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

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

South Philadelphia bookmaker continues to fight federal conviction

Jailed South Philadelphia bookmaker Gary Battaglini will be in town for another month ---as a guest of the federal government.

Battaglini, currently serving a 96-month sentence on racketeering/gambling charges, was in court this morning in an ongoing battle to have his conviction overturned. Dressed in a green prison jumpsuit, his hair a little grayer than when he appeared for sentencing two years ago, the soft-spoken reputed mob associate argued that his trial lawyer had improperly advised him on his appellate rights.

"He told me there was no grounds to file an appeal," Battaglini said during an hour-long hearing before U.S. District court Judge Eduardo Robreno in the same 15th floor courtroom where Battaglini and three others were convicted in February 2013.

His trial lawyer, Lawrence O'Connor, appeared as a government witness and disputed most of what his former client said.

Robreno gave both sides in the case time to file written briefs on the issue and indicated that he would rule in about a month. In the meantime, he ordered that Battaglini should remain at the Federal Detention Center at 6th and Arch Streets until the issue is resolved.

From the witness stand Battaglini, 55, said he had little contact with O'Connor after he and three co-defendants were convicted following a lengthy and convoluted trial that ended in February 2013. In fact, he said, O'Connor did not take his phone calls and came to visit him only after Battaglini wrote to the judge complaining that he could not reach his lawyer.

Mob boss Joseph Ligambi was the lead defendant in the racketeeing case. Ligambi and two other defendants were eventually acquitted.

Battaglini said O'Connor told him there were no issues that could be appealed -- a contention that O'Connor disputed. Battaglini said, "I never was on trial before so I was confused." But he insisted he never told his lawyer not to file an appeal.

He also disputed a prosecution contention that he did not want to appeal the conviction because he preferred to serve time in a federal prison rather than a state prison. Battaglini was facing a cocaine-dealing charge in Common Pleas Court at the time. He eventually was sentenced to a five-year to 10-year term after pleading guilty in November 2013. That sentence, under the terms of a plea deal, was to run concurrently with the federal sentence and would end before or at the same time at his federal  jail time.

"I didn't care either way," Battaglini said. "My time is my time. A prison's a prison."

But O'Connor testified that Battaglini told him serving his term in a federal facility was an important issue. The veteran defense attorney, a former assistant district attorney, also said he would never advise a client that there were no appealable issues.

"I would never do that," he said. "I'm of the opinion you could always find some issues to appeal."

Indeed, he said a motion he filed with Robreno for a post-trial reversal of the conviction contained the same issues that would be filed in an appeal. Robreno rejected those arguments which included charges that the government had improperly introduced evidence and witness testimony.

O'Connor said he had notified Battaglini's wife that the 14-day period for filing a notice of appeal was running out a few days after sentencing was imposed on July 12, 2013.

The government then introduced a series of emails between O'Connor and Battaglini's wife, including a final email, two days before the deadline, in which she wrote, "Thanks, Larry, for everything, but we're not appealing."

Hope Lefeber, Battaglni's court-appointed lawyer for today's hearing, argued that O'Connor represented Battaglini, not his wife, and that only Battaglini could have authorized him not to file an appeal.

Robreno, who said he would take the arguments under advisement, said it appeared the issue on whether to file an appeal "was left open," but that the legal question was whether O'Connor should have done more to obtain a direct order from Battaglini or whether Battaglini, as the government argued, had the obligation to inform his lawyer.

The appeal question is the first prong of a two-pronged legal battle. If Battaglini is denied the right to file an appeal, Robreno will then decide whether to consider a motion Battaglini filed on his own from prison asking to have his conviction vacated and asking that he be given a new trial.

Among other things, Battaglini has argued that he was improperly tainted with mob associations. He said he was a bookmaker, but insisted that his gambling operation was not tied to the mob.

Battaglini's three convicted co-defendants, mobsters Joseph "Mousie" Massimino, Anthony Staino and Damien Canalichio, have had their appeals denied.

Ligambi and mobsters George Borgesi and Joseph "Scoops" Licata were found not guilty, although the government had two tries to convict Ligambi and Borgesi. The first trial ended with the jury acquitting the two of several charges, but hanging on several others. A second trial ended with Borgesi found not guilty on the one remaining count against him and the jury again split -- some acquittals and some no decisions -- on the charges against Ligambi. The government opted not to try the  mob boss a third time.


Former Gambino family enforcer's brother sues him in court

John Edward Alite, a mob enforcer who spent nearly a decade in prison, is being sued by his brother.
This mob tale gives family style a bad name.

John Alite, a Gotti mob enforcer-turned rat who spent nearly a decade in prison for his involvement in six murders, is being sued by his brother James. The plaintiff says he’s battling cancer and needs the money he’s allegedly owed from business deals the pair made after John was sprung from the Big House in 2011.

According to James, his little brother won’t even return his calls.

“To this day I’d do anything I can for him,” James tells Confidenti@l. “For five years I’ve given him the opportunity to do the right thing.”

The lawsuit, filed in both New York and New Jersey, alleges that John, 53, cut James, 54, out of “lucrative book deal, reality television show, speaking engagements and various other media deals.” James also alleges the pair had a deal to refurbish office spaces in New Jersey that netted $240,000, which went straight to John’s account. He’s asking for $2 million total.

James’ attorney, Elio Forcina, says he filed in Queens and New Jersey because John has homes in both places, but attempts to serve him papers in person have been unsuccessful. He says he also made an attempt to serve John at an anti-bullying campaign on Long Island where the former button man was expected to speak, but the defendant-to-be never arrived.

James is also suing his gangster brother for defamation, claiming that John began a “whispering campaign” encouraging business associates to cut his big brother out of the deals they set up together and telling people that James was “insane, was faking cancer, was a liar, and was a sexual deviant.”

