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MAY 28TH, 2015

Rival Mob Leaders Glad About Rubout Of Purple Gang Leader Michael Meldish

Michael MeldishOne longtime hoodlum is already charged with the murder of Michael Meldish, the notorious former leader of the Purple Gang who died classic gangland-style with a bullet to the head while seated in his own car. And law enforcement officials say a second suspect will soon be indicted for the crime by a Bronx grand jury. But there is no shortage of potential suspects in the slaying. They even include a pair of top mobsters, Gang Land has learned.

In the months before Meldish was whacked, powerful high-ranked wiseguys from two rival crime families – Michael (Mikey Nose) Mancuso and Matthew (Matty) Madonna – each voiced their fury about the murderous Bronx-based drug dealer who was murdered in 2013, according to court papers and knowledgeable Gang Land sources.

There is no evidence either of the veteran mobsters had anything to do with it. As former NYPD detective Joe Coffey said right after the murder, Meldish "was a stone-cold killer" with many enemies "in the mob" who were happy that he was dead. But sources say imprisoned Bonanno boss Mancuso, as well as reputed Luchese underboss Madonna, both vented their anger at Meldish and his ways in the 15 months before he was shot to death in front of his home in the Throgs Neck section of the Bronx on November 15, 2013 at the age of 62.

Franco LupoiWhew! Good Thing Smuggling Cocaine From Italy To Guyana Is Not A Crime

It's a good thing that the officials who worked up the Pre-Sentence Report for mob-connected drug dealer Franco Lupoi didn't send a copy of the PSR they prepared for him directly to him, rather than his lawyer. The 45-year-old Gambino associate already fired his first two lawyers for not meeting his high standards. And he was none too happy with what the third lawyer came up with – a plea deal calling for ten years behind bars. So there's no question that the drug-dealing  kingpin would have been climbing the walls of his cell at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn where Lupoi has been residing for the past 13 months if he'd seen it.

Nicholas Santora'Glorified Gambling Case' Has Bonannos Boxed In Behind Bars

State prosecutors in Manhattan are playing hardball with aging and ailing Bonanno capo Nicholas (Nicky Mouth) Santora and three mob underlings who were arrested on a state racketeering indictment nearly two years ago and have been detained ever since as they await trial on charges that carry maximum prison stints up to 25 years behind bars.


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6/4/15

Octogenarian Mobster In Lufthansa Heist Case Is One Of A Kind

Vincent AsaroBonanno capo Vincent Asaro has a lot of firsts on his Mafia resume. The 80-year-old Queens man is a third generation mobster, having followed his father and grandfather into the mob. He added yet another generation when he sponsored his son to be a "made man." He is also the only wiseguy ever charged with taking part in one of Gang Land's most famous crimes, the storied $6 million Lufthansa Airlines heist. A former heroin addict, Asaro kicked the habit "cold turkey" in the 1950s. He also kicked some ass. After a group of men abused his old man, he used his fists to pummel them, one at a time, while a cohort held the rest of the crowd at bay with a firearm.

Those are some of the high – or low – lights of Asaro's career according to a trio of federal prosecutors in Brooklyn, who want to keep him behind bars for how ever many years he has left. That's where he's been for the past 16 months as he awaits trial for the daring pre-dawn Kennedy Airport robbery in 1978, as well as for a 1969 murder.

Last week, prosecutors asked Judge Alynne Ross to let them use evidence about Asaro's "heroin use, illegal gambling and borrowing money" at his upcoming trial. They say that is "necessary to complete the story of the charged crimes" for the jurors who will have to decide whether Asaro is guilty of murder and a slew of other crimes in what they describe as a 45-year-long racketeering conspiracy.

Jason MasimoreGang Land's Prosecutors Of The Year Are Prosecutors Of The Month

Proving that Gang Land knows how to spot superior investigative talent, assistant U.S. attorneys Jason Masimore and Evan Norris, the two federal prosecutors we lauded as Prosecutor of the Year in 2013 and 2014 were both pretty busy this past month.

Francis GuerraBF Hopes Revised Drug Sentencing Guidelines Are Prescription For Relief

After serving nearly four years of an unusually heavy 14 year-prison term for selling some of his legally prescribed pain meds, longtime Colombo family associate Francis (BF) Guerra is hoping to get some relief from a change in the official U.S. sentencing guidelines that went into effect last year for federal drug convictions.


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JUNE 11, 2015

Genovese Wiseguy Anthony Pucciarello Cashes In His Chips

Anthony PucciarelloLongtime gambler and Genovese soldier Anthony (Muzzy) Pucciarello, who served for years as a lookout for his cousin, waterfront crime boss Tino Fiumara, cashed in his chips Sunday following a losing battle with heart disease and a myriad of other ailments. He was 80.

Pucciarello became Fiumara's New Jersey eyes and ears in 2005 when the powerhouse capo moved to Long Island following his release from prison for waterfront-related crimes. Muzzy was a member of Tino's "Lodi Crew" and was among the select group of pals who toasted Fiumara at a private birthday party in 2009, a year before his death.

A few months before Tino died, the Lodi Crew made a disastrous mistake when they shook down a longtime fixture in the private sanitation industry named Carmine Franco, only to learn later that they’d been stung by the FBI in what became known as the Papa Smurf garbage case.

Luigi GrassoAfter Back-To-Back Sentences Of 38 And 17 Years, Gangster Gets Set For Round 3

"Shoot me in the back!" mob associate Luigi Grasso blurted out several weeks ago when he heard the prosecutor tell the judge that the 47-year-old career criminal deserved the maximum sentence of more than 30 years for the weapons found in his Staten Island home.

Charles StangoCharlie The Hat Hangs Tough, But His Son Is Ready To Cop A Plea Deal

Charles (Charlie the Hat) Stango, the DeCavalcante capo who was snared by an undercover FBI agent in tape-recorded talks about murder plots and other mob mayhem during a three year long probe, is still hanging tough three months after his arrest. Not so his son and a handful of other defendants who have decided to cop plea deals in the case, Gang Land has learned.


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JULY 2, 2015


Brotherly Love, Mafia Style

John CerboneIt's no secret that triplets generally have an unusually close bond with each other. But the one that reputed Colombo wiseguy Giovanni (John) Cerbone has with his brother Joseph – who along with a third brother, Anthony, were born on Valentine's Day in 1972 – is beyond the pale of usual mob protocol.

A year ago, when Drug Enforcement Administration agents tried to subpoena John, he evaded service by claiming he was Joseph, a mob associate with loose ties to the Gambino family – and a fondness for bank burglaries. And when John, whose affiliation with the Colombos dates back to his alleged involvement in the crime family's bloody 1991-93 war, was arrested recently on drug charges, he had a driver's license that identified him as Joseph Cerbone. 

But John, who told the feds two weeks ago that he'd rather work out a plea deal than face up to 40 years behind bars for cocaine dealing and money laundering after he listened to DEA tapes tying him to drug sales to a wired-up snitch, will have to serve the prison time himself whenever he comes to an agreement with the feds. Cerbone allegedly sold the informer coke, marijuana, oxycodone and amphetamine.

Bartolomeo VernaceBobby Glasses Looks To Appeals Court For A Pass On The Shamrock Bar Murders

More than 34 years after John D'Agnese and Richard Godkin were shot to death over a spilled drink in a Queens bar, a federal appeals court has begun digesting more than 1000 pages of court papers with opposing views about whether wiseguy Bartolomeo (Bobby Glasses) Vernace killed both men as part of the Gambino crime family's regular course of business in April of 1981.

John MicaliTattoed Gangster Who Advocates Killing Cops Back Behind Bars

Gambino associate John Micali began his fourth stretch behind bars in 12 years last week when he was charged with violating his three years of post-prison supervised release following a two year stretch he got in 2010 for stealing a load of cell phones from the cargo area of Kennedy Airport.


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JULY 9, 2015

Mob Turncoat Fakes Cancer For Three Years; Then Chooses Death Over Prison

Edward CobbGenovese family gangster Edward Cobb did everything he could to avoid doing time. First, he double-crossed the mob, and helped the feds nail a powerful family capo, among others. Then he scammed the judge, the feds and even his own lawyer by manufacturing bogus medical evidence indicating he was dying of cancer. When the scam unraveled, Cobb, a former Naval Commander, came up with one last way to beat the rap: He leaped to his death from atop a roof-top garage.

"It was amazing how he was able to pull the wool over everybody's eyes," said one law enforcement official. "He forged signatures and created phony laboratory reports that passed muster with everyone," the official added.

Cobb, 58, was the second mob turncoat who wore a wire for the Newark FBI to commit suicide since 2012. Gambino soldier Nicholas (Nicky Skins) Stefanelli used a drug overdose to kill himself. Several law enforcement officials say that in hindsight, it appears that, unlike Stefanelli, who planned to take his own life at the outset and to never testify against the mob, Cobb most likely made his fatal decision years after he was arrested and agreed to cooperate in 2004.

Vincent AsaroWiseguy Asks Judge To Level The Playing Field In Lufthansa Heist Case

Vincent Asaro, the octogenarian Bonanno mobster charged with the storied Lufthansa heist, along with a murder and various other racketeering counts, says federal prosecutors are unfairly using courthouse exhibits about Goodfellas and the convictions of John Gotti and other mobsters in their efforts to send him to prison for the rest of his life.

Daniel PaganoReverend Al's Former Mob Supervisor Faces The Music For Bookmaking Tomorrow

Powerful Genovese capo Daniel (Danny) Pagano finds out the cost of his latest losing battle with the law tomorrow, when he is sentenced for overseeing a Rockland County-based bookmaking operation between 2009 and 2014. But no matter what, his sentence won't be as long as his last prison term. And hopefully, for Pagano's sake, the memories won't be as tragic.


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JULY 16, 2015

'Young Gun' Awaits Trial As Feds Name 10 Other Suspects In 2002 Mob Murder

Gennaro BrunoMob associate Gennaro (Jerry) Bruno should have just pleaded guilty and stayed behind bars in October 2001 when he was indicted on obstruction of justice charges. If he had, Bruno, a reputed graduate of a Gambino family farm team dubbed the Young Guns, would not be behind bars today, awaiting trial for the murder of Martin Bosshart, a drug dealer who was shot to death on January 2, 2002 in a desolate area near the Belt Parkway in Howard Beach, Queens.

Bruno eventually copped a five year plea deal in 2003, but until then, he was out on bail, friends and family having posted bond for him.  

As a result, having both alleged motive and opportunity, Bruno eventually became the top suspect in the Bosshart murder and was arrested and detained without bail on murder and racketeering charges back in October. He is due to go to trial for the killing in March.

Lufthansa HeistNew Book: Accused Bonanno Capo Had Nothing To Do With Lufthansa Heist; Gotti Did

Daniel Simone, co-author of the latest book about the Lufthansa Airlines robbery, says late Mafia boss John Gotti played a key role in the storied heist and that Bonanno capo Vincent Asaro had nothing to do with it. Simone also says he has provided "shocking information" that backs up his contention to Asaro's defense team, and he is putting together important material designed to trap the prosecution's key witness on the witness stand.

Anthony MoscatielloHe Survived Record-Setting Gotti Expletive-Not-Deleted Rant; Jury Says He's Guilty Of Murder

Anthony (Big Tony) Moscatiello, a longtime Gambino associate and a former member of John Gotti's old crew who took part in one of the Dapper Don's most memorable tape recorded discussions back in 1982, made the big time when he moved to Florida. Today he's in the Big House and unlikely to ever get out.


