Friday, August 29, 2008

Seven Bonanno members and associates charged

Federal prosecutors yesterday announced indictments against seven suspected members and associates of the Bonanno Crime Family, according to stories by Christine Hauser of the New York Times and Scott Shifrel and Ethan Rouen of the New York Daily News and a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern Division of New York.

John "Big John" Contello, 55, of Brooklyn; Vincent "Vinny Bionics" Disario, 47, of Manhattan; and Michael Carucci, 38, of Staten Island, were arrested early yesterday morning in New York City for racketeering and conspiracy. Their indictment was unsealed in Brooklyn federal court. The three men could face 20 years in prison if convicted. Contello is alleged to be an acting captain within the Bonanno organization. Prosecutors say that Disario is a Bonanno soldier. Authorities did not state what relationship, if any, Carucci had to the Bonanno organization.

Gerald "Gerry" Chilli (right), 74, of Graniteville, Staten Island, also alleged to be a captain in the crime family, was charged with extortion. He was already in federal custody in Florida on unrelated charges. According to a Feb. 3, 2005, story by ABC-10 in Miami, Chilli was arrested following a 14-month undercover investigation of Bonanno operations in Florida. At that time, Chilli was charged with violating probation, as well as racketeering conspiracy, dealing in stolen property, bookmaking, money laundering and possession of illegal slot machines. Chilli had been out of prison for two years when he was arrested in 2005. During his incarceration for earlier crimes, he was convicted of running a fraudulent credit card ring from behind bars. Federal authorities investigated Chilli in the wake of the Feb. 28, 1989, murder of DEA Special Agent Everett E. Hatcher. Chilli was not charged in that case. (Chilli associate Costabile Farace was believed responsible for the killing. Farace's body was found on a Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, street on Nov. 18, 1989. Police believe was shot to death by members of the Bonanno crime family.)

George Miller, 68, alleged Bonanno associate, was arrested near the Canadian border on racketeering charges related to the collection of unlawful debts. Chilli and Miller also could be sentenced to 20 years if convicted.

Richard Cendali, 40, of Annadale, Staten Island, was arrested and charged with running an illegal gambling racket. Indicted on a similar offense but not yet apprehended was Anthony Zeni, 46, of Manhattan and Brooklyn addresses. Authorities believe Zeni is in Florida. Cendali and Zeni, reputed Bonanno associates, according to the Staten Island Advance, could be sentenced to up to five years in prison if convicted.

Contello, Disario, Carucci and Cendali all pleaded not guilty at arraignment hearings yesterday afternoon. Contello, Carucci and Cendali were released on bail amounts between $250,000 and $500,000. Disario was held without bail. A hearing for Miller is scheduled today.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Gotti pleads not guilty in Tampa court

John A. "Junior" Gotti pleaded not guilty this afternoon to murder and racketeering charges in Tampa federal court, according to stories from the Associated Press and Reuters news services.

The 44-year-old Gotti, dressed in a blue prison jumpsuit and shackled at the ankles, did not speak during his 5-minute hearing. His attorney Charles Carnesi entered the plea for him.

Prosecutors say Gotti led a crew of the Gambino Crime Family operating in Florida. He has been charged with trafficking in cocaine and with participating in three racketeering-related murders between 1988 and 1991.

Gotti was previously convicted of racketeering and served time in prison. Since then, he has avoided conviction in three major racketeering trials in New York City. He has stated that he left the crime family years ago.

No date has yet been set for the trial.

Gotti arrives for Tampa arraignment

John A. GottiAfter traveling a circuitous route in the custody of federal authorities, John A. "Junior" Gotti (right) arrived in Tampa, Florida, yesterday and was scheduled for arraignment in Tampa federal court this afternoon, according to a story by Elaine Silvestrini of the Tampa Tribune.

Gotti was arrested Aug. 5 in New York on federal charges filed in Florida. He is accused of participating in Gambino Crime Family murders of George Grosso, Louis DiBono and Bruce John Gotterup. He is also charged of cocaine trafficking.

Gotti's attorney Charles Carnesi intends to seek a change of venue. He hopes to have his client's trial moved to New York, where Gotti in recent years has three times avoided conviction on racketeering-related charges.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Two participated in Bronx gambling ring

John Caggiano, 59-year-old reputed associate of the Genovese Crime Family, and codefendant Douglas Maleton, 60, admitted Tuesday to participating in a gambling operation at a wholesale produce market at Hunts Point in the Bronx, according to reports by John Eligon of the New York Times and Barbara Ross of the New York Daily News.

