Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Younger Rizzuto shot to death in Montreal

Nicolo "Nick" Rizzuto, son of reputed Montreal Mafia boss Vito Rizzuto, was shot to death in Old Montreal on Dec. 28.

Vito Rizzuto is serving time in a U.S. prison for his involvement in several New York murders.

Authorities believe the murder of Nick Rizzuto represents a power struggle among Canadian underworld factions and could lead to violent reprisals.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Two plead guilty to Hydell murder

Two Gambino Crime Family associates, Letterio DeCarlo, 47, and Thomas Dono, 34, pleaded guilty Dec. 21 to conspiring in the April 28, 1998, murder of suspected Gambino turncoat Frank Hydell. The men also admitted participating in an illegal gambling business in the late 1990s.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Massachusetts man charged as NY leader

A 66-year-old Somerville Massachusetts man, Ralph F. DeLeo, was indicted Dec. 17 as the "street boss" of the New York-based Colombo Crime Family.

DeLeo has been charged with commanding an interstate crew engaged in narcotics trafficking, extortion and loan sharking.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A fourth mistrial for Gotti

For the fourth time in five years, a federal racketeering case against John A. "Junior" Gotti ended Dec. 1 with a hung jury.

Gotti argued that he long ago ended his association with the Gambino Crime Family once commanded by his father, John J. Gotti. The defense timeline puts any organized crime offenses committed by Gotti outside of the federal statute of limitations.

Friday, November 27, 2009

DePalma dies in prison at 77

Gambino Crime Family capodecina Gregory DePalma of Scarsdale NY died Nov. 18 at age 77 at the Butner Federal Medical Prison in North Carolina.

Friday, November 6, 2009

New England leadership moves to Boston

New England media are reporting a shift in the leadership of the regional Mafia. The Boston area faction is increasing in importance as Bostonian Peter Limone has reportedly replaced Providence-based Luigi Manocchio as boss.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Anastasia nephew convicted of racketeering

Anthony "Todo" Anastasio, 80, was convicted Oct. 27 in Brooklyn Federal Court of racketeering and extortion charges.

Anastasio is the nephew of legendary Gambino Crime Family boss Albert Anastasia.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

FBI rounds up Bonannos

Fifteen alleged leaders, members and associates of the Bonanno Crime Family were rounded up by the FBI on Oct. 7.

Federal prosecutors say one of those arrested, Joseph "Sammy" Sammartino, 55, of North Arlington NJ, has been a member of the Bonanno ruling panel.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Lucchese raids net 29 arrests

Two sets of raids on the Lucchese Crime Family of New York resulted in 29 arrests on Oct. 1.

Among those arrested on state enterprise corruption, bribery and other charges were two reputed members of the organization's leadership panel, Joseph DiNapoli, 74, of the Bronx, and Matthew Madonna, 73, of Selden.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Six years for DiNunzio

The New England Crime Family's Boston-based underboss, Carmen "Cheese Man" DiNunzio, was sentenced Sept. 24 to serve six years in prison after pleading guilty of bribery charges.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Gotti's fourth trial opens

John A. "Junior" Gotti's fourth racketeering trial in the past five years opened today in New York.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Carneglia gets life in prison

Gambino Crime Family soldier Charles Carneglia was sentenced Sept. 17 to life in prison for a racketeering and murder conviction.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Jerry Angiulo dies at 90

Gennaro "Jerry" Angiulo, 90-year-old former underboss of the New England Crime Family, died today of kidney failure at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Prisco gets life in prison

The Genovese Crime Family's New Jersey crew leader Angelo Prisco, 69, was sentenced Aug. 18 to life in prison for cooperating in the murder of Angelo Sangiuolo and for conducting a series of home invasion robberies.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

DiNunzio pleads guilty to bribery

Carmen "Cheese Man" DiNunzio, reputed leader of the New England Mafia's Boston branch, pleaded guilty July 1 to bribery charges related to the Boston area's "Big Dig" highway construction project.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Chicago West Sider Tornabene dies at 86

Alfonso "Pizza Man" Tornabene, reportedly a high-ranking member of the Chicago Outfit, died May 17 at the age of 86, according to a story by Bon Goldsborough printed in today's Chicago Tribune. The story indicated that Tornabene died at MacNeal Hospital in Berywyn of complications related to peptic ulcer disease.

