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Feb 8th, 2018


His Eagles Upset The Patriots; Skinny Joey Looks To Upset Uncle Sam

Joseph MerlinoPhiladelphia mob boss Joseph (Skinny Joey) Merlino had a big win Sunday: His beloved Philadelphia Eagles upset the Tom Brady-led Patriots to win their first Super Bowl in 52 years of trying. Now, Merlino, a hard-boiled gambler if there ever was one, is ready for a truly amazing parlay: upsetting the U.S. government and becoming the first mob boss to beat a racketeering indictment in more than 30 years

He was in court this week, full of Philadelphia pep, voicing confidence in the legal prowess of lead legal eagle Edwin Jacobs. "He's doing a good job for me," Merlino told Gang Land during a break in the action in the courtroom of Manhattan Federal Court Judge Richard Sullivan. "I'm optimistic," he smiled, before walking off to chat with City of Brotherly Love supporters.

Skinny Joey, who watched with pride yesterday as Jacobs tore into the government's key witness against him, the controversial turncoat mob associate John (J.R) Rubeo, has good reason to feel at least pretty good about his chances.

Peter LovaglioLeadoff Mob Turncoat Witness Lives Up To His Nickname

The government's leadoff cooperating witness against Skinny Joey Merlino, turncoat Bonanno capo Peter Lovaglio, appeared to live up to his nickname: Petey Bullshit. As Gang Land reported two weeks ago, that's his street tag, according to his long suffering fiancé – the mother of their 16 year old son – who says he used her as a punching bag in recent years.

Nicholas StefanelliAsk Andy: Mafia Suicides

It's not easy to get your arms around mobsters killing themselves instead of mob rivals, but for different reasons, there have been more than a few over the years. Six years ago this month, Gambino soldier Nicholas (Nicky Skins) Stefanelli did it so he wouldn't have to testify against wiseguys he taped for the FBI.


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March 8th, 2018



Petey Red, A 'Kind Hearted' Lower East Side Wiseguy, RIP

Peter DiChiaraA large outpouring of neighborhood denizens and old friends from Knickerbocker Village joined wiseguys from all around the town this week to pay their final respects to Peter (Petey Red) DiChiara, a venerable Lower East Side tough guy who rose to the heights of his chosen station in life but never forgot where he came from.

DiChiara, a powerful Genovese crime capo who sources say served in recent years as a "street boss" and as a consigliere for family boss Liborio (Barney) Bellomo, died Friday morning after a months-long battle with a host of ailments stemming from heart disease he had suffered with for decades. He was 75.

Petey Red, whose headquarters was a social club on Market and Cherry Streets, "a stone's throw from his home," was never viewed by mob busters as a particularly crafty gangster. But over the years, he was cagey enough to avoid implicating himself in criminal activity on FBI bugs or in talks with wired-up informants even when he got caught up in undercover investigations.

Joseph MerlinoFeds Look For Plea Deal With Skinny Joey

The Manhattan U.S. Attorney's office indicated quite strongly last week that it would prefer to quietly close out its controversial 46-defendant case against wiseguys and associates from five crime families with plea deals – rather than endure another painful racketeering conspiracy trial with Philadelphia mob boss Joseph (Skinny Joey) Merlino.

Carmine FrancoAsk Andy: Goodfellas Kill Goodfellas, And Sue Other Fellas

Back in 1992, Colombo capo Salvatore Profaci told his brother-in-law that he shouldn't have sued Carmine (Papa Smurf) Franco, a rival Genovese family trash hauler who cheated him. "Goodfellas don't sue goodfellas; goodfellas kill goodfellas," he said. Thankfully, though, they usually file lawsuits when they have a dispute with news reporters.


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March 15, 2018


Dapper Don's Grandson Takes Five; Top Federal Prosecutor Leaves The Fray

Nicole ArgentieriJohn J. Gotti – the 24-year-old grandson of the late Godfather – took a five year hit in federal court yesterday for torching a car five years ago at the behest of another old-time gangster, one from his granddad's generation. Prosecutors noted that the young Gotti was so eager to please that he didn't even ask to be paid for the arson, he did it out of allegiance to the mob. 

