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

Friday, July 31, 2015

Family of man killed by Mafia Cops settles for $5 million


The last that Israel Greenwald’s daughters saw of him was in February 1986. Yael, then 7, had the flu, and her father stayed up all night with her; the next morning, he hugged Michal, 9, when he left her at her bus stop. They never saw him again. The married father of two girls, a diamond dealer and a religious man with no criminal record, simply seemed to disappear.

It was not until two decades later, when a government witness led investigators to Mr. Greenwald’s makeshift grave in a Brooklyn garage, that his family began to find out what had happened. Mr. Greenwald had been killed by two New York Police Department detectives who were secretly working with the Mafia.

On Thursday, Mr. Greenwald’s family settled a civil suit against the City of New York for $5 million. Several more lawsuits against the city brought by families of those killed by the two detectives, Stephen Caracappa and Louis Eppolito, known as the Mafia Cops, are scheduled to go to trial this fall in Federal District Court in Brooklyn. Another family settled with the city in January for $5 million.Photo

Louis Eppolito in 2006. He and Stephen Caracappa, former New York police detectives, were known as the Mafia Cops.

The detectives were convicted in 2006 of eight murders, two attempted murders and one murder conspiracy, among other crimes. They are serving multiple life sentences.

Several years after joining the police force in 1969, the detectives agreed to a partnership with Anthony Casso, known as Gaspipe, the No. 2 man in the Lucchese crime family, the jury found at the detectives’ trial. Over six years, they killed at the direction of Mr. Casso and provided him with confidential information. They were paid a total of the $375,000.

Mr. Greenwald’s tangential involvement with the Mafia started in 1985, when he went to Britain to help a business associate buy Treasury bills there. When he returned, the Federal Bureau of Investigation questioned him about the source of the bills. Mr. Greenwald said the source was legitimate, as he believed it was. However, the bills had apparently originated with someone linked to Mr. Casso.

In 1985 or 1986, a longtime criminal named Burton Kaplan, who worked for Mr. Casso, hired Mr. Eppolito and Mr. Caracappa to kill Mr. Greenwald to prevent him from cooperating with the F.B.I.’s inquiry. Mr. Kaplan had heard about the detectives through a cousin of Mr. Eppolito’s whom he had met in prison.

Mr. Casso welcomed the inside help, Mr. Kaplan said in trial testimony.

In February 1986, the rogue detectives used a confidential police database to find Mr. Greenwald’s home address, the type of car he drove and its license plate number. They pulled over the car, told him they were detectives and asked him to come to the precinct because he was a suspect in a hit and run. Instead, they took him to a warehouse on Nostrand Avenue, where Mr. Caracappa and another man killed him, while Mr. Eppolito acted as a lookout.

They buried the body in the garage, where it stayed for almost two decades, until a person cooperating with the government in 2005 told investigators where it was. That led to the arrests of Mr. Caracappa and Mr. Eppolito, who had both retired. (Mr. Eppolito had retired in 1990, and Mr. Caracappa in 1992.)

Until Mr. Greenwald’s body was found, his wife and two daughters had no idea what had happened. Without it, the family had not been able to get life insurance or social services, their lawyers said in a statement, and “the family lost their home and their car.”

After killing Mr. Greenwald, Mr. Caracappa and Mr. Eppolito committed several other murders for Mr. Casso, including the killings of a Staten Island man whom they stuffed into a trunk, another man gunned down while changing a tire on his car and another who was left dead with a canary stuffed into his mouth after the detectives identified him as an informer.

The lawsuit on behalf of the Greenwald family says that city officials knew about the detectives’ Mafia connections. In 1984, for instance, Mr. Eppolito was suspended after the F.B.I. alerted the Police Department that he had given intelligence files to a member of the Gambino crime family.

The city had opposed the lawsuits from the victims’ families, but last year, Judge Raymond Dearie of Federal District Court in Brooklyn said they could go forward. Judge Dearie wrote that there was a “systemic failure” in the Police Department to handle corruption during the detectives’ tenure, and that had Mr. Eppolito been effectively disciplined or dismissed when he was caught handing over the confidential records, these murders might not have occurred.

The department did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Nicholas Paolucci, a spokesman for the city’s Law Department, said that “settling this case was in the best interest of the city.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/31/nyregion/family-of-man-killed-by-rogue-detectives-settles-suit-for-5-million.html?ref=nyregion

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Bonanno soldier tells judge in letter his violent outbursts are therapeutic


My violent rants are therapy: reputed mobster
A reputed mobster awaiting trial channeled his inner Robert De Niro for a letter to the judge that reads like a scene from the 1999 mob comedy “Analyze This.”

“The prosecution is trying to label me violent,” Anthony “Skinny” Santoro says in the hand-written jailhouse missive.


Letter written by Anthony “Skinny” Santoro to Judge Melissa Jackson.

“Your Honor the fact is I do talk a bit crazy, even stupidly at times, it’s how I ventilate (sic) my feelings in private, it’s a therapeutic technique I’ve learned that it keeps me from acting out in a negative way, as we all know, they’re only feelings and they go away, just check Psychology 101.”

“Since when is talking about your feelings a crime?” the reputed Bonnano soldier added, taking a page from the movie where De Niro plays a mob boss who is treated by a psychiatrist played by Billy Crystal.

Santoro — who despite his nickname tips the scales at 300 pounds — is locked up on enterprise-corruption, loan-sharking and gambling charges.

In his letter to Justice Melissa Jackson, he refers to a plea offer of nine to 18 years in the slammer as “outrageously high” and implores the judge to “step in and settle this matter fairly.”

“I am not trying to paint myself as an angel, but I’m not guilty of enterprise corruption — I would gladly plea to one of the underlying pattern acts,” he generously wrote.

Santoro, 52, penned the letter on Dec. 2, but it was just recently made public.

Prosecutors claim to have wiretap recordings of the Staten Island resident engaged in several of his self-described “therapy” sessions.

Crime family members Vito Badamo (left) and Ernest Aiello (right) appear with Anthony Santoro (center) in court.

“I’m gonna split his ­f–king head with a hatchet,” he fumed to an associate about one foe, according to court papers.

“I’ll put two holes in his ­f–king forehead. I’ll double-tap his forehead right now!”

Defense lawyer Tim Parlatore insists Santoro is all bark and no bite. “My client describes himself as a rough and tough cream puff,” he said. “He talks tough. He never ­actually does anything ”

Santoro was busted in 2013 along with reputed capo Nicky “Cigars” Santora, 72, who inspired the character played by the late Bruno Kirby in the 1997 film “Donnie Brasco.”

http://nypost.com/2015/07/30/my-violent-rants-are-my-therapy-accused-mobster-pleas-to-judge/

Deceased gangster suggested Jimmy Hoffa is buried under the Pulaski Skyway




New evidence has emerged about Jimmy Hoffa’s possible fate.


His disappearance 40 years ago is one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in U.S. history, and now new evidence has emerged about Jimmy Hoffa’s possible fate.

A mobster who was believed to be involved in the labor boss’s disappearance suggested before he died last year that the feds were on the right track when they searched a New Jersey dump for Hoffa’s remains, a bombshell report says.

Investigative reporter Dan Moldea confirmed that the FBI searched the dump in 1975, looking for a 55-gallon drum they believed the Teamsters boss had been entombed in.

Moldea’s source was Phillip (Brother) Moscato, the mobbed-up owner of the toxic site under the Pulaski Skyway when it was dug up.

I ain’t telling you nothing. But I’m telling you that he (Hoffa) ain’t (at the farm).

