Saturday, March 31, 2007

Pondering Sicilian succession

A March 28 article from Janes Intelligence Review mulls the transfer of power within the Sicilian Mafia after the April 11, 2006, arrest of boss Bernardo Provenzano.

There is speculation that the Cosa Nostra is ruled at the moment by a triumvirate of Matteo Messina Denaro (right) of Trapani, Salvatore Lo Piccolo of Palermo and Domenico Raccuglia from Piana degli Albanesi.

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Two convicted of strip club extortion

A federal jury in Manhattan yesterday convicted Salvatore "Fat Sal" Scala and Thomas "Monk" Sassano of shaking down the Manhattan VIP Club, according to a report by 1010 WINS.

The two men were found guilty of extortion and conspiracy to extort. Prosecutors said they used "actual and threatened force" to extract payments from the strip club.

Scala (right), 64-year-old reputed captain in the Gambino Crime Family, was also found guilty of four counts of tax evasion. He reportedly did not file income tax returns for the years 1998-2001. Authorities labeled Sassano, 61, a soldier of the Gambino family.

The two men are in prison awaiting a sentencing date. Scala has reportedly been in poor health. He has cancer and a heart-related ailment.

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Illinois remains identified, man missing since 1997

The DuPage County, IL, coroner's office has identified decomposed remains that turned up in Downers Grove Township as those of Robert Charles Cruz, missing since Dec. 4, 1997, according to a report by ABC7 in Chicago.

The body was identified by fingerprints and tattoos, officials said.

The FBI is checking into possible connections between Cruz and organized crime. Officials note that the bodies of two mob-hit victims were discovered in 1988 about 50 yards from where Cruz's remains turned up on March 20. The former home of reputed mobster Joseph Jerome Scalise is also reportedly nearby.

Cruz was born Aug. 11, 1947. He was about 50 years old when he was reported missing. Authorities would not reveal his hometown. The coroner continues to look into the cause of death.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Another trash company manager pleads guilty

Ciro Viento, 44, of Mahopac NY pleaded guilty March 26 in New Haven CT federal court to one count of conspiring to violate the RICO anti-racketeering act, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut. Viento was reportedly an operations manager for Connecticut-based Automated Waste Disposal, Inc., and affiliated companies.

Viento acknowledged conspiring with others in a monopolistic property rights scheme in the waste hauling industry in which carting companies worked assigned territories and did not compete.

Federal wiretaps revealed Viento conspiring with other haulers to set hauling rates and enforce territorial boundaries through threats (Viento allegedly promised one contractor "a world of hurt" if he did not surrender an account) and secret negotiations.

At sentencing scheduled for June 14, Viento faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Viento already has agreed to forfeit $20,000 to the government.

An investigation of AWD and affiliated companies resulted in indictments against 29 individuals and seven companies. The defendants in the case have included Genovese Crime Family bigshot Matthew "Matty the Horse" Ianniello, who pleaded guilty in December, and AWD executive James Galante, who maintains his innocence. On March 21, another AWD operations manager, Richard Caccavale, 48, of Stormville NY, also pleaded guilty to conspiracy.

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Deep Water:
Joseph P. Macheca and the
Birth of the American Mafia

by Thomas Hunt and Martha Macheca Sheldon

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Michigan breaks up auto insurance racket

A five-year investigation by Michigan State Police and the National Insurance Crime Bureau has resulted in 115 criminal charges against 10 individuals linked with an auto insurance fraud racket in metro-Detroit, according to a story by Ben Schmitt in today's Free Press.

State Attorney General Mike Cox said at least a dozen auto shops in the Detroit area are connected to the ring.

Norman Dehko, 35, of Orchard Lake, is accused of leading a criminal conspiracy that staged accidents and thefts and submitted false insurance claims.

