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

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Judge denies bail for John Gotti's grandson

John Gotti was charged with running a lucrative oxycodone drug ring.
A Queens judge said fuhggedaboutit to John Gotti's grandson's latest bail request.

The mob prince, also named John Gotti, was charged with running a lucrative oxycodone drug ring and is being held in solitary confinement — something “cruel” and akin to “punishment,” defense lawyer Gerard Marrone argued Wednesday in Queens Criminal Court.

“We are dealing with an individual with psychological issues," Marrone said. “He’s had a very, very serious addiction issue for years.”

Peter Gotti leaves Queens Criminal Court — where he attended his son’s bail hearing — on Wednesday.

Correction Department officials are apparently concerned about the notoriety surrounding Gotti's mob lineage, according to Marrone.

The defendant's father is Peter Gotti, who is a son of the late Gambino crime boss John Gotti.

Gotti, 23, was arrested Aug. 4 by NYPD detectives at his grandfather's home in Howard Beach, the first time any members of law enforcement had ever raided the iconic gangster's residence.

Marrone said his client's family could put together a $2 million bail package secured by property. It is unlikely the Howard Beach home would be posted for bail though.

But Judge Dorothy Chin Brandt didn't allow the issue to proceed to the point of discussing who would be coming forward to vouch for Gotti if he is sprung on bail.

Peter Gotti (l.) and others leave Queens Criminal Court on Wednesday.

The judge agreed with prosecutor Leslie McCarron's view that the circumstance that got Gotti remanded — he faces at least 10 years in prison if convicted of the top felony count — has not changed.

Gotti's father, mother, and maternal grandfather attended the court hearing.

Marrone told the Daily News that his client has not had any problem with other prisoners since his arrest and prefers to be held in general population.


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Turncoat Philly captain linked to Skinny Joey Merlino resurfaces as a Christian minister

They called him “Boston Bob.”

In the late 1990s, he was the Philadelphia mob’s point man in Beantown, generating tens of thousands of dollars through bookmaking, loansharking, extortion and drug dealing.

Today the former Robert Luisi goes by the name Alonso Esposito. And he’s traded in his membership in Cosa Nostra for an affiliation with an organization that has an even more storied history.

Boston Bob is now Pastor Al, a Christian minister based in Tennessee with a television show, speaking engagements and Bible-study classes.

And while he acknowledges that his former Philadelphia partners-in-crime – guys like Joey Merlino, George Borgesi and “Uncle Joe” Ligambi – want nothing to do with him, he’s sending good wishes and prayers.

And some advice.

Get out of “the life.”

With Merlino, 54, expected to enter a not guilty plea Tuesday in New York to the latest racketeering charges he faces, Luisi, 55, took some time to reflect on their past, on where they’ve been and on where they may be heading.

Both he and Merlino did serious jail time, spending all of the last decade in federal prisons. When they got out, if the current racketeering indictment proves true, Merlino went in one direction and Luisi in another.

“I was a diehard gangster,” the now Christian minister said in a telephone interview. “I did some terrible things.”
“Joey wants to be a star,” Luisi said. “He loves the action. He loves seeing his name in the paper … If I could talk to Joey, I’d tell him to get a new life … You stay on the street and you walk into an indictment. You get killed or ratted on.”

But he says he’s found his way out. And wishes his onetime Philadelphia friend would find his.

Luisi, whose father, half-brother and cousin were killed in an infamous mob hit in a Boston-area restaurant back in 1995, grew up around gangsters and was fascinated with their world. The money, the power, the status and the women were all part of a lifestyle that he embraced.

“I loved it,” he said. “It’s like it’s in your blood. But you gotta open your eyes. That life that you believe in, that you idolize … It only leads one way. You end up dead or in jail.”

Luisi said he and Merlino used to talk about moving to Florida. Luisi said his goal was to get away from the life. But he said Joey’s idea was to set up a crew down there. That, in effect, is what the pending racketeering indictment alleges.

Merlino is identified as one of three leaders of an “East Coast La Cosa Nostra Enterprise.” Forty-five other mob members and associates are charged in the case, which includes allegations of gambling, loansharking, extortion, arson, assault and insurance fraud. Merlino, who relocated to Boca Raton after his release from prison in 2011, is named in the gambling and fraud portions of the four-count indictment. He is free on $5 million bail.

“Joey wants to be a star,” Luisi said. “He loves the action. He loves seeing his name in the paper … If I could talk to Joey, I’d tell him to get a new life … You stay on the street and you walk into an indictment. You get killed or ratted on.”

In fact, much of the case against Merlino is built on secretly recorded conversations made by a thus-far unidentified mob associate who was secretly working with the FBI. It’s a story Luisi can relate to.

