Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Mobster bombed competing deli

New York police and federal investigators believe that Edward "the Irishman" Fisher orchestrated the post-9/11 bombing of a Staten Island deli, according to a story by Stefanie Cohen, Philip Messing and Bill Sanderson of the New York Post.

Authorities previously believed the Dec. 22, 2001, bombing was an anti-Muslim hate crime. The deli owner, Hamim Syed, is said to be active in Staten Island's Pakistani community.

According to Lt. Dennis Briordi of the NYPD Arson and Explosions Squad, Fisher, 54, set up the bombing to eliminate a rival to his own bagel store. He obtained the bomb and had associates Anthony Maniscalco and Salvatore Palmieri toss it into the rival deli. The store cost $400,000 to rebuild.

Fisher denies any involvement in the crime.

Authorities suspect Fisher of being an associate with the Gambino Crime Family. Palmieri and Maniscalco have already been imprisoned for their roles in the crime.

Italy arrests Litvinenko confidant

Italian police arrested Mario Scaramella on arms trafficking charges Sunday, according to a Reuters report published in the New York Post. Scaramella was one of the last people known to be with recently murdered ex-Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko.

Scaramella was arrested as he arrived at the Naples airport from London, where he had undergone treatment for suspected exposure to the same radioactive substance - Polonium-210 - that killed Litvinenko last month.

British and Russian law enforcement agencies are conducting murder investigations into Litvinenko's death.

See also:
Writer links Litvinenko death to Mafiya and U.S. 12-19-2006

Reputed mobsters accuse housewife of con

Three reputed mobsters, charged in federal court with loansharking, have pointed an accusing finger at a Howard Beach, Queens, housewife, according to a story by Stefanie Cohen of the New York Post.

Reputed Bonanno Crime Family members Michael "Mike the Butcher" Virtuoso and Michael Cassese and reputed crime family associate Agostino Accardo insist that Yvonne Rossetti conned them to the tune of a half million dollars in a phony real estate deal back in 2005.
When the reputed wiseguys got wise to the scam, they made some threatening remarks. Those were overheard by Rossetti's husband Vincent, and also some federal investigators via an electronic eavesdropping device worn by Vincent.

Accardo was the first to be approached with the alleged scam. He reportedly brought in Virtuoso. When promised returns failed to materialize, Cassese was allegedly called in to persuade Yvonne Rossetti to make good. Vincent Rossetti reportedly taped Cassese and Virtuoso making threats to his wife.

Federal agents connected the threats to expected payments on a loan, and the loansharking case was the result, according to a story by John Marzulli of the New York Daily News.

The Daily News also reported that Rossetti has been accused of conning relatives and others out of money she said was needed to care for her handicapped teenage daughter. Some have questioned her use of money generated through fundraisers held for her daughter's benefit.
Accardo, Virtuoso and Cassese were indicted last month. Accardo is free on $1 million bail. The other two men are being held without bail as they await trial. Vincent Rossetti faces federal extortion charges in a separate case.

Friday, December 22, 2006

FBI "knew all along they were not guilty"

Michael J. Albano, former Springfield MA mayor and state Parole Board member, testified this week that the FBI repeatedly withheld evidence that several men convicted of murder were actually innocent, according to a story by Dan Ring of the Springfield Republican.

"The FBI knew all along they were not guilty," Albano, 56, said in U.S. District Court in Boston on Tuesday.

Albano's testimony in the $100 million lawsuit brought against the government by Peter Limone, Joseph Salvati and the families of Louis Greco and Henry Tameleo echoed that of former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, who testified last week. The four men were convicted in 1968 of the 1965 murder of Edward "Teddy" Deegan. The conviction was based in large part on testimony that has since been proven false. Greco and Tameleo spent the remainder of their lives behind bars for a crime they did not commit. Limone and Salvati were finally released in 2001, after FBI documentation in the case was revealed.

While a new member of the Parole Board in the 1980s, the matter of commuting the sentences of Limone, Salvati and Greco came before the board. (Tameleo had died in prison in 1984.) Albano said he asked the FBI for information, but was not provided with an important report. He ultimately and unsuccessfully voted for commutation.

After leaving the witness stand, Albano told reporters that FBI agents attempted to persuade him against voting for the commutation of the sentences. "They... said it probably would not bode well for me if I wanted to remain in public life, that this would not be a good vote for me."