Witness intimidation in Newark NJ

Corey McGill, 29, and Llewellyn Johnson, 26, were indicted Friday on charges of witness tampering and other offenses connected with the Jan. 23 beating of a government informant, according to a story by Anthony Ramirez of the New York Times.

The two men are reported to be members of the Grape Street Crips street gang.

They are accused of beating and threatening an informant who cooperated in an FBI drug investigation of the gang in 2005.

The incident is seen as an illustration of a growing problem of witness intimidation in New Jersey.

Sicilian Mafia link seen in Namibian gem firms

There is evidence that two recently licensed diamond firms in Namibia are linked to the Sicilian Mafia, according to a story published March 23 by The Namibian.

That story reports on an 18-month-long investigation into the licenses. Zackey Nefungo Nujoma, son of a former Namibian president and ex-member of the national intelligence service, was reportedly involved in obtaining approval for the licenses to cut and polish gems. Nujoma has stated that he did nothing improper and is not aware of any organized crime links to to the Avila and Marbella companies.

The newspaper quoted unnamed official sources as saying the companies are fronts for reputed Mafioso Vito Palazzolo.

Russian Mafiya suspect killed at courthouse

Accused blackmailer Maxim Kurochkin was shot to death today as he left a court building in Kiev, Ukraine, according to a story by the Reuters news agency.

Officials have linked Kurochkin (left) with a number of corporate scandals and with the Russian Mafiya organization. He was in court for a hearing on extortion charges.

An unidentified gunman shot Kurochkin and a police officer in the yard outside the court building. The police officer survived the attack.
An unsuccessful attempt was made on Kurochkin's life back in 2004.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Corpse discovered at old Chicago mob burial site

Construction workers on March 20 discovered a corpse in an area west of Chicago that had been known as a mob burial ground, according to a report by Mike Parker of CBS-2 Chicago.

Authorities dug up the area in 1988, acting on a tip. They found the bodies of two lower-level Chicago Outfit soldiers - Robert Hatridge and Michael Oliver - buried there. The find this week appears to indicate that the underworld has returned to its old ways. The corpse could have been placed at the site as recently as five years ago.

The DuPage County coroner is working to determine the victim's identity and cause of death.

Construction workers were digging to install a sewer for a townhouse project along Bluff Road near Route 83.

Trash co. manager pleads guilty to scheme

Richard Caccavale, 48, of Stormville NY, pleaded guilty in New Haven CT federal court March 21 to a single count of conspiring to violate the RICO Act through a property rights racket in the waste hauling industry, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut.

Caccavale was operations manager for Connecticut-based Automated Waste Disposal (AWD) and affiliated companies. Federal investigators intercepted telephone calls in which Caccavale reportedly attempted to intimidate trash carters into joining the monopolistic property rights scheme. In his guilty plea, Caccavale acknowledged that a trash hauler's truck was damaged because it would not go along with the rules of the racket.

Caccavale is to be sentenced on June 8. He faces a maximum term of 20 years and a possible fine of $250,000. He has agreed to forfeit $20,000 to the government.

Caccavale was one of a number of individuals and businesses indicted in connection with the property rights scheme last June. Prosecutors charge that the businesses agreed on service territories and made regular payments to New York-based organized crime.

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Hathaway agrees to return to Italy

A British court decided today that Ann Hathaway (above), 44, will return to Italy within the next 10 days, according to a story in the Manchester Evening News. Facing Mafia-related charges in Italy, Hathaway reportedly agreed to the extradition.
The Italian government insists that the wife of jailed Sicilian Mafia boss Antonio Rinzivillo helped to administer the Rinzivillo empire in his absence. After Rinzivillo's conviction, Hathaway returned to her hometown in the Manchester area, where she lived with her two children. The Italian government requested her extradition, and Hathaway was arrested at her home on Jan. 18.
She faces a possible sentence of 24 years in prison if convicted of all charges against her.

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Italy arrests 200 in Camorra crackdown

A thousand police officers swept through Naples, Italy, neighborhoods before dawn on March 20 and arrested nearly 200 suspected drug criminals, according to a report by BBC News.