He was jammed up on drug charges after dealing with Ron Previte, a Philadelphia crime family member who was wearing a wire for the FBI in the 1990s. Previte went to Boston and set up a series of cocaine deals with Luisi and his crew. The “drug dealer” Previte introduced to the Boston mobsters was an undercover FBI agent.

Audio and videotape of three cocaine deals and the exchange of $75,000 sealed the case against the Boston gangsters. But Merlino, who was charged with setting up those deals, was found not guilty.

Previte testified against Merlino in the 2001 racketeering case, but Luisi, who had originally agreed to cooperate and testify, reneged and was never called to the stand.

Pastor Al Esposito is working on a biography tentatively titled “From Capo to Christian.”“If I had testified, Joey would have been convicted of the drug charge,” Luisi said.

At that trial, Merlino and most of his associates were convicted of gambling, loansharking and dealing in stolen property. But the jury said the government had failed to prove murder and murder conspiracy charges against several of the defendants and had failed to prove the drug charge against Merlino that was part of the case.

Luisi said his deal came apart because of problems he was having with a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston. Instead, he went to trial. Previte was a key witness against him. Luisi was convicted and ultimately sentenced to 188 months in prison.

“I never liked Ronnie and Ronnie never liked me,” he said. “But today I’d like to thank him. He saved my life.”

Previte, in a phone interview on Monday, said he never disliked Luisi but thought he was too easily manipulated by Merlino and Borgesi.

“I didn’t dislike him, but I thought he was foolish and being used by them,” the onetime wiseguy said.

Luisi didn’t see it that way. He said he sought out the Philadelphia mob in the 1990s because of conflicts he was having with the Boston-based mob family with which he was associated.

At first, he said, he tried to align with the Gambino crime family in New York. But he said Peter Gotti, who was running the family for his jailed brother John at the time, said, “We don’t need any more friends.”

Luisi said he then used an associate who had spent time in jail with Philadelphia mob leader Ralph Natale to arrange a meeting in Philadelphia. Luisi said he first met with Natale at The Pub, a popular bar-restaurant in Pennsauken. He subsequently met with Borgesi and a crew of mob associates at a dinner in Delaware County and then met with Merlino at Gino’s CafĂ©, a South Philadelphia corner bar that the mob controlled at the time.

Those meetings led to an affiliation and Luisi’s formal initiation into the Philadelphia crime family. He became a capo with his own crew in Boston. By his estimation, he was generating tens of thousands of dollars a month through gambling, loansharking and drug dealing.
“Jesus has washed the blood off my hands,” he said. “I know they’d like to kill me, but I have love in my heart for them. I had an awakening. They have to come to a point where they say, 'I had enough of this.’”

“When I went to jail, I had a million dollars on the street,” Luisi said of the various mob gambits in which he was involved. The feds would later allege that Luisi was sending $10,000 a month to Merlino as tribute and that, in effect, he bought his way into the organization.

“With Joey it was always pride and ego and money,” Luisi said.

Luisi said his goal at the time was to develop his own organization and eventually split off from Philadelphia. But sometime in 1998 he said, “I had an awakening.”

Even as he continued to move in mob circles, he said, he began to question his life. He recalled taking a trip with his family and Borgesi’s family to Florida in which he mentioned his turn toward Jesus.

As Luisi recalls it, Borgesi made some cryptic remark about God having something in store for him.

“I didn’t know how to take that,” he said, noting that he knew at that point that Merlino was not happy with the way he was running things in Boston.

“I thought maybe I was gonna get clipped,” he said.

Instead, the Previte sting landed him in jail.

“At that point, I could have strangled Joey,” he said. “He’s the one who sent Previte up to me. Joey jammed me up with Ronnie out of greed.”

But today, Luisi said he sees it as all part of God’s plan. In prison he built on his awakening, reading, studying and becoming something of an expert on the Bible. He has self-published a book, “The Last Generation,” that includes his thoughts on creationism among other things. He is working on a biography tentatively titled “From Capo to Christian.” He also has a website.

“Jesus has washed the blood off my hands,” he said, adding that the same can be true for his former Philadelphia mob associates.

“I know they’d like to kill me, but I have love in my heart for them. I had an awakening. They have to come to a point where they say, 'I had enough of this.’”

Luisi was released from prison in 2012 after working out another deal with the feds, agreeing to testify against a Boston mobster.

But he insists that he is not a rat and says he is glad he never took the stand against Merlino, Borgesi and the others in that 2001 racketeering case.

“I had a lot of guilt (about agreeing to cooperate against them),” he said. “But I didn’t have to testify against anybody, praise God. I didn’t want to hurt those people.”

