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

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Bonanno captain asks to be released from jail pending outcome of upcoming trial

Citing rickety health, the Bonanno Oldfella charged with taking part in the legendary 1978 ​JFK ​Lufthansa heist immortalized in ​the movie ​”Goodfellas” wants out of captivity pending the​ outcome of his upcoming trial in Brooklyn federal court.

Reputed Bonanno capo Vincent Asaro, 80, filed a sealed request to Judge Allyne Ross that lobbied for a release from the clink.

But a scathing retort from federal prosecutor Alicyn Cooley revealed that Asaro cited the rigors of having to travel from prison to court each d​​ay as grounds for a temporary reprieve.

Cooley did not specify what ailments Asaro​ whined about in the letter or what aspect of his daily trip to Brooklyn federal court he found intolerable.

“The defendant describes these conditions and past procedures he has undergone without specificity, but nevertheless argues that, in combination with the strain of daily transportation to the courthouse, they compel his release,” Cooley wrote.

The ancient mobster apparently suggested that he could crash at his girlfriend’s house during the trial and would be generously willing to be fitted with an electronic monitoring device.

But Cooley dismissed the desperate plea and requested that Ross keep Asaro right where he is when the trial starts on Oct. 19.
The Lufthansa heist was depicted in Martin Scorsese’s 1990 mob classic “Goodfellas.”

The prosecutor cited the severity of Asaro’s alleged crimes — including murder and “the infamous armed robbery of millions of dollars and jewelry from the Lufthansa Airlines terminal” in 1978 — as grounds to establish his “present dangerousness to the community.”

Asaro apparently argued that the murder rap against him for killing a suspected informant with a dog chain in 1969 is so musty that it isn’t relevant to his present threat level.

But Cooley retorted in her filing that Asaro didn’t let the onset of his golden years preclude him from mafia crimes well into his seventies.

The prosecutor stated that a freed up Asaro would be able to conduct family business from his beau’s pad at leisure and could even intimidate witnesses at the “high stakes” upcoming trial.

Ross will rule on Asaro’s Hail Mary at a later date.


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Whitey Bulger's jailed girlfriend is indicted for refusing to testify before grand jury

Catherine Greig, longtime girlfriend of Whitey Bulger was captured with Bulger in 2011 in Santa Monica, Calif.
The girlfriend of notorious Boston gangster James "Whitey" Bulger was indicted Tuesday for keeping mum about whether anyone else aided him during his 16 years on the lam.

Catherine Grieg, 64, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Massachusetts on one count of criminal contempt. She has refused to testify before a grand jury since December 2014, prosecutors said.

Grieg, who's serving an eight-year sentence for conspiracy to harbor a fugitive, identity fraud and conspiracy to commit identity fraud, could face more prison time if convicted.

"Catherine Greig has yet again failed to do the right thing," said Joseph Bonavolonta, acting special agent in charge of the FBI's Boston division. "Her refusal to testify has hindered the FBI's efforts to seek justice for the victims of his crimes."

The indictment comes less than a week after “Black Mass,” a movie about Bulger’s life starring Johnny Depp, was released in theaters.

Grieg was found living with Bulger -- whom her lawyer called "the love of her life" -- in a Santa Monica, Calif., apartment in 2011. The pair had been on the run since 1994 and outfitted the rent-controlled home with holes in the walls to hide 30 weapons and $800,000 in cash.

James "Whitey" Bulger is pictured shortly before he disappeared in 1995.
James "Whitey" Bulger, was convicted in a Boston federal court in August 2013 on a broad indictment that included racketeering charges in a string of murders in the 1970s and '80s.

The lovebirds posed as a married retired couple from Chicago, using false identities to make doctor appointments and pick up prescriptions, prosecutors said.

Grieg agreed to plead guilty during her trial in 2012 so she wouldn't have to testify against her man, who is now serving a life sentence in connection to 11 murders.

She wasn't always by Bulger's side though.

The mob boss initially ran off with his longtime beau Teresa Stanley, who he'd dated since the 1960s as he was seeing Grieg, the FBI said. Two months later, Bulger returned to Boston to drop off Stanley and pick up Grieg.

Bulger, who served as an FBI informant, has not yet seen the movie based off his life, his attorney said earlier this week of the 86-year-old.

“I think it’d probably be unlikely for him to see it, because he’s incarcerated and they have no cable," attorney Hank Brennan said.


