Sunday, June 22, 2008

Mob-affiliate burglar pleads guilty

John Melicharek, alleged associate of the Genovese Crime Family, pleaded guilty in a White Plains, NY, court last week to robbery, extortion and firearms charges, according to a story published by the Mid-Hudson News Network.

Prosecutors say Melicharek was an associate of the Mafia crew led by Angelo Prisco. Melicharek was accused of leading home invasions in Orange County, NY, and Morris County, NJ, as well as of extorting the owner of a small business in New York City.

He could receive a life prison term when sentenced in September.

Angelo PriscoPrisco (right), 68, of Brooklyn, is serving time in federal prison, according to a story published a year ago in the Star-Ledger. He reached a plea deal on extortion charges in Newark, NJ, last May and was sentenced to five years. He had been held in New Jersey lockups since a March 2006 arrest. Prisco's 2002 parole from state prison in New Jersey triggered an investigation of a top aide of then-Governor Jim McGreevey.

Another reputed associate of Prisco's crew, Michael Visconti, 39, of Newburgh, NY, pleaded guilty to six criminal counts earlier this month, according to the Star-Ledger. Like Prisco, Visconti was charged in connection with a scheme to eliminate competition for an electrical contracting job.

Italian court upholds Camorra life sentences

An Italian Court last week upheld life sentence penalties imposed on 16 convicted leaders of the Casalesi Camorra clan, according to reports by RTTNews and Malcom Moore of the U.K. Telegraph.

The 16 leaders, including alleged boss Francesco "Sandokan" Schiavone (left) were sentenced to life late in 2005 after the "Spartacus trial" held in Santa Maria Capua Vetere north of Naples. Michele Zagaria and Antonio Iovine, alleged to be leaders of the criminal organization, were among those sentenced to life terms though they remain at large. Ten other defendants were convicted in the trial and sentenced to lesser terms.

The Casalesi clan was primarily involved in toxic waste disposal, extortion and monopolization of the cement market between Naples and Salerno, according to Judge Raffaello Magi. "They control the distribution of essential products. They control elections, and they offer protection and market opportunities to businesses," he said.

Investigators believe the Casalesi clan, based in the town of Casal di Principe, held assets amounting to billions of dollars. The group is believed responsible for numerous murders. During the trial, five people involved in the case were killed. The lives of a judge and two journalists were threatened.

Five hundred witnesses were called in that trial. Twenty former clan members provided evidence against their old underworld colleagues.

Schiavone was apprehended in 1999, as he attempted to escape from police by climbing over a garden wall at his personal villa.

map of Naples region

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.