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

Monday, January 18, 2021

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Nearly a dozen Gambino family members and associates plead guilty to numerous crimes


A slew of admitted mobsters will now be trading their tony Westchester County digs for the bing.

A Gambino captain and 10 members and associates of the organized crime family pleaded guilty to a laundry list of crimes in Brooklyn federal court this week.

The defendants – seven of whom live in suburbs north of the Bronx – copped to charges ranging from racketeering conspiracy, fraud, obstruction of justice, tax evasion and offenses related to organized criminal activities throughout the area, prosecutors said.

Andrew Campos, a purported Gambino captain, and soldier Vincent Fiore plead guilty Friday to racketeering conspiracy, participation in predicate acts of wire fraud, money laundering and obstruction of justice offenses.

Campos and members of his crew skimmed millions of dollars off the top of their carpentry company, CWC Contracting Corp, by paying employees in cash and avoiding payroll tax withholdings and payments, feds say.

The mobsters then laundered money by cutting checks from CWC for non-existing construction contracts, when in fact the money was spent on building Campos’ Scarsdale home, according to court documents.

CWC also shelled out hundreds of thousands of dollars of payoffs in the form of free labor and materials on real estate honcho John “Smiley” Simonlacaj’s Scarsdale home.

Mark “Skippy” Kocaj, of Tuckahoe executed the scheme by fraudulently billing another company for the work, feds say.

Benito “Benny” Dizenzo of New Rochelle and Fiore concocted a second fraudulent billing scheme to work on an employee of another real estate development company’s gym, while submitting false bills.

Richard Martino and Frank “Bones” Tarul, a Gambino associate, plead guilty to hiding Martino’s income to avoid paying users of adult entertainment services that he was convicted of defrauding in 2005.

The wise guys reported that Martino worked for Tarul’s flooring company when in reality he operated multi-million dollar companies, prosecutors say.

Earlier this week, James Ciaccia and George Campos, Gambino family soldiers, and Renato Barca, Jr. and Michael Tarul, Gambino family associates, plead guilty for their role in fraudulently obtaining safety cards from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration

“With these guilty pleas, a dozen members and associates of the Gambino crime family are held accountable for committing a litany of crimes in the construction industry that enriched the Mafia at the expense of the American taxpayer, construction companies harmed by their pernicious presence and the U.S. government,” stated Acting United States Attorney Seth DuCharme.

Campos, Cobos, DiZenzo, Fiore, Kocaj, Martino and Frank Tarul each face 20 years in prison.

Barca, George Campos, Ciaccia and Michael Tarul each face up to 5 years in prison.  Simonlacaj faces up to 3 years in prison

A December 2019 round up of 13 Gambino members led feds to declare the family is “thriving” following the murder of family boss Francesco “Franky Boy” Cali earlier that year.


Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Gambino associate pleads guilty to torching the Mercedes-Benz of a Queens businessman


(L to R) Joseph Merlino, Peter Tuccio from Exhibit B in the United States v. Peter Tuccio, et al.

(L to R) Joseph Merlino, Peter Tuccio from Exhibit B in the United States v. Peter Tuccio, et al. 

Mobster, mobster, pants on fire.

Gambino crime family associate Peter Tuccio, 27, pleaded guilty Wednesday to felony extortion for torching the Mercedes-Benz of a Queens businessman who stopped making his annual payoffs to an irate mob captain, federal authorities announced.

The arson didn’t go as planned: Co-conspirator Gino Gabrielli accidentally set himself afire in the December 2015 effort to make their target cough up the cash, authorities said. The victim’s home security video system caught Gabrielli, first seen dousing the year-old car with an accelerant, fleeing the scene with his pants ablaze.

Gabrielli, accompanied by Tuccio, later turned up at Jamaica Hospital for treatment of his burns, authorities said. Tuccio faces a mandatory 10-year prison term at his sentencing, along with a fine of up to $250,000 and restitution, prosecutors said.

“With today’s guilty plea, Tuccio has been convicted of an offense arising from his efforts to extort a local businessman by brazenly chasing him through the streets and then setting his car ablaze,” said Acting Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Seth DuCharme.

While awaiting his day in court for the extortion case, the baby-faced Tuccio was spotted with reputed Philadelphia boss Joseph “Skinny Joey” Merlino during the mob veteran’s recent Manhattan Federal Court prosecution. Merlino served two years after a 2018 plea deal, and was released last year.

The extortion target was reportedly a local pizzeria owner spotted by Tuccio, Gabrielli and a third man while leaving a Howard Beach smoke shop on Dec. 3, 2015. The trio confronted the man, with Tuccio commenting on the 2014 Mercedes before the suspects hatched their plan to burn the luxury car, authorities said.

US DOJ Exhibit A. photos of the burned 2014 Mercedes Benz. (US DOJ Exhibit)
US DOJ Exhibit A. photos of the burned 2014 Mercedes Benz.

The car’s owner paid more than $5,000 to the mob capo after the blaze.

