Rudy" Lopez used a box-cutter to slice up the face and abdomen of the reality TV star’s squeeze, London Rene, 37, amid a dispute outside of Club Output on Wythe Ave. in Williamsburg around 3 a.m., police said Monday.

Guercio, who was reportedly at her beau’s side when he was attacked, documented the slashing on Instagram, posting a picture of Rene at Woodhull Hospital in Brooklyn, showing him with a bloody bandage that covered a gash on the side of his face .

“London was just sliced in the face @ Club OUTPUT in Brooklyn. In ER, Wood hull hospital getting over 250 in stitches@MobWives @VH1,” Guercio posted.
Guercio used social media to send out this photo of her wounded lover after he was slashed outside a Williamsburg club early Saturday.

Guercio joined the cast of “Mob Wives” in the fourth season of the Staten Island reality show. The brunette allegedly smashed a bottle over the head of a partygoer at the show’s December 2013 launch party at a SoHo club.

On Monday, she posted a picture of Lopez on her Instagram account shortly before police released his name the media.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Longtime boyfriend of Natalie Guercio from Mob Wives slashed in face at Brooklyn club

London Rene lies in an examination chair at Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center, with his head bandaged to cover a sizable gash along the right side of his face.
The longtime boyfriend of “Mob Wives” co-star Natalie Guercio was slashed in the face at a Brooklyn nightclub Saturday night.

The bloody affair went down at the converted warehouse club Output, and Guercio shared the gruesome aftermath via an Instagram post with the tags @MobWives @VH1, turning the personal tragedy into in an apparent made-for TV marketing moment.

It showed an image of her beau, London Rene, lying in an examination chair at Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center, his head bandaged with a sizable gash along the right side of his face.
Mob Wives' co-star Natalie Guercio reportedly saw her boyfriend slashed in the face Saturday night at the Brooklyn club Output.

“London was just sliced in the face @ Club OUTPUT in Brooklyn. In ER, Wood hull hospital getting over 250 in stitches@MobWives @VH1,” Guercio said.

Rene was attacked with a box cutter to the face, left arm and abdomen by someone he knew, who then fled before cops arrived, TMZ reported.

Thank you for ur prayers we are heading to Hackensack medical center to have a plastic surgeon stitch him ❤️— NatalieEliseGuercio (@NatalieEGuercio)December 28, 2014

Guercio, who was reportedly with her man when he was attacked, joined the cast of “Mob Wives” for Season 4 of the Staten Island reality show. She allegedly smashed a bottle over the head of a partygoer at the December 2013 launch party at a SoHo club.

“Thank you for ur prayers we are heading to Hackensack medical center to have a plastic surgeon stitch him,” Guercio tweeted.


Thursday, December 25, 2014

Judge lets Genovese captain spend Christmas eve with his family

Reputed Genovese mobster Conrad Ianniello got a furlough from house arrest  to eat Christmas Eve dinner with his family. The 71-year-old was sentenced to 36 months in prison for extortion.
A Brooklyn judge granted a Christmas Eve wish to a 71-year-old gangster bound for prison.
Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis lambasted reputed Genovese capo Conrad Ianniello at his sentencing earlier this month, making it clear that the gangster disgusts him.
But Ianniello took the verbal beatdown like a man, pleading through his lawyer this week and “respectfully requesting” a furlough from house arrest so he could attend a Christmas Eve family dinner at Da Nico restaurant in Staten Island.
Ianniello, 71, will miss at least the next two Christmas holidays with his wife as he serves a 36-month sentence for extorting a union official.
Ianniello did not sound particularly remorseful about dispatching a mob goon to threaten the president of a rival union to make him stop trying to organize workers at a Long Island chocolate factory, leading to the judge’s epic tongue lashing.
“You’re bad for America,” Garaufis said on Dec. 11 in Brooklyn Federal Court with about 10 members of Ianniello’s family looking on.
“Your behavior disgusts me! You need to apologize to America. I have no sympathy for you. None. I don’t want to hear he’s sorry for his family. I want to talk about what he’s done to our country, he and his fellow mobsters!”
Ianniello, nephew of late Genovese underboss Matthew "Matty the Horse" Ianniello, said Wednesday he is grateful to the judge. His lawyer did not return a call.
Ianniello was allowed out of the house from 6:30 to 11 p.m. and is monitored by an electronic bracelet. The wiseguy surrenders next month to begin serving his term at a federal prison.
“I definitely appreciate it,” Ianniello told the Daily News. “My daughter and my sister will be there and I’ll miss them. I’m not getting any younger.”
Asked if he would partake in the Italian tradition of the feast of the seven fishes, Ianniello was noncommittal. “I’ll look at the menu and see what specials they have.”
Ianniello hesitated to reveal where he would be dining. “I don’t want a crowd showing up,” he said mysteriously.


Monday, December 22, 2014

Judge rejects gangster's second plea for leniency

This judge won't get fooled again.

A mobster's plea for leniency in an extortion case fell flat with a Brooklyn judge who gave him a break in a similar case three years ago.

Judge Kiyo Matsumato had given Scott Fappiano, 53, some leniency then because he had served more than two decades in prison for a rape he did not commit.