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JULY 23, 2015

Mob's Phone Sex King Back On The Streets, $14 Million Poorer

Richard MartinoRichard (Richie From The Bronx) Martino, who masterminded phone sex, internet porn and "telephone cramming" scams that likely earned more cash for the Gambino crime family than anyone else, is back on the streets after spending nine years behind bars. And according to well-informed sources Martino, who ran a massive,18-year-long $650 million consumer fraud scheme, is again quietly earning a living as a wiseguy.

Before he went to prison in 2006, Martino forfeited $14.3 million of a $14.9 million judgment. Since then, he's anted up another $339,000. He's also still on the hook for two more years of post-prison supervised release restrictions. But usually reliable Gang Land sources say Martino, 55, is now in a crew headed by acting capo Andrew (Sonny) Campos, 46, who was a codefendant in their 2004 indictment.

"He's flying under the radar these days but he's back with the same guys he was with when they were all riding high," said one source.

Charles HughesPreet's Team Still Hiding Sex Predator Charges Against FBI Informer In Mob Garbage Case

When Charles Hughes was arrested in 2008 on charges of soliciting sex with a minor, the feds were more than happy to cut a deal with him. All he had to do was plead guilty and wear a wire against the mob. The resulting sting operation resulted in labor racketeering charges against 29 defendants in the waste hauling industry and a major announcement by Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara hailing the case as another crippling blow against the Mafia.

Angelo GigliottiSon In Family Coke Smuggling Case Catches A Bail Break

The family restaurant is already kaput. But accused drug dealer Angelo Gigliotti may be able to rescue his construction company, which has been struggling since he was detained without bail when he, his mom and dad were busted by the feds in March for running a mob-linked cocaine smuggling operation out of a Corona Queens restaurant that his parents owned.


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AUGUST 6, 2015

Mob Busting Detective Checks Out; His Smile And His Work Live On

Douglas LeVienHe was undercover in Midtown Manhattan meeting a powerful Sicilian drug dealer with ties to mobsters in Italy and the U.S. When lunch was over, he wanted the gangster to figure out for himself that he was really rich, so he asked whether he could drop him off on the Upper West Side. "No big deal," he added, "Don't have my car, but I can grab a cab if you can't."

"No problem," replied Vincenzo (Enzo) Napoli, whose scams ranged from bulk heroin sales to stolen bonds, and who was surely interested in finding out where he was going. As directed, Napoli dropped off his luncheon companion at the 79th Street Boat Basin and watched. He watched the solidly-built, dapperly-dressed man step aboard a sleek, 50-foot yacht that was docked there, then turn and give Napoli a thumbs up "thank you" as the boat motored north toward the George Washington Bridge.

"I knew I had him then," smiled NYPD Detective Douglas LeVien Jr. as he related that story to me more than 25 years ago. LeVien, a hard-scrabble kid from Brooklyn who overcame a nagging stutter to become an extraordinary undercover detective – as well as a very effective investigator – died of a suspected heart attack last week. He was laid to rest yesterday. He was 68.

Joon KimFive Weeks Later, Preet Makes It Official: His New Chief Deputy Is Joon H. Kim

This week, in a dry official notice, the Manhattan U.S. Attorney's office noted on its website that former mob prosecutor Joon H. Kim has been elevated to Deputy U.S. Attorney. But in June, when Preet Bharara announced the appointment of his longtime friend as his second-in-command at a gathering of Asian-American lawyers, he had a joke to go with it.

Anthony BasileFacing Life For Murder, Bonanno Gangster Gets A Surprise My Blue Heaven Sentence

Speaking of movies, mob associate Anthony Basile, who was convicted nine years ago of taking part in the gruesome1992 murder of a New York Post delivery foreman, is getting a free ticket to My Blue Heaven.


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August 13, 2015

This Week in Gang Land

Gambino Associate Hospitalized After Brutal Prison Assault

Albert CrisciA brutal jailhouse beating doled out last month by a passel of imprisoned mobsters has left a 41-year-old Gambino crime family associate hospitalized and in danger of losing an eye.

The attack on Albert (Albee) Crisci took place on July 14 at the federal prison in Fairton, New Jersey, a medium security facility that houses more than 1200 inmates about 50 miles south of Philadelphia.

Sources tell Gang Land that Crisci suffered head trauma and the possible loss of an eye in what prison officials believe was a planned attack in a prison yard during a regular morning recreation period: "It was not a spontaneous fight between two inmates," said one law enforcement official. "It was a brutal assault by a bunch of inmates and it took place in a blind spot without any video camera coverage," said the official, adding that the motive for the assault was still unclear.

John RiggiReal Sopranos Boss John Riggi Cashes In His Chips

Mafia boss John Riggi was 78 years old when he made a bet with the Grim Reaper that he would live to walk out of prison after serving a ten year stretch for a mob hit. Riggi won the bet, and strolled through the prison gates in 2012. He went on to spend three years at home with his seven children, 13 grand kids, and 13 great-grandchildren. He even took care of some business in his other "family" – the so-called Real Sopranos, New Jersey's DeCavalcante outfit.

Michael PersicoThree Years Later, Sentencing Of Mob Prince Michael Perisco Is About To Begin

More than three years after Michael Persico, the businessman-son of Colombo boss Carmine (Junior) Perisco copped a sweet plea deal – one that is the envy of wiseguys everywhere – the sentencing of the mob prince is set to begin Tuesday.


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AUGUST 21, 2015

Gambino Family's New Boss: A Brooklyn-Born Wiseguy With Ties To Sicily

Frank CaliFour years after the Gambino family severed its last ties to the John Gotti era by choosing a member of its Sicilian faction to lead it, the borghata has again reaffirmed its move away from the Dapper Don's swashbuckling leadership style. In its most recent election, family leaders have tapped a Brooklyn-born wiseguy with strong ties to Sicily, a mobster with a decidedly "old-school" mentality as its acting boss.

According to sources on both sides of the law, underboss Frank Cali, long viewed by the feds as a rising star in the crime family, has replaced Domenico (Italian Dom) Cefalu as the wiseguy quietly calling the shots for the Gambinos. Gotti clan elder Peter Gotti, 75, who is cooling his heels at a federal prison in Lisbon, Ohio, is still the "official boss." But it's in name only. All agree that the former New York city sanitation worker has no say in the crime family's business.

"It's really no surprise," said one of three law enforcement sources who credited the 50-year-old Cali as the reigning Gambino crime family godfather. "We recognized him as an up and comer when he began showing up at clubs in the late 80s, when he was still in his 20s."

Alexander DalessioAlexander Dalessio, A 'Bookmaking Legend,' Checks Out, at Age 101

One of New York's oldest wiseguys, Alexander (Pope) Dalessio, a successful veteran mobster who maintained a low profile while prospering with a wide range of rackets, died last month in his home borough of Staten Island. He was 101.

 

Dino SaracinoAppeals Court: Judge's 50 Year Sentence Trumps Jury's Not Guilty Verdicts

A federal appeals court took less than two pages of a 26-page ruling to rubber stamp a 50-year prison term given to Colombo soldier Dino (Little Dino) Saracino. What makes the decision Gang Land noteworthy is that Saracino was acquitted of the three murders cited by Brooklyn Federal Judge Brian Cogan in imposing sentence. Cogan also cited a fourth mob hit, one that Saracino wasn't even accused of: the 1993 slaying of rival mobster Joseph Scopo.


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AUGUST 27, 2015

Feds: Wife's Suspected Mob Wives Role Led To Jailed Hubby's Brutal Beating

Albert CrisciMore than five years later, Mob Wives, that offbeat, occasionally raunchy, so-called cable TV reality show featuring much on-air yelling and screaming by mob-connected women with big hair and big mouths, still packs a powerful punch – literally.

The FBI and federal prosecutors are investigating an allegation that Gambino associate Albert (Albee) Crisci was beaten nearly to death at a New Jersey federal prison last month by mob-connected fellow inmates after rumors spread that Crisci's wife had accepted a role in the upcoming Season Six of Mob Wives.

Sources tell Gang Land that authorities suspect that Crisci was attacked by mobsters who believed that Danielle Crisci, who is separated from the imprisoned 41-year-old gangster, was one of two new women who were added to the cast for the coming season. Crisci suffered severe, life-threatening injuries in a brutal assault that took place in a prison recreation area at the Fairton, N.J. federal prison on July 14.

Anthony StangoReal Soprano Cops Plea Deal To Sex, Drugs And Weapons Charges

Mob associate Anthony (Whitey) Stango pleaded guilty in Newark Federal Court last week to selling about $75,000 worth of cocaine to FBI agents, and planning to open a top-shelf prostitution business for high-rollers in Toms River on the Jersey Shore. He also admitted the illegal ownership of an H&R Pardner 12-gauge shotgun five years ago.

Domenico CefaluNew Acting Gambino Acting Boss Is Same As The Old Acting Boss, Dueling Souces Say

Last week's Gang Land announcement that the Gambino crime family has settled on a new boss – Frank Cali, a low profile, old-school member of the family's Sicilian wing – brought vigorous disagreement from other knowledgeable sources.


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September 3, 2015


NYC Pays $18.4 Million For 'Mafia Cops' Murders After Judge Rips NYPD

Judge Raymond DearieThe city of New York will pay $18.4 million to families of seven men murdered by the notorious Mafia Cops, ex-detectives Lou Eppolito and Steve Caracappa who killed for the mob. But more stinging than the mammoth payout is the torrent of tough words from a federal judge who ripped the city's former top cops for allowing Eppolito to keep his badge, even after he was "caught red-handed" passing NYPD records to an indicted Gambino family mobster.

In a scathing 40-page opinion that led to the decision to settle the wrongful death claims, Brooklyn Federal Judge Raymond Dearie tore into former police commissioner Ben Ward and  every police official who had a hand in not firing Eppolito for corrupt activities back in 1983, despite "overwhelming evidence" of his guilt.

A "jury could reasonably conclude that Ward and other high-police officials were deliberately indifferent to (a) widespread and persistent practice of tolerating police corruption" so the NYPD could "avoid bad press," wrote Dearie. As a result, the judge stated, the city was liable for the deaths of seven murder victims from 1986 to 1991.

Jimmy HydellAll Men May Be Created Equal But Dying Is Another Story

The Declaration of Independence states that "all men are created equal." Maybe so, but in Gang Land, they don't die that way.

Take the wrongful death cases of seven men slain because two rogue NYPD detectives sold their guns and souls to the mob. Settlements reached by families of the victims clearly illustrate that when it comes to shelling out the reparations payments, there's a lot of inequality out there. The death of an eighth victim, whose family never sought compensation, is even more tragic.

Joseph Chilli IIIFinally, Joe Chilli Makes It Home For Sunday Dinner With Mom

This past Sunday, Joe Chilli finally got to have a traditional Sunday dinner at home with his mother, Rose. He'd been gone a long time from the family table and there were many empty places there. Rose Chilli, 81, an elderly Staten Island widow, also lost a daughter and a son over the years. Joe – Joseph Chilli III, 59, a Bonanno soldier – had been absent as well for more than a quarter-century, unavoidably detained in various state and federal facilities due to his mob activities.


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SEPTEMBER 10TH, 2015

Drug Dealing Cohort Of Vinny Gorgeous Gets Out From Under His Life Sentence

Vincent BascianoA former drug dealer who helped flood the streets of New York with the notorious Blue Thunder heroin brand in the late 1980s has pulled off a Gang Land rarity: Despite being hammered with a life sentence, he's likely to walk out of prison next year.