Police said they were targeting two clans of the local Camorra underworld organization. Entire families, including women and children, were taken into custody and charged with drug dealing or drug trafficking.

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Feds pressing for Bulger info

According to the March 17 broadcast of America's Most Wanted, federal authorities have released a surveillance video of James "Whitey" Bulger in the hope of locating the fugitive.

Bulger, a former Boston area gang leader and federal informant, has been in hiding for the past eight years. He and Steven "the Rifleman" Flemmi provided information on the New England Mafia to FBI agent John Connolly, who has since been linked with criminal activity and convicted of racketeering.

Bulger was indicted for racketeering in January 1995 but apparently learned of his pending arrest and escaped. He was reportedly a key member of Boston's Winter Hill Gang. His brother Billy Bulger is a veteran legislator in the State of Massachusetts.
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Saturday, March 17, 2007

'No-show' trash company workers sentenced

Carmine Dominicus, 43, of 7 Bragdon Ave., Danbury, CT, was sentenced March 14 to six months of home confinement and two years of probation for conspiring to defraud the IRS through a no-show job with Automated Waste Disposal (AWD) of Danbury, according to a press release by the U.S. Attorney of the District of Connecticut. He was also fined $40,000.

In June 2006, Dominicus was named along with 28 other people and 10 businesses, including AWD, in a racketeeering indictment. He pleaded guilty to a single count in the indictment, acknowledging that he received employee compensation, health insurance benefits and the use of a company vehicle from January 2000 to July 2005 though he provided no employee services to AWD.

Last month, Anna Priskie, 45, of Deerfield Lane, Cortland Manor, NY, received an identical sentence. She also pleaded guilty to holding a no-show job with AWD.

Matthew "Matty the Horse" Ianniello, bigshot in the Genovese Crime Family, was named in the original indictment, as was western Connecticut trash hauling czar James Galante of New Fairfield, CT. They were charged with leading a "property rights" racket in the waste hauling industry. Through that racket, company territories would be secured, eliminating competition and allowing higher prices to be charged to customers.

Ianniello pleaded guilty to racketeering in December. Galante maintains his innocence.

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Battle Jr. sentenced to 15+ years, $642M forfeit

A federal court in Miami has sentenced Jose Miguel Battle Jr. to serve 15 years and eight months in prison and to forfeit $642 million in assets, according to a story in today's Miami Herald.

He was convicted of conspiring with his father and two other men in a racketeering venture known as "The Corporation" or "The Cuba Mafia." Authorities say the group was responsible for illegal gambling, drug trafficking, money laundering and murder in a territory that included New York City, New Jersey and south Florida, according to a Reuters story on Carribean Net News.

Prosecutors say Battle oversaw money-laundering operations in Peru, Spain, Panama, Switzerland, the Cayman Islands, Curacao, the Dominican Republica and the British Virgin Islands, as a participant in an underworld organization that engaged in "violence and intimidation, including the commission of multiple murders," according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida.

Jose Miguel Battle Sr. (left), an exile from Cuba and a veteran of the Bay of Pigs invasion, was sentenced in January to 20 years in prison.

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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.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Two tried for shaking down NY strip club

Salvatore Scala
Reputed Gambino Crime Family capo Salvatore "Fat Sal" Scala and his aide Thomas "Monk" Sassano sucked hundreds of thousands of dollars out of a Manhattan strip club from the mid-1990s to 2002, according to the prosecution's opening statement in Manhattan federal court yesterday. The opening of the trial was reported by Kati Cornell of the New York Post.

Scala (left), 64, reportedly drew so much cash from the VIP Club that it was unable to pay its taxes. Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Snyder said he "bled it dry."

The prosecution charges that Sassano, 61, was placed in charged of the extortion operation when Scala was jailed in an unrelated case.