Caggiano, son-in-law of former Genovese acting boss Dominick "Quiet Dom" Cirillo, pleaded guilty to running the ring. He faces 1.5 to 4 years in prison plus a $176,000 fine when he is sentenced on Nov. 3. Maleton admitted being a runner for the numbers and sports betting ring. He is expected to be sentenced on Oct. 10 to a year in prison and a $591 fine.

Caggiano, Maleton and nine other men were arrested in November 2006 and charged with participating in the ring. Authorities said the operation generated $200,000 a year in profits. Ten of the initial defendants have pleaded guilty. Robert Russo, alleged leader of the ring, maintains his innocence and is scheduled to go to trial next month.

Fanny Gotti dies at age 96

Philomena "Fanny" Gotti, mother of the late Gambino Crime Family boss John J. "Teflon Don" Gotti and grandmother of John A. "Junior" Gotti, died Tuesday night at her Long Island home at the age of 96, according to a report by WNBC-TV New York.

Philomena Gotti was born in Naples, Italy, where she married. The Gottis entered the U.S. in the 1920s, settling first in the Bronx and later in East New York, Brooklyn. She resided in Valley Stream, NY, at the time of her death.

John and Peter GottiShe had more than a dozen children (WNBC reported she had 13, while Newsday said 16). In addition to John J. Gotti, four other sons were also linked to organized crime. Gene and Peter Gotti are serving extended prison sentences for racketeering convictions. Richard V. Gotti was jailed in 2003 for racketeering and other crimes. Vincent Gotti is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty in connection with the FBI's crackdown on the Gambino organization, according to the television report. (John J. and Peter Gotti shown at right.)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Colorado men suspected in gangland slaying

William Silvi, 40, and his brother-in-law, Daniel Tunks, 34, both of Colorado Springs, were arrested Tuesday on suspicion of conspiring in the May 20 murder of a 64-year-old New Yorker with ties to the Mafia, according to a story by Carlyn Ray Mitchell of the Colorado Springs Gazette.

William Marcucci of the Bronx, NY, was shot to death in Saddle Brook, NJ. His body, with a single bullet wound behind its left ear, was found in Marcucci's Cadillac outside a Bennigan's restaurant.

The New Jersey newspaper, The Record, reported that Marcucci "was a Genovese Crime Family associate who had a role in the organization's bookmaking operations."

Silvi and Tunks were arrested as they left their home at 734 E. Costilla Street. Colorado Springs Police said yesterday that Silvi could have had a financial motive for allegedly hiring his brother-in-law to kill Marcucci.

Coluccio extradited to Italy

Giusepe ColuccioGiuseppe Coluccio (left), reputed leader in the 'Ndrangheta criminal society, was returned to Italian soil yesterday, according to stories by the Associated Press and AGI news agencies.

Coluccio, convicted in absentia of drug, weapons and conspiracy charges, was a fugitive since 2005. He was arrested Aug. 7 near Toronto, Canada, and was flown to Rome's Ciampino Airport yesterday morning.

The 'Ndrangheta is a Mafia-like criminal organization based in Calabria, the southernmost region of the Italian mainland.

Murder victim might have been called to stand

Fresca restaurantCourt documents link a murdered Staten Island restauranteur with the Bonanno Crime Family, according to a story by John Marzulli of the New York Daily News. While there is no indication that the late Frank Fresca was cooperating with authorities, the News reports that he might have been called on to testify about the crime family's involvement in his restaurant.

Papers filed this week by federal prosecutors indicate that the Fresca's by the Bay restaurant on Staten Island (right) operated under the protection of reputed Bonanno soldier Gino Galestro and his associates.

Galestro (left), who will turn 40 later this month, pleaded guilty Aug. 1 to ordering the killing of Bonanno associate Robert McKelvey on the grounds of the Kreischer Mansion on Staten Island. Galestro was indicted for ordering that murder and for other racketeering-related crimes back in May 2006. Joseph "Joe Black" Young, reportedly a former bouncer at Fresca's by the Bay restaurant, is accused of stabbing and drowing McKelvey and is scheduled to come to trial soon.

