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Feds Set To Dismiss Controverisal Murder Indictment In 1990 Rubout Ordered By John Gotti

Daniel FamaNearly a year after the FBI and Manhattan U.S. Attorney's announced the arrest of a longtime Gambino associate for a 1990 mob rubout ordered by the late John Gotti, prosecutors are prepared to throw in the towel, Gang Land has learned.

Not because they think that gangster Daniel Fama had nothing to do with the murder of demolition contractor Edward (Eddie The Chink) Garofalo, but because the prosecution theory of the case – that Fama took part in the slaying to keep Garofalo from talking – hasn’t panned out.

At the same time, sources say, the feds are using back channels in an effort to convince prosecutors for newly elected Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson to use the FBI's evidence to bring state murder charges against Fama, the alleged getaway car driver in the gangland-style-slaying of Garofalo who was gunned down outside his Brooklyn home.

Neil Messina'Mikey Miss' Hits Target At Sentencing Hearing Of Old Bonanno Buddy

His mob buddies derisively called him "Mikey Miss" because he failed to kill the Queens auto body mechanic he shot in the back of the head at point blank range in 1989. But last month, Mikey Bitz was right on target as he testified at a two-day sentencing hearing for Bonanno associate Neil Messina before Brooklyn Federal Judge Kiyo Matsumoto.

Michael PersicoMichael Persico Face Off With Justice Put Off For Another Day

Michael Persico, the businessman son of imprisoned-for-life mob boss Carmine Persico, was ready to face justice last week for getting involved in his dad's Colombo crime family business. But justice wasn't ready to face him.


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Mob Wives Ex-Hubby: I Fired The Fatal Shot In $200,000 Robbery

Hector PaganHe was a bit player on Mob Wives for one season, but turncoat gangster Hector (Junior) Pagan took top billing in Brooklyn this week. The occasion was his controversial debut as a star government witness, when he testified that he shot and killed a check casher during a robbery that netted him and three cohorts a $200,000 payday.

Not that there were any cameras around to record him, but on the witness stand Tuesday, Pagan established himself as a better real-life actor than ex-wife Renee, or any of the Mob Wiveslovelies. He recounted numerous stings and scams he pulled over the years, including some on agents of the FBI and DEA. He also pointed a damning finger at two old pals – Richard Riccardi and Louis (Luigi) Grasso, aka Ronnie Petrino – who are charged with the robbery murder of James Donovan on July 2, 2010.

Tuesday was not a good day for either defendant, but it was a total bust for Grasso, whose brother-in-law followed Pagan to the stand. The brother-in-law promptly dragged his sister and his niece into the deadly robbery, testifying that on the day of the robbery Grasso's wife locked herself out of their Staten Island home after returning from a Friday afternoon shopping trip in which she'd bought steaks and other perishables for a big July 4 holiday barbecue they had planned.

A Basciano Family Trifecta: Three Gorgeous Sons To Follow Dad To Prison

Vincent BascianoThankfully, they won't share his Supermax accommodations in Florence, Colorado , but the three sons of one-time acting Bonanno boss Vincent (Vinny Gorgeous) Basciano will soon join their old man as guests of the federal Bureau of Prisons. Vincent Junior is slated to complete a Basciano brothers trifecta and plead guilty in Manhattan Federal Court today.

Turncoat Colombo Capo Puts On A Happy Face

Reynold MaragniIn the end, turncoat capo Reynold (Ren) Maragni did very well for a guy who kept committing crimes while wearing a wire for the FBI, and who was such a lousy witness that prosecutors had to dump him. But for just a moment, the dapper, evenly tanned Maragni blanched when Brooklyn Federal Judge Kiyo Matsumoto misspoke Monday and said she was sentencing him to four years behind bars – before she quickly corrected it to four months.


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NYPD Video Camera Glitch Alters Mafia History; Lets Mob Wives Ex-Hubby Shine For Feds, And Lie To Them Too

Hector Pagan
If fate hadn’t intervened, the murder of an independent check casher outside a Gravesend, Brooklyn auto body shop, should have been caught on a high-tech NYPD video camera mounted on a pole outside. The camera, a remote-controlled piece of police wizardry had been taping activities at the shop at 2522 West 3d Street for five weeks as part of a mob money laundering investigation.

So when a crew of armed robbers rolled up on the afternoon of July 2, 2010, stole $200,000 and left the fatally wounded check casher dying in the street, all the police theoretically had to do was go to the videotape.

Except that, moments before the robbery, the video tape had stopped rolling.

Nicky Skins Tapes Bring Down A Few Cargo Thieves

Nicholas StefanelliTwo years after Gambino mobster Nicholas (Nicky Skins) Stefanelli killed himself rather than follow through on a deal to testify for the feds, the tape-recorded talks he made with wiseguys and left behind have been a big disappointment for the government. But they haven't been a total washout. They've led to a few guilty pleas, and are likely to lead to several more in the coming months.

Anthony ArillottaMurderous Genovese Turncoat Rewarded With Eight Year Sentence

 Anthony (Bingy) Arillotta, a Genovese mobster who took over the family's New England rackets after knocking off the capo who had run them, was sentenced to eight years and three months in prison last week. Manhattan Federal Judge P. Kevin Castel also ordered him to forfeit $2 million.


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March 27th, 2014


Prison Bars Come With The Territory For Luchese Wiseguy Michael Taccetta


Michael Taccetta
Luchese mobster Michael (Mad Dog) Taccetta and 19 codefendants stunned federal prosecutors back in 1988 when they were all acquitted of racketeering charges. The feds had good reason to be stunned: the investigation of the Luchese crew took ten years, their trial took two years and the jury needed just two days to acquit everyone. 

That reversal of fortune for the feds was an even bigger embarrassment than the one John Gotti handed them a year earlier when the Dapper Don and six cohorts were all acquitted at their racketeering trial in Brooklyn Federal Court.

Not that Taccetta didn’t eventually have to pay the piper. Like Gotti, he was later convicted of a slew of murders and other racketeering crimes. But last week, Taccetta was finally ready to walk out of a Garden State prison after spending more than two decades behind bars. Except that the feds had other ideas.

Ricchard RiccardiTwo Guilty Of Robbery Murder In 'Upside Down' Case

It took longer than they figured, so the prosecutors squirmed for three days. But the evidence was overwhelming, and the trial of two low level mob associates in the robbery murder of a check casher ended the way government lawyers – and most impartial observers – expected last week: Guilty on all counts.

Joseph PonziIt's No Lie; Chief Investigator Joe Ponzi Says Good-Bye To The Brooklyn DA's Office

For the better part of the past five decades, Chief Investigator Joseph Ponzi has been chasing bad guys and making cases for the Brooklyn District Attorney, winning applause along the way as one of Brooklyn’s greatest detectives. But after reporting for duty tomorrow morning between 8:30 and 9 A.M., he’ll be working his last shift.  


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April 3, 2014

Son Emulates Corrupt Union Leader Dad And Is Arrested As A Newspaper Industry Racketeer


Glenn LaChance
Newspaper truck driver Glenn LaChance clearly fashioned himself a tough guy: Twice – in 1988 and 1993 – he punched out and pummeled union rivals of his father Doug, the twice convicted labor racketeer and twice elected president of the mob-tarred Newspaper Mail Deliverers Union, whose members deliver newspapers for New York's three daily papers and the Wall Street Journal.

Glenn spent a year in prison for the two assaults. But they weren't just random fights. He was also a student of his rough-and-tumble old man, and adopted his dad's intimidation methods when he followed in his footsteps and became an NMDU official, according to labor racketeering charges filed last week against LaChance and five other current and former union truck drivers.

And when Glenn used his father's tried-and-true tactics "to take care of" grief that two rank-and-file trouble makers were giving NMDU officials about a "new" seniority list the NMDU was pushing on drivers at the New York Post, he gleefully credited his old man for his life lessons, according to court filings.

Thomas DiFioreBonanno Boss Snared In Lufthansa Heist Case Rips Big Mouth Capo As A Lying Degenerate Gambler

Acting Bonanno crime family boss Thomas (Tommy D) DiFiore has made it abundantly clear – as Gang Land wrote two months ago – that he blames big-mouthed capo Vincent Asaro for dragging him into the storied Lufthansa Airlines robbery case and getting him indicted on extortion charges. The proof arrived in court papers that DiFiore's lawyer filed with Brooklyn Federal Judge Alynne Ross seeking bail for his client.

'Diesel Therapy' Or Not, It's Still A Very Long Bus Ride From Philly Michael TaccettaTo West Virginia

Any day now, probably when he least expects it, Luchese mobster Michael (Mad Dog) Taccetta will board a bus in the city of Brotherly Love that's headed to the northern plains of West Virginia, where he's slated to reside until April of 2016. For sure, the 66-year-old wiseguy isn't looking forward to the excursion. It's normally a seven to eight hour trek by bus, but since the itinerary and the driving is in the purview of the Bureau of Prisons, it could take a week. Or more.


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Lawyer Calls For Federal Probe Of 'Bogus' Mob Murder Indictment In Last Rubout Ordered By John Gotti

Daniel FamaA year ago, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and FBI boss George Venizelos – the two top federal law enforcement officials in New York – announced the filing of murder charges in a 1990 mob rubout by John Gotti with gusto and chest thumping.

Last week, they sent a lone prosecutor into court to tell a federal judge it was all a mistake.

Manhattan Federal Judge John Keenan, a former homicide prosecutor who's been on the bench for 30 years, halted the proceedings briefly to read the two-page document the assistant U.S. attorney handed him to learn why the case was being dismissed.

Keenan clearly didn't like what he read. For one thing, based on the government's assertions, he had kept Daniel Fama behind bars for eight months as the ex-con awaited trial on what now was being tossed aside as a faulty indictment. And the judge let prosecutor Jason Masimore know it.

Gangster Gets 18 Years For 1992 Robbery Murder Of Man And His Dog

 Joseph PistoneIt was an unusual sentencing for longtime Bonanno family associate Neil Messina last week.

Before pronouncing sentence, Judge Kiyo Matsumoto listened to a sister's emotional tribute to her slain brother, Joseph Pistone, killed during a 1992 home invasion robbery. Then the judge watched a moving three-minute video, a picture montage of Pistone family members, as well as her brother's tombstone. There was even a picture of Pistone's beloved dog, King, also killed in the robbery to which Messina pled guilty. Accompanying the video was a soundtrack of a dark, haunting tune called Gloomy Sunday, sung by Canadian singer Sarah McLachlan.

Frank DiMattinaCrybaby Extortionist Wins, And Wants The World To Know It

Genovese associate Frank (Frankie D) DiMattina was convicted of extortion for using a gun to scare away a rival bidder for a lucrative school lunch program, and is still technically guilty of that crime. But he is telling everyone he meets from Brooklyn to the Garden State that he's beaten the case, and won't be going to prison for six years.  


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4/17/14

Ex-Yuppie Don: Reverend Al Was Our Gun For Hire

Al Sharpton
Call It The Battle Of The Revs.

Like his former pal Al Sharpton, ex-Colombo crime family capo Michael Franzese is now a man of the cloth, a born-again Christian who spends his days preaching the gospel about how he turned his back on the Mafia's wicked ways.

But Franzese says Sharpton, who has been preaching since his teenage days on the streets of Brooklyn, has yet to truly confess his many sins. "He was a gun for hire, our gun for hire," recalled Franzese, the college educated wiseguy, in an exclusive Gang Land interview.

Franzese said that Sharpton often used his influence with black entertainers and others to earn cash payoffs from mobsters and mob-connected firms in legitimate ventures as well as scams.