Relocated to Tennessee, he said he worked in construction and as a plant foreman and began a part-time ministry in the Memphis area that has since become his full-time calling. In June, he severed ties with the Justice Department and began to publicly discuss who he was and what he had done.

“I couldn’t give my real testimony,” he said of his religious calling. “The worst thing you can do is deceive people. You’re preaching and someone says, 'This guy’s a fraud.' In my heart, I needed to come out, to tell people who I was and what I had done.”

Luisi said he is not worried about the publicity he has generated since stepping out of the shadows back in June. There have been newspaper and television accounts about him, including a lengthy piece in The Boston Globe, his old hometown newspaper.

“The Lord is my shield,” he said, sounding more like Pastor Alonso Esposito than mobster Bobby Luisi. “This is where God leads me.”

He said he prays for his old Philadelphia mob friends, especially Merlino in his time of trouble. His hope is they find a way out.

Not everyone in Philadelphia, of course, is convinced. Some see the Alonso Esposito Ministry as a front or a con.

Told that Bobby Luisi had found Jesus, Angelo Lutz, a co-defendant in the 2001 Merlino case and now a successful South Jersey restaurateur, quipped, “I didn’t know He was lost.”

Over 40 mobsters from various crime families pack courtroom

This Manhattan mob case is so huge that it needed an especially large courtroom Tuesday — and even had to stuff reputed crime-family honchos into the vacant jury box just to fit all the defendants.
“This is a complete mess,” muttered one of the more than 40 accused wiseguys, who go by nicknames such as “Nicky the Wig,’’ “Tony the Cripple,’’ “Mustache Pat’’ and Tugboat.’’
The group of goons — accused of everything from illegal gambling to health-care fraud to weapons trafficking — piled into Manhattan federal court’s massive “ceremonial courtroom,” which is normally reserved for naturalization proceedings, along with their phalanx of lawyers.
The alleged mobster defendants took up 14 rows and the jury box, which was reserved for the suspects who didn’t get bail. They included Pasquale Parrello, the reputed Bronx boss of the Genovese family and namesake for Pasquale’s Rigoletto restaurant on Arthur Avenue.
The defendants learned during the pretrial hearing that the feds have collected 800 recordings from cooperators, as well as recordings from wiretaps involving 15 phones. It is so much material that it will take months to even make it into the hands of the defendants’ lawyers, said prosecutors with Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara.
The feds say the suspects are from the Genovese, Lucchese, Gambino and Bonanno families. In addition to the other charges, some are accused of assault or threatening people with assault, including a man they mistakenly believed to be a panhandler who upset Pasquale’s Rigoletto’s customers.
But despite the allegations, the mood among the wiseguys in the courthouse was upbeat.
There were kisses and hugs in the lobby ahead of the hearing and jokes.
After being greeted by the judge with a “Good morning,” defendant Bradford Wedra said, “Make it a wonderful morning, Your Honor, and dismiss the case.”
The crack drew laughter from the crowd, including the judge.
The feds say the men worked together to engage in criminal activities up and down the East Coast.


Monday, August 22, 2016

John Gotti associate pleads guilty to torching car of rival pizzeria

An associate of John Gotti — the troubled grandson of the late Gambino crime boss — pleaded guilty Monday to torching a Mercedes-Benz sedan in connection with a dispute between pizzeria owners in Queens.

Gino Gabrielli, 22, ate the indictment, copping to the single arson charge that carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison.

"I set a car on fire in furtherance of a federal crime," Gabrielli told Magistrate Judge Peggy Kuo in Brooklyn Federal Court.

Gabrielli's sister, Eleanor, is Gotti's girlfriend and she was arrested with the mob prince last month when NYPD narcotics detectives raided his home in Howard Beach as part of a crackdown an illegal oxycodone peddling ring.

Gotti was also subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury about the arson fire.

Gino Gabrielli, a waiter at his grandfather's restaurant, Aldo's Pizzeria on Cross Bay Blvd., allegedly burned the luxury car belonging to the owner of rival Sofia's Pizzeria in Ozone Park. Authorities said the rival pizza maker was retaliated against after he took a $1,300 catering order away from Aldo's Pizzeria.

The feds had smoking gun evidence against Gabrielli — literally. A surveillance video captured the Dec. 4, 2015 arson in which Gabrielli accidentally set himself on fire, too, and later showed up at an area hospital for medical treatment for third-degree burns to his leg.


Friday, August 19, 2016

Lawyer argues that idea of five crime families working together is a farce

Five East Coast mob families who are allegedly connected to a racketeering bust don’t cooperate enough to run criminal conspiracy, say Tognino lawyer John Meringolo.
Five East Coast mob families working together? Fugheddabout it!