James’ lawyer can’t understand why John is refusing his brother’s offer.

“He’s admitted to murder and he goes on TV and brags about how tough he is, but he’s afraid to face his brother in court because he knows what he did was wrong,” says Forcina.

Lawyers representing John Alite did not respond to requests for comment.


Friday, May 13, 2016

Mafia bust in Montreal targets cocaine smuggling ring

For the second time in less than six months, police in Montreal have struck hard at the leadership of the Mafia in the city in yet another investigation that targeted one of its alleged leaders.
Liborio "Pancho" Cuntrera, 47, was in Italy early Wednesday morning when members of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit set out to make arrests in the third and final phase of Project Clemenza. The RCMP-led investigation had to be put on hold in 2011 because the Mounties uncovered evidence in the murder of Salvatore Montagna, a New York-based mob boss who tried to wrest control of the Mafia in Montreal from the Rizzuto organization. Montagna was murdered in a town just east of Montreal, on Nov. 24, 2011, after a coalition he tried to organize fell apart.
An RCMP spokesperson told reporters that 15 people were targeted in Wednesday’s operation and that the investigation probed drug smuggling and drug trafficking. 
The four indictments that were filed reveal Project Clemenza targeted a group that was loyal to the Rizzuto organization and another group, formally led by Giuseppe "Ponytail" De Vito who died of cyanide poisoning in a federal penitentiary in 2013, who opposed the Rizzutos.
Cuntrera has long been described by police sources as a potential young leader in the Rizzuto organization. His father, Agostino, remained loyal to the Rizzuto organization when it was attacked in 2010 and 2011. That loyalty is widely believed to have cost the elder Cuntrera his life. He was shot, in June 2010, outside the business he ran in St-Léonard.
Last year, LCN, the French-language news cable station, aired a series of reports alleging that Liborio Cuntrera was part of a six-member committee that had assumed control of the Mafia in Montreal after Vito Rizzuto — a man who had maintained control over the Mafia in this city for three decades — died of natural causes in December 2013. LCN also reported that Rizzuto’s son Leonardo, 46, and Stefano Sollecito, 48, were part of that committee. The younger Rizzuto and Sollecito were arrested in November in a drug trafficking investigation led by the Sûreté du Québec. At a press conference following the November arrests the SQ alleged both men were leaders in the Mafia.
According to sources familiar with Wednesday’s operation, Cuntrera had been vacationing in Italy for a while and made contact with the RCMP on Wednesday. One source said Cuntrera has agreed to turn himself in to the RCMP when he returns to Canada. The RCMP arrested 13 of 15 people Wednesday. One is still being sought and Cuntrera is in Italy.

Charges reflect a lengthy delay

The charges filed against the 47-year-old Laval resident on Wednesday reflect the lengthy delay the RCMP had to deal with in Project Clemenza. One charge alleges he trafficked in cocaine on May 17, 2011. Another two allege that he and Marco Pizzi, 46, of Montreal North, trafficked in cocaine and conspired to do the same between Sept. 28 and Oct. 6, 2011.
A different indictment appears to involve some of the people who sided with De Vito in the failed attempt to overtake the Rizzuto organization. Giuseppe "Closure" Colapelle, 38, a man who was killed in 2012, is named as a non-indicted co-conspirator in the indictment as is Alessandro Succapane, a man who was revealed to be a close associate of De Vito’s during a previous RCMP investigation.
Ten people named in that indictment are alleged to have been part of a conspiracy to import and traffic in cocaine between Feb. 18 and Dec. 21, 2011.
“The network imported cocaine through the United States and used its contacts in the commercial ground transport industry,” RCMP spokesperson Corporal Camille Habel said Wednesday. “The investigation demonstrated that this (network) transported large quantities of cocaine. The American and Canadian authorities have seized more than 220 kilos of cocaine and placed their hands on (more than $2 million).”
One man alleged to be part of the group of 10 named in the indictment is Martino Caputo, a 42-year-old man who is currently serving a 12-year prison term in Kingston, Ont. for his role in a cocaine smuggling conspiracy to bring tons of the narcotic into Canada. Caputo also faces charges in Ontario related to a murder carried out in that province back in 2012.
Only a dozen of the people named in the four indictments appeared before a judge at the Montreal courthouse on Wednesday. Federal prosecutor Marc Cigana said the Crown objected to seven of them being released without first having a bail hearing. Below are descriptions of a few of the seven who remain detained:
• Erasmo Crivello, 36, a drug trafficker with known ties to the Rizzuto organization. In February 2004, Crivello was sentenced to a three-year prison term for holding three people against their will and aggravated assault. According to decisions made by the Parole Board of Canada, Crivello hired a group of men to collect $60,000 that he believed was stolen from him. Three men were held against their will and beaten while Crivello watched and gave orders. One of the victims suffered injuries that required surgery.
Hansley Lee Joseph in 2007.
Hansley Lee Joseph in 2007
• Hansley Joseph, 36, a well-known member of a Montreal street gang who received a two-year prison term for his role in a drug trafficking network that operated in northern Montreal. The case brought against Joseph and about two dozen other men in 2005 was significant because it represented one of the first times in Canada that gangsterism charges were laid against street gang members. According to a court decision made in the case in 2007, Joseph was part of a group known as the “Dope Squad” and frequently supplied cocaine to a group of drug dealers who terrorized Pelletier Ave. a street north of Henri Bourassa Blvd. in Montreal North.
• Frank Iaconetti, 48, has served time for a previous conspiracy to smuggle cocaine into Canada. In 1999, he pleaded guilty in a U.S. District Court in Massachusetts ‎to being part of a conspiracy to distribute the narcotic. According to court documents filed in that case, on March 15, 1998 Iaconetti brought $250,000 in cash to undercover agents for what was supposed to be a down payment for 100 kilograms of cocaine destined for Canada. When he was sentenced in 1999, a judge was told there was very little evidence that Iaconetti knew much about the actual drug transaction. At the time, Iaconetti said he agreed to deliver the money to cover debts he accumulated because of a serious addiction to gambling that also prompted him to request that he be banned from the Montreal casino.


