Friday, February 29, 2008

IRS releases records from Capone tax case

The Internal Revenue Service is granting access to documents related to the successful prosecution of Chicago's Prohibition Era ganglord Al Capone, according to an announcement on the website.
Records were released after a Freedom of Information request for a copy of Special Agent Frank Wilson's report to Elmer Irey triggered a review of the Capone case files. IRS officials reviewed the documents for compliance with confidentiality requirements and decided that the reports could be made available to the public "principally because Capone never filed a tax return."
The website includes five documents:

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Eight Lucchese members, associates indicted

Eight alleged members and associates of the Lucchese Crime Family were charged today with racketeering crimes, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York.

An indictment unsealed this morning in Brooklyn federal court named Domenico "Danny" Cutaia (left), 71, an "acting captain" in the crime family. It named Michael "Mikey Bones" Corcione, 67, John Baudanza (Domenico Cutaia's son-in-law), 38, and Salvatore Cutaia, 48, as made members - soldiers - of the organization. Those four defendants, along with alleged crime family associates Steven LaPella, 45, and Victor Sperber, 57, were charged with racketeering, racketeering conspiracy and other crimes.

Alleged associates Louis Colello, 64, and John Rodopolous, 46, were charged with extortion and illegal gambling, respectively.

If convicted, Domenico Cutaia, Baudanza and Sperber face maximum prison terms of 30 years, Salvatore Cutaia, Colello, Corcione and LaPella face possible 20-year terms, and Rodopolous could be sentenced up to five years. Prosecutors are also seeking financial forfeitures, including Baudanza's home.

Plea deals offered to 60 New York mob defendants

Federal prosecutors have offered plea deals to all but two of the 62 people arrested in Feb. 7 raids directed against alleged members of the Gambino Crime Family, according to stories by the Associated Press and John Marzulli of the New York Daily News. Only Charles Carneglia and Nicholas Corozzo were excluded.

Reputed Gambino Family lieutenant Corozzo remains at large. He is charged with racketeering-related murder. He was also indicted for extortion and gambling offenses. Carneglia, reputed soldier in the crime family, is accused of five killings through three decades. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Letters containing the plea offers were passed out to defendants at yesterday's hearing in Brooklyn's federal court. A complete list of defendants in the case, as assembled by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York, is shown below:

Age: 60

Age: 60

Age: 76

Age: 58

Age: 42

Age: 52

Age: 61

Age: 72

Age: 42

Age: 61

Age: 63

Age: 66

Age: 67

Age: 56

Age: 73

Age: 33


Age: 51

Age: 66

Age: 38

Age: 43

Age: 60

Age: 29

Age: 41 :

Age: 41

Age: 35

Age: 45

Age: 42

Age: 56

Age: 40

Age: 55

Age: 51


Age: 43

Age: 49


Age: 49

Age: 41

Age: 39

Age: 62


Age: 43

Age: 54

Age: 64

Age: 49

Age: 30

Age: 45

Age: 51

Age: 27

Age: 49

Age: 35

Age: 41

Age: 57

Age: 67

Age: 31

Age: 40

Age: 41

Age: 42

Age: 46

Age: 38

Age: 35

Age: 60

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

'Cadillac Frank' could be home by Christmas

Francis "Cadillac Frank" Salemme, former bigshot of the New England Mafia, could be out of prison by Christmas under a plea deal revealed yesterday, according to a report by UPI.

Salemme (right), 74, cooperated in federal investigations into Massachusetts mobster James "Whitey" Bulger. Investigators caught Salemme holding back information on a murder committed by his own son in 1993. Federal charges of obstruction of justice and making false statements followed.

Under the plea deal, Salemme will plead guilty to the two counts against him, and prosecutors will ask in April for a prison sentence of 51 to 63 months, minus time served. Salemme will not admit to allegations that he watched his son Frank strangle nightclub owner Steven DiSarro and helped dispose of DiSarro's body, according to a story by Shelley Murphy of the Boston Globe.

Salemme, reputed onetime boss of the Patriarca Crime Family, is believed to have been allied with Bulger (left) until a 1999 federal racketeering conviction. He became convinced that Bulger and Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi turned him in. In 2001, he agreed to cooperate in the investigation of fugitive Bulger and his ties to former FBI agent John J. Connolly Jr. Salemme was released from prison into the witness protection program in 2003, only to be rearrested the following year on the most recent charges.