Moldea revealed in a story being featured Thursday on the Web site Ganglandnews.com that he conducted several taped interviews of Moscato about the Hoffa case before the oldfella died of natural causes on Valentine’s Day 2014.

“I promised him (Moscato) I wasn’t going to cause him any trouble while he was alive,” Moldea told the Daily News.

Moscato, an associate of the Genovese crime family, confirmed that snitch Ralph Picardo told the FBI in 1975 that Hoffa was buried in a drum at the dump, Moldea said.

“They dug the dump up for three months,” Moscato said, according to the new report. “That was Hoffa in the 55-gallon drum. (Picardo) said a pickup truck brought . . . the truck in and Hoffa was in it and we buried him.”

Phillip (Brother) Moscato, pictured, said Jimmy Hoffa was buried in drum near Pulaski Skyway.

Although Picardo allegedly implicated Moscato as helping to dispose of Hoffa’s remains, the wily wiseguy does not explicitly admit he participated.

Moscato was a longtime associate of mob enforcer Salvatore "Sally Bugs" Briguglio, who has long been suspected of carrying out the hit on Hoffa.

Moscato was reminded that FBI agents had also dug up a farm owned by a Teamsters official in Wixom, Mich., where Hoffa was believed to have been slain.

Investigative reporter Dan Moldea confirmed that the FBI searched the dump near the Pulaski Skyway (pictured) in 1975, looking for a 55-gallon drum they believed the Teamsters boss had been entombed in.

“Put that to rest,” Moscato reportedly said in the interview. “I ain’t telling you nothing. But I’m telling you that he (Hoffa) ain’t (at the farm).”

Moldea told The News he believes Hoffa was shot dead on the farm and his body was driven to the Garden State in a truck for burial in the toxic soil.

Moldea writes that he also interviewed the husband and wife who lived on the Michigan farm at the time.


Moscato was reminded that FBI agents had also dug up a farm owned by a Teamsters official in Wixom, Mich., where Hoffa was believed to have been slain.

They told him a large hole had been dug on the property several weeks before Hoffa vanished and they observed cars speeding in the direction of the hole on the afternoon Hoffa was last seen alive at the Machus Red Fox restaurant in a suburb of Detroit. That’s where he was supposed to meet mob capo Anthony "Tony Jack" Giacalone and New Jersey Teamsters boss Anthony "Tony Pro" Provenzano.

“I have not solved the case,” Moldea, author of “The Hoffa Wars,” told The News. “I’ve put together the most reasonable scenario of what happened.”

Efforts to reach Moscato’s widow were not successful.

Besides the garbage dump and the farm, there have been reports over the past four decades that the corrupt labor leader’s body was buried under the west end zone of Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands, and incinerated in a garbage disposal plant.

Hoffa was declared legally dead in 1982. It is believed that the politically connected Hoffa was whacked by the Mafia because he refused to back off from trying to regain the presidency of the powerful Teamsters union.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/exclusive-new-evidence-emerges-jimmy-hoffa-fate-article-1.2308877

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Federal judge denounces the mafia as he sentences Bonanno rat



Anthony Basile, a member of the Bonanno crime family, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for the 1992 rubout of a newspaper delivery foreman the mob feared would talk to authorities.

A federal judge denounced Hollywood’s glorification of the Mafia as he sentenced a mob rat to 12 years in prison for participating in the 1992 rubout of a New York Post delivery foreman.

The foreman, Robert Perrino, was whacked for fear he would cooperate with authorities probing mob activity at the paper.

The feds charged that Perrino was lured to a Brooklyn social club, where he was shot in the head and stabbed in the ear with an ice pick.

His remains weren’t found until 2004.

“There is absolute nothing in ‘The Godfather,’ in ‘Goodfellas,’ or in ‘Donnie Brasco’ that should be deemed an allure,” said Brooklyn Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis. “It is the most sordid level of behavior which should be rejected.”

Prosecutors were asking the judge to sentence Bonanno associate Anthony Basile, 45, to life in prison for the Perrino murder with no credit for his two attempts at snitching.

Judge Nicholas Garaufis blasted Hollywood glorification of the mob in movies such as 'The Godfather' and 'Goodfellas,' calling it 'the most sordid level of behavior.'

Basile had tried to cut a deal after he and Bonanno soldier Baldassare "Baldo" Amato were convicted of Perrino's murder at trial in 2006.

The feds ripped up cooperation agreements after Basile was caught lying to the FBI and misbehaving in prison.

But defense lawyer Morris Fodeman convinced the judge to consider some helpful information his client had provided and the danger he will face for the rest of his life for ratting.

With credit for good time, Basile will be a free man in 13 months.

“I promise you I won’t let you down,” Basile, 45, vowed to the judge.

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/bonanno-mob-rat-sentenced-12-years-prison-rubout-article-1.2307303

Florida appeals court upholds murder conviction of FBI agent linked to Whitey Bulger



A divided appeals court on Wednesday upheld the murder conviction of a former FBI agent in the 1982 slaying of a Florida gambling executive in a case connected to imprisoned New England mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger.

The full 3rd District Court of Appeal’s decision in the case of ex-agent John Connolly reversed that of a three-judge panel of the same court. In a 6-4 ruling, the new decision concluded Connolly could be convicted of second-degree murder with a firearm even though he was 1,500 miles away when a hit man fatally shot World Jai-Alai President John Callahan in Fort Lauderdale in 1982.

The judges agreed with prosecutors that the firearm enhancement was proper because Connolly, as an on-duty FBI agent at the time, was certainly armed when he tipped Bulger’s gang that Callahan was about to implicate them in another killing.

“The evidence as to both his participation in the murder and his possession of a firearm during his participation are overwhelming,” Judge Leslie Rothenberg wrote on behalf of the majority. “The law does not require that the defendant be the actual shooter.”

The law does not require that the defendant be the actual shooter.

Connolly was Bulger’s FBI handler in Boston and was convicted in 2002 in federal court of racketeering for protecting members of his Winter Hill Gang from prosecution and tipping them about informants in their ranks. He completed a 10-year sentence in that case, then was convicted and sentenced to 40 years in prison for the Florida murder.

The Florida jury that convicted him in 2008 specifically found that although Connolly’s gun was not used in the slaying, the charge could be “reclassified” to include his own FBI firearm as part of the crime — overcoming a statute of limitations in place in 1982 that would otherwise have required Connolly’s acquittal.

The four dissenting judges accused the majority of an “overbroad” interpretation of the firearms law as it relates to felonies such as murder and predicted the decision would trigger confusion in cases across Florida. The dissenters said they will formally ask the Florida Supreme Court to weigh in on the question.

James “Whitey” Bulger was tipped by ex-FBI agent James Connolly that Callahan would implicate him in another murder.

“Up until today, (state law) has been interpreted throughout the state to require the defendant to have carried, displayed, used, threatened or attempted to use the weapon actually used or available for use in commission of the felony,” wrote Judge Richard J. Suarez in the dissent.

“The law is as clear as our duty to apply it. Connolly did not carry a firearm during the commission of the murder,” Suarez added.

Connolly’s attorney did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment about possible further appeals.

Bulger, the loose blueprint for the Martin Scorsese film “The Departed,” was a fugitive for 16 years until his 2011 capture at an apartment in Santa Monica, California. Bulger is serving a life sentence for convictions in August 2013 of numerous crimes, including involvement in 11 murders.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/ex-fbi-agent-convicted-murder-article-1.2308086

Scarfo Jr gets 30 years in prison for hostile corporate takeover


AD 3 SCARFOCUFF SONG
It was a hostile takeover with mob overtones.