Gabrielli pleaded guilty to the arson in August 2016, with co-defendant Jonathan Gurino pleading to an extortion count last year. Both are still awaiting sentencing.


Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Monday, January 4, 2021

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Former Gambino boss loses second bid for compassionate release despite COVID-19 concerns

Peter Gotti, Gambino family member, in a file photo. 
Peter Gotti, Gambino family member, in a file photo.  

Ailing former Gambino mob boss Peter Gotti lost a second bid Tuesday to be released early from prison so he can spend his final days with family.

Judge Colleen McMahon rejected Gotti’s argument that he was extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 at FMC Butner in North Carolina, which has faced outbreaks like many other federal lockups around the country. Currently, there are three inmates and six staff at the prison specializing in medical treatment.

In January, the judge denied a similar request from Gotti, citing an array of ailments including heart problems, dementia, blindness and cancer.

“What I said a year ago remains true today. Nothing has changed since last January — not even the threat of COVID19 — to cause this Court to alter its earlier decision,” McMahon wrote.

In her previous ruling, the judge wrote that Gotti, 81, remained a threat to society.

“Gotti headed one of the most vicious and violent organized crime organizations in New York for a period of years,” the judge wrote.

Gotti took over the Gambino crime family from his famous brother, John Gotti, in 1999. He spent $70,000 on unsuccessful efforts to whack Salvatore “Sammy the Bull” Gravano, the mob rat who put John Gotti behind bars. Peter Gotti ordered two subordinates — who used aliases and changed their appearances — to travel to the West Coast and Arizona and look for Gravano.

The gangster was instrumental in extortion schemes of labor unions and the construction industry in the 1990s. He’s due to complete sentences out of both Manhattan and Brooklyn Federal Court in 2032.

Gotti’s attorney did not immediately respond to an inquiry.

“I only want to (be) home with my family and tell anyone who will listen that I am a changed man and that there is no benefit to unlawful activities,” Gotti wrote in a letter to the court last year. “I truly regret my choices that hurt so many, and in the little time I have left on this earth would hope to be able to share some of my (new-found) wisdom to help others not make the same kind of mistakes that I have made.”


Monday, December 28, 2020

Feds claim top New York labor leader has extensive ties to organized crime

A top New York labor leader and Gov. Cuomo ally has “extensive ties to organized crime,” federal prosecutors claimed Monday.

James Cahill, the former president of the New York State Building and Construction Trades Council, represented over 200,000 unionized construction workers until his arrest in October on bribery charges along with 10 other current and former members of Local 638. In a new filing, prosecutors say the feds were watching as Cahill met with members of the Gambino crime family and Serbian gangsters.

Cahill, 71, described himself as “the last of the Westies,” referring to an Irish-American crime family based in Hell’s Kitchen that once corrupted the construction industry, prosecutors wrote.

James Cahill, former president of the New York State Building and Construction Trades Council.
James Cahill, former president of the New York State Building and Construction Trades Council.

“Cahill has deep ties to leading members of organized crime who are known to engage in acts of violence and intimidation, which poses a threat to potential witnesses in this case,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Swergold wrote.

In 2017, Cuomo called Cahill “a good friend to me and my entire family for so long.” A Cuomo spokesman did not immediately respond to an inquiry.

The six-page filing opposing Cahill’s request for more lenient bail conditions reveals that the labor leader, who appeared alongside Cuomo at announcements for major infrastructure projects like the new Tappan Zee Bridge, was also allegedly rubbing elbows with hardcore gangsters.

Cahill was under surveillance as he met with Louis Filippelli, a capo in the Gambino crime family, according to the filing.

A recorded conversation on March 13 featured Cahill regaling a source cooperating with the government about decades-long ties to the Westies, the Gambinos and a Serbian organized crime family called Grupo Amerika, prosecutors claimed.

“John (Gotti) was like this with my brother and brother-in-law and this guy, Bosko. That was his crew. That was his Irish crew,” Cahill allegedly told the source cooperating with the government on March 13.

Cahill was referring to his brother Mickey Cahill — an alleged member of the Westies — his brother-in-law Buddy Leahy, and Bosko Radonjic, the former head of the Westies, prosecutors wrote.

Radonjich fled the U.S. in 1992 and died in Serbia in 2011. In the conversation, Cahil described Radonjich’s “understudy” as a gangster named “Michael Michael.”

Gov. Cuomo embraces Jim Cahill at an upstate trade conference in Lake George, N.Y., in 2015.
Gov. Cuomo embraces Jim Cahill at an upstate trade conference in Lake George, N.Y., in 2015.

Prosecutors identified “Michael Michael” as Mileta Miljanic, the reputed leader of Grupo Amerika.

“He’s my guy,” Cahill allegedly said of Miljanic.

Cahill’s attorney Sam Talkin denied the charges.

“Mr. Cahill denies he has any association with organized crime,” Talkin said. “The Westies have been defunct for three decades. And John Gotti has been dead for nearly two decades. That sums up the accuracy of the government’s allegations.”