"He built his reputation on defending the civil rights of blacks, but he would exploit them for money," said Franzese. The two were so friendly, the ex-mobster claimed, that the hustling would-be activist used the derogatory "N" word when he agreed to assist Franzese in a union organizing scam.

Feds Dropping Charges Against Three Defendants In Mob Garbage Case

Carmine FrancoThe government's garbage dump continues in the once-lauded Papa Smurf case.

Gang Land has learned that federal prosecutors have dropped labor racketeering charges against an underling of Genovese gangster Carmine (Papa Smurf) Franco, the main honcho in the mob's control over the private carting industry in New York and New Jersey. And they have also begun the process of dismissing all charges against two other Franco co-defendants.

Spry 88-Year-Young Jurist To 65-Year-Old Wiseguy: You're Not Old, Take Five Years

Arthur SpattYou'd think Central Islip Federal Judge Arthur Spatt would have seen it all by now. The venerable 88-year-old jurist has been on the bench for 46 years. Before that, he spent 29 years as a practicing attorney. But the criminal justice veteran announced himself nonetheless amazed the other day at the laundry list of crimes attributed to a 65-year-old mobster who has spent much of his career behind bars.


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April 24, 2014

Shunned By Two Juries, Will Feds Silence Their Dead Man Talking, Nicky Skins, Forever?


Nicholas Stefanelli
The  government's first public airing of tape-recorded conversations made by the late Nicholas (Nicky Skins) Stefanelli at the two racketeering trials of mob boss Joseph (Uncle Joe) Ligambi — of a summit meeting between the Philadelphia and Gambino crime families — were as useless as the witnesses the feds used against Uncle Joe.

The jury heard recordings made by Stefanelli during a meeting at LaGriglia, a Kenilworth, NJ, restaurant, and the American Bistro, a pub just outside of Newark. The tapes were just part of the electronic library made by the former Gambino soldier who, as first reported by Gang Land, killed himself in February, 2012, rather than take the stand as a government witness.

But Stefanelli, 69, worked for the FBI for nearly two years, meeting with mobsters up and down the East Coast including Joey Merlino, the Philadelphia mob boss who has relocated to the Sunshine state. Merlino met with Nicky Skins in a Dunkin' Donuts in Boca Raton. The tape of that conversation has never been made public, but Merlino, in an interview, said he was leery of the smooth-talking Stefanelli who, Merlino said, "was trying to set me up." 

Uncle Joe Looks To Jersey Shore As Uncle Sam Looks To Regroup

Joseph LigambiHe's the first mob boss since John Gotti to beat the feds at their own game.

Twice in the past two years the U.S. Attorney's office has failed to convict Uncle Joe Ligambi. The first trial ended with Ligambi beating five of the nine charges he faced. The jury hung on the other four. At a second trial, which ended in January, a new jury acquitted Ligambi of one of the remaining counts and hung on three others.

Nicky Scarfo Jr. Gets Love Letters From Prison But Hate Mail From The Feds

Nicodemo S. ScarfoFrom his prison cell 25 years ago, Philadelphia mob boss Nicodemo (Little Nicky) Scarfo helped save the life of his son and namesake following a botched assassination attempt on Halloween night in South Philadelphia that left young Scarfo riddled with bullets. He did this by arranging to have his son inducted into the Luchese crime family, a move that under mob protocol protected Nicodemo S. Scarfo, who is often referred to as Nicky Jr., from those in Philadelphia who wanted him dead. 


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Mob Turncoat's Crime Spree Perils Conviction For Shamrock Bar Murders


Francesco Fiordilino
Add the name of Franceso (Frank) Fiordilino to the long line of mob turncoats who failed to live up to their promises to go straight.

Prosecutors say they recently learned that the murderous Bonanno family gangster welshed on his pledge to the feds and his sentencing judge to turn over a new leaf and remain on the straight and narrow after he was released from prison. And it wasn't a sudden change of heart: The feds sheepishly admit their cooperator began committing crimes again four years ago.

It's not just a personal failing. In Fiordilino's case, his return to his bad old ways could have major consequences.

That's because the ex-Bonanno associate was a key witness at the dramatic murder and racketeering trial of Gambino wiseguy Bartolomeo (Bobby Glasses) Vernace last year that resulted in Vernace's conviction. Thanks to the new information about Fiordolino, that big federal win could be in peril.

Feds: Papa Smurf's A Greedy Garbage Gangster Who Belongs Behind Bars

Carmne FrancoDon’t let geezer garbage gangster Carmine (Papa Smurf) Franco fool you, federal prosecutors warned the judge who is slated to sentence the mobbed up carter today.

Just because he’s 78 years old, the feds say, is no reason to go easy on the New Jersey carting tycoon who has pleaded guilty to racketeering and other charges. Prosecutors insist Franco is a greedy multi-millionaire labor racketeer who coerced his relatives and workers to rip off customers and business rivals at every opportunity. No one resisted, they say, because they were "too scared or dependent on their jobs."

Carmine AvellinoFeds Wish Luchese Wiseguy A Very Un-Happy Anniversary

Luchese capo Carmine Avellino never paid the price for his alleged role in the execution murder of mobster buddy Michael Pappadio, slain May 13, 1989 in a Queens bagel bakery. But in a grim reminder, the feds chose the 25th anniversary of that bloody slaying to unseal an indictment against him on far lesser charges.


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May 22, 2014

Two ILA Union Presidents Admit Guilt In Mob Christmastime Shakedown Of Dock Workers


Thomas Leonardis
Two former presidents of a New Jersey longshoremen's union – Vincent (The Vet) Aulisi and Thomas Leonardis – pleaded guilty last week to extorting Christmastime payoffs from dock workers as part of a 30-year-long shakedown plot that funneled an estimated $3 million in "tributes" to the powerful Genovese crime family.

Aulisi, 82, and Leonardis, 56, who headed Local 1235 of the International Longshoremen's Association from 2006 through 2011, pleaded guilty amid indications that federal prosecutors in Newark are close to wrapping up the entire case and closing out the only still-pending indictment from the FBI's Mafia Takedown Day roundup of 127 defendants on January 20, 2011.

Sources say Albert (The Bull) Cernadas, who headed Local 1235 from 1982 until 2005, and Stephen Depiro, the wiseguy charged with overseeing the Genovese family's waterfront rackets since 2005, are also trying to negotiate plea deals rather than take their chances at trial. So too is Depiro's cousin, Nunzio LaGrasso, former vice president of ILA Local 1478.

Feds Dumping All Charges Against Four More Defendants In Mob Garbage Case

Carmne FrancoAll the little Smurfs in the big Papa Smurf case continue to catch huge breaks in what was supposed to be a whale of a labor racketeering case. The latest to win Get Out Of Jail Free cards are four defendants charged with extortion in the same case as Papa Smurf, a.k.a. Carmine Franco, the geezer Genovese gangster who, along with mobsters and associates from three crime families, was charged with wielding much control over the private sanitation industry in five counties in New York and New Jersey.

Wiseguy Says The Feds Are Taking A Page Out Of His Book

Bartolomeo VernaceGambino wiseguy Bartolomeo (Bobby Glasses) Vernace, who went on the lam for several years to elude a murder rap, claims the government is now the one that's hiding. Vernace's attorney ripped prosecutors this week for raising "meritless," "misleading" and "at times, nonsensical arguments" against his motion for a new trial because an important government witness was lying to the jury and committing crimes at the same time he was testifying against him.


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5/29/2014


Mob Prince's Lawyers Getting Ready To Challenge Feds Over Actions To Undercut Plea Deal


Michael Persico
The long delayed sentencing of Mafia prince Michael Persico has hit a major road block after probation authorities issued a blistering pre-sentencing report that accuses the son of imprisoned for life mob boss Carmine (Junior) Persico of a host of crimes, Gang Land has learned.

According to sources, the still-sealed Pre-Sentence-investigation Report (PSR) by the U.S. Department of Probation names Persico, a businessman who never joined his father's Colombo crime family, of involvement in three murders. The killings included the 1992 slaying of Michael Devine, who was dating the estranged wife of Persico's imprisoned brother Alphonse, and the 1993 rubout of rival Colombo wiseguy Joseph Scopo.

The PSR threatens to undo a plea deal that has been the envy of wiseguys everywhere. Signed in June, 2012, the deal calls for Persico to serve a range of 37 to 46 months for the sole loansharking rap to which he pleaded guilty. At the same time, the government agreed not to prosecute him further for the murders and other crimes cited in the plea agreement.

Wiseguy Lawyers Say FBI Informer In Garbage Case Is A Bigger Crook Than Their Client

Anthony BazziniThe FBI’s paid informer in the once highly-touted “Papa Smurf” waste carting case against geezer gangster Carmine Franco and 28 others committed crimes that a legitimate wiseguy wouldn’t stoop to. So say lawyers for Gambino mobster Anthony Bazzini, who is slated to be sentenced next week for his conviction in the racketeering case. Originally billed as a major blow at the mob, the three year-long probe of the waste hauling industry in New York and New Jersey has since fizzled down to a handful of relatively minor convictions.

Pasquale FalcettiMama's Boy From The Bronx Nails Uncle Patty For Loansharking

Chalk up two more mob snitch stats for Anthony (Mama's Boy) Zoccolillo, the Bronx-based drug dealer whose acting career on the Mama's Boys of the Bronx reality TV show was a bust, but whose undercover work for the FBI has been a resounding success.


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June 5th, 2014

Feds Play Hardball With Mobster Sons Of Sicilian Mafia Boss


Giuseppe D'Anna
Federal prosecutors in Detroit are hoping that the second time around in front of a judge ends up much worse for Giuseppe (Joe the Hood) D'Anna and his younger brother Girolamo (Mimmo) D'Anna. The first time the Motor City mobsters were convicted of the brutal beating of a restaurateur who refused to knuckle under to their shakedown threats, they spent two months behind bars.

Giuseppe, 61, and Girolamo, 49, are awaiting trial in Detroit Federal Court on assault and extortion charges for allegedly pummeling a countryman from the same town in Sicily who dared to open up an Italian restaurant across the street from one owned by Giuseppe's wife in Shelby Township, an upper middle-class suburb 25 miles outside Detroit.

Joe D'Anna is described as an "up-and-comer" by law enforcement and underworld sources. In addition to his current troubles, the FBI and the DEA have been investigating Joe the Hood for other alleged criminal activity in the Detroit area.

Motor City Mob Selects A New Boss From Its Blue Collar Wing

Jack GiacaloneIt's a new dawn for the notoriously stable and infamously stealthy Detroit crime family. For the first time in close to a century, the Motor City mob, also known as the Zerilli-Tocco Family, is being headed by someone whose name isn't Zerilli or Tocco. The family's new official boss, according to sources on the street and in law enforcement, is 62-year-old Jack (Jackie the Kid) Giacalone.

Rudy FrattoRudy The Chin Returns To The Fray In Chicago; Big Mike Spano's Plans Not Clear Yet

It seems that stretches behind bars in institutions run by the federal Bureau of Prisons have had completely different effects on two rough and tumble septuagenarian Windy City wiseguys who've been snared on racketeering charges – Rudy (The Chin) Fratto and Michael (Big Mike) Spano.


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6/12/14

Feds Have Second Thoughts About FBI Operative In Mob Garbage Case


Carmine Franco
The office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is having second thoughts about its prime witness in what was to be a blockbuster case charging 29 mobsters and associates from three crime families with labor racketeering in the garbage business in New York and New Jersey.

Make that more second thoughts.