And in federal court today, the son of a reputed Philadelphia-area crime family boss was sentenced to 30 years in prison for his role in a scheme to take control of a publicly traded mortgage company and loot $12 million from shareholders.

Nicodemo Scarfo Jr., 50, of Galloway—son of jailed Philadelphia mob boss Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo—was convicted in July 2014 on more than 20 counts of mail, bank and wire fraud and racketeering conspiracy in connection with a white-collar scheme to loot Texas-based First Plus Financial.

The shakedown, said authorities, allowed Scarfo and associate Salvatore Pelullo to buy weapons, ammunition, a Bentley, an airplane, a house, expensive jewelry and a $850,000 yacht named "Priceless."

Federal prosecutors had charged Scarfo along with 12 others of using threats of violence to take over the board of the company, and then forced it buy shell companies they owned so they could plunder its assets.

"Scarfo and his crew gave new meaning to the term 'corporate takeover,' pushing out the legitimate leadership of a publicly traded company and then looting it," said U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman. "They used false SEC filings, phony consulting agreements and more traditional mob methods to steal $12 million from the company's shareholders. That's a risk that investors should never have to take."

U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman in 2011 announcing the arrests of Scarfo and others in the mob takeover of FirstPlus Financial Group.

Five other defendants—Cory Leshner, Howard Drossner, John Parisi, Todd Stark and Scarfo's wife, Lisa Murray-Scarfo—have pleaded pleaded guilty to various charges related to their roles in the conspiracy.

Scarfo's father was also named as a co-conspirator, but not brought to trial.

According to court filings, board members of FirstPlus were told by Scarfo and Pelullo to "shut up and step aside."

The scheme began in April 2007, when prosecutors said Scarfo, Pelullo and others targeted FirstPlus Financial Group, pushing out FPFG's management and board of directors. They brought in William Maxell, 56, of Houston, a Texas attorney who was designated "special counsel," and his brother, John Maxwell, 63, of Dallas, who became the new CEO.

"If you ever rat, your wives will be [expletive] ... and your kids will be sold off as prostitutes," Pelullo allegedly told one board member after the takeover, according to the indictment. He told another, according to authorities: "Don't [expletive] with me."

The company is now defunct.

During the months-long trial in Camden, defense attorneys argued that FirstPlus went under because of the poor economy, and argued that the government invoked that shadow of Scarfo's family and his mob ties to make him and the others look guilty.

In the sentence handed down by U.S. District Judge Robert B. Kugler, Scarfo was also ordered to forfeit his interest in certain properties and to pay $14 million in restitution.

The Maxwell brothers, along with Pelullo were convicted as well in the case and are scheduled to be sentenced later this week.

Scarfo, meanwhile, still faces trial in an unrelated gambling case. He was among 34 Lucchese members and associates charged in 2010 by the state Attorney General with allegedly running the crime family's underground sports gambling operation involving billions of dollars in illegal wagers.

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2015/07/philly_mob_scion_sentenced_to_30_years_in_corporate_takeover.html#incart_river

Monday, July 27, 2015

Colombo captain picked up extortion payments while on chemotherapy


Luca DiMatteo, 70, is battling bladder cancer, but that hasn't stopped him from collecting extortion and loanshark payments, according to a federal prosecutor.
Not even cancer can keep a mobster down when it comes to making an illegal buck.

A 70-year-old reputed Colombo capo was picking up extortion and loanshark payments from a victim in between his chemotherapy sessions, a federal prosecutor charged.

Luca DiMatteo’s health issues and his hands-on racketeering were an open book for the feds, who had a wiretap on the gangster’s phone for months, said the prosecutor.

DiMatteo is charged with shaking down an unidentified business owner in Brooklyn every week for more than a decade. When he was diagnosed this year with bladder cancer, that didn’t stop the alleged shakedowns.

On days that he received chemo treatments, DiMatteo sent his brother or nephew to run criminal errands for him, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Geddes.

Otherwise, prosecutors said DiMatteo made the pickups himself. “The defendant traveled from his home in Merrick, L.I., all the way to Brooklyn to collect a measly $200,” Geddes said last week in Brooklyn Federal Court.

Defense lawyer Flora Edwards sought her client’s release on $1.5 million bail, playing the health issues card. Besides bladder cancer, DiMatteo also suffers from a heart condition and diabetes, Edwards said, offering to put surveillance cameras around the mobster’s house and have him wear an electronic ankle bracelet if he were sprung.

“Mr. DiMatteo is seriously ill,” his lawyer said with a serious face.

The prosecutor shot back that DiMatteo’s health didn’t stop him from committing crimes or directing others to commit crimes for him, so he can’t use it as an excuse to get of jail.

Federal Judge Leo Glasser agreed, pointing out that DiMatteo is charged with extortion, which is a crime of violence. “An illness doesn’t justify criminal behavior,” Glasser said.

DiMatteo winked at family members as he was led out of the bail hearing after his arrest.

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/exclusive-mobster-70-made-illegal-money-chemo-article-1.2304848

Friday, July 24, 2015

Cleveland judge grants bail to Gambino mobster


A judge in Cleveland loosened the bail restrictions for Victoria Gotti ex Carmine Agnello on Thursday, allowing him to return to the salvage yard where prosecutors say he ran a $3 million scrap-metal scam.

Prosecutors had cited Agnello’s ties to the Gotti family in demanding high bail that barred him from his Eagle Auto Parts yard — but his lawyer, Ian Friedman, said Agnello’s ties to his former father-in-law, legendary Mafia boss John Gotti, are from “long ago” in a faraway galaxy named Queens.

“What’s the beginning to ‘Star Wars’? Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away?” the lawyer joked before Judge Joseph Russo in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.

Agnello and Victoria split in 2002.

http://nypost.com/2015/07/24/victoria-gottis-ex-can-return-to-schemed-scrap-yard-court/

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Former Gambino family underboss dies on his 62nd birthday


