Saturday, June 2, 2007

Appeals court backs Peter Gotti conviction

The Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday upheld the 2004 racketeering conviction of Peter Gotti, according to an AP story published in the International Herald Tribune.

Gotti, 67, was convicted of racketeering conspiracy. He contested the verdict, arguing that the trial judge acted improperly by allowing evidence of Gambino Crime Family murders with which Peter Gotti was not charged.

Peter Gotti, who reputedly served as acting boss and boss in the Gambino Family, was charged with ordering the death of Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano, a mob turncoat whose testimony led to the conviction of Gambino boss John Gotti. The hit was never carried out.

Peter Gotti was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Related MobNews post:

'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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Italy arrests 10 funeral racketeers

Ten people, including the reputed head of the Sinesi clan in southern Italy, have been arrested in connection with an organized crime racket controlling funeral homes, according to a report in the UK Telegraph.

The suspects were charged with extorting money from 13 funeral homes in the city of Foggia while building a monopoly in funeral arrangements and transport.

Authorities track the growth of the racket to the release from prison last February of Robert Sinesi, 45, and Raffaele Tolonese, 48. Tolonese is regarded as a senior capo in the Strisciouglio family. The Sinesi and Stirciouglio clans are said to be key elements of the Sacra Corona Unita, Italy's fourth largest crime syndicate.

Police are investigating the involvement of hospital personnel in the racket. Nurses, ambulance drivers and security guards are believed to have passed death count information on to underworld contacts and to have helped direct grieving families to connected funeral homes.

Biker gang violence escalates in Australia

Australian police are cracking down on outlaw motorcycle gangs, according to a story by the Marlborough Express. Strike Force Ranmore, drawing police officers from a variety of specialty squads, will conduct regular checks of gang clubhouses and business and motorcycle licenses, as well as covert operations.

There are 35 outlaw groups in Australia, according to an Australian Crime Commission 2006 report, and those include an estimated 3,500 members. Twenty-six new chapters were opened last year.

Gangs like the Nomads, Rebels, Commancheros and Bandidos are believed to be engaged in a violent struggle for territory. There has been a noticeable escalation of violence on the streets of Sydney.

Some gang members are involved in organized crime, murder, prostitution, arson robbery, drug trafficking and production, and money laundering, according to the crime report.

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.