Also of note is that the Gotti case is the swan song for Nicole Argentieri, a top prosecutor in the Brooklyn U.S. Attorney's Office. Argentieri suffered a stunning defeat in 2015 in the Lufthansa Airlines robbery trial when aging Bonanno capo Vincent Asaro – the same gangster who ordered the auto arson – swaggered out of court, acquitted of all charges.

But Argentieri got major payback when she nailed Asaro and John Gotti's own grandson in the arson case, and when she pinned a monster 17-year-long racketeering conspiracy case against Asaro's mobster nephew and a bunch of other Bonannos in a companion case.

Salvatore DelligattiLawyer: Fat Sal May Look Like An Extra From The Sopranos, But He's Not Guilty

The feds gave eight defendants plea deals for their roles in the failed 2014 murder plot of a Genovese crime family associate. But mob associate Salvatore (Fat Sal) Delligatti, who was tape recorded by cops as the aborted rubout plot was underway, was left out in the cold. This week, as his trial on racketeering and murder for hire charges got under way, prosecutors and defense lawyers disagreed strongly about his role in a plot to kill mob associate Joseph Bonelli.

Paul SempliceWiseguys Snared By Canadian Mob Turncoat Looking For Plea Deals

New York wiseguys Damiano Zummo and Paul Semplice would just as soon never lay eyes on a certain wiseguy from Canada. This would be the fellow who videotaped his own induction into the Bonnano crime family – a Gang Land first – and then taped a bunch of fellow mobsters talking about their alleged crimes. This is what led to their arrests by the FBI last November.


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March 22, 2018



Murder Victim Who Wasn't Shows Up At Trial Of Gangster Who Couldn't

Joe BonelliThe murder for hire trial of a Genovese gangster charged with signing up a hit team of Crips gangstas to kill rival Genovese associate Joseph Bonelli back in 2014 lived up to its billing as a truly bizarre case during the testimony last week of key prosecution witness Kelvin Duke, the go-between for the two crime groups in the failed rubout plot.

It turns out that Duke and his Crips gunmen made not one, not two but three unsuccessful attempts to whack Bonelli on three consecutive days in June of 2014. The first futile effort included a six-man hit team who drove from the Bronx to Queens in a three-car caravan. The deadly sextet, however, neglected to bring along a gun, Duke testified.

Duke spelled that out and more on the witness stand last Thursday against Genovese mob associate Salvatore (Fat Sal) Delligatti during a trial day like few Gang Land has ever seen. It began when the intended murder victim – Bonelli – showed up in court as a spectator. His arrival came a few minutes after Duke's brother, a convicted member of the murder plot, was thrown out of court by the judge following an angry, finger-pointing, kiss-blowing, verbal exchange with his brother.

Salvatore DelligattiWaiting for Godot — Mafia Style

 In their initial taped talk on June 5, 2014, Salvatore (Fat Sal) Delligatti allegedly talked in code to let Kelvin Duke know that he had a gun he could give him. "I got it in my possession," Fat Sal says on the tape. Over the next three days, until Duke and his hit team were arrested Sunday June 8, the duo had 21 tape-recorded calls. The jury heard them all as trial began last week.

Gaspare ValentiLufthansa Heist Snitch Gets A Pass On His Life Of Crime

Federal judges tend to like cooperating witnesses, even when trial juries don't. So it was this week as longtime mob associate Gaspare (Gary) Valenti got a pass on a life of crime – including his participation in the storied $6 million Lufthansa Airlines robbery back in 1978.


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March 29th, 2018



ILA Dockworker Gets Two Years In Prison For Not Going To Work

Paul MoeA Newark Federal Judge gave a relatively lenient sentence of two years behind bars this week to Paul Moe, a member of the scandal-plagued International Longshoremen's Association who was convicted of stealing the yearly $500,000 salary he got for little or no work on the New Jersey docks from 2015 to 2017 – something he claims he's been doing for the last 15 years.

Over the objection of prosecutors, Judge Katharine Hayden allowed Moe, whose sentencing guidelines for the specific theft of $749,000 called for up to 46 months behind bars, to remain free pending appeal even though the judge had upheld the jury's guilty verdict on all 14 counts of fraud following a lengthy post-conviction hearing in December.