Anthony Megale Photo: Alan Raia, Newsday / Stamford Advocate contributed
City resident Anthony “The Genius” Megale, who rose to be the underboss of the Gambino crime family during the reign of John Gotti, died at Stamford Hospital Tuesday night.
An employee at the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Farmington said Wednesday that Megale’s body had not yet been examined, and therefore a cause of death was not known.
A local law enforcement source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Megale died of a heart attack at 9:30 p.m. on his 62nd birthday. Megale was released from a Pennsylvania federal prison in December after being indicted on 38 extortion charges in 2004.
Megale’s Stamford attorney, Stephan Seeger, confirmed the cause of death was an apparent heart attack.
Megale was sentenced to more than 11 years in federal prison in September 2006 for his part in a tri-state racketeering enterprise centered in New York state.
Seeger said that in the 15 years he had known and represented Megale, he was always a gentleman.
“This whole mafia folklore is what the public wants to believe, but it detracts from some of his more noteworthy qualities,” Seeger said. “He was a kind man who took care of his wife and kids and he contributed greatly to Stamford and surrounding area communities.”
Seeger said he had spoken to Megale’s family and they they were taking the news hard. He requested privacy to allow them to grieve.
“There has always been a lot more to Tony than any alleged mafia folklore,” he insisted.
Although Megale denied membership in the Gambinos, he was accused by federal prosecutors and police of becoming the second-in-command of the crime family in the early 2000s. The Gambinos, one of the five alleged New York mafia families, has traditionally made Fairfield County, especially Bridgeport, its Connecticut turf. In 1989, Megale admitted to being Gotti’s top man in Connecticut, a confession Seeger said he never meant to make.
Megale was handed a 135-month sentence for extorting thousands of dollars from the owner of a Greenwich restaurant named Valbella, a New Jersey trucking company and a Westchester County, N.Y.-based construction company.
He was among 32 members and associates of the Gambino crime family who were arrested by the FBI in 2005 during a New York crime sweep that involved a decade-long racketeering scheme of violent assault, extortion, loansharking, union embezzlement, illegal gambling, trafficking in stolen property and mail fraud.
Authorities said the crimes were exposed during a three-year investigation, in which an undercover FBI agent infiltrated the Gambinos and made hundreds of secret tape recordings of high-ranking members at sites throughout the Bronx, N.Y., and Westchester County, including the United Hebrew Geriatrics Home in New Rochelle, N.Y.
Former Connecticut Post and Stamford Advocate reporter Frank Fedeli, who wrote dozens of articles about Megale while covering the organized crime beat, said Megale was given his mob moniker in a back-handed way.
Fedeli said Megale was dubbed “The Genius” on a federal wiretap by an upset and angry Gotti, who apparently thought Megale was anything but a genius.
Fedeli, now Stamford’s customer service supervisor, said in the late 70s and early 80s Megale ran Tony’s Italian Restaurant on the corner of State and Atlantic streets. While it wasn’t known for its ambiance, the place had a well-respected fra diavolo sauce and was a favorite place for the Gambinos to catch up with their New York brothers. Federal officials and Stamford police knew about the arrangement and kept close tabs on the eatery.
Fedeli said Megale had great help rising through the mafia’s ranks through his uncle, Cosmos Sandalo, who was a very well-liked and low-profile gentleman mobster. Megale, who was a street soldier and known to be a good mob earner, was also helped by a pitched mob war from 1978 to 1981 that rubbed out many of the older established mafia bosses.
“The vacuum was created and he walked into it,” Fedeli said.
Megale’s health declined in the months surrounding his sentencing on federal charges in Connecticut in early 2006. He suffered two heart attacks and underwent two heart surgeries in the spring of that year.

http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/Former-Gambino-family-boss-dies-in-Stamford-6399398.php

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Acting Colombo family captain busted for extortion and loansharking


A ten-count indictment was unsealed today in United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York charging Luca DiMatteo and his nephew, Lukey DiMatteo, with racketeering conspiracy, extortion, loansharking, and operating an illegal gambling business. The indictment was returned under seal by a federal grand jury sitting in Brooklyn, New York, on July 9, 2015, and relates to the defendants’ alleged criminal activities in Brooklyn and elsewhere between January 2009 and June 2015.

The charges were announced by Kelly T. Currie, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Diego Rodriguez, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI).

As alleged in the indictment and detention memorandum, Luca DiMatteo is a long-time member of the Colombo organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra, and has served for several years as the acting captain in charge of a crew of the crime family’s members and associates.

As alleged, both Luca DiMatteo and Lukey DiMatteo participated in the extortion of a local business owner for more than ten years that lasted until the business owner closed down the business last month. The business owner paid the DiMatteos $100 to $200 every two weeks based on his fear of these defendants and the potential consequences of not paying. The DiMatteos are also charged separately in loansharking counts. Lukey DiMatteo is separately charged in an additional extortion count, as well as in counts alleging the operation of illegal gambling businesses – based on his operation of a gambling club in Brooklyn, along with co-defendant John Shields and others – and sports betting.

“Along with our partners at the FBI, we are committed to defeating organized crime,” stated Acting United States Attorney Currie. “We will not tolerate the use of violence or threats of violence to extort local business people, and we will shut down illegal gambling businesses in our neighborhoods.”

“As alleged, Luca DiMatteo and Lukey DiMatteo picked up a check every couple of weeks from a local business for more than ten years, but it wasn’t a paycheck—rather they picked up a shakedown check. In addition to facing charges of racketeering conspiracy, extortion, and loansharking, Lukey DiMatteo and John Shields are charged with allegedly operating an illegal gambling business. The FBI will continue to work to protect victims and root out any and all organized crime activity—wherever we may find it,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Rodriguez.

Two of the defendants, Luca DiMatteo and John Shields, were arraigned yesterday before United States Magistrate Judge Cheryl L. Pollak at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn. The third defendant, Lukey DiMatteo, is scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Ramon E. Reyes, Jr., at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn. The charges in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The government’s case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Organized Crime & Gangs Section. Assistant United States Attorneys Elizabeth A. Geddes and Allon Lifshitz are in charge of the prosecution.

The Defendants:

LUCA DIMATTEO
Age: 70
Merrick, New York

LUCA DIMATTEO (“Lukey Dimatteo”)
Age: 46
Brooklyn, New York

John Shields (“Scott Greco”)
Age: 46
East Atlantic Beach, New York

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 15 CR 334 (ILG)

http://www.justice.gov/usao-edny/pr/colombo-crime-family-captain-and-two-associates-charged-racketeering-conspiracy

Man sentenced to time served in South Florida murder linked to Gambino family


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A man who allegedly has ties to the Gambino crime family was formally sentenced to time served Friday for his role in the murder of Miami Subs founder Gus Boulis.
James "Pudgy" Fiorillo accepted a plea deal with the state in exchange for testifying against Anthony "Big Tony" Moscatiello and Anthony "Little Tony" Ferrari.
As part of the deal, Fiorillo pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder. He has served 6 1/2 years in prison and has since been released.
Fiorillo said there isn't a day that he doesn't fear for his life.
"(It was) a time period (when I was) down and out on my luck," Fiorillo told Local 10 News crime specialist John Turchin. "(There was) nowhere to go. (I was) living on the street and, you know, I thought there were people out there that could help, and in turn, they wanted to hurt. I'm just glad it's a good result at the end of the day."
Fiorillo even received a compliment by the prosecutor.
"He has become a solid citizen," assistant state attorney Brian Cavanagh said.
Fiorillo is now married with a child and is a manager at a car dealership.
Moscatiello, who was convicted of orchestrating the 2001 hit on Boulis, faces the death penalty or life in prison when he is sentenced in September. Ferrari was sentenced in December 2013 to life in prison.
Fiorillo took the stand in each trial, claiming he was ordered to get rid of the murder weapon after Boulis' was cornered in his vehicle while leaving his Fort Lauderdale office and was fatally shot.
He said he threw the gun off a bridge in Miami Beach.
"(I) veered off to the right-hand side where the body of water was, went to the edge and threw it in as far as I could," Fiorillo said during Moscatiello's trial.
Fiorillo has denied being the gunman. Witnesses pinned the shooting on John "J.J." Gurino, was later killed in a dispute with a Boca Raton delicatessen owner.
According to prosecutors, Boulis was ordered to be killed after he tried to retake control of the SunCruz Casinos boat fleet after selling it in a fraudulent deal to businessman Adam Kidan and his partner, former Washington powerhouse lobbyist, Jack Abramoff.
Prosecutors said Kidan paid Moscatiello thousands of dollars a month to handle security and other issues, including the use of Moscatiello's alleged mob ties for protection.
Abramoff and Kidan both pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges and served prison time in the $147.5 million purchase of SunCruz from Boulis.

http://www.local10.com/news/james-pudgy-fiorillo-sentenced-in-mobster-murder-case/34217024

Feds say Sammy the Bull doesnt deserve a reduction in jail sentence


Salvatore (Sammy Bull) Gravano doesn’t deserve a break on his drug sentence, federal prosecutors said.
Mob rat of all rats, Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano may be out of second chances.

The ex-Gambino underboss, who received a deal of a lifetime after turning on the late John Gotti, doesn’t have the backing of federal prosecutors this time on his bid for early release from the 20-year term he’s serving for running a massive ecstasy operation in Arizona.