Judge holds Coppola on $1M bond, orders DNA test

Judge Paul W. Armstrong of the Superior Court in Somerville NJ yesterday set bail for alleged mob assassin Michael Coppola (right) at $1 million and ordered DNA tests that could link Coppola to the 1977 murder of John "Johnny Cokes" Lardiere, according to a story by Chad Hemenway of the Asbury Park Press.

Coppola was apprehended last week after more than a decade on the run. He disappeared after hearing he was ordered to provide DNA samples in the Lardiere murder investigation back in 1996.

Coppola's attorney Thomas Cammarata entered a not guilty plea on behalf of his client. Cammarata took issue with prosecutors' description of Coppola as a fugitive from justice. The attorney noted that Coppola was never actually served with the order to provide the DNA samples.

New Jersey Assistant Attorney General Robert B. Leaman argued for $20 million bail. Leaman charged that Coppola had "unlimited access to funds" during the past 11 years while he was apparently not employed. Leaman charged that Coppola was part of the Genovese Crime Family.

Lardiere was shot to death on April 10, 1977, as he began a 26-hour furlough from a Clinton lockup. He was held in Clinton for five years following a refusal to testify before a government agency probing underworld influence in the garbage hauling industry.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

NJ man arrested for 1977 mob hit

Michael Coppola
Michael Coppola (left), reputed member of the Genovese Crime Family, was arrested March 9 in New York City and charged with a 30-year-old murder, according to stories by Celanie Polanick of the Home News Tribune and Michelle Sahn of the Asbury Park Press.

Known as "Little Mike," Coppola is to be arraigned in Somerset County NJ Superior Court this afternoon for the April 10, 1977, murder of John "Johnny Cokes" Lardiere (right). Authorities hunted for Coppola for more than a decade. He disappeared after investigators called him Aug. 13, 1996, to submit to DNA testing in connection with the case. His last known address was Morris Avenue in Spring Lake NJ.

John LardiereLardiere is believed to have been a Mafia lieutenant serving boss Gerardo Catena in New Jersey's arm of the Genovese Family. After refusing to testify before a state investigations panel looking into racketeer influence in the garbage hauling industry, Lardiere was held at a prison in Clinton NJ. During an Easter holiday furlough on April 10, 1977, he was met by a gunman outside the Red Bull Inn on Route 22. Lardiere was found dead with five bullet wounds, two in his head.

Authorities pieced together the events of that day through interviews with mob informants. Coppola, allegedly carrying a .22-caliber pistol called Lardiere's name. When the victim turned, the weapon jammed. Lardiere reportedly laughed and said, "What're you gonna do now, tough guy?" Authorities say Coppola pulled a .38-caliber handgun from an ankle holster and put the five holes in Lardiere.

Tommy Ricciardi, a former Lucchese Crime Family member who turned government informant, reportedly witnessed the crime.

Lardiere is believed to have offended Ralph "Blackie" Napoli, a bigshot in the Philadelphia Mob, during his stay in Clinton.

While Lardiere was in custody, his wife Carolyn died of arsenic poisoning. She reportedly consumed enough arsenic (dissolved in a bottle of soda) to kill 700 people. Her death was ruled a homicide. It remains unsolved.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Judge rules D'Elia must remain in custody

Reputed Scranton PA crime boss William D'Elia (right) will remain in federal custody for at least a while longer, according to a story in the March 8 issue of the Times Leader.

D'Elia, 60, of Hughestown PA, requested release. He has been held since his arrest in October 2006. He was initially arrested for a violation of bail terms (after a release following a May 2006 indictment on money laundering charges), but a federal grand jury returned a second indictment for money laundering and witness intimidation.

Prosecutors say that, while D'Elia was on bail awaiting trial for money laundering, he plotted to have two witnesses against him killed. D'Elia reportedly communicated the plot to a secret government informant.