Ralph Rivera, who was convicted of being a partner with the imprisoned-for-life former acting Bonanno crime family boss Vincent (Vinny Gorgeous) Basciano in the vast heroin scheme, had his sentence cut last week from life without parole to 30 years.

The sentence reduction, which came in an unannounced one-page ruling by Manhattan Federal Court Chief Judge Loretta Preska, means Rivera, 52, will be released in about 18 months, based on the usual good time reductions that all inmates receive from the Bureau of Prisons.

Dominick DiNapoliWaterfront Commission Throws Crane Operator Off The Docks

Dominick DiNapoli, a longshoreman whose perjury rap for lying about meetings he had with a childhood gangster friend was thrown out by a trial judge last year was kicked off the waterfront last week for associating with a mob associate pal at the heart of his initial conviction.

Angelo GigliottiSon Hopes Today's The Day He Can Leave His Mom And Dad And Go Home To His Wide And Kids

It's put up or shut up time for Angelo Gigliotti today in Brooklyn Federal Court. Judge Raymond Dearie, who said back on July 22 that he was "prepared to consider" releasing the accused drug dealer under "strict home confinement" on a hefty $4.6 bond package, has called the question for today, at high noon.


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SEPTEMBER 17, 2015


Mafia Boss Carmine Persico, A 'Prisoner Of War' For 30 Years, Wants To Go Home

Carmine PersicoAmerica's Mayor Rudy Giuliani has often championed the historic Mafia Commission case, which saw Colombo boss Carmine (Junior) Persico convicted and sentenced to 100 years for being part of a racketeering conspiracy that ordered the storied murder of Carmine (Lilo) Galante at Joe and Mary's Italian American Restaurant on July 29, 1979. This summer, Giuliani recalled his 30-year-old success in an eight-part cable TV special, The Making of the Mob: New York.

But 27 FBI informant reports from the 1970s and 80s that have come to light since then show that other mobsters led the family after Joe Colombo was shot down in 1971, and that Persico didn't take over and become a Commission member until 1980, according to court papers that seek to "set aside" Persico's sentence as an "illegal" consequence of "an unjust crusade against him" by then-U.S. Attorney Giuliani.

In a 71-page legal brief accompanied by 44 exhibits, an attorney for Persico charges that Giuliani and former FBI agent Lin DeVecchio were the key culprits is securing his conviction and a 100 year sentence even though he was "innocent of the pivotal allegation" in the case: That he was the Colombo family boss and a Mafia Commission member from 1972 to 1985.

Frank LocascioFrankie Loc Takes His Quest For Freedom To The Nation's Capital

As it happens, Carmine Persico is not the only 82-year-old New York mobster serving life in a federal prison hospital who is looking to the courts in his quest for freedom.

 

Glenn LaChanceGuilty Pleas Wrap Up Latest Corruption Case Involving Mob Tarred Newspaper Drivers Union

Newspaper truck driver Glenn LaChance loved and emulated his late father Doug, a fellow driver and twice-elected president of the Newspaper Mail Deliverers Union. Last week the son followed one step further in his dad's footsteps when he too became a convicted labor racketeer.


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October 1st, 2015

The $6 Million Lufthansa Airlines Robbery — The First Time Around

Louis WernerToday, a week before Bonanno capo Vincent Asaro goes to trial for the $6 million Lufthansa Airlines robbery, Ed McDonald, the former federal prosecutor who sponsored Henry Hill into the Witness Protection Program and who played himself in GoodFellas, the movie classic about the storied Lufthansa Heist, recalls the investigation that began the morning of December 11, 1978, when he got to his desk at the Organized Crime Strike Force in Brooklyn, where he was a deputy chief, and his late boss and friend, Tom Puccio, assigned him to work with the FBI on the case. In this special Gang Land report, McDonald, now a partner at Dechert LLP, details how the feds arrested, tried and convicted the heist's "inside man," a hapless Lufthansa cargo worker named Louis Werner, and how the feds eventually sunk the legendary gangster who orchestrated the robbery, Jimmy the Gent Burke, for fixing basketball games and the murder of a drug dealer.

Edward McDonaldWhen I got to work that morning, several hours after gunmen made off with five million dollars in cash and approximately a million dollars in jewelry, FBI and NYPD informants had already reported in. A few speculated that it had to have been the work of a crew run by John Gotti, but by the next day, Gotti, whom I had never heard of, had been eliminated from suspicion. The informants were unanimous: it had been James (Jimmy the Gent) Burke, a legendary Irish gangster associated with Paul Vario, one of the leaders of the Luchese crime family. The informants were certain: even though Burke was still housed in a federal halfway facility in Manhattan, he had somehow been tipped off by a Lufthansa employee and had organized the crew that executed the robbery. 

The FBI promptly divided the investigation into two parts. The lion's share of agents was devoted to the Burke crew, but others were assigned to identify the "inside man" and gather evidence of his complicity. By May 1979, Lou Werner would be identified, indicted, tried, and convicted – and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Here's how it happened. 

Henry Hill-Ray LiottaBrooklyn Tough Guy Iced Henry Hill Out Of The Lufthansa Heist

Just as the scene is depicted in GoodFellas, Henry Hill couldn't believe his ears when he heard on 1010 WINS while he was taking a shower that a team of gunmen had gotten away with $6 million in cash and jewels in a daring robbery of the Lufthansa Airlines cargo vault earlier that morning.

James BurkeGetting Jimmy The Gent For Fixing College Basketball Games Was A Big Gamble

We were never able to charge James (Jimmy the Gent) Burke with the Lufthansa Airlines robbery or any of the murders in its aftermath. But the long federal investigation of the nation's largest robbery did in fact lead to Burke's demise – with more than a little help from Henry Hill. 


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October 9, 2015

Judge Gives Two Thumbs Down To GoodFellas Murders At Lufthansa Trial

Vincent Asaro

They should have just said they wanted to screen the movie in the courtroom.

Federal prosecutors seeking to nail an aging Bonanno wiseguy in a racketeering conspiracy case stemming from the Lufthansa Airlines robbery wanted to detail the gory murders committed by James (Jimmy the Gent) Burke and graphically depicted in GoodFellas, the film about the legendary $6 million heist. So they asked the judge for permission.

But Brooklyn Federal Judge Allyne Ross yesterday said that was a little much. In a 20-page ruling, Ross shot down prosecutors' request to tell the jury in the upcoming trial of Bonanno capo Vincent Asaro about several killings that Burke ordered in the wake of the robbery in an effort to thwart an ongoing federal probe.

Franco LupoiJudge Stings Mob-Connected Drug Kingpin With 13-Year Sentence

Brooklyn Federal Judge Sterling Johnson, a former narcotics prosecutor, made it pretty clear at the recent sentencing of Gambino associate Franco Lupoi that the kingpins of lucrative mob-connected international drug rings — unlike cohorts who launder their illegal profits — should expect very little sympathy if they end up before him on sentencing day.

Joseph CoffeyLegendary Mob-Busting Detective Joe Coffey Checks Out

Joseph Coffey, a colorful, outspoken cop whose dogged detective work helped bring down some of the biggest players in the New York Mafia, died last week from complications from heart disease and lung cancer. He was 77.


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October 15, 2015

Judge Rips Brooklyn U.S. Attorney's Office For Issuing Unlawful Subpoenas

Judge Raymond DearieA federal judge strongly criticized the Brooklyn U.S. Attorney's office last week for issuing an unlawful gag order to witnesses during its investigation of the mob-linked owners of an Italian restaurant charged with using their Corona, Queens-based eatery to smuggle millions of dollars of cocaine into the U.S. from Costa Rica. The gag order was in stern language appended to grand jury subpoenas ordering recipients not to disclose the existence of the subpoenas to anyone.

Brooklyn Judge Raymond Dearie ripped the prosecutors' office he headed back in the mid-1980s at a pre-trial session after a defense lawyer stated that for at least nine years prosecutors have been erroneously and illegally informing witnesses that they are not permitted to discuss any grand jury subpoenas that they receive.

Dearie told the U.S. Attorney's office he wanted a report on how long prosecutors have been issuing such "improper" subpoenas and what the office has done to correct the practice.

Gennaro BrunoJudge Says 'Yeah' To FBI Tape In Murder Case

Interpreting mob talk has always been a fine art. Witness the education famed undercover agent Joe Pistone had to provide his puzzled FBI colleagues regarding the various meanings of "Fuhgedaboutit," as depicted by Johnny Depp in the movie Donnie Brasco.

Vincent AsaroLadies Day At The Lufthansa Trial

As the judge and the opposing lawyers discussed the questionnaires that were filled out by 300 potential jurors for the jury selection process that begins today for the 2015 version of the Lufthansa Airlines robbery trial, the scene in Brooklyn Federal Court yesterday was the most unusual of any mob trial that Gang Land has ever written about.


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October 22nd, 2015

Feds Look To Put Genovese Gangster Where He Says He Belongs: In Jail

Michael PalazzoloIf the goal of the federal prison system is to rehabilitate, it failed miserably when it came to Michael (Mikey P) Palazzolo. Indeed, it only made him nastier, according to federal prosecutors.

After serving nearly 11 years behind bars for being part of a gang that kidnapped, tortured, and murdered drug dealers, Palazzolo liked to boast that he still "belonged in jail." And as an enforcer for the Genovese crime family, he went right on threatening to "break the face" of those who owed him money, according to court filings by the Manhattan U.S. Attorney's office.

When a former girlfriend called him a "rat for even speaking" to an FBI agent who contacted Mikey P after he had been badly beaten in a barroom brawl , Palazzolo allegedly enlisted three mob cronies to throw her a beating, according to prosecution filings last week.

Gaspare ValentiTurnocat Shines Light On Lufthansa Heist; Turns Out The Lights For Mob Capo

He's still on the witness stand, and the trial is far from over, but a slight, unlikely-looking, longtime mob associate has shined a bright new light on the storied 1978 Lufthansa Airlines robbery. At the same time, key government witness Gaspare (Gary) Valenti seems to have turned out the lights on the defendant, his 80-year-old cousin, Bonanno capo Vincent Asaro.

Vincent AsaroFeds Hold Back Pro-Defense Info About Murder Charge Until Jury Selection

In 2012, a year before the remains of murder victim Paul Katz were unearthed, his son Lawrence told the FBI's Lufthansa case agents that two FBI agents had told him and his late mother years ago that James Burke and a mob hitman who had since died – not Vincent Asaro – were suspects in his father's murder, according to court papers filed this week by defense lawyers.


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Government To Turncoat Mob Boss: Stay Home, We Don't Need You At Lufthansa Trial

Vincent AsaroThey have diametrically opposite hopes about the outcome, but Bonanno capo Vincent Asaro and the government seem to have the same view about the way the Lufthansa Airlines robbery trial has gone so far: Very well for the government, and very badly for Asaro.

Asaro, as you might expect, hasn't been a happy camper from day one. But he has gotten more surly and increasingly agitated and irritated at his lawyers over the last two weeks as he's heard and seen scads of evidence against him, including testimony, pictures and 30-year-old surveillance reports that seem to back up the prosecution testimony by Asaro's cousin, Gaspare (Gary) Valenti.

Yesterday, Asaro got first-hand proof that the government thinks it's doing well. Prosecutors had turncoat Mafia boss Joseph Massino cued up and ready to corroborate testimony by Valenti and three other witnesses about Asaro's involvement in the storied heist and numerous other crimes. But they decided they didn't need Massino after all and the government rested without calling him to the stand.