As a reward for his historic cooperation against Gotti, Gravano got virtually a free pass — serving only five years for 19 gangland murders.

But Gravano soon returned to a life of crime and was busted in the drug operation.

He is currently seeking 34 months lopped off the drug sentence which he's scheduled to complete in 2017.

“The defendant quickly squandered the opportunity to live a law-abiding life and launched a drug distribution venture only months after his release,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Cruz Melendez states in court papers.

The prosecutor also reminds Brooklyn Federal Judge Allyne Ross that she had expressed the view at Gravano's sentencing in 2002 that if she wasn't bound by a cap on the penalty, he deserved more than 20 years behind bars.

Gravano, 70, is eligible for a reduced sentence under an amendment to federal sentencing guidelines approved last year by the U.S. Sentencing Commission.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/mob-rat-salvatore-gravano-doesn-deserve-break-fed-article-1.2298882

FBI agent who took down Gambino family now targeting animal abusers


He’s Doggie Brasco.

A legendary former FBI agent has gone from nailing mobsters to taking out animal abusers.


Jack Garcia with his family dog

Jack Garcia — who once posed as a Sicilian jewel thief named “Jack Falcone’’ to infiltrate the Gambino crime family — now works for a Long Island-based animal-rescue group as its lead investigator.

He recently told The Post that after retiring from the FBI in 2006, he was looking to make a difference again.

“I went from driving around Gambino captain Greg DePalma to driving my daughter to school. It was a big transition. It took a lot of time to get used to it. So when this opportunity came around . . . I wanted to get involved,” said Garcia, who wrote a book, “Making Jack Falcone,’’ on his undercover work.



“The acts of violence on defenseless animals is as vicious as some of the crimes I’ve investigated. And I’ve seen it all.”

The Cuban native gained fame after duping Mafiosos into letting him into their inner circle by posing as Falcone.

The operation resulted in more than 30 convictions and decimated the post-John Gotti Gambino power structure.

The 6-foot-4, 390-pound ex-G-man is now using his crime-fighting skills at the Guardians of Rescue, which finds animal abuse, provides veterans free service dogs and aids animal shelters, among other services.

Its founder, Robert Misseri, says Garcia is a great asset.

“We wanted to bring someone in with real experience and reach not just locally, but throughout the country,” said Misseri, who was once eyed by the feds for alleged mob ties.

The nonprofit cannot make arrests, but Misseri said it provides information to help police investigate animal-abuse cases.

Garcia said his new job lets him help the helpless.

“With the Mafia, if you had a problem, at least you could do something about it,” he said. “You could contact the police; you could move somewhere else. But animals don’t have a voice in that way if they are being abused. We want to give them that voice.”

Despite increased awareness, horrific abuses are still rampant, Misseri said.

“The puppy mills are still big business, and you still have a lot of dogfighting and other issues,” he said. “There’s a lot of work to be done. Having someone like Jack onboard is going to help in a lot of ways.”

http://nypost.com/2015/07/21/former-fbi-agent-goes-from-busting-mobsters-to-tracking-animal-abusers/

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

John Gotti's former son in law and Gambino captain busted in Cleveland


Exported.; dnp; EXP;
Carmine Agnello, the ex-hubby of mob princess Victoria Gotti and a reputed Gambino crime family capo, was busted in Cleveland for allegedly returning to his mob roots.

The former Queens salvage yard owner was arrested Wednesday, with Cleveland cops planning a news conference to provide details on the case,according to Channel 5 News in the Ohio city.

(From l.) Carmine Gotti Agnello, John Gotti Agnello, Lindsay Lohan and Frank Gotti Agnello attend a press conference for the film "Gotti: Three Generations" in 2011. The three men are the sons of Carmine Agnello and Victoria Gotti.

Agnello was married to the “Growing Up Gotti” matriarch for 17 years before their union collapsed amidst his racketeering prosecution — and charges of his canoodling with the secretary at his auto-shredding operation.

Blond-maned Victoria Gotti was granted a 2002 divorce from her philandering husband on grounds of constructive abandonment — no sexual relations for more than a year.

She went on to notoriety with their three sons on the reality show “Growing Up Gotti.”
23 years since John Gotti's life sentence

Agnello’s father-in-law was the late Gambino boss John Gotti.

Agnello was in the middle of a nine-year racketeering, extortion and arson rap at the time of her divorce filing. He agreed to pay the federal government more than $11 million as part of his 2001 plea deal.

Agnello’s father-in-law was the late Gambino boss John Gotti, the infamous “Teflon Don” who died in prison after his own 1992 racketeering conviction.

Gotti earned his nickname by beating three previous prosecutions before the feds finally nailed the high-living mob boss.

The burly Agnello, 55, was arrested in 2000 for allegedly using extortion and threats to gain control of the multi-million dollar scrap metal market at Willets Point — near CitiField in Queens.
J.
Carmine Agnello listens to arguments during his bail hearing in New York in 2000, where he faced conspiracy, arson and extortion charges.

In that case, Agnello forced undercover cops posing as local businessmen to sell him stolen car parts at half the going rate.

He also ordered a pair of firebombings against a business that failed to follow his instructions.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/reputed-mobster-carmine-agnello-arrested-cleveland-article-1.2293069

Monday, July 13, 2015

Author says John Gotti personally killed gangster played by Joe Pesci in Goodfellas


It was time for Tommy ­DeSimone to die.

The mobster — famously portrayed by Joe Pesci in “Goodfellas” — killed two made men, tried to rape the wife of his gangster pal Henry Hill and stupidly lifted his ski mask during 1978’s historic $6 million Lufthansa heist.

So John Gotti took care of it — personally.

The handsome capo used a silencer-equipped Colt .38 to shoot DeSimone three times in the skull in January 1979 in the basement of an Italian restaurant on Arthur Avenue in The Bronx, says an upcoming book, “The Lufthansa Heist,” written by Hill and journalist Daniel Simone.


It’s the first time the details of Gotti’s role in the death of the 28-year-old psychopath have been revealed.

Hill heard the specifics surrounding DeSimone’s murder from Sal Polisi, a Gotti confidant he met in the Witness Protection Program. When Hill collaborated with author Nicholas Pileggi on “Wiseguy,” the 1986 book that was the basis of “Goodfellas,” he withheld the information on De­Simone’s slaying because he feared reprisals from Gotti, who by then had risen to become godfather of the Gambino crime family.

The book by Hill and Simone, due out Aug. 1, also exposes Gotti’s part in the infamous Dec. 11, 1978, holdup of the Lufthansa freight terminal at JFK Airport, the biggest heist in US history at the time. The robbers made off with about $5 million in cash and $1 million in jewelry, none of which was ever recovered.

The theft was planned and orchestrated by Hill and Jimmy “The Gent” Burke, both underlings of Lucchese underboss Paul “Paulie” Vario. In “Goodfellas,” Hill was played by Ray Liotta, Burke by Robert De Niro, and Vario by Paul Sorvino.
The heist

The robbery was set up by the Luccheses, while Gotti was a captain in the Gambino family, but the airport was turf shared among the crime families, so Gotti, then a captain in the Gambino family, needed to be cut in. The book reveals that Gotti got a $200,000 cut of the proceeds.

Gotti, Burke and Hill discussed the caper beforehand at Prudenti’s Vicin’ O Mare, an Italian restaurant in Long Island City, Queens.

“It’s a good shot. I like it,” Gotti said. “What can I do to make it go smooth?”

“Well, John, we need some cooperation,” Burke said.

