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

Saturday, August 29, 2015

NYC settles final lawsuits linked to Mafia Cops

The remaining five civil cases connected to 'Mafio Cop' Louis Eppolito (r.) and his fellow corrupt cop were finally wrapped up this week.
The final tab is official — the murderous NYPD Mafia Cops have cost taxpayers a whopping $18.4 million to settle seven lawsuits with the families of their innocent and mobbed-up slay victims.

The remaining five civil cases were wrapped up this week with a total payout of $8.4 million to the survivors of two Gambino made men, two Lucchese mobsters and a mob-connected painters' union leader.

"These settlements bring to a close incidents that occurred in the late 1980s and early 1990s involving two rogue detectives acting at the behest of organized crime," said a city Law Department spokesman. "In light of court rulings during the litigation, it was in the city's best interest to settle these cases."

Federal Judge Raymond Dearie had ruled the case should go to trial because there was sufficient evidence that the victims would not have been whacked had then-NYPD Commissioner Benjamin Ward booted Louis Eppolito off the force in 1984 when the corrupt detective was caught red-handed leaking confidential information to a mobster.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs deposed former police officials involved in Eppolito's disciplinary case including a retired Supreme Court justice, a former deputy commissioner, NYPD lawyers and investigators — and could not solve the mystery of Eppolito beating the charges despite an mountain of evidence against him.

Stephen Caracappa (l.) and Eppolito were on the payroll of the Lucchese crime family for years and personally carried out some hits.

"I think the people we questioned, other than those who couldn't remember, were so afraid that this could come back to haunt them in a bad way," said lawyer Mark Longo who represented the mother of mistaken identity murder victim Nicholas Guido whose lawsuit settled for $5 million.

The city agreed to pay $1.85 million to the estate of Lucchese soldier Anthony DiLapi; $1.8 million to Lucchese associate John "Otto" Heidel; $1.75 million to painter's union head and informant James Bishop; $1.5 million each to Gambino capo Edward Lino and soldier Bartholomew "Bobby" Borriello. The wife of diamond dealer Israel Greenwald received $5 million.

Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa were on the payroll of the Lucchese crime family for years, providing information on the victims to underboss Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso, and they personally carried out some of the hits.

They are both convicted of eight murders and are serving life sentences — while still collecting their NYPD pensions.


Monday, August 24, 2015

Vinny Gorgeous gets moved out of Supermax prison for good behavior

Vinny’s got gorgeous new digs.

Better than the hellhole Supermax prison in Colorado, that is, where ex-Bonanno crime boss Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano had been rotting since 2011 after he was convicted of racketeering and murder.

Basciano, 55, was recently sprung from the most infamous jail in the nation to a high-security facility located on the same 31-acre compound in Florence, Colo., the Daily News has learned. The exact date of the transfer is unclear.

The flamboyant mobster was caged at the Supermax in 2011, after he was convicted of ordering a mob murder, because he was also suspected of drawing up a hit list while awaiting a separate racketeering and murder trial that included Brooklyn Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis, a federal prosecutor and cooperating witnesses. He was convicted in the second trial, but never officially charged with drawing up the hit list.

Now, the special administration measures ordered by the attorney general that kept Basciano in almost total isolation in the prison’s notorious “H Block” are history. So is the 23-hour-a-day confinement to a cell.

The Bureau of Prisons did not respond to a request for comment, nor did Basciano’s appellate lawyer, but sources said he apparently graduated from a Supermax “step-down program,” which rewards inmates for good behavior with a transfer to a less-restrictive jail.

“Inmates who continue to demonstrate positive institutional adjustment for 12 months are referred for transfer to another facility,” according to documents on the bureau website.

The Supermax in Florence, Colo., holds Ted "Unabomber" Kaczynski, shoe bomber Richard Reid and the so-called 20th 9/11 hijacker, Zacarias Moussaoui.

Not everyone is eligible. Basciano has bade farewell to the terrorists Ted "Unabomber" Kaczynski, shoe bomber Richard Reid and the so-called 20th hijacker of 9/11, Zacarias Moussaoui, who are all lifers at Supermax because they are deemed to be so dangerous.

Basciano can say hello to new neighbors at Florence High Security, such as Green River Killer Gary Ridgway, who murdered at least 49 women, and would-be terrorist Walli Mujahidh, who was convicted of plotting to attack a military base.

Florence High Security is a penitentiary for nearly 700 inmates and features a soccer field, a softball field and an outdoor area to worship, according to the Bureau of Prisons website. The jail is rimmed by 3,000 feet of fencing and razor wire.

