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

Saturday, October 24, 2020

New Mafia Cops series in development from the creator of Boardwalk Empire

Boardwalk Empire creator Terence Winter has teamed with Asterlight, a San Francisco-based independent production company, to develop a true crime limited series based on the 2003 book Friends of the Family: The Inside Story of the Mafia Cops Case, by former NYPD Detective Tommy Dades, former Brooklyn prosecutor Mike Vecchione and David Fisher.

The book chronicles the true story of Stephen Caracappa and Louis Eppolito, two decorated NYPD police detectives who secretly worked on behalf of the New York mafia, principally the Lucchese and Gambino crime families, while committing serious crimes including racketeering, bribery, kidnapping and murder.

The story made national headlines when it was exposed that Caracappa and Eppolito received thousands in monthly payoff money in exchange for confidential information on police informants and investigations, in addition to serving as mob assassins. The infamous duo became known as the “Mafia Cops” and were convicted in 2006 of eight contract murders, two of which they carried out themselves. They were sentenced to life in prison in 2009.

Dades will work with Winter on the as-yet untitled project. Other contributors from the original investigation will include Joseph Ponzi, former Chief Investigator for the Brooklyn District Attorney, retired DEA agent Frank Drew and former NYPD Detective Frank Pergola. Former New York Gambino crime family underboss Sammy “The Bull” Gravano will add his knowledge of the story. Asterlight is producing.

“It’s an honor to work with Terry Winter and Tommy Dades and the rest of the team to bring this crime story to life,” said Joe Poletto, founder of Asterlight. “There’s no one better than Terry to tell the story of these two corrupt cops who betrayed their badges, their department and their city — and almost got away with it. It’s an era in New York City history we can’t forget.”

“Caracappa and Eppolito disgraced their badges like no one else in NYPD history,” said Winter. “It’s a privilege to tell the story of Tommy Dades, Mike Vecchione and Joe Ponzi – the good guys who brought them to justice.”

Winter also has a untitled mob drama series in development at Showtime with Brian Grazer and Nicholas Pileggi.

Winter created and executive produced HBO’s period mob drama Boardwalk Empire. He also co-created and exec produced HBO’s rock ‘n roll drama Vinyl. Additionally, Winter was a writer/executive producer of HBO’s blockbuster mob drama The Sopranos, for which he received four Emmy Awards as well as three WGA Awards. Winter, nominated for an Oscar for his The Wolf of Wall Street screenplay, is writing a TV series for HBO Max set in the world Matt Reeves is creating for The Batman feature. Additionally, he has Tokyo Underworld crime drama in works at Chris Albrecht’s Legendary Global.


Saturday, October 10, 2020

Friday, September 25, 2020

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Man marked for death by the Bonanno family arrested for child sex assault

A man who the Bonanno crime family tried to assassinate in 1978 was arrested on Monday in Garden City on child sexual abuse charges.

Anthony Coglitore, 87, of Whitestone, was charged with course of sexual conduct against a child and endangering the welfare of a child. According to court records, officials said the abuse stemmed back to 2001.

After his arraignment, Coglitore was ordered held on bail of $200,000 cash or $400,000 bond, which was not posted. A temporary order of protection was also issued.

Coglitore was the target of an attempted mafia assassination in 1978. According to a book he wrote on the subject, he had just parked in the driveway of his home in Queens when two men approached his car and opened fire.

Coglitore was shot 11 times in his driveway and survived. He was targeted by the Bonanno family because they thought he was involved in the attempted murder of a Bonanno family soldier, according to court documents.


Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Monday, September 14, 2020

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

FBI raids Staten Island home of self proclaimed boss of the Genovese family


The FBI is investigating a gun-toting, self-proclaimed Genovese mob “boss” who has drugged two girlfriends since 2018, court papers claim.

A search warrant for the Staten Island home of Stephen “Stevie Westside” Blanco quietly unsealed in Brooklyn Federal Court details the feds’ ongoing investigation for illegal gun possession, gambling and interstate stalking. The probe began in June when one of Blanco’s exes walked into an NYPD precinct on the island’s south shore.

“Blanco often carried a firearm and large amounts of cash. Blanco told her, on more than one occasion, that he was a member of organized crime,” FBI Special Agent Joseph Costello wrote in a July 23 document in federal court explaining the investigation.

Blanco “frequently boasted...about being a member and ’boss’ in the Genovese organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra,” the agent wrote. Blanco allegedly told the woman, who was not identified in papers, that he was inducted into the family around the same time as Frank Cali, the reputed head of the Gambino crime family who was gunned down in front of his family home last year.