John Gotti

Gotti promised to provide a warehouse where the loot hauled from Lufthansa could be transferred from the getaway van into a “switch car” to evade the cops. He also offered to destroy the getaway van at an auto salvage yard he controlled in Brooklyn.

A notoriously bad gambler, Gotti blew his share of the loot at the Aqueduct Racetrack, author Simone says. He kept quiet about his role in the heist because he didn’t share his cut with his Gambino bosses.

When they carried out the heist, DeSimone and his fellow robbers wore ski masks so the night-shift workers they rounded up at gunpoint in the Lufthansa warehouse lunchroom wouldn’t identify them to police. But De­Simone raised his mask to wipe sweat from his cheeks, and someone saw enough to help a police artist sketch his face.

This infuriated Burke and Vario, but they needed De­Simone’s skills as a killer. They wanted to eliminate any ­participant in the robbery who could finger them to the cops or the FBI.

The first to die was Parnell “Stacks” Edwards, who after the robbery was to have delivered the getaway van to be crushed at the Gotti-run salvage yard. Instead, Edwards parked the van by a fire hydrant in Canarsie, Brooklyn, where cops found it two days later.

Vario ordered DeSimone to kill Edwards. “Stacks gotta go . . . He’ll give up every one of us,” Vario said.

“Paulie, how can you ask me to whack Stacks?” DeSimone pleaded. “I mean, him and me go back before I can remember. I’m the only person on earth he trusts.”

Vario vowed that in return for killing Edwards, DeSimone would get his “button” — he would become a made man, an official member of the mob.

“I promise you I’ll do whatever I can to make it happen,” he said.

DeSimone went to Edwards’ hideout and put five bullets in his skull.

“Sorry, pal. I hope it didn’t hurt. Sooner or later, I’ll see you in heaven or hell. Wherever you’re going, I’m sure that’s where I’ll be going,” he said.



Tommy DeSimone

DeSimone soon joined him.

For years, the Gambinos had simmered over DeSimone’s unsanctioned murders of two of their own mobsters, William “Billy Batts” Devino and Ronald “Foxy” Jerothe.

Devino — a made man whose last name is sometimes given as Bentvena — spent several years in federal prison on drug charges. During that time, DeSimone and Burke took over his loanshark business. They wanted to keep it, so after Devino was released, DeSimone and Burke killed him, says author Simone.

In “Goodfellas,” DeSimone kills Devino over an insult about his past as a shoeshine boy. That part of the movie was fiction, Simone says.

Jerothe died because he punched DeSimone in the face in a feud over Jerothe’s sister, whom DeSimone was dating, mob lore says.

When Gotti, still seven years from becoming the “Dapper Don,” heard DeSimone was about to be “made,” he demanded a sit-down with Vario.

“This f- -kin’ DeSimone whacked two of my top earners, and I let it go for a long time,” Gotti told his fellow capo. “Now he wants to be made, and I’m not gonna sit quietly. I mean, that’s as bad as putting a cactus up my a–. Understan’ what I’m sayin’, ­Paulie?”

“John, what do you suppose I should do?” Vario asked.

“Paulie, all I want is what’s fair,” Gotti said. “I wanna whack the bastard, and I want you to give me the green light.”

Vario considered how DeSimone was a constant source of agita. He also figured the feds or the cops would soon pinch DeSimone for the robbery. But there was another reason, the book ­reveals.

When Hill was in federal prison several years before, DeSimone had tried to assault Hill’s wife, Karen. Vario was furious about this — partly because, at the time, he and Karen were having an affair.

Thus Gotti’s request to kill DeSimone “was timely and well received,” the book says.

Gotti knew of Burke’s involvement in Devino’s slaying. But Burke was an “extrordinary” earner on Vario’s crew and thus had Vario’s protection, Simone says. Vario would not let Gotti kill him.


Joe Pesci (from left), Ray Liotta and Robert De Niro in “Goodfellas”

The night DeSimone expected to be inducted into the mob, Vario’s son drove him from his home in Ozone Park, Queens, to Belmont in The Bronx. DeSimone wore “a double-breasted black Bill Blass suit, a starched blue shirt and beige silk tie,” the book says.

DeSimone was led to the basement of Don Vito’s restaurant. Several old men were seated around a card table, and candles gave the room a dim light. De­Simone was surprised to see Gotti, a Gambino. He thought his induction would be a Lucchese affair.

“Welcome, Tommy. Congratulations!” Gotti said. “Pull a chair up to the table and sit comfortably. This is not an ordinary day in your life, I want you to know.”

DeSimone sat down. Within three seconds, “Gotti pulled out a silencer-equipped .38 Colt Magnum from his inner breast pocket and drilled three bullets into DeSimone’s cranium. PAH . . . PAH . . . PAH.

“DeSimone’s head blasted forward, and with the thud of a ­10-pound boulder slumped onto the card table, blood seeping and leaching onto the green felt ­tabletop.

“Gotti buttoned his camel cashmere overcoat, straightened the lapels and walked out of the room with a vaunting stride,” the book says.

DeSimone’s remains were never found.

Vincent Asaro, a 78-year-old alleged Bonanno mobster, goes on trial this fall on numerous charges, including allegations he helped plan the Lufthansa robbery. The feds say their charges are backed up by four witnesses. But Simone says his sources insist Asaro was not involved in the crime.

Vario died in 1988, Burke in 1996, Gotti in 2002, and Hill in 2012. Before his death, Hill told Simone that no one involved in the heist was still alive.

http://nypost.com/2015/07/12/new-book-reveals-john-gottis-role-in-goodfellas-murder/

Friday, July 10, 2015

Genovese captain linked to Al Sharpton sentenced to over 2 years in prison


NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpi
An alleged mob captain who was once pals with the Rev. Al Sharpton was sentenced Friday to over two years in prison on racketeering charges.

Daniel "Danny" Pagano, 62, pleaded guilty earlier this year to taking part in a years-long racketeering conspiracy in Rockland County that the feds said included extortion, loan sharking and gambling.

The feds said Pagano had been helping to run the ring since at least 2009. Pagano, the son of late Genovese hit man Joseph Pagano, has done time on racketeering charges before, in the early 90s.

Prosecutors asked Manhattan Federal Court Judge Ronnie Abrams to sentence him to between 27 and 33 months in prison because he's a "repeat criminal."

Pagano's lawyer, Murray Richman, asked the judge for leniency, noting his client's age and the relatively low level of the crimes. "The gambling alleged is a sum total of $2000" over a course of years, Richman said, and "there's no indication of any violence or threats of violence."

Danny Pagano tried to recruit the Rev. Al Sharpton (pictured) into a mob plot in the 1980s, sources said.

The judge said she thought prison was necessary considering Pagano's "extensive criminal history" — he has eight prior convictions — but sentenced him to the lower end of the spectrum, 27 months. He'll also be on supervised release for three years after he's done doing his prison time.

Pagano has made headlines before. He once tried to recruit Sharpton into a mob plot to deal illegal drugs in the 1980s, sources said.