The reputed Colombo associate offered the same sob story to the federal judge on Monday at his sentencing for violating his supervised release by getting arrested in a new shakedown case.

She was unmoved.

“I had 100% faith I wouldn't see you again and here we are,” Matsumato said, referring to the January 2012 sentencing in which she sentenced the hard-luck hoodlum to time served.

“You were so convincing last time, I felt sorry for you,” she added.

Fappiano whined about how he's trying to adjust to life outside prison walls after DNA evidence had cleared him of raping a cop's wife in Brooklyn, but he had used up his get-out-of-jail card.

The judge sentenced him to a year and a day in jail to run consecutive to the same sentence a Manhattan judge gave him for extorting a waste hauler.

Fappiano was also caught on tape telling an informant to pay him a portion of his salary off the books so he could get out of paying the government the restitution that he owed.

“My life is now 100% doing everything legitimately right,” Fappiano insisted, claiming that after putting in a day's work at a demolition company, he goes to bed immediately after watching the evening news.


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Three plead guilty in Genovese linked Christmas payoffs

Like something out of the Marlon Brando film, "On the Waterfront," a pair of former union officials and a third man also tied to organized crime today admitted taking part in a decades-old scheme to shake down longshoremen for Christmastime "tributes," federal prosecutors announced.

Stephen Depiro, 59, of Kenilworth, Albert Cernadas, 79, of Union, and Nunzio LaGrasso, 63, Florham Park, each pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Newark to federal racketeering charges, prosecutors said. The three pleased guilty before U.S. District Judge Claire C. Cecchi in Newark, according to a joint statement from the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, Paul Fishman, and his Brooklyn counterpart, Loretta Lynch, President Obama's nominee for U.S. attorney general.

Cernadas was president of Newark-based Local 1235 of the International Longshoremen's Association from 1981 to 2006, while LaGrasso was a vice president of ILA Local 1478, also based in Newark. At the same time, presecutors said, the men were also associates of the Genovese crime family, where DePiro was a soldier in charge of the New Jersey waterfront.

The three were the last of all six defendants in the same case to admit their part in a practice dating back at least three decades, in which Fishman said union bosses and the mobsters who controlled them would use real and threatened violence to extort payments from longshoremen those same bosses were supposed to represent.

The payments, known as Christmastime tributes, came from legitimate year-end bonuses that longshoremen had received based on the number of containers moved through the Port of New York and New Jersey, which includes shipping terminals in Newark, Elizabeth, Jersey City, Bayonne, Staten Island and Brooklyn.

"Mr. LaGrasso is absolutely not cooperating in any investigation."

The three others who have already admitted taking part in the scheme are: Vincent Aulisi, 82, of West Orange, also a former Local 1235 president, who was sentenced to 18 months in prison; another Local 1235 official, Robert Ruiz, 56, of Watchung, who received a 20-month sentence; and, most recently, former Local 1235 President Thomas Leonardis, 57, of Glen Gardner, who was sentenced last week to 22 months in prison.

It was Leonardis who taunted waterfront regulators during a 2010 legislative hearing in Trenton on whether to dissolve the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor, a bi-state agency created to police the docks in the wake of the real-life organized crime scandal depicted in the 1954 Brando film, filmed on location in Hoboken. At the hearing, Leonardis ridiculed the notion that organized crime was still a presence on the waterfront, and he held up an old grappling hook used by longshoremen before the advent of containerization to underscore his testimony that the commission was obsolete.

Mr. Cernadas' lawyer, Joseph Hayden, said his client, “has accepted responsibility and he’s going to move on with his life,” but declined to say anything more.

Dipiro's lawyer, Alyssa Cimino, did not return calls.

LaGrasso's lawyer, Edmund DeNoia, said his client was the subject of a parallel, ongoing investigation by the New Jersey State Attorney General's office, and that LaGrasso intended to plead guilty next month to state charges based on the same extortion scheme.

DeNoia declined to comment on Fishman's assertion that his client was a Genovese crime family associate. He did say that LaGrasso's plea today was not part of any agreement with prosecutors.

"Mr. LaGrasso is absolutely not cooperating in any investigation," DeNoia said.


Trustee levels hefty fine in Genovese connected phony union health fund case

Maybe the boxes of unpaid claims should have tipped off Cynthia Holloway, trustee of the Professional Industrial Trade Workers Union Health and Welfare Fund, situated in an office suite along Route 70 in Cherry Hill.

All around the country - in New Jersey, Texas, Louisiana, and North Carolina - employees, presumably covered by health insurance, were going to doctors or hospitals, but their bills were not getting paid.

Clearly the fund was in trouble. Financial records were missing, state insurance departments sent cease-and-desist letters, and insurance administrators were calling Holloway to tell her that the fund was not forwarding enough money to pay the claims.

As it turned out, the reason the claims were not being paid was that the fund was a fraud and the union itself was phony, a prop to further the scheme.

This tangled tale of deceit began to unfold a decade ago, but legal ramifications continue - especially for Holloway, who was soundly criticized and heavily fined last month by a federal judge in Camden.

U.S. District Judge Joseph H. Rodriquez fined Holloway at least $4.7 million, plus interest, saying she could have stopped the debacle, and making her the latest casualty in this 12-year-old crime.