Basciano had been kept in almost total isolation at the Supermax, spending most of each day confined to his cell.

Although Basciano will be able to mingle with other inmates, room with a bunkmate and play sports, Florence High is no walk in the park, said prison expert Cheri Nolan.

“It’s still very tough time,” Nolan told The News. “But there’s nothing else in the U.S. like Supermax.”

If Basciano stays out of trouble, the next step could be a ticket out of Colorado and to a penitentiary closer to his family in the Bronx.

Basciano is serving two life sentences and will only leave prison for good in a body bag.


Saturday, August 22, 2015

Gambino crime family names Franky Boy Cali its new boss

Frank Cali (seen in 2008) has reportedly been elevated to acting boss of the Gambino crime family.http://aboutthemafia.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/frank-cali.jpg
The leadership of the Gambino crime family has reportedly been passed from a Sicilian old fella to a Sicilian younger fella.
Frank Cali, 49, of Staten Island, who has served on the family’s ruling panel for several years, has been elevated to acting boss, replacing 68-year-old Domenico Cefalu, the website Ganglandnews.com reported Thursday.
Cali, who was born in Sicily, has deep mob ties. He is related by marriage to members of organized crime in Sicily; his wife is the niece of Gambino capo John Gambino, and his brother Joseph and brother-in-law Peter Inzerillo are reputed Gambino soldiers.

Federal prosecutors have marveled at Cali’s meteoric rise to power in the crime family’s post-Gotti era.
He became a powerful capo before the age of 40, less than a decade after he became an inducted member, according to court papers. Cali has just one criminal conviction: a federal extortion charge for which he was sentenced to 16 months in prison.
A wiseguy in Italy was secretly taped several years ago gushing about Cali’s stature in New York City, “He is everything over there.”


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Judge approves Lucchese gangster's four day Poconos vacation

Organized crime allegations won't get in the way of his vacation plans.
A reputed Lucchese mobster accused of extorting a 71-year-old Staten Island man can vacation at a Poconos resort as he awaits prosecution on racketeering charges.
Michael Capra, 51, who lives in Smithtown, L.I., made the request to travel on Monday – a day before his scheduled four-day trip to the Pocono Mountains in Tannersville, Pa.
"We apologize for the short notice but Michael's son suffers from depression and emotional issues and this trip is to take him to a resort for a few days," wrote Capra's lawyer, Joseph R. Conway, in a letter to U.S. District Court Justice Sandra L. Townes.
The judge granted his request on Tuesday.
Capra remains free on $500,000 bail, after he and his brother Daniel were arrested in September 2013 on federal extortion charges.
It's the second time he's been granted leave to go to a Poconos resort -- last February, he was allowed to spend three days at the Camelback Mountain and Ski Resort in Tannersville with his wife and 12-year-old daughter.
He and his brother, both reputed Lucchese associates, are accused of threatening a 71-year-old Staten Island man at the behest of capo Carmine Avellino to collect a $100,000 loan owed by another man in 2010.
The Staten Island man had intervened on his acquaintance's behalf, asking if the man could have more time paying back the loan, according to documents filed in Brooklyn federal court.
Michael Capra was arrested after a police standoff at his home in Smithtown. His wife told FBI agents she hadn't seen him when they came calling with a warrant, then locked the door when the agents offered to come inside and look for him, according to federal documents.
His attorney did not immediately return a call seeking comment Tuesday.


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Son of DeCavalcante mobster pleads guilty in plot to open prostitution business

The son of a man federal prosecutors say is a ranking member of a New Jersey crime family pleaded guilty Wednesday to plotting to open up a high-end escort service that would cater to well-heeled businessmen in the Toms River area.

Anthony Stango, 34, also pleaded guilty to charges of distributing more than $70,000 worth of cocaine and possessing a shotgun during an appearance before U.S. District Court Judge William Walls.

Stango, also known as "Whitey," faces at least five years in prison according to the terms of a plea agreement reached with New Jersey federal prosecutors. Walls ordered Stango to remain on home detention in Brick until his sentencing on Nov. 24, 2015.

Stango is the son of Charles Stango, who federal prosecutors say is a longtime captain in the DeCavalcante crime family, an organized criminal group said to be the inspiration for the HBO series "The Sopranos."

Federal prosecutors say Stango had several phone conversations with his father to discuss how to open and operate a profitable prostitution business without attracting the suspicions of law enforcement.