Related MobNews items:
Dukakis testifies in Limone lawsuit 12-14-2006
DiNunzio released on $20K cash bail 12-05-2006
Mass. police arrest DiNunzio 12-02-2006
Salvati, Limone sue FBI for 1960s frameup 08-19-2006
Attorney: FBI responsible for mob hit 06-30-2006
Agent had 'Whitey' concerns in '81 06-14-2006
FBI 'condoned' crimes, gang hits 06-07-2006

Brazil sends Alite home to U.S.

The Brazilian government turned reputed Gambino Crime Family bigshot John Edward Alite, 44, over to U.S. law enforcement agents earlier today, according to a story on CNN.

The agents immediately brought Alite back to the United States. He faces a list of racket-related charges in connection with a Gambino family branch that operated in the Tampa, Florida, region.

Four men, believed to be Alite's underworld accomplices, were convicted in November in Tampa. Alite was fighting extradition from Brazil at the time of that trial.

The four - Ronald "Ronnie One Arm" Trucchio, Steven Catalano, Kevin M. McMahon and Terry L. Scaglione - are to be sentenced in March. Trucchio and Catalano face possible life prison sentences. McMahon and Scaglione could be jailed up to 20 years.

One member of Gambino crew in Tampa, Michael Malone, earlier pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against his former associates.

Earlier this month, the November jury verdict was called into question, as one juror claimed that she was pressured into voting guilty and that she observed improper behavior by some jurors.

Related MobNews items:
Tampa jury frightened by Trucchio investigators 12-08-2006
Gambino's Tampa crew convicted 11-30-2006
Trucchio defends himself, for now 10-18-2006
Tampa Gambino crew goes on trial 10-16-2006
Gotti tapes link him & dad to Uva murders 06-23-2006

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Text of Ianniello plea agreement

The News-Times of Danbury CT is providing a web link to the plea agreement between Matthew "Matty the Horse" Ianniello and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Connecticut. ( Click here to access the document. ) Yesterday, Ianniello pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy and conspiring to defraud the IRS in connection with a property rights racket in the Connecticut waste hauling industry.

Under the agreement, Ianniello agreed to pay $277,970.90 in taxes and penalties and to forfeit $130,680 seized by the FBI and the IRS during a search of his Old Westbury NY home in July. He also faces a maximum penalty of 24 to 30 months in prison and a possible additional fine when sentenced March 9. The prison term might run concurrently with the up to two years he could be sentenced in connection with a labor racketeering conviction from September.

Related MobNews items:
Ianniello pleads guilty to trash racketeering 12-20-2006
School bus union boss charged with racketeering 11-21-2006
NYC schoolbus drivers want mob out of union 11-09-2006
Galante employee admits hockey-trash link 11-02-2006
CT mulls waste hauling regulation 09-24-06
'Matty the Horse' pleads guilty to racketeering 09-15-06
Feds: Galante diverted millions 08-10-06
Galante waste companies could be sold 07-17-06
Trash racket defendants want court delay 07-12-06
Indicted garbage co. tries to hold onto contracts 07-10-06
Strict conditions set for Galante release 07-01-06
Trash king Galante to stay in jail for now 06-28-06
Feds run CT waste biz 06-13-06
Indicted hauler's hockey team suspends operations 06-13-06
29 charged in CT-NY trash hauling rackets 06-10-06
Garbage 'property rights' 04-28-06
Guilty hauler 04-28-06

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Ianniello pleads guilty to trash racketeering

Matthew "Matty the Horse" Ianniello, 86, has admitted participation in a waste hauling "property rights" racket within Connecticut, according to a story by John Christoffersen of the Washington Post.

Ianniello, until recently considered by law enforcement to be the top man of the Genovese Crime Family, was one of 29 people charged in connection with the Connecticut racket over the summer. Prosecutors say regional trash czar James Galante of New Fairfield CT oversaw monopolistic cooperation among hauling firms and made regular tribute payments to Ianniello. Competition was suppressed by crime family backing of Galante, they say. (Click for original indictment.)