Flemmi is serving a life sentence for murder. Bulger is still at large.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Italy arrests 'Ndrangheta leader Condello

Italian police have nabbed the man they consider the "number one boss of the 'Ndrangheta" criminal society based in Reggio Calabria, according to a report by Gavin Jones of the Reuters news agency. Pasquale Condello, 57, was arrested Feb. 19. Authorities said his position in the underworld of the southern mainland of Italy was similar to that of Mafia boss of bosses Bernardo Provenzano of Sicily. Condello had been a fugitive from justice since a murder conviction in the late 1980s. Investigators believe his 'Ndrangheta organization controls cocaine trafficking through much of Europe.

Old JFK files spark new controversy

Files and evidence recently pulled from a long locked safe at the Dallas County district attorney's office has triggered fresh debate over a conspiratorial relationship between Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald and Oswald's killer Jack Ruby, according to stories by Jennifer Emily of the Dallas Morning News and Anabelle Garay of the Associated Press.

The files contain a document that presents itself as a transcript of a conversation between Oswald and Ruby on Oct. 4, 1963, weeks before President John F. Kennedy was shot to death in Dallas, Texas. According to the transcript, the two men discussed assassinating the President in order to bring a halt to the Mafia investigations of Attorney General Robert Kennedy, the President's brother. The transcript indicates that Ruby warned Lee not to get caught: "...the boys will make me follow you, wherever you go, and kill you."

Kennedy was shot Nov. 22, 1963, while riding with his wife and Texas Governor John Connally in a motorcade through Dealey Plaza. Oswald was arrested later that day. Ruby shot Oswald to death while Oswald was being moved by authorities on Nov. 24. Ruby won an appeal of a death sentence but reportedly fell victim to cancer while in custody.

Experts on the JFK assassination believe the transcript to be a fake, part of a package of information intended for a speculative motion picture that was never made. In the same safe was found a 1967 movie contract signed by former Dallas District Attorney Henry Wade.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Former NYPD officers nabbed in Gambino bust

Two former New York police officers were among the scores of people arrested in Feb. 7 raids against the Gambino Crime Family, according to a story by John Marzulli of the New York Daily News.

Ronald Flam, 35, is charged with participating in a bookmaking ring, which included reputed Gambino bigshots Nicholas Corozzo and Leonard DiMaria. Frank Vassallo, 38, is charged with operating illegal Joker Poker machines in partnership with reputed Gambino soldier Vincent Dragonetti.

Flam worked in the 63rd Precinct for less than two years. Vassallo was a detective in the 83rd Precinct before retiring ona disability pension.

Riina brothers gunned down in Sicily

An apparent Sicilian Mafia attack has taken the lives of Giuseppe Riina, 32, and his brother Gianpaolo Riina, 38, according to a story from the Italian AGI news agency. The brothers were shot to death with automatic weapons just after 7 a.m. on Via Merlo near the Piazza Santa Caterina in Partinico - the same location where their father, Salvatore Riina, was killed 10 years ago. Fulvio Giordano, 24, was injured in the attack. Partinico is 30 km (18.6 miles) southwest of the City of Palermo.

Mob-linked businessman flipped for feds

Joseph Vollaro, owner of Staten Island trucking and cement companies, secretly recorded conversations related to the leadership of the Gambino Crime Family for years, according to stories by Barry Paddock and John Marzulli of the New York Daily News and William K. Rashbaum of the New York Times.

Vollaro (left), 42, agreed to cooperate with state and federal law enforcement after he was arrested several years ago on drug charges. He wore a hidden recording device during meetings with reputed Gambino Family lieutenant Nicholas Corozzo, whom he met while in prison on an extortion charge in the late 1990s. Over two years, Vollaro made tribute payments estimated at $400,000 from his businesses to Gambino gangsters.

Evidence acquired through Vollaro's undercover work aided authorities in their early February move against 62 accused mobsters and associates. Just days before the arrests, Vollaro disappeared from his Staten Island home. He is now reportedly under federal protection.

Corozzo slipped away when the arrests went down. His brother, reputed Gambino consigliere Joseph Corozzo, was arrested along with reputed acting boss John D'Amico and dozens of others linked to the crime family.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Book presents complete picture of KC mob history

Author Frank Hayde left no stone unturned as he assembled a comprehensive and readable history of the Kansas City underworld. He neatly tied together generations of political shenanigans by the influential Pendergast political machine and numerous murders and illicit business ventures by the local Sicilian-Italian Mafia organization.