Michael PalazzoloBig-Muscled Gangster Earns An Extra Year Or Two In Prison

In just five more days, Genovese gangster Michael (Mikey P) Palazzolo will be back behind bars in a federal prison – where both he and federal prosecutors in Manhattan agree he belongs.

Carmine PersicoMafia Boss Wants Feds To Correct Their False Version Of Mob History, And Send Him Home

The father longs for a speedy longshot judicial ruling that will free him after 30 years behind bars. The son hopes that the judge in his own case continues to take all the time she needs, and then some, before deciding how much time he should spend in prison for loansharking.


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November 12th, 2015

A Mob Family Feuds As Granddaughter Accuses Grandma Of Hijacking Dad's Will

Dina Marie Cacace And Grandpa CacaceHer only connection to the mob is that she was once married to a top gangster. But a 73-year-old Long Island grandma is being accused by her own granddaughter of pulling a "bust-out" like stunt that would make most Mafia Dons proud.

Dina Marie Cacace, 18, claims in court filings that her grandmother – the ex-wife of imprisoned Colombo consigliere Joel (Joe Waverly) Cacace – is scheming to hijack the $400,000 estate of her late father, Joel (JoJo) Cacace Jr., who died of a heart attack at age 44 on New Year's Day.

The teenager is contesting what her grandma, VitaRose Cacace, asserts is the "last will and testament" of Dina Marie's dad. The will, dated less than three months before Joel Jr. died suddenly, names his daughter as sole beneficiary. But it puts the assets in a trust controlled by VitaRose for years, with the granddaughter not gaining full access until she is 31. In the meantime, any investments and related expenses are in grandma's hands. The will also has a poison pill provision that smacks more of white collar-style crime than the Mafia: It precludes Dina Marie from inheriting anything if she files, and loses, a legal challenge to the will.

Matthw MadonnaFeds Zero In On Top Wiseguy For Murder Of Purple Gang Leader

The FBI and Manhattan U.S. Attorney's office have linked a top Luchese crime family gangster to the murder of Purple Gang leader Michael Meldish as part of an ongoing probe of the 2013 gangland-style slaying, Gang Land has learned.

 

Michael PalazzoloMikey P Was Not My Boyfriend!

With jurors in the early stages of their deliberations regarding the fate of Bonanno capo Vincent Asaro, Gang Land takes a break from the Lufthansa Airlines robbery trial to update last week's report about Genovese gangster Michael (Mike P) Palazzolo, who is back where he and the feds say he belongs today – behind bars.

 


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November 19, 2015

Jury Had Plenty Of Evidence To Convict Asaro Of Storied Lufthansa Heist

Vincent AsaroNo matter what you may have heard or read elsewhere, jurors had plenty of evidence – much more than they needed – to convict Bonanno capo Vincent Asaro of the $6 million Lufthansa Airlines robbery. The stunning acquittal shocked everyone, including Asaro, who morphed from the grouchy curmudgeon he was both in court and on the FBI's tapes, into a quick-witted, engaging funnyman when he walked out of court last week, tasting free fresh air for the first time in 22 months.

Like the losing prosecution team, the six men and six women jurors all slinked away from Brooklyn Federal Court without talking to news reporters, so we have no real insight about their reasoning. But all 12 had to have been either distracted or day dreaming at the trial in order to acquit Asaro in less than two days of deliberations, especially given the unchallenged testimony offered by two old Queens denizens a week or so after the key government witness testified.

This is not to say that the prosecution team, headed by Nicole Argentieri, the deputy chief of the U.S. Attorney's organized crime unit, shouldn't be blamed for the truly spectacular loss. She chose the jury, was the case's key strategist, and gave the all-important rebuttal summation. Argentieri, and U.S Attorney Robert Capers, who showed up to hear the verdict, would surely have hung around to talk about it if it had gone their way.

Anthony Rotondo'Real Soprano' Turncoat Gets 'Time Served' Reward

Anthony Rotondo, a college educated wiseguy from Brooklyn who rose in the ranks of the so-called "Real Sopranos" crime family and enjoyed watching James Gandolfini depict the TV version on HBO, was quietly rewarded last week for spilling his guts about real life murder and mayhem that he and his mob cohorts engaged in over the years.

Peter LovaglioMob Capo Arrested For Staten Island Sushi Lounge Assault

Bonanno capo Peter Lovaglio was arrested last week and charged with blinding the owner of an upscale Staten Island sushi lounge in one of his eyes by smashing him in the face with a cocktail glass. But the wiseguy's lawyer says his client was only defending himself from an assault by the inebriated restaurant owner – a former NYPD detective.


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It's A Happy Thanksgiving For Vinny Asaro, But Not For The Family Of Paul Katz

Vincent AsaroIt's a pretty safe bet that Bonanno capo Vincent Asaro will enjoy Thanksgiving Day today, whether or not he celebrates like most Americans with a traditional turkey dinner with stuffing and all the usual trimmings. No matter what, it will taste much better than the meal he had last Thanksgiving at the Metropolitan Detention Center.

It's also a safe bet that Lawrence Katz, his sister Ilsa, their siblings and their families won't be quite as joyous or thankful as Asaro on this Thanksgiving Day, knowing that he was acquitted of the brutal 46-year-old murder of their father Paul, some of whose remains were unearthed by the FBI back on June 17, 2013.

What's less clear is how the 12 jurors at Asaro's trial will celebrate our great American holiday now that Asaro has stated loudly and clearly that he was "shocked" by his good fortune. It also remain unclear how the jury managed to acquit the Bonanno capo on a slew of complicated charges in less than two days of deliberations. In those few hours, jurors managed to dispatch with the 1978 $6 million Lufthansa Airlines robbery, Katz's 1969 slaying, a racketeering conspiracy charge with 13 separate crimes called predicate acts, and two extortion counts included in the indictment.

Francis GuerraJudge Eases BF's Pain Before Bowing Out Of Michael Persico Case

Last week, after considering the issue for two months, Brooklyn Federal Judge Sandra Townes reduced the unusually stiff 14-year prison term she gave mob associate Francis (BF) Guerra for selling some of his legally prescribed pain medications by nearly three years.

Angelo GigliottiFeds Blame Support Staff For Unlawful Subpoenas; Defense Lawyer Doesn't Buy It

The Brooklyn U.S. Attorney's Office admits issuing three unlawful subpoenas in its probe of a family-run Queens drug ring but insists that the offending subpoenas were "finalized by support staff" and issued by mistake. But a defense attorney says the claim "is not credible" and wants a hearing where the error-prone members of the support staff can explain their remarkable foul-up under oath.


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Dec 3, 2015

Michael Generoso, Top Genovese Wiseguy Who Passed Lie Tests To Refute Murder Charge, Dead at 97

Michael GenerosoMichael (Mickey Dimino) Generoso, who followed his father into the mob and who rose to acting Genovese underboss when boss Vincent (Chin) Gigante wanted a well-respected, low key wiseguy to help guide the crime family during the turbulent 1990s, served both his families well during a rich and long life that ended last week at the ripe old age of 97.

The promotion to underboss thrust him into the limelight. But it also placed him in harm's way, legally speaking. In 1996, he was hit for the first time with racketeering charges along with18 other defendants. A year later, he made mob history of a sort by taking and passing three lie detector tests – along with acting boss Liborio (Barney) Bellomo – to refute a murder charge in the indictment.

A major player in New York's multimillion dollar a year funeral industry for decades, Generoso was mourned and praised by scores of relatives, friends and fellow wiseguys at a fitting but respectful day-long viewing at the Brooklyn funeral parlor he's been financially involved with for decades, according to reliable sources and the one family member who spoke to Gang Land.

Pasquale StisoDisbarred Mob Lawyer Passes Up Sweet Plea Deal; Guilty Of $3.5 Million Fraud

As a onetime associate of high-powered Genovese family mobsters including acting boss Barney Bellomo – and as a convicted and disbarred mob lawyer with a seven year federal prison bid behind him – Pasquale (Pat) Stiso should have known better than to reject a plea deal and a likely sentence of probation for his involvement in a $3.5 million fraud scheme.

Joseph GiordanoProsecutors To Use Voice Of Deceased Capo At Upcoming Gambling Trial

Gambino capo Joseph (Joe The Blond) Giordano has been dead since 2013 when he succumbed to cancer behind bars. But prosecutors plan to use his voice to try to convict a family soldier and the creators of an online sports betting program of gambling and money laundering charges.


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'Just A Gambling Case,' Says Angry Luchese Wiseguy

Joseph PernaAs the state of New Jersey wages a fierce court battle trying to win judicial approval for Atlantic City casinos to make book on sporting events, an outspoken Luchese mobster raised his voice to Gang Land about the downright nasty way the same Garden State has treated him and his friends over their love of gambling.

In an angry phone call that was part rant and part argument for fairness in media coverage, Joseph Perna said neither he nor any of his co-defendants had gotten a fair shake from the state or the media before, during and after they entered guilty pleas in a high profile but slow moving New Jersey racketeering case dubbed "Operation Heat."

"This was just a gambling case, but they tried to make it more," the 45-year-old Luchese wiseguy said about the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice and the sycophantic media that provided screaming headlines for the investigation that began in 2007.

Nicodemo S. ScarfoScarfo Jr. Gets 30 Years in FirstPlus Scam

Young Nicky Scarfo has more to worry about than whether he will plead out or go to trial in the Morris County Operation Heat case. The mob scion was sentenced to 30 years in prison by a federal judge in Camden this summer after being convicted of racketeering and fraud along with three co-defendants.

Joseph MerlinoThe Big Philly Question: 'Who's The Big Joe'?

Is it Joseph (Skinny Joey) Merlino, who says he's a restaurateur and happily living in Florida? How about Joseph (Uncle Joe) Ligambi, who escaped two federal racketeering trials, and is said to be enjoying his retirement? Or maybe Joseph (Chickie) Ciancaglini, recently released from prison after doing a 25-year bit for racketeering, who says he's enjoying his freedom and is not interested in the old life?


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12/17/2015

Jailed Gambino Gangster: Turncoat's Secret Deal Robbed Me Of A Fair Trial

Edmund BoyleHe's already done his time – nine long years – for a racketeering conviction that included a slew of bank heists. But mob associate Edmund (Eddie) Boyle has filed an intriguing motion to set aside his conviction on the grounds that a key government witness lied about a "secret sentencing deal" for his cooperation that he had with a top federal prosecutor in Brooklyn.

Ironically, the key evidence Boyle cites in his court papers comes from Gary Villanueva, a noted defense lawyer on a panel of attorneys chosen by Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson to probe scores of suspected wrongful state murder convictions in the borough of churches – a review that so far has led to the reversal of 14 guilty verdicts from 1987 through the year 2000.

Adding to the irony is that Villanueva isn't on Boyle's side. He represents Gerard (Skeevy) Bellafiore – a controversial mob turncoat who is the linchpin of Boyle's claim. He alleges that prosecutors knowingly allowed Bellafiore to lie about a deal he had with then-assistant U.S. attorney Greg Andres for a specific prison term when he took the stand at Boyle's 2005 trial.

Charles HughesSex-With-Minor Charges Against FBI Mob Informer Still Sealed After All These Years

Lawyers for Charles Hughes, the troubled informer who agreed to work undercover in an FBI investigation of the mob-linked waste hauling industry after he was arrested for soliciting sex with a minor, are slated to explain to a federal appeals court today why the seven year old records of Hughes's arrest and conviction should remain sealed.