During the same alarming conversation, Cahill allegedly said Miljanic was part of a “mass murdering crew.” Cahill boasted that he’d personally intervened after his nephew received a death threat from Miljanic, prosecutors wrote.

“If you bother him, I’m gonna go away from yous, I won’t talk to yous, I’m done,” Cahill said in the recorded conversation.

The feds say they were also spying as Cahill met with Miljanic “on numerous occasions.”

The bribery scheme allegedly earned Cahill and his cronies over $100,000 since Oct. 2018. The indictment claims that Cahill accepted bribes from the cooperating source, who was a non-union employer. In exchange, Cahill pledged to use his influence to make sure the employer was not hassled for using non-union labor on a project in Nassau County, prosecutors charge.

“If you become union, you’ll have 12 f--king guys on your back,” Cahill allegedly told the source in Oct. 2019 after taking a bribe.

“Welcome to the real world.”


Tuesday, December 22, 2020

State Senator from Queens writes letter to judge asking to release jailed Bonanno soldier over COVID-19 fears

A state senator is going to bat for a violent mob loanshark who wants compassionate release after falling ill with COVID-19 during a massive outbreak in federal prison.

State Sen. Joseph Addabbo, a Democrat from Queens, is asking a judge to release Michael Padavona, a Bonanno soldier serving an eight-year federal prison sentence for racketeering.

Addabbo sent a letter on his official senate letterhead Oct. 29 asking for the release, calling him a “model inmate.” The letter appeared on the Brooklyn Federal Court public docket Monday.

“One factor on which I base my request is the lack of social distancing and other health measures being taken at Mr. Padavona’s quarters, making him susceptible to the rise in the positive COVID-19 cases at the site,” the state senator wrote.

“Personally, the other factor which urged me to make this request was the fact that Mr. Padavona has a wife and (five) children, who I understand he has not seen since the pandemic crisis began.”

Addabbo did not immediately return a message seeking comment Monday night.

Padavona is locked up in FCI Fort Dix in New Jersey, which was ravaged by coronavirus last month.

On Oct. 29, he asked for compassionate release, saying he had several “co-morbidities” that made him especially vulnerable to the virus: obesity, hypertensive heart disease and a history of testicular cancer.

A week later, his lawyer announced Padavona had the coronavirus. “He is currently alone in his cell with a fever and an extremely irregular blood pressure,” wrote Padavona’s lawyer in a Nov. 4 request the Padavona be released.

Convicted of racketeering in 2018, Padavona isn’t slated to be released until 2024.

Federal prosecutors say that for years he extorted several victims, most of them who owed money on sports bets, using threats and violence to keep them paying off the interest on their debts. One victim borrowed $90,000 from Padavona’s mob superior, Ronald Giallanzo, after his business was wiped out by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

Padavona also had a flunky take revenge on a girl his daughter was fighting with at school by burning the car of one of the girl’s parents, prosecutors say. He then paid the arsonist with a bottle of Vicodin.

Padavona has a tattoo of two skulls with the words “Morte Prima Di Disonore” — Italian for “Death Before Dishonor” — which prosecutors say shows his lifelong loyalty to the mob. Two of his fellow Bonanno associates have similar tattoos.

Federal prosecutors argued that he suffered “mild symptoms” and was being cared from by the prison medical staff, and contended that he shouldn’t be released three years early considering the severity of his crimes.

“At the hands of the defendant and his co-conspirators, people lost their homes and their businesses, and the Howard Beach community – to which the defendant plans to return – was plagued by the criminal activities of the crew,” prosecutors wrote in a Nov. 9 letter.

Padavona’s lawyer, Gerard Marrone, said keeping his client in prison would cause him “unnecessary suffering.”

“I think it’s absolutely unfair and extremely cruel to keep a short time defendant in jail while he has severe underlying health issues and then gets COVID while in jail,” he said. “The government is well equipped to have these individuals like my client to serve the remainder of their time under house arrest with an ankle monitor, etc..”


Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Lucchese soldier admits assaulting husband of reality show star in exchange for a discounted wedding


An alleged soldier of the Lucchese crime family admitted Wednesday that he assaulted the current husband of a former “Real Housewives of New Jersey” star in exchange for a discounted wedding at an upscale venue in Paterson owned by the former Bravo star’s ex-husband.

According to an indictment, Thomas Manzo, Dina Cantin’s (formerly Manzo) ex-husband, allegedly hired John Perna in the spring of 2015 to assault his ex-wife’s then-boyfriend in exchange for a deeply-discounted wedding reception at The Brownstone in Paterson, where Manzo is an owner.

Perna, 43, of Cedar Grove, pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court via videoconference to committing a violent crime in aid of racketeering activity.

In July 2015, Perna and another man allegedly involved in the Lucchese crime family followed the man to a strip mall in Passaic County, where they attacked him using a slap jack with “the intent to inflict serious permanent injury,” according to the indictment.