Lawyers familiar with union health and welfare funds say they have never seen such a penalty levied against a fund trustee who was not complicit in the fraud.

The scheme's architects were business people operating on the fringes of the staffing industry, with some ties to organized crime, using the phony Cherry Hill union, the Professional, Industrial and Trade Workers Union, as a front from 1999 to 2003.

On a checkbook level, its victims were employers or employees, mostly in small businesses around the country, who paid $7.8 million in health insurance premiums, but didn't get coverage.

Most of the funds were improperly diverted as "fees," "commissions," and "union dues," and some money paid the salary of the union's president, Franklin "Frankie the Flea" Militello, linked by federal prosecutors to the Genovese organized-crime family.

Worse, employees and family members, thinking they were covered by insurance, went to hospitals or doctors and later found themselves dunned by collection agencies, on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills, bills never paid by the fake fund.

There is no indication that Holloway, who supervised the fund from California, improperly received any money.

After 18 months as trustee, from May 1, 2001, to Sept. 27, 2002, Holloway quit, expressing concerns about the "chaotic state of affairs of the fund," in documents that wound up in court records.

But resigning did not let her off the hook, Rodriguez ruled Nov. 28.

"She cannot ignore the kind of information that was being presented to her and walk away," Rodriguez wrote. "Her lack of prudence enabled others to commit a breach, of which she had knowledge, and she did not make reasonable efforts to remedy that breach."

Holloway, who runs Employers Depot Inc., a staffing company in California, did not return phone calls. Her attorney said she would appeal the ruling.

"I've never seen a fiduciary hit with that kind of penalty," said Rick Grimaldi, a management-side employment lawyer at Fisher & Phillips L.L.P., of Radnor.

Neither had John A. DiNome, a management-side employment partner at the Philadelphia office of the Reed Smith L.L.P. law firm.

"The standards are very high for trustees," DiNome said. "Most of the times the funds are fine. This is an example of the polar opposite."

In the phony union-health-fund case, there is enough legal paperwork - criminal and civil - to fill several file cabinets.

The union "did not conduct any of the traditional activities [of a union] except collecting dues," the U.S. Labor Department wrote in a court filing.

Its main purpose was to establish a phony union health-and-welfare fund for selling insurance to employers, said Mark Machiz, who, as Philadelphia regional director of the U.S. Labor Department's Employee Benefits Security Administration, is familiar with the department's 2005 civil suit related to the fraud.

"The economic niche that these bad guys operated in was the difficulty of getting affordable health insurance, so these [employers] were susceptible to the pitch," he said.

One employer was R.D.D. Associates L.L.C., a North Jersey food brokerage. When $100,000 worth of employees' claims were not paid, the firm quit the plan and filed suit.

"After they weren't paying, I canceled it," said Andy Galligan, chief financial officer.

The insurance was touted in 2001, 2002, and 2003 by Privileged Care Marketing Group (PCMG), Privileged Care Inc., and Northpoint PEO Solutions, all owned or operated by James Doyle of Sewell and others.

In this and similar phony union schemes, employers were told union funds could charge less, Machiz said.

All employers had to do was enroll workers in the do-nothing union and pay two checks - one for union dues and one for health premiums and fees. The legal documents do not say whether the employers were aware they were signing up for a scam.

Before the scheme collapsed in May 2003, PCMG received $7.8 million in premiums and dues. Only $2.4 million went to pay health claims, according to court papers.

Rodriguez ordered Doyle, who disbursed PCMG funds to all the players, to pay $3.9 million. Doyle could not be reached for comment.

Whether Holloway, who was recruited to serve as a fund trustee, is to blame for not stopping the debacle is not clear-cut.

Initially, in the civil case, Rodriguez ruled that Holloway had not shirked her duties. His decision was overruled by an appeals court that sent it back for reconsideration.

Then, Rodriguez changed his opinion, writing on Nov. 28 that Holloway "breached her duty of prudence" to the fund. She did not sue her fellow trustees or contact law enforcement officials, he wrote.

DiNome, who has no connection to this case, said some fund trustees do not fully recognize the responsibility that comes with the job.

"You have to ask hard questions. You have responsibilities that go beyond sitting in a meeting," he said.

"That works 89 percent of the time," DiNome said. "You don't usually have a phony union."


Friday, December 19, 2014

Gambino associate busted for coke and gun distribution

A reputed Gambino associate from New Jersey whose ex-wife starred on “I Married a Mobster” was busted in a cocaine and gun distribution ring, authorities and sources said.

Fiore "Phil" Caruso, 59, personally met with an undercover cop on six occasions and sold two weapons and drugs, according to the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan.

He reportedly did prison time in the past for racketeering and drug dealing — which blindsided his former wife Cheryl Caruso, the reality TV star once said.

She said in 2011 that her life was a  “fairy tale” until her husband was sentenced to 15-to-life in a previous racketeering and drug-dealing case.

“Everything was picture-perfect … I didn’t have to do anything,” the platinum-haired beauty said in Daily News story on the show.