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Feds bust 18 Genovese crime family gangsters for range of crimes including attempted murder

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Madeline Singas, the Nassau County District Attorney, Diego Rodriguez, Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), William J. Bratton, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), and Thomas C. Krumpter, the Acting Commissioner of the Nassau County Police Department (“NCPD”), announced the unsealing today of a superseding Indictment charging a total of 18 individuals arising out of a multi-year investigation of racketeering activities by members and associates of the Genovese Organized Crime Family of La Cosa Nostra.  The Indictment charges four members and associates of the Genovese Family – namely, Genovese Family soldiers ROBERT DEBELLO and STEVEN PASTORE and Genovese Family associates RYAN ELLIS and SALVATORE DELLIGATTI – with racketeering conspiracy, and various of these defendants with involvement in a murder conspiracy, an attempted murder, an extortion conspiracy, and an illegal gambling operation relating to their participation in the criminal affairs of the Genovese Family, and with firearms offenses.  The Indictment also charges a number of the remaining 14 defendants with involvement (along with DELLIGATTI) in a murder-for-hire conspiracy, participation in the illegal gambling operation, and firearms offenses.  The case, captioned United States v. Robert DeBello, et al., is pending before United States District Judge Laura T. Swain of the Southern District of New York. 
Of the 18 defendants charged in the Indictment, 17 are currently in custody, including 13 defendants who were arrested earlier today as part of a coordinated takedown by the FBI, NYPD, and NCPD.  The 17 defendants in custody will be presented today before United States Magistrate Judge Ronald L. Ellis of the Southern District of New York.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “Today’s charges show that the mob continues to wreak havoc in our communities, including through a recent murder conspiracy, attempted murder, and extortion.  With today’s charges, we strike an important blow against the Genovese Crime Family.  Whether you are an old school made member of the mob or a young street criminal looking to join it, the message today is clear: the life of a mobster is a dead-end street that ends nowhere good.  I thank our law enforcement partners at the NYPD, FBI and Nassau County Police Commissioner, as well as, in particular, the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office, for the incredible work in this important case.”    
Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said:  “Today’s arrests send a strong message that we are disrupting organized crime in New York. Working with our federal and local partners we are focused on breaking up criminal organizations that try to operate outside of the law. The allegations against some of the defendants – including conspiracy to commit murder, racketeering and gambling – are very serious, and we will continue our joint efforts to dismantle these violent criminal enterprises.”
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Diego Rodriguez said:  “The crimes of extortion for so-called ‘protection,’ illegal gambling businesses, and conspiracy to commit murder are woven into the history of organized crime families, but so are the federal racketeering charges that wise guys face after committing those criminal activities.  Today, 18 defendants were indicted as part of a multi-year investigation by the FBI and our partners at Nassau County Police Department and New York City Police Department. As long as organized crime members and associates keep their criminal ways, we will keep investigating and bringing charges against them.”
NYPD Commissioner Bratton William J. Bratton said:  “This racket was as old as La Cosa Nostra.  From murder for hire to extortion and gambling, there wasn’t a scheme that was off limits to these soldiers and associates of the Genovese family. The mob may be diminished, but it’s not dead, and it requires our continued vigilance.  I commend of the FBI, Nassau County Police, U.S. Attorney, and team of NYPD detectives who made today’s arrests possible.”
Acting NCPD Commissioner Thomas C. Krumpter said:  “The indictment of these members of the Genovese Crime Family is an example of how partners in law enforcement utilize talented personnel and resources to work together and bring individuals to justice.  The Nassau County Police Department is committed to working with our fellow law enforcement partners to ensure public safety.”
As alleged in the Indictment unsealed today in Manhattan federal court:[1]
Four of the defendants – ROBERT DEBELLO, STEVEN PASTORE, RYAN ELLIS, and SALVATORE DELLIGATTI – are members or associates of the Genovese Organized Crime Family of La Cosa Nostra.  The Genovese Family is a criminal organization whose members have engaged in numerous acts of violence and other crimes in the Southern District of New York and elsewhere, including, as relevant in this case, conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit extortion, and the operation of an illegal gambling business.  DEBELLO and PASTORE were “made” soldiers of the Genovese Family, and ELLIS and DELLIGATTI were associates of the Genovese Family.  In his capacity as a Genovese Family soldier, DEBELLO reported directly to a Genovese Family captain, often at a social club in lower Manhattan within the Southern District of New York.  From at least in or about 2008 through in or about May 2016, DEBELLO, PASTORE, ELLIS, and DELLIGATTI conspired to participate in the criminal affairs of the Genovese Family through a pattern of racketeering activity.  For example, in connection with their involvement in the racketeering activity of the Genovese Family, DEBELLO as well as ELLIS and DELLIGATTI participated in a 2014 conspiracy to commit a murder, in an attempted murder, in a conspiracy to commit extortion, and in the operation of an illegal gambling business (the “Illegal Gambling Business”), and committed firearms offenses.  PASTORE was also involved in the operation of the Illegal Gambling Business.
Five of the defendants – LUIGI ROMANO, BERTRAM DUKE, TYRONE MCCULLUM, MARCUS GRANT, and SHARIF BROWN – participated in a conspiracy along with Genovese Family associate SALVATORE DELLIGATTI to commit a murder for hire, and committed a related firearms offense.
*                      *                     *           
Set forth below is a chart containing the names, ages, residences, charges, and maximum penalties for the defendants.  The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by Judge Swain.
Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI, the NYPD’s Detective Bureau, Criminal Enterprise Investigations, and the NCPD.  He also thanked the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office for their participation and support in this ongoing investigation.
This case is being handled by the Office’s Violent and Organized Crime Unit.  Assistant United States Attorneys Samson Enzer, James McDonald, and Jordan Estes, as well as Special Assistant United States Attorney Jeremy Glicksman, are in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.     
16-122                                                             ###
 United States v. Robert DeBello, et al., S4 15 Cr. 491 (LTS)