In return, Perna held a “lavish wedding reception at Manzo’s restaurant for a fraction of the price” in August 2015, which was allegedly paid for by another Lucchese associate and close friend of Manzo’s, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Perna, who previously served prison time related to running a multi-billion-dollar gambling enterprise with other members of the Lucchese crime family, faces up to 20 years in federal prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced April 28, 2021. His attorney did not immediately respond to a comment on the guilty plea.

Manzo’s case remains pending.

Michael Critchley, Manzo’s attorney, said Perna did not mention his client when he pleaded guilty to the attack Wednesday. Critchley said he viewed that as a “complete exoneration” of Manzo. He said Manzo has no intention of pleading guilty to what he has been charged with.

“An innocent man doesn’t plead guilty,” Critchley said.

Manzo has been indicted on charges of committing a violent crime in aid of racketeering activity, conspiracy to commit a violent crime in aid of racketeering activity, and falsifying and concealing records related to the federal investigation of the violent crime.

Federal authorities began investigating the incident shortly after the assault. Manzo allegedly did not comply with subpoenas sent to the Brownstone Restaurant seeking documents related to Perna’s August 2015 wedding reception.

He allegedly failed to provide the requested documents and “deliberately submitted a false document regarding the reception to the government, along with a false certification,” authorities said.

Manzo owns The Brownstone with his brother, Albert, who is married to Dina’s sister, Caroline, another former “RHONJ” cast member.


Former Gambino underboss Sammy "The Bull" Gravano returns with launch of new podcast to detail mafia life


Sammy “The Bull” Gravano is spilling his guts — again — in a new project that chronicles his time as the ruthless underboss of the Gambino crime family.

The first episode of the 75-year-old mobster’s “Our Thing” podcast dropped Wednesday, on the 35th anniversary of the infamous hit on Gambino boss Paul Castellano at Sparks Steak House in Manhattan in 1985.

Gravano copped to the inside job, along with 18 other murders, in a deal with the feds that led to his testimony against John Gotti in 1992.

The series debuts with the Dec. 11, 1990 raid of the Ravenite Social Club, resulting in the arrest of Gravano, Gotti and Gambino consigliere Frank Locascio.

But the day before the bust, Gravano plotted with Gotti, who took the helm of the crime syndicate after orchestrating. the Castellano hit, to rub out Genovese boss Vincent “The Chin” Gigante in retaliation for the 1986 assassination of Gravano’s predecessor, Frank DeCicco.

Gravano called Gotti’s order “music to my ears.”

“When I knelt at Frankie’s funeral, I knelt at his coffin and I whispered to him, ‘Frankie, I’ll never let this go. I will kill who did this. I will kill everyone who was involved. I will kill everyone who knew about it in advance,’” Gravano recalled in the episode. “I was going to now live up to my oath to him. This was extremely important to me.”

Gravano understood the gravity of a Gigante hit, which never came to fruition.

“When we killed Castellano and Tommy Bilotti in front of Spark’s Steak House, it was an internal thing,” he said. “Now, this was killing a boss of another family.”

Gravano got a wrist-slap sentence in exchange for flipping on Gotti but was tossed behind bars in 2000 on drug raps before getting released in 2017.

Future episodes of “Our Thing” promise to delve into Gravano’s upbringing in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, his time with the Colombo family before transferring to the Gambinos and his tenuous relationship with Gotti. 

“I was the underboss of the most powerful crime family in American history. I was respected, loved, dedicated and feared,” Gravano says in a teaser for the show. “My love for Costa Nostra runs so deep — even to this day.

“You think you know the story. You think you know Costra Nostra. You think you know what I did. You have no f–king idea.”


Son of deceased Colombo captain should stay in jail despite COVID-19 surge according to the feds

A respiratory illness didn’t stop a mob scion from regularly smoking weed — so it can’t be so serious that he needs to get out of Brooklyn’s federal jail because of an outbreak of coronavirus, federal prosecutors said.

Frangesco “Frankie” Russo — son of former Colombo captain Joseph “JoJo” Russo and grandson of Andrew Russo, the reputed acting boss of the crime family — is locked up on fraud charges at the Metropolitan Detention Center, where COVID-19 cases have been surging.

Russo, 39, argued in a bail application last week that he should be released due to a rare respiratory illness, Reactive Airways Disease, that could put him at high risk if he were to catch the virus.

The feds however, saw Russo’s application as an opportunistic ploy to get out of jail — and noted that even if he did have the disease, it never stopped him from getting high in the past.

“If Russo has a respiratory condition, it appears not to have affected his smoking habits,” wrote Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrey Spektor in court papers Friday.

Spektor added that “intercepted communications” revealed Russo was a weed smoker and that during an FBI raid on Russo’s home, they discovered his medical marijuana card.

Russo’s lawyer responded that prosecutors aren’t qualified to make medical assertions on the seriousness or veracity of his client’s condition.