The crime families recently implicated in a massive racketeering bust don't cooperate enough to run a criminal conspiracy, one of the alleged wiseguy's lawyers argued in new court papers.

John "The Tugboat" Tognino's lawyer said federal prosecutors' indictments against 46 accused gangsters earlier this month shows a complete failure to understand how mob politics work.

Prosecutors charged members of the Genovese, Gambino, Lucchese, Bonanno crime families and a Philadelphia offshoot formed the East Coast La Cosa Nostra (Enterprise), an alleged criminal scheme spanning from South Florida to Springfield, Mass.

They worked together on "a multitude of criminal activities" — such as racketeering conspiracy and conspiracy to commit assault in aid of racketeering, as well as arson and gunrunning, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's office said.

Some are also accused of gambling and dealing untaxed cigarettes, in addition to healthcare fraud involving unnecessary prescriptions for expensive compound creams.

The idea behind an overarching "La Cosa Nostra" is at odds with mafia history, Tognino lawyer John Meringolo said in the filing.

"They manufactured this enterprise," Meringolo told the Daily News.

"While there is certainly evidence that different organized crime families work together, the families are still considered separate and distinct enterprises," wrote Meringolo, who also teaches at PACE law school.

"Despite the various dealings between families, it has been well established that each is its own distinct entity."

When Colombo family member Alphonse "Allie Boy" Persico went on trial, testimony showed "Crime family protocols were stringent — and how they kept their distance from one another."

"Members and associates of a family were not allowed to speak to members of other crime families or to higher-ranking members of their own family without a formal introduction," he said in a new filing.

The Genovese, Gambino, Lucchese and Bonanno families have historically been treated as their own enterprises for racketeering conspiracy indictments in Manhattan and Brooklyn federal court cases, Meringolo said.

Those facing racketeering charges were alleged to have had a specific role within one of these families. But these new charges don't "definitively state the existence of an enterprise...or allege an enterprise in terms of a specific organized crime family."

"Rather, the Indictment melds various organized crime groups — with their own sets of distinct rules and hierarchies — into one overly broad entity, concocted for the sole purpose of connecting these otherwise separate and independent units together."

The so-called East Coast La Cosa Nostra Enterprise "is an over-encompassing term that generally refers to Italian Organized Crime in its entirety, is not distinct at all, and cannot by itself constitute a [RACKETEERING] enterprise," the papers, filed Thursday night, stated.

So 74-year-old Tognino, who faces one count of racketeering conspiracy in relation to his alleged work as a bookie, isn't accused in relation to any one family — meaning he's being hit with overly general charges that should be dismissed, Meringolo’s filing contends.


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Turncoat New England mob boss attended Patriots watch parties while in witness protection

Not even a life undercover could stop a former mob boss from cheering for his beloved Pats.

Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme — who entered the Witness Protection Program after cooperating with the government to nab other mobsters — attended several New England Patriots watch parties in his new home of Atlanta before he was arrested earlier this month, fan club organizers said.

“He seemed a little different, but he was Patriot fan so we embraced him,” club president John Gray told WPRI. “When the Patriots scored he raised his hands like everyone else, got all excited and fit right in.”

Francis "Cadillac Frank" Salemme was arrested earlier this month.

The 82-year-old was charged last weekfor witnessing a murder in 1993. Prosecutors claim he helped arrange the disposal of Boston nightclub owner Steven DiSarro’s body.

Salemme was first arrested in 1999 on a slew of charges including eight murders, but he agreed to cooperate with police and testified against two of his mob friends: James “Whitey” Bulger and Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi. For his help, prosecutors gave the killer just eight years behind bars, and put him in the Witness Protection program when he got out.

According to court documents unsealed after his new arrested, Salemme moved to Atlanta and used the name Richard Parker after he was released.

But there was one thing he couldn’t shake from his past: His love for the Patriots.

Atlanta Patriots fan club members said “Richard Parker” attended at least three watch parties over the course of two seasons, entered club contests and chatted with other members about their treasured team.

Salemme attended several New England Patriots watch parties in Atlanta, club officials said.

“I knew the name because he bought some raffle tickets from us,” Gray said, adding that he only learned of the man’s true identity when club members started sharing articles about his arrest.

Gray said he was surprised a former gangster trying to hide his past would be so open to joining a large group of sports fans — especially a 1,000-member club that includes some retired Boston police officers.

“Obviously that’s not typically the background of our members to say the least,” Gray said of Salemme’s murderous past. “In retrospect maybe it was a little unnerving but fortunately there wasn’t any problems or trouble, he was just there as a fellow fan.”


