Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bulger captured, fugitive for 16 years

South Boston crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger (right) and his longtime girlfriend Catherine Greig were arrested yesterday (Wednesday, June 22) in Santa Monica, California, according to numerous published reports. Bulger, 82, had been a fugitive from justice for 16 years. He is accused of participating in 19 murders and other crimes. Greig is accused of harboring a fugitive.

- Los Angeles Times: "Fugitive Boston mobster arrested on Westside."
- Boston Herald: "Whitey Bulger, galpal nabbed in California."
- New York Post: "Mobster 'Whitey' Bulger arrested after 16 years on the lam."
- Reuters: "Accused Boston crime boss 'Whitey' Bulger arrested."

Bulger served as boss of the South Boston, Massachusetts, Winter Hill Gang, while also working as an FBI informer against the regional Mafia. His corrupt FBI handler, John J. Connolly Jr., tipped him off to a pending federal indictment in December 1994. (Connolly was later convicted of racketeering-leaking government information and of second degree murder.) Bulger and his girlfriend immediately disappeared. The reward for Bulger's capture had reached as high as $2 million.

Earlier in the week, the FBI unveiled a new publicity campaign targeting Catherine Greig. That prompted extensive coverage of the Bulger case in Boston-area media.

- FBI: "Have You Seen This Woman?"

Bulger and Greig are expected to appear in federal court in downtown Los Angeles today (Thursday, June 23).

Friday, July 30, 2010

Convicted of racketeering, acquitted of fatal robbery

Genovese Crime Family capodecina Anthony "Big Nose" Antico, 75, was acquitted July 29 of setting up the 2008 fatal robbery of jeweler Louis Antonelli, according to stories in the New York Daily News and the Staten Island Advance. That charge could have meant a life prison sentence for Antico.
The Genovese big shot was convicted, however, on two racketeering counts related to gambling and robbery that are punishable by a maximum of 20 years in prison.
Antonelli was shot to death as he left El Sabor Tropical restaurant on April 29, 2008. Authorities say the killing was the result of a botched robbery attempt.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

'Mafia Cops' conviction upheld

The Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the murder conspiracy convictions of two former New York Police detectives widely known as the "Mafia Cops," according to a story by the Associated Press.

      The court on July 23 found no merit to an appeal by former detectives Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa. The two men were convicted of moonlighting for Lucchese Crime Family big shot Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso while they were on the payroll of the New York Police Department. Eppolito appealed, arguing that he was denied effective legal counsel. Caracappa argued that his conviction was based upon faulty evidence.

Read more:
Mafia Cop.
The Brotherhoods: The True Story of Two Cops Who Murdered for the Mafia.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Octogenarian Bulger still tops FBI list

A recently released FBI Most Wanted list has a familiar name in its top spot: James J. "Whitey" Bulger, according to a story by Patrick Cooper of A $2 million reward is offered for information leading to Bulger's capture.

      The 81-year-old, a fugitive Irish-American gang boss from Boston, reportedly has been in hiding since his early 1995 racketeering indictment. He also was charged on Sept. 28, 2000, with participating in 19 murders during the 1970s and 1980s. Bulger received some protection from the Boston area FBI as he served as an informant against the New England Mafia.
      Bulger's FBI handler, former FBI agent John Connolly was convicted of racketeering in 2002 and sentenced to 10 years in federal prison. Connolly was convicted of second-degree murder late in 2008. He was found guilty of providing Bulger and a Winter Hill Gang underling, Stephen Flemmi, with information that led to the death of potential government witness John B. Callahan in 1982. Connolly was sentenced in January 2009 to 40 years in prison that murder conviction. The sentencing judge noted at the time that the statute of limitations on the murder charge may have lapsed.

Read more about Bulger:
The Brothers Bulger: How They Terrorized and Corrupted Boston for a Quarter Century.
Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Authorities mum on U.S. role in 'Ndrangeta busts

While U.S. authorities are said to have participated in the transatlantic crackdown on the Italian 'Ndrangheta organized crime network, no details of U.S. arrests have been released, according to a story by Ravi Somaiya of Newsweek. More than 320 people with alleged links to 'Ndrangheta, the Calabrian criminal society, were arrested in dawn raids. Police seized weapons, drugs and financial assets in the largest anti-organized crime operation in 15 years.

Gioeli charged with killing cop

Thomas "Tommy Shots" Gioeli, a former leader of the Colombo Crime Family, has been charged with killing off-duty New York City Police Officer Ralph Dols in 1997, according to a story by John Marzulli of the New York Daily News.