Authorities say Tornabene (right), once owner of Villa Nova Pizzeria, was a member of the Outfit for decades. A 1997 book by the Chicago Crime Commission identified him as a lieutenant within the leadership of the Outfit's West Side Crew, then reportedly run by Anthony Centracchio.

Court documents show that he and Joseph "Joey Doves" Aiuppa presided over a 1983 induction ceremony for the criminal society. Among those inducted were Frank Calabrese Sr. and his brother Nick, both of whom figured prominently in the recent Family Secrets case. During the Family Secrets trial, a mob informant testified that Tornabene helped run the Outfit while boss James Marcello was in prison between 1992 and 2003.
In the summer of 2007, a news report by Chuck Goudie of WLS-TV in Chicago suggested that Tornabene might have risen to the position of consigliere in the crime family. The Chicago Sun-Times boosted him still further, speculating he might have taken over the position of boss.
Tornabene was the cousin of Sam "Wings" Carlisi, a former influential member of the Outfit. Authorities believe Tornabene's late brother Frank was also affiliated with the organization.

67-year-old Gambino deported

U.S. officials deported Rosario Gambino, 67, to Italy on May 23. Gambino, a cousin of former crime family boss Carlo Gambino, was linked to Pizza Connection heroin and cocaine smuggling rackets in the 1970s and 1980s.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Alleged Bonanno crew indicted in Florida

Eleven residents of Florida's Palm Beach and Broward Counties were indicted May 21 on federal racketeering charges, according to a report by Don Jordan of the Palm Beach Post. Prosecutors say the 11 comprised a crew of the New York-based Bonanno Crime Family, to which they made regular tribute payments.

The 11 defendants are Thomas Fiore, 46, Palm Beach; Billie Robertson, 34, Boynton Beach; Lee Klein, 39, Boynton Beach; Daniel Young, 57, Delray Beach; Guy Alessi, 81, Delray Beach; Kenneth Dunn, 44, Boca Raton; Nicholas Fiore, 49, Boca Raton; Frank D'Amato, 48, of West Palm Beach; Pasquale Rubbo, 43, Coral Springs; Joseph Rubbo, 45, Coral Springs; and Marc Broder, 42, Coral Springs.

Prosecutors say Thomas Fiore (right) is an associate of the Bonanno Crime Family and the leader of its South Florida operations. None of the defendants is accused of being a formally inducted or "made" member of the criminal organization. Prosecutors say the crew engaged in fraud, narcotics trafficking, gambling and extortion.

The group was reportedly exposed through the work of an undercover FBI agent who posed as a corrupt businessman. The agent won the crew's trust by appearing to aid its money-laundering operations. The agent wore a hidden recording device to capture crew member conversations, according to a story by Curt Anderson of the Miami Herald.

Thomas and Nicholas Fiore and Pasquale and Joseph Rubbo were free on probation or supervised release after recent guilty pleas relating to other Bonanno criminal activities, prosecutors said.

Thomas Fiore pleaded guilty to state racketeering charges last year, according to the Miami Herald. While on probation, federal agents discovered a firearm during a search of his home. He was subsequently arrested for possession of the firearm. Then, as he was held on the possession charge, Fiore allegedly attempted to obstruct justice by asking someone else to claim ownership of the weapon. Prosecutors charge that Fiore burned down his own fitness center business in 2007 to defraud his insurance company.

U.S. deports Rosario Gambino, 67

Rosario Gambino, 67, was turned over to Italian authorities today, the Associated Press reported. Believed to be a leading member of the New York-based Gambino Crime Family, the cousin of former family boss Carlo Gambino was deported by the United States.

Rosario Gambino was linked to the Pizza Connection heroin and cocaine smuggling racket of the late 1970s and early 1980s. According to Italian police, Gambino was held in a California detention center since 2007, as he awaited expulsion.

Gambino will be brought to trial in Italy on drug and other charges.

Monday, May 4, 2009

New England mobster Danny Angiulo dies

Donato "Danny" Angiulo, convicted New England Mafia racketeer, has died at the age of 86, according to reports by the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald.

Angiulo (left) died Sunday night at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center after a long illness. Funeral arrangements are being handled by the Dello Russo Funeral Home in Medford, Massachusetts, Angiulo's hometown. A funeral Mass is scheduled for Friday, May 8, 11 a.m., at St. Leonard Church in Boston's North End.