Gang Land has already revealed that FBI informer Charles Hughes only agreed to cooperate after he was caught trying to line up a sex date with a 15-year-old girl who turned out to be a fed trolling for perverts on the internet. And that the feds gave sweet plea deals to mobsters to keep Hughes off the stand. But now prosecutors are reviewing allegations raised by defense lawyers that Hughes also secretly stole valuable roll-off garbage containers and thousands of dollars during the three year federal probe of the mob and the waste hauling industry. After initially flatly denying the allegations against the witness, prosecutors abruptly announced last week that they were taking another look at the defense charges against the undercover operative.

[defendis-angelo-thumb]Angelo Defendis Goes Down For The Final Count

Angelo (The Boxer) Defendis, a tough, two-fisted Golden Gloves champ who punched his way into the hearts of his neighbors in the Gravesend section of Brooklyn and later into the Luchese crime family – has gone down for the final count. He was 81.

Tommy Shots Can't Complain About The Metropolitan Detention Center Any MoreThomas Gioeli

One prison compound, two Colombo family bosses.

Thomas (Tommy Shots) Gioeli, the onetime acting Colombo family boss who never missed a chance to gripe about conditions during the six years he spent at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, has been shipped to the same North Carolina prison complex as his crime family's official leader, the imprisoned-for-life Carmine (Junior) Persico.


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6/19/14

Mikey Cigars Tries To Talk His Way Out Of Prison Tomorrow


Michael Coppolal
Michael (Mikey Cigars) Coppola, a Genovese wiseguy who ducked the law for 11 years to evade an imminent murder charge in mid 1990s, has obviously been paying close attention to the law from his digs at the federal prison in Atlanta. Coppola says a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that a mob-connected restaurateur used to upend a six year stretch for extortion should also apply to his 16 year sentence for labor racketeering on the New Jersey waterfront. He is slated to argue his case for a new trial tomorrow via an unusual Atlanta-Brooklyn telephone hookup.

In court papers, Coppola cited the same high court ruling that enabled mob associate Frank (Frankie D) DiMattina to beat his extortion rap in asking Brooklyn Federal Judge John Gleeson to toss his racketeering conviction for being part of the Genovese crime family's control over a Newark based longshoremen's union for 33 years.

The 68-year-old mobster also charged that bias stemming from Judge Gleeson's former role as a mob-busting prosecutor who brought down Gambino crime family boss John Gotti essentially sunk him even before his trial began. His well-written pro-se motion has gotten the full attention of federal prosecutors who convicted Mikey Cigars back in 2009.

Charles HughesWiseguy Uses Government Info To Slam FBI Informer In Mob Waste Hauling Case

The embarrassing list of low crimes and misdemeanors continues to mushroom in the not-so-great Papa Smurf garbage case. Problem is, the offending perp isn't Carmine Franco or any of the 29 wiseguys and mob associates indicted for labor racketeering. Instead, it's the FBI's own undercover operative in the three year probe into the mob's involvement in the waste hauling industry. That's him pictured at the left, Charles Hughes.

Hard Times At The MDC; Lufthansa Heist Wiseguys May Have To GiveVincent AsaroUp Their Commissary

If Vincent and Jerome Asaro, the father and son Bonanno family capos awaiting trial on racketeering charges that include the storied Lufthansa Airlines heist and a related 46-year-old murder had any hopes of getting home for Christmas, their lawyers dashed them last week when they insisted that there was no way they could possibly be ready for trial until next year.


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June 26, 2014

Snake Bites Mob Garbage Case Again; Feds Drop Charges Against Last Three Defendants


Carmine Franco
The office of U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara quietly announced this week that it is dismissing charges against the last three defendants in the snake-bitten labor racketeering case that the FBI made against Genovese gangster Carmine (Papa) Smurf Franco and 28 others. All told, prosecutors have dropped charges against 10 of the 29 defendants in the indictment.

Throwing in the towel before trial against more than a third of the defendants wasn't the way things were supposed to turn out: When the indictment was announced, the case was hailed by Bharara and New York FBI boss George Venizelos as a major blow against the Mafia's control over the waste hauling industry in New York and New Jersey. Instead, this foray against the mob rivals the losing ways of the luckless Mets.

In a two paragraph court filing, prosecutors told Manhattan Federal Judge P. Kevin Castel they deferred the prosecution of the owner of a Jersey City garbage company and two truck drivers charged with stealing about 130 tons of cardboard between March and July of 2012. The trio, Thomas Giordano, 43, the owner of Galaxy Carting of New Jersey, Michael Russo, 51, and Louis Dontis, 59, were set for trial next month. The charges are slated to be officially dismissed later this summer.

Patsy TrugliaGuilty Gangster Named Patsy Gets A Free Pass Because He's A 'Patsy'

Mob lawyers often complain that an innocent organized crime defendant can't get a fair shake in court. Well last week, a guilty Florida-based Colombo crime family associate looking at a recommended sentence of two years in prison for money laundering turned that gripe on its head. He was sentenced to no time in prison.

Michael CoppolaMikey Cigars Clams Up; Loses Pro-Se Get Out Of Jail Motion

Genovese mobster Michael (Mikey Cigars) Coppola still isn’t talking. Even to get himself out of the slammer. Last week, Brooklyn Federal Judge John Gleeson shot down Coppola's pro-semotion for a new trial after the gangster clammed up and refused to take part in oral arguments unless the judge appointed an attorney for him.


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July 3, 2014

Bruce Cutler Returns To The Scene Of The Crime


Bruce Cutler
Attorney Bruce Cutler, who rode to fame and fortune thanks to his much-beloved client, John Gotti, returned to the scene of the crime last week at a Midtown Manhattan steak house. No, not the storied Sparks Steak House, where Gotti orchestrated the sensational assassination of his mob boss, but the Porter House, where Cutler earned an assault arrest last fall for clocking a younger attorney who got on the barrister's nerves.

The occasion was dinner with a few lawyers who shared the Dapper Don's trial acquittals with him. "It was like Broadway Danny Rose, with old men sitting around a dinner table swapping stories about old times," said noted defense attorney Gerald Shargel, an attendee who was Cutler's co-counsel in the second Gotti acquittal in1990. "Only instead of comedians telling funny stories, it's us lawyers having a great time reminiscing about wins and losses during our younger days."

Presiding over the evening was a notably more serene Cutler who says he now has a firm grip on the temper that triggered his November 8, 2013 dustup. Cutler, 66, says he "passed with flying colors" the anger management course he was required to complete as a result of the incident. His misdemeanor assault charges have been dismissed. In fact, what he'd like to do next, he told Gang Land, is to teach "at the high school or college level."

Robert ScalzaLabor Union Racketeer Gets Sweet House Arrest Term For Chocolate Factory Shakedown

Robert Scalza, a mob-connected union official with close ties to the powerful Genovese crime family, received a sweet sentence of home confinement last week for shaking down a rival union official who was looking to organize a chocolate factory on the east end of Long Island.

Michael DolphinCarpenter Gets Six Months In Prison For Servicing Joker Poker Machines 15 Years Ago

Michael Dolphin, a onetime low-level mob associate who is now gainfully employed and has been on the straight and narrow for 13 years, was sentenced to six months in prison this week. The crime was servicing Joker Poker machines in the late 1990s at a social club in Glendale, Queens that was run by murderous Gambino mobster Bartolomeo (Bobby Glasses) Vernace.


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July 10th, 2014

Mob Prince Looks To Put Off Sentencing; Mob Wife Eager To Be Done With Hers


Michael Persico
For mob prince Michael Persico and mob wife Alicia DiMichele, the 2010 labor racketeering indictment in which both were named as defendants is the organized crime case that never ends. The case began back in 2007 with the undercover work of a wired-up FBI operative who teamed up with Persico's cousin and DiMichele's husband to open a trucking company that carted away tons of debris from Ground Zero.

Both opted to settle two years ago, winning sweet plea deals. Persico, whose charges had been upped to murder, got a recommended sentence of 37 to 46 months; DiMichele, who parlayed her indictment with Persico and her mobbed up husband Edward (Tall Guy) Garofalo into a starring role in Mob Wives, faces six months. But prosecutors have agreed not to oppose probation.

But now their individual roller coaster rides to a final conclusion have changed direction, again. DiMichele, who quit Mob Wives in April, and took back her guilty plea over fears that she could be ordered to fork over $2.8 million for embezzling funds from a Teamsters Union local, now says she is ready to pay for her crimes. Meanwhile, Persico's new lawyer now wants to put off sentencing two months to adequately prepare the "delicate legal and factual issues" of his long-delayed sentencing.

Joseph SarcinellaGenovese Wiseguys Get A Leg Up On Christmas

While the rest of us are worrying about sweating through the dog days of summer, a pair of veteran Genovese wiseguys are showing why their crime family is always a few steps ahead of the rest of organized crime.

 

Franco LupoiForgetful Lawyer Finally Remembers The Court Session He Missed

Gang Land sometimes runs across a situation like one that occurred back when they still played major league baseball games in the daytime. In those days of old, when a kid asked the teacher if he could be excused from school to go to a game, and was told no, he would often take the day off anyway, and bring an alleged note from his mother to school saying he had been out sick the day before. Take the case last week of reputed Gambino associate Franco Lupoi.


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JULY 24TH, 2014

Vic Amuso Begins 24th Year In Federal Custody As Luchese Family Boss


Vittorio Amuso
Next Monday marks the 23d anniversary of the day when two young FBI agents standing at a shopping mall outside of Scranton, Pennsylvania made one of the great collars in mob history. The target was Vittorio (Vic) Amuso, the fugitive boss of the Luchese crime family who had been on the lam for more than a year. All agents Stephen Byrne and Cindy Peil had to go on were some old photos. But they also had listened to a recording of Amuso talking on a wiretap. So as soon as they heard the distinctive high-pitched voice of the man wearing shades and a baseball cap speaking on a mall payphone they knew they had their man.

The 79-year-old wiseguy has been behind bars ever since. But while the feds can take a gang land chief out of circulation, they can't take his Mafia crown away from him. And from that day forward, even though he's been in federal custody for nearly a quarter century, Vic Amuso has remained the undisputed boss of his crime family.

That's right, uninterrupted. Despite what you may have read earlier – right here in Gang Land – Amuso's reign has been continuous since he took over in 1986 after his predecessor, Antonio (Tony Ducks) Corallo, was convicted in the historic Commission case, sentenced to 100 years, and ceded his lofty post to Amuso. Despite pressure from some underlings, and the difficulty of running a crime family from cells in the multiple prisons where he's been confined since his 1992 conviction, Amuso has retained his spot atop the battered borghata.

Thomas DiFioreJudge Says Feds Can Read Wiseguy's Emails To His Lawyer

Add acting Bonanno boss Thomas (Tommy D) DiFiore to the long list of Americans greatly aggrieved to learn that the government snoops into their private email correspondence. But unlike most computer email users who have something of an expectation of privacy, DiFiore is typing his emails from inside a federal prison lockup and, as he and all other inmates are warned, the Bureau of Prisons monitors ALL emails sent through the BOP's special program.

Nicodemo Scarfo Jr.Feds Nail Amuso Pal For Massive Looting Scam During the 2008 Financial Meltdown Crisis

It's not true that no one's been criminally convicted in the massive subprime mortgage banking scandal that helped collapse the nation's financial system in 2008. Just this month, feds in New Jersey won conviction of a culprit for massively looting a Texas-based mortgage firm.


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July 31, 2014

West Coast Music Man Who Rock And Rolled With John Gotti Charged With Heading Gambino Family Gambling Operation


Joseph Isgro
Almost three decades ago, when Joseph Isgro was earning $10 million a year as an independent record promoter, the West Coast-based music man hosted a command performance session for newly crowned Mafia boss John Gotti at a classy Midtown hotel. The occasion was the induction of Elvis Presley and ten other "pioneers of rock 'n' roll" into the brand new Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, an event that the Dapper Don wanted to celebrate with Isgro and his music-savvy pals.