The charge is contained in a new federal indictment against Gioeli (left), 57. He is currently charged with six racketeering-related murders, three of those would be punishable with the death penalty. The justice deparment plans to announce within the next 60 days if it will pursue the death penalty. The Daily News indicated that Gioeli's role in Dols' Brooklyn killing was confirmed by informant Dino "Big Dino" Calabro, a former capodecina. Gioeli reportedly conveyed the order to kill Dols from consigliere Joel "Joe Waverly" Cacace to underlings. Dols' offense against the crime family is alleged to have been marrying Cacace's ex-wife.

Read more about the Colombo Crime Family:
Mafia Son: The Scarpa Mob Family, the FBI, and a Story of Betrayal
The Mad Ones: Crazy Joe Gallo and the Revolution at the Edge of the Underworld

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Franzese, 93, convicted of racketeering

John "Sonny" Franzese, 93-year-old reputed underboss of the Colombo Crime Family, was convicted of racketeering July 6 in Brooklyn federal court, according to a story by John Marzulli of the New York Daily News. A jury found Franzese guilty of shaking down Hustler and Penthouse strip clubs in Manhattan. It did not convict him on a count related to extortion of a pizza restaurant. Much of the government's case against Franzese rested on testimony and evidence provided by his son, John Franzese Jr.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Seattle's Colacurcio dies at 93

Long suspected of mob involvement, Seattle area strip-club magnate Frank Colacurcio Sr. died July 2 at the age of 92, according to a story by Steve Miletich of the Seattle Times.

Colacurcio was known to be involved in vending machine rackets and strip clubs. Authorities found he engaged in tax evasion, gambling and bribery. He was jailed twice on tax convictions and once for bringing illegal bingo cards into Washington State. Police investigators suspected him of links to larger organized crime groups and of involvement in the killings of rivals. However, no credible evidence of violent crimes was ever produced, and, despite a well publicized visit with Joseph Bonanno's son Salvatore ("Bill"), the Seattle native denied any connection to the U.S. Mafia. The last elements of his strip club empire recently were seized by the government. At the time of his death, he was under indictment for racketeering and promoting prostitution.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Limone pleads no contest to gambling charge

Peter J. Limone, 76, of Medford MA, pleaded no contest today to 12 charges related to loansharking and gambling, according to stories in the Boston Herald and the Boston Globe. Limone, who served 33 years in prison after being wrongly convicted of a 1965 murder, will avoid jail time on the latest charges.

Mob-linked gambling ring busted in NY

Seventeen people, including alleged members of the Gambino and Genovese Crime Families, were indicted June 28 with participating in illegal sports gambling rings that generated an estimated $20 million a year, according to a story by R.M. Schneiderman of the Wall Street Journal.

Lucchese betting ring arraignment

Thirty-four people, including leading figures from Lucchese Crime Family operations in New Jersey, were arraigned July 28 for racketeeing, money laundering, gambling and other offenses, according to a story by Peggy Wright of the Daily Record. The defendants all pleaded not guilty. The charges stemmed from an investigation of an international sports gambling enterprise that hauled in $2.2 billion in wagers over a 15-month period.
    The indictments against the 34 were returned in May. The defendants included Martin Taccetta, 59, of East Hanover NJ. Tacceta, currently serving a life prison sentence on a 1993 racketeering conviction, is believed to have been the New Jersey commander of the Lucchese organization. Taccetta was released from prison in 2004 after a successful legal appeal and allegedly became involved in the gambling operation during his time out of prison. The New Jersey State Supreme Court returned him to prison to serve out his sentence. He was charged July 28 with conspiracy and promotion of gambling.

    Other defendants are Ralph V. Perna (right), 64, of East Hanover, reputed top Lucchese capodecina in the Garden State; James Furfaro, Jr., 30, of Parsippany; and Alfonso "Tic" Cataldo, 68, of Florham Park. Perna is accused of overseeing the day-to-day operations of the gambling enterprise allegedly managed by his three sons, Joseph M. Perna, 40, John G. Perna, 32, and Ralph M. Perna, 38.