Fresca, 66, was shot seven times outside of his restaurant just after midnight on July 30.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Broke 'Nose' gets two years in prison

A Brooklyn federal judge yesterday sentenced John "Jackie Nose" D'Amico (left), 72, to two years in prison and a $4,000 fine for extorting money from a Staten Island cement plant, according to stories by the Associated Press and by John Marzulli of the New York Daily News.

John DAmicoAccording to defense attorney Elizabeth Macedonio, "the Nose" is still broke. The attorney stated that her client has no assets and suffers from many health problems. She disputed prosectors' contention that D'Amico was a leader of the Gambino Crime Family. Macedonio and members of the D'Amico family asked Judge Jack Weinstein for a lenient sentence.

The two year sentence was within recommended guidelines for extortion.

D'Amico was among the 62 people rounded up by federal authorities in February. D'Amico, reputed acting boss of the Gambino clan, pleaded guilty May 28 to shaking down the cement company for $100,000.

Monday, August 18, 2008

FBI tape labels "Cheese Man" as Mafia head

Carmen DiNunzioFBI recordings seem to point to Carmen "the Cheeseman" DiNunzio (right), 51, as the head of the Mafia in the Boston area and as the prime underworld authority behind a scheme to defraud administrators of the "Big Dig" project, according to a story by Laurel J. Sweet of the Boston Herald.

Andrew Marino, a contractor who has been indicted in connection with the scheme, was reportedly unaware he was being recorded as he spoke with a federal informant. According to the FBI, Marino identified "the Cheeseman" as "the guy in the North End - the head of the ... organization" and as "the head of [the] Mafia."

When the two men discussed an individual who was not trustworthy, Marino said the "rat" would be dealt with: "They'll kill him, dude. This ain't ... regular hoodlum that's setting this up. This is the Cheesman."

Marino refused to refer to DiNunzio by name: "You'll know his name if I said it, but nobody says his name."

Federal prosecutors have identified the Cheesman as DiNunzio, who has operated a cheese shop on the North End's Endicott Street. They say DiNunzio has served as underboss of the New England Mafia since about 2003.

In a different audio tape, DiNunzio identified himself as "the Cheeseman" to an undercover FBI agent: "I'm the Cheeseman... You ask anybody about me. We straighten out a lot of beefs, a lot of things."

DiNunzio was arrested May 2, the result of the FBI's "Big Dig" sting operation. He, Marino and Anthony J. D'Amore were charged with conspiracy to commit bribery in a federally funded program. The group allegedly offered bribes in order to win a contract to provide fill for the Big Dig underground highway project. The men allegedly planned to provide substandard fill to the project.

DiNunzio is under house arrest. He also awaits trial on extortion and gambling charges.

Italian jails aren't as much fun as they used to be

Flouting many years of tradition, the conservative Italian government of Silvio Berlusconi (left) seems intent on making prison an unpleasant experience.

According to a story by Nick Pisa of the UK Telegraph, the Berlusconi administration has been cracking down on prison privileges formerly extended to convicted Mafiosi. Among the measures recently instituted, inmates are prohibited from singing. Officials noted the possibility that convicted crime bosses could communicate orders through their songs.

Prison socializing has also been curtailed. It is common for Mafiosi deemed dangerous to be locked in their cells for 23 hours each day and to have only limited exposure to family, friends and attorneys. The government has a list of 570 prisoners it feels are threats to society.

"We have evidence that in the past orders and messages were passed on and we have also stopped them mixing with each other as well. They will spend the majority of their day alone in their cells," Justice Minister Angelino Alfano said.

FBI involved in Vegas mob museum

FBI agents past and present have become involved in the planning for the Las Vegas Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, according to a story by Sam Skolnik of the Las Vegas Sun.

Oscar GoodmanEllen Knowlton, former special agent in charge of the local FBI office, leads a non-profit group working with Las Vegas on the project. Sitting Bureau officials are reviewing the plans to ensure that accurate portrayals of mobsters and crimefighters.

Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman (left), a former attorney for accused racketeers, has been the major force behind the museum proposal.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Genovese associates charged with killing, robbery

Two alleged associates of the Genovese Crime Family and a third man were charged Thursday in Brooklyn federal court with robbery and murder, according to a story by Tom Hays of Newsday. Anthony Pica, Christopher Prince and Charles Santiago pleaded not guilty to the crimes. They are being held without bail.