This week, Isgro was back in the city, but there was little celebrating going on this visit. His presence was commanded by the Manhattan District Attorney's office, which named Isgro, 66, as the lead defendant in a massive bookmaking and money laundering indictment. The charges allege that Isgro was a key player in an illegal gambling conspiracy that made millions of dollars in New York during an eight-year run beginning in 2005.

Not that Isgro hasn't burnished his wiseguy reputation since hosting his own Elvis party for Gotti. According to court papers, Isgro is now a "made man" in Gotti's old crime family. He is also keeping some impressive high tech company. According to the charges, Isgro's partners, in addition to a deceased Gambino soldier, include the managers of an offshore wire room in Costa Rica, and the developers of a "software betting program called Action Sportsbook International" (ASI). The software, the indictment alleges, enabled the mob bookies "to dramatically increase their illegal (gambling) income," and to evade the law as well.

Leonard RapisardiLoanshark? No. Bookmaker? Yes.

Longtime bookmaker Leonard Rapisardi decided it was time for a change in April of 2010 when the feds hit him with extortion and loansharking charges. He had good reasons. A wiretap caught him threatening to chop off the fingers of an old friend who had left him holding the bag on a $5000 loan he had borrowed from a real loanshark.

Carmine FrancoPapa Smurf Makes It To The Big House

Carmine (Papa Smurf) Franco, the aging mob garbage kingpin whose racketeering conviction was the government's most important victory in the FBI's probe of mob influence in the private sanitation industry, is now in the Big House. On Tuesday, he began serving his year and a day sentence at a North Carolina federal prison compound that houses a fully equipped hospital.


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AUGUST 7, 2014

Judge Gets Her Irish Up About Motion For New Trial By Irish-American Gangster


[boyle-eddie-thumb]
Manhattan Federal Judge Colleen McMahon has nothing but skepticism when it comes to longtime Gambino associate Edmund Boyle. She made no bones about it a few times in 2010. The most dramatic moment was at his sentencing for racketeering. The judge decided that even though a cab driver who just happened to witness the 1998 murder of FBI informer Frank Hydell had testified that Boyle didn't do it, and even though Boyle was acquitted of the slaying, she believed he had done it, and gave him 20 years.

In Gang Land, where this has occurred more than once, this phenomenon is known as judicial nullification, the flip side of jury nullification: A judge determines that a defendant is guilty of a murder, regardless of the jury's verdict. A heavy prison term is ordered. In McMahon's case, the sentence she imposed on Boyle was five years longer than what she gave two others who pleaded guilty to the slaying. That may seem unfair to you lay readers, but rest assured it is perfectly kosher, as far as the law is concerned. McMahon's sentencing was affirmed on appeal. Judicially speaking, it's not considered a big deal, that is, except to Boyle, who's doing the time.

But a Gang Land review found that in issuing her latest ruling in which she denied Boyle's motion for a new trial, the judge appears to have misstated several key facts about the case. And even more curiously, the Irish-American judge seems to have gotten her Irish up in dealing with this Irish-American mob associate.

Judge Ups The Ante For Software Developers In Gambino Family Online Bookmaking Case

Joseph IsgroLet's hope the sports betting software developers busted in a massive mob bookmaking case held onto some of their cash. It will now cost them $500,000 to stay out of jail, thanks to an order by Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Bonnie Witner who hiked their bail requirements on Tuesday. The software tycoons are at the heart of the bookmaking and money laundering indictment against Hollywood-based Gambino soldier Joseph Isgro.

Judge William KuntzWilliam Kuntz, The Judge From The Dark Side

Gary Fama could have used Star Wars heroes Luke Skywalker or Obi-Wan Kenobi at his side last Friday when he stood up in Brooklyn Federal Court for sentencing for a $5000 bank heist. That's because his sentencing judge, William Kuntz, sounds so much like the evil Darth Vader character that he even likes to call himself Father Vader.


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AUGUST 4, 2014

Feds Hit Reverend Al's Former Mafia Supervisor With Racketeering Charges


Daniel Pagano
Daniel (Danny) Pagano, a powerful Genovese capo who was the Reverend Al Sharpton's mob supervisor before and after the self-described and self-absorbed civil rights leader became an FBI informer back in 1983, was indicted last week for allegedly heading a lucrative gambling and loansharking operation for the crime family from 2009 until 2012.

The FBI, which was never able to use Sharpton's info to make a case against Pagano and his late father, Joseph, a former top aide of family patriarch Vito Genovese, was one of seven local, state and federal agencies that shared credit for securing the indictment against the 61-year-old wiseguy.

While an FBI agent was one of two law enforcement officers who woke Pagano up and arrested him at his home in Ramapo last Thursday, the Bureau is not the key agency in the case. Unlike the 1990s, when the FBI had one squad for each crime family and two squads that focused on wiseguys in the suburbs, it now has only three squads with less than half the number of agents assigned to mob activity.

Joseph BarbozaMurder And Mayhem In Beantown: The Life And Times Of Joe The Animal Barboza

In Boston Mob, author Marc Songini writes of the 1964 arrest of James (Whitey) Bulger for bank robbery and the arrest eight years later that Bulger's corrupt FBI agent handler John Connolly made in New York of a fugitive New England mobster. But don't buy this excellent, well-researched book for insight about either of the longtime partners in organized crime in Beantown.

James DonovanDaughter Of Slain Check Casher Wants Life Behind Bars For Turncoat Triggerman

 In a twist that would make a sweet episode of any reality TV show, the fate of turncoat gangster Hector (Junior) Pagan may come down to a self-described "Daddy's girl," the daughter of the check casher that Pagan shot to death during a $200,000 robbery.


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AUGUST 21, 2014

Feds Calling Mama's Boy From The Bronx To The Witness Stand In Manhattan


Anthony Zoccolillo
His TV career as a co-star of Mama's Boys Of The Bronx lasted only two weeks. But Anthony Zoccolillo's acting ability as a government stool pigeon was so good that he was able to snare a baker's dozen of mobsters, drug dealers and others during the two months he wore a wire for the feds. And every last one of them copped a plea deal rather than take his chances at trial.

"He pretended to be the best friend of everyone he talked to," said one attorney. "His every suggestion was always within the realm of friendship. He'd say, 'I know your family is dead broke. I know you a long time, I want to help you.' It's surprising he was such a failure as an actor. When you listen to these tapes, you can't not say to yourself, 'What an actor!' It's truly an amazing performance."

Zoccolillo, who was shipped to a secure out-of-town facility that houses mob turncoats as he awaits sentencing for his own drug crimes, will return to New York next month for a command performance. His special assignment, Gang Land has learned, will be to paint Genovese wiseguy Pasquale (Uncle Patty) Falcetti as a violent gangster from the witness stand.

Thomas PetrizzoGeezer Gangster Wants The Same Deal As His Codefendant, Mob Wife Alicia DiMichele

An aging Colombo crime family captain facing sentencing for shaking down debris haulers from Ground Zero after 9/11 was "the unsung hero of the building of the World Trade Center," when the Twin Towers were first erected in 1970, according to a veteran steel contractor.

Vincent AsaroBonnanos Want Nothing To Do With Wiseguy Charged With The Lufthansa Airlines Heist

Seems that no one but his mobster son wants to go to trial with Vincent Asaro, the longtime Bonanno capo who is charged with taking part in the storied Lufthansa Airline heist as well as a 45-year-old murder with James (Jimmy The Gent) Burke, the suspected mastermind of the $6 million robbery.


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August 28th, 2014

Voice From The Grave Paints Gambino Capo As Heartless Brother-In-Law


Daniel Marino
When Gambino family capo Daniel Marino discovered that his gangster nephew had stolen $400,000 from him, he allegedly used a tried and true mob tactic: He threatened to kill someone. In this case, the death threats were close to home. According to his late sister-in-law, Marino allegedly told her and her husband that unless they signed their Brooklyn home over to him as payback, he'd kill them and their son.

This previously untold Gang Land tale from the early 1980s first emerged when Marino's sister-in-law, Betty Hydell, was preparing to testify at the 2006 murder trial of Mafia Cops Lou Eppolito and Steve Caracappa. Hydell's son Jimmy, who had stolen the $400,000 from his uncle, later became one of the mob cops' many victims after they kidnapped and delivered Hydell to his death at the hands of Luchese mobster Anthony (Gaspipe) Casso.

Betty Hydell related the family saga to a law enforcement official who befriended her, but the tale never surfaced at the trial, in court documents, or anywhere else. Until now.

Stephen Baciano'Gorgeous' Pot Dealing Son Cites NY Times And Attorney Genetral Holder In Plea For Leniency

A son of former acting Bonanno boss Vincent (Vinny Gorgeous) Basciano has invoked a most unusual trio of allies in a plea for a lenient sentence for operating a marijuana route in the Bronx: Attorney General Eric Holder, The New York Times Editorial Board, and his imprisoned-for-life father. He's slated to face the music for his crimes tomorrow.

Charles HughesFBI's Use Of Sex Pervert As Undercover Operative Stirs Up Hornet's Nest In Mob Garbage Case

Manhattan Federal Judge P. Kevin Castel approved a government request to defer prosecution this week against a truck driver charged with stealing $16,000 worth of cardboard waste products on the same day that the judge told another truck driver to man up and go to prison next month to serve his seven month sentence for stealing garbage containers worth more than $30,000.


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Sept 5, 2014

Crooked CPA Who Sunk 'Mafia Cops' Holding Out On Feds


Lou Eppolito & Steve Caracappa
The crooked accountant whose testimony helped seal the fate of New York's infamous "Mafia Cops" is back to his old tricks, court records show.

Former CPA Stephen P. Corso cashed in on his testimony five years ago against ex-detectives Lou Eppolito and Steve Caracappa and avoided a long sentence for stealing $6 million from clients, the IRS and the state of Connecticut. Instead, he did eight months at a prison camp. Last month, four years after he was ordered to start paying $5.4 million in restitution, the feds called Corso on the carpet for not doing so, according to court papers filed in Connecticut Federal Court.

And Corso, who whined about his lenient sentence for seven months before beginning his prison term on September 15, 2009, is not happy about forking over any cash, according to court filings. Corso stole millions from clients right up until his friend and neighbor, TV sports icon Dan Patrick, discovered the accountant he trusted had stolen $803,000 from him and told the FBI. But since his prison term ended in 2010, Corso has reneged on an order to make monthly $4000 restitution payments. His default has angered all parties in the case, including his defense lawyers who have had it with Corso.

Hector PaganMob Wives Ex-Hubby Not Going Home Anytime Soon

In a highly charged proceeding yesterday, Brooklyn Federal Judge John Gleeson shocked life-long gangster/mob turncoat Hector (Junior) Pagan with an 11-year prison term for a life of crime that included drug dealing, numerous shootings, armed robberies, kidnappings and his role in the $200,000 robbery murder of check casher James Donovan in 2010.

Preet BhararaFeds Have Another Bad Week In The Mob Garbage Case

Three more little smurfs escaped penalties last week in the so-called Papa Smurf garbage case. The labor racketeering indictment was brought last year by Manhattan's hard-charging U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara against 29 mobsters and reputed mob associates who were accused of aiding the Mafia's alleged control of the waste hauling industry in New York and New Jersey.


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OCTOBER 2ND, 2014

Uncle Patty Gives Loan To Bronx Mama's Boy; Takes 30 Months Behind Bars


Pasquale Falcetti
Genovese mobster Pasquale (Uncle Patty) Falcetti was not a happy camper Monday when he was sentenced for loaning his "nephew" Anthony Zoccolillo $34,000. Falcetti's 30-month prison term was six times greater than what a pair of geezer Genovese wiseguys had gotten for the same crime earlier this year.

