Friday, August 15, 2008

Chicago mob associate gets more than 3 years

Joseph Venezia, 65, a minor player in last year's Family Secrets Case, was sentenced in Chicago yesterday to 40 months in prison, according to a story by Jeff Coen of the Chicago Tribune. Before the Secrets trial began, Venezia pleaded guilty to gambling and tax charges.

Yesterday, Venezia argued for a light sentence, saying he was a mere pawn of the Outfit as he collected cash from video poker machines. U.S. District Judge James Zagel explained the 40-month sentence: "Without the Joseph Venezias of the world, the enterprise of which he was a part... would, in fact, crumble."

James MarcelloProsecutors said Venezia oversaw a portion of a gambling business owned by brothers James (right) and Michael Marcello and also served as a front man for an Outfit-run lounge in Cicero that was used for prostitution.

Feds draw fire for handling of Gambino case

A sweeping federal case against 62 alleged members and associates of the Gambino Crime Family has so far resulted in 60 plea deals and one dismissal, according to a story by Tom Hays published in Newsday.

Nick CorozzoTwo of the pleas were entered yesterday. "Little Nick" Corozzo (left), 68, reputed lieutenant in the crime family, pleaded guilty to murder conspiracy in connection with the Jan. 26, 1996, slaying of an underworld rival. He could face 12 years or more in prison when sentenced. Vincent DeConiglio's guilty plea to lesser charges could result in a year or more behind bars.

Prosecutors say that Corozzo was part of a three-man committee formed in 1994 to assist John A. "Junior" Gotti in running the Gambino Crime Family during his father's imprisonment. John J. Gotti died in prison in 2002.

One defendant remains of the 62 arrested on Feb. 7. Charles Carneglia (shown on the New York Post cover at right), 62, has said he intends to go to trial and to testify on his own behalf, according to a story by John Marzulli of the New York Daily News. He is charged in connection with five killings.

U.S. attorneys in Brooklyn have been criticized for a broad attack against the criminal organization, which has resulted in few extended prison sentences. The defendant with the highest reputed rank in the crime family, acting boss John "Jackie Nose" D'Amico, could be sentenced to less than two years in prison after pleading guilty to extorting $100,000 from a cement company. His attorney said prosecutors' willingness to cut short-sentence deals showed "a lack of evidence and quality of evidence."

Some note, however, that the approach might have profoundly shaken the crime family. "It disrupts the family and creates an environment of insecurity," said one former prosecutor. "They essentially took out an entire organization in one fell swoop."

Geas attorney files for mob hit charge dismissal

Fotios GeasThe defense attorney for Fotios "Freddy" Geas Jr., charged with conspiring in the 2003 slaying of Springfield MA Mafia big shot Adolfo "Big Al" Bruno, has filed a motion to dismiss with the Hampden Superior Court, according to a story by Stephanie Barry of the Springfield Republican.

Geas (left), 41, is accused of paying $8,000 to Frankie A. Roche to kill Bruno. Roche pleaded guilty in April to shooting Bruno to death in the parking lot of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Society after a card game. Roche is cooperating in the continuing investigation.

Defense attorney Stephanie Page submitted supporting documentation titled, "A Grand Jury Would Indict Anything, Even a Ham Sandwich," with her motion to dismiss. The documents are sealed. She said she intends to fully argue the motion in open court.

Investigators have linked the murder to the rise of Anthony J. Arillotta, Bruno's reputed successor as head of the Springfield branch of the Genovese Crime Family. Though Arilotta has not been charged with the killing, the FBI has said that he got approval for the mob hit through higher-ups in the Genovese Family.

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.