U.S. Attorney Benton Campbell said Pica and Prince were members of a robbery crew controlled by the Genovese Family.

According to the indictment, the defendants targeted jeweler Louis Antonelli on April 29, expecting him to be in possession of valuable jewelry. The indictment states that Pica and Prince identified Antonelli and alerted Santiago and a fourth unnamed accomplice when the jeweler exited a basement storage area below a restaurant on Staten Island. Santiago and the unnamed man confronted Antonelli. Santiago is charged with shooting the jeweler to death. The attackers then fled without any jewelry, said the indictment.

Antonelli's bodyguard, retired police Sgt. Jason Aiello, was inside the restaurant at the time of the attack. He was questioned by police but not charged. Aiello began behaving erratically. On July 22, police heard that Aiello was armed and possibly holding his family hostage. Officers approached Aiello and attempted to handcuff him, but he pulled a gun and fled. He reportedly shot in the direction of police a total of eight times. Officers shot him to death.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Chicago mob associate gets more than 3 years

Joseph Venezia, 65, a minor player in last year's Family Secrets Case, was sentenced in Chicago yesterday to 40 months in prison, according to a story by Jeff Coen of the Chicago Tribune. Before the Secrets trial began, Venezia pleaded guilty to gambling and tax charges.

Yesterday, Venezia argued for a light sentence, saying he was a mere pawn of the Outfit as he collected cash from video poker machines. U.S. District Judge James Zagel explained the 40-month sentence: "Without the Joseph Venezias of the world, the enterprise of which he was a part... would, in fact, crumble."

James MarcelloProsecutors said Venezia oversaw a portion of a gambling business owned by brothers James (right) and Michael Marcello and also served as a front man for an Outfit-run lounge in Cicero that was used for prostitution.

Feds draw fire for handling of Gambino case

A sweeping federal case against 62 alleged members and associates of the Gambino Crime Family has so far resulted in 60 plea deals and one dismissal, according to a story by Tom Hays published in Newsday.

Nick CorozzoTwo of the pleas were entered yesterday. "Little Nick" Corozzo (left), 68, reputed lieutenant in the crime family, pleaded guilty to murder conspiracy in connection with the Jan. 26, 1996, slaying of an underworld rival. He could face 12 years or more in prison when sentenced. Vincent DeConiglio's guilty plea to lesser charges could result in a year or more behind bars.

Prosecutors say that Corozzo was part of a three-man committee formed in 1994 to assist John A. "Junior" Gotti in running the Gambino Crime Family during his father's imprisonment. John J. Gotti died in prison in 2002.

One defendant remains of the 62 arrested on Feb. 7. Charles Carneglia (shown on the New York Post cover at right), 62, has said he intends to go to trial and to testify on his own behalf, according to a story by John Marzulli of the New York Daily News. He is charged in connection with five killings.

U.S. attorneys in Brooklyn have been criticized for a broad attack against the criminal organization, which has resulted in few extended prison sentences. The defendant with the highest reputed rank in the crime family, acting boss John "Jackie Nose" D'Amico, could be sentenced to less than two years in prison after pleading guilty to extorting $100,000 from a cement company. His attorney said prosecutors' willingness to cut short-sentence deals showed "a lack of evidence and quality of evidence."

Some note, however, that the approach might have profoundly shaken the crime family. "It disrupts the family and creates an environment of insecurity," said one former prosecutor. "They essentially took out an entire organization in one fell swoop."

Geas attorney files for mob hit charge dismissal

Fotios GeasThe defense attorney for Fotios "Freddy" Geas Jr., charged with conspiring in the 2003 slaying of Springfield MA Mafia big shot Adolfo "Big Al" Bruno, has filed a motion to dismiss with the Hampden Superior Court, according to a story by Stephanie Barry of the Springfield Republican.

Geas (left), 41, is accused of paying $8,000 to Frankie A. Roche to kill Bruno. Roche pleaded guilty in April to shooting Bruno to death in the parking lot of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Society after a card game. Roche is cooperating in the continuing investigation.

Defense attorney Stephanie Page submitted supporting documentation titled, "A Grand Jury Would Indict Anything, Even a Ham Sandwich," with her motion to dismiss. The documents are sealed. She said she intends to fully argue the motion in open court.