Carmine AvellinoLuchese Wiseguy Looks To Arrest Of Suffolk County Police Chief For Help

Citing last week's arrest of Police Chief James Burke as evidence of "rampant corruption" in Suffolk County law enforcement, an attorney for Luchese mobster Carmine Avellino wants the 2010 arrest records of two former cops who were hit with corruption charges at the same time Burke was "supervising" the investigation that led to Avellino's indictment.


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DEC 31, 2015

2015 Year-In-Review: More Mob Violence Behind Bars Than On The Streets

Charles StangoThirty years after the spectacular December 16, 1985 assassination of Mafia Boss Paul (Big Paul) Castellano and his top aide in front of a midtown Manhattan steak house amidst the Christmas shopping season, there was more mob violence behind bars in 2015 than there was on the streets of all five boroughs of the Big Apple.

The past year saw many intriguing Gang Land happenings – with the stunning acquittal of Bonanno capo Vincent Asaro of all charges linked to the $6 million Lufthansa Airlines robbery leading the way. But there were no mob hits or violence of note by the once notorious Five Families and their New Jersey brethren, the DeCavalcante clan. As it turns out, the so-called Real Sopranos came the closest to committing local acts of mob mayhem.

That planned action, the murder of an Elizabeth, New Jersey-based wiseguy by a trio of DeCavalcante gangsters led by Las Vegas-based capo Charles (Charlie The Hat) Stango was forestalled and stopped cold by an undercover FBI probe. That led to the arrests of Stango, his son, and eight others on a slew of charges ranging from murder conspiracy to selling untaxed cigarettes.

Judge Raymond DearieBrooklyn Jurist Speaks Unvarnished Truths In Written Opinions

Brooklyn Federal Court Judge Raymond Dearie gets the Howard Cosell Tell It Like It Isaward for his remarks in two important pre-trial rulings. One involves a 2015 prosecution of a mob-connected family charged with using a Queens Italian restaurant as the base of operations for an international coke smuggling ring. The other involved police corruption going back 30 years.

Anthony RotondoFour Turncoat Anthonys Rewarded With Lenient Sentences

DeCavalcante capo Anthony Rotondo, a prolific prosecution witness who testified at seven trials against mobsters from four families from 2003 to 2007, led a small group of mob defectors — all of them, remarkably, named Anthony — who won lenient prison terms this year for switching sides and teaming up with their Uncle Sam.

 


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February 4th, 2016

Barney (The Boss) Bellomo, Once The Brainy Kid From The Bronx, Now Reigns Supreme In Genovese Family

Liborio BellomoWhile facing indictment in the late 1980s, the late and legendary Mafia boss Vincent (Chin) Gigante selected Liborio (Barney) Bellomo as acting boss of the powerful Genovese crime family. Now, more than 25 years later and after his own convictions, the Bronx-based college-educated wiseguy has made it to the top on his own and now rules the crime family, Gang Land has learned.

That's according to authoritative law enforcement officials and other reliable sources who tell Gang Land that the 59-year-old mobster is calling the shots in the time-honored tradition of the sophisticated crime family that is often referred to as the Ivy League of organized crime – quietly and without calling any attention to himself for the last few years.

"Barney's smart, he's tough, he's low-key, and everybody respects him," said one reliable Gang Land source.

Thomas LeonessaNewspaper Union Boss On Driver's $21K Theft: What's The Big Deal?

 A former New York Post truck driver with a lengthy arrest record didn't do anything wrong when he collected $21,000 in paychecks even though he didn't show up for work, says his union president.

Harold Daggett'Wildcat' Strike Or Well-Staged Show? Docks Shut Down Over Waterfront Commission Hiring Rules Hated By Bosses And The ILA

Hundreds of dock workers – with the apparent tacit approval of their union – walked off the job last Friday, shutting down the New York and New Jersey piers for about eight very tense hours in a protest over new waterfront hiring practices. 


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February 11, 2016

Genovese Family's Murder-For-Hire Quintet Discussing Plea Deals

Salvatore Delligatti
The strange murder-for-hire mob indictment may be resolved by plea deals, but if it does go to trial, prosecutors are lucky they don't have to prove a motive in the failed rubout plot. That's because the official version of why a pair of Genovese gangsters hired a trio of black hoodlums to whack a rival Queens gangster in the aborted hit is likely more than a little wide of the mark.

Prosecutors have declined to publicly state why mob associates Salvatore Delligatti and Robert Sowulski allegedly set the murder plot against rival gangster Joseph Bonelli in motion. But when asked, law enforcement sources said the "official reason" was that Bonelli was believed to be informing the FBI about mob bookmaking ventures in Queens following his release from prison in 2012. And that's why a carload of would-be assassins were on the prowl a few blocks from their intended victim's home when they were pulled over and arrested on June 8, 2014 by some alert Nassau County detectives.

That may be the "official reason" the gangsters used to justify the plot, but sources say it's bogus.

Bartolomeo VernaceAppeals Court: Shamrock Bar Murders A Gambino Crime Family Affair

A federal appeals court last week upheld the racketeering and murder conviction of Gambino wiseguy Bartolomeo (Bobby Glasses) Vernace for the 1981 slayings of the owners of a Queens bar following an angry dispute over a spilled drink.

Joseph SclafaniJoe Boy Sclafani Eyes A Second Reduction Of His Sentence For Drug Dealing

 It's no stretch to say that 50-year-old Gambino soldier Joseph (Joe Boy) Sclafani is a career criminal. After all, he followed his dad into the mob and has been committing crimes for more than half his life. He was also present – and packing a gun – when an infamous piece of Mafia history was made back in 1989 when the mob whacked gangster Gus Farace for killing a DEA agent.


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FEBRUARY 18, 2016

The Day John Gotti Forgot His Gun

John AliteJohn Gotti showed up for the biggest gunfight of his life without a gun.

And that says all you need to know about the late Dapper Don, the media celebrated boss of the Gambino crime family.

At least that's the take from John Alite and Salvatore (Sammy Bull) Gravano, two former Gotti associates who went the other way. Alite told the story as he stood in front of Sparks Steak House in midtown Manhattan on a cold, crisp afternoon a few weeks ago. The one-time enforcer for the Gotti organization said his information comes from Gravano by way of The Bull's daughter, Karen.

Joseph MerlinoUnsolved Murders Still On The Feds' Philadelphia Agenda

It's a Yogi Berra moment in South Philadelphia. Déjà vu all over again. Members of both the Nicodemo (Little Nicky) Scarfo and Joseph (Skinny Joey) Merlino factions of the dysfunctional Philadelphia crime family are back on the streets after spending most of the past two decades in jail for racketeering.

 

Ronald GalatiAuthorities In Two States Double-Team South Philadelphia Autobody Shop Owner; But He Hangs Tough

The saga of Ronnie Galati, the 65-year-old autobody shop owner with a Godfather complex who is currently serving 23 years for his federal murder for hire conviction in New Jersey two years ago, moves to Philadelphia Common Pleas Court in September.


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2/25/2016

Wise-Cracking Gambino Gangster: I'm Not Happy With The Job My Lawyer Is Doing

Gennaro BrunoMob associate Gennaro (Jerry) Bruno recently got what seems like positive information for him about the 2002 murder that he was charged with 16 months ago, according to a letter that federal prosecutors gave his attorney. It's a so-called Brady Letter that contains potentially exculpatory material. It states that latent fingerprints found at the crime scene do not match his fingerprints.

It's unclear exactly where the latent fingerprints were found, but according to an NYPD analysis of "prints of value" that was completed on November 13, 2007, they don't match Bruno's. Now, all Bruno has to do is get an investigator to look into that, and check out a dozen other possible suspects in the murder. And while he's at it, he might also get an audio expert to examine a crucial tape recording that he believes was "altered." Any one of those findings might improve his chances of beating the case. That is, if he ever gets to trial.

Bruno faces life behind bars if convicted, so his situation is no joke. But the imprisoned gangster is the one who has been cracking wise and complaining about the case in hand-written letters he's sent to the judge. The gist of the Gambino associate's gripes is that court-appointed attorney Thomas Nooter is doing a lousy job defending him against racketeering and murder charges.

Eric SeidelLaw Enforcers Salute Mob Buster Eric Seidel

They represented virtually every law enforcement agency in the New York area two weeks ago when they descended on Pete's Tavern, the landmark bar and restaurant in Grammercy Park. They had no court order, or subpoenas in hand. They were going to a We Hate To See You Go Party for Eric Seidel, a low-key mob buster who packed it in after amassing an amazing record of successes in nearly 40 years as a state and federal prosecutor.

Tommy McLaughlinNo Time Behind Bars For 'Historic' Colombo Turncoat

A hot-headed mob turncoat whose undercover work led to convictions of the Colombo crime family's top three mobsters and more than 40 other wiseguys and mob associates who were arrested in the FBI's 2011 Mafia Takedown Day roundup of 127 defendants has been rewarded with a sentence of no time behind bars.


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3/3/16

Disgraced, Disbarred Mob Lawyer Gets His Law License Back

Larry BronsonUntil he was disbarred eight years ago in the wake of the government's purge of Joseph Massino and his beleaguered Bonanno crime family, attorney Larry Bronson was a real life version of Saul Goodman – the quintessential sleazy lawyer on AMC TV's long-running, critically acclaimed show, Breaking Bad.

But just like Saul Goodman, whose spinoff show, Better Call Saul, is now in its second season, Bronson, 70, just keeps on trucking. Just last week, he was reinstated as an attorney in good standing in Brooklyn Federal Court, where he was convicted in 2008 and given 16 months behind bars. At sentencing, prosecutors filed 22 unchallenged allegations of "unethical and illegal" actions that Bronson had engaged in as a mob lawyer – including the theft of a client's apartment.

Like his initial federal court suspension, his re-instatement was a pro forma ruling based on the status of Bronson's license to practice law in New Jersey. That's where Bronson was admitted as an attorney in 1970, and where his license was suspended in 2008. The suspension came after he copped a sweet plea deal calling for a maximum of 16 months to cover racketeering, laundering proceeds from drug deals, obstruction of justice and other charges rather than take his chances at trial.

Donald TrumpDonald Trump's Ties To Fat Tony And Roy Cohn

Anthony (Fat Tony) Salerno would have gotten a big kick out of hearing his name tossed around in the current anything-goes Republican presidential primary. Texas senator Ted Cruz suggested this week that one reason GOP front runner Donald Trump has balked at releasing his tax returns is that they might reveal a "bombshell" concerning his past dealings with Salerno, the former acting boss of the Genovese crime family.

John FazioMob Associate Gets 10 Months To Remember The Handgun He Forgot

John Fazio had forgotten all about the .38 caliber semi-automatic that was in his home when DEA agents came looking for drugs last year. The search turned up no drugs, so the mob associate didn't deserve to go to prison for gun possession, his lawyer argued at his sentencing last month. But Brooklyn Federal Judge Dora Irizarry reminded Fazio of some taped talks he had about drug dealing and gave him 10 months in prison to remember the entire episode.


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MARCH 10TH, 2016


Family Feud Between The Children And Widow Of A Millionaire Wiseguy Lawyer From Brooklyn Erupts In The Sunshine State

Nicholas GravanteA bitter family feud has erupted between the children and widow of a cagy, Brooklyn lawyer who made millions handling real estate deals for mobsters. For decades, the attorney, Nicholas Gravante, kept a low profile while representing scores of Gambino and Luchese family wiseguys who hung out on the busy Bensonhurst street where Gravante's office was located. But he was the mob's go-to guy for all real estate transactions.