In his appeal for leniency, Moe, 66, insisted that despite the guilty verdict his conscience was clear because he "never defrauded anyone." His conviction was cited in January as a major accomplishment by the Waterfront Commission in a lawsuit it filed against Governor Murphy seeking to stop New Jersey from dumping the 65-year-old waterfront watchdog.

Vincent EspositoJudge Puts Pressure On Chin's Son — And His Prosecutors

It's hard to feel pain for a guy with millions of dollars in property – especially one who also has $4 million in cash laying around the house. But it's not easy being Vincent Esposito these days. The son of the late Vincent (Chin) Gigante has been locked up for 11 weeks, accused in a 17-year-long extortion scheme. The evidence against him stems from 127 hours of taped talks, including at least a few in which his nephew Vincent Fyfe is said to implicate him in a shakedown scheme. Then, last Friday, Manhattan Federal Judge Victor Marrero increased the pressure on Esposito by ordering his trial to begin in six short months.

Peter LovaglioTurncoat: Feds Are Lucky I Smashed The Guy In The Face With A Cocktail Glass

Turncoat Bonanno capo Peter (Petey BS) Lovaglio threatened to go back on his deal with the feds last year. The threat came during a heated argument with an agent who told Lovaglio he had only himself to blame for being behind bars because he had blinded a restaurant owner in an unprovoked drunken assault when he hit him in the face with a cocktail glass in 2015.


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April 14, 2018


Skinny Joey Wanted A Retrial But Took The Better Option

Joeph MerlinoIn the end, it was an offer Philadelphia mob boss Joseph (Skinny Joey) Merlino couldn't refuse.

After battling federal prosecutors to a draw in a hard-fought racketeering trial earlier this year, the flamboyant 56-year-old life-long gambler has decided that the better bet is to take a plea deal with the government for the first — and he hopes the only time — in a long and storied career of forcing the law to prove its case before a jury of his peers.

A very important reason was that the usually hard-driving prosecutors in the so-called Sovereign District of New York agreed to give Skinny Joey an amazingly sweet plea deal — a guarantee that the most severe prison term the mob boss could receive from a judge who has publicly stated that he was a major organized crime figure is two years behind bars.

Liborio BellomoG-Man's Merlino-Genovese Gaff Panned In South Philly

Like most FBI agents, William Inzerillo, who was John (J.R) Rubeo's handler during most of the Merlino investigation, is not a favorite of the guys from Skinny Joey's old neighborhood in South Philadelphia.

Salvatore PiccoloWarning From Joey Electric: Don't Get Caught On Tape

The Philadelphia mob is arguably one of the most recorded crime families in modern day history of the American Mafia. In the late 1980s George Fresolone, working for the New Jersey State Police, recorded hundreds of conversations, including his own making ceremony.


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April 26th, 2018



Judge To Tough-Talking Labor Racketeer: Get Ready For More Than Five Years In Prison

Roland BedwellAn arrogant, tough-talking, mobbed up labor chieftain was captured on tape boasting to a contractor about how his union gives short shrift to its members from Mexico and Central America who work as landscapers.

The union's contract is "not that good," Roland Bedwell, the $190,000 a year business agent and treasurer of Local 175 of the United Plant and Production Workers, was heard telling the contractor. "It's not good for the guys. Great for you. Bullshit contract if you ask me."

Bedwell pointed out how much better his union's contract is for members in his road paving division who are paid more and get better benefits: "See we came up with that cause we knew, in the landscapers, they got a lot of Mexicans, Guatemalans." Those members, the union boss added "came from a third-world country and we understand that."

Vincent EspositoIt's Home Alone At Last For Chin's Son – Except For The Armed Guard

Three long and very expensive months after a judge ruled that Vincent Esposito could be released on bail, the son of the late Vincent (Chin) Gigante has finally made it home to the Upper East Side townhouse where his father and mother long resided.

Joseph CammaranoWhen It Comes To Haircuts, What's Good For One Wiseguy Isn't Good For Another

You may have the right to the lawyer of your choice. But not the right to choose your own barber.