1 Racketeering conspiracy

18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)
20 years in prison
2 Conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering activity

18 U.S.C. § 1959(a)(5)
10 years in prison
3 Attempted murder in aid of racketeering activity

18 U.S.C. § 1959(a)(5)
10 years in prison
4 Conspiracy to commit murder for hire

18 U.S.C. § 1958

10 years in prison
5 Participating in an illegal gambling business

18 U.S.C. §§ 1955 and 2
5 years in prison
6 Use of Firearms for Crimes of Violence

18 U.S.C. §§ 924(c)(1)(A)(i) and 2

Life in prison
        7 Use of Firearms for Crimes of Violence

18 U.S.C. §§ 924(c)(1)(A)(i) and 2

8 Use of a Firearm for Murder-for-Hire Conspiracy

Life in prison

a/k/a “Old Man”
a/k/a “Bobby”
a/k/a “Grandpa”
74 Whitestone, Queens, NY
STEVEN PASTORE 56 Staten Island, NY
a/k/a “Joseph Princi”
a/k/a “Baldy”
a/k/a “Lazy Eye”
a/k/a “Zeus”
34 Bayside, Queens, NY
a/k/a “Jay”
a/k/a “Fat Sal”
40 Oakland Gardens, Queens, NY
a/k/a “Louie Sunoco”
38 Whitestone, Queens, NY
a/k/a “Birdy”

48 New York, NY
a/k/a “Ty”
37 Bronx, NY
a/k/a “QB”
31 Bronx, NY
LUIGI CAMINITI 35 Whitestone, Queens, NY
SCOTT JACOBSON 31 Old Beth Page, Long Island, NY
FRANK CELSO 50 West Hempstead, Long Island, NY
MICHAEL VIGORITO 35 Massapequa, Long Island, NY
MICK SOKOL 41 Brooklyn, NY
a/k/a “Combat”
43 Brooklyn, NY
JONATHAN DESIMONE 34 Huntington, Long Island, NY


[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Indictment constitutes only allegations, and every fact described in the Indictment should be treated as an allegation.


Turncoat Bonanno gangster gets 10 years in prison for role in 1991 murder

Joseph Galante helped the government in hopes that he'd earn a get out of jail free card, but kept committing crimes.
An ex-member of a violent mob crew in Queens, who worked undercover as a government snitch for a decade, was sentenced Wednesday to 10 years in prison for his role in a gruesome murder.

Joseph Galante, 49, was a member of the notorious Giannini Crew, based in a café on Fresh Pond Road in Ridgewood, when he helped get rid of the corpse of cocaine rip-off victim Thomas Sanjane whose throat was brutally cut in 1991.

Galante was hoping his later service on Team America would earn him a get out of jail card, but he resumed committing crimes and prosecutors tore up his cooperation agreement.

"The defendant committed one of the most heinous crimes you can conceive of committing," Assistant U.S. Attorney Shreve Ariail told Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis.

Although he faced 30 years to life in prison under sentencing guidelines, Garaufis gave him a break because of the extraordinary length of time he served as an informant and making secret recordings of mobsters from the Bonanno, Colombo and Genovese crime families.

"I want to apologize to the victim's family. It's haunted me for the last 25 years," Galante said in Brooklyn Federal Court.


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Bail set for Bonanno mobsters after mistrial

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpi

It’s about "effing" time.

Bail was set for four Bonanno "bad boys" who have been behind bars for three years in light of Tuesday’s mistrial, as a Manhattan prosecutor fought their release by disclosing that colorful insults and threats from jail were hurled his way.

Heavy-set hothead Anthony "Skinny" Santoro was recorded on a jail phone calling Assistant District Attorney Gary Galperin a "j--k off" and letting loose on what he'd like to do to his courtroom foe, the prosecutor said.

Santoro said he "would like to see this prosecutor on fire" and "see this prosecutor burn to death," Galperin continued, as laughter erupted around the courtroom during the three hour conference Wednesday.

The oversized joker also griped that "this whole court process is an 'effing' fiasco” and referred to Justice Melissa Jackson was an "effing b--ch."

Jackson oversaw pre-trial dealings in the case and was the judge who originally denied bail to the accused mafia goons.

Galperin used the verbal attacks it to beef up his argument that Santoro and his alleged associates are a dangerous crowd and should be kept behind bars.

"This all shows his contempt for court," Galperin argued in an effort to keep the foursome behind bars without bail pending a verdict.

Santoro, 52, along with alleged captain Nicholas "Nicky Cigars" Santora, 73: Ernest Aiello, 36: and Vito Badamo, 53, will face a second trial likely in the fall after deliberations derailed Tuesday.

The judge set bail at $500,000 bond and $250,000 cash for all the men with the exception of Nicholas Santora. His bail was set by the judge at $1 million bond and $500,000 cash.

Badamo similarly ripped Galperin in jail calls.

Anthony “Skinny” Santoro could be free on bail despite his big mouth.

Inmates are warned that all calls are recorded so it's likely they knew that Galperin would one day hear their conversations.

Badamo also called Galperin a "j--k off" and whined that the case against him is "a scam," according to the ADA's account.

Badamo's words "should not give the court any comfort in entertaining anything less than remand," Galperin said.