Caruso, of Weehawken, N.J., is expected to be arraigned in Manhattan Supreme Court on Friday, on charges including conspiracy, criminal sale of a controlled substance, and criminal sale of a firearm.

John Ennis, 28, Berenice Albarran, 25, and John Contreras, 39, are also charged.

They allegedly sold more than a pound of cocaine worth $23,000 between Aug. 27 and Dec. 1.

Caruso allegedly sold nine firearms including semi-automatic pistols and revolvers for $16,800.


Friday, December 12, 2014

Gambino soldier uses contacts to bring historic Catholic texts to Brooklyn

(From l.) Antonella Villa, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Brother William Boslet and Marco Polo Ristorante owner Joe Chirico announce on Wednesday a rare exhibition of St. Francis of Assisi manuscripts and artifacts will come to Borough Hall. 
(From l.) Antonella Villa, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Brother William Boslet and Marco Polo Ristorante owner Joe Chirico announce on Wednesday a rare exhibition of St. Francis of Assisi manuscripts and artifacts will come to Borough Hall.
A well-connected sinner paved the way for a Catholic saint to make a grand showing in Brooklyn.
Reputed wiseguy Joseph Chirico worked contacts in Italy to lure a coveted exhibition of Medieval texts from the life of St. Francis of Assisi to Borough Hall.
The Carroll Gardens restaurateur was a guest at a news conference with Borough President Eric Adams to announce the show’s Dec. 17 opening.
“Thank you so much,” Adams told Chirico on Wednesday. “A Brooklynite instrumental in bringing back an exhibit of this magnitude. Thank you so much.”
Chirico, who was convicted in 2008 of laundering money for the mafia, said he was visiting Rome on one of his annual trips to Italy when a friend who is a priest invited him to the Basilica of St. Francis Assisi to view the papal relics, manuscripts from the 12th and 13th centuries.
Medieval Catholic texts documenting the life of St. Francis of Assisi are set to go on display Dec. 17 at Brooklyn Borough Hall. 
Medieval Catholic texts documenting the life of St. Francis of Assisi are set to go on display Dec. 17 at Brooklyn Borough Hall.
“What I saw was very amazing,” the owner of Marco Polo Ristorante said. “I would never have believed in my life the history.”
The visit prompted Chirico and the friend, Padre Enzo Fortunato, to contact officials in Italy and the United States about the possibility of a New York City exhibition.
Adams, who described Chirico as “our good friend” on Wednesday, cooled on the restaurateur’s connection to the project after the Daily News pointed out the businessman’s prior conviction involving ties to organized crime.
“Mr. Chirico is not a partner on the exhibition,” Adams said in a statement. “We thank him for making the important introduction between the exhibition organizers and our office.”
Medieval Catholic texts documenting the life of St. Francis of Assisi are set to go on display Dec. 17 at Brooklyn Borough Hall. 
Medieval Catholic texts documenting the life of St. Francis of Assisi are set to go on display Dec. 17 at Brooklyn Borough Hall.
Adams has been a champion of re-entry programs for offenders and second chances, a spokesman said.
“He would be a hypocrite if he excluded those individuals who have paid their debt to society and are seeking to do positive community work going forward,” spokesman Stefan Ringel said.
Chirico has a history of chummy relations with borough hall. He was charged with passing a cash tribute payment from a mob associate to another gangster, in 2008, but sentenced to just six months’ house arrest after then Borough President Marty Markowitz and his predecessor, Howard Golden, wrote letters to the judge vouching for his character.
The reputed Gambino associate was curt Thursday when asked about his past.
Joseph Chirico's restaurant Marco Polo is an iconic eatery in Carroll Gardens.  
Joseph Chirico's restaurant Marco Polo is an iconic eatery in Carroll Gardens.
“This is nothing that’s got anything to do with this,” he said.
The exhibition was a coup for Brooklyn. St. Francis is an important figure for Catholics — including Pope Francis, who chose his name in honor of the holy man’s dedication to the poor. The 12th and 13th century scripts haven’t left Italy in 700 years, and their only other stop on the ground-breaking tour is the United Nations.
Brother William Boslet, superior general of the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn, said there’s already widespread interest in the exhibit.
“I think people that have any kind of interest in history or religion or Franciscanism — anyone would be happy to see them,” Boslet said.
The free exhibit will be on display through Jan. 14 at Borough Hall.


Judge rips Genovese captain at sentencing

Genovese capo Conrad Ianniello leaves Brooklyn Federal Court after being sentenced to three years in prison for extortion.
A Brooklyn judge who has sentenced scores of gangsters unleashed an epic reprimand of a remorseless Genovese capo Thursday before sentencing the hoodlum to three years in prison for extorting a union.
“You’re bad for America,” Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis said. “Your behavior disgusts me.”
On the receiving end of the blast was Conrad Ianniello, 71, the nephew of deceased Genovese underboss Matthew "Matty the Horse" Ianniello. He had pleaded guilty to ordering the president of a union local to back off from organizing workers at a Long Island chocolate factory so another union preferred by the mob could move in. “We are going to do it diplomatically and if that doesn’t work I am going to f--- him up,” Ianniello said on a wiretap.
Ianniello mumbled an apology to his family in Brooklyn Federal Court, triggering the judge’s fury. “When organized crime figures try to influence the lawful process of organizing a workplace with a labor union, the rights of many people are adversely affected,” Garaufis said.
“You need to apology to this country,” the judge continued. “Your behavior disgusts me. I’m tired of mobsters coming into this courtroom and apologizing to their families when they should apologize to their country.”
Outside the courtroom, Ianniello was asked by the Daily News if he wanted to apologize to anyone else. “We have nothing more to say,” his lawyer, Lisa Scolari, responded. Ianniello reverted back to tough-guy mode when he told The News’ photographer, “I’m gonna drop you on your head.”