Saturday, September 19, 2015

Gambino mobster gets life in prison for South Florida murder

A Broward County judge sentenced Anthony "Big Tony" Moscatiello to life in prison for the mob-connected 2001 murder of Miami Subs founder Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis.
Judge Ilona Holmes announced the sentencing Thursday shortly after a jury recommended that Moscatiello serve life in prison for ordering the hit on Boulis.
The nine women and three men on the jury deliberated for about three hours and 15 minutes before reaching their decision shortly after 3:30 p.m.
After Holmes announced her decision, Moscatiello turned to Boulis' nephew, Spiros Naos, who was sitting in the front row, and said, "I truly am sorry for what happened to Gus, but I assure you that I had nothing to do with it."
Naos did not respond to the comment, but he read a prepared statement outside of the courtroom.
"Although there is nothing that can fulfill the void of Gus passing, I feel that justice did unfold as it should," he said.
Assistant state attorney Brian Cavanagh was less muted in his response to Moscatiello's words.
"I wouldn't believe a word out of that convicted killer's mouth even if hell were to freeze over," Cavanagh told Local 10 News.
Moscatiello, 76, was convicted in July of murder and murder conspiracy in the fatal shooting of Boulis during a dispute over the lucrative SunCruz Casinos fleet of gambling ships. Evidence showed that Boulis was shot by a hit man hired by Moscatiello, a reputed member of New York's Gambino crime family.
On Wednesday, several of Moscatiello's family members took the stand, portraying the convicted killer as a family man.
During his retrial, one of the state's key witnesses was a man who admitted to being ordered to get rid of the gun used in the shooting.
James "Pudgy" Fiorillo told the court that he threw the gun off a Miami Beach bridge.
Witnesses said the gunman, John "J.J." Gurino, was later killed in a dispute with a Boca Raton delicatessen owner.
Fiorillo accepted a plea deal with the state, agreeing to testify against Moscatiello and Anthony "Little Tony" Ferrari in exchange for pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit murder.  He served 6 1/2 years in prison and has since been released.
Ferrari is serving a life sentence for his role in the murder.
Moscatiello did not testify in his own defense. Instead, his lawyers sought to pin the shooting on Ferrari.
"The jury has convicted him and he can't even accept the jury's verdict, so his apology was, 'I'm sorry Gus was killed, but I had nothing to do with it.' That's pretty hollow," prosecutor Gregg Rossman said.
Moscatiello's 2013 trial ended in a mistrial when his attorney became ill.
His attorneys have 30 days to appeal the sentence.


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Hillary Clinton to attend fundraiser at home of murdered former Gambino boss

Hillary Clinton is attending a fundraiser at the Staten Island home of late mob boss Paul Castellano, the mansion's new owner said.
Hillary Clinton is headed to the "White House" — or at least one known for much darker doings.

The Democratic hopeful will attend a fundraiser being held in her honor Wednesday at slain mob boss Paul Castellano's former Staten Island home, which the FBI had bugged in the 80s before the then-head of the Gambino crime family was gunned down.

The private shindig at the sprawling 15,000-square-foot mansion in tony Todt Hill is being put on by the home's new owner Sal Rusi and features a photo reception for about 100 invited guests, the host told the Daily News.

"She's helped a lot in the Albanian community," Rusi, 59, said. "My parents thought we had to do something, and I did it. I'm happy to help her and the community."

The $2,700-per-person soiree at 177 Benedict Rd. was first reported by the Staten Island Advance.

This is Staten Island's "White House," the former home of late mobster Paul Castellano. New owner Sal Rusi will be hosting a Hillary Clinton fundraiser there Wednesday night.

Clinton's camp was criticized for agreeing to have the venue where a kingpin of American organized crime once lived.

They "don't know anything about New York, let alone Staten Island," a source told the newspaper.

But Rusi, a registered Republican, said it's the perfect place for her to make her debut on Staten Island.

"It's my house. It's not his. He's not around," Rusi said. "There's nothing weird about throwing a party in my house."

The party is expected to start about 6:30 p.m. It was described in an invitation as a "great opportunity" for guests to hear from her in a "small, in-home setting."

Paul Castellano was executed in front of a midtown steak house by four gunmen in a brazen mob hit in 1985.

Rusi — who owns New York City-based contracting company Benjamin Maintenance — bought the notorious home in 2000 for $3.1 million, public records show.

The FBI had planted a microphone in the Castellano's kitchen in 1983 to capture evidence which led to eight criminal trials, two agents describe in tell-all book "Boss of Bosses: The Fall of the Godfather — The FBI and Paul Castellano."