Adding insult to injury, nephew Zoccolillo, who had a short-lived acting career as co-star of the cable show, Mama's Boys of the Bronx, used the money to jump start a lucrative drug dealing business before becoming a government witness.

Still, Falcetti, a convicted labor racketeer and alleged accomplice of legendary Genovese boss Vincent (Chin) Gigante in a 12-year-old murder plot, knows all too well that the prison term he got from Manhattan Federal Judge Lorna Schofield could have been much worse.

Bartolomeo VernaceNo More Walks In The Park For FBI Supervisor

Longtime mob buster Gerard Conrad, who helped put scores of wiseguys behind bars working as a grunt agent on the FBI's Gambino crime family squad and later as the hands-on supervisor of a revamped squad that now investigates two crime families, retired last week after a quietly illustrious 25 year career as a G-man.

Michael PersicoMob Prince Moves Forward To Take Back His Guilty Plea

As threatened, and against much prevailing legal wisdom, mob prince Michael Persico this week filed his motion to withdraw his guilty plea to making a usurious $100,000 loan. Along with it, would go the sweet plea deal that had been painstakingly negotiated on his behalf. As they say in Gang Land: Go figure.


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OCT 9TH, 2014

Not-So-Crazy Phil Leonetti Urges Cousin Nicky Scarfo Jr. To Follow His Lead

Nicky Scarfo Jr.
Nicky Scarfo Jr. has apparently decided to reject the advice of his cousin, Philip (Crazy Phil) Leonetti, and instead will face a potential sentence of 30 years to life for his racketeering conviction earlier this year in the FirstPlus Financial fraud case.  Scarfo is scheduled to be sentenced on October 22.

Leonetti, the one-time underboss of the Philadelphia mob who betrayed his cousin Nicky’s father, the imprisoned crime family boss Nicodemo (Little Nicky) Scarfo, remained friendly with his cousin after he cooperated. Leonetti said he even met and socialized with young Scarfo after his defection earned him an early release from prison in the mid 1990s.

Leonetti told Gang Land that if he had a chance to speak with his cousin again, he would urge him to seek a deal with the government. In July, a federal jury in Camden, NJ, found the younger Scarfo and three co-defendants guilty of orchestrating a $12 million ripoff of FirstPlus, a struggling Texas-based mortgage company.

Joseph MerlinoSkinny Joey's Dining Habits Threaten His Plans To Open A Florida Restaurant

Former Philadelphia mob boss Joseph (Skinny Joey)  Merlino, who has been living in Boca Raton since his release from prison three years ago, was hoping to be working on menus and restaurant décor – preparing for the influx of potential customers to the Sunshine State in the coming months.

Anthony NicodemoDumb And Dumber, The Anthony Nicodemo Saga Continues To Confound Logic

When he was arrested back in December 2012 for the gangland-style slaying of Gino DiPietro, mob soldier Anthony Nicodemo was literally caught holding the gun. His defense seems to be that the gun wasn't his, but had been left behind by a carjacker.

 


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OCT 23, 2014

Lawyer LaRossa Checks Out After A Great Run At The Top Of The Heap


James LaRossa
Brooklyn-born James LaRossa, one of the most accomplished trial lawyers of his generation, died last week at his home in Manhattan Beach, California, ten days after he took what he knew would be his last victory lap around his old hometown haunts to say so-long to a mix of selected old friends, colleagues and others before he succumbed to esophageal cancer. He was 82.

LaRossa, a quick witted, cocky ex-Marine who represented Mafia bosses and many other high-powered defendants – including politicians, labor leaders and judges – graduated from Fordham Law School, and learned his craft as an assistant U.S. attorney in Brooklyn before enjoying a four decades long run at the top of the New York defense bar.

Along the way, he won acquittals for many top wiseguys, including a hardly noticed one for then newly-crowned Mafia boss Paul (Big Paul) Castellano at a 1977 federal loansharking trial in Brooklyn.

Charles TuzzoOctogenarian Capo Charged with Heading Sophisticated Money-Making Schemes For Genovese Crime Family

A grizzled geezer gangster whose last prison stretch was for a waterfront racketeering conviction with the late Mafia boss Vincent (Chin) Gigante, is at it again. But this time 80-year-old Charles (Chuckie) Tuzzo is charged with being the boss of a New Jersey-based crew that made upwards of $12 million in illegal profits for the Genovese family through a slew of sophisticated rackets.

Robert FiorelloJudge Gives Break To Mob Loanshark After Lawyer Files Secret Sentencing Memo

Brooklyn Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis gave a bit of a break last month to a Genovese crime family loanshark named Robert (Bobby Cars) Fiorello whose attorney filed an unusual sealed sentencing memo on behalf of the New Jersey gangster, a longtime mob associate with a long list of convictions during a 40 plus-year long career in crime.


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OCTOBER 30, 2014

Charlie Tuna Does Swimmingly Well In Mob Garbage Case


Charles Giustra
Charles (Charlie Tuna) Giustra, a Luchese associate with two drug raps on his resume, was one of the bigger fishes reeled in by the feds in their most recent investigation of the waste hauling industry. An alleged major player in the indictment of 29 mobsters and reputed associates of three crime families, Giustra, 53, was looking at eight years in prison after he pleaded guilty to drug dealing in a deal that covered a slew of charges, including labor racketeering.

But last month, Charlie did swimmingly well before Judge Colleen McMahon, a usually tough and pro-government jurist. McMahon, after listening to Giustra's lawyer, sentenced him to just 46 months, less than half the time prosecutors had sought. The decision made Giustra the 18th defendant in the case to receive a sentence that was less than what prosecutors had asked for and more lenient than the prison terms recommended in their plea agreements.

The last convicted gangster, Genovese associate Anthony (Tony Lodi) Cardinalle, cooperated with the feds, and is awaiting sentencing. Cardinalle is the owner of Satin Dolls, the topless joint in Lodi that was the setting for the Bada Bing during Tony Soprano's eight-year run as America's most famous mobster. The charges against 10 others in the 16 count indictment were dropped.

Ex-Yuppie Don Tells Of Halloween 'Blood Oath' To Mob, And His Redemption, On Big Screen

Michael FranzeseIt was Halloween night, 1975, when a young, up and coming mobster took the "blood oath" to the Colombo crime family, swearing to kill any enemy of his new brotherhood. That night, there was every expectation that Michael Franzese, whose father was one of the family's leaders, would someday step into his shoes. But tomorrow, 39 years later, Franzese will describe that day and its aftermath in a new documentary movie – the first ever by a made member of the Mafia – and explain as well why he later walked away from the life he swore never to betray.

Michael PersicoMob Prince And Feds Face Off Over Withdrawal Of Guilty Plea

The court calendar says Brooklyn Federal Judge Sandra Townes will finally sentence mob prince Michael Persico today for loansharking charges he admitted 28 months ago when he copped a sweet plea deal rather than face murder charges that could have put him behind bars for life. But that's unlikely to happen, according to those familiar with the four and a half year old case.


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NOV 13, 2014

Olive Oil King's Children Embroiled In Mob Family Feud


Joseph Profaci
Joseph Profaci, a charter member of the Mafia Commission who was also a hugely successful businessman known as the Olive Oil King because his company was the largest importer of olive oil into the United States, would not be happy today. His crime family has a different name, and is in tatters. Worse, his children are embroiled in a family feud that has become a real-life soap opera.

Several progeny of the legendary New York don – who died 62 years ago, right before Joe Valachi identified him as the longtime boss of one of the infamous Five Families – are engaged in a bitter two-decade-long conflict that has played out in Detroit, New York and sunny Florida, with tensions increasing in the last year.

Profaci's daughters, Rosalie, 84, and Carmela, 80, are not on speaking terms because of a long-simmering beef between recently-deceased Detroit Godfather Giacomo (Black Jack) Tocco and his deposed underboss and first-cousin, Anthony (Tony Z) Zerilli, 87.

[carparelli-paul-thumb]Feds And State Probers Ravage Two Windy City Mob Crews

The law enforcement community in Illinois has been working overtime against the Mafia.

The Chicago Outfit’s Cicero and Grand Avenue crews are both reeling from ongoing all-out legal assaults by the FBI and the Cook County prosecutor’s office.

Carlo BommaritoFBI Informers Say Aging Wiseguy Okayed Drug Overdose Murder Of His Mobster Son

FBI mob busters in Detroit are looking into allegations that grizzled Motor City mobster Frank (Frankie the Bomb) Bommarito signed off on the gangland murder of his 49-year-old wiseguy son who was found dead on January 20, 2007 of a suspected heroin overdose.


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12/11/14

Feds Charge Gambino 'Young Gun' With 12-Year-Old Mob Rubout


Gennaro Bruno
In late 2001, John Alite, still close pals then with acting boss John (Junior) Gotti, was riding high, partying at a Manhattan nightclub. All of a sudden, someone grabbed the diminutive Gambino associate in a bear hug from behind. Startled and instantly on high alert, Alite swiveled around to confront his attacker. The bear hug came from another murderous gangster from Queens named Martin Bosshart. But Bosshart had fear – not murder – in his eyes. He had just gotten out of state prison, and had heard rumors that he was suspected of being "a rat."

Junior Gotti was away in federal prison, but Alite was still plugged in, and he had heard the same rumblings, he said. He warned Bosshart to stay away from Gambino soldier Charles Carneglia, his associate Peter (Bud) Zuccaro and Bosshart's "friend Jerry," whose last name he couldn't recall, while he tried to resolve the problem.

The warning didn't help. Several weeks later, on January 2, 2002, according to a 15-count racketeering indictment filed last month in Brooklyn Federal Court, it was Gennaro (Jerry) Bruno who shot Marty Bosshart to death in a desolate area in Howard Beach off the Belt Parkway. The indictment details Bruno's rise as a member of the "Young Guns," a Gambino family farm team controlled by capo Ronald (Ronny One Arm) Trucchio to his alleged role as a trusted assassin for Trucchio's mobster son Alphonse.

Anthony PrezaJudge Gives A Break To Michael Persico Pal Charged In Same $100,000 Loanshark Caper

In a surprising turnaround, a tough-sentencing judge gave probation last month to a long time mob associate who was facing prison for financing an extortionate $100,000 loan to a trucking company in 2009 that Colombo capo Theodore (Skinny Teddy) Persico and two cohorts used in a labor racketeering scheme to haul debris away from Ground Zero.

Joseph CompetielloTurncoat In Mob Murder Of Housing Cop Gets 12 Years Behind Bars

A murderous mobster was sentenced to 12 years in prison this week as his reward for disclosing the Colombo family's involvement in the American Mafia's first and only planned execution of a New York City Cop. The lenient sentence for turncoat wiseguy Joseph (Joe Caves) Competiello included punishment for his own role in that murder, along with four others he and his mob cohorts committed during his life of crime.


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DECEMBER 18, 2014

Santa's Made A List And Checked It Twice; No Christmas Gifts On The Waterfront


Stephen Depiro
T'is the week before Christmas, and in a fitting tribute to the season, a Genovese mobster and two ousted dockworkers' union executives have agreed to plead guilty to a Christmastime extortion scam that the powerful crime family ran on the New Jersey waterfront for more than 30 years, Gang Land has learned.

Genovese soldier Stephen (Beach) Depiro and two former International Longshoremen's Association executives – Albert (Bull) Cernadas, the former president of Local 1235, and Nunzio LaGrasso, the ex-vice president of Local 1478 – are slated to cop plea deals to extortion conspiracy and labor racketeering charges tomorrow in Newark Federal Court. The plea agreements have not been filed yet, but sources say they carry recommended prison terms of about three years.