They have been remanded since their arrest on an enterprise corruption indictment in 2013.

Santoro's lawyer Adam Konta said the men sitting in front of Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Mark Dwyer would not go anywhere except home.

“The only islands they're running to are Staten and Long," Konta argued.

The case was adjourned to June 23 to discuss the next trial. All four are charged with enterprise corruption, the top count, which carries a maximum of 25 years behind bars.

They could also face far less significant sentences if convicted and they all have three years of time served credit.

Dwyer declared a mistrial Tuesday after jury shenanigans and scheduling conflicts left him without 12 panelists who were able to serve.


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Mistrial granted against the Bonanno crime family

After almost three years, a nearly three-month trial and eight days of deliberations, the case against four Bonanno mob suspects ended in a mistrial Tuesday in state Supreme Court in Manhattan.
"I think it's unfortunate that it ended this way," said defense attorney Adam Konta, who represents Anthony "Skinny" Santoro, the Great Kills man accused of being part of the Bonanno crime family.
Supreme Court Justice Mark Dwyer granted the defense's request for a mistrial after juror No. 9 told the court the rest of the jury was not considering his opinions, and felt they were only worried about getting a guilty plea.
"I can't go on at this point," the juror told the court. "They're not listening to me. I can no longer sit there and listen to them anymore. I want to make sure what I render is just, not just because we don't want to be here anymore or we've been here for three months."
The shocking development came after Dwyer dismissed juror No. 1 from the jury  based on the panel's concern that he wasn't able to hear any of the wiretap calls played during deliberations.
A few jurors sent a note to the judge alleging that juror No. 1 said he was unable to hear the calls and refused to use the transcript binders for fear they were tampered with. The binders, the judge instructed the jury, are not evidence.
Dwyer brought in each juror individually to specifically ask about juror No. 1.   Several expressed their concerns that he indeed said he couldn't hear the recordings.
"It's a little bit frustrating because we're trying our hardest," one of the jurors said.
"He was able to hear just fine," juror No. 9 said. "He just kept getting attacked and they didn't like his responses."
However, when asked if he was able to follow the evidence, juror No. 1 said, "Yes."
After the dismissal, juror No. 9 asked to speak to the court and said he was "pissed" juror No. 1 was dismissed, and added that the two of them were ganged up on because they disagreed with the rest of the jury.
"We were in the minority on this," juror No. 9 said. "We've been getting attacked on stupid things because we don't see eye to eye. It's not guilty until proven innocent, it's innocent until proven guilty."

The skinny on 'Skinny' --  Man at center of mob trial
Anthony "Skinny" Santoro, the alleged Staten Island Bonanno mobster, has been portrayed with these conflicting -- yet fascinating -- personalities.
Santoro, 52, and his alleged Bonanno co-defendants -- Vito Badamo, 53, Nicholas Santora, 73, and Ernest Aiello, 36, -- are accused of enterprise corruption, including loansharking, gambling and drug dealing, after authorities reportedly busted the family's nine-man crew in July 2013.
The defendants were charged with enterprise corruption, grand larceny in the second-degree and first-degree criminal usury.
There will be a conference Wednesday to determine how the case will proceed. The defense is expected to ask for bail. The defendants have been incarcerated for nearly three years.
The prosecution can retry the case, make a plea deal or dismiss the charges, but intends to redo the trial.
"The inability of one juror to continue deliberating is not a reflection on the overall strength of the case," said Joan Vollero, director of communications for the Manhattan district attorney's office. "We thank the jury members for their service, and expect to notify the court tomorrow of our intention to retry the case."
"There was no real evidence 'Skinny' was part of the crew of the Bonanno family," Konta said. "I look forward to continue fighting for 'Skinny.' "
Santoro, however, has a pending federal case after pleading guilty to operating an illegal gambling business as part of a local Bonanno crime crew in Connecticut. In 2013, he was sentenced to eight months and arrested in the Manhattan case before he could serve that time.
The three years he spent in prison does not count toward that sentence, Konta said.
A few of Santoro's family members, who have been in court every day during deliberations, left the courtroom in tears.


Monday, May 9, 2016

Family of jailed Colombo family mobster fights over late son's forged will

Joel (Joe Waverly) Cacace, former acting Colombo crime boss, is serving 20 years for murder conspiracy.Joel "Joe Waverly" Cacace, former acting Colombo crime boss, is serving 20 years for murder conspiracy.

The family of a high-ranking gangster who barely survived the Colombo civil war in the 1990s is being torn apart by a bitter legal battle over his late son’s estate.

While former acting boss Joel "Joe Waverly" Cacace is away serving 20 years for murder conspiracy, his ex-wife and granddaughter are facing off in Suffolk County Surrogate’s Court amid allegations that a will signed by his son, Joel "JoJo" Cacace Jr., is a fake.

The suspicious document surfaced after JoJo died of a heart attack on Jan. 1, 2015, at age 44. The will names his mother, Vita Rose Cacace, as the executor, but JoJo’s name is misspelled in four places and the date it was signed is crossed out and changed to a date before his death.

It also contains a puzzling provision that if Dina Marie Cacace, the dead man’s 19-year-old daughter and sole beneficiary, contests the will, she gets nothing.

Dina Marie’s mother, Laura Meyer, who never married JoJo, has filed an explosive affidavit with Surrogate’s Court, alleging the will is a “fabrication,” and that her daughter was evicted from her father’s Long Island home by Cacace family members who have allegedly harassed the teen.

She also alleges that her daughter’s lawyer may have been in cahoots with the other side.

Colombo consigliere Joel Cacace seen in a photo admitted to evidence during a trial at Brooklyn Federal Court, Brooklyn NY, April 18, 2012.