In telling just over a century's worth of history, Hayde did considerably more than merely hit the high points - the Union Station Massacre, point-shaving allegations against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Strawman case, and the shocking assassination of a political boss within a Democratic headquarters. Hayde also provided rich detail on little known events, such as the Election Day riots of the 1920s and 1930s and the River Quay war, without ever allowing his narrative to become bogged down.

The result is the most complete picture yet of the Kansas City underworld and of the mutualistic relationship between organized politics and organized crime.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Scores arrested in Mafia raids in U.S., Italy

A crackdown on organized crime on both sides of the Atlantic yesterday resulted in more than 80 arrests, according to a report by Julian Gavaghan of the U.K.'s Daily Mail. The FBI made 62 arrests in New York and New Jersey. Twenty more arrests were made in the Sicilian capital city of Palermo. The coordinated raids were part of an operation named, "Old Bridge."

Authorities in both countries claim that the Mafia has been trying to strengthen its trans-Atlantic ties and work on cooperative ventures, including money-laundering and narcotics smuggling.

A report by John Marzulli of the New York Daily News indicated that the New York-based Gambino Crime Family was the focus of the law enforcement action. Authorities say they are charging the family's acting boss John "Jackie Nose" D'Amico (left), underboss Dominic "Italian Dom" Cefalu and consigliere Joseph "JoJo" Corozzo with racketeering offenses, including murder and extortion. Also arrested was alleged family "street boss" Francesco Cali.
Nicholas "Little Nicky" Corozzo, Joseph's brother and alleged member of the organization's ruling committee during John A. Gotti's tenure as acting boss, was charged but remained at large, according to a story by William K. Rashbaum of the New York Times. Gotti relatives Vincent Gotti and Richard G. Gotti also face charges.

Charges are outlined in a 170-page federal indictment filed in New York. According to the indictment, several men linked to the Bonanno and Genovese Crime Families were also charged, as were a number of individuals in the construction industry and connected with locals of the Teamsters and Laborers unions.
"It is simply wrong to suggest that La Cosa Nostra... is no longer a threat to public safety or the economic vitality of New York City," said Mark J. Mershon, director of the FBI's New York office.

Murder accusations are related to the deaths of court officer Albert Gelb in March 1976, Michael Cotillo in November 1977, Salvatore Puma in July 1983, Louis DiBono in October 1990, Jose Delgado Rivera in December 1990, Robert Arena and Thomas Maranga in January 1996.
Gelb, who once arrested Gambino soldier Charles Carneglia, was shot to death four days before he was scheduled to testify against Carneglia. Carneglia is charged with committing five of the seven murders noted in the indictment.

The indictment also charges the defendants with gambling, loansharking, mail fraud, securities fraud, misuse of union funds and other offenses.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

PA board suspends casino owner's license

Pennsylvania's Gaming Control Board indefinitely suspended Louis A. DeNaples' license to run his Mount Airy Casino Resort today, according to a story by Mike Wereschagin of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review.

The license was temporarily suspended last week when DeNaples (left) was indicted by a Dauphin County grand jury for perjury on his 2006 license application. Prosecutors say the Poconos casino owner lied about connections to two reputed Mafia figures - former Scranton-area crime boss Russell Bufalino and reputed boss William D'Elia - and two other men named in a federal corruption probe in Philadelphia.

Defense attorney Richard Sprague has protested the release of information linking his client to those involved in the Philadelphia corruption matter. He said the release prejudiced the public against his client. DeNaples, owner of a Scranton landfill and other businesses, has denied any connection to organized crime, an informal allegation that has circulated since the 1980s.

During 2006 public hearings into the casino project, DeNaples brought in a Catholic nun, Sister Mary Bonaventa, who praised his "great respect for the elderly and the poor."

The October opening of DeNaples' casino breathed new life into the old Mount Airy Lodge site. The business has generated $1.2 million per week. It will be kept open during DeNaples' license suspension, administered by a Gaming Board-appointed trustee.

'Mafia Cop' reaches tax fraud plea deal

Former New York police detective Louis Eppolito, 57, pleaded guilty in Las Vegas yesterday to one count of filing a false income tax return, according to stories by Jeff German of the Las Vegas Sun and the Associated Press.