Ianniello pleaded guilty in New Haven CT federal court today and will be sentenced March 9. He faces between 24 and 30 months in prison for racketeering conspiracy and tax evasion. He faced a possible penalty of 20 years in prison if he went to trial and was convicted, according to a story by Kent Pierce of WTNH-TV. Ianniello admitted to sending representatives to Connecticut quarterly to pick up cash payments, but he did not admit to being a member of the Mafia.
It has been a difficult year for the reputed crime boss. In September he pleaded guilty to racketeering offenses in connection with an allegedly corrupt school bus drivers union. (Click for original indictment.) He admitted to obstructing justice by concealing payoffs he arranged between bus companies and union officials. He could be sentenced up to two years in prison in that case.

While Ianniello is technically "free" on $1 million bail in the trash property rights case, he is actually legally confined to his home (when not making court appearances) as a result of other legal matters.

Law enforcement officials believe that Ianniello became an acting boss of the Genovese family after Vincent "the Chin" Gigante was sentenced to 12 years in prison in 1997. Gigante died in prison last year. (Some authorities now say that Daniel Leo, 65, of Rockleigh NJ, is the top man in the Genovese family.)

According to Galante's defense attorney, Hugh Keefe, the Ianniello plea will not push Galante toward a plea deal. Galante insists that he is innocent of wrongdoing.

On Nov. 1, the former head coach of the Galante-owned Danbury CT Trashers minor league hockey team pleaded guilty to evading league salary cap rules by concealing no-show jobs given to players in waste hauling firms. J. Todd Stirling, 34, acknowledged filing fraudulent reports with the UHL league offices during the 2004-05 season. Prosecutors say the Trashers' actual payroll, including no-show job income and other improper benefits, was about $475,000 over the league salary cap of $275,000. The Trashers team was dissolved over the summer.

According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Connecticut, Danbury CT waste hauler Paul DiNardo, 48, pleaded guilty last Friday to participating in the property rights racket. DiNardo, employed by American Disposal Services of Connecticut and one of the 29 people indicted in June, admitted that he manipulated the bidding process to ensure that his employer would obtain contracts. DiNardo is to be sentenced March 5. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Another defendant in the case, former Waterbury CT mayor Joseph Santopietro is said to be working on a plea deal with federal prosecutors, according to a story in the Boston Globe. Santopietro's attorney Martin Minella said his client had no involvement with Ianniello and would not be affected by Ianniello's plea.

About a third of the defendants in the case have reached plea deals.

Related MobNews items:
School bus union boss charged with racketeering 11-21-2006
NYC schoolbus drivers want mob out of union 11-09-2006
Galante employee admits hockey-trash link 11-02-2006
CT mulls waste hauling regulation 09-24-06
'Matty the Horse' pleads guilty to racketeering 09-15-06
Feds: Galante diverted millions 08-10-06
Galante waste companies could be sold 07-17-06
Trash racket defendants want court delay 07-12-06
Indicted garbage co. tries to hold onto contracts 07-10-06
Strict conditions set for Galante release 07-01-06
Trash king Galante to stay in jail for now 06-28-06
Feds run CT waste biz 06-13-06
Indicted hauler's hockey team suspends operations 06-13-06
29 charged in CT-NY trash hauling rackets 06-10-06
Garbage 'property rights' 04-28-06
Guilty hauler 04-28-06

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Aislin Silva is laid to rest

A decade after her murder and mutilation at the hands of Massachusetts mobsters, Aislin Silva was finally laid to rest on Dec. 11, according to a story by Megan Tench of the Boston Globe.

Silva's dismembered remains were discovered Dec. 1 within a hillside near William A. Welch Elementary School in Peabody MA, according to a Dec. 2 story by Raja Mishra of the Globe. Authorities had been searching for Silva since the 19-year-old's disappearance on November 12, 1996.

Two days after her disappearance, police found blood, hair and some samples of flesh matching Silva's DNA inside a dumpster at a Danvers MA car wash. They also found several bags of lime at the site.

A police excavation team began digging into a field near the Peabody school back on June 30.
A press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts indicated that Silva was killed on orders of New England Mafia crew leader Paul A. "Big Paul" DeCologero. On Sept. 28, DeCologero, 48, was sentenced to life imprisonment. He was convicted March 20 of racketeering crimes, including the murder.

DeCologero ordered the young woman murdered after police raided the Medford MA apartment of her boyfriend and crew member Stephen DiCenso. A number of high-powered handguns were discovered. DeCologero reportedly feared that Silva would tell authorities about the crew's drug trafficking activities.