Investigators have linked the murder to the rise of Anthony J. Arillotta, Bruno's reputed successor as head of the Springfield branch of the Genovese Crime Family. Though Arilotta has not been charged with the killing, the FBI has said that he got approval for the mob hit through higher-ups in the Genovese Family.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Fugitive 'Ndrangheta leader caught in Canada


A Canadian immigration board has decided that Giuseppe Coluccio poses a danger to the public and will remain in prison until a full hearing can be held, according to a story by the Canadian Press.

Coluccio (right), a 41-year-old fugitive from Italy, was arrested last Thursday outside a Toronto-area strip mall. If he is returned to Italy, he faces up to 16 years in prison.

He allegedly fled Italy in 2005 when he was being investigated for drug trafficking. Canadian authorities believe he entered their country with a fake ID, according to a story by Rob Lamberti of the Toronto Sun. An immigration warrant was issued for him in 2006.

Italian law enforcement officials say Coluccio is related to Rocco and Giuseppe Aquino, leaders of the Gioiosa Jonica clan of the Calabrian 'Ndrangheta criminal society. According to the officials, Coluccio has been involved in cocaine and heroin shipments, using links with the Cutrera-Caruana Mafia clan and Turkish crime groups.

Coluccio was reportedly convicted of narcotics trafficking in Italy in 1993. He served 10 years of a 12-year prison sentence.

William Willoughby, member of the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board, told Coluccio yesterday, "I believe that releasing you now would pose a danger to the Canadian public. I believe that you are involved in organized crime, and specifically, the head of a Mafia organization."

Cefalu sentenced to 2 years for extortion

Domenico Cefalu, alleged acting underboss of the Gambino Crime Family, was sentenced yesterday to two years in prison for extorting money from a cement company, according to a story by John Marzulli of the New York Daily News.

Cefalu, 61, was sentenced by Judge Jack Weinstein in Brooklyn federal court. Prosecutors asked for a sentence that would reflect Cefalu's alleged high rank in the crime family. Defense attorney Joseph Ryan contested the prosecution's portrayal of Cefalu's lofty status, noting that he had worked as a $42,000 a year bakery supply salesman, drove a 1999 sedan and lost his apartment in Bay Ridge after his February arrest. Ryan said Cefalu will be forced to move in with his elderly mother when he is released from prison.

Judge Weinstein settled on a sentence that was just three months more than the 21-month minimum.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Four plead guilty to gangland murders

The Bonanno Crime Family's acting boss and three other men linked to the crime family pleaded guilty Wednesday in Brooklyn federal court to conspiring on gang murders, according to stories by Trymaine Lee of the New York Times and John Marzulli of the New York Daily News.

Acting boss Michael "Mikey Nose" Mancuso, 53, and Bonanno soldier Anthony "Ace" Aiello, 31, admitted participating in the murder of Randolph Pizzolo on Nov. 30, 2004. Anthony "Bruno" Indelicato, 61, and Anthony Donato, 50, pleaded guilty to the Feb. 15, 2001, slaying of "gangland wannabe" Frank Santoro, according to prosecutors.

Vincent BascianoAiello admitted to being the triggerman in Pizzolo's slaying. Prosecutors said Pizzolo was lured to Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and killed there. That murder was ordered by Mancuso when he was merely a soldier in the Bonanno clan. The U.S. Attorney's Office reportedly will seek next year to convict former Bonanno boss Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano (left) of initiating the Pizzolo hit. Basciano is currently serving a life prison sentence on murder, attempted murder and gambling convictions.

When sentenced, Mancuso could receive 15 years in prison, and Aiello could get 30 years.

While walking his dog near his Bronx home, Santoro was shot to death by gunmen in a passing car. Indelicato and Donato admitted they were in the car, which belonged to Donato. Prosecutors said Basciano ordered and participated in the Santoro shotgun slaying because he believed Santoro was plotting to kidnap one of Basciano's sons. Basciano was convicted March 31 of his role in the Santoro killing.

When sentenced, Indelicato faces up to 20 years in prison, and Donato faces up to 25 years.

Vincent Basciano succeeded to the leadership of the Bonanno clan after previous boss Joseph Massino was convicted of racketeering. Massino subsequently cooperated in a federal investigation of Basciano. Mancuso is believed to have moved into an acting boss role after the jailing of Basciano. Authorities have indicated that the family's current acting boss is Salvatore Montagna.

