Thursday, October 9, 2008

Jury in Florida finds four guilty of racketeering

Four men, including a the alleged leader of a Gambino Crime Family crew in South Florida, were convicted of racketeering and other charges on Oct. 3, according to a story published by the Miami Herald.

A federal jury found Vincent Artuso, portrayed by prosecutors as a made member of the Gambino clan, guilty of rackeering and fraud. His son John Vincent Artuso, Gregory Orr and Philip Edward Forgione were also convicted on similar charges. Prosecutors depicted the younger Artuso, Orr and Forgione as crime family associates.

KasmanThe prosecution's case was aided by the testimony of Lewis Kasman (left), a informant once regarded as the late Gambino boss John Gotti's "adopted son."

Addressing the jury, defense attorney Mike Pasano contested the prosecution's portrayal of the defendants. He said the idea that the Gambino clan had a branch operating in South Florida was "ludicrous."

Another defendant in the case William Larry Horton pleaded guilty earlier and will be sentenced on Oct. 23. The trial judge dismissed charges against defendant Robert Gannon.

The case was related to the operation of a phony subscription telemarketing company, according to a Jan. 24, 2008, press release of the Miami FBI office. The company's operation defrauded numerous individual victims as well as ADT Security Services, Inc., the press release said. ADT lost an estimated $7 million through the fraudulent rigging of a property sale-lease back scheme over five years.

Grasso killer's sentence is trimmed by 7 years

U.S. District Judge Alan Nevas agreed yesterday to reduce by seven years the prison term of Gaetano J. Milano, convicted killer of Connecticut Mafia big shot William "Wild Guy" Grasso, according to a report by Edmund H. Mahony of the Hartford Courant.

Milano, now 56, was sentenced in 1991 to 33 years in prison. With the reduction in sentence, he has about four more years to serve. Judge Nevas considered reports that Milano has been a model prisoner.

In 1989, Grasso was the top man in the underworld of New Haven, CT. He was considered second in command of the Boston and Providence-based New England Mafia, and he might have been contemplating a move up. The 62-year-old was shot to death within a van on Interstate 91 in June 1989. His body was dumped along the banks of the Connecticut River in Wethersfield.

Patriarca Jr. and MercurioEvidence was produced to show that Milano believed Grasso was preparing to kill him. Angelo "Sonny" Mercurio (FBI surveillance photo shows Mercurio, right, walking beside New England boss Raymond Patriarca Jr.) reportedly planted that idea in Milano's mind in order to manipulate him into killing Grasso. Government investigators knew of Mercurio's role but did not reveal it at Milano's trial because they were protecting informant Mercurio. When the coverup was revealed it provided defense attorneys with grounds to appeal Milano's sentence. Family members had hoped that Milano's sentence would be reduced to time already served. Mercurio died in 2006 while in the witness protection program.

Others charged with complicity in the Grasso murder included Frank and Louis Pugliano and Frank Colantoni Jr., according to a story by Stephanie Barry of the Springfield MA Republican. Mercurio

Parolee charged with extorting hot dog vendor

Robert "Bobby Fingers" Francella, on lifetime parole after serving time for killing his girlfriend, was arrested in New York this week and charged with extorting protection payments from a hot dog vendor on Boston Road in the Bronx, according to a story by Oren Yaniv and Alison Gendar of the New York Daily News.

The police alerted parole officials of the charge, but that notification did not occur until the 49-year-old Francella had made bail yesterday.

Francella, a reputed associate of the Gambino Crime Family, was also accused of jury tampering in connection with a trial of Peter Gotti, the Daily News reported.

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.