Monday, April 23, 2007

Witness list of Chicago Outfit trial revealed

Federal prosecutors last week released a partial list of the witnesses they plan to call in the "Family Secrets" Chicago Mafia trial, according to a report by CBS-2 in Chicago (Click here for video). Witness names had been kept secret for fear that harm might come to them.

Among those expected to testify are former mob enforcer James LaValley and Frank Culotta, one-time aide to slain gangster Tony Spilotro.

There are 15 defendants in the massive racketeering case (Click for indictments), including reputed Outfit boss Joseph "the Clown" Lombardo (right). The defendants could face life in prison if convicted.
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Mob turncoat describes fed 'torture'

During courtroom questioning last week, Mafia turncoat Michael "Mikey Scars" DiLeonardo described the pressure law enforcement agents put on him to testify against his underworld colleagues, according to a story by Stefanie Cohen of the New York Post.

DiLeonardo (right), a former captain in the Gambino Crime Family, revealed that he had been locked in a freezing cell and given uncooked or inedible food.

The informant said, however, that the "torture" did not prompt him to cooperate with authorities. He agreed to testify only after the Gambino organization turned its back on him and tried to manipulate his son, he said.

DiLeonardo was questioned in connection with Dominick "Skinny Dom" Pizzonia's trial for killing Thomas and Rosemarie Uva.

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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.

Ianniello sentenced to 18 months in prison

Eighty-seven-year-old Matthew "Matty the Horse" Ianniello has been sentenced to 18 months behind bars for orchestrating illegal payments to corrupt officials of a Queens, NY, bus drivers union, according to a story by Thomas Zambito of the New York Daily News.

Ianniello has been regarded as a key figure in the Genovese Crime Family for more than a decade. He is believed to have served as an acting boss of the family following the 1997 conviction of Vincent "the Chin" Gigante.

He could have been sentenced up to two years on his September 2006 conviction. In December, Ianniello pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy and conspiracy to defraud the IRS in connection with a "property rights" scheme in the waste hauling industry in western Connecticut.

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Assassination focuses attention on Yakuza

A public outcry against Japanese organized crime, known as Yakuza, is the result of the April 17 shooting death of Nagasaki Mayor Kazunaga Ito, according to a story by Martin Fackler of the New York Times.

Law enforcement officials estimate that there are more than 84,000 Yakuza members in Japan.

Tetsuya Shiroo, 59, reportedly has confessed to shooting the 61-year-old Ito. Shiroo is alleged to be a member of the local Suishinkai, a branch of the Yamaguchi-gumi, the country's largest underworld group.

About Me

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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.