Thursday, December 18, 2008

NJ racketeer Prisco indicted in 1992 killing

Angelo Prisco, 69, of Toms River NJ, has been indicted for murder in the aid of racketeering, according to a story published today by Newsday. He is charged with killing Angelo Sangiuolo on June 3, 1992, on behalf of the Genovese Crime Family. Prisco has served jail time for arson and conspiracy and for authorizing the beating of an electrician competing with a Prisco friend.

A press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York indicates that Prisco (right) has been a soldier and a captain in the Genovese family. As captain, he is charged with overseeing a crew operating in New York City and nearby New Jersey. Prosecutors say the crew engaged in home invasions and other armed robberies, extortion of a construction firm in Manhattan, gambling, and possession, transport and sale of stolen goods.

If convicted of the charges against him, Prisco could be sentenced to life in prison.

Racketeer indicted for murder of NYPD cop

Joel Cacace, former acting boss of the Colombo Crime Family, has been indicted for the 1997 murder of off-duty New York Police Officer Ralph Dols, according to a story by John Marzulli of the New York Daily News.

Cacace is currently serving a 20-year prison sentcned for racketeering and conspiring to murder a U.S. prosecutor.

Dols was linked to the Colombo clan through his marriage to Kimberly Kennaugh. Kennaugh was Cacace's ex-girlfriend. She also was the ex-wife of Colombo Crime Family soldier Enrico Carini. Dols, just 28 and the father of three children, was shot five times on his way home from work on Aug. 25, 1997. At the time, then-Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said the killing had been well planned and had been performed "execution-style."

Dino Calabro and Dino Saracino are also charged in the Dols killing, according to the Daily News.

Thomas "Tommy Shots" Gioeli, reputed to be the current boss of the Colombo family, has been indicted for participating in the 1999 killing of William "Wild Bill" Cutolo. The victim's remains were discovered buried at a site in Farmingdale NY. Former acting boss Alphonse "Allie Boy" Persico was convicted of participating in that killing.

Prosecutors credit information supplied by Colombo soldier Joseph "Joey Caves" Competiello for helping to solve the old murder cases.

Artuso sentenced to nine years for fraud

Vincent Artuso, 64, was sentenced Dec. 16 to nine years in federal prison for his involvement in real estate fraud, according to a story published by the International Herald Tribune.

Artuso was convicted of 41 fraud and racketeering charges in October. The charges stemmed from a number of real estate deals that cost ADT Security Services Inc. at least $11 million.

According to U.S. Attorney William T. Shockley, Artuso was a made member of the Gambino Crime Family supervising a crew based in Palm Beach, Florida. Artuso is believed to have been a close ally of the late Gambino boss John J. Gotti. Shockley said he has evidence indicating that Artuso was present at the Dec. 16, 1985, assassination of former boss Paul Castellano in Manhattan (left). That killing paved the way for Gotti to take control of the crime family.

Sicilian mobster dies in custody

Italian police say imprisoned reputed Mafia boss Gaetano Lo Presti, 52, hanged himself in his cell Dec. 16, according to stories by the BBC and UPI.

Lo Presti (right) had been arrested earlier in the day, part of a roundup of almost 100 alleged Mafiosi. Italian officials believed LoPresti was boss of a Mafia clan in a district of Palermo. Police say the Mafia leadership has been working to establish a ruling council and possibly a supreme boss of the organization. Bernardo Provenzano, the underworld organization's most powerful boss for many years, was arrested in April 2006. A successor, Salvatore LoPiccolo, was arrested in November 2007.

Officials say Lo Presti was found dead in his cell after he read police wiretap transcripts tying him to efforts to establish a provincial "commission."

Calabrese letter asks about his son

In a lengthy letter from Frank Calabrese Sr. to family friend Frank Coconate, the jailed Calabrese asks a series of questions about his son, who testified against him during the Family Secrets trial. The point of the questions seems to be that Frank Calabrese Jr. testified in order to profit financially from his father's underworld career. Frank Sr. also seemed to be trying to determine the whereabouts of his son and other members of his family. The discovery of the letter occurred at the same time that Frank Sr. was moved into solitary confinement.

Click for the text of the letter.

Click for a video report by ABC7-Chicago.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

NJ racketeer linked to '05 Ricci killing

Federal prosecutors say New Jersey racketeer Tino Fiumara is their prime suspect in the 2005 murder of Genovese Crime Family bigshot Lawrence Ricci, according to a story by John Marzulli of the New York Daily News.

Ricci disappeared Oct. 7, 2005, as he was on trial for waterfront racketeering. His remains were found in the trunk of a car parked at a New Jersey diner.