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May 31, 2018


Three Years Later, Feds Turn Over Brady Material In Meldish Murder

Michael MeldishWith help from state prosecutors in the Bronx, federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York withheld evidence favorable to the defense for three years from lawyers for a pair of Luchese gangsters charged back in 2015 with the gangland-style killing of former Purple Gang leader Michael Meldish, Gang Land has learned.

Sources say that documents only recently turned over to the defense show that an unnamed cooperating witness confessed to his government handlers that he was present when an associate carried out the hit on Meldish. The cooperating witness (CW) later recanted his confession. But the documents appear to clearly constitute Brady Material – exculpatory information that prosecutors are obliged under court rules to share with the defense.  

Sources say that federal prosecutors recently turned over the so-called Brady Material in the case. The information contradicts the government's main theory about the murder: The defendants charged with the killing – mobster Christopher Londonio and mob associate Terrence Caldwell – were the sole members of a two-man hit team in the November 15, 2013 execution murder of Meldish.

Eugene CastelleFeds To Boopsie: Stay Home, And Get Ready For RICO

Sometimes there's not much "Good" about being a GoodFella. Just ask Luchese wiseguy Eugene (Boopsie) Castelle who is awaiting trials in Manhattan and Brooklyn for his alleged crimes as a mobster. In addition to his legal troubles, Castelle, who is 58 years old, has been out of work for two years and is currently facing eviction from his home.

John CastellucciBig John's iPhone Tells No Tales

Like most defendants, Luchese capo John (Big John) Castellucci filed a motion to suppress much of the evidence the feds plan to use against him in the Luchese family trial that's set to begin in October. But not for any allegedly damaging info on his cell phone. The reason: the FBI couldn't crack his password


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For A Measly $7000, Chin Gigante's Son Vincent Beat A College Graduation Day Assault


So far this year, it's cost Vincent Esposito, the youngest son of legendary Mafia boss Vincent (Chin) Gigante, about $240,000 to pay for a 24-7 armed guard outside his Upper East Side home to make sure he doesn't run away from a pending extortion charge.

But three decades ago, Gang Land has learned, it cost just $7,000 for Esposito to beat a much more violent accusation.

Back in May of 1989, on the night that young Vincent was celebrating his graduation from NYU, he allegedly smashed a chair over the head of a woman who had rebuffed his advances.

Damiano ZummoIn The Mob's Version Of Candid Camera, The Star Will Soon Get His Award

The Bonanno crime family mobster who became notorious in mob folklore last year when it was revealed that authorities had videotaped a Mafia induction ceremony at which he had presided, has agreed to plead guilty to drug charges, Gang Land has learned.

Vito RizzutoThe Godfather Of The Montreal Mafia Makes It To Netflix

The Canadian Mafia – which has often been more violent and bloody in recent years than its south of the border American cousin – has long been ignored by the movie industry and television. But no more.


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Dec 20, 2018



Judge Preparing Key Rulings For Meldish Murder Trial

Michael MeldishIt's been a long time coming. But 18 months later, federal prosecutors are closing in on a trial of five Luchese gangsters for the murder of former Purple Gang leader Michael Meldish. And they say they have a compelling case against three top family mobsters who ordered his rubout, and the two-man hit team who allegedly killed him as he sat behind the wheel of his parked car.

Lawyers for the quintet charged with the 2013 hit are quick to rebut the government claims. They say the case is built on illegally obtained evidence against the alleged hit team, and hard-to-believe accounts of two witnesses, including a drug abusing mob associate who wrongly told the FBI in 2015 that he was there when his own father killed Meldish, and whom the feds plan to use to link all five defendants to the murder with little more than his say so to back him up.

White Plains Federal Judge Cathy Seibel, who is slated to deliver rulings on a slew of pre-trial motions on January 2, is poring through hundreds of pages of filings she's received over the last two months. They include opposing arguments about the Meldish murder, as well as four other murder plots, and other charged crimes in the nine count racketeering case. Here's Gang Land's take on all the meaty issues that are on the judge's plate – at this time.

John AmbrosioJohnny Boy and Frankie Boy Pay The Price For Rackets Scheme

The feds closed the book last week on a racketeering scheme between a 75-year-old mobster pal of the long gone and laid to rest Mafia boss John Gotti, and a much younger wiseguy with very close ties to still-trucking Bonanno boss Michael (Mikey Nose) Mancuso, who was recently released from prison into a Bronx halfway house.