The trio are the last remaining defendants in the only still pending case stemming from the arrests of 127 mob-connected defendants on Mafia Takedown Day nearly four years ago. The case was a throwback to the bad old days of On the Waterfront-style schemes in which mobsters and their designated union stooges preyed on hard-working laborers.

Conrad IannielloJudge Lectures Genovese Capo On The Niceties Of Crime And Punishment

A powerful mobster stood up in court at his sentencing last week to say what gangsters often say when facing the music: He wanted to apologize to his wife and family for letting them down. In fact, he said, he was "sorry for the whole thing." And then the judge exploded.

Frank CaliGambino Underboss Fank Cali Was NOT Arrested Last Week

Contrary to news headlines and stories you may have seen, heard or read last week, Gambino underboss Frank Cali has not been arrested, and he is not on his way to Italy to fight drug and weapons trafficking charges that are related to the two-country crackdown earlier this year that led to the arrests of 24 gangsters in the U.S. and Italy.

 


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DECEMBER 25, 2014

Mob International Drug Kingpin: The Undercover FBI Agent Made Me Do It

Franco LupoiThe only reason why Brooklyn's own Franco Lupoi, the mob associate charged in New York and Italy with being an international drug kingpin, got into trouble was that he was duped by a clever FBI agent. At least that's the explanation of Lupoi's attorney, who says his client suffers from "lifelong dependency and susceptibility issues" stemming from the loss of his mother in a tragic accident when he was a teen. The tragedy left Lupoi susceptible to the importunings of a duplicitous undercover FBI agent who became a quick "best friend" to his very gullible client.

The agent got so close to Lupoi that he was invited to the first Holy Communion of Lupoi's then-seven-year-old son, says attorney William Timmons. Another time, the lawyer claimed, the agent brought two young girls along to "interact" with the boy as the G-man enticed – and entrapped – the hardworking family man into drug deals that allegedly earned him more than $500,000 in the last two years, the attorney charged in a bail request three days before Christmas.

Stephen DepiroWaterfront Wiseguy Celebrated Christmas Without Extortion Payments

Genovese mobster Stephen (Beach) Depiro is currently under house arrest and will be spending the next few Christmases behind bars for supervising the mob's 30-year-long Christmastime shakedown of dockworkers. But that doesn't mean that the waterfront racketeer can't celebrate the joyous Christmas holiday today.

Scott FappianoDouble Trouble For Gangster Snared In Mob Garbage Case By Controversial FBI Turncoat

Charles Hughes, the controversial cooperating witness in the FBI's three-year-long probe of the mob and the waste hauling industry, just scored some extra points that his lawyer can cite if Hughes ever faces the music for soliciting sex from a person he believed to be a 15-year-old-girl back in 2008.


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January 8, 2014


Bronx Mama's Boy The Most Effective Mob Turncoat Of 2014


Anthony Zoccolillo
Until Anthony Zoccolillo was arrested on drug charges when he was hanging out with a violent gang of Albanian gangsters called the Wolfpack nearly two years ago, his "15 minutes of fame" had consumed a grand total of eight days in April of 2012. That's when he played himself in theMama's Boys Of The Bronx, a so-called reality TV show that was so bad it was cancelled after two episodes.

But three years later, Zoccolillo is Gang Land's selection as the federal government's most productive cooperating witness of 2014 – based on his performance as an undercover operative for the FBI in the two months after his arrest, and his follow-up work with prosecutors in the Manhattan U.S. Attorney's office since then.

"There's no question in my mind," said one law enforcement official not involved in any of Zoccolillo's cases, "the federal government got more bang for its buck with him last year than it did with all the other cooperators combined."

Joel Cacace Jr.Heart Attack Takes Son Of Colombo Consigliere Acquitted In Murder Of NYPD Cop

He won't be getting any sympathy from the law enforcement community or the parents of police officer Ralph Dols, but last week imprisoned Colombo family consigliere Joel (Joe Waverly) Cacace suffered the awful fate that all loving parents fear the most – the death of a child.

Vincent BascianoVinny Gorgeous Longshot Motions For New Trials Run Out Of The Money

He got some action, and he even got a call or two, but the well-written, thoroughly researched legal briefs that imprisoned for life former acting Bonanno boss Vincent (Vinny Gorgeous) Basciano filed in two longshot pro-se motions seeking new trials with a new presiding judge finished out of the money.


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JANUARY 15, 2015

Did You Hear The One About The Reverend Al Sharpton?


We never know what will show up in the Gang Land mail sack and this week, what arrived was a charming photo of two friends of the Reverend Al Sharpton — Michael Franzese, the mobster turned preacher, and President Obama, each decked out in sunglasses and big smiles.

"Never know who you might run into on a Hawaiian beach!" Franzese tweeted of the occasion. "Enjoyed meeting the pres and his family."

Gang Land contacted Franzese, who reported that the picture was taken in the winter of 2010, not this past Christmas season when the Obama family also took a vacation to his home state. But the First Family's more recent trip apparently spurred Franzese to show off his illustrious encounter. And the picture spurred an interesting Q & A with Franzese.

Pasquale PontorieroHiring Agent Loses Waterfront Job For Going To Tino Fiumara's Birthday Party

A birthday dinner he attended for the late Genovese family capo Tino Fiumara a year before he died has come back to haunt an old "family friend" from the Ironbound section of Newark who worked on the New Jersey loading docks for more than 14 years.

Joseph SclafaniJoe Boy Sclafani Catches A Break

The feds ruined his plans to wed Ramona Rizzo, the winsome raven-haired daughter of a wiseguy who was then a new exciting fresh face on Mob Wives. They confiscated Rizzo's jewelry, and his mom's too, when they arrested him for drug dealing. And they refused to let him say goodbye to his dying father before he began a long stretch behind bars.


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1/22/2015

Junior Don: I Loved My Dad But I Was Wrong To Follow In His Footsteps


John A Gotti
What's it like to grow up with an up and coming Mafia boss as your dad? John A. Gotti's book, Shadow Of My Father, has both intriguing revelations and sober reflections on the trials and tribulations of being the son of the swashbuckling Dapper Don. On the revelations side, take this never-before-told tale: While doing time in the 1970s for killing a gangster who was thought to have been part of the kidnap-murder of a nephew of Carlo Gambino, the elder Gotti managed to slip away from a dentist visit to play with the kids in the back yard of their Howard Beach home. Then he slipped away a second time, to whack a second member of the kidnapping plot. Then he quietly returned to prison.

That's one story among many that makes the book a worthy read for Mafia buffs. And they'll enjoy it, too. The book – by the Beach Channel High School dropout who got his diploma from the New York Military Academy at Cornwall-on-Hudson – is well-written. And the author gives insight into what it was like growing up as the son of a wiseguy who graphically insisted that he would deny robbing a church, even if he was caught with "a steeple sticking out of my ass."

There are some sour grapes in Shadow Of My Father, though, and the tome leaves a bit of a bad taste. Junior paints himself as a persecuted FBI victim who fought the good fight at four racketeering trials and won. But he never actually won. In fact, most of his 48 jurors – some 29 of them, by Gang Land's count – voted to convict. His father won three times, but Junior was never acquitted. He may have quit the mob, but it was excellent lawyering that got hung juries at four trials – often despite actions by the erstwhile Junior Don.

Victoria GottiMama Gotti Didn't Want Junior To Write The Book, But She Stands By Her Son, And Her Late Hubby Too

John A. Gotti's most ardent and vocal supporter, his outspoken mom, has not read Shadow Of My Father, and isn't sure she ever will. Mrs. Victoria Gotti, who stood up at his last trial and accused Judge P. Kevin Castel of trying to help the government "railroad" her son, told Gang Land that "it might be too painful," for her to revisit and re-live "the government treachery and duplicity" that her son faced through four trials.

Michael PersicoMob Prince: They Did It Again; I Want My Plea Back

Michael Persico, the businessman son of Colombo boss Carmine (Junior) Persico, can't seem to win for losing. Fresh from losing his motion to rescind his sweet plea deal for government misconduct, Persico yesterday renewed his motion to take back his guilty plea. The reason? He says prosecutors violated his plea agreement this week by stating in court papers that they could prove that he was involved in a murder during the bloody 1991-93 Colombo family war.


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1/29/15

'Secret' FBI Memo: Junior Fingered His Dad And Two Gambinos In Murders


Gotti's Rules Book Cover
A long-buried FBI memo confirms that John A. (Junior) Gotti fingered his late father and two Gambino gangsters – who are still alive and kicking – in murders during a "proffer session" he had with the feds before his first racketeering trial in 2005.

The memo is one of the revelations in a sensational new book, Gotti's Rules, by award winning author (and occasional Gang Land contributor) George Anastasia. The book is based on stories by former Gotti ally turned nemesis, John Alite. And while Alite failed miserably as a trial witness, credit him with providing the FBI document as well as a trove of intriguing tales in this riveting book about the two Queens gangsters who each lived in the shadow of John Gotti, the late Mafia boss.

Using insight about the mob that he gleaned while reporting for more than 30 years about the violent and truly dysfunctional Philadelphia crime family, Anastasia pulled few punches while writing about Alite, the Dapper Don, the erstwhile Junior Don, and the current state of the American Mafia in Gotti's Rules.

Preet BhararaGotti Lawyer: What The Hell Went On Here?

The attorney for John A. Gotti yesterday called on Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara to investigate how mob turncoat John Alite obtained a "supposed-to-be-secret" official FBI document about the "proffer session" that Gotti had with the feds back in 2005.

Seth DolledLost Love For Waterfront Checker

There are books, paintings, a movie, a 25-year-old song by Deep Purple, and even a Latin phrase by the renowned Roman poet Virgil that goes back more than 2000 years which states, "Love conquers all." But it didn't help Seth Dolled keep his $150,000 a year job on the New Jersey piers.


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2/5/15

John Alite: The Mob And Gotti's Lawyer Gave Me The FBI 'Proffer Session' Memo


John Alite
The red hot question of who gave John Alite the super-secret FBI memo about John A. Gotti's hush-hush offer to cooperate with federal prosecutors back in 2005 got even hotter this week as the mob turncoat fingered Gotti's own lawyer as one of the alleged leakers.

In an exclusive interview with Gang Land, the ex-Gambino associate turned cooperating witness swore he obtained not one, but two copies of the "supposed-to-be-secret" FBI memo that was disclosed in the sensational new book, Gotti's Rules. Both copies, Alite insisted, came via attorneys representing Junior Gotti and other top Gambino family members.

In a lengthy interview, Alite said he first got the memo about Gotti's "proffer session" with the feds while he was stuck in a hellhole prison in Brazil in 2006, the same year the report of the session was put on paper. 

Jack BonventreFeds' Hardball Tactics Spur Wiseguy To Take Prison Rather Than House Arrest

It's a rare day in Gang Land when a wiseguy decides he'd rather go to the can to start serving his sentence than stay home under house arrest. But the head scratching that followed the request by Bonanno soldier Jack Bonventre last month now starts to make a lot of sense.

Nunzio LaGrassoNewark Cop, Ex-ILA VP Guilty Of Waterfront Crimes

A former International Longshoremen's Association vice president who copped a plea deal to corruption charges in federal court just before Christmas, is gearing up to be sentenced in state court as well next month.


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FEB 12, 2015


Some Pointed Questions About That Junior Gotti Proffer Session


John Alite
John A. Gotti's lawyer has raised a stink about how John Alite was able to get his hands on an FBI memo (known as a 302) that details a proffer session Junior had with federal prosecutors back in 2005.

Author George Anastasia reprinted the full five-page memo in Gotti’s Rules, his book about Alite and Junior Gotti that was published on January 27. Junior's lawyer Charles Carnesi may scream and holler about how the document made its way into the book, but from where Anastasia is standing that's just another example of the Gotti camp attempting to control the narrative.