NJ extortion case dropped, evidence lacking

Federal prosecutors have dropped an extortion case against Anthony Delvescovo, director of tunnel operations for Schiavone Construction Co., according to a story published in the New York Daily News.

A motion filed by the prosecutors indicated, "There is presently insufficient evidence to prove the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt."

Delvescovo was one of 62 people rounded up in February for alleged ties to the Gambino Crime Family. He pleaded not guilty to a charge that he extorted money from a trucking company owner. Delvescovo's defense attorney said his client was "wrongly accused on insufficient evidence."

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Report: Alite turns on old pal Gotti

John Alite, who shared a 25-year friendship with John A. "Junior" Gotti, will be the government's key witness in its latest case against the former Gambino Crime Family boss, according to a story by John Marzulli and Tracy O'Connor of the New York Daily News.

Alite and GottiThe story indicates that Alite, after serving two prison terms, is hoping to avoid a third by testifying against his old friend.

Alite served three years in prison starting in 1995 when he was found to be in possession of a handgun. A previous conviction for aggravated assault made it illegal for him to carry a firearm. He was later sentenced to three months behind bars when he was found to be helping inmate Antonio Parlavecchio smuggle his semen out of prison in order to impregnate Parlavecchio's wife.

In 2004, criminal charges were lodged against Alite and other members of a Gambino crew based in the Tampa, Florida, area. Alite's trial was delayed. He was in Brazil and fought extradition to the U.S.

In 2006, he reportedly communicated with the St. Petersburg (FL) Times while held in a Rio de Janeiro lockup. The conversation should have been a clue to Gotti and associates that Alite was preparing to aid prosecutors: "I've lost everything," Alite lamented. "...Am I bitter? Yeah, I'm bitter. Who wouldn't be?... Was I friends with John Gotti? Yes. Am I friends with him now? No."

Gotti was arrested at his New York home yesterday on federal charges related to three murders and an alleged Florida drug trafficking operation. Three federal racketeering cases against Gotti in 2005 and 2006 ended in mistrials.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Gotti faces federal murder and drug charges

John A. "Junior" Gotti, who three times won mistrials on racketeering charges, was arrested again today for racketeering offenses, including possession with intent to distribute 5 kg or more of a "substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine," and the murders of George Grosso, Louis DiBono and Bruce John Gotterup, according to a press release by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Florida.


The latest charges against Gotti, 44, grew out of a Tampa, Florida, investigation into an arm of the Gambino Crime Family - including Ronald 'Ronnie One Arm" Trucchio and John Alite - that had been active in that community. Trucchio and several others were convicted in 2006. Alite is awaiting trial. He was in Brazil when the others went to trial and had to be extradited.

The latest Gotti indictment was returned by a federal grand jury in Tampa and sealed on July 24.

Gotti was arrested this morning at his home at Oyster Bay, Long Island, and he was taken to Manhattan federal court for a hearing of the charges, according to a report by WNBC-TV. Gotti faces a possible life prison sentence if convicted of the charges against him.

An attorney representing Gotti, Seth Ginsberg, told the press, "We're confident that there is no strength to the allegations and that he will prevail once again." Ginsberg said he expected Gotti to be transported to Tampa for arraignment.

Gotti has admitted to participating in the leadership of the Gambino Crime Family once bossed by his father John J. Gotti. "Junior" Gotti pleaded guilty to racketeering offenses - bribery, extortion, fraud and gambling - back in 1999. He served his time and was released in 2005. The younger Gotti insists that he left the Mafia life years ago - beyond the statute of limitations for more recent federal racketeering charges. Three trials between September 2005 and September 2006, which involved accusations that Gotti ordered the kidnapping of radio personality Curtis Sliwa, ended in mistrials.

The murder conspiracy charges could present a more difficult problem for Gotti and his attorneys, as the statute of limitations will afford no protection.

George Grosso was killed Dec. 29, 1998, in Queens, NY. Louis DiBono, Gambino soldier and construction contractor, was found shot to death inside of a Cadillac sedan at the World Trade Center in early October 1990. He had been shot seven times - four times to the head. John J. Gotti was convicted of ordering that killing. Bruce John Gotterup was killed Nov. 20, 1991, at the Boardwalk at the Rockaways in Queens.