Gravante was never charged with a crime. But law enforcement sources say he was involved in many shady real estate transactions with Gambino mobsters who used James (Jimmy Brown) Failla's nearby Veterans and Friends Social Club at 1462 86th Street as their home base in the 1980s, and with Luchese wiseguys who hung out with capo Christopher (Christy Tick) Furnari at his base of operations, The 19th Hole, at 1402 86th street.

"He was the ultimate wiseguy lawyer," said one former law enforcement official. "He was the guy wiseguys would use to sell a $250,000 house for $500,000 on paper, so they could show money they made illicitly as legitimate income."

Bugs Bull & RatsTrue-Blue Wiseguy Says Mob Rats Spell Doom For Cosa Nostra

There are no spectacular revelations in it. There's no hint of the excitement that Man of Honor created when legendary Mafia boss Joseph Bonanno wrote his autobiography in 1984. And some of the author's facts are clearly wrong. But Bugs, Bull, & Rats is an intriguing new book about "the last 40 years of the Mafia" by a New York wiseguy who's bummed out by "the life" he found when he hit the streets after a long prison stretch that was caused by a "wire-wearing rat."

Salvatoe LarcaGay Inmate Praises Wiseguy For Stopping Federal Prison Beatings

Last week, Manhattan Federal Judge Richard Sullivan received a remarkable letter from a homosexual inmate who claims he has been assaulted many times in the four years he's been behind bars. He praised a tough Genovese soldier, Salvatore (Sally KO) Larca, for putting a stop to the beatings and he asked the judge if he could re-sentence him for "good behavior."


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3/20/2016


Crooked CPA Who Sunk 'Mafia Cops' Still A Low-Life

Stephen P. CorsoMost mob turncoats are not nice people. They start out as criminals, and usually agree to snitch only after they've been caught committing crimes, often reprehensible ones. Then they start spilling the goods. They cause immense grief for their friends and their families. Some go on to lead productive lives. But some never rise above that low-life attitude.

Take former CPA Stephen P. Corso whose noxious post-cooperating witness activities are detailed in recent filings in his Bridgeport Connecticut Federal Court case.

Corso's decision to flip came after he was nailed stealing $6 million from close friends, including TV sports icon Dan Patrick. Previously, Patrick, his wife Susan, and other neighbors had considered Corso a close friend, someone they trusted so much that they used him to prepare their tax returns for 10 years.

John SpiritoNo Arrests In Brutal Prison Assault, But BOP Singles Out Johnny Joe For Blame

The investigation of the brutal assault of a Gambino associate whose jaw was broken and wired shut last summer after an attack in a recreation yard at a Fairton, New Jersey prison is over. No arrests have been made. But federal prison officials have apparently decided who was behind the vicious beating of Albert (Albee) Crisci.

Larry BronsonDisgraced Mob Lawyer Back To The Drawing Board As Judge Revokes His Law License Again

A day after Gang Land reported that disbarred mob lawyer Larry Bronson had gotten back his license to practice law in the same federal courthouse where he had been convicted and sentenced to prison eight years ago, Brooklyn Federal Judge Brian Cogan reversed himself and re-instated Bronson's suspension.


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MARCH 31, 2016

Gangster Songbird: The Whole Bronx Is All Mobbed Up

Anthony ZoccolilloAnthony Zoccolillo struck out on the not so memorable reality TV show, Mama's Boys Of The Bronx. But he was perfect as an FBI snitch. He sunk all 27 mobsters and drug dealers he snared on federal charges in 2013 without ever having to take the witness stand in Manhattan Federal Court before he hightailed it out of town and got into the Witness Security Program.

But Zoccolillo had some pretty memorable things to say recently when he returned from his new digs somewhere in America and testified in Manhattan Supreme Court at the state racketeering trial of Bonanno capo Ernest (Ernie) Aiello and three others.

Over three days, Zoccolillo, 39, told of intriguing dealings he had with Bronx-based wiseguys in three families and of his familial ties to the late Genovese chieftain Vincent (Chin) Gigante. But he spent most of his time trying to link Ernie Aiello, his old pal and former business partner, to Bonanno crime family doings.

Nicole ArgentieriBronx ADA To Top Brooklyn Fed: We'll Take Manhattan

A top federal prosecutor in Brooklyn sought – but failed – to take over a long-running investigation into a bloody 2013 mob rubout in the Bronx that was being conducted jointly for more than a year by the Bronx District Attorney's office and the Manhattan U.S. Attorney's office.

Charles PanarellaFeds Ready To Tell Charlie Moose To Fuhgeddaboudit

Eight years ago, Colombo mobster Charles (Charlie Moose) Panarella was declared too sick to stand trial for racketeering and extortion. The charges are still circling Panarella, who at age 94 no longer has the tough guy look that his nickname suggests. But a resolution may be finally be in sight, while Charlie Moose is still among the living.


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APRIL 7TH, 2016


A Proud Gotti Grandson Claims The Family Brand Name

Rebel Ink Tattoo T-ShirtHis daughter used the family name to become a newspaper columnist, a successful author and the star of her own reality TV show. His son rode the name to the top of the Gambino crime family, then sold his life story for $500,000 to a movie producer. So why shouldn't his grandson use his granddad's famous name to help promote his spanking new tattoo parlor in Ozone Park?

He's John Gotti, 22, a namesake grandson of the famed Mafioso who now operates Rebel Ink Tattoo out of a storefront on Cross Bay Boulevard in Ozone Park. John is the son of Peter. (For those who are keeping track, Peter is the younger son of the late Dapper Don, the one who has never been charged with a crime.)

To promote his new enterprise, the youngest John Gotti has created a stunning T-shirt with a color picture of the late Mafia boss framed by the slogans NEVER PRAYED TO GOD and PRAYED TO GOTTI.Across the handsome Don's eyes the word REBEL is stenciled in a blood red ribbon. In the photo, Gotti's pinky-ringed left hand clutches the lapel of his double-breasted suit jacket. The back of the T-shirt is covered with the name, address and phone number of the tattoo parlor in large bold black lettering.

Jerome BrancatoGentleman Gangster Jerry Brancato Cashes In His Chips

Jerome (Jerry) Brancato Jr., a longtime Gang Land reader, and a former semi-pro baseball player who coached his son's little league baseball team while booking bets and earning his stripes on the Brooklyn and Staten Island docks for the Gambino crime family, has cashed in his chips. He was 88.

Michael Palazzolo'Workaday' Gangster's Lawyer To Judge: Please Remember To Forget

Genovese gangster Michael (Mikey P) Palazzolo wants a federal judge to recall the 27 month prison term she gave powerful mob capo Daniel Pagano for racketeering last year. And he also wants her to forget all about the far stiffer 41 to 51 months that the feds are recommending when Palazzolo is sentenced next week for racketeering.


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4/21/16


Estate Of Top Wiseguy's Son Grows By Leaps And Bounds A Year After His Death

Joel Cacace Jr.Joel (JoJo) Cacace Jr., the late son of the imprisoned Colombo family consigliere, must have had an awful lot on his mind on October 7, 2014, the day he signed a suspicious-looking "last will and testament" making his teenaged daughter, Dina Marie, his sole beneficiary. First off, Cacace, who died less than three months after the will was signed of a sudden heart attack at age 44 on New Year's Day of 2015, failed to notice that his name was misspelled in four places on the document.

He also plum forgot to list two of the three homes he owned. And his extensive baseball and comic book collections. Plus his much-prized bright orange Harley Davidson. The bike seems especially hard to forget: It was a 2004 Screamin' Eagle Electra Glide. It was featured, along with a picture of Cacace, on the cover of Full Throttle Magazine last June, as the magazine announced a fundraiser for JoJo.

But according to court filings by his mother in a complicated family legal wrangle over the will, that's exactly what he did. As a result he understated the value of his estate by more than $600,000, according to one analysis, and possibly by much more, in his hotly-contested will.  

Daniel PaganoGovernment Screwup Gives Powerful Wiseguy An Extra-Sweet Plea Deal

No wonder Genovese capo Daniel Pagano was so quick to plead guilty 13 months ago, less than seven months after he was indicted for heading a three-year-long racketeering scheme involving gambling, loansharking and extortion. Turns out his wise-old attorney had worked out a plea agreement with a suggested prison term that was 14-to-18 months lower than what it should have been.

John FranzeseFeds Seize 10Gs From 99-Year-Old Mobster's Commissary

He's not complaining, but the feds have seized ten large from oldest-living wiseguy John (Sonny) Franzese's very fat commissary account, and put it toward a $116,000 forfeiture he owes the government. That's exactly what they had threatened to do in a pre-Christmas missive they sent to the aging Mafioso at the federal prison hospital where he's slated to reside until next year.


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MAY 5, 2016


Ailing Mob Boss Presses His Bid For Freedom

Carmine PersicoHe's a Mafia boss – a pretty important guy in his field of endeavor. But he can't see too well, and his arms don't work very well either. His legs are in decent shape, but he needs a wheelchair to get around because his emphysema kicks in when he uses his lower limbs to walk. And at 83, he suffers a grab-bag of other ailments, the kind that afflict many folks his age.

But his health isn't Carmine (Junior) Persico's main concern these days. That would be the 34 years he still owes on his 100-year prison term for his conviction in the historic Commission trial. The only living defendant in that case who is still behind bars, Persico, with 31 years in prison behind him, is seeking his freedom. His argument, made in a request to the court filed last summer, is that long-concealed FBI documents prove that he was convicted of crimes he did not commit, and that his sentence was illegally enhanced based on allegations that weren't true.

That motion is still pending, but since time is of the essence for the Mafia boss these days, Persico pressed the issue with Manhattan Federal Court Judge Kevin Duffy a month ago. He filed more newly discovered info about alleged government wrongdoing against him by the FBI and the Rudolph Giuliani-led Manhattan U.S. Attorney's office – and he asked the judge to schedule a status conference on his pending motion for an early release from prison.

Andy PetepieceAsk Andy Is Back

This week, Gang Land is semi-pleased to announce the return of "Ask Andy" to our website. More than a decade ago, Andy burst onto the mob scene answering queries from our huge fan base. At first this feature generated great excitement, but quickly deteriorated to the point that readers were falling asleep half way thru his rantings. Worse yet, Andy began having delusions of grandeur and began thinking he was infallible. Finally, Gang Land, at great expense, hired top mental health experts to deal with Andy's problems. The decision was made to remove Andy from public view and assign him to one of our many back offices here at Gang Land.

Andy's ego was out of joint, but he gradually acclimatized himself to a life of anonymity. Gang Land continued to use Andy's great historical knowledge of Cosa Nostra on a regular basis, but without credit. Now, after years of therapy, Andy's doctors feel that he is capable of going public again. He will appear, once a month, to answer questions about mob life. Gang Land will keep Andy on a short leash. At the first signs of a return of the gigantic ego problem, Andy will be immediately put on waivers. Let's hope for the best.

Eleanora GigliottiQueens Granny, A 'Danger To The Community,' Unfit To Stand Trial On Drug Charges

A Queens grandma who has been held behind bars for 14 months has been found mentally unfit to stand trial as part of a mob-linked, family-run drug ring that was allegedly based in their Italian restaurant in Corona.


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May 12th, 2016

Trump And The Mob; The Atlantic City Story

Donald TrumpAs Donald Trump moves ever closer to securing the Republican presidential nomination expect more to be written about his possible "mob connections." Like so much else during this political campaign, the story is based on spin and speculation.