“[The government] points to evidence of prior marijuana use by Mr. Russo, opining that his marijuana use somehow casts doubt upon the high-risk nature of his respiratory disease during the pandemic,” wrote attorney James Frocarro. “The government’s response consists solely of the unsubstantiated assertions of an individual who holds a doctorate in jurisprudence, not medicine, and has no experience in treating COVID-19 patients.”

But the feds argued that even if Russo has a respiratory disease, he is still too dangerous to be let out of the lockup, where more than 90 inmates have COVID-19.

Russo, a Roslyn, L.I., resident, is accused of taking part in a $107 million fraud scheme that targeted lottery winners. He allegedly had a falling-out with one of the co-conspirators, Gregory Altieri, a jewelry merchant accused of running a $200 million Ponzi scheme in an unrelated case.

Russo was caught on tape allegedly threatening to kill Altieri with a shotgun — which the feds found under Russo’s bed when he was arrested, according to prosecutors.

“I have a tactical shotgun. If anything gets crazy with you guys, just come straight here. I have all the lights on, I will tactically shoot everybody’s kneecaps off. I’m not worried,” Russo allegedly said.

He also threatened to pull the teeth out of the mouth of Altieri’s son, the feds said.

“You know, I have handled organized crime cases for 20 years. I’ve never run across that kind of a threat,” said Brooklyn Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis at a hearing in August.


Former Lucchese family underboss dies in prison after getting COVID-19


Former Lucchese mobster Anthony “Gaspipe” Casso — a bloodthirsty underboss who was behind dozens of gangland killings and even employed two NYPD detectives as mafia hitmen — has died behind bars after contracting the coronavirus, officials said.

The 78-year-old mafioso — who sought and was denied compassionate release last month — died Tuesday, according to the Bureau of Prisons website and a law enforcement source.

On Nov. 25, Casso’s lawyers wrote to a judge explaining that their client had contracted COVID-19 while serving a life sentence in United States Penitentiary, Tuscon.

The lawyers also said that the wheelchair-bound Casso had a slew of health issues before he caught the virus — including prostate cancer, coronary artery disease, kidney disease, hypertension, bladder disease and lung issues from years of smoking, the court papers said.

But Brooklyn federal Judge Frederic Block rejected the bid for early release, finding that “in light of the nature and extent of defendant’s criminal history, that he remains a danger to the community.”

Casso — who pleaded guilty to 14 mob murders — infamously struck a deal with crooked NYPD detective partners Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa to pass information about mob rats to the crime family in exchange for a monthly $4,000 salary.

The cops also moonlighted as hitmen for the Lucchese family, and were sentenced to life in prison in 2009 for being involved in a total of eight mob rubouts.

An investigator who covered Casso’s cases described him as “a ruthless homicidal maniac who enjoyed killing.”

Even among fellow mobsters, Casso was known as a “homicidal maniac,” according to the testimony of stoolie Burton Kaplan, who served as intermediary between Casso and the mob cops.

Born in South Brooklyn in 1942, Casso appeared bred for a life of crime. His godfather was reportedly Salvatore Callinbrano, a capo in the Genovese crime family.

In the mid-1970s and 80s, Casso rose through the ranks of the Lucchese family, serving as captain and consigliere — and eventually as underboss.

Considered one of the most violent bosses of the city’s five crime families, Casso is believed to have slain at least 36 people.

He was charged by the feds in 1990 and went on the lam, using information from the crooked cops to help him evade arrest until 1993 — when he was nabbed at a mistress’ home in Mount Olive, New Jersey.

Facing trial, Casso tried to turn informant, and as a 1994 Post front-page story revealed, named the two retired cops as contract-killers for the mob.

As part of the plea deal, Casso copped to 72 counts on a slew of mob-related charges, including racketeering, extortion and murder.

His debriefing sessions were said to have been “extremely colorful, with the former mob boss providing detailed accounts of mayhem and murder,” The Post reported at the time.

“Each tale typically has the feds asking Casso ‘So what happened then?’ — to which Casso matter-of-factly replies, ‘We killed him of course.'”

However, Casso was thrown out of the witness protection program in 1998, after prosecutors accused him of a litany of infractions, such as bribing prison guards, assaulting rival mobster inmates and providing false information.

He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

In a 2006 letter to The Post, he railed against the feds, griping that he wanted to be a witness in the mob cops’ trial.

“Like always, the feds have downplayed my cooperation,” he whined. 


Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Genovese associate linked to trash hauling dies following complications from COVID-19

Carmine “Papa Smurf” Franco, a reputed Genovese Crime Family associate who became a leader and innovator in the trash hauling industry in New Jersey, Rockland and Westchester, died Monday following complications from COVID-19.

Franco, 85, who’d recently lived in the Bears Cove townhouse development in Ramsey, made his name in the waste industry over a five-decade career.

He designed and built the country’s first materials recovery facility and New Jersey’s first transfer station, among other projects, and led the charge that produced a U.S. Supreme Court ruling against the Rockland town of Clarkstown that changed government’s involvement in the industry.