Charles Stango, then living in Nevada, warned his son not to fall prey to greed, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court at the time of their March 2015 arrest along with eight other members or associates of the DeCavalcante family.

"The bulls and the bears, Anthony, they survive," the father told his son according to the complaint.

"The pigs they get slaughtered. Ok? Always go for a bologna sandwich. Ok? You know?....If you got five bologna sandwiches, you're eating pretty good."

And Stango admitted owning a 12-gauge pump action shotgun purchased in New York in violation of a federal law prohibiting convicted felons of possessing a firearm.Stango also admitted Wednesday that on three separate occasions in 2014 and 2015, he sold cocaine to an undercover federal law enforcement agent.

The prostitution business never opened but, in recorded conversations with his father, Stango worked through the details, federal prosecutors say.

"You need to protect yourself with what you're doing now," Charles Stango told his son, according to the complaint. "You have to be smart, very smart, you can't just do something that everyone else is doing. Ok?"

The plan included opening up a legitimate club that would function as a front for the prostitution business, prosecutors say.


Friday, August 14, 2015

Jailed turncoat Gambino underboss Sammy the Bull trains service dogs for disabled veterans

If the judge agrees to shorten the sentence by 34 months, Gravano could be a free man next June.
Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano is adding a new talent to his resume after mob rat, Gambino underboss and lethal hit man — dog trainer.

Gravano, who was the Gambino underboss before he ratted out John Gotti and dozens of other gangsters, is trying to get his 20-year term reduced for a drug conviction by showing a Brooklyn judge how productive he has been in prison.

Gravano, 70, has participated in a program to train service dogs for disabled veterans, according to papers filed Friday by his lawyer Thomas Farinella in Brooklyn Federal Court.

"This skill will aid in potential employment opportunities upon his release," Farinella states.

Gravano is trying to get his 20-year term reduced for a drug conviction by showing the judge his skills he’s gained by training dogs for disabled veterans, as well as his exemplary record while he’s been an inmate.

Gravano has also completed a 20-hour culinary class, photography workshop, and enrolled in anger management, which hopefully will prevent him from adding another notch to the 19 gangland hits already on his belt.

He is seeking 34 months off his sentence which, if granted by Federal Judge Allyne Ross, could put him back on the street next June.

Gravano is eligible for the break under an amendment to federal sentencing guidelines approved last year by the U.S. Sentencing Commission.

The legendary gangster has been a model prisoner who also attends weekly religious services and GED classes.


Thursday, August 13, 2015

NYC reaches settlements with families of Mafia Cops victims

Eppolito and Caracappa were busted in 2005 and made the front page of the Daily News on March 12 of that year.
The City Law Department has reached tentative settlements with the survivors of mobbed-up victims who were whacked by NYPD Mafia Cops Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa.
Brooklyn Federal Judge Raymond Dearie ordered the plaintiffs’ lawyers in the five remaining wrongful death cases to file their completed paperwork by Aug. 28 or be ready for a civil trial next month.
The terms of the settlements remain confidential, but sources said each plaintiff will receive substantially less than the $5 million the city paid to each of the estates of victims Nicholas Guido and Israel Greenwald, who were not in the mob.

The daughter of reputed Luchese soldier Anthony DiLapi told The Daily News last month that city lawyers shot down her demand for a $2 million payout because her father was a gangster.
The other four gangland victims are Gambino capo Edward Lino, Luchese associate John "Otto" Heidel, Gambino soldier Bartholomew "Bobby" Borriello and painters union leader James Bishop.
A Law Department spokesman said the five suits are not finalized and settled only “in principal.”
Eppolito and Caracappa were convicted of carrying out the hits on behalf of the Luchese crime family and are serving life sentences.


Thursday, August 6, 2015

What happened to Philadelphia's Scarfo crime family?

A father had three sons.