Notably, the FBI agent does not write that he believes Blanco is actually a mobster.

Reached by phone, Blanco said the feds had the wrong guy and did not search his home. He said he has a pistol permit and no criminal record. “I have a fiancee. I have no idea what all this is,” Blanco said.

His former flame told cops Blanco kept a gun hidden behind a bidet in the second floor of his Ashland Ave. home and a second handgun in a Louis Vuitton handbag stashed in the trunk of his car.

The woman rekindled a romance with Blanco from 2018 to March 2019 and tagged along with him while he collected debts for a Costa Rica-based gambling operation, she said. The relationship took a darker turn when Blanco persuaded her to keep $20,900 in cash at his house, she said. Blanco later told her he gave the money to a neighbor for a piece of property and that she’d agreed to the deal the prior evening, according to the filing. The woman believed Blanco drugged her.

“You know who I am... you’re not going to f--k me, right?” Blanco allegedly told the woman in June 2020 as he returned some of her belongings.

A neighbor of Blanco’s who declined to be named said the FBI and NYPD blocked her driveway while searching his home about a month ago.

“I wish them well. Hopefully everything is okay. We just want to live in peace. That’s what everyone wants. With all the crap that’s going on now, he’s the least of our problems. This city has gone nuts. We need to support the cops. It’s getting ridiculous. You can’t let the criminals rule the streets,” the neighbor said.

Another of Blanco’s ex-girlfriends told authorities she had an abusive relationship with him between 2017 and 2018, according to the FBI agent.

“Woman-2 believed BLANCO frequently drugged her by serving her drinks mixed with Xanax,” the agent wrote.

That relationship ended in November 2018 after Blanco allegedly texted her an audio clip of him raping her while she was under the influence, according to the filing.

The NYPD confirmed a 57-year-old woman had filed a harassment complaint against Blanco at that time, but no arrest was made.

Papers indicate Blanco was convicted in 1999 of conspiracy to defraud the United States.


Friday, August 28, 2020

Attorney for gangster linked to Genovese family says he doesnt represent rats

An attorney for a Springfield mob associate has made an unusual request of the federal government: Tell the public his client is not an informant.
In the charged world of organized crime, this is a particularly damaging label.
Springfield attorney Daniel Hagan on Wednesday filed a letter in the public docket of a pending extortion case against Anthony J. Scibelli on behalf of his own client, David Cecchetelli, identified as “witness #5.″
Cecchetelli, 52, is a defendant in an unrelated illegal gun possession case pending in U.S. District Court. He has historical ties to the local faction of the Genovese crime family and a previous bookmaking conviction.
“Placing in public filings, information which can be used to derive Mr. Cecchetelli’s identity, and where the context could lead the public to conclude that Mr. Cecchetelli is a government informant or cooperating government witness, these filings have the potential to subject Mr. Cecchetelli and his family to serious harm,” Hagan wrote in an Aug. 19 letter to federal prosecutors and Scibelli’s defense attorney.
“What is especially alarming here is that Mr. Cecchetelli is not a government informant or cooperating government witness and never has been,” the letter continues.
Scibelli, 51, was charged last year with collecting on a $5,000 extortionate debt. Investigators say Scibelli beat the unnamed informant in a parking lot in June of 2019, and threatened to pummel another of the informant’s relatives with his wife’s walker.
Scibelli has pleaded not guilty to the charge. His attorney, Nikolas Andreopoulos, has argued in court hearings and written pleadings that the alleged victim in the Scibelli case, “Victim 1,” was not a victim at all but a compulsive gambler who tired of paying local loan sharks. The alleged victim told investigators he paid up to $36,000 in interest but could never get out from under the debt.
He began wearing a body wire at the behest of the FBI and state police to several meetings with Scibelli over six weeks in the spring of 2019, according to court records. In one unfortunate instance, someone forgot to shut the microphone off and the informant wore a “hot mic” for more than 24 hours, lawyers have said during hearings and in court filings.
In a recent motion, Andreopoulos quoted the unnamed informant as saying he and his brother would take control of Springfield’s rackets once his rivals went to prison.
Hagan has lobbied the government to publicly confirm Cecchetelli is not the informant and is merely on its witness list as a coincidental bystander.
“I don’t represent rats. So if there was something to it, I wouldn’t be representing Mr. Cecchetelli,” Hagan said when contacted for comment.
A spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Boston declined comment, citing the ongoing nature of the case.
Scibelli was released to house arrest after spending weeks behind bars in 2019. His pretrial restrictions have since been relaxed. No trial date has yet been set.