Crew member Kevin Meuse, who is believed to have physically committed the murder by snapping Silva's neck, apparently hanged himself in prison in 1997.

Other members of DeCologero's crew have been imprisoned. Paul J. DeCologero, 32, nephew of the crew leader, was convicted of conspiring to kill Silva and sentenced to 25 years. Another nephew John P. DeCologero Jr. went to prison after a racketeering conviction. Joseph Pavone, 33, was convicted of witness tampering and sentenced to six years.

In spring 2005, Derek Capozzi, 33, was sent to prison for 23 years after a conviction for being an accessory to the murder of Silva. He reportedly assisted in dismembering her body after the murder.

DiCenso pleaded guilty to racketeering and cooperated in the investigation of the murder. He overdosed on heroin in 1996 and lost his ability to speak. In Capozzi's trial, DiCenso testified by typing responses to questions into a computer.

According to DiCenso's testimony, the crew initially tried to kill Silva by giving her a lethal overdose of heroin at DiCenso's apartment. She resisted taking the drug. The following morning Meuse showed up at the apartment and killed the teen after sending DiCenso out to get hacksaws and a metal cutter.

Other MobNews items related to the Silva murder:
Mass. men sentenced for witness tampering 09-02-2006
Mass. police search again for teen's remains 06-30-2006

Friday, December 15, 2006

Anti-Mafia cardinal dies at 88

Cardinal Salvatore Pappalardo, a former archbishop of Palermo Sicily who publicly campaigned against the Mafia criminal society for a generation, died Dec. 10 at the age of 88, according to web sources.

Cardinal Pappalardo in the early 1980s challenged the Italian government to take on the Mafia, and over the years he encouraged his fellow priests to do so as well.

In April, when reputed Mafia leader Bernardo Provenzano was captured outside Corleone after four decades in hiding, Pappalardo noted that the event was both a positive and a negative sign. That Provenzano would finally face justice provided hope for the future, he said, but his ability to remain at large for so long was evidence that many remained willing to protect him.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told Italy's ANSA news agency, "[Pappalardo's] efforts against the Mafia, made amid risks and hostility..., were of deep value to the church and to all civil society."

Other MobNews items relating to the Sicilian Mafia:
Power struggle in Sicilian Mafia? 09-22-2006
Trying to solve mob boss's code 09-08-2006
Sicily police arrest 52 suspected Mafiosi 06-20-2006
Mafia-linked Sicily governor wins reelection 05-30-2006
Mafia is election issue in Sicily 05-21-2006
Italian justice minister linked to underworld 05-19-2006
Provenzano nearly caught in '04 05-09-2006
Sicilian boss's code 04-26-2006

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Dukakis testifies in Limone lawsuit

Former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis testified yesterday in a civil trial related to the false imprisonment of Peter Limone and three other men convicted of the 1965 killing Edward "Teddy" Deegan, according to a story by Shelley Murphy of the Boston Globe.

Dukakis was asked about his official review of a 1983 petition to show clemency to Limone. The former governor noted that U.S. Attorney William F. Weld sent him a letter urging him to reject the petition and keep Limone behind bars, arguing that, if released, Limone would "assume charge of the day-to-day operations of organized crime in this area." Dukakis sided with Weld at the time. And Limone remained in prison.

Since then, it has become clear that the local office of the FBI helped to set up Limone, Louis Greco, Joseph Salvati and Henry Tameleo for the Deegan murder in order to protect its relationship with longtime informants and Massachusetts crime figures James "Whitey" Bulger and Stephen "the Rifleman" Flemmi. FBI agent John J. Connolly, who served as the federal handler for Bulger and Flemmi, was convicted of racketeering. Bulger has been sought by law enforcement for years.

The four convicted men were jailed in 1968. Tameleo and Greco died in prison. Limone and Salvati were released in 2001.

Limone, Salvati and the families of Tameleo and Greco are suing the federal government for $100 million, charging that the FBI provided a false witness against them - Joseph "the Animal" Barboza - and knowingly helped convict them for a crime they did not commit.

Law enforcement officials believe Limone has returned to a position of importance in the New England Mafia since his release from prison. The Boston Herald recently reported that Carmen "the Big Cheese" DiNunzio (arrested on Dec. 1 for extortion and gambling conspiracy) became the leader of the Boston wing of the Providence RI-based Mafia family after Limone turned down the job.