Judge lowers bail for broke Genovese associate

A Superior Court judge lowered bail Wednesday from $400,000 to $300,000 for a reputed associate of the Genovese crime family who is accused of heading a multi-million-dollar sports gambling business.
Vincent Coppola, 37, of Union, the son of jailed Genovese capo Michael Coppola, was among 11 members and alleged associates of the crime family who were arrested in October on charges of running a number of illegal financial schemes, which also included elaborate loansharking and check-cashing operations.
Coppola, arrested a day after the others, did not attend a bail hearing with his co-defendants on Oct. 23 because the Morris County jail would not immediately accept him due to "medical conditions," Deputy Attorney General Vincent Militello said during the bail hearing.
Coppola, who sat in a wheelchair as he appeared in Superior Court in Morristown via closed-circuit television on Wednesday, spent six weeks at Morristown Medical Center for treatment of his undisclosed ailment before being transferred to the jail, Militello said.
At the time of the arrests, Acting Attorney General John Hoffman said Coppola ran the sports betting operation from an offshore "wire room" located in Costa Rica to process wagers. During 2011, Coppola allegedly handled more than $1.7 million in bets, bringing in more than $400,000 in profits to the Genovese family.
But in court Wednesday, Coppola said, "I can't afford any attorney" and wants to be represented by a public defender.
"I have a 13-year-old autistic son, and he really needs my help," Coppola said.
Judge Robert Gilson reduced the bail to $300,000, but when he told Coppola he must pay the full amount with no 10 percent option, Coppola shook his head, indicating there's no way he can make that bail.
Militello said Coppola was arrested at a rest stop on the Garden State Parkway, where he was "involved in more criminal activity."
"He had newspaper articles related to the matter," Militello said. "He knew he was being charged, but he kept on with his criminal activity."
Coppola was arrested after state troopers spotted him snorting heroin in a parked car with other individuals at a rest stop in Woodbridge, said Peter Aseltine, a spokesman for the Attorney General's Office. Coppola was in possession of "multiple wax folds of heroin" and after he identified himself, he was charged in the drug case and in the gambling case, Aseltine said.
In the organized crime case, Coppola faces first-degree charges of racketeering and money laundering. He is also accused of conspiracy and money laundering.
No further court date was set for Coppola because his case is being sent to a grand jury for a possible indictment.
Others arrested in October included a Genovese "capo," Charles "Chuckie" Tuzzo, 80, of Bayside, N.Y., and a "made" soldier, 55-year-old Vito Alberti of New Providence. The cases are being tried in Morris County.
At the helm of the alleged check-cashing scheme, Hoffman said, was Domenick Pucillo, 56, of Florham Park, who oversaw operations at Tri-State Check Cashing Inc., located in Newark's Ironbound district, and other places.
Fucillo extended lines of both cash and credit to customers who paid annual interest rates of between 52 and 56 percent, Hoffman said.


Pair of Gambino family associates arrested for extortion

Italian and American cops arrested eight mafia members on extortion charge Thursday, including John Grillo, who was cuffed in Milan.
The FBI arrested a pair of Brooklyn-based Gambino crime family associates who are wanted for extortion in Italy, authorities said.
Francesco Palmeri was nabbed Thursday and Michele Amabile earlier this week and they will be handed over to Italian police.
The mobsters allegedly traveled to Italy last year to shake down Lorenzo Marsilio, the director of a major electric company for one million Euros, according to court papers. They were acting on behalf of another mob associate who had loaned money to Marsilio more than 30 years ago and was allegedly using the Gambino muscle to pressure the victim.
Palmeri allegedly visited Marsilio’s office and left an ominous message, “I must talk directly to him, tell him only that I have to leave a message from America, he will understand.”
Since Sicilian-born Domenico "Dom the Greaseball" Cefalu became the reputed boss of the Gambinos, the feds have been paying close attention to ties between the New York crime family with its power base centered in Bensonhurst, and mafia organizations in Italy.
Palmeri traveled to twice Italy in 2013 to bully the businessman about paying up on a 1980s loan. The mob also allegedly sent letters, which were signed by "friends in Brooklyn" asking him for money.
Palmeri faces a maximum sentence of 20 years if convicted of criminal conspiracy to commit international extortion aggravated by mafia membership.
He worked with the other alleged extortionist throughout the blackmail plot, police said.
Italian police nabbed another suspect, John Grillo, in Milan during the Thursday sting. Police called Grillo the "main architect" of the extortion campaign, and cuffed him just before he got on a plane to New York.
American gangs traditionally work closely with their Italian mafia counterparts, such as the Sicilian Cosa Nostra and the Calabrian 'Ndrangheta, allowing for the trans-Atlantic crime.