Investigators believe Fiumara (right), reputed lieutenant in the Genovese organization, had Ricci killed because Ricci refused to plead guilty in the case and allow his longshoremen union official codefendants to stand trial on their own.

According to the Daily News, federal agents are working to convince crime family lieutenant Michael "Mikey Cigars" Coppola, now awaiting trial for a 1977 murder, to cooperate in the investigation of Fiumara.

Fiumara is believed to be a major power within the Genovese organization. Authorities say he commands waterfront labor rackets in New Jersey. In 1979, he was convicted of labor racketeering and extortion. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison. In 2000, he was convicted of violating the terms of his parole by secretly meeting with other members of the Genovese Crime Family.

The Genovese family has reportedly been without an official boss since the death of Vincent "the Chin" Gigante three years ago.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

11 months later, Feds unveil Alite deal

A plea deal arranged between federal prosecutors and Tampa-based racketeer John E. Alite, 46, was kept under wraps for almost 11 months, according to a story by Kevin Graham of the St. Petersburg Times.

Under the terms of the deal, revealed by prosecutors today, Alite admitted involvement in two murders, four murder conspiracies, eight shootings and two attempted shootings, home invasions and armed robberies. At the time he was also accused of gambling, drug trafficking, extortion, money laundering, kidnapping and other racketeering offenses in connection with the Gambino Crime Family.

According to the Times story, Alite said he participated in the Dec. 20, 1998, murder of George Grosso and the Nov. 20, 1991, killing of Bruce John Gotterup. Among the murder conspiracies he admitted participating in was the 1990 conspiracy to kill Louis DiBono. Those three murder cases were also part of the recent federal racketeering indictment of John A. "Junior" Gotti.

Alite and Gotti reportedly were once close friends. The U.S. Attorney's Office in Tampa said Gotti signed as a witness on Alite's 1989 marriage license. There is speculation that Alite will be called as a government witness against Gotti in an upcoming racketeering trial in New York. The government's last three racketeering cases against Gotti have not resulted in convictions. Prosecutors attempted to try him in Tampa on the latest charges, but Gotti's attorney succeeded in having the trial moved to New York.

In 2004, criminal charges were lodged against Alite and other members of a Gambino Crime Family crew based in the Tampa area. Ronald "Ronnie One Arm" Trucchio and three co-defendants were convicted of conspiracy and racketeering in the valet business. Alite's trial was delayed. He was in Brazil and fought extradition to the U.S.

Prosecutors were keeping quiet about the Alite plea deal, but a federal judge ordered them to turn the plea information to defense attorneys for Charles Carneglia, charged with RICO violations. Alite could be called as a witness against Carneglia.

Outfit bosses request later sentencing

James Marcello and Frank Calabrese Sr., both convicted of participation in Chicago-area racketeering murders in last year's Family Secrets trial, have asked a federal judge to postpone their sentencing, according to a report broadcast by WANDTV-17 in Illinois. Calabrese was scheduled for sentencing tomorrow. Marcello's sentencing was to be Dec. 17.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Gotti trial moved back to New York

Suggesting that U.S. prosecutors have engaged in "forum shopping," U.S. Judge Steven Merryday yesterday ruled that John A. "Junior" Gotti's latest racketeering trial must be moved from Tampa, FL, to New York City, according to a story by Thomas Zambito of the New York Daily News.

Gotti (left), 44, was indicted in Tampa for three racketeering murders and drug trafficking. He pleaded not guilty to the charges in August. Federal prosecutors, who have failed to win convictions in three racketeering cases against him in New York, hoped for better luck in Tampa. Gotti was arrested and transported to Tampa, where he has been held without bail.

Gotti's attorneys argued that a trial in Tampa would be a large financial burden on the Gotti family. They noted that nearly all the charges against their client were based on incidents in New York.

In Judge Merryday's decision, he outlined the repeated frustrations of federal prosecutors and stated that the Justice Department's decision to try Gotti in Florida "creates the unmistakable and disquieting impression of forum shopping."

Gotti is the son of former Gambino Crime Family boss John J. Gotti, who was known for a time as the Teflon Don for his ability to escape prosecution.

Calabrese waits in solitary for sentencing

Frank Calabrese Sr., 74, convicted of racketeering murders in last year's Family Secrets trial in Chicago, now awaits sentencing in solitary confinement, according to a story by Steve Warmbir of the Chicago Sun-Times.

Calabrese (right) was placed under strict lockdown measures at the Metropolitan Correctional Center after twice allegedly threatening a U.S. prosecutor. He is isolated from fellow prisoners and is only permitted visits by three members of his immediate family.

He is scheduled for sentencing next week.

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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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.