Angiulo, once a caporegime in New England's crime family, served 11 years in prison after a 1986 conviction for racketeering, gambling and loansharking. Upon his release from prison in 1997, some wondered if he would take control of what remained of the Patriarca crime family, then decimated by successful prosecutions. Donato Angiulo's brother, Gennaro Angiulo, once served as underboss of the crime family. Gennaro also was sentenced to a long prison term in 1986. He was paroled in 2007 and is now 90 years old.

An electronic listening device installed in the crime family's North End headquarters in 1981 gathered evidence of Angiulo illegal activities. Two other brothers, Francesco and Michele, were also convicted of participating in those activities.

Imprisoned Mafia Cops are separated

Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa, the so-called "Mafia Cops" serving life sentences in federal prison for moonlighting for the Mob, have been split up, according to a story by John Marzulli of the New York Daily News.

The two men, partners as detectives on the New York Police force, had been sharing a prison cell, locked down 23 hours a day. Caracappa, 67, recently was moved to Victorville Penitentiary in California. He had asked for a prison assignment on the East Coast. Eppolito, 60, is awaiting a placement decision from the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Deputy U.S. marshal guilty of leaking info

A jury yesterday found John T. Ambrose, former deputy U.S. marshal, guilty of leaking information about federal witnesses, according to published accounts. He was acquitted on two counts of lying to federal agents.

Chicago Sun-Times

Ambrose (right) was convicted of stealing and leaking information from the file of Nicholas Calabrese, a former Chicago mobster who aided prosecutors on the Family Secrets Case and was placed in the Witness Protection Program.

Federal agents became aware of the leak after they bugged the visitors room at a prison in Milan, Michigan, where Chicago Outfit boss James Marcello was held. During a visit by Marcello's brother Michael, the two men were overheard discussing an underworld ally within federal law enforcement.

The Marcellos referred to their "mole" in law enforcement as "the Babysitter" and indicated that he was the son of a former Chicago policeman who went to prison years ago after extorting money from drug dealers. From that information, federal authorities decided that Ambrose was the source of their information leak.

Ambrose's jury deliberated for three days, according to a story by the Chicago Tribune. One of the jurors had to be excused from the 12-person panel because she was sick with flu-like symptoms. The law permits a jury of 11 to reach a verdict.

Ambrose remains free on bond. He is expected to appeal. Judge John Grady provided grounds for appeal when he was slow to stop the playing of an FBI video recording of the two mobsters discussing Ambrose. The judge ordered the jury not to consider the tape as evidence.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Prisco convicted of 1992 Sangiuolo hit

Angelo Prisco, 69-year-old lieutenant in the Genovese Crime Family, was found guilty yesterday of conspiring to kill his first cousin, Angelo Sangiuolo, in 1992, according to a story by Thomas Zambito of the New York Daily News. Prisco (right) also was convicted of participating in a string of gunpoint robberies in the 1990s and of extorting money from individuals and businesses.

Prosecutors say Vincent "the Chin" Gigante, then boss of the Genovese clan, ordered the hit on Sangiuolo. Prisco then assigned underling John Leto and another man to kill Sangiuolo. The victim was lured to a Bronx social club and told to get into a van with Leto, who shot him to death, prosecutors say. The body was left in the van, as Leto drove away in a car with Prisco.

Prisco's trial lasted two weeks, according to a press release distributed by the FBI. He faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a maximum possible sentence of life in prison. He is scheduled for sentencing on July 23.

Prosecutors say Prisco was inducted as a member of the Genovese Family in the late 1970s and later was promoted to capodecina. He oversaw a crew of Genovese soldiers and associates in New York City and nearby New Jersey. A state inquiry was launched several years ago when Prisco, a resident of Toms River, New Jersey, was paroled from a New Jersey prison just four years into a 12-year sentence for arson and conspiracy.

Cicilline expected to represent 'the Saint'

John F. Cicilline, a prominent attorney and father of Providence, Rhode Island, Mayor David N. Cicilline, is expected shortly to take over the defense of mobster Anthony M. "the Saint" St. Laurent, according to a story by Michael P. McKinney of the Providence Journal.

St. Laurent one week ago pleaded not guilty to charges that he plotted the murder of a rival in the New England Crime Family. A federal grand jury indicted him earlier this month. The not guilty plea was entered by his court-appointed lawyer Olin W. Thompson. Thompson noted that John Cicilline is expected to take over the case.

In response, Magistrate Lincoln Almond said St. Laurent could be compelled to pay for Thompson's services if he discovers that the veteran mobster had sufficient resources to hire his own lawyer.