In March, Gang Land looked at some of Trump's alleged mob ties to the late Genovese wiseguy Anthony (Fat Tony) Salerno, as well as The Donald's close links to Roy Cohn, the late New York powerbroker who also represented Fat Tony and other top wiseguys.

This week we'll focus on Atlantic City, the struggling South Jersey resort where Trump once owned three casino-hotels and where his name, scrawled in big, red letters across his properties, dominated the skyline.

Joseph MerlinoMob Busters Say Merlino's Running The Philadelphia Show From Florida

Joseph (Skinny Joey) Merlino insists that he's put the wiseguy life behind him and that he's now concentrating on running his restaurant in Boca Raton (Merlino's) and enjoying his life in the sun.

Joseph Ligambi Appeals Court Turns Down Uncle Joe's Pals

Three Philadelphia mobsters tried and convicted in a 2013 racketeering case that had targeted then mob boss Joseph (Uncle Joe) Ligambi won't be coming home any time soon.




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May 19, 2016

Feds: Genovese Old-Timer Teamed Up With Crips Gangstas In Mob Murder Plot

Robert DebelloThe feds finally got around to making it official. Last week, they announced what Gang Land reported several months ago: Two years ago, Nassau County detectives investigating a mob gambling ring happened upon, and busted, a very unorthodox murder plot in which the powerful, sophisticated Genovese family allegedly hired members of a street gang aligned with the Crips to do their dirty work.

An expanded eight-count indictment identified a little-known, but influential, 74-year-old wiseguy named Robert Debello, who has two fitting nicknames, Grandpaand Old Man, as the main player in the case. Debello and seven others were hit with various racketeering charges stemming from the arrest of a carload of hired guns who were on their way to whack a hot-headed gangster at his Whitestone, Queens home in June of 2014.

Sources say Debello has close ties to the crime family's current "street boss," Peter (Petey Red) DiChiara. Back in 2001, he was indicted on racketeering charges along with DiChiara and dozens of other Genovese gangsters. A year later, Debello copped a plea deal to a racketeering assault charge and served four months of home detention.

Frank LocascioFBI Comedy Of Errors Over Gotti Tapes No Laughing Matter For Frank Locascio

 The six-year-long quest by former Gambino consigliere Frank (Frankie Loc) Locascio to obtain a 26-year-old tape recording that might prove he is innocent of committing a mob rubout with John Gotti has turned into a Keystone Kops-like comedy of errors involving FBI officials in New York, New Jersey and Washington.

Nicholas SantoraJurors Were Split 6-6 In State Racketeering Trial Of Four Bonannos

The Manhattan District Attorney's Office might want to rethink its strategy regarding the re-trial of four accused Bonanno crime family members on state racketeering charges. That's according to one version of the jury's deliberations that emerged following the three-month-long trial that ended in a mistrial last week.


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May 26, 2016

Sally KO Lives To Fight Another Round, Against The Federal Bureau Of Prisons

Salvatore LarcaPrison itself is supposed to be the punishment. But getting sick while behind bars can be a grueling sentence all its own.

Take the decidedly unpretty case of Genovese mobster Salvatore (Sally KO) Larca, currently incarcerated at the huge federal prison complex in Fort Dix, New Jersey.

Earlier this month, Larca, whose severe internal ailments were well-known to authorities even before he began his latest prison stretch, began bleeding from the rectum. "He was ashen gray, could hardly breathe, and had to be helped out of the unit by another inmate," a concerned family friend told Gang Land. "He'd been complaining for months that he was in a lot of pain, but they ignored him."

Luigi RomanoFeds: Gas Station Owner Fueled Genovese Rubout Plot

A reputed mob associate who owns and operates a flourishing gas station, mini-mart and car wash in the Whitestone section of Queens was the alleged money man behind a badly muffed assassination plot that is now the subject of a major murder conspiracy indictment, sources tell Gang Land.

Vincent BadalamentiVinny TV Whips Heart Attack; Checks Out Banner Social Club

He looked pretty good this week as he sat in front of the old, semi-refurbished Banner Social Club in Bensonhurst, but Vinny TV, aka Vincent Badalamenti, the erstwhile acting street boss of the Bonanno crime family, had a few scary days just two short weeks ago.


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June 2nd, 2016

Alite: I Got The Okay To Work With Another Murderous Gangster When I Got Out Of Prison

John AliteJohn Alite, the former drug-dealer and murderer who became a key witness against his old pal, mob scion John A. (Junior) Gotti, swears he's out of the gangster business these days. But that doesn't mean he's not still courting trouble.

On the home front, Alite is involved in a major family feud with his brother James who has filed a $2 million lawsuit against him claiming that his brother stiffed him on monies they earned together before and after John went to the can.

Then there's John's recent stint as a construction site bodyguard on behalf of a fellow mob snitch who was worried that he might run into trouble with friends of the Genovese family mobsters he testified against. After all, just because he's resigned from the mob doesn't mean he can't still walk the walk, according to Alite.

Luigi RomanoAccused Murder-For-Hire Car Wash Owner: The Serial Egg Throwers Are Gone

 Luigi (Louie Sunoco) Romano, the owner of the gas station, mini-mart and car wash who allegedly funded the badly bungled murder plot against a Genovese crime family associate in 2014, had nothing to say about that particular crime yesterday when Gang Land called. But he was happy to expound about those rascals who have been heaving eggs at cars in the Whitestone section of Queens.

Frank SheeranAsk Andy: The Irishman Did Not Kill Crazy Joe Gallo

In the not too distant future, folks will likely get to enjoy another great movie from Martin Scorsese called The Irishman. It's based on the Charles Brandt book, I Heard You Paint Houses. It is a biography of the late Teamster Frank Sheeran, who, among many other boasts, claims to have killed Jimmy Hoffa, the Teamsters president who disappeared in 1975. One of the most ridiculous tales that Sheeran spun was that he killed the famous Colombo renegade Crazy Joe Gallo. It's so off the wall, that I want to tell the real story of his murder.

 

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June 9, 2016

Meldish Murder Suspect Fingered In Shooting Of Bonanno Soldier

Michael MeldishThings haven't progressed very smoothly for the feds since they moved to take control of the Bronx District Attorney's investigation into the 2013 gangland-style slaying of longtime Luchese associate Michael Meldish, the former boss of a notorious team of drug dealers from the Bronx and East Harlem known as the Purple Gang.

More than a year after federal prosecutors stepped into what looked like a sure-fire murder and racketeering case, the murder indictment against Luchese mobster Christopher Londonio and mob associate Terrence Caldwell languishes in Bronx Supreme Court. The duo is cooling their heels behind bars, and informed sources say there is little chance that the FBI and Manhattan U.S. Attorney's office will move to take over the prosecution in the foreseeable future.

This news comes as law enforcement officials tell Gang Land that Caldwell, the alleged gunman who killed Meldish with a single shot to the head as he sat in his car in front of his Throgs Neck home on November 15, 2013, is suspected in another mob rubout attempt.

Michael PersicoJudge Jabs Son Of Colombo Family Boss; Orders Special Sentencing Hearing

Mob scion Michael Persico is having a tough time with his new judge. To put it mildly. His second appearance before the replacement Brooklyn Federal Court Judge who will be sentencing him for loansharking in his six-year-old case did not go very well at all.

 

Eugene CastelleLuchese Wiseguy Learns That His Old Nemesis Is At It Again

There was an intriguing reunion in Brooklyn Supreme Court two weeks ago when Luchese soldier Eugene (Boopsie) Castelle and six underlings were busted on state racketeering charges. The gangsters were accused of operating a lucrative online gambling business that – like virtually all mob bookmaking ventures these days – is linked to a wire room in Costa Rica.


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June 16, 2016

Wiseguy Back Behind Bars Sfter Surviving A Nine-Day Prison Furlough

Luca DiMatteoColombo capo Luca DiMatteo finished up an unusual nine-day jail furlough last week. He didn't have much fun. The veteran wiseguy, who has several convictions for violent crimes including extortion, returned to the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Brooklyn to resume his pre-trial detention as he awaits a racketeering trial in September that could keep him behind bars for the rest of his life.

The 71-year-old mobster's brief respite from the federal lockup is yet another telling illustration of how confinement in a federal prison can be dangerous to your health when you've got bladder cancer, diabetes or other ailments that require more than perfunctory medical care. Three weeks ago we reported that Genovese soldier Salvatore (Sally KO) Larca needed emergency surgery after receiving poor medical care for severe gastro-intestinal ailments at the federal prison in Fort Dix, New Jersey.  

DiMatteo seems even worse off. Brooklyn Judge I. Leo Glasser, who detained DiMatteo a year ago as a danger to the community despite his cancer, was so vocal about the shoddy care he got over the past five months that the feds agreed to release him for seven days so he could undergo tests at a real hospital rather than contest the issue with testimony by prison doctors and officials at a full-blown hearing.

Nicholas Gravante Sr.Late Mob Lawyer's Kids: We Had Mom's Best Interests In Mind When We Sued Her In Florida

The most embarrassing lawsuit in Gang Land – a furious legal feud over millions between the widow of a mob lawyer and her children – continues with each side continuing to point angry fingers at the other.

Larry BronsonDisbarred Mob Lawyer Pays The Freight As He Loses Another Round

Hard luck mob lawyer Larry Bronson, struggling to get back his license to practice law in Brooklyn Federal Court, has had another tough go of it.

 


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Motor City Mobsters Whacked Jimmy Hoffa, Not Gangsters From New Jersey And Pennsylvania

Jimmy HoffaNearly 41 years after the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa, and a year after Gang Land published an exclusive account about Hoffa's murder by investigative journalist Dan E. Moldea, the leading expert on the late Teamster's Union president, Gang Land's own mob-historian says the theory espoused by Moldea – as well as the FBI – about the great Mafia mystery is all wet.

In response to numerous reader inquiries about the case, Andy Petepiece opines in a special Ask Andy report this week that it's a "safe bet" that none of the "usual suspects" from New Jersey or Pennsylvania who've been cited by Moldea – and the FBI over the years – had anything at all to do with Hoffa's murder, or the disposal of his body back on July 30, 1975.

Motor City mobsters from Detroit were the likely perpetrators, writes Petepiece, who credits a murderous mob associate named Ralph Picardo with concocting erroneous accounts linking Genovese capo Anthony (Tony Pro) Provenzano and Pennsylvania mob boss Russell Bufalino to Hoffa's killing in a successful ploy to escape a lengthy prison term for a 1974 murder.

Informed about Petepiece's take, Moldea, who stands by his account, said simply: "Andy has earned the right to be wrong." Moldea says his account of "what happened, who did it, and where Hoffa ended up," is the "most plausible" theory about the mysterious case. In his July 30, 2015 account, which follows Andy's analysis of the sensational case, the prize-winning author disclosed the identity of his "best underworld source" regarding the Hoffa murder.

Dan E. MoldeaThe Disappearance Of Jimmy Hoffa: Forty Years Later

The mystery of Jimmy Hoffa's disappearance on July 30, 1975, has confounded the nation for 40 years. Even as the trail has waxed and waned, and the baffling cast of sketchy characters is dying off, the FBI and the media still keep an eye peeled for the one clue or confession that will lead to the final resolution of the mystery, perhaps even the recovery of the remains of the long gone 62-year-old ex-boss of the Teamsters Union. 

Based on the evidence, including my own contributions to the case, I believe that what I am presenting here is the most plausible theory to date as to what happened, who did it, and where Hoffa ended up.