In addition to the charges against Gotti, the Tampa-based prosecutors revealed related charges against alleged Gotti associates John A. Burke, 47, now imprisoned in New York; James V. Cadicamo (right), 33, of Tampa; David D'Arpino, 33, of Howard Beach, NY; Michael D. Finnerty, 43, of Oceanside, NY; and Guy T. Peden, of Wantagh, NY.

Other coverage:

Nicosia guilty of extortion conspiracy

Angelo Nicosia, a 46-year-old associate of the Genovese Crime Family crew run by Angelo Prisco, was found guilty July 29 of extortion and extortion conspiracy, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York.

According to the release, Nicosia demanded payment of tens of thousands of dollars from a Manhattan-based contractor for work that he had not completed. When the contractor did not pay, Prisco underling Peter Rizzo allegedly attacked the contractor's business partner. Years later, Nicosia once again demanded the same payment. Nicosia and co-conspirators threatened the contractor and his family. The contractor made the demanded payment of $50,000. Nicosia and his associates divided the money among themselves, sending $10,000 as tribute to Prisco.

Eight men were initially charged in the case. Seven have been convicted of various related offenses - Michael Iuni, John "Rocky" Melicharek, Dominick "Shakes" Memoli, Louis Pipolo, Dardian "Danny" Celaj, Ened "Neddy" Gjelaj, and Nicosia. The eighth, Gjelosh "Jimmy" Krasniqi, remains at large.

Nicosia faces a possible prison term of 40 years when he is sentenced at the end of October.

Feds explore mob link to restaurateur's killing

The FBI believes the early July 30 killing of Frank Fresca, 66, at his Italian restaurant on Staten Island, could be linked to the Bonanno Crime Family, according to a story by Joe Mollica, Jamie Schram and Adam Nichols of the New York Post. and a story by Xana O'Neill, Tanangachi Mfuni and Jonathan Lemire of the New York Daily News.

Just after midnight, Fresca was shot seven times in the torso, once in the back and once in the head. Police believe his killer was waiting for him in a row of bushes behind the Fresca by the Bay restaurant (right). As the shots were fired, Fresca was heard calling out for a business partner. That man rushed to Fresca's side and later told investigators, "There was nothing I could do."

Authorities recalled that Fresca was severely beaten and was shot at by four men who burst into his restaurant back in 2005. One of his attackers in that case has been identified as Joseph Catapano, who accused Fresca of having a relationship with Catapano's estranged wife. The relationship between Fresca and Kelly Catapano reportedly continued.

Restaurant employees noted that Fresca had not paid some of them in more than a month. They also said the restaurateur seemed worried about business and about his security. He had hired a bodyguard and had been losing weight.
An anonymous online review of Fresca's restaurant, posted just 16 days before his killing, attacked the restaurateur personally and seemed to have more knowledge of him than an occasional patron could acquire: "The owner is a complete idiot with no manners and no respect for woman. He treats his staff horribly, yelling and cursing in front of customers. He has no business sense at all."

Coroner delays Schweihs service

A legal technicality caused the remains of Frank "the German" Schweihs to arrive late for a July 28 funeral service attended by his family, according to a story by Michael Sneed and Steve Warmbir of the Chicago Sun-Times.

The medical examiner's office had not been properly notified when Schweihs died in custody at Thorek Memorial Hospital the previous Wednesday. The law requires an examination of all those who die in custody. On July 28, the medical examiner tracked Schweihs' remains to Salerno's Galewood Chapel and ordered them transported for examination.

Schweihs' family and friends, many of whom were already upset that they could not be with him during his last minutes of life, were gathering for a funeral service at that time. Facing trial on racketeering charges this October, Schweihs died of complications from cancer. He had recently battled lung cancer and a brain tumor.

Schweihs was one of the original defendants in the Family Secrets case. His poor health kept him from being tried with the rest of the accused.

Nick Corozzo admits gambling

Nicholas Corozzo, reputed lieutenant in the Gambino Crime Family, pleaded guilty July 30 to running a Queens NY-based gambling ring, according to a story published by the New York Daily News. Corozzo, 68, faces up to 15 years in prison when sentenced in December. Corozzo was among the scores of alleged Gambino members and associates rounded up in February.

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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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.