“I get nothing out of this, this is about doing what is both ethically and morally correct,” Meyer told the Daily News.

“For me, this fight is (JoJo’s) fight and all about allowing him to be able to rest in peace.”

Cacace Jr.’s estate includes three homes, three boats, a snowmobile, a Harley Davidson motorcycle, bank accounts and a valuable comic book collection, according to Meyer’s affidavit.

Vita Rose is in full control of her son’s estate until Dina Marie turns 31. Neither she, nor her lawyer, returned calls.

But Vita Rose’s daughter Susan Giambertone said the family is heartbroken over the dispute.

Cacace Sr. is due to be released from prison in 2020.

“This situation has become like a ‘Jersey Shore’ freaking episode to the point of disgust,” Giambertone said, referring to the raucous reality TV show.

“We love Dina Marie. We want her to be part of our family. My niece is being brainwashed,” she added.

Meyer took her allegations to the Suffolk County district attorney’s office. But a spokesman said that after reviewing her complaint, it was determined the matter was civil, and not criminal, in nature.

Cacace Sr. is due to be released from prison in 2020. He was wounded in 1992 during the Colombo civil war in which he was aligned with boss Carmine "The Snake" Perscio’s faction.

Cacace’s late son was not a Colombo gangster, although he served time for working a no-show union job.


Sunday, May 8, 2016

Junior Gotti refuses Gambino turncoat's offer

It was an offer he could refuse.
John Gotti Jr. told the Post he is a “forgiving guy” but when it comes to old pal-turned-mortal-enemy John Alite offering him an olive branch, the answer is afanabola!
In other words, go to hell.
“He is one of the most shameless human beings that God has created. He is one of the sickest human beings … He uses the Gotti theme to enhance his career,” Junior said when informed that Alite, who once testified against him, wanted to meet and mend fences.
The Post reported Saturday on a Serbian newspaper’s allegation that ex-mobster Alite started the blaze that gutted a Serbian cathedral on West 25th Street last Sunday. Alite told the Post the accusation was “ridiculous,” but dismissed theories that Gotti was behind it.
He then reached out to his blood rival. “What I would say to him is: Just meet me and end this,” Alite said. “Be man enough and shake my hand and end it.”
Gotti did not buy the good will. “You know who started that rumor? John Alite,” Gotti laughed. “This is what he does.”
Junior theorized Alite planted the story himself because it gives him publicity.
‘He’s making a documentary about himself. He’s trying to market himself on the Gotti name.’
 - John Gotti Jr. on John Alite
“He’s making a documentary about himself,” Gotti said. “He’s trying to market himself on the Gotti name.”
Gotti said his family banished the former hit man decades ago.
“You don’t see John Alite post-1991. He was slapped by me and chased out of the neighborhood, “ Gotti said.
Gotti said the two will never again be paisans.
“If he’s willing to come to terms with all his lies, I’m a very forgiving guy,’’ Gotti said. “[But] I would never put myself on the same platform as John Alite. … I don’t wish the guy any bad, but he’s trying to cash in and make a career.”
Alite took the stand against Gotti Jr. in a 2009 racketeering case which ended in a hung jury.
“I fought five trials in 37 months. I think that’s a world record. In four of the five I was facing life … He bombed miserably at my trial,” said Gotti, who claims he has left the gangster life. “Due to his testimony, I’m home.”


Friday, May 6, 2016

Gambino gangster sentenced to 21 years for killing drug dealer

A reputed Gambino mobster was sentenced Friday to 21 years in prison for murdering a drug dealer while the victim was urinating on the side of a road in Queens.

Gennaro "Jerry" Bruno, 43, pleaded guilty last month to fatally shooting Martin Bosshart on Jan. 2, 2002 after stopping their car in a deserted area of Howard Beach. The motive for the hit was a dispute over marijuana.

Bruno "personally shot Bosshart execution style at close range with one bullet to the back of Bosshart's head, which penetrated his skull and perforated his brain," Assistant Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Kristin Mace stated in court papers.

Bruno was not a made member of the mob, but his resume included membership in violent robbery crews based in Ozone Park called "Young Guns" and "Liberty Posse," and he was also an alleged member of reputed consigliere Joseph "JoJo" Corozzo's faction of the Gambino crime family, according to court papers.

Another alleged Gambino associate, Todd LaBarca, also pleaded guilty to participating in the murder and is serving a 23-year sentence.

He declined to make a statement at the sentencing in Brooklyn Federal Court.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder declined to seek the death penalty against Bruno for the gangland killing.

Another alleged Gambino associate, Todd LaBarca, pleaded guilty to participating in Bosshart's murder and is serving a 23-year sentence.


Federal judge green lights Bonanno informant's lawsuit against the FBI

Joseph Barone Jr. claimed the federal agents turned against him because his value as an informer had dwindled, and he refused to wear a wire. The FBI later leaked his status as an informant, according to the suit.
An ex-Mafia informant who spent 18 years as a mob mole can sue his FBI handlers for scheming to throw him in jail — despite knowing he was innocent, a federal judge ruled.
Former Bonanno family associate Joseph Barone Jr., who once exposed a mob plot to whack a Brooklyn federal court judge, was thrilled by the Thursday decision in his long legal battle with the feds.
“Good? This is great,” Barone said from an undisclosed location where he moved after his 2010 acquittal in a murder-for-hire plot.
“This is wonderful, this is no joke. I’m nervous, I’m happy, I’m angry still. I’m so thankful to God, and we’ve just got to wait to take the next step.”
Manhattan Federal Court Judge Lewis A. Kaplan issued the 11-page ruling boosting the 54-year-old’s six-year-old malicious prosecution suit against the U.S. government and three FBI agents.
“It’s a great decision,” said Barone’s lawyer, Mark Weissman. “We can proceed full speed.”
The FBI declined comment on the decision, while there was no immediate response from the U.S. attorney’s office.
Barone claimed the federal agents turned against him because his value as an informer had dwindled, and he refused to wear a wire. The FBI later leaked his status as an informant, according to his suit.
“Plaintiff alleges the defendants ... deliberately and maliciously arrested and prosecuted him for serious felonies despite knowing his innocence,” Kaplan wrote in his decision.
“The court cannot now say that a jury could not reasonably find the United States liable ... if these allegations were proven at trial.”
Barone became an FBI informant after the 1992 mob execution of his father Joseph Sr., a made member of the Genovese crime family.
The mobster, known on the street as “JB,” became a valuable confidential informant until his arrest on Jan. 9, 2009, in a plot to kill a Westchester County businessman.
Barone was thrown into solitary confinement for 15 months of the 18 months he spent in federal prison, and charged in his suit that the FBI orchestrated his imprisonment as a punishment.
He finally won a July 2010 acquittal on all charges.
“We’re going to move quickly,” Barone told the Daily News. “I’m ready for trial.”