Frank TieriAsk Andy: The First Mobster Convicted Of Being A Mafia Boss

Ten years after Congress passed the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act, the feds were ready to use it against a Mafia boss. And on June 30, 1980, FBI agents arrested 76-year-old Frank (Funzi) Tieri and charged him with heading the powerful Genovese crime family.


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1/4/19


Feds Have A Second Key Witness In Meldish Murder Case, And He May Be Shakier Than The First

David EvangelistaSix months ago, Gang Land exclusively disclosed that the key government witness in the sensational 2013 gangland-style slaying of former Purple Gang leader Michael Meldish was a mob associate who had initially fingered his father as the killer. The witness later changed his tune, saying he got mixed up.

Now, Gang Land has learned that the newest government witness in the Meldish hit parade is a drug-abusing bank robber who "escaped" from a Bureau of Prisons halfway house in 2016, a few weeks before his scheduled release.

Meet David Evangelista, a grammar school grad who is set to testify at the White Plains Federal Court trial that begins in March. After spending 11 years in prison for a string of bank robberies, Evangelista walked away from a Bronx halfway house in 2016. It wasn't because he was rehabilitated. In short order, Evangelista robbed two more banks, only to be arrested a month later. He then pleaded guilty to "escape," and the new bank robberies.

Damiano ZummoStar Of Videotaped Induction Ceremony Pleads Guilty

It appears that the feds aren't interested in showing off their "extraordinary" achievement of 2015: the videotape they made of the induction into the Bonanno crime family of mob turncoat Vincent (Enzo) Morena, the Italian born gangster from Brooklyn who wore a wire for three years against wiseguys in the U.S. and Canada.

John PritchardGrim Reaper Calls Trailblazing FBI Mob Buster John Pritchard

Along with several high-powered wiseguys and a long-jailed, mob-connected drug dealer, the Grim Reaper called one of the very best good guys in 2018 – John Pritchard, a trail-blazing FBI mob buster, and a hell of a nice guy who also toiled for the NYPD and at the end of his career, returned to where he came from, as The PC, police commissioner of Mount Vernon. He was 75.


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January 17th, 2019



Feds Pull Out 45 Years Of Racketeering Crimes Against The Meldish Murder Five

Matthew MadonnaThe gangland-style slaying of former Purple Gang leader Michael Meldish took place in 2013 when his blood-splashed body was found behind the wheel of his girlfriend's car in the Throggs Neck section of the Bronx. But to convict five Luchese gangsters of that murder, the feds want to go back almost half a century in a bid to show the ties between Meldish and acting Luchese boss Matthew (Matty) Madonna, 83, who stands accused of ordering the killing.

In a 65-page filing, prosecutors asked White Plains Federal Court Judge Cathy Seibel to permit the dozen witnesses they have assembled – they include mobsters, a major builder, and several mob associates – to testify about crimes going back to when telephones still had rotary dials.

For starters, the feds want to detail Madonna's sordid back pages when he was a major heroin dealer, leading to a narcotics trafficking conviction in 1976. Prosecutors also want to tell jurors that Steven (Stevie Wonder) Crea, the 71-year-old underboss who is also accused in the murder, earned $200,000 in "labor peace" payments from one general contractor in the 1980s, and that he took part in lucrative shakedowns involving multi-million dollar government renovation projects in the 1980s – the Holland Tunnel and the Lenox Avenue subway station.

Judge Cathy SeibelJudge Rips Prosecutors And FBI In Meldish Murder Five Case Again, But Rules For Them, Again

Judge Cathy Seibel has again blasted prosecutors and the FBI for their misrepresentations to her and their mishandling of evidence in the case of the Meldish Murder Five. But once again, the judge stopped short of dismissing any criminal counts from the racketeering indictment.

Frank CotroniAsk Andy: Wasted Days and Wasted Nights

To this day, the late Francesco (Frank) Cotroni is known as a major Canada-based mobster who helped run the rackets in Montreal. In reality, though, he was a drug dealer who rode his brother's coattails into the Bonanno crime family and spent much of his life behind bars while logging arrests in all three North American countries.


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