Saturday, March 17, 2007

Familiar-sounding names in Detroit gambling case

A federal racketeering case in Detroit features two surnames long connected with Michigan organized crime: Giacalone and Tocco. But the individuals involved are not the infamous mobsters.

Jack V. Giacalone, 56, of West Bloomfield, MI, is a nephew of Anthony "Tony Jacks" Giacalone, believed to be one of the men responsible for the disappearance of union bigshot Jimmy Hoffa, and the son of convicted Mafioso Vito Giacalone, according to an Associated Press story published in today's Michigan Business Review. Jack V. Giacalone has pleaded not guilty to charges of racketeering and extortion. Officials say he plans to fight the charges in court.

Peter Dominic Tocco, 59, of Troy, MI, is the nephew of former Detroit mob boss Jack Tocco (his relatives include crime boss William "Black Bill" Tocco and the Zerilli family of Detroit, and there are family ties to the Profaci and Bonanno clans of Brooklyn). He has pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy.

In addition to Giacalone and Tocco, there are 13 other defendants in a case that resulted from a probe into illegal sports gambling. Charges included the laundering of gambling proceeds through legitimate businesses operated by the defendants. Tocco and two associates were accused of using gambling profits to buy cars at auto auctions, which were then sold to earn laundered income, according to a story by Amanda Lee of the Macomb Daily. According to prosecutors, the Detroit-area gambling ring accumulated $5.9 million between 1998 and 2006.

Defendants Peter Joseph Messina, 51, of Roseville, MI; Thomas James Mackey, 50, of Clinton Township, MI; John William Manettas, 52, of Harrison Township, MI; and Wayne Joseph Kassab, 50, of Sterling Heights, MI; have also pleaded guilty. Under plea agreements, they face sentences of up to 46 months in prison. They collectively agree to forfeit up to $3 million in gambling income. No sentencing date had been announced.


Tocco, Messina and Mackey pleaded guilty on Wednesday. The guilty pleas of Manettas and Kassab were entered yesterday, according to a story by Paul Egan of the Detroit News.

Prosecutors say they are arranging plea deals with many of the remaining defendants.

The original federal indictment dated March 3, 2006, named 15 defendants. Joining Giacalone, Tocco, Messina, Mackey, Manettas and Kassab were:
  • David John Aceto, 48, of Roseville, MI;
  • Dominic Corrado, 35, of Glen Ellyn, IL;
  • Ronald S. Yourofsky, 64, of Warren, MI;
  • Alan H. Russell, 54, of Sterling Heights, MI;
  • Vincenzo Bronzino, 40, of Macomb, MI;
  • Joseph Messina, 48, of Macomb, MI;
  • Virginia Nava, 36, of Roseville, MI (Joseph Messina's sister);
  • William John Manettas, 27, of St. Clair Shores, MI;
  • Peter Tocco, 27, of Macomb, MI (son of Peter Dominic Tocco).

Corrado (whose relatives are shown in a WLS-TV graphic at right), a resident of Illinois, was processed in federal district court in that state. According to investigators, while Corrado resides within the territory of the Chicago Outfit, his bloodline includes a number of Detroit "Combination" bigshots.

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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.