Tameleo was also a key figure in the regional mob. He reportedly served as underboss to New England crime lord Raymond L.S. Patriarca.

Barboza entered the witness protection program, but New England mobsters tracked him to northern California and reportedly beat him to death in 1976.

Other MobNews items related to the New England Mafia:
RI gambling ring connected to Mafia 12-13-2006
Providence mobster Gomes dies at age 73 12-07-2006
DiNunzio released on $20K cash bail 12-05-2006
Mass. police arrest DiNunzio 12-02-2006
Mass. men sentenced for witness tampering 09-02-2006
Salvati, Limone sue FBI for 1960s frameup 08-19-2006
'Saint' pleads guilty 07-12-2006
R.I. mobster to plead guilty 07-08-2006
Attorney: FBI responsible for mob hit 06-30-2006
Mass. police search again for teen's remains 06-30-2006
Ex-gangster's son strives to be 'White Rapper' 06-26-2006
Agent had 'Whitey' concerns in '81 06-14-2006
FBI 'condoned' crimes, gang hits 06-07-2006
NE mob gambler arraigned 05-04-2006

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Feds arrest 13 alleged NY mobsters

Thirteen men, allegedly affiliated with New York's Gambino and Colombo crime families, were arrested by federal agents yesterday, according to a story by Stefanie Cohen of the New York Post. The men were named in two separate indictments in Brooklyn's federal court.

According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern Division of New York, one reputed Colombo Crime Family soldier, Michael Angelo Souza, 38, and ten alleged family associates were indicted for racketeering, robbery, assault, firearms possession, loansharking, gambling and narcotics distribution. An indictment stemming from the same investigation charges an alleged Albanian organized crime associate, Lulzim Kupa, 30, with marijuana distribution conspiracy.

The indictments concluded eight months of investigation, including electronic surveillance. Prosecutors say the overheard Souza plans to assault and possibly to murder a Bonanno Crime Family associate in Staten Island.

The ten named as Colombo associates were Anthony Souza, 42; Michael Bolino, 46; Nicholas Bruno, 31; Shelton Willis, 35; Emanuel Ruta, 41; Charles Fusco, 32; Donato DiCamillo, 38; Charles McClean, 33; Stuart Dugan, 30; and Michael Arminante, 33. Michael Souza, Bolino, Willis, McClean, Dugan and Kupa face possible life prison sentences if they are convicted of the charges against them. Maximum sentences against the other accused range from five years (Arminante) to 48 years (Anthony Souza).

Reputed Gambino Crime Family soldiers John "Johnny G" Gammarano, 65, and William "Billy" Scotto, 39, were charged with racketeering and securities fraud conspiracy, according to a separate U.S. Attorney's Office press release.

Federal prosecutors say Gammarano has been affiliated with the Gambino family since 1982 and at various times has held the rank of acting captain. The prosecutors charge that Scotto is also a "made" member of the crime family.

The two men are charged with stock-related frauds between 1995 and 2003, in addition to extortion conspiracy in connection with the frauds. Each faces a possible sentence of 45 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted.

Gammarano's name was in the news in late August, when the court testimony of Michael "Mikey Scars" DiLeonardo indicated that John A. "Junior" Gotti became enraged at a group of underworld partners who he believed cheated him out of construction industry extortion money in the early 1990s. According to DiLeonardo, Gotti planned to murder capo Daniel Marino, soldier Gammarano and associate Joseph Watts. When the three men were unexpectedly accompanied by a number of friends to a Gotti-summoned sit-down, Gotti called off the hit, DiLeonardo testified. DiLeonardo made the statements during Gotti's racketeering trial. Gotti was released after a jury could not reach a verdict on the charges against him.

See also:
Gotti ratted on targets of botched hit 09-01-2006

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.

Click for more information or to order.

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About Me

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Editor/publisher of crime history journal, Informer. Publisher of American Mafia history website mafiahistory.us. Moderator of Mafia-related Yahoo discussion group. Author of Wrongly Executed? Coauthor of Deep Water: Joseph P. Macheca and the Birth of the American Mafia and DiCarlo: Buffalo's First Family of Crime. Contributor of American Mafia history to Australian-published Mafia: The Necessary Reference to Organized Crime. Writer/co-writer of crime history articles for Informer, On the Spot Journal, Cigar City Magazine, Tampa Mafia Magazine.