Cicilline has represented a number of New England Mafiosi in the past, including St. Laurent, reputed crime family lieutenant Edward C. Lato, racketeer Matthew L. Guglielmetti Jr. and Robert P. "Bobby" DeLuca Sr. St. Laurent is now charged with attempting to hire an assassin to kill DeLuca. St. Laurent and DeLuca have been rivals for years. Since the mid-1990s, DeLuca has accused St. Laurent of being an informant for state and federal authorities. St. Laurent denies the accusation.

St. Laurent is currently serving a five-year sentence for extortion at a federal prison in Fort Devens, Massachusetts.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Murder victim was mob associate

State and federal authorities say William Romano, 70, who was found murdered in his apartment Thursday, was a longtime associate of Salvatore "Sally Dogs" Lombardi, reputed lieutenant in the Genovese Crime Family, according to a story by Christine Hauser of the New York Times.

Officials recalled that Romano was arrested almost 20 years ago at Kennedy International Airport with two pounds of heroin taped to his shins and midsection. Romano avoided conviction through two trials by insisting that the drugs had been planted on him by law enforcement.

Last seen alive at 9 a.m. on April 22, Romano was found dead late the next afternoon, submerged in an upstairs bathtub of his duplex apartment, 8020 Bay Parkway in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. Romano apparently died of head injuries. His companion, Elviza Aronova, 36, was found stabbed to death in a bedroom on the lower floor. She had also suffered head injuries.

Police said they found the apartment in disarray. The electricity had been turned off within. And it appeared that someone had tried to clean the crime scene using bleach.

Romano had owned the 54-unit apartment building until 2006. When he sold the building, he retained two apartments for himself. The second apartment was used as an office. Police found a small arsenal within, including two shotguns, a .45-caliber handgun and a live hand grenade.

Boston area gambling racketeers convicted

Four men were convicted Wednesday (April 22) of racketeering and other charges related to the operation of "one of the largest gambling and loansharking operations... in the greater Boston area," according to a story by Shelley Murphy of the Boston Globe.

Arthur Gianelli (right), 51-year-old reputed mob associate from Lynnfield, Massachusetts, was convicted of racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, arson and attempted extortion. Prosecutors said he ran an organization involved in sports betting, video poker and online gambling. Court testimony and conversations secretly recorded by Massachusetts State Police indicated that Gianelli secured the protection of the New England Mafia by paying $2,000 per month in tribute to reputed underboss Carmen "Cheese Man" DiNunzio. The payments continued from 2001 to 2003.

Prosecutors say Gianelli used his rackets income and underworld connections to take over a number of bars in the Boston area. The extortion charge against him stemmed from his 1998 to 2002 attempts to control Clarke's Turn of the Century Saloon in Faneuil Hall and McCarthy's Bar and Grille on Roylston Street.

Gianelli's partners in the gambling operation included Dennis "Fish" Albertelli, 56, of Stow; Albertelli's wife Gisele, 54; and Frank Iacaboni, 65, of Leominster. They were convicted of a variety of charges, including illegal gambling and racketeering conspiracy.

The jury found Gianelli, Dennis Albertelli and Iacaboni guilty of arson. The three planned to burn down the Big Dog Sports Grille in North Reading. The arson charge carries a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison.

Gianelli is reportedly the brother-in-law of former FBI agent John J. Connolly Jr, according to the Boston Globe. Connolly was convicted of racketeering in 2002 and of second-degree murder late last year.

Gianelli's wife, Mary Ann, was initially named as a defendant in the case. She pleaded guilty March 4 to racketeering, money laundering and other charges and so avoided trial. In the wake of her guilty plea, prosecutors dropped 141 money laundering charges.

Leak case is in jury's hands

The case of a deputy U.S. marshal accused of leaking information about a federal witness to members of the Chicago mob has been in the hands of a jury since late Thursday afternoon (April 23), according to a story by Chuck Goudie of WLS-TV Chicago.

Deputy U.S. Marshal John Ambrose (left), 42, is charged with providing information about protected federal witness Nick Calabrese to a friend with connections to the Outfit. Prosecutors say he also leaked classified information regarding reputed Outfit boss John "No Nose" DiFronzo and leaked police information regarding the mob murders of the Spilotro brothers.

Through the testimony of convicted racketeer Mickey Marcello - brother of reputed Outfit leader James Marcello - prosecutors were able to link mob awareness of Nick Calabrese's cooperation in the Family Secrets investigation with Ambrose's friend. Robert Grant, special agent in charge of Chicago's FBI field office, testified April 20 to a confession made by Ambrose. Grant said Ambrose admitted to "a huge mistake" and to having improper friendships.