It's unclear where in the mansion the fundraiser will be held.

The site is worth $2,640,000, records show.

Castellano was executed in front of a midtown steak house by four gunmen in a brazen mob hit in 1985.

Clinton’s camp did not immediately respond to requests for comment.


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Charley Pepsi gets 33 months for money laundering

A Bonanno crime family associate was sentenced to 33 months in prison in Brooklyn federal court Thursday for his role in a money laundering scheme.
Charles “Charley Pepsi” Centaro conspired with Gambino associate Franco Lupoi to wash $370,000 in cash from drug and weapons deals, according to Brooklyn federal prosecutors.
Prosecutors, who pushed for 41 months, said that Centaro was paid $45,750 for his efforts.
“Without money launderers like Centaro and his co-conspirators, illegal ventures like drug and firearms trafficking would be far less lucrative,” wrote prosecutor Kristin Mace in a pre-sentencing filing.
In lobbying for leniency in court filings, Centaro’s attorney Joseph Mure stated that he suffered from a serious gambling addiction that likely led to his criminal conduct.
He also painted Centaro as a loving son who took care of his elderly parents.
“I am ashamed of myself for even considering what I did, let alone doing it,” Centaro said in a court filing before his sentencing in front of Judge Sterling Johnson.


Thursday, September 10, 2015

Jailed Gambino consigliere linked to John Gotti sues government for release of 26 year old audio recordings

A co-defendant of the late mobster John Gotti sued the U.S. government for old recordings that he says prove he played no part in a 1990 murder plot.
     Frank LoCascio and Gotti were both convicted in 1992 of various charges, including conspiring in the murder two years earlier of a man named Louis DiBono, in the parking garage beneath the former World Trade Center in Manhattan.
     In a federal complaint filed Tuesday against the Justice Department and the FBI, LoCascio contends that the government's evidence included its secret recordings of Gotti's conversations with other members of the Gambino Crime Family. LoCascio, who is serving life at the Federal Medical Center in Devens, Mass., filed the suit in Washington, D.C.
     He notes that a recording device that the feds planted in the apartment above the Ravenite Social Club in Manhattan captured one conversation from Dec. 12, 1989, in which Gotti spoke about his plan to kill DiBono.
     LoCascio says he was at this meeting, but that his statements opposing DiBono's murder were marked "inaudible" in the transcripts.
     Prosecutors played this tape at trial, however, along with another recording from the Ravenite Social Club made on March 28, 1990, according to the complaint.
     LoCascio says he did not attend the March meeting, which predated DiBono's death by about seven months.
     "After learning that newer technologies could allow the 'inaudible' portions of the recordings to be more fully deciphered, plaintiff began seeking the tape recordings from the government in order to avail himself of the new technologies and prove his innocence of the DiBono murder."
     Gotti died of cancer in prison in 2002. It's been a year since LoCascio filed requested the government's 644 audio reels of recorded conversations from or near the Ravenite Social Club under the Freedom of Information Act.
     The FBI denied the FOIA request in November, citing an exemption pertaining to law-enforcement records, and the Justice Department rejected LoCascio's appeal in April.
     LoCascio says the fact that prosecutors played the recordings in open court defeats the exemption, plus the recordings themselves are already publicly available on YouTube and other outlets. Meanwhile, transcripts of the recordings are available in book and e-book format from retailers like Barnes and Noble, according to the complaint.
     "The idea that these 26 year old recordings somehow relate to any ongoing investigation is ludicrous, in light of the fact that everyone on that recording has been prosecuted and at this moment in time is either deceased or incarcerated," the complaint states. "There is no risk that law enforcement techniques would be revealed. As set forth by the government during plaintiff's trial, the recordings were made by installing a 'bug' in the apartment above the Ravenite Social Club. And the idea that this 26 year old technique is somehow a great secret is absurd."
     LoCascio accuses the government of acting in "bad faith."
     He wants a judge order for the release of the audio reels, "especially" the recordings made on Dec. 12, 1989, and one made on Nov. 30, 1989.
     LoCascio is represented by Ruth Liebesman in Paramus, N.J.


Gambino associate cops plea deal in exchange for 7 years in prison

A reputed Gambino associate whose disintegrating marriage was featured on the 2011 reality show “I Married a Mobster” took a plea deal Wednesday in exchange for 7 years in prison.
Fiore “Philly” Caruso, 59, pleaded guilty to criminal sale of a controlled substance and criminal sale of a firearm in Manhattan court.