Tommy Shots suing the government for $10 million dollars after slipping and falling in prison shower

Mafia hoodlum takes the fall, files $10M suit over jailhouse slip
Former Colombo crime family capo Tommy “Tommy Shots” Gioeli might be off the streets – but that doesn’t mean he still can’t be an earner.
The fat mafia veteran is suing the feds for $10 million after he slipped and fell in a shower area at a North Carolina federal penitentiary in August, according to a Brooklyn federal court suit.
The ever-whiny hoodlum, who frequently grouses about conditions at the Butner Low Correctional Facility, claims that he toppled over because of leaky piping, according to the suit.
Currently serving a 18-year sentence, the bloated mob menace claims he was “caused to slip and fall on a wet floor due to a leaking slop sink pipe and shower located near the stairs going to the second level,” papers state.
The suit claims that the prison pratfall injured Gioeli but doesn’t provide any specifics.
“Plaintiff Thomas Gioeli has been rendered sick, sore, lame, maimed and disabled and so remains due to the negligence of defendant,” according to the suit.
A woman who answered the phone at the office of his lawyer, Martin Schiowitz, said he wouldn’t be commenting on the case.
“He’s not interested,” she huffed.
Despite braying about everything from shoddy snow removal by the De Blasio administration to Ukrainian politics, Gioeli made no mention of the jailhouse mishap on his blog or Twitter pages.
Gioeli, who suffers from heart problems and diabetes, was sentenced in March for a range of mob mayhem including racketeering and murder raps.
He was convicted in 2012 of plotting the murders of several gangland rivals including Frank Marasa and orchestrating violence against rivals to gain power.


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Former union chief gets 22 months for role in Genovese family Christmas tributes

The former head of the union representing New Jersey dockworkers landed 22 months in prison in Brooklyn federal court Tuesday for his role in shaking down union members for Christmas “tributes.”

Thomas Leonardis, 57, was head of the International Longshoremen’s Association from 2008 to 2011.

Authorities say the collections were made at the behest of Stephen Depiro, a reputed soldier in the Genovese crime family.

In his guilty plea, Leonardis admitted conspiring to compel donations from ILA union members, who made the payments based on “actual and threatened force, violence and fear,” according to the US Attorney’s office.


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Colombo cop killer turned rat sentenced to 12 years in prison for role in 5 murders

Joseph Competiello was given a 12-year prison sentence Tuesday for killing NYPD policeman Ralph Dols in 1997 as well as other murders.
The family of slain NYPD cop Ralph Dols was a no-show Tuesday at the sentencing of a mob rat who received 12 years in prison for five gangland murders, including the rubout of the off-duty police officer.

Ex-Colombo soldier Joseph Competiello, who helped authorities crack the long-unsolved murder case, has maintained that he did not know Dols was a cop when he was given the contract by mob superiors in 1997.

No one from Dols’ family wrote the judge expressing a view on sentencing.

Linda Rosa Gargano holds a photograph of her murdered son Carmine. 'I still do not have my son’s body — and he wants to go home to his wife and family,' the bereaved mom cried in court Tuesday as her son's convicted killer, Joseph Competiello, was sentenced to 12 years behind bars.

Dols was allegedly marked for death by then-acting Colombo boss Joel Cacace because Cacace’s ex-wife had married the policeman. Cacace and two other alleged participants in the plot, Thomas Gioeli and Dino Saracino, were acquitted by federal juries of Dols’ murder.

Brooklyn Federal Judge Brian Cogan said he believed Competiello testified truthfully, but added: “I don’t think he played well to either jury.”

The scene of NYPD cop Ralph Dols' slaying.

Competiello, 43, has served more than six years in prison since he was arrested.

“I feel like a horrible, heartless person up here admitting to all these crimes I committed, but I’m not that person anymore,” he told the judge.

Ralph Dols was allegedly marked for death by then-acting Colombo boss Joel Cacace, pictured, because Cacace’s ex-wife had married the cop.

Rosa Gargano, the mother of victim Carmine Gargano, urged the judge to show no mercy to the “bloodthirsty” hit man.
Mob turncoat gets 12 years after copping to 5 hits

“I still do not have my son’s body — and he wants to go home to his wife and family,” Gargano cried, holding a framed photo of her son who was fatally shot by Competiello and finished off with a sledgehammer.