Ambrose's defense attorney Frank Lipuma argued that his client may have violated policies but committed no crimes. Among the character witnesses brought forward for Ambrose was longtime federal Judge Charles Kocoras. Kocoras did not choose to testify but was brought to the witness stand through a subpoena.

'Little Nick' goes away for 13+ years

A federal judge in Brooklyn has sentenced Nicholas "Little Nick" Corozzo, 69, to 13 and a half years in prison for the 1996 killing of Lucchese Crime Family associate Robert Arena that also left an innocent bystander dead, according to stories by the UPI and Newsday.

Corozzo (left), reputedly a high-level lieutenant in the Gambino Crime Family, admitted to ordering the Arena killing and to racketeering. He was sentenced April 17.

Last week, prosecutors attempted to restrict Corozzo's activities while in prison. They hoped to keep him from interacting with other mobsters or with family members linked to organized crime. Judge Jack Weinstein turned down the request, saying it would require prison officials to isolate Corozzo and/or place him in a penitentiary far from his family.

Researcher seeks Hoffa grand jury records

Believing there was "prosecutorial misconduct in the case," retired law professor William L. Tabac has asked a federal judge in Nashville, Tennessee, to unseal 45-year-old grand jury records relating to legendary Teamsters leader Jimmy Hoffa, according to a story by the Associated Press.

Tabac believes the records could show that federal prosecutors and Attorney General Robert Kennedy used illegal means - including wiretaps and improper testimony - to indict Hoffa on jury-tampering charges in the early 1960s. Hoffa (right) was convicted in Chattanooga in 1964.

The former Teamsters leader was last seen in 1975, as he prepared to rejoin the union after serving time in prison. It is widely believed that Hoffa was killed by former allies in the underworld. His remains have not been found.

U.S. attorneys are opposing Tabac's request. They say witnesses need to be confident that grand jury testimony will remain secret. They also argue that Tabac has provided no substantiation for his claim that Hoffa prosecutors acted improperly.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Reputed Bonanno boss bound for Canada

Salvatore "Sal the Ironworker" Montagna, 38, reputed boss of the Bonanno Crime Family, soon will be deported to Canada, according to reports by UPI and the New York Daily News.

Montagna entered the U.S. through Canada as a teenager. Montagna's attorney said the government, frustrated at finding no grounds to prosecute Montagna, was deporting his client over a 2003 contempt of court conviction that violated the terms of his U.S. residency. Sources differ on the country of Montagna's birth. The Daily News reports that Montagna was born in Montreal but raised in Sicily. The UPI reports that he was born in Sicily. He was arrested April 6 by agents of the FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Aside from the contempt conviction, Montagna has not been charged with a crime in the U.S.

Montagna is believed to have risen to the command of the Bonanno organization about 2006 after previous bosses Joseph Massino and Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano were successfully prosecuted.

Leak threatened 'most important witness'

A leak of information about turncoat Mafiosi Nicholas Calabrese could have led to the death of "the most important organized crime witness that has ever testified in this district, and perhaps in the entire United States," FBI Special Agent Michael Maseth stated in court earlier this week.

Maseth was testifying at the trial of Deputy U.S. Marshal John Ambrose, who is accused of revealing confidential details about Calabrese while Calabrese was in the witness protection program. The leak is believed to be the first ever for the program, according to a Chicago Tribune story. Calabrese cooperated in the Family Secrets case, helping the federal government jail several senior members of the Chicago Outfit.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Gambling suspect dies in NYPD custody

Samuel Nastasa, 72, suffered an apparent heart attack and died while being arrested in a Brooklyn gambling raid early Tuesday afternoon, according to a story by Alison Gendar and John Marzulli of the New York Daily News.

Police raided the Banner Civic Social Club on 72nd Street at about 1:30 p.m. Authorities believed the club to be a gambling den run by the Bonanno Crime Family and considered Nastasa a caretaker of the club.

Nastasa collapsed as he was being cuffed. Detectives reportedly called for an ambulance and administered CPR. Nastasa was taken to Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn, where he was declared dead at 3:10 p.m.

A report issued through the police commissioner's office indicated that Nastasa's death was due to natural causes and suggested that Nastasa had a preexisting medical condition. Nastasa's family told the press that he had no known medical problems. Relatives blamed the police for taking too long to get him help.