Franco, who became infamous as a high-level mob associate, was sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison and ordered to pay more than $2.5 million in fines in 2014 for running a multiple-family scheme to control the waste-hauling industry in the New York metropolitan area.

Up to that point, Franco enjoyed a decades-long reign over the industry.

It began soon after he and his brother, Salvatore, established a trash-hauling business in Hillsdale with a single truck and helper in 1963. They later began sorting waste for profitable recycling at the Ramapo Landfill in the 1970s.

Together, the brothers collected cardboard and more valuables from the waste of Macy’s, Toys R Us and other companies. Before long, SalCar was building materials recovering facilities along the East Coast.

The brothers eventually were banned from the industry, along with Carmine Franco’s sons, after they admitted defrauding New Jersey and the Bergen County Utilities Authority.

Federal authorities said “Papa Smurf” nonetheless continued to control waste management companies fronted by straw owners despite two convictions and resulting sentences of six and nine months.

His soldiers steal garbage containers and hundreds of tons of cardboard from rivals and then resell them, they charged.

An indictment returned by a grand jury in the U.S. Southern District of New York in Manhattan said Franco used his position as “godfather” to direct local “control and operation of waste hauling businesses.”

Franco, formerly of West Nyack and Washington Township, eventually pleaded guilty to charges of racketeering, mail and wire fraud, and interstate transportation of stolen cargo.

He admitted during his plea that he joined forces with rival mob families to thwart government efforts to clean up their industry while seizing control of legitimate businesses by strong-arming their owners.

He also admitted purposely overbilling customers of the C&A Carbone waste transfer station that he controlled on Western Highway in West Nyack.

Franco, who got his nickname from fellow wiseguys, was released on June 11, 2015 after serving his year-long sentence, Federal Bureau of Prison records show.

Franco died Monday at NYU Langone Medical Center in Manhattan.

He is survived by Mary, his wife of 61 years, their children Albert, Lucille, Angelo, and Joseph, 11 grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.

Arrangements hadn’t yet been announced.


Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Judge denies release of former Genovese consigliere who planned murder of Gambino boss John Gotti


A federal judge denied the prison release of a 91-year-old reputed mob boss who was convicted of planning a hit on John Gotti, a new report said.

Louis Manna, who is serving a 80-year-old sentence at a Minnesota prison, requested to spend his remaining time at home in New Jersey, citing health concerns, NJ.com reported.

US District Judge Peter Sheridan shot down Manna’s request last week.

“Manna was a leader in the Genovese family, a street boss, who accomplished (La Cosa Nostra) goals through violence and intimidation,” Sheridan wrote in his ruling, according to the report.

“Despite the fact that he is considered “frail” and has some medical issues, the nature of his life as a career criminal and his leadership in the Genovese family outweigh his age and medical issues.”

Jeremy Iandolo, Manna’s attorney, argued that his client suffered from a number of health ailments, including Parkinson’s disease.

Manna would “almost certainly die in custody in the near future,” Iandolo wrote.

The US Attorney’s Office argued Manna was blowing his health issues out of proportion, the report said.


Monday, December 7, 2020

Chicago outfit mobster dies from coronavirus complications at 87

Peter DiFronzo, a reputed member of the Chicago Outfit and brother to one-time Outfit leader John “No Nose” DiFronzo, has died of complications of COVID-19.

Peter DiFronzo was long considered a chief lieutenant to his brother and according to the FBI a “made man.”

He died Friday at his home in North Barrington, the Cook County medical examiner’s office reported. He was 87.

DiFronzo was notably among the people the feds considered a threat to the safety of Outfit hitman turned star federal witness Nick Calabrese.

While that list of threats was submitted in 2002, when Calabrese was admitted into the federal Witness Protection Program, it wasn’t publicly revealed until deputy U.S. Marshal John Ambrose stood trial in 2009 for allegedly leaking key details about Calabrese to the mob.

Calabrese’s testimony was pivotal to Operation Family Secrets, a federal probe that took down key mobsters and gutted the Chicago Outfit.

Calabrese implicated John DiFronzo in the infamous gangland slayings of Anthony and Michael Spilotro, though neither DiFronzo brother was ever charged in connection with the Family Secrets investigation. John DiFronzo died at 89 of complications from Alzheimer’s disease in 2018.

Peter DiFronzo’s criminal history can be traced back to 1963, when he was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for transporting $75,000 in stolen cigarettes, part of a $160,000 heist from a grocery warehouse in Forest View two years earlier. He later appealed the conviction unsuccessfully.

DiFronzo’s wife, Josephine, is the agent and sole officer of D & P Construction Co., a waste hauling company in Melrose Park, according to the Illinois secretary of state’s office. But an internal FBI memo from 2003 not only alleged that D&P is “controlled by Peter and John DiFronzo,” but it also said that the business “obtained contracts through illegal payoffs or intimidation,” the Sun-Times has reported.