Underboss of the Lucchese family sentenced to life in prison

In May 2017, 12 members of the Lucchese family were arrested and face a slew of federal charges, including murder and racketeering, among others. 
Today, the last of the 12, Steven L. Crea, second in command of the Lucchese Family of La Cosa Nostra, was sentenced to life in prison. 
U.S. District Judge Cathy Seibel also hit Crea with a $400,000 fine and the forfeiture of $1 million as part of his sentence. 
A jury convicted Crea and three co-defendants on Nov. 15, 2019, for the 2013 murder of Michael Meldish, conspiracy to commit racketeering and other felonies after a six-week trial in White Plains federal court before Seibel.
Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss applauded the work of the FBI and NYPD. 
“Steven L. Crea — the Underboss of the Lucchese Family — is the last of a dozen men arrested in 2017 to be sentenced for his crimes," Strauss said in a statement after the sentencing. "For his role in the 2013 murder of Michael Meldish and other crimes, Crea will now spend the rest of his life behind bars. Thanks to the outstanding investigative work of the FBI and NYPD, we continue our commitment to render La Cosa Nostra a thing of the past.”
Crea helped lead the Lucchese Family, which made millions of dollars in profit from crimes committed by family members and associates in New York City, Westchester, Long Island, New Jersey and elsewhere, prosecutors said. In 2013, Crea helped orchestrate the Meldish's murder. 
He, along with 11 other members of the Lucchese family, were arrested three years ago for crimes they committed between 2000 and 2017. 
With the exception of one captain who died before his case was resolved, everyone charged in this years-long case pleaded guilty or was convicted, And now they've all been sentenced. 
Crimes included the murder, three attempted murders — including the attempted murder of a former witness against the Mafia, multiple assaults, drug trafficking, extortion; millions of dollars in fraud against a public hospital in the Bronx, loansharking, operating illegal gambling businesses, among others, prosecutors said.


Monday, August 24, 2020

Monday, August 17, 2020

Man with links to Gambino family busted for loan sharking

A convicted felon and bodybuilder who collected debts for one of the nation’s largest merchant cash-advance companies was arrested in New Jersey last week on loan-sharking charges.
Renato “Gino” Gioe sent threatening text messages to a small-business owner who owed him money, and later confronted the man at his home and said words to the effect of, “I’m going to kill you,” according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Newark.
Gioe was arrested at his home in Monmouth Beach, New Jersey, on Aug. 7 by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. attorney’s office in Newark said Friday. He was released on bail pending trial, prosecutors said. The complaint was made public Friday.
A lawyer for Gioe, Jonathan Savella, declined to comment.
Gioe, 52, was the subject of a 2018 Bloomberg News story that described how he traveled the country on behalf of Complete Business Solutions Group, a Philadelphia cash-advance firm that does business as Par Funding. Gioe paid surprise visits to Par’s delinquent borrowers, demanding immediate payment and hinting darkly about the consequences of default.
In an interview for the story, Gioe said he never tried to intimidate anyone, and that customers who were scared might be prejudiced against Italian Americans.
Both Gioe and his onetime boss at Par, Joseph LaForte, denied links to organized crime in the Bloomberg News story. According to the FBI complaint, Gioe was an associate of the Gambino crime family, as was “one of the owners” of Gioe’s employer, an unidentified company whose description matches that of Par. A lawyer for LaForte declined to comment.
Alleging securities fraud, regulators placed Par in receivership last month, and the FBI charged LaForte with criminal possession of firearms. The FBI last week revealed a broad investigation targeting LaForte’s operation, including searches of several of LaForte’s homes and offices.
The charges against Gioe don’t relate directly to his work for his employer, but to a side deal Gioe allegedly struck with a customer.
According to the complaint, Gioe’s employer loaned about $400,000 to the owner of a Toms River, New Jersey business in 2017, and later that year, Gioe confronted the man over missing payments and worked out a repayment schedule. When the customer again had trouble repaying, Gino provided his own loans, eventually totaling $175,000, often in cash, the complaint states.
In 2019, after the borrower failed to repay the personal loan, Gioe showed up at the borrower’s house and angrily confronted him, the complaint states. The borrower called the Toms River police, but declined to pursue charges after they arrived.
Prior to his work in the cash-advance industry, Gioe served prison time for convictions on charges including drug dealing and assault.