Authorities believe that D'Elia succeeded Russell Bufalino as boss of a crime family in Northeastern Pennsylvania. D'Elia reportedly has served as a mediator for Mafia disputes within the nearby Philadelphia Mob.

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

UK's Adams gets seven years

Reputed London crime boss Terry Adams (left) was sentenced March 9 to seven years in prison, according to a story by Robert Stansfield of the UK Daily Record.

Adams, 52, believed by authorities to be responsible for as many as 25 killings, was instead convicted of money laundering. He pleaded guilty to a single count last month. He will be eligible for parole after serving half of his sentence.

Adams and his brothers Tommy and Patsy reputedly ran a criminal empire that had links to Colombian cocaine distributors and the Russian Mafiya and engaged itself in loansharking, protection rackets and money laundering.

As part of a plea deal, authorities dropped charges against Adams' wife Ruth.

The costs involved in the Adams case are staggering. An estimated 10 million British pounds ($19 million US) was reportedly spent on an investigation that lasted for years. That investigation was triggered when Adams was found to be inaccurately reporting income to Inland Revenue. Prosecution of the charges against Adams is believed to have cost 4 million pounds. Authorities believe Adams' empire is worth about $380 million (US).

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Deep Water: Joseph P. Macheca and the Birth of the American Mafia
by Thomas Hunt and Martha Macheca Sheldon

Click for more information or to order.

Canada's Musitano rearrested

Pat and Angelo Musitano
Angelo Musitano, 29, was arrested in Ontario, Canada, March 7 for alleged parole violations, according to a story by Adrian Humphreys of Canada's National Post.

Musitano was released from prison Oct. 5 after serving six years for ordering a mob hit against a rival Mafioso. His parole included strict conditions. He was not to associate with anyone involved in criminal activity or even to contact his brother Pasquale "Pat" Musitano without prior approval. Pasquale reputedly took control of the Musitano Crime Family after the 1995 death of their father, Dominic.

Angelo and Pasquale both pleaded guilty in 2000 to ordering the killing of Carmen Barillaro of Niagara Falls. The hit is believed to have been part of an underworld reorganization after the 1997 murder of Ontario boss "Johnny Pops" Papalia. The brothers were sentenced to 10 years and then released on parole last year.

Barillaro reportedly believed the Musitanos were responsible for Papalia's death, according to a 2006 report by Barbara Brown of the Hamilton Ontario Spectator. Police surveillance on June 2, 1997, picked up a conversation between Barillaro and Pasquale Musitano, in which Musitano denied any involvement in the killing. Barillaro connected the brothers to Ken Murdock, triggerman in the Papalia attack. Fearing Barillaro's wrath, the brothers decided to strike first and sent Murdock after Barillaro. Murdock pleaded guilty Nov. 24, 1998, to killing both Papalia and Barillaro. He was given a life prison sentence.

Authorities did not say what Angelo specifically did to violate his parole conditions, but they ruled out unauthorized contact with his brother as a cause for his arrest. The Canadian corrections service has 30 days to investigate the case and either release Musitano or turn him over to the parole board.

According to a story by Paul Morse of the Hamilton Ontario Spectator, the national parole board upheld the restriction against Angelo's association with his brother on appeal. The board found that, even while in Collins Bay Institution, the brothers combined to perform illegal activities: " and your brother actively recruited other inmates to participate, on your behalf, in... illegal gambling, bookmaking, intimidation and illegal drugs."

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Thursday, March 8, 2007

UN official guilty of money laundering conspiracy

A jury in New York has found a Russian diplomat guilty of conspiring to launder hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribe money, according to a press release from the United States Attorney of the Southern District of New York.

Vladimir Kuznetsov, 49, (shown above at the time of his arrest) faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison when he is sentenced on June 25. He has been held under house arrest, his movements checked by a bracelet monitor, since the Russian government secured his release from a detention cell.
Kuznetsov served as chairman of the United Nations' Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions until his arrest in September 2005. He was the highest ranking Russian diplomat at the UN. At the time of his arrest, Russian news agency Pravda insisted that American authorities were using a corruption probe as a means of slandering the UN after its opposition to the invasion of Iraq and of extracting the United States from the international body.