The medical examiner’s office ruled that Peter DiFronzo died from pneumonia caused by COVID-19 and hypertension.

His wife couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. A representative for D & P Construction didn’t respond to a request for comment.


Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Turncoat Genovese associate could wind up back in jail for bragging on podcast

John Rubeo
 Loose lips sink mob informants, too.

A chatty Mafia turncoat witness will learn next month whether a recent podcast confessional will return him to prison after admitting Wednesday to three probation violations linked to his incriminating interview with two ex-mobsters.

One-time Genovese family associate John Rubeo, who testified against reputed Philadelphia mob boss Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino, could face up to five years behind bars after acknowledging his unapproved oversharing during a September appearance on the “Johnny and Gene” show.

Rubeo, 45, acknowledged that he failed to truthfully answer inquiries from his probation officer, associated with convicted felons on the podcast and communicated with those same felons without contacting his probation officer.

The defendant could face up to five years in prison, with a guideline range of 3-to-9 months, at his scheduled Jan. 19 resentencing for violating parole, said Manhattan Federal Court Judge Richard Sullivan.

The judge could alternatively impose an additional period of supervised release for the gangster who bragged about continuing his lucrative illegal income while working undercover for the feds.

“I was committing more crimes when I was working for them than when I was on the street,” bragged Rubeo during his visit to the show co-hosted by ex-Gambino family associate John Alite and former Bonnano associate Gene Borrello. “And they were paying me $15,000 a month.”

Joseph “Skinny Joey” Merlino is seen leaving Manhattan Federal Court Feb. 20, 2018.
Joseph “Skinny Joey” Merlino is seen leaving Manhattan Federal Court Feb. 20, 2018. 

Rubeo received a sweetheart sentence of 15 months in jail for his cooperation, but an irate Sullivan demanded answers after Rubeo ran his mouth for 85 minutes on the podcast — even confessing that he destroyed evidence in the Merlino case.

The Philly mob boss, after a hung jury in his first trial, took a plea deal and a 2-year jail term in 2018. He’s currently back on the street.

Sullivan noted during the Wednesday court session that Rubeo bragged during recent social media exchanges about a continued upscale lifestyle after cutting his deal to become an informant. In one, he referenced ownership of a Range Rover and a Mercedes, and in another offered a hefty wager that he would pass a drug test.

“One thing I was interested in ... was a post from Rubeo in which he boasts about his Mercedes and his ability to bet $100,000 on things,” said Sullivan. “It’s troubling because at the time of the violations, he hadn’t yet paid his $80,000 (court-ordered) forfeiture.”

A sentencing date of Jan. 19 was set for Rubeo. Defense attorney in court papers proposed a possible sentence of home detention for the remainder of their client’s supervised release.

Rubeo told the judge that he was subjected to a barrage of social media hate, including a death threat from a former close associate of Merlino.

“This is just terrible to me,” he said.


Monday, November 30, 2020

Notorious turncoat Lucchese underboss on a ventilator due to COVID-19 is denied compassionate release


A notorious former underboss for the Lucchese crime family will remain behind bars for the rest of his life because he’s still a “danger to the community,” a federal judge ruled — despite the murderous mobster being hooked up to a ventilator due to COVID-19.

Anthony “Gaspipe” Casso — whom the feds say is responsible for taking part in dozens of rub-outs, including the brutal murders of numerous mob turncoats — caught the virus earlier this month inside FSP Tucson, a maximum-security Arizona prison, and was sent to a local hospital.

The 78-year-old mafia executioner turned rat himself after pleading guilty in a wide-ranging racketeering case in 1994, but the feds dropped him from the witness protection program after he broke their cooperation agreement several times, and Casso was sentenced to more than 400 years in prison.

His innumerable crimes as one of the mob’s most feared killers were so heinous that even the imminent threat of death due to coronavirus does not make him eligible for compassionate release, Brooklyn Federal Judge Frederick Block determined Saturday in a brief ruling.

The feds say Casso is responsible for taking part in dozens of rub-outs, including the brutal murders of numerous mob turncoats.
The feds say Casso is responsible for taking part in dozens of rub-outs, including the brutal murders of numerous mob turncoats.

“The Court has carefully considered the gravity of defendant Antony Casso’s medical condition. But even assuming it presents an extraordinary and compelling circumstance, the Court finds, in light of the nature and extent of defendant’s criminal history, that he remains a danger to the community,” Block wrote.

Casso is confined to a wheelchair to get around, has prostate cancer, is awaiting a heart operation and already had lung issues because of his smoking history, his lawyers wrote in their motion to get Casso sprung.

At the Tucson prison, 148 inmates have COVID-19 and two have already died of the disease. More than 400 other inmates have recovered, but it’s not clear Casso will rejoin them.

“Just days ago, he tested positive for COVID-19. He is currently hospitalized due to severe respiratory problems,” wrote Casso’s lawyers last Wednesday in a filing that was initially under seal. “His COVID-19 infection and rapidly deteriorating health require better medical care than [Bureau of Prisons] can provide.”