New Jersey fisherman linked to Bonanno captain causes outrage with video

Given New Jersey's storied mafia history, it might be said that you can't swing a cat in the state without hitting a mobster.
Apparently, you can also try throwing a striped bass.
The New Jersey fisherman who sparked a firestorm of internet criticism for a web video in which he boastfully throws and mishandles fish is the son of a New York City mafia captain sent to federal prison in 2008, NJ Advance Media confirmed.
Both father and son share the same name of John Contello, with only their nicknames differing: "Big John," the nickname listed in federal indictments for the father; and "Johnny Bucktail", after a type of fishing lure, for the son.
In a pair of interviews yesterday and today, Contello's father blamed the backlash on older fishermen's jealousy towards a 19-year-old who catches more fish than they do.
"He wouldn't do that,'' he said of mistreating fish or culling his catch. "My son is a good fisherman. He's never been in any trouble."
Contello, of Hazlet, continued to defend his son's handling of the fish, but said he spoke with his son about being too boastful about his fishing prowess.
"I told him not to rub it in people's faces," Contello said.
The younger Contello issued a heartfelt apology earlier today, a day after the video he posted of himself on board his father's 37-foot boat sparked outrage and prompted one fishing tackle company to drop their sponsorship of him.
"I know the video looks bad folks, but it's not what it seemed — and forgive my excitement, it was a mad dog bite and we were all very excited," the Hazlet teen wrote on his Facebook page. "I've released a lot of big fish over the years and have taken great care in those trophy releases — perhaps I need to be more respectful..I got the message."
His apology came less than a day after officials with fishing reel manufacturer Accurate Fishing of Corona, California posted a message on the company's Facebook page announcing they were dissolving the relationship with Johnny Bucktail based on his behavior in the video.
"Accurate is based on true ethical treatment of gamefish and unfortunately the video we saw is in direct conflict of those beliefs. We want all our supporters to know we do not support such practices and will not be associated with anyone that does."
A woman who answered the phone at the company headquarters said she was not immediately authorized to comment.
The video, posted Monday to Facebook, shows the 19-year-old standing next to a pile of striped bass on the deck of the 37-foot Sea Hunter owned by his father, "Big John" Contello, a convicted organized crime figure.
The younger Contello boasts of the number of striped bass or "stripers" being caught. He then proceeds to throw two of them through the air and back into the water.
While not a licensed charter boat captain, Contello is well known in the Raritan Bayshore for his hot-shot approach and fishing prowess that landed him on the cover of the widely read The Fisherman magazine.
The video sparked outrage on Facebook and fishing and hunting forums from New Jersey to California, turning him into a pariah in the long simmering debate over whether to keep for or release them, and how fish should be treated.

Brian Kirby, who runs the New England based fishing web site Redneckangler.com said his Facebook post about Contello drew 75,000 views over two days — more traffic than he's ever had in an entire week.
"The video did touch a nerve,'' he said in an email. "The overwhelming reaction was negative, pretty much unrepeatable."
Many commenters said the motionless bass appear to be dead and accused him of "culling," a practice, largely considered anathema.
Others commenters were appalled at how Contello threw them overboard, rather than releasing them gently as is considered more humane and sportsmanlike.
In his apology, the younger Contello says none of the fish he tossed back were dead.
"If perhaps if I've treated this great fish in a way other than with the great respect it deserves, I'm sorry — and I've learned a great deal from this experience," he wrote in his Facebook apology.
Contello Sr., a former Brooklyn resident, was named by federal authorities in an August 2008 indictment charging him with racketeering and racketeering conspiracy and naming him as a captain in the Bonnano organized crime family. He pleaded guilty in March 2009 to collecting unlawful debts.
He was released from federal prison three years later, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons web site.
"What's that got to do with my son catching fish?" he replied when asked about his reputed mob past.


Feds find more guns in search of New England mobster's home

Federal agents found more guns – including a machine gun – during a search earlier this week of Robert Gentile's house, giving law enforcement more pressure against an aging gangster many believe holds the key to learning the fate of a half billion dollars in missing art, sources said.

A caravan of FBI agents descended on Gentile's suburban ranch in Manchester Monday, opening walls and cutting open oil tanks in the hunt for clues to a fortune in rare art that vanished mysteriously 26-years ago after a midnight heist at Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

What the agents found was not art, but a Mac 11 machine gun, a .22 caliber handgun, a small Walther handgun, a silencer, ammunition and what was inexplicably noted on a law enforcement report as a piece of wood. The purported target of the search warrant were the 13 pieces - among them two Rembrandt's and a Vermeer - stolen by thieves disguised as police officers, one of the sources said.