He was conviced of conspiring with Russian UN procurement officer Alexader Yakovlev from 2000 through mid-2005 to hide payments provided by foreign companies seeking to do business with the UN. Yakovlev is believed to have taken over $1 million in bribes during that period. Kuznetsov learned of the scheme and accepted a share of the proceeds rather than report Yakovlev to authorities. Kuznetsov established an off-shore company called Nikal Ltd. in order to hide the money at the Antigua Overseas Bank Limited.
According to the Washington Post, Kuznetsov is the fourth UN-based official implicated in an ongoing investigation into corruption.

Yakovlev pleaded guilty in 2005.

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MobNews Digest

Charged with banker's murder, four face life in prison

An Italian prosecutor is asking for life prison terms for the four men charged with the June 17, 1982, London murder of a prominent banker, according to a story by Stephen Brown of Reuters UK.

Roberto Calvi (left), once head of the now defunct Banco Ambrosiano, was found dead, hanging from a rope under the Blackfriars Bridge. While his death was initially ruled a suicide, additional forensic evidence surfaced indicating that the suicide was staged and Calvi had been murdered by strangulation.

Accused of the crime are Pippo Calo, an alleged Sicilian Mafioso once known as the Mafia's treasurer; alleged Rome crime boss Ernesto Diotallevi; Sardinian financier Flavio Carboni; and Calvi's bodyguard Silvano Vittor. All the defendants have denied involvement.
Calvi had connections to the Vatican administration and was sometimes called "God's banker." The Vatican Bank was found to own a piece of Banco Ambrosiano when that institution failed just before Calvi's death. At the time, it was Italy's largest bank failure. Banco Ambrosiano is believed to have helped launder money for the Mafia. Calvi is theorized to have skimmed some of the money for himself.

Facing a four-year sentence in connection with the bank collapse, Calvi traveled to London in 1982.
Calvi was also linked with the secret Masonic lodge known as P2, which might in turn have had links to a right-wing terrorist organization. Among other activities, P2 is believed to have been involved in the bombing of a Bologna railway station in 1980. The P2 organization's leader, Licio Gelli, reportedly worked with Mafia leaders on a plan for Sicilian secession from Italy in the 1990s. That movement is blamed for the killings of anti-Mafia judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Decision on Limone suit expected by late March

U.S District Judge Nancy Gertner told Boston-area media that she expects to have a decision by late March or early April in a $100 million lawsuit against the federal government, according to a story by Shelley Murphy of the Boston Globe. The suit was filed by Peter J. Limone, Joseph Salvati and the families of the late Henry Tameleo and the late Louis Greco.
Those four men were convicted of murder in a 1968 state case that was based largely on the perjured testimony of mob enforcer Joseph "the Animal" Barboza, who cooperated with the FBI. The FBI reportedly had knowledge that Barboza's testimony was false but did not share the information with state prosecutors. Barboza now appears to have had more to do with the crime charged to the four men - the March 12, 1965, murder of Edward "Teddy" Deegan - than they did. Surveillance tapes created by the FBI caught Barboza and another gangster/informant Vincent "Jimmy" Flemmi asking New England Mob Boss Raymond L.S. Patriarca for permission to kill Deegan.
Greco and Tameleo died in prison. Limone served 33 years in prison, and Salvati served 30 before winning parole. In 2001, the federal government release evidence showing that the men were not guilty of the Deegan murder.
Limone, Salvati (bottom right) and the families of Greco and Tameleo are seeking compensation for the years of imprisonment. Attorneys for the federal government have argued that there was no federal involvement in the prosecution of the four men, as it was entirely a state matter.

At the conclusion of the trial, Salvati, now 74, told the press, "We waited 42 years, and we're still waiting."