Caruso’s previous wife Cheryl (far left) was featured in “I Married a Mobster.”

Caruso was busted back in December for allegedly selling undercover cops $23,000 worth of cocaine and nearly $17,000 in guns, according to the office of the New York City Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan.
Caruso and his three cohorts — including his much younger 25-year-old wife, Berenice Albarran — met with undercovers at least six times between August and December of 2014.
They conducted the drug and gun sales at places like an East Village Starbucks and near Bryant Park, authorities said.
In 1995, Caruso was slapped with 15 years to life in prison for running a drug ring in Nassau County –- a life he kept secret from his then-wife Cheryl, he admitted on the popular Discovery TV show.
“It was a traumatic experience — obviously, I’d never been to prison before,” he said on the show. “It was really a depressing place, some of the cells, they look like dungeons.”
On the show, he also boasted about laundering $150,000 a week for the mafia and using violence to encourage debt repayment.


Monday, September 7, 2015

Jailed Lucchese mobster seeks to withdraw guilty plea

Martin Taccetta
A former underboss with the Lucchese crime family told a Morris County judge on Thursday he wanted to withdraw the guilty plea he entered in June to racketeering, the Daily Record reported.

Martin Taccetta, 64, formerly of East Hanover, was charged in December 2007 along with at least 32 others in connection with a $2.2 billion gambling ring that relied on violence to collect debts, the newspaper reported.

Taccetta pleaded guilty on June 17 to racketeering, admitting to being a part of the illegal sports betting enterprise between 2005 and 2007, the newspaper reported. He did not admit to committing any acts of violence in connection with the gambling operation, the newspaper reported.As reported by NJ Advance Media, Taccetta was originally convicted of racketeering and theft charges in 1993, in a case surrounding the golf-club beating death of Ocean County businessman Vincent "Jimmy Sinatra" Craparotta in 1984.

Taccetta was acquitted on the murder charge against him, but convicted on the other counts. A judge, however, sentenced him to life in prison under state law since the first-degree racketeering charge involved violent crimes.

This past February, Taccetta lost his most recent appeal—22 years after his racketeering conviction. Taccetta's appeal sought to have him plead guilty to the homicide, which would have likely yielded a shorter prison stay, but the state Supreme Court, ruled that Taccetta made an offhand remark about being innocent in court in 2005. Because of that remark, the court held that Taccetta was barred from pleading guilty to the original charges because his changed testimony would constitute perjury, his defense attorney previously told NJ Advance Media.

Taccetta's attorney has said he may appeal his case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Gambino mobster linked to John Gotti pleads not guilty in multimillion dollar stolen car scam

A reputed member of New York's Gambino crime family and former son-in-law of John Gotti pleaded not guilty Friday in what authorities say is a multimillion-dollar scam involving scrap metal and stolen cars.

Carmine "The Bull" Agnello, of Bentleyville, entered the pleas in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court to charges including conspiracy, theft and money laundering.

Authorities said an 18-month investigation uncovered how Mr. Agnello put sand into cars, many of them stolen, to add weight and to increase their scrap value before crushing the vehicles and selling them to a metals processing company.

A deputy Cleveland police chief said Mr. Agnello would pay people small amounts, usually less than $50, to bring stolen cars to him. The investigation began after police became puzzled about why more stolen cars weren't being recovered.

Prosecutors on Friday had sought to have his bond increased to at least $1 million, but the judge kept it at $100,000. Mr. Agnello, 56, has been free on bond since two days after his arrest in mid-July.

Mr. Agnello's attorney said after court Friday that the $1 million bond request was preposterous.

"We're grateful that the judge saw today that the state's position was absurd and continued him on the same bond," attorney Roger Synenberg said. "His is a legitimate business."

Prosecutors said the higher bond was needed because of the serious charges. They also said Mr. Agnello is a flight risk with a history of violence, racketeering, witness intimidation and jury tampering while a member of the Gambino crime family.

Mr. Agnello was married 17 years to reality TV star Victoria Gotti, the daughter of the late crime boss. They divorced in 2002. Victoria Gotti starred in a short-lived reality show with her and Mr. Agnello's three sons called "Growing Up Gotti."

Mr. Synenberg said Mr. Agnello pleaded guilty 15 years ago to federal charges of racketeering and conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service but served his sentence and started over. The prosecution disputed that.

"The defense portrayal of Carmine Agnello as a good, hardworking family man is misleading," Prosecutor Timothy McGinty said in a statement. "He's a family man all right—a Gambino family man."