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Mob Wives back on VH1 for a fifth season

Get More:
Mob Wives 5

“Mob Wives” is back for a fifth season of screeching, yelling, shopping, more yelling and jail visits as Staten Island gun molls Drita D’Avanzo, Renee Graziano, Karen Gravano, Natalie Guercio and Angela “Big Ang” Raiola go on the prowl.
Last season, Renee, 46, mainly dealt with her father, Anthony Graziano, who was sentenced to one-and-a-half years in prison after her ex-husband, Hector “Junior” Pagan, wore a wire for the FBI and secretly taped conversations of his father-in-law with five other members of the Bonanno crime family. Four men, including Graziano, were sentenced to four-and-a-half years collectively after the recordings revealed they had attempted to collect a $150,000 illegal gambling debt.
Drita, 38, has a husband who is doing time. Lee D’Avanzo is serving time in prison for bank robbery — his second time in the big house. Karen, 35, who is the daughter of Sammy “The Bull” Gravano, returned to Staten Island after relocating to Arizona with her family.
Natalie, 31, is the single mother of a 9-year-old and wants to bring her family business, Carto Funeral Home, back to its former glory. And despite her over-the-top personality and zaftig proportions, Big Ang, 54, is known to most as the levelheaded one.
One question viewers would like to see answered this season is what exactly causes Big Ang and Renee to get into a huge fight. Hair is pulled, skin is bruised and accusations are hurled — irresistible scenes for those who get their rocks off on girl fights.
These ladies are bringing back the drama that we all thrive on from our reality starlets.
“Mob Wives” premiered Dec. 3 at 9 p.m. on VH1.

Brooklyn mansion built by Colombo soldier on the market for $17 million dollars

The most expensive home in Brooklyn at $30 million has suffered a steep discount to $17 million, according to Curbed New York.
Though it has significantly dropped in price from last year, the Mill Basin mansion keeps its title as Brooklyn’s most expensive property. The chop seems to stem from the fact that the original listing included a guest house on the property while the current listing does not.
The gated four-story compound includes five bedrooms, 9 and a half bathrooms, and over 14,700 square feet of space. 
Outside, the mansion has a 1,000-square-foot pool, a 40-person pavilion for parties, and 30,000 square feet of outdoor gardens.
There’s also a downstairs wine cellar, 257-feet of waterside frontage, a four-car garage, and a two-boat marina. It's a pretty nice spread that looks like it could belong in Miami instead of deep Brooklyn.
The mansion was originally built and owned by John Rosatti, a multi-millionaire with mob connections to the Colombo crime family. Known as an “earner,” he generated millions for their illegal activities with his car dealerships, according to the Village Voice.
He then sold the property to Russian heiress Galina Anisimova (mother of the "Russian Paris Hilton") for $3 million in the late ‘90s after he got caught up in some legal drama for building his home on wetlands.
Anisimova remains the current owner, according to public records found by The Real Deal.
James Cornell and Leslie Marshall of Corcoran Real Estate Group are currently sharing the listing.

Welcome to 2458 National Drive, Brooklyn's most expensive property.

Welcome to 2458 National Drive, Brooklyn's most expensive property.

The home is perched right on the Mill Basin waterfront.

The home is perched right on the Mill Basin waterfront.

For those who don't know where that is, it's in deep Brooklyn — far, far away from Manhattan.

For those who don't know where that is, it's in deep Brooklyn — far, far away from Manhattan.

The gated four-story compound was originally listed for $30 million back in 2013. It's now on sale for $17 million.

The gated four-story compound was originally listed for $30 million back in 2013. It's now on sale for $17 million.

It has four stories and 14,000 square feet of indoor space.

It has four stories and 14,000 square feet of indoor space.

In total, there are 14 rooms in the home.

In total, there are 14 rooms in the home.

Many of them have stunning floor-to-ceiling windows looking out on the water.

Many of them have stunning floor-to-ceiling windows looking out on the water.

This is the so-called "circle meditation room" with skylight. Fancy.

This is the so-called "circle meditation room" with skylight. Fancy.

These are the longest L-shaped couches you've ever seen.

These are the longest L-shaped couches you've ever seen.

The master bedroom looks amazing with wonderful views and a seating area.

The master bedroom looks amazing with wonderful views and a seating area.

There are nine bedrooms in total in the mansion.

There are nine bedrooms in total in the mansion.

There are also eight bathrooms and two powder rooms.

There are also eight bathrooms and two powder rooms.

Outside, the home has a 1,000-square-foot pool and 30,000 square feet of gardens.

Outside, the home has a 1,000-square-foot pool and 30,000 square feet of gardens.

This little outdoor area would be great for entertaining.

This little outdoor area would be great for entertaining.

The home also has 257-feet of Brooklyn waterfront.

The home also has 257-feet of Brooklyn waterfront.


Saturday, December 6, 2014

Convicted Philadelphia mob associate's lawyer bows out

Wannabe wiseguy Ron Galati, the South Philadelphia auto body shop owner with a Godfather fixation, wants to keep fighting. But it looks like he'll have to do battle without the services of topnotch criminal defense attorney Anthony Voci Jr.

Voci has filed motions to withdraw as Galati's attorney in a pending murder-for-hire case and a massive insurance fraud conspiracy case. Both are listed for trial in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court.

"My client does not have sufficient funds to allow me to continue," Voci said in a brief comment today when asked about the withdrawal motions. Voci, a former Assistant District Attorney, represented Galati in another murder-for-hire case in federal court in Camden earlier this year.

In that case, Galati was convicted of hiring two hitmen to murder the boyfriend of his estranged daughter. The boyfriend survived the hit and was one of several key witnesses. The two hitmen, a third conspirator and Galati's daughter Tiffany also took the stand for the government.

Sentencing in that case is scheduled for Jan. 7. Voci said he remains the attorney of record there but indicated that Galati may decide to go in another direction. Galati, 62, faces a potential sentence of 20 to 30 years.