Casso has been hospitalized and returned to the prison three times, but now remains in an emergency room hooked up to a ventilator, his lawyers said.

Police discovered the body of Nicholas Guido, an innocent victim of a Mafia mistaken-identity killing, in 1986. Officials said Guido was murdered on the orders of Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso, who believed another man with the same name had tried to kill him.
Police discovered the body of Nicholas Guido, an innocent victim of a Mafia mistaken-identity killing, in 1986. Officials said Guido was murdered on the orders of Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso, who believed another man with the same name had tried to kill him. 

There was little sympathy for Casso at the courthouse, with the feds claiming that he tried to have a federal judge and a prosecutor handling his case murdered in the ’90s, though neither killing came to pass.

“All defendants sentenced to life in prison will, at some point, begin to succumb to one disease or another, or suffer from failing health due to old age,” wrote federal prosecutors in response to Casso’s application for release.

A lawyer for Casso declined to comment on his current condition.


Sunday, November 29, 2020

Judge rejects elderly Gambino gangster's request for freedom


Mob turncoat Sammy “The Bull” Gravano proved a far better witness for the prosecution than the defense.

The murderous ex-mobster’s bid to help spring an elderly Gambino family cohort jailed for life was left for dead by a federal judge — who drily noted gangster Frank “Frankie Loc” LoCascio’s sudden fondness for the long-reviled informant.

Gravano’s “embrace by LoCascio as his savior ... not vilified but reborn as a Mafia man of loyalty and credibility, will, I suspect have seismic reverberations in the annals of organized crime,” wrote Brooklyn Federal Court Judge I. Leo Glasser in a pointed and pithy 28-page ruling issued on Tuesday.

The lethal ex-crime family underboss sought to clear the imprisoned LoCascio for the cold-blooded October 1990 execution of Gambino mobster Louie DiBono on orders from family boss John Gotti, one of the crimes that led to racketeering convictions and life sentences for both mobsters.

Gravano emerged two years ago to offer his updated take on a wiretapped chat between Gotti and LoCascio prior to the mob hit, insisting Frankie Loc “had no role” in the parking garage killing beneath the World Trade Center.

Glasser scoffed at the claims in slapping down the 87-year-old LoCascio’s bid for freedom, noting Gravano didn’t attend the Dec. 12, 1989, meeting and remained an unlikely source of salvation for any Mafioso.

“(Gravano) was condemned as a rat and marked for death ... he was vilified in the harshest terms as a liar and every conceivable variation of that word,” wrote Glasser.

Ex-Gambino family boss Sammy "The Bull" Gravano at his home in Arizona.
Ex-Gambino family boss Sammy "The Bull" Gravano at his home in Arizona. 

“But it would appear that the death sentence the law of LaCosa Nostra makes mandatory for a rat has a previously unknown exception for a rat who remembers a mind he read more than 30 years ago in aid of a former Mafia friend in prison.”

Gravano, whose devastating testimony led to the convictions of Gotti, LoCascio and another 35 mobsters, reversed paths two years ago by offering a new and exculpatory interpretation of a wiretapped conservation between his Gambino pals.

The ex-family underboss and admitted killer of 19 provided a Nov. 30, 2018, declaration asserting LoCascio “had no role in the planning of, nor did he participate in any way in the murder.”

But Glasser — who presided over the trial of Gotti and LoCascio — was dismissive of the new version, offering his own interpretation of the lethal chat described by the defense as an “ambiguous conversation” between the late Gambino boss and a trusted advisor.

He noted LoCascio said nothing after Gotti announced plans to whack DiBono over the doomed mobster’s lack of respect toward the boss.

“LoCascio’s utter silence upon that stark pronouncement bespeaks a wordless assent,” wrote Glasser. “That wordless assent was to a death sentence on DiBono, not because he committed a crime but worse — only because he did not come in when called by John Gotti.”

Frank LoCascio, (center) once the underboss of the Gambino crime family under John Gotti, flanked by Richard Martin (left) and alleged Gambino family captain Andrew Campos. This photograph was seized from Campos’s home in June 2019.
Frank LoCascio, (center) once the underboss of the Gambino crime family under John Gotti, flanked by Richard Martino (left) and alleged Gambino family captain Andrew Campos. This photograph was seized from Campos’s home in June 2019. 

DiBono, shot three times, was found inside his parked Cadillac De Ville beneath the Twin Towers. Gotti, during his recorded chat with LoCascio, famously explained why he wanted DiBono executed.

“You know why he’s dying?” said Gotti, who died behind bars in 2002. “He’s gonna die because he refused to come in when I called. He didn’t do nothing else wrong.”

Glasser had the last word in his decision to keep LoCascio behind bars, noting the gangster’s parting comment at his Brooklyn sentencing: “If there were more men like John Gotti on this earth, we would have a better country.”