Sharpton has denied any wrongdoing, and said he thought Pagano was a music exec, not a gangster.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/mob-big-ex-pal-sharpton-2-years-racketeering-article-1.2288136

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Gangster pleads guilty to murder of former Bonanno boss in Canada during power struggle



Raynald Desjardins has pleaded guilty to taking part in a conspiracy to murder Mafia boss Salvatore Montagna.
The 61-year-old Desjardins entered the plea on Monday, said Jean-Pascal Boucher, a spokesperson for the Directeur des poursuites criminelles et pénales, the office that represents Quebec’s prosecutors.
The plea means Desjardins will avoid what was expected to be a lengthy first-degree murder trial. Through his lawyer, Marc Labelle, Desjardins had filed a series of motions challenging several aspects of the case brought against him. The motions were in the process of being heard, before Superior Court Justice Michael Stober, at the Laval courthouse when Desjardins’s plea put an abrupt end to the case against him.
Boucher said a sentence hearing will be held on Dec. 21 before Superior Court Justice André Vincent.
Seven other men are charged in the same case but an unusual publication ban currently prevents the publication of their names. One of Desjardins’s motions involved a request for a separate trial. Six of the other men face charges of first-degree murder and a conspiracy charge and one man is charged with being an accessory after the murder.
‎Reached by phone, Desjardins’s lawyer, Marc Labelle said very little was said during the brief hearing on Monday. This is because very few details of the investigation can be made public, due to the upcoming jury trial of the co-accused.
The trial is scheduled to begin in January.
Desjardins was known to be an associate of Vito Rizzuto, the now deceased Mafia boss whose organization faced a crisis in 2011 while Rizzuto was jailed in the U.S. But Desjardins was also a known associate of some of the people who challenged the Rizzuto organization while its leader was absent.
Montagna, a dual citizen of Canada and Italy, was the leader of a Mafia clan based in New York before he was removed from the U.S., in 2009, because of his criminal record. He was killed on Nov. 24, 2011 after having been shot inside a home on Île aux Trésors, a small island east of Montreal in Charlemagne. Just two months earlier, a lone gunman using an AK47 had tried to kill Desjardins.

http://montrealgazette.com/news/raynald-desjardins-pleads-guilty-to-murder-conspiracy

Monday, July 6, 2015

Scarfo Jr's lawyers hint at Russian mafia involvement in scam


There might have been some mobsters lurking behind the FirstPlus Financial fraud case, a lawyer for lead defendant Nicodemo S. Scarfo says in legal papers filed recently, but their drink of choice would have been vodka not vino.

In an apparent attempt to distant himself from co-defendant Salvatore Pelullo -- and also get a shot at a new trial -- Scarfo's lawyer Michael Riley has argued that there was an "alternative theory" to the government's organized crime pitch in the high profile case and he was denied the opportunity to present it.

Pelullo, an Elkins Park businessman with two prior fraud convictions and a Ukrainian-born wife, might have been kicking back funds from the multi-million dollar scam to Russian gangsters rather than Scarfo's Lucchese crime family, Riley wrote in a motion filed last month.

"In retrospect the connections to the Russian mob are far more substantial than those with Uncle Vic," Riley argued. The "Uncle Vic" reference is to Vittorio Amuso, the jailed boss of the Lucchese crime family who was named, along with Scarfo's father Nicodemo D. "Little Nicky" Scarfo, as unindicted co-conspirators in the looting of FirstPlus, a Texas-based mortgage company.

Riley has argued that the government's failure to disclose a parallel investigation into a group of Ukrainian-born businessmen with possible ties to both Pelullo and the Russian mob denied Scarfo a chance to offer a proper defense in the high profile trial.

The government has labeled Riley's arguments and similar claims by lawyers for Pelullo in a series of post-trial, pre-sentencing motions a fishing expedition that has nothing to do with the case. Prosecutors are scheduled to reply to the defense's latest assertions by Friday. Judge Robert Kugler has scheduled a hearing for July 17.

Riley's motion cited an FBI memo in which an unnamed informant alleged that Pelullo "loans money" to Russian mobsters. The defense attorney said that information about possible links to Russian mobsters would have provided him with an "alternative theory" to the government's position that Scarfo and Pelullo were tied to the Lucchese crime family and used those connections to intimidate officials at FirstPlus and facilitate a behind-the-scenes takeover in 2007.

Authorities allege that Scarfo, 49, and Pelullo, 47, wrested control of the beleaguered mortgage company and siphoned more than $12 million out of the company through bogus business deals and phony consulting contracts.

"The government's failure to disclose the existence of another `mob' or criminal organization with which a financial obligation could have existed, barred (Scarfo's defense) from offering an alternative explanation for unaccounted monies at trial," Riley wrote.

While taking a somewhat different approach, lawyers for Pelullo have argued that the government had an obligation to turn over details of the investigation into brothers Omelyan and Stepan Botsvynyuk because the defense might have used that information to impeach prosecution witnesses and undermine the government's theory behind the FirstPlus takeover.

Two cleaning companies controlled by the Botsvynyuk brothers -- A-Plus Cleaning and U.S. Cleaning -- at one time shared offices with cleaning companies owned by Pelullo. The Botsvynyuk companies did contract work for major department stores, including Wal-Mart, Target and Safeway.

The Botsvynyuk brothers were the target of a federal investigation that began in 2000 and ended with their convictions in 2011 on racketeering and extortion charges. Omelyan Botsvynyuk, 52, was sentenced to life plus 20 years.

Testimony at his four-week trial indicated he beat, threatened and sexually assault workers while forcing then to live in housing he provided and working six- and seven-day weeks with little or no pay. The government contended the workers were told they had to work off debts of from $10,000 to $50,000, the cost of bringing them to the United States.

Riley, Scarfo's lawyer, argued that Pelullo was at least a "subject" if not a target of the Botsvynyuk investigation and that the government had an obligation to disclose that. Riley and Pelullo's lawyer, Troy Archie, have asked for access to debriefing memos and surveillance reports tied to that case. Both lawyers have argued that information in those documents might have to used to mount a defense in the FirstPlus case and that by being denied that information the defendants were denied a fair trial.

John and William Maxwell, two brothers convicted along with Scarfo and Pelullo, have joined in the post-trial motions. John Maxwell was the CEO of FirstPlus. His brother was an attorney hired by the company. Both were convicted of helping Scarfo and Pelullo loot the company. Sentencings in the case have been put off until the end of July.

Scarfo has another battle looming in New Jersey where he remains under indictment in a organized crime-linked bookmaking case. Dubbed "Operation Heat," the investigation focused on a multi-million dollar sports betting and loansharking operation controlled by the New Jersey branch of the Lucchese crime family.

Scarfo was one of more than 30 mobsters and mob associates indicted in the case back in 2010. Six major defendants, including one-time boss Matthew Madonna and former Scarfo allies Ralph V. Perna and his sons Joseph and John Perna, pleaded guilty last month and are to be sentenced in August or September.

To date, 12 defendants in that case have pleaded guilty. Four others have died since being indicted and 18 others, including Scarfo, as still scheduled for trial.

Scarfo is representing himself in that Morris County-based case. But with a potential sentence of 30 years to life for his FirstPlus conviction, Operation Heat is not a priority for the one-time mob scion.