The oldest changed his name.
The youngest hanged himself, resulting in his death years later.
And the middle child — who bears his father’s first name, Nicodemo — followed in his footsteps, sentenced last week to 30 years in prison for racketeering.
This is the story of Atlantic City’s most infamous crime family, surname: Scarfo.
“You wonder if you believe in karma,” said George Anastasia, the longtime mob reporter with the Philadelphia Inquirer and the author of the book “Gotti’s Rules.” “If you look at Nicky Scarfo’s personal family, what happened?”
Nicodemo D. “Little Nicky” Scarfo, the former head of the Philadelphia-South Jersey mafia, is serving a life sentence in federal prison in Atlanta on murder and racketeering charges.
His family members grew up in Atlantic County, played basketball, were altar boys, went surfing.
His wife walked down Atlantic City’s Arctic Avenue to Barbera Fish Market to buy conch for scungilli and crabs to make spaghetti and tall pots of gravy.
“What happened between them was between them, the Scarfos. It was none of our business,” said Dominic Alcaro, the now-owner of the market who had worked there at the time.
Little Nicky owned a white apartment building at 26 N. Georgia Ave. in the city’s Ducktown section — known locally at that time as ‘Little Italy.”
The steep steps that led to the front door were a place of family and food.
The secrets and business that went on within those walls were not things that concerned children.
Atlantic County Freeholder Frank Formica grew up at 2310 Arctic Ave., but spent a good portion of his childhood there as a boyhood friend of Phillip “Crazy Phil” Leonetti, Scarfo Sr.’s nephew.
As children, they were both altar boys at St. Michael’s Roman Catholic Church.
“Crazy Philly, oh, he had the most merits from the nuns. They really favored him. Crazy Philly was the only one of us who could get to 6 a.m. Mass on time,” Formica said.
“They were model children. And Crazy Philly? He was the most clean-cut, mannerly kid. Never in a fist fight, not violent,” Formica said. “I got into more trouble than Philly and Nicky.”
Just up the street from the fish market, Formica said he would see Scarfo Sr. when he came into his father’s bakery to buy loaves of bread.
(Nicodemo D. “Little Nicky” Scarfo is often called Scarfo Sr., although he and his middle son have different middle names.)
Former Scarfo family boss Nicky Scarfo Sr and Lucchese family boss Vic Amuso

“Nicky Scarfo Sr. wasn’t scary to me. He was always well-dressed, had a nice car, soft-spoken and rumor has it he had a sweet tooth,” Formica said.
There was never an indicator that Scarfo Sr.’s son or nephew Leonetti would grow into a life of crime either, Formica said.
Formica and Leonetti were usually too busy surfing. There was always a hot meal on the table when they walked back from the beach, Formica said.
Leonetti now lives under a false identity; he turned informant after receiving a 45-year prison sentence in 1989 and got a reduced sentence.
Brigantine police officers Lt. Jim Bennett and Ralph Spina have very different memories of the Scarfos and Leonetti from their days at Holy Spirit High School.
Everyone knew the Scarfo family was in the mob, but no one really talked about it, the men said.
“We used to always see them down at the underage club in Somers Point and at Soda’s, and then Memories in Margate. They would roll up with their entourage and everyone knew they were there,” Bennett said.
“Yeah, and the Scarfos, they got the girls. They swarmed them. But those were the guys with the cash and the clothes,” Spina said.
Bennett said it was the Miami Vice-era.
The youngest of three brothers, Mark Scarfo, and members of his entourage donned pastel and white clothing, slicked back hair and sunglasses.
“We called Mark, Don Johnson. We called them potato chippers. They were wannabes,” Spina said.
Bennett, 46, was four years younger than Nicodemo S. Scarfo — the middle Scarfo child.
“Nicky flew under the wire. Never fought. He was nothing, a nobody. Mark was the one who took his father’s name and ran with it,” Spina said.
While at Holy Spirit, Spina said he had multiple run-ins with Mark Scarfo that resulted in physical altercations. After one of those fights at school, Mark Scarfo called for backup.
“He called up his uncle, Crazy Phil and he came to school. He was waiting for me after school and he had a gun,” Spina said.
After an exchange in the parking lot, Spina escaped unscathed, but shaken up.
The anger still lingers.
If Spina could speak to Mark Scarfo now, he’d tell him to his face: “You’re a punk. You’re not your father. Your father was crazy and everyone feared him,” Spina said.
Mark Scarfo hanged himself in 1988 when he was 17 and was in a vegetative state before dying in 2014.
Brother Chris Scarfo sought to distance himself from the notoriety of the family name.
His brother Nicodemo S. Scarfo — the quiet one — survived an assassination attempt at a South Philadelphia Italian restaurant on Halloween in 1989, then age 24.
He was sentenced to 30 years in prison last Tuesday for participating in a racketeering conspiracy and related offenses at Irving, Texas-based mortgage company FirstPlus Financial Group.
He had recently lived in a quaint Galloway Township home.
“Scarfo Jr. wasn’t a dumb guy. He could have done other stuff. He was very computer oriented — he could have done that,” Anastasia said. “But he was in his father’s shadow.”
Dick Ross, who headed the FBI’s organized crime operations here at the time, was there when agents arrested Scarfo at Atlantic City Airport in 1987 — the one that put him away for life.
His son Nicodemo was on that plane too, “making a lot of noise, bad mouthing us,” Ross recalled.
“I said to Scarfo, ‘You tell him to behave himself or we’ll take him along with us,’” Ross said.
“Scarfo yelled, ‘Nicky, go home.’”