As part of his plea deal, Eppolito (left) acknowledged owing $102,108 to the IRS for tax years 2000 through 2002. Prosecutors agreed that Eppolito's sentence can include credit for time served. When sentenced on May 9, he faces a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Eppolito has already been in custody for 31 months.

A jury in June 2006 found Eppolito and his former police partner Stephen Caracappa guilty of participating in eight Mafia-related racketeering murders between 1986 and 1990. The judge in the case later threw out that verdict, deciding that the statute of limitations on the crimes had expired. Both men remained in custody pending a retrial on more recent drug trafficking and money-laundering charges.

Prosecutors in the federal racketeering case linked Eppolito and Caracappa with Lucchese Crime Family bigshot Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso and argued that the police detectives conspired with Casso to eliminate those he considered underworld threats. The families of a number of the murder victims have brought lawsuits against Eppolito and Caracappa.

Russian crime boss arrested in Moscow

Moscow police arrested Semyon Mogilevich, 61, reputed organized crime boss, in late January, according to published reports. Mogilevich is believed to have had a hand in uranium smuggling, drug trafficking, money laundering, bank fraud and other criminal rackets. He was charged with corporate tax evasion amounting to $2 million, according to a story by Andrew E. Kramer of the New York Times. Authorities say he also is wanted in the United States and in Britain for decades of offenses.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Galante wants racketeering charges tossed

Citing possible tainted wiretap evidence and charging that prosecutors have used "highly prejudicial phrases," defense attorney Hugh Keefe has asked a federal judge to dismiss at least some of the charges against western Connecticut garbage czar James Galante, according to a story by John Pirro of the Danbury CT News-Times.

Galante was arrested in 2006 along with 28 other individuals charged with participation in a "property rights" scheme to eliminate competition and to control pricing in the waste hauling industry.

Genovese Crime Family bigshot Matthew "Matty the Horse" Ianniello was among those indicted. Prosecutors say Ianniello received regular payments from the hauling firms allied through the property rights racket. Ianniello pleaded guilty in December 2006. Many of the other defendants have reached plea deals. Galante, who faces more than 100 counts related to racketeering, extortion, wire fraud and witness tampering, maintains his innocence.

Keefe argued that prosecutors improperly obtained authorization for a telephone wiretap that yielded much of their evidence. He also insisted that the indictment used phrases like "mob tax" and "tribute payment" to link Galante with organized crime and inflame potential jurors in the case.

Killers Krivoi, Ivanitsky sentenced to 25-to-life

Two Ukrainian immigrants, Marat Krivoi and Vitaly Ivanitsky, were sentenced yesterday to 25 years to life in prison for the 1992 killings of two men in Brooklyn, according to the New York Times. The killers were convicted in separate trials this past August.

According to authorities, Krivoi is the former son-in-law of Boris Nayfield, a leading figure in the Russian Mafiya.

Krivoi (left) reportedly ordered the shooting death of Boris Roitman, 21, and personally killed Thien Diep, 24. He feared that criminal associate Roitman was serving as a police informant and ordered him killed by Pyotr Sarkisov, according to prosecutors. Roitman died of a shotgun blast to the chest on Aug. 26, 1992. Diep, a high-stakes pool player, was shot in the head by Krivoi during a Sept. 23, 1992, robbery, as Ivanitsky served as lookout and driver.

Prosecutors said Krivoi, then in his early 20s, was the leader of a gang specializing in burglary and extortion. He has been imprisoned since 1993 for two other killings.
Prosecutors were hampered in their efforts to resolve the Roitman and Diep killings by witnesses' unwillingness to testify. Informants began providing evidence in the cases only in 2006, 14 years after the killings occurred.

Mob-linked drug criminal shot to death in Canada

Constantin "Big Gus" Alevizos, 45, was shot to death Jan. 30 at a halfway house in Ontario, Canada, according to a story by the Canwest News Service. With bullet wounds through his torso, Alevizos was clinging to life as police arrived, but he was pronounced dead on arrival at the local hospital.

Authorities say Alevizos (right) was sentenced last February to three years in prison for participating in a drug conspiracy. Thirty-one other people were convicted of conspiracy in the drug ring, which police believe was part of a Montreal Mafia incursion into Ontario.

One of Alevizo's closest friends, Gaetano Panepinto, has been linked with the Montreal-based Rizzuto Mafia organization as well as outlaw motorcycle gangs and high-volume drug dealers.

Police have no suspects in the killing.

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.