    Related post: NJ charges 34 with gambling, racketeering

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Montreal Mafioso is victim of daylight hit

Agostino Cuntrera, 66, leading member of the Montreal Mafia, was murdered Tuesday in a daylight shooting at his east-end Montreal restaurant, according to a report by CTV of Canada. Also killed in the attack was Cuntrera's 48-year-old bodyguard.
    A black Chevrolet Impala was observed fleeing the scene. Police arrested two men in a similar automobile. One of the them was released.
    Authorities say Cuntrera took over command of the Sicilian criminal society in Montreal following the U.S. jailing of boss Vito Rizzuto for racketeering murders in Brooklyn. In December, Rizzuto's son Nick was shot to death in a daylight hit in Montreal's Notre Dame de Grace District. Paolo Renda, 70, a Rizzuto in-law who considered a top adviser to the Rizzuto organization, disappeared in May.
    A Calabrian underworld organization is widely believed responsible for the attacks on the Sicilian Rizzuto organization. The Rizzutos reportedly came to power in Montreal by eliminating a local Calabrian boss.
    Cuntrera was born in Sicily in 1944 and settled in Canada by 1965. He aided the Rizzuto clan as it established itself in Montreal. Cuntrera served five years in prison after being convicted of conspiring in the 1978 murder of Calabrian gang boss Paolo Violi.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Palumbo charged with 1992 murder conspiracy

Already charged with racketeering and extortion, Anthony "Tony D" Palumbo was indicted June 15 for conspiring in the 1992 mob murder of Angelo Sangiuolo, according to a story by Bruce Golding of the New York Post.
    Sangiuolo was reportedly targeted because he was found to be robbing Palumbo-run gambling establishments in the Bronx. Federal authorities say Vincent "the Chin" Gigante, then boss of the Genovese Crime Family, approved the hit. Genovese capodecina Angelo Prisco helped lure Sangiuolo, Prisco's cousin, to the scene of his murder. Prisco has been convicted and jailed for complicity in the murder. Triggerman John Leto pleaded guilty of involvement in the killing and testified against Prisco. Paul "Doc" Gaccione was arrested in April and charged with being a getaway driver in the hit.

    Reputed acting capodecina Palumbo has overseen Genovese operations in New Jersey since 2006, said federal prosecutors. The latest indictment also charges him with plotting to extort money from Russian mobsters engaged in a gasoline tax racket. That scheme, which never came about, would have involved a Palumbo killing of a hitman employed by the Russians, according to federal prosecutors.
    Palumbo, free on bond, pleaded not guilty to the new charges.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sammartino pleads guilty to loansharking

Reputed Bonanno Crime Family capodecina Joseph "Sammy" Sammartino, 55, pleaded guilty June 21 to loansharking, according to a story by John Marzulli of the New York Daily News. The plea was entered in Brooklyn federal court. Sammartino faces a sentence of up to two years in prison when sentenced in October. Federal authorities say Sammartino is a member of the ruling panel of the Bonanno organization.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Riccobene grandson killed in Philadelphia

Rocco Maniscalco, 38, grandson of Philadelphia underworld leader Harry "the Hunchback" Riccobene, was shot to death June 10 by an unknown gunman outside his South Philadelphia home, according to a story by Dana DiFilippo of the Philadelphia Daily News. Maniscalco was walking home from the Wolf Street Cafe in the early morning hours, when the gunman, a slim man in a white shirt, jumped out of the shadows and fired at least 10 shots. The gunman escaped in a dark SUV. Maniscalco died near the corner of Wolf and Colorado Streets at 1:20 a.m.

US Mafia was born in New Orleans

book cover


Deep Water:
Joseph P. Macheca and the
Birth of the American Mafia

Written by Thomas Hunt and Martha Macheca Sheldon, Deep Water captures the life and times of Joseph P. Macheca. It finally sets the record straight on the man who was a warrior for the corrupt New Orleans Democratic machine, a pioneer of the Crescent City’s fruit trade, a Confederate privateer and the legendary “godfather” of the first Mafia organization to germinate in American soil.
While answering at last the questions surrounding the 1890 assassination of Police Chief David Hennessy and the subsequent Crescent City lynchings, Deep Water establishes the factual details of Macheca’s life and sets them against the vivid backdrop of Gilded Age New Orleans. Published by iUniverse.

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I am the editor and publisher of a quarterly true crime journal, Informer: The History of American Crime and Law Enforcement. On the web, I publish the American Mafia history website and I moderate a Yahoo discussion group on Mafia topics.With Martha Macheca Sheldon, I coauthored "Deep Water: Joseph P. Macheca and the Birth of the American Mafia." With Michael A. Tona, I coauthored "DiCarlo: Buffalo's First Family of Crime." I contributed a history of the American Mafia to the Australian-published "Mafia: The Necessary Reference to Organized Crime." I have written and co-written articles on organized crime for Informer and the On the Spot Journal.  I previously edited organized crime and crime books and authors categories for the Open Directory Project ( ).