Longtime boss of New Jersey's DeCavalcante crime family dead at the age of 90

He reportedly served as the inspiration for Tony Soprano.

John M. Riggi—the crime boss who headed the Jersey-based DeCavalcante crime family for decades, controlling a powerful labor union that helped funnel millions into mob coffers—has died at the age of 90.

Riggi, who was released from federal prison in November 2012 after serving time for racketeering and murder, died at his home in Edison on Monday, his family said.

While known for his of charity and his involvement with the Police Athletic League, it was his tight grip on Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA) Local 394 of Elizabeth that enabled him to shake down contractors, dispense jobs, and force companies to deal with mob-connected suppliers and businesses, said law enforcement officials.

"This guy may be the last of the old time mob bosses for this region," said Lee Seglem, assistant director of the State Commission of Investigation. "He outlived all the big names."

A short, balding, stocky man, Riggi graduated from Linden High School in 1942 as its class president and enlisted in the United States Army in 1943, serving as an aircraft and engine mechanic. But law enforcement officials said he was a close associate of the late Simone Rizzo "Sam the Plumber" DeCavalcante, who headed the New Jersey's only home-grown mob family, and he quickly became heir apparent within the organization.

Considered the weaker sister to New York's five organized crime families, the DeCavalcate family was able to control many major trade unions, allowing them to effectively squeeze contractors on everything from job staffing to demolition contracts and concrete deliveries.

"Under Riggi, the DeCavalcate family raised labor racketeering to something of an art form," said Seglem.

In a 2004 report on organized crime, SCI named 15 to 20 members and associates of the DeCavalcante family who were members of Local 394, with no-show jobs. One testified before the commission that he even received overtime for a job where he was a no-show. Riggi at one time openly bragged of controlling the construction business in New Jersey so completely that "not a nail doesn't go through a wall that we don't get a piece of."

One witness told the SCI that Riggi created a union to represent asbestos workers within the laborers union. Members of the union had to be licensed and attended a school created by Riggi, ostensibly to learn how to detect and remove asbestos, said the SCI. The witness, Anthony Capo, testified he slept during school and Riggi's son took the test for him. When questioned by a federal prosecutor about his knowledge of asbestos, Capo stated, "I wouldn't know it [asbestos] if I was sitting on it."

Authorities said Riggi spent at least two decades as a "caretaker" for DeCavalcante, taking over the day-to-day operation when the older mob boss moved to Florida. He finally resigned from his post as business agent of the labor union shortly before federal authorities—armed with surveillance tapes from FBI cameras hidden inside Daphne's Restaurant in the Sheraton Newark airport hotel in Elizabeth—charged him with racketeering.

Although his conviction was subsequently overturned by a federal appeals court, Riggi ultimately pleaded guilty to state and federal extortion and labor charges, and sentenced in 1992 to 12 years in prison.

Riggi and the DeCavalcante mob family reportedly served as the inspiration for HBO's fictional series The Sopranos. Still, he came across as gentleman, said Robert Boccino, a veteran New Jersey organized crime expert and former deputy chief of the State Organized Crime Bureau. Riggi helped build Little League baseball fields in Linden and gave generously to charity, he said.

"He wasn't Tony Soprano. Absolutely he was no Tony Soprano. The people in Elizabeth loved him. Nobody would cooperate—that was the problem," recalled Boccino. "He was respected."

He remembered when they came to arrest Riggi early one morning in a sweep of mob figures, the crime boss asked politely if he could first take a shower and put on a suit.

"All the others we took in that morning put on the arrest suit—sweats and sneakers. But when we brought him into the holding cell and he walked in, they all stood up," said Boccino. "He was an impressive guy."

Yet he was not reluctant to use mob muscle, added Boccino. While still at the federal penitentiary in Butner, N.C., Riggi was sentenced in September 2003 to an additional 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to ordering the Sept. 11, 1989, murder of a Staten Island man believed to be cooperating with authorities.

"We agreed that he should be murdered," Riggi said matter-of-factly at his plea hearing. "Pursuant to the agreement, Fred Weiss was murdered. That's it."