The U.S. Attorney's office said it will not discuss the search. Gentile's lawyer, A. Ryan McGuigan, said it is part of the FBI's effort to pressure Gentile to provide information about the missing art – information the lawyer said Gentile does not have.

It was the third time FBI agents searched Gentile's home over the last four years, hauling away truckloads of items that included a list of the stolen Gardner pieces with corresponding black market values, cash, drugs, a rare stuffed kestrel and a pair of enormous elephant tusks. Agents found guns and ammunition during each search, causing a judge, after one of the searches, to exclaim that the tidy little home on Frances Drive contained "a veritable arsenal."

Gentile - overweight, in declining health and confined to a wheel chair – is being held in a federal jail outside Providence while awaiting trial in July on charges that he sold a gun and ammunition to a convicted three time murderer.

The newest search is certain to lead to new charges and additional prison time if he is convicted. As a previously convicted felon, Gentile faces enhanced sentencing if convicted of a weapons possession charge.

Gentile has been a law enforcement target since 2010, when the widow of a fellow gangster said she was present when her husband gave two of the stolen Gardner paintings to Gentile before his death about six or seven years earlier. The unexpected admission made Gentile, until then viewed by law enforcement as an unremarkable Hartford swindler, the subject of extraordinary law enforcement pressure.

Since 2010, information from a variety of sources, including Gentile's own words in secret FBI surveillance recordings, has contributed to an investigative theory that Gentile is a member of a dwindling number of aging New England gangsters who had some association with the art after the March 18, 1990, heist.


Hurricane Sandy destroys tapes of John Gotti conspiring to murder Gambino solder

The John Gotti tapes sleep with the fishes.

The feds have disclosed for the first time that two original reel-to-reel recordings of the late Gambino boss conspiring to murder an underling were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy.

The tapes were stored in the bowels of 26 Federal Plaza in lower Manhattan where the New York City division of the FBI is based. An FBI bug planted in an elderly woman's apartment above Gotti's Ravenite Social Club, picked up a damning conversation in 1989 between the late Gambino crime boss and his consigliere, Frank "Frankie Loc" Locascio.

On the tape, Gotti had expressed his plan to whack mobster Louis DiBono for disrespecting the Dapper Don — a gangland killing that was carried out in October 1990 in the garage of the World Trade Center. Locascio was convicted of the murder and is serving a life sentence.

But Locascio's attempts to get a hold of the original recordings, which he claims contain inaudible sections that will exonerate him, may be a washout.

Federal prosecutors are now saying that conversations recorded on Nov. 30, 1989 and Dec. 12, 1989 at the Ravenite were "destroyed beyond remediation," according to court papers.

"I know there was water damage in the basement and it is very possible there were tapes in the vault," Locascio's appellate lawyer Ruth Liebesman told The Daily News. "It's a little disturbing that the government would go to all the trouble of making copies and then put them all in the same place for safekeeping."

The FBI could not locate a copy of the November tape, but there is a copy of the December reel-to-reel which were converted to cassette format, and later to DVD, according to court papers.
In another twist, the FBI handed over the DVD to Liebesman, but is now claiming that was done in error and the feds are demanding the return of the DVD.

Liebesman said the DVD containing the conversation is already in the hands of her audio expert who is trying to clean up the distortion and the background noise to reveal the words that will set Locascio free. The elderly mobster claims he talked Gotti out of his desire to kill DiBono the next day.

"I'm hoping that even with a copy we can do something to enhance what was inaudible," Liebesman said.
But the feds claim the Dec. 12, 1989 conversation is subject to withholding under the Freedom of Information act because the tapes were sealed in 1998 by a judge due to the ongoing investigation.

Monday, May 2, 2016

FBI digs in backyard of mobster looking for stolen Gardner art

Gentile Investigation
FBI agents Monday were at the home of gangster Robert "Bobby the Cook" Gentile, the top person of interest in the quarter-century effort to recover masterpieces stolen from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

Agents set up a tent in the front yard of the Frances Drive home, where they have previous spent time digging. Local police blocked off the street, where Gentile owns a small brown ranch.

Agents arrived in about 15 cars, with two search dogs and three trucks with heavy equipment. The U.S. Attorney's office in Connecticut had no comment on the search.

Gentile's lawyer, Ryan McGuigan, said FBI has not showed him a warrant or give him a reason for the search.

Gentile is currently facing a federal gun charge that he claims the FBI contrived to force him to reveal the location of $500 million in masterworks.

In January, federal prosecutor John H. Durham recited in court some of the evidence collected by the FBI team working the baffling robbery at the Gardner Museum.

Durham said Gentile, 79, and mob partner Robert Guarente tried, but failed, to use the return of two stolen Gardner pieces to obtain a reduction in a prison sentence imposed on a Guarente associate. Durham revealed no additional detail, but knowledgeable sources said the beneficiary of the effort was to have been David Turner, who is serving 38 years for conspiring to rob an armored car.

While he was confined in a federal prison in Rhode Island on drug and gun charges in 2013 and 2014, Durham said, Gentile told at least three people that he had knowledge of the stolen Gardner art.

Durham confirmed a Courant report that Guarente's wife told Gardner investigators early in 2015 that her husband once had possession of stolen Gardner art and transferred two paintings to Gentile before Guarente died from cancer in 2004.

Also, Durham said Gardner investigators had reason to suspect Gentile since 2015, when he submitted to a polygraph examination and denied having advance knowledge of the Gardner heist, ever possessing a Gardner painting or knowing the location of any of the stolen paintings. The result showed a likelihood of less than 0.1 percent that he was truthful. Gentile claims the examination was conducted improperly.

On the night of March 18, 1990, two thieves disguised as Boston police officers entered the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and stole 13 works of art valued at about $500 million. The FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office continue to investigate, and the museum offers a $5 million reward for information leading to the artworks' recovery.