Mystery surrounds Guatemala killings

Investigators are still puzzling over the Feb. 25 murders of four imprisoned former police officers in Guatemala, according to a story by James C. McKinley Jr. of the New York Times.

The victims were Luis Arturo Herrera, head of the Guatemalan National Police organized crime unit and three of his men. The men were shot to death while in custody at a high security prison in Cuilapa, 40 miles east of Guatemala City. Investigators are trying to determine how gunmen might have passed through seven or eight locked doors to gain access to the prisoners. Twenty-two prison guards have been questioned, according to a story by Juan Carlos Llorca of the AP.

The four officers had been arrested Feb. 22 and charged with the Feb. 19 killings of three diplomats, who were representatives of El Salvador at the Central American Parliament based in Guatemala City. Herrera and his men confessed to the killings, saying they mistook the diplomats for drug dealers.
When the four police officers were initially detained in Guatemala City, the government received word that their lives were in danger. The four were moved to a cell in Cuilapa for their protection.
Some believe the officers were killed by other inmates in the prison, which is largely populated by gang members. (Prisoners rioted at about the same time the murders occurred.) But others say a group of gunmen in military uniforms entered the prison and committed the murders without any interference from prison personnel.
Guatemalan President Oscar Berger (right) said he believed the four men were killed by members of an organized criminal entity in order to keep them quiet. Rodrigo Avila, head of police in El Salvador agreed and noted, "It is clear that the people who committed these killings have some level of influence inside the police, prison or governmental structure."

Monday, March 5, 2007

March issue of MobNews Digest

The March 2007 issue of MobNews Digest is available for download (709kb PDF). Click on the image in this post or on the link to the right-hand sidebar of the MobNews blog page. You can also visit the MobNews Digest homepage to browse all available issues.

The latest quarterly issue contains:
  • UK housewife held as mob 'godmother';
  • Santora, 18 others, charged in Bonanno clan indictments;
  • Brasco returns;
  • Biography explores Mob's New Orleans birth;
  • 96-year-old mobster pleads guilty;
  • Feds bust bus union bosses;
  • 'Horse' makes deal in garbage racket case;
  • Colombo brothers beat racketeering charges;
  • FBI immigration sting nabs 11;
  • Tampa Gambinos convicted;
  • NE Mob informant Mercurio dies at 70;
  • Reputed underboss of NE family faces extortion charges;
  • Canada breaks up Rizzuto clan.
...and more U.S. and international organized crime news.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Trucchio gets life sentence

Ronald J. "Ronnie One Arm" Trucchio, convicted Tampa-area racketeer, was sentenced March 2 to life in prison, according to a story in the Orlando Sentinel.

Trucchio was convicted in November of leading a Tampa, FL, crew of the New York-based Gambino Crime Family.

Steven Catalano, convicted along with Trucchio, was sentenced to 16 years behind bars.

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Friday, March 2, 2007

Colombo brothers beat racketeering charges

A jury delivered a split verdict Feb. 27, finding brothers Anthony and Chris Colombo not guilty of the most serious racketeering charges against them, according to a story by Kati Cornell of the New York Post.

Chris Colombo was found guilty only of two counts of gambling, an offense he and his attorney admitted to during the trial. Anthony Colombo was acquitted of all charges against him.

The sons of slain mob boss Joseph Colombo had been accused of racketeering and extortion. Prosecutors argued that the two men used a public perception of underworld ties to advance illegal schemes.
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Deep Water: Joseph P. Macheca and the Birth of the American Mafia
by Thomas Hunt and Martha Macheca Sheldon

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Writer, editor, researcher, web publisher, specializing in organized crime history. (I am available to assist with your historical/genealogical research, as well as your writing and editing chores. Email me at
I am editor/publisher of crime history journal, Informer; publisher of American Mafia history website; moderator of Mafia-related online forums; 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.