Saturday, August 13, 2016

Lucchese captain cops 33 month plea over loan threats

Luchese Capo Carmine Avellino will argue for a reduced sentence, citing his Parkinson's disease.
A longtime Lucchese capo who had insisted on going to trial this month on extortion charges, chickened out Friday and copped a plea deal.
Reputed mobster Carmine Avellino's indecision will cost him, though. He loses one point of credit for not taking the deal sooner which means he will face about four months extra behind bars under the sentencing guidelines.
Avellino, 72, admitted that he conspired with two other goons, Daniel and Michael Capra, to threaten a deadbeat who owed him $100,000. They used "an implied threat of violence based on reputation" to put a scare in the victim, Avellino told Brooklyn Magistrate Judge Marilyn Go.
When the judge asked whether Avellino meant his reputation in the Lucchese family, defense lawyer Scott Leemon nearly jumped out of his seat and clarified that his client meant his reputation in the "community."
Avellino faces up to 33 months in prison, but will argue for a reduced sentence because he is suffering from Parkinson's disease. "It seems to be getting worse," the oldfella told the judge.
The Capra brothers had previously pleaded guilty to extortion conspiracy charges in the case.


Friday, August 12, 2016

Philadelphia mob boss Skinny Joey Merlino posts $5 million bond

Reputed Philadelphia mob boss Joseph Merlino, who works as a maitre d’ at a Boca Raton restaurant that bears his name, is to be released from the Palm Beach County jail on Friday on a $5 million bond to await trial in New York on racketeering charges.

The bond deal was hammered out at a two-hour hearing before U.S. Magistrate William Matthewman. Once known as “Skinny Joey,” the flamboyant 54-year-old Boca Raton resident was among 46 men — with nicknames like “Tony the Cripple” and “Nicky the Wig” — who were arrested last week in a multi-state round up involving five organized crime families.
Noting Merlino’s previous 12-year sentence for racketeering and his subsequent return to prison for violating the terms of his probation for associating with known mobsters, Matthewman said he was reluctant to approve his release.
“What I’m concerned about any condition I set is Mr. Merlino going to follow it or will he simply do as he pleases?” Matthewman asked.
West Palm Beach attorney David Roth, who represents Merlino, insisted his client’s “devotion” to his wife and two college-age daughters would keep him in check until he is tried on charges that could send him back to prison for as long as 20 years.
Reputed mob boss ‘Skinny Joey’ Merlino to be released on $5 million bond photo

Further, if he bolts, his wife and two friends, who signed the bond agreement, would be on the hook for $5 million. To secure his release, his wife, Debra, agreed to pledge a $575,000 house she owns in Philadelphia. Two friends — David McCaffrey and Anthony Marano — pledged property they own in Pompano Beach and Fort Lauderdale respectively as well.
With more than $500,000 in property backing the bond, Matthewman agreed to release Merlino on house arrest. He will be allowed to leave his house on Northeast 4th Street in Boca Raton from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day to ready the restaurant for a planned October re-opening. He can also travel to Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York to meet with attorneys.
In response to a special request, he will be allowed to attend parents’ weekend at his daughters’ unidentified college in the Philadelphia area in September.
Feds indict 46 in mob sweep, including reputed Philly boss photo
In this Oct. 10, 2014 file photo, Joey Merlino arrives at the federal court in Philadelphia. The flamboyant alleged head of the Philadelphia mob who has repeatedly beat murder charges in past cases is among nearly four dozen people Thursday, Aug. 4, 2016, with being part of an East Coast crime syndicate.

“Am I going to see you back here?” Matthewman asked the Merlino.
“No, your honor,” Merlino answered in a thick Philadelphia accent.
In the 30-page New York indictment, Merlino is described as one of the leaders of East Coast LCN Enterprise that included members of the Genovese, Gambino, Lucchese, Bonanno and Philadelphia organized crime families. The enterprise specialized in extortion, arson, illegal gambling, credit card fraud, selling untaxed cigarettes and a health-care fraud scheme that involved forcing doctors to prescribe an expensive skin care cream, prosecutors claim.
While others are accused of violent crimes, including setting cars afire and beating up panhandlers, Roth noted that Merlino is not. “There is absolutely no allegation of any violence whatsoever,” he said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Aurora Fagan agreed. Merlino’s crimes, according to the indictment, involved health-care fraud and illegal gambling, she said.
Other Palm Beach County men arrested in the round up were Pasquale Capolongo, 67, of West Palm Beach; Carmine Gallo, 38, of Delray Beach; and Frank Trapani, 63, Craig Bagon, 56, and Bradley Sirkin, 54, all of Boca Raton.