The Hoffa murder was a three-act drama with different characters in each act: In Act One, Hoffa went to the Machus Red Fox restaurant in a Detroit suburb in anticipation of a meeting with two Mafia figures, Anthony (Tony Jack) Giacalone of Detroit and Anthony (Tony Pro) Provenzano of Union City, New Jersey.  Supposedly, neither man showed up.

Frank SheeranFrank Sheeran Did Not Paint Jimmy Hoffa's House

It would probably make a great movie, but with all due respect to author Charles Brandt, Frank (The Irishman) Sheeran did not whack Jimmy Hoffa 40 years ago today. As I politely told Robert De Niro last December, who still may play Sheeran in a movie adaption of Brandt's book, I Heard You Paint Houses, Sheeran has successfully conned a lot of people despite his conflicting versions of events.


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July 21, 2016

Feds Had Three Secret Snitches On Tap If The Mob Drug Kingpin From Brooklyn Went To Trial

[lupoi-franco02]Franco Lupoi put up a good front for more than a year. But the feds acquired so much evidence against the international drug kingpin during their two-year, two-country sting, there was no way that the mob-connected Brooklyn gangster was going to take his chances at trial last year. If he had, though, the feds had three secret weapons they were ready to use against him, Gang Land has learned.

Three of his six codefendants in his sale of heroin to an undercover FBI agent and in plots to smuggle heroin, cocaine, and marijuana from Italy, Mexico and Guyana had secretly signed cooperation agreements with the Brooklyn U.S. Attorney's office and were prepared to testify against the 46-year-old Gambino family associate.

And befitting the international flavor of the case, which also involved the Calabrian organized crime clan known as 'Ndrangheta, the lineage of the three codefendants who were ready to take the stand and back up the tapes and testimony of the Italian American G-Man who snookered his paesano Lupoi are Chinese, Latino and Greek, according to court papers filed in the case.

The Case Of The Aging Gambino Capo And The Medical-Grade Michael ParadisoMarijuana From California

Longtime Gambino capo Michael (Mickey Boy) Paradiso and two dozen mob associates from four crime families, including two women, were indicted by a Manhattan grand jury on drug, gambling and tax charges Tuesday following a two year investigation that was triggered by Waterfront Commission probe of marijuana and Oxycodone trafficking on the New York piers.

Diego RodriguezNY FBI Boss Calls It Quits

Diego Rodriguez, a veteran FBI agent who oversaw the largest Mafia takedown in U.S history five years ago and who has quietly headed the agency's flagship New York office for the last year and a half, has decided to end his long government career, Gang Land has learned.


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July 28th, 2016

FBI 'Pole Camera' Unmasks Sophisticated Mob-Linked Burglary Crew In $5 Million Bank Heists

Michael MazzaraThe alleged mastermind behind a pair of spectacular New York City bank heists that netted $5 million in cash and jewelry and other family heirlooms is an old-school mob associate who learned his trade with one of Brooklyn's most notorious Mafia crews.

Michael Mazzara, a longtime Colombo associate who robbed banks with violent members of the Bath Avenue crew of gangsters headed by Bonanno family consigliere Anthony Spero in the 1990s, had become quite an expert about one of the mob's oldest tricks of the trade by time he and two confederates were arrested by savvy members of a joint FBI-NYPD task force this week.

Nabbed along with Mazzara, 44, was Anthony Mascuzzio, 36, whose own mob pedigree stems from his late namesake dad, a John Gotti pal who was gunned down in a Manhattan bar in 1988. Mascuzzio is also connected through marriage with the powerful Genovese crime family. Also arrested was a close Mazzara pal, Charles Kerrigan, 40.

Angelo GigliottiQueens Father And Son Guilty In 'Ndrangheta-Based Cocaine Smuggling Venture

Mob-linked drug dealer Angelo Gigliotti and his father Gregorio both went down very quickly last week, but at least Angelo got to spend the previous 10 months at home with his wife and young son before being sent back to prison to await a sentence of at least 20 years. Dad Gregorio didn't fare as well. He's been behind bars since March of last year awaiting trial on charges of using his Italian restaurant in Corona, Queens to import 55 kilograms of cocaine into the U.S.

Luca DiMatteoAiling Colombo Capo Cops Plea Deal In 10-Year-Long Shakedown

Five weeks after an unusual nine-day furlough from a federal lockup, ailing Colombo capo Luca DiMatteo pleaded guilty last week to racketeering and extortion charges stemming from the shakedown of a fearful Brooklyn businessman in which Luca demanded $200 every two weeks over a 10 year span.


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August 11, 2016

Undercover G-Man Stings The Powerful Genovese Crime Family

Pasquale ParrelloShades of Joe Pistone and Big Jack Garcia! A young FBI agent has joined the ranks of those undercover icons by accomplishing the unthinkable: He has stung the Ivy League of organized crime in New York – the powerful, sophisticated Genovese crime family. Posing as a wannabe wiseguy for three plus years, the G-man got close enough to two family capos to tape-record numerous discussions about the crime family's rackets.

Law enforcement sources spoke with awe of the undercover work that led to last week's blockbuster indictment. Among the 46 mobsters and associates of five families snared was Philadelphia mob boss Joseph (Skinny Joey) Merlino and three Genovese capos. They said the results of the agent's secret mission were so good, and linked so many defendants to so many crimes, that it took four months longer for prosecutors to obtain racketeering charges than they had originally planned.

Authorities say the agent – and a mob turncoat who vouched for the G-man – recorded "thousands of hours" of discussions to snare the defendants in a laundry list of criminal activity. The racketeering case alleges illegal gun sales, arson, assault, extortion, credit card scams and health care fraud in addition to the mob's moneymaking staples of bookmaking and loansharking.

Joseph MerlinoIt Could Have Been Worse For Skinny Joey, But Not Much

He got hit with racketeering charges anyway, but Philadelphia mob boss Joseph (Skinny Joey) Merlino was spared four months of possibly incriminating conversations about gambling, mob sitdowns and alleged health care scams last year because of an agreement between federal prosecutors in New York and the City of Brotherly Love, Gang Land has learned.

Preet BhararaPreet's Prosecutors Go 0 For 5 In First Round Of Detention Hearings

The prosecution team that Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara assembled for last week's major mob indictment hasn't done very well convincing federal judges in New York and Florida to lock up eleven defendants that prosecutors have deemed to be dangers to the community. As a matter of fact, they have done very badly.


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August 18, 2016

FBI: Three Motor City Mobsters May Hold The Keys To The Hoffa Case

Jimmy HoffaFBI agents in Michigan believe the Detroit mob killed Jimmy Hoffa at the home of a local wiseguy, and that three aging Motor City mobsters may have first-hand knowledge about the infamous murder of the iconic union leader that took place 41 years ago last month. To the great dismay of a parade of investigators, the case has never been solved, and Hoffa's remains have never been found.

Investigative sources say the crime family's 76-year old reputed consigliere, Anthony (Tony Pal) Palazzolo, along with two older family wiseguys who have long been suspected of possible involvement in the slaying, are thought to be the only surviving members of the tightlipped syndicate who may know exactly what happened to the fiery Hoffa that fateful day in the summer of 1975.

Palazzolo, as well as soldier Frank (Frankie the Bomb) Bommarito, still active at 86, and Antonino (Tony the Exterminator) Ruggirello, Jr., 82 and semi-retired, were all questioned in the early phases of the investigation, and all deny any involvement.

Giuseppe D'AnnaJoe The Hood Guilty In Beating Of Restaurant Rival; Baby Brother Mimmo Gets A Pass

Giuseppe (Joe the Hood) D'Anna, a Detroit mob captain with familial ties to the Sicilian Mafia, has copped a plea deal to cover the vicious 2011 beating of a neighboring restaurant owner who refused to pay him a street tax to operate across from his then-headquarters, the now-shuttered Tirami Su Ristorante in Shelby Township, Michigan.

Paul KorolukOutfit's Bobby Pinocchio Hangs Tough; Big Paulie Doesn't, Takes 18 Years

Chalk one up to the law in its long-running battle with the Chicago Outfit's Grand Avenue Westside crew. Longtime mob associate Paul (Big Paulie) Koroluk has pleaded guilty to state racketeering charges for running an Outfit robbery crew that favored ripping off drug dealers and Hispanic and African-American street gang members.


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August 25, 2016

Feds Have Tapes Of Patsy Plotting To Whack His Son's Alleged Killer

Pasquale ParrelloThe feds may be preparing an Act Two for Genovese crime family capo Pasquale (Patsy) Parrello, the opera-loving owner of Pasquale's Rigoletto, the popular Arthur Avenue restaurant in the Belmont section of the Bronx.

Parrello, 72, was one of the biggest catches in the massive multi-year sting operation that resulted in racketeering conspiracy charges against 46 wiseguys and mob associates in five different crime families this month.

But Gang Land has learned that the feds also have obtained evidence linking Parrello  to a plot to kill an Albanian gangster who allegedly murdered Parrello's son, Pasquale Jr., back in 1993.

Paul MancusoCon Man-FBI Snitch Paulie Tickets Gets A Pass

What happens when a longtime mob informer is caught in a $3.5 million fraud scheme? In the case of Paul (Paulie Tickets) Mancuso, apparently not much.

 

Joseph MerlinoFBI Moves Parrello Case Supervisor To Shake Up Sleepy Suburban Mob Squad

 For an FBI supervisor to go from the flagship Manhattan office to the tiny satellite office in White Plains doesn't seem like a promotion or a reward for good work. But things are not always what they seem these days when it comes to the way the agency deals with the not-so-notorious-anymore Five Families.


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Sept 1, 2016

Gambino Wiseguy Joe The Cat Cashes In His Chips, At Age 99

Joseph LaForteJoseph (Joe The Cat) LaForte, a longtime Gambino crime family soldier who amassed a small fortune in real estate and who for many years owned the Little Italy building where the late Mafia boss John Gotti held court at the Ravenite Social Club on Mulberry Street during his heyday, cashed in his chips last week at the ripe old age of 99.

LaForte hailed from Little Italy but moved decades ago to Staten Island where he ran the crime family's lucrative bookmaking operations. He died in his sleep in the early morning of August 23 in the home where he lived alone on Scheffelin Avenue in the exclusive, historic Lighthouse Hill section of the island that was settled by Dutch, French and English farmers in the late 1600s.

"They don't make 'em like that anymore," said one local denizen who knew LaForte, his background, and his family members for many years. "He was a low key, low-level soldier who made a lot of money and didn't piss it away. He bought property in SoHo and Little Italy when you could get it for a song and he lived off it for the rest of his life."

Joseph LaForte Jr.Tough Love: Dad Wanted To Smash His Mobster Son In The Face With A Baseball Bat

Joe The Cat LaForte loved his late son, Joseph Jr., a wiseguy known as Buddy The Cat, whom he set up in business at Paul's Sweet Shoppe. But in the spring of 1985, LaForte was so angry at his mobster son that he told his old pal, Gambino underboss Aniello (Neil) Dellacroce that he wanted to smash him in the face with a baseball bat.

Sam PieriAsk Andy: Mobsters Love To Tip The Scales Of Justice

Most Gang Land readers know the jury was fixed in the 1987 trial in which John Gotti was acquitted of racketeering charges – even though it's unlikely the Life and Death of John Gotti movie starring John Travolta and his family that they just made in Cincinnati will mention that – but a few folks have asked if other mobsters ever tried to tip the scales of justice in their favor. That is like asking if the sun is hot. Here are a couple of instances from the early 1970s.


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