Friday, August 7, 2020

Judge sentences husband of Mob Wives star to more than 5 years in prison

“Mob Wives” star Drita D’Avanzo’s reputed mobster hubby was sentenced Friday to more than five years in prison after pleading guilty in Brooklyn court to being a felon in possession of a gun.
Drita was in the gallery as federal Judge Rachel Kovner gave her husband, Lee D’Avanzo, a twice-convicted bank burglar, 64 months in prison — well more than what prosecutors asked for — citing his lengthy criminal history and the seriousness of his crime.
Prosecutors had recommended just 37 to 46 months.
“The defendant had two guns in the house with his kids, and they were loaded with hollow-point ammunition,” the judge said as Lee, 51, stood before her. “At the time, there was other contraband in the house.”
The judge also referenced Lee’s 2009 conviction for trying to break into a Staten Island bank vault using high-speed drills.
The proceeding was the first in-person hearing in the downtown Brooklyn courthouse since the coronavirus pandemic shut it down in March — and Lee’s loyal wife, 44, was in the gallery.
Drita — who starred on the VH1 reality-TV show for six seasons — penned a handwritten letter to the judge describing Lee as an “amazing father” to their two daughters.
“He has a family that is fully supporting him and hoping he comes home soon,” she wrote.
Lee was charged earlier this year with being a felon in possession after investigators executed a search warrant at his Staten Island home and found two Smith & Wesson firearms loaded with hollow-point bullets.
One gun was stashed in a kitchen cabinet above the refrigerator, while the other was under the couple’s mattress in their master bedroom.
Authorities also seized an assortment of pills, as well as more than a pound of marijuana in a kitchen cabinet that could be accessed by their then-12 year-old daughter, officials said.
Initially, Drita and Lee were hit with a slew of charges in Richmond County Court — including criminal possession of a controlled substance, criminal possession of a weapon and acting in a manner injurious to a child.
After the feds swooped in and busted Lee over the incident, the Richmond County DA dropped the charges against the couple.
As part of a plea bargain in Brooklyn federal court, he copped to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
The couple’s criminal entanglements have lived up to the show’s storyline, which followed a group of Staten Island women with relatives in the mob.
Hot-tempered Drita, who starred on the series until it was canceled in 2016, was known for on-air brawls with her nemesis, Karen Gravano — the daughter of Sammy the Bull.
On her bio page for the show, Drita is described as the wife of Lee, a low-level mobster “who federal prosecutors allege is the leader of a Bonanno and Colombo crime family farm team.”
According to a friend who wrote a letter to the judge asking for leniency, Lee’s father was murdered when he was 7, and that trauma sent him down the wrong path.
Lee’s rap-sheet has spanned 18 years, and he has served time for assaulting a victim with a lug wrench, two bank burglaries and narcotics trafficking, according to federal prosecutors.
He has six criminal convictions, including four felonies.
Lee still faces charges in Monmouth County Court in NJ for conspiracy to possess marijuana and possession of marijuana, according to court papers.


Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Chicago mobster requests early prison release due to coronavirus fears

Reputed mob boss Michael “the Large Guy” Sarno says 10 years behind bars has reduced him to “a senior citizen with severe medical issues,” and he wants out of federal prison early because of the “deadly risk” of the pandemic.

A petition filed Monday seeks compassionate release for the 62-year-old Sarno, who was sentenced to 25 years in 2012 for ordering the bombing of a rival business in Berwyn to protect his illegal and lucrative video poker operation.

“Mr. Sarno poses no danger to any person or to his community,” the petition argues. “Between his multitude of medical issues and confinement to a wheel chair, he is no longer the Michael Sarno of the past.”

“For anybody to suggest that Mr. Sarno belongs in jail and that he is a violent offender — it’s wrong, it’s misplaced,” Sarno’s lawyer, John Chwarzynski, told the Tribune Tuesday. “Mr. Sarno should be back at home. He should be with his family.”

When he was sentenced, a federal judge noted that the bombing took place on a public street in Berwyn and that Sarno was willing to endanger people who might have been nearby. “The need to protect the public is very high,” the judge said.

Sarno’s crew also engaged in smash-and-grab robberies in which hundreds of thousands of dollars in gems were stolen from jewelry stores and then fenced at a Cicero pawnshop operated by the Outlaws motorcycle gang, according to prosecutors.

The petition argues that the 25-year sentence was overly harsh, contending the evidence against Sarno was not strong and the judge wrongly considered him a career criminal. “By keeping Mr. Sarno in jail, they are now essentially changing his sentence to the death penalty, and that’s not right,” Chwarzynski said.

The petition details a host of medical problems: “Empyema of the lungs, chronic obstructive asthma, iron deficiency anemia, benign hypertrophy of prostate, an enlarged gallbladder, renal failure, an elevated white blood cell count, he is 100% incontinent, hypertension, osteoarthritis of the knees requiring two total knee replacements, and is unable to walk and ambulates with a wheel chair.”