Thursday, August 11, 2016

Turncoat New England boss Cadillac Frank busted for 1993 murder

He left his life as a Mafia don decades ago, disappeared into the federal witness protection program, and was living quietly in Atlanta as Richard Parker, an unassuming octogenarian who loved to read and exercise.

But Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme’s past caught up with him Wednesday, when he was arrested at a Connecticut hotel and escorted to a Boston courthouse in handcuffs to face a new charge for an old crime: the 1993 murder of a witness during a federal investigation.

It was deja vu for Salemme, a contemporary of James “Whitey” Bulger’s who will turn 83 this month. Arriving in court, he smiled slightly when he spotted Fred Wyshak, the veteran prosecutor who helped send him to prison twice before, seated at the prosecution table and quipped, “Hey, Fred, fancy seeing you here!”

Steven Disarro’s remains were discovered in March.

His casual demeanor belied the severity of the charge, which allows prosecutors to seek the death penalty.

Salemme, who served as boss of the New England Mafia in the 1990s, is charged with the May 10, 1993, slaying of South Boston nightclub manager Steven A. DiSarro, whose remains were discovered in March by investigators acting on a tip. DiSarro was buried in a Providence lot owned by a man facing federal drug charges.

Salemme denies he killed DiSarro and “is ready to fight this case tooth and nail,” Salemme’s attorney, Steven Boozang, said after the court hearing. “This is old stuff that has been dredged up from the past, but he’ll face it head-on as he always has.”

The murder in question stretches back more than two decades, to a time when the mob in New England was being battered by federal prosecutions. DiSarro was 43 when he vanished 23 years ago and was presumed murdered.

The recent discovery of his remains let his family finally lay him to rest. “We buried him this weekend and had a small ceremony,” DiSarro’s son, Nick, said during a brief telephone interview Wednesday. “I am really glad that there is progress and they are moving forward. I’m looking forward to finding out the details.”

The magistrate judge granted a request by the prosecution to keep an FBI affidavit filed in support of Salemme’s arrest under seal.

While Salemme is charged with murdering a witness, authorities have not disclosed whether DiSarro was cooperating with authorities when he vanished, or whether investigators were planning to call him as a witness during a federal investigation that was underway in 1993 against Salemme and his son, Frank.

DiSarro had acquired The Channel, a now-defunct nightclub, between 1990 and 1991 and Salemme and his son had a hidden interest in the club, according to court filings by the government in prior cases.

The new charge against Salemme marks the first time anyone has been charged with DiSarro’s murder. However, Salemme pleaded guilty in 2008 to lying and obstruction of justice for denying any knowledge about DiSarro’s death and was sentenced to five years in prison.

Salemme also spent 15 years in prison for attempting to kill an Everett lawyer in 1968 by planting dynamite in his car. The lawyer lost a leg in the explosion.

After his release, Salemme was being groomed to take over as mob boss, igniting a war with a renegade faction. He survived after being shot by rival gangsters outside a Saugus pancake house in 1989 and was indicted on federal racketeering charges in 1995 along with others, including Bulger, gangster Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, and Rhode Island mobster Robert “Bobby” DeLuca.

In 1999, after learning that Bulger and Flemmi were longtime FBI informants, Salemme agreed to cooperate with authorities against the pair and their handler, retired FBI agent John J. Connolly Jr. In exchange he served only eight years in prison and was admitted to the federal witness protection program.

In 2003, Flemmi began cooperating with authorities and claimed he walked in on the murder of DiSarro at Salemme’s estranged wife’s home in 1993, according to a US Drug Enforcement Administration report filed in federal court in Boston. He claimed that Salemme’s son, Frank, was strangling DiSarro, while Salemme, his brother John Salemme, and another man, Paul Weadick, watched.
Flemmi said Salemme was concerned about DiSarro’s friendship with a man who was cooperating in the federal investigation targeting Salemme and his son. He also told investigators that Salemme later told him DeLuca was present when they buried DiSarro.

Salemme’s son Frank died in 1995.

Salemme was kicked out of the witness protection program in 2004 when he was charged with lying about DiSarro’s killing but was allowed back into the program in 2009 after finishing his sentence.

Court filings indicated that Salemme was using the name Richard Parker while in Georgia.

He was living “a healthy lifestyle,” exercised as much as possible, and was a voracious reader, Boozang said.

“He’s a guy that learned his lesson,” Boozang said. “He paid his debt to society. For 21 years he hasn’t been in trouble.”

But, Nick DiSarro said, “None of that takes away the fact that he murdered someone.”

Dressed in a short-sleeved navy blue polo shirt and olive green khakis when he appeared in court Wednesday, the gray haired former Mafia don was slightly tanned and looked fit and trim. When told to rise, he took a few moments to get to his feet.

