Saturday, June 2, 2007

'Lion' caged without bail

Danny "Lion" Leo, 66, alleged boss of the Genovese Crime Family, was charged with four counts of extortion May 30 and held without bail, according to stories by Kati Cornell of the New York Post and Thomas Zambito of the New York Daily News.

Leo (see Daily News drawing at right) pleaded not guilty to the charges in Manhattan federal court.

Also charged with extortion was Joseph Tricario, who allegedly set up meetings between Leo right-hand-man Charles "Fat Charlie" Salzano and a shakedown victim. Tricario was released on $5 million bail. Salzano reportedly pleaded guilty to related charges last month.

Prosecutors say Salzano was caught on tape threatening a taxi company owner in order to extract a payment. They say Leo also extorted money from an East Harlem gambling operation.

U.S. Attorney Eric Snyder said, "At trial, the government would prove [Leo] is the current boss of the Genovese Crime Family, perhaps the largest and most violent crime family that exists. Two hundred or so members of this violent, ruthless criminal organization can only commit acts of violence with the approval of the acting boss, and that's the type of power he holds."

Leo resides in a $2 million home in Rockleigh NJ, a Bergen County suburb.

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Editor/publisher of crime history journal, Informer. Publisher of American Mafia history website mafiahistory.us. Moderator of Mafia-related Google+ community and 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.