The issue shouldn't be how the memo got into the book, but rather what the memo states, says award-winning author Anastasia, something that noted attorney Carnesi disagrees with.

Nicodemeo S. ScarfoFirstPlus Was Not The Only Takeover That Scarfo Junior Was Planning

Nicodemo S. Scarfo, the son of jailed Philadelphia mob boss Nicodemo D. (Little Nicky) Scarfo, was involved in more than one attempted takeover when he secretly grabbed behind-the-scenes control of a Texas mortgage company and fleeced it of $12 million back in 2007. He allegedly was also plotting a power grab that would have put him and his father back on top of the Philadelphia mob.

Joseph LigambiWho's The Boss? And Why Would He Want To Be?

The Philadelphia mob doesn't issue an annual report but several sources in law enforcement and the underworld say that the organization has undergone a quiet realignment since mob boss Joseph (Uncle Joe) Ligambi hung the feds out to dry for a second time in a racketeering trial, and came back to South Philadelphia early last year.


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FEB 19, 2015

Rizzuto Family Soldiers On In Montreal After Murder Of Sal The Ironworker Montagna


Vito Rizzuto
The crime family that Vito Rizzuto left behind after his sudden death 14 months ago remains relatively intact and is still the dominant underworld force in Montreal today. Its leaders are mostly Sicilians and are primarily in their forties and early 50s, and they have mended their connections to the ‘Ndrangheta cells in Toronto.

It's doubtful they will ever achieve the clout and influence the gangster the Crown described as the Godfather of Canada had in his day. But they have certainly done a better job of filling the void than acting Bonanno boss Salvatore (Sal the Ironworker) Montagna did in 2009 when the onetime Montrealer returned to the city of his birth from New York.

For Montagna, things started badly in Montreal and went rapidly downhill from there. His Canadian adventure ended on November 24, 2011 when he was lured to Île Vaudry, a working-class/commuter neighborhood on a small island about 30 miles north of Montreal, and murdered, at age 39, on the snowy banks of a stream.

Salvatore CazzettaOutlaw Bikers Hold The Wild Card In Montreal Underworld

There was a time when bikers were the grunt labor of the Montreal underworld: good enough to move drugs for others or carry out someone else’s hits, but not big enough to sit at the grownup table and actually make decisions. Not any more.

[raneri-daniele-thumb]New Toronto Boss Already On The Run

Sooner, if not later, Daniele Ranieri can expect someone to point a gun in his direction and pull the trigger. That’s because the Toronto area thug is the new Rizzuto street boss. His last two street bosses were shot to death and Ranieri has just as many enemies as they ever did.


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2/26/2015

Lawyer In Big Courtroom Victory Over A Pig Of A Client And A 500 Pound Gorilla


Jeffrey Lichtman
After a nasty four-year-long court fight, Manhattan attorney Jeffrey Lichtman has prevailed over accusations by a mob associate that he pushed a gangster in 2004 to plead guilty to the murder of an FBI informer so that Lichtman would then be free to represent a cohort who took part in the same crime.

The ruling issued earlier this month by a Manhattan Federal Judge cites "credible" testimony by Lichtman about his heavy workload in 2004 on behalf of other clients including John A. (Junior) Gotti.

The decision by Judge John Koeltl came just days before Lichtman and Gotti teamed up to publicly portray the erstwhile Junior Don's 2005 proffer session with prosecutors and the FBI as a "farce" and an "utter scam" they pulled on the federal government.

Can Anyone Out There Do A Solid For Frankie Loc?

Frank LocascioMemo to John A. Gotti, all former FBI agents in the old Gambino Squad, and to John Miller, the former TV newsman extraordinaire who later toiled for the FBI and is now a top NYPD official: Have you got an unenhanced copy of the famous December 12, 1989 tape recording that was used to send the elder John Gotti to prison for life? That is, a copy of the tape that the FBI didn't "clean up" so that certain words could be heard more clearly? If so, it could spare Frank (Frankie Loc) Locascio the same fate as the late Dapper Don.

Franco LupoiMob Drug Kingpin Owns Up To It

A little more than two months ago, mob associate Franco Lupoi blamed an undercover FBI agent for all his troubles in a bizarre, losing effort to wangle his way out of a federal lockup and celebrate Christmas with his wife and seven-year-old son. This month, he put the blame where it belongs – on himself.


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March 5, 2015

Mob Turncoat Who Sent Vinny Gorgeous Away For Life Allegedly Extorted Basciano Family For 200K


Dominick Cicale
Turncoat wiseguy Dominick Cicale, who bragged that he put "the nail in the coffin" of his imprisoned-for-life former mob superior, Vincent (Vinny Gorgeous) Basciano, also had another slick move for his old pal's family: He tried to extort $200,000 from them last summer, according to information that a private investigator provided the Manhattan U.S. Attorney's office.

Cicale, a murderous drug dealer who described himself last year in a letter to a federal judge as an "extremely talented author, singer and inspirational speaker," has never been short on boastful, arrogance. The former Bonanno capo has written a fanciful book in which he brags about his prowess as a businessman, a gangster, and a mob turncoat. You can hear some of his same boasts on YouTube.

But Cicale kept his dealings with Basciano's family on the down low, apparently. The alleged shakedown of Basciano's wife Angela and her sons came one month after Cicale sent a letter to a federal judge proposing leniency for Joseph Basciano for a marijuana drug rap, according to court papers obtained by Gang Land.

Vincent BascianoVinny: Jailhouse Lawyer Helped Me; I Need A Real lawyer Now

Vincent Basciano has a surprisingly big smile and a "what me worry?" look for a 55-year-old guy in the 11th year of a life sentence in a recently arrived photo from the Supermax federal prison in Colorado where Vinny Gorgeous has just owned up to something that Gang Land has suspected since 2012: He didn't write the well-researched legal motions he began filing then in a longshot push to walk out of prison standing tall – instead of in the prone position.

Gennaro BrunoNo Bail For Gambino Gangster Charged In 13-Year-Old Murder

Two weeks ago, Gambino associate Gennaro (Jerry) Bruno was hoping that something good would finally come out of the 130 months he had spent behind bars for a slew of violent crimes  including extortion, bank robbery, and kidnapping shortly before he was arrested and jailed last fall on racketeering, murder, drug dealing and obstruction of justice charges.


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3/20/2015

FBI Stings Real Soprano In Murder Plot And Smokes Victim For Selling Untaxed Cigarettes


Charles Stango
Last week, it became very clear that it was time to pull the plug on an FBI agent's sting against the DeCavalcante crime family. The G-man had infiltrated the New Jersey borghata that fancies itself as the model for The Sopranos for three years. He had nailed ten mobsters and associates for a bunch of crimes. And he had captured his main target, capo Charles (Charlie The Hat) Stango, ordering the killing of a rival mobster on tape, several times.

The point of no return came Monday, March 9, when Stango asked the agent about the status of the hit he had first ordered three months earlier. The inquiry was voiced, authorities claimed, in "previously set code." The agent's reply was that the hit team "should be comin' in a couple hours," according to an arrest complaint charging Charlie The Hat and two cohorts with murder conspiracy.

The only wrinkle was how to deal with Stango's hated rival. He had to be told about the plot: That's FBI policy. But sources say the G-man, described in the complaint as "the UC," had also caught rival wiseguy Luigi (Dog) Oliveri in his own illegal activity. The bureau's solution was to warn Oliveri about the murder plot, and charge him in a separate complaint with selling bootleg cigarettes to the UC.

Luigi OliveriBitter Wiseguy Rivals Both Stung By Undercover G-Man

They hate each other with a passion. And one of them allegedly plotted to kill the other one, but DeCavalcante capo Charles (Charlie The Hat) Stango and soldier Luigi (Dog) Oliveri may both be in the same precarious position with the crime family now that the feds have disclosed that the mob associate whose cash and resourcefulness they both coveted was really an undercover FBI agent.

Daniel PaganoReverend Al's Former Mob Boss Going To The Big House Again

Powerful Genovese capo Daniel (Danny) Pagano – one of the federal government's key Mafia targets when the Reverend Al Sharpton worked as an FBI informer during the 1980s – is headed for his second stint in federal prison.


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3/26/2015


The 
Cosa Nostra Redemption: Wiseguys Top Albanians In Danbury Dustup

Michael Yannotti
More than a decade after the so-called Albanian Mafia brazenly beat up and terrorized New York mobsters, seizing some of their rackets, a large group of imprisoned wiseguys recently engaged in a bloody jailhouse brawl with a bunch of Albanian gangsters in a federal lockup about an hour's drive from their old stomping grounds, Gang Land has learned.

Sources say a long-simmering feud between the two groups erupted into violence at the federal prison in Danbury, Connecticut on a normally quiet Saturday afternoon, March 14. It took place during a regularly scheduled leisure time in a rec room in the refurbished low security facility that houses about 750 sentenced inmates.

"It was a real donnybrook, but no one died," said one source.

Anthony FedericiThe Feds Are Obsessed With Tough Tony Federici

"Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they're not after you." Joseph Heller, 1961, Catch-22.

Gang Land doesn't know whether Anthony (Tough Tony) Federici – he prefers "Tony," or even "Tony Park Side" to what the feds and most mobsters call him – is paranoid. But there's no doubt that the FBI and federal prosecutors in Brooklyn are after him. In fact, they seem obsessed with the 75-year-old wiseguy.

Thomas SassanoGambinos Promote Former Garbage Man To Capo

The Gambino family has replaced a brash and relatively young capo once viewed as a rising family star with a grizzled former sanitation worker who once toiled in the streets with fellow former San Man and ex-Gambino boss, Peter Gotti.


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4/2/2015

'Bada Bing' Owner Who Turned On Mob
 A Victim Of 'Brutal Assault' By Shotgun Wielding Thugs


Anthony Cardinalle
Anthony (Tony Lodi) Cardinalle, who ran the New Jersey strip club that served as the "Bada Bing" – Tony Soprano's fictional mob headquarters – was brutally assaulted by shotgun wielding thugs at the club on Route 17 in Lodi. The beating came long after Cardinalle's role as an informant was made public and just a month before he received a sweet 30-day prison term for cooperating against the powerful Genovese crime family, Gang Land has learned.

In the December 2014 incident, two assailants "beat and kicked Cardinalle" and "also put shotguns into his back and told him they were going to kill him" when they ambushed him in the parking lot behind the club, prosecutor Brian Blais wrote in a redacted copy of the government sentencing memo that was filed last week. Thus far, there is no evidence linking the mob to what is officially called an armed robbery.

Lodi police say the masked gunmen took more than $25,000 from a safe at the Satin Dolls, the real name of the Bada Bing. But it's unclear whether robbery was the primary motive, according to law enforcement sources and a sentencing transcript that was unsealed in the case following a Gang Land request last month to Manhattan Federal Judge P. Kevin Castel.

John PalazzoloAging Capo Sent Back To Hoosegow In Busy Bonanno Week In Brooklyn

Brooklyn Federal Court was not a good place for the Bonanno crime family last week. After serving 10 years for a 2003 murder conspiracy rap, an aging capo, John Palazzolo, was put back behind bars in a rush of activity that saw three other mobsters get sentenced for crimes disclosed last year when yet another Bonanno was charged with the storied $6 million Lufthansa Airline heist.

Eleonora GigliottiStrong Family Bonds Not Enought To Spring Mob-Tied Grandma

Over the objections of federal prosecutors, a judge set $4 million bail last week for a Queens grandmother charged as the manager of a mob-connected family-run international drug ring. And although friends and family stepped up to post bond, Eleonora Gigliotti remains behind bars as her lawyers and federal prosecutors wage a bitter legal dispute over the exact terms of the bail.