US Magistrate Judge Donald L. Cabell ordered Salemme held without bail pending the resolution of the case. The prosecutor said Salemme had a history of fleeing to avoid charges and recently fled Atlanta, where he was in the witness protection program, and was captured in Connecticut.

Salemme did not challenge the government’s request to hold him without bail. However, Boozang insisted that Salemme was not in hiding, but rather, “He was on his way back to answer any charges that might have been coming forth.”


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Bonanno mobsters complain about restrictive bail conditions

Ernest Aiello is seen in the hallway after a hearing in State Supreme Court on Tuesday in New York.
You can have your cannoli but you can't eat it too.

Alleged mafiosi Vito Badamo, 53, and Ernest Aiello, 36, have concerns about a judge's order that bars them from commiserating with fellow goombahs and whether it could prevent them from going to get a bite to eat.

Lawyers for the pair argued Tuesday that their clients — who were freed after a mistrial on enterprise corruption and other charges in May — wouldn't know which paisans to avoid under the vague prohibition that prosecutors pushed for.

Lawyer Joseph Donatelli said prosecutors asked that his client stay away from mobbed-up people and places, but failed to specify who they think is a gangster in the defendants' circle of Italian-American pals.

"Who is an organized crime member?" Donatelli asked during a hearing in Manhattan Supreme Court.

Donatelli noted that Aiello is a regular at old school Italian bakery Fortunato Brothers Cafe in Williamsburg.

"My client frequents a pastry shop," said Donatelli, who owns DeStefano's steakhouse nearby.

Vito Badamo is seen after Tuesday's hearing in State Supreme Court.

Justice Mark Dwyer said that quickly stopping in to buy a bite and heading out is no big deal.

"If he walks in and buys a zeppole and walks out that's okay," the judge said, but it could be problematic "if he walks in and has a conversation for an hour."

Dwyer added that Badamo could politely say ciao to old pals with a reputation as long as he keeps moving.

"If he's walking down the street and sees an old friend, he can say ‘hi’ and end the conversation," the judge said.

Aiello lawyer Stacey Richman had asked for a list of prohibited contacts from prosecutors, challenging the overbroad request and called it a "dangerous restriction."

"The people do not give us a list as to who may be a mob affiliate," Richman said after the hearing.Lawyers for the alleged gangsters worry that a stop at Fortuanto Brothers Cafe in Williamsburg for a bite could violate the judge's orders. The cafe is an old school Italian bakery.

"The people define pretty much everyone and every place as mob-related."

Richman said that even a McDonald's was made into a "mob locale" at the first trial.

Badamo and Aiello, alleged members of the Bonanno crime family, are charged in an extortion, gambling, loansharking and prescription pill peddling scheme along with alleged boss Nicholas "Nicky Cigars" Santora, 73, and Anthony "Skinny" Santoro, 52.

Santora, who is wheelchair-bound, is still being held on $1 million bond and Santoro is behind bars on $500,000 bail.

They all face a maximum of 25 years behind bars though some of the lesser counts were dismissed against Aiello.

Jury discord and scheduling problems left them without a panel of 12 to deliberate after a lengthy trial.

A new trial date has not yet been set.


Saturday, August 6, 2016

John Gotti's grandson is getting help with drug addiction at Rikers Island

“A Gotti has never run. A Gotti has never skipped bail,” John Gotti said about cops barging into his grandfather’s Howard Beach home to arrest him.
The troubled grandson of late mobster John Gotti is getting help behind bars at Rikers Island for an addiction to prescription painkillers, his lawyer said Friday.
John Gotti, 23, is in a drug-treatment program at the the lockup following his arrest Thursday on charges he was peddling Oxycodone with girlfriend Eleanor Gabrielli.
“He’s had a problem for quite a while, which probably precipitated the actual alleged criminal activity in this case,” said his lawyer Gerard Marrone.
Marrone said he didn’t request protective custody for Gotti at his arraignment Thursday night after he was held without bail because of the Mafioso clan’s tough-as-nails reputation.
“Gottis are tough guys. They don’t have any trouble in jail,” the lawyer said. “Gottis are definitely stand-up guys. That goes without saying.”
The beefy, mobbed-up punk and Gabrielli, 27, were collared in Howard Beach, Queens following a year-long police investigation.
Gotti is facing anywhere between 15 to 25 years-to-life in prison, if convicted of the felony charges.
He also faces charges from a June collar, when he was pulled over in Queens. Cops found a Gucci bag with more than 200 Oxycodone pills and other drugs, authorities said.
Marrone called Gotti’s latest arrest a wake-up call – and hopes to work out a fair disposition with prosecutors.
“On one hand, it’s probably a blessing in disguise, a tremendous wake-up call. He can finally get the help he needs,” he said.
“I hope they [prosecutors] don’t go above and beyond because of his last name. I want them to treat him like a regular defendant. I don’t want him to get any special treatment that will give him any more time [in jail].”