"He's looking at the rest of his life in prison," said one source familiar with the situation.

The two hitmen and their co-conspirator pleaded guilty in a cooperating agreement with federal authorities. They have also agreed to cooperate and testify for the District Attorney's Office in the pending murder-for-hire case.

In that case, Galati is accused to conspiring to have two rival auto body shop owners, a father and son, killed because he believed -- correctly as it turned out -- that they were cooperating with state and city investigators in an insurance fraud case in which he was targeted.

Galati, who served 37 months for fraud charges in a similar insurance scam in the mid 1990s, was accused of orchestrating a multi-million dollar ripoff of insurance companies, using phony reports of accidents and inflated charges to line his pockets and to kick back cash to customers whose cars were damaged.

Galati formerly owned American Collision, a South Philadelphia auto body shop that his son, Ronald Jr., took over. But authorities allege the elder Galati remained in control of the company and orchestrated the scams that generated millions.  Galati's wife, his son and two dozen others, including the son of mob boss Joseph Ligambi, were listed as co-defendants in the insurance scam which authorities alleged generated nearly $5 million.

Jailed since his arrest in the Philadelphia murder-for-hire case nearly two years ago, Galati has reportedly told associates that he had no intention of pleading guilty to any of the charges, labeling those who have testified against him and those who have given statement to authorities "liars."

That list, according to court documents, would include dozens of customers whose cars were damaged and who went along with Galati's alleged plan to fabricate insurance reports. One technique cited in the grand jury presentment handed up earlier this year involved fake reports of cars striking deer. Galati, according to the presentment, kept deer blood and hair in his auto body shop and took photos claiming that the damage to vehicles was the result of  striking an animal.

That type of accident is a benefit to the owner of the vehicle since, in effect, it is a no fault event.

A source, citing the ongoing investigation, said investigators with the Pennsylvania State Police and the District Attorney's Office have statements from customers who described how Galati would fabricate information, take photos of staged events and inflate repair costs.

One example cited by a source was a customer whose car was damaged in a hit-and-run accident in New York City. When the customer brought the car to Galati, the source said, the accident report filed with the insurance company listed the cause as "struck by a deer." The customer told authorities, the source said, that the pictures of the damage to his car were more than the damage that had actually occurred, indicating that Galati had further damaged the car to inflate the repair and insurance costs.

The customer, the source said, received $3,000 from his insurance company.

At the time of his conviction in federal court in Camden, speculation was that Galati would plead out to the pending cases in Common Pleas Court, perhaps working out a deal that would spare his wife and son. But Galati has apparently nixed any talk of a deal and is now taking a hardline. Without the resources to hire an attorney, he may have to fight his remaining criminal battles with a court-appointed lawyer.

He has also told friends and associates that he has no intention of cooperating with authorities. His links to Ligambi and Ligambi's nephew, convicted mob capo George Borgesi, were mentioned in one pre-trial motion. But sources in both law enforcement and the underworld say Galati doesn't really know enough or have enough information to cut a deal.

What's more, those who know him say, it's doubtful he would make a credible witness. Instead, Galati has apparently decided to go out swinging, fighting all the charges and ripping all of those who have or who will take the stand against him, his daughter Tiffany included.  

"He thinks he's doing the honorable thing," said a source. "He thinks he's being a standup guy. What that's going to get him is life in prison."

While the plot to have his daughter's then boyfriend, Andrew Tuono, killed unfolded as a soap opera, according to testimony in federal court in Camden, the pending charges in Common Pleas Court are more hard-edged.

Borrowing a line from The Godfather, one of the gangster movies that friends say Galati's loved, it was strictly business. Galati, authorities alleged, hired hitmen to killed Joseph Rao and his son, Joseph Jr., rival auto body shop owners who were cooperating in the insurance fraud investigation.
The Raos closed their business before the hits could be carried out, according to court documents.


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Son of Vinny Gorgeous sentenced to two years in prison for marijuana trafficking

Vincent Basciano Jr. was sentenced to two years in prison for hustling marijuana.
Like father, like sons.
The son of notorious Bonanno mob boss Vincent " Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano was sentenced to two years in prison Tuesday — meaning he'll join his dad and two brothers behind bars.
Vincent Basciano Jr., 33, was part of a Bronx pot-trafficking ring that sold roughly two pounds of marijuana a week to some 300 regular customers, authorities said. Basciano Jr.’s two brothers, Stephen and Joseph, also pleaded guilty for their roles in the trafficking operation.
“I apologize to the court, my family and most of all my son,” Basciano Jr. said. “I made a poor decision when my back was against the wall.”
Manhattan Federal Court Judge Richard Sullivan cut Basciano Jr. a break by giving him two years in prison plus one year of home confinement, rather than three years total.
Sullivan said he wanted Basciano Jr. to be able to tend to his 5-year-old son who has special needs.
“My determination is it's better to have you home than in jail, for the sake of your son,” Sullivan said.
Vincent’s brothers, Stephen and Joseph, were sentenced to three and half years and six months, respectively.
Their ruthless and well-groomed father is serving a life sentence in a Colorado maximum security prison for multiple murder convictions.