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April 9th, 2015

Federal Grand Jury Probes A Rash Of Home Invasions In Howard Beach

Gene BorrelloA federal grand jury in Brooklyn is investigating a violent gang of low-level Bonanno crime family associates that is alleged to be behind a rash of home invasion robberies and burglaries in Howard Beach and nearby communities in Queens and Long Island, Gang Land has learned.

Sources say federal prosecutors have been presenting evidence to a grand jury about dozens of robberies in a community that was immune to drug dealing and violent crime when John Gotti and the bosses of the Luchese and Bonanno crime families lived there. That mob immunity apparently vanished, however, with the death of the Dapper Don and the removals of Vic Amuso to prison, and Joe Massino to the federal witness protection program.

In several home invasions, sources say the masked marauders made off with thousands of dollars in cash and jewelry after beating residents. Victims, both men and women, were allegedly forced to strip naked and bound with plastic ties.

Frank SalernoFeds: We Have New Bonannos, And As Usual, They're At Odds With Each Other

A potentially bloody dispute over control of the Bonanno crime family is thankfully still in the diplomatic stage, with the family's imprisoned boss using his nephew as a messenger in order to stifle a crew of rebellious Bonanno members, Gang Land has learned.

Louis RestivoAnd One Less Bonanno: RIP Louis Restivo

The last known meeting of the Commission – the Mafia decision making body composed of the heads of the five New York crime families – was held 15 years ago in the basement of a modest home in Rego Park, Queens. Since then, in a bid to stay below law enforcement radar, mob leaders have avoided such clandestine get-togethers. That now historic conclave took place in the residence of Louis Restivo, a longtime Bonanno family wiseguy who also became history last Sunday when he succumbed to kidney disease.


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APRIL 23, 2015

Frankie Steel: A BIG-Time Bookie Hits The Small Screen

Frank PontilloFrank (Frankie Steel) Pontillo has always dreamed big – and in technicolor. Years back, while doing a 13-year prison stretch for murder conspiracy charges stemming from his role in the bloody Colombo civil war, he wrote a screenplay called Price of Blood. It wasn't bad, even caught the eye of a few Hollywood movie types before it ended up on the tall pile with all the other screenplays that never got made. He caught the movie bug when he landed a bit part in a 1991 Steven Seagal shoot-em-up. For a few years, he also was half of a two-man rap group dubbed, appropriately, The Mob.

But last week Pontillo finally got some true camera time, in a role in which his full name was not used. The star of a CNBC-TV show billed as a real look at illegal gambling in New York City, Frankie Steel played the role to the hilt.

"I'm a bookmaker and I take sports action," says Pontillo who presents himself as a larger-than-life character who calls himself "Frank Steele" – a mature version of that silly mob diminutive. In the show, Pontillo – whose last name is never mentioned – matter-of-factly explains that it takes him a week to earn what other folks make in a year as the CEO of his own gambling operation. And that is only a "little piece" of a "three to five hundred billion dollar a year business," the narrator explains.

Eleonora GigliottiJudges Keep Family Of Accused Drug Dealers Behind Bars

Her lawyers say she is a loving, caring grandma who should be released on bail to help care for twin seven-month old grandchildren whose father is also behind bars. But a federal judge ripped her as a violence-prone drug-dealer who's a danger to the community and should remain behind bars while she awaits trial on drug charges.

Stephen DepiroFeds Close The Books On Mob's Christmastime Waterfront Shakedown

A wiseguy who ran the Genovese crime family's waterfront rackets was sentenced to prison last week as the feds, the state of New Jersey, and the Waterfront Commission closed the books on a 30-year long shakedown scheme in which mobsters extorted  Christmastime "tribute" payments from year-end bonus checks received by dockworkers.


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APRIL 30, 2015

Brooklyn Mob Buster On Schumer's 'Short List' To Replace Loretta Lynch

Sung-Hee SuhA former assistant U.S. attorney in Brooklyn who prosecuted dozens of wiseguys in the 1990s during a six-year-stretch in which she rose from a line assistant to deputy chief of the organized crime section is a leading candidate to fill the shoes of Loretta Lynch, now confirmed as U.S. Attorney General, Gang Land has learned.

Sources say that Sung-Hee Suh, a deputy attorney general in the criminal division of the Justice Department in Washington, heads a "very short list" of current and former federal prosecutors whom New York Senator Chuck Schumer is considering to nominate as the chief prosecutor for the boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island and Nassau and Suffolk counties on Long Island.

Suh, who was born and raised in New York and returned to the Justice Department last fall after 15 years as a partner at the white shoe law firm of Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP, would be the first Korean American to serve as a U.S. Attorney if she were confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Suh, 49, currently oversees appeals, capital crimes and fraud cases for the Justice Department.

Gerard MarroneQueens 'Street Attorney' Loves His Calling: Mouthpiece For The Mob

Gerard Marrone is a 41-year-old Brooklyn-born lawyer who lists "dog bites" and "brain injuries" on his website among 23 separate areas of law he handles. But he really sees himself as a "street attorney" from Queens who gets 90 per cent of his business from the "very dangerous and very scary" world of organized crime and "its army of organized criminals."

John PalazzoloBonanno Capo Set To Plead Guilty To Hanging Out With Wiseguys

Last month, Bonanno capo John Palazzolo was charged with meeting with mobsters involved in an ugly dispute with a rival faction that seemed headed for violence. Another alleged problem was that several of the wiseguys at the conclave were on Palazzolo's Do Not Associate list – men he'd been ordered to steer clear of when he got out of prison. Palazzolo is slated to plead guilty today to violating that ban, but he's actually catching a break since that's the least serious of several post-prison restrictions the 77-year-old mobster was charged with violating.


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MAY 7, 2015

Tweets Not Bullets: Mob War In CyberSpace

John AliteJohn Alite says he's "almost embarrassed" for John A (Junior) Gotti by the bizarre online shenanigans that his son and others have been using to slam him on Facebook, YouTube, as well as in tweets, texts, emails and phone calls to radio stations. Enough! says Alite. He doesn't want to continue the "childish" sniping that began in January when the mob turncoat ripped Gotti as an insecure "cheap-shot artist" in Gotti's Rules, a book about the former partners-in-crime from Queens.

Then Alite, who promotes himself as a motivational speaker on his website, did just that, tossing an ominous-sounding threat into the angry inferno as well.

"There's not another gangster in the world who would do this," Alite told Gang Land in a rapid-fire rant in which he called Gotti a "coward" and a "terrible" father for letting his son cyber-stalk Alite. "He hates me so much that he puts his son in front of me?" he asked incredulously. "How does he know that I'm not going to be a killer again? He's ratcheting him up, putting a battery pack in him, getting him worked up. If he runs into me, God forbid, and he comes after me, and I kill this kid because of this nonsense he's telling him, what does he do then? What's wrong with him?"

Bobby GonzalezGonzo's Great Chin Gigante Story: If Only It Were True

Memo to former college basketball coach turned online columnist Bobby (Gonzo) Gonzalez: When you're going to relate an anecdote involving a legendary mob boss at a popular Manhattan restaurant, it's a good idea to make sure that the wiseguy was not dead or in prison at the time you're going to recall meeting up with him.

Thomas LeonardisGovernor Christie Keeps Waterfront Commission In New Jersey

It's back to the drawing board for the New Jersey Legislature, which voted overwhelmingly to kick the Waterfront Commission off the piers and loading docks in the ports in Newark and Elizabeth. This week, Governor Christie vetoed legislation that would have ousted the 62-year-old waterfront watchdog from the Garden State.


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May 14, 2015

Bronx Grand Jury Closing In On Suspected Killers Of Purple Gang Leader

Michael MeldishDetectives and FBI agents quietly arrested one – and possibly two – more suspects this week in the 2013 execution slaying of Michael Meldish, the leader of the Purple Gang, the notorious and deadly crew that controlled drug dealing in the Bronx and Harlem during the 1970s while associated with multiple mob families, Gang Land has learned.

Authorities now have several of the alleged killers of Meldish, who was 62 years old when he was slain, on ice while prosecutors push to obtain an indictment against them for the murder. Law enforcement sources identified the definite new suspect in the slaying as mob associate Christopher Londonio.

Londonio, 41, and his reputed mob superior, Bonanno soldier Pasquale (Patty Boy) Maiorino were arrested on federal gun charges Monday and ordered held without bail. The arrests follow a joint investigation by the NYPD, the FBI, and the offices of the Manhattan U.S. Attorney and the Bronx District Attorney. The federal charges stem from a state gun possession rap, filed against the defendants in November. The two men had been free on bail.

Franco FazioFeds Indict Calabrian Connection In Corona Cocaine Caper

It's been a roller coaster couple of months for Franco (The Ambassador) Fazio. In March, the feds said he was a possible rubout victim of Gregorio and Eleonora Gigliotti, mob-tied proprietors of a family-owned Italian restaurant and pizzeria in Corona, Queens where international cocaine trafficking was allegedly served a la carte. A son, Angelo Gigliotti, was also alleged to be part of the plot to do away with The Ambassador.

Robert StuartDA's Office Ups The Ante For Re-Trial Of Developer Of Sports Betting Software

When Gambino capo Joseph (Joe the Blond) Giordano died quietly of cancer in the fall of 2013 while serving a year for extortion, Manhattan prosecutors decided to use his death to their advantage at the re-trial of Robert Stuart, the developer of a sports betting software program whose first trial for promoting gambling had ended in a hung jury. They filed a new, expanded indictment against Stuart that includes bookmaking activity by Giordano and other mobsters.

Bobby GonzalezSheridan Hoops Takes Down Gonzo's Great Gigante Story

Chris Sheridan, who runs the much-read Sheridan Hoops Website, reports that former college hoops coach Bobby Gonzalez read last week's item about Chin Gigante in 2004, and "now thinks he must have confused Vincent Gigante with someone else" when he posted an anecdote about meeting Chin. "Bobby's a basketball coach, not a writer. He was only telling a colorful story from back in the day when Manhattan knocked off Florida. His post, and the tweet promoting the post, have been deleted."


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5/21/15

Joseph MastronardoClosing The Book On Philly's Gentleman Gambler

He ran one of the Philadelphia area's biggest and most sophisticated bookmaking operations.

When Joseph Mastronardo was on top of his game, his clients bet tens of thousands of dollars on a single "sporting event" and sometimes ran up six-figure debts before settling up.

Court documents show a money trail of several million dollars through banks in Sweden, Malta, Antiqua and Portugal.  And, of course, there was the $1.1 million in cash stuffed in PVC pipes and buried in the backyard of his Italianate mini-mansion in the Meadowbrook section of Huntingdon Valley, an upscale suburb of the City of Brotherly Love.

Angelo LutzReformed Mob Bookie Says Bernie Kerik's Got It Right

Onetime mob bookmaker Angelo Lutz has never had a lot of time for pompous law enforcement types. But the rotund gambling guru says disgraced former New York City Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik makes sense when he talks about second chances for convicted felons. Lutz, who did nearly eight years on a racketeering/gambling conviction, and Kerik, who did about half of that for tax fraud and other charges tied to his less than truthful story-telling to people in high places (he lied to officials at the White House) are both ex-cons. 

Joseph MerlinoSkinny Joey Heads Back To Florida With A TKO

Another former Philadelphia wiseguy turned restaurateur is back in business. Joseph (Skinny Joey) Merlino got an early release last month on a four-month sentence he was serving for a parole violation. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that federal authorities hadn't properly notified Merlino of his hearing for the violation back in September. The panel vacated the four-month sentence.


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