Thursday, August 4, 2016

John Gotti's grandson busted on drug charges

The namesake grandson of the late “Teflon Don” John Gotti, was busted in his grandpa’s old house in Queens early Thursday on drug charges, law enforcement sources said.
Gotti and his girlfriend, Ele​a​nor Gabrielli, 27, were ​grabbed up by cops in his Howard Beach home. Gotti is facing charges tied to peddling Oxycodone and other controlled pharmaceuticals in Howard Beach and Ozone Park over the past year, according to a source.
The takedown was called “Operation Beach Party,” NYPD Chief Robert Boyce said.
​​The duo were taken to the 113th Precinct station house.​ ​
Searches of Gotti and his associates’ homes and cars have so far netted about $240,000 in cash, upwards of 850 Oxycodone and Xanax pills, and prescription pads.
The money and drugs discovered in the gangster-scion’s house were hidden in a small safe, next to Gotti’s bedroom, Boyce said.
The tatted-up 23-year-old’s Rebel Ink Tatoo Parlor in Ozone Park was also raided.
The couple and five other defendants have been variously charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance, conspiracy and money-laundering.
Gotti, of Howard Beach, is believed to have been the mastermind behind the operation, according to the Queens District Attorney’s office–selling Oxy for around $24 a pill.
The mafioso spawn was most recently arrested on June 30, when cops pulled his car over in Queens and discovered a Gucci bag containing over 200 Oxycodone pills, a bottle of testosterone, marijuana, and a cache of Xanax and Methadone pills, according to authorities.
Police also discovered a gravity knife, a pill grinder, and nearly $8,000 cash on his person.
It remained unclear whether the steroids were for sale or personal use.
If convicted, the mobster’s grandson faces up to 25 years to life in prison.
Gotti’s been arrested before on various offenses dealing with marijuana and painkillers.
Gotti’s famous granddad of the same name led the Gambino crime family and skated from federal authorities for decades, earning his rap-beating moniker.
The Dapper Don was finally convicted of racketeering and murder in 1992 and died in prison in 2002 at age 61.


Feds bust Skinny Joey Merlino and dozens of other mobsters in takedown

A criminal cooperative of multiple mob families was crippled Thursday in a massive federal sweep that busted nearly four dozen gangsters along the East Coast.

One-time Philadelphia mob boss Joseph “Skinny Joey” Merlino was indicted along with members of the Genovese, Gambino, Lucchese and Bonanno families as part of the “East Coast La Cosa Nostra Enterprise.”

Merlino, 54, was living in Florida after beating a pair of federal racketeering and murder cases in 2001 and 2004.

He was named as one in a triumvirate of leaders along with Bronx restaurant owner Pasquale "Patsy" Parrello of the Genovese family and Eugene "Rooster" Onofrio.

The trio “supervised and controlled members of the enterprise engaged in illegal schemes,” the indictment charged.

The alleged gangsters ran illegal gambling operations, sold untaxed cigarettes and illegal handguns, and committed healthcare fraud as part of the conspiracy, court documents note.

Despite their different allegiances, the participants “conspired to, and in some cases did, work together and coordinate with each other to perpetrate a number of different criminal acts and scheme,” according to a 32-page Manhattan Federal Court indictment.

The 46 defendants stand accused of charges including racketeering conspiracy, conspiracy to commit assault in aid of racketeering, use of fire to commit a felony and firearms trafficking.

Several of those indicted allegedly ran an illegal Yonkers casino where bets were taken on horse races while poker and dice tournaments were held several times per week.

They also installed and operated illegal poker machines, court papers charge.

One of the men associated with the Yonkers club, Mark "Stymie" Maiuzzo, set fire to the car of a rival gambling operation in 2011 on orders from Anthony "Anthony Boy" Zinzi, officials said.

The untaxed cigarettes trafficked in the scheme had a street value of more than $3 million, the feds allege.

Parello, owner of an Italian restaurant on Arthur Ave. in the Bronx, allegedly ordered several underlings to break a nearby panhandler's knees for bothering his customers.

The enforcers, after grabbing and threatening the wrong man, then beat another man "with glass jars, sharp objects and steel-tipped boots, causing bodily harm," court papers say.

The government also announced its intention to go after the defendants’ ill-gotten profits — including cash and properties — under federal forfeiture law.

Some of the suspects were expected to appear before a federal judge in Manhattan on Wednesday afternoon.