"He's got more to worry about," said a source familiar with the Morris County investigation.

http://www.bigtrial.net/2015/07/scarfos-lawyer-points-to-russian-mob-in.html#6j3qxuRPKV5frw4s.99

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Man linked to the Genovese family commits suicide day after he was suppose to turn himself in


A 59-year-old Saddle River man who local authorities said was supposed to turn himself in just one day before to the U.S. Marshals Service jumped to his death from the top deck of the Hackensack University Medical Center parking garage Wednesday evening, authorities said.
Edward Cobb was supposed to turn himself in on Tuesday but failed to appear, and a warrant was issued for his arrest on Wednesday, said Capt. Timothy Lloyd of the Hackensack police. He said that city police were told that Cobb was wanted on a burglary charge.
Cobb was transported to the hospital emergency room after police officers, who had been called by hospital security, arrived on the scene, Lloyd said. He was pronounced dead at 6:50 p.m. Local police learned about the warrant when they conducted a background check, Lloyd said. He did not have details about the charges against Cobb.
Federal court documents show an Edward Cobb, an alleged member of a crime family who had pleaded guilty to charges related to 2003 home invasions in Morris County and Orange County, N.Y., was scheduled to turn himself in to authorities Tuesday after years of delays caused by alleged health problems.
He entered a plea agreement in 2008 to those charges as part of a plea agreement in which prosecutors said they would not pursue further charges against him “for his involvement on behalf of and in furtherance of the Genovese Crime Family of La Cosa Nostra between 2003 and the date of this agreement.” The initial charges against him included an alleged conspiracy to commit robbery in Bergen County.
Prosecutors said Cobb had been putting off his surrender by saying he had a series of medical conditions that included 13 surgeries in one year, a hip replacement, cancer and dementia. Prosecutors wrote in court papers last year: “Collectively, one would think that Mr. Cobb is ready for hospice care. A condition that would seem to preclude a recent casual dinner at a local restaurant, as the Government has been advised.”
The U.S. Attorney's Office were unavailable for comment on Wednesday night and did not respond to messages. Officials with the U.S. Marshals Warrant Squad in Newark also were unavailable for comment.
Cobb's attorney, Michael Baldassare said his client was a good family man.
"Ed Cobb was a loving husband and devoted father. This is a terrible tragedy and the loss of a very good man,'' said Baldassare. "The family asks for prayers and privacy at this difficult time. "
A medical center spokeswoman, Nancy Radwin, confirmed in an email that “an apparent suicide” had happened on hospital grounds and that police were investigating the matter.

http://www.northjersey.com/mobile/news/saddle-river-man-wanted-by-police-jumps-to-his-death-off-hospital-parking-deck-in-hackensack-1.1366624

Friday, July 3, 2015

Lawyers for Bonanno mobster want rap sheet off limits


Attorneys for accused Lufthansa-heist wiseguy Vincent Asaro don’t want jurors to hear about his decades-long rap sheet, according to a new Brooklyn federal court filing.
The Bonanno crime-family veteran — who faces life in prison if convicted on a slew of mob-related allegations — is charged with playing a key role in the legendary 1978 robbery of a JFK cargo terminal.
The heist was immortalized in Martin Scorsese’s 1990 mob classic, “Goodfellas.”
The feds want jurors to hear about large chunks of Asaro’s voluminous criminal catalog — even including a serious heroin addiction in his 20s and a propensity for car theft in the 1960s.
But defense attorney Elizabeth Macedonio ripped the effort, arguing that the ancient activity would prejudice the jury against Asaro.
“The illegal propensity evidence consists of decades-old acts designed to arouse the jury’s emotions and invite it to convict on an improper basis,” she wrote.
The feds maintain that the increasingly wobbly mafioso, now 79, blew much of his alleged haul from the Lufthansa job at horse-race tracks.

http://nypost.com/2015/07/02/attorneys-for-goodfellas-mobster-want-rap-sheet-off-limits/

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Turncoat Philadelphia mob boss to tell all in new book


Ralph Natale, the boss of the Philadelphia Mob in the mid-90s, is set to tell his story with the help of producer Dan Pearson (I Married a Mobster) and New York Daily News investigative reporter Larry McShane.

Lost Lives and Forgotten Vows will be published by Thomas Dunne Books in Fall 2016.

Natale becomes only the second Mafia Godfather to tell his own life story, following New York’s Joe Bonanno. The book pitches “a behind-the-scenes master’s class on organized crime.”

Natale is reported to have gotten his start in organized crime when he took control of Local 170 of the Bartenders, Hotel, Motel and Restaurant Workers Union in Philadelphia. In 1979 he went to jail for insurance fraud and separately for selling cocaine and he was paroled in 1994. He soon became the head of Philadephia’s organized crime family, but was indicted on charges of financing drug deals in 1999. He was sentenced to 11 years in jail and was released in 2011.

“Ralph Natale, has out killed, out smarted and outlived his adversaries. Now he gets to tell history in his own words not just mafia history but American history,” said Pearson in a statement announcing the deal. “Lost Lives and Forgotten Vows will take the reader on a trip into the epicenter of Americana in the mid-to-late 20th Century where pop culture and politics frequently intersected with the underworld, and where Ralph Natale was the man charged with greasing the wheels so the multiple relationships between those entities could run at full speed.”

Pearson and McShane were represented by Frank Weimann of Folio Literary Management.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/bookmark/i-married-a-mobster-producer-806362

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Convicted Gambino gangster faces death penalty for 2001 South Florida murder


Reputed mobster Anthony "Big Tony" Moscatiello was convicted of first-degree murder Wednesday in the 2001 killing of a prominent South Florida businessman during an acrimonious power struggle over a lucrative fleet of gambling ships.
Jurors also found Moscatiello, 77, guilty of murder conspiracy in the shooting death of Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis, founder of SunCruz Casinos and the Miami Subs restaurant chain. Evidence showed Boulis was killed by a mob hit man, and Moscatiello was accused of ordering the shooting.
A mistrial was declared for Moscatiello in 2013 because his attorney became ill. Anthony "Little Tony" Ferrari, who handled South Florida matters for Moscatiello, was convicted in that trial and sentenced to life in prison.
Prosecutors said Moscatiello was a member of New York's Gambino crime family when he issued the fateful order for a hit. Moscatiello did not testify in his own defense, but his lawyers insisted Ferrari and others were to blame for the Feb. 6, 2001, murder.
At the time, Boulis, 51, was trying to retake control of SunCruz after selling it to businessman Adam Kidan and his partner, former Washington powerhouse lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Kidan paid Moscatiello and Ferrari thousands of dollars a month to handle security and other issues -- including, prosecutors said, the use of Moscatiello's alleged mob ties for protection.
Moscatiello was immediately handcuffed. His wife and daughters cried after the verdict was read.
"Get that camera out of my face," Moscatiello's wife screamed at a Local 10 News photographer outside the courtroom.
She later fainted after shouting, "It's Adam's fault. Adam did it." She was treated by paramedics and taken to a hospital.
Key evidence included phone calls from Ferrari to Moscatiello, who was in New York, shortly after Boulis was fatally shot by a gunman who pulled up next to his car as he left his office. Other organized crime figures and a former Ferrari associate testified that Moscatiello approached them initially about getting rid of Boulis before hiring hit man John "J.J." Gurino.
Gurino was killed in an unrelated 2003 dispute with a Boca Raton delicatessen owner.
Moscatiello's attorney, Kenneth Malnik, told jurors the evidence pointed more toward Kidan, who had several clashes with Boulis, and Ferrari employee James "Pudgy" Fiorillo, who admitted to conducting surveillance of Boulis and disposing of the murder weapon in Miami's Biscayne Bay.
Malnik said he was surprised by the verdict based on the reaction of the jurors.
"We thought that this could have been a hung jury, to be candid with you," Malnik told Local 10.
Kidan has never been charged in the Boulis murder and testified in both trials. Fiorillo pleaded guilty to murder conspiracy and will likely be sentenced to the six-plus years he already served in exchange for his testimony. He has denied being the shooter.
"Justice doesn't always happen, so it's particularly gratifying that we have a family and a community that's received a substantial measure of closure," assistant state attorney Brian Cavanagh said. "You can never bring a murder victim back, but certainly you can see that justice is done, and I think it's happened."
Moscatiello faces the death penalty or life in prison when he is sentenced in September. Jurors will make a punishment recommendation, but Judge Ilona Holmes has the final decision.

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