Grand jury indicts St. Laurent for murder plot

A federal grand jury in Providence, Rhode Island, on Wednesday indicted New England mobster Anthony "the Saint" St. Laurent Sr. for plotting to murder another high ranking member of the regional crime family, according to a story by the Providence Journal and a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Rhode Island.

St. Laurent (left), 65, is already serving a 56-month sentence for extortion. He is held at the medical facility at Fort Devens, Massachusetts.

The grand jury indicted St. Laurent of planning with others in 2006 to murder reputed New England crime family caporegime Robert "Bobby" DeLuca Sr. According to prosecutors, St. Laurent - while in prison - was looking to hire someone to kill DeLuca. He allegedly told fellow inmates that the killing of DeLuca had been approved by Luigi "Baby Shacks" Manocchio, reputed boss of the Providence, RI, based Mafia organization.

Prosecutors say DeLuca has repeatedly accused St. Laurent of being an informant for state and federal law enforcement agencies.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Four Secrets defendants to pay $24 million

Chicago mob bosses, convicted of racketeering and murders in the 2007 Family Secrets trial, have been ordered to pay more than $24 million in fines and restitution to their victims, according to stories by Mike Robinson of the Associated Press and Chuck Goudie of WLS-TV Chicago.

One defense attorney called the amount "ridiculous."

Judge James Zagel yesterday ordered Frank Calabrese Sr., Joseph Lombardo, James Marcello and Paul Schiro to pay $4.3 million as restitution to the families of 14 men who were killed by the mob. (Back in October, prosecutors calculated that the victims' families were owed $3.9 million in lost wages.) Calabrese, Lombardo and Marcello were found guilty of racketeering and murders. Schiro was convicted of racketeering. He was charged with racketeering murder, but a jury deadlocked on the question of his guilt.

The remainder of the $24 million, the judge said, "represents the total amount of proceeds acquired and maintained by the Chicago Outfit since the 1960s" in criminal endeavors charged in the Family Secrets trial.

Family Secrets defendant Anthony Doyle, convicted of racketeering but not charged with murder, was assessed a fine of $44,225.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Ill 'Roach' seeks early out from prison

After serving 21 years of a 25-to-life sentence for heroin trafficking, Anthony "Tony Roach" Rampino, 70, is asking a Manhattan judge to let him out of prison, according to stories in the New York Daily News and Newsday

In requesting a resentencing, Rampino's attorney argued that today's laws would limit his client's prison term to 20 years. The attorney also said Rampino was in ill health with heart and respiratory problems. Justice Arlene Goldberg is considering the arguments.

Rampino (right, much younger), reputed associate of the Gambino Crime Family, is widely believed to have performed a backup role in the 1985 assassination of former Gambino boss Paul Castellano. He is also suspected of participating in the 1980 murder of late Gambino boss John J. Gotti's neighbor John Favara. Authorities say Rampino was never inducted into the crime family because of his drug use.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

No public cash for Gotti defense lawyer

Manhattan federal Judge Kevin Castel has ruled that John A. "Junior" Gotti will not be able to acquire public funds to pay his attorney Seth Ginsberg and two paralegals, according to a story by Thomas Zambito of the New York Daily News.

Gotti, 45, is facing his fourth racketeering trial this September. The son of the late Gambino Crime Family boss John J. Gotti, John A. Gotti admits previous involvement in racketeering and pleaded guilty to the charge in 1999. However, he insists he separated himself from the crime family years ago - beyond the statute of limitations for the more recent charges brought against him.

Judge Castel offered to appoint a public defender for Gotti, if he could not afford legal counsel. "Trial will not take place until Sept. 14, 2009, and there is ample time for new counsel to become fully familiar with the case," Castel wrote.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Nick Calabrese gets 12+ years

A federal judge today sentenced Chicago Outfit hitman Nicholas Calabrese to 12 years and four months in prison, according to published accounts by the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times. Calabrese, who became the only "made" member of the Chicago Outfit to testify against the organization in court, admitted involvement in a number of Mafia murders. He was convicted of killing 14 people.

In the Family Secrets trial of 2007, Nicholas Calabrese testified against his older brother Frank Calabrese Sr. and other leaders of the Outfit. His testimony helped to secure convictions and long prison sentences for several Outfit bosses.

Nicholas Calabrese, 67, will be credited for time already served. A previous loansharking sentence expired in 2002, but he has remained in prison since that time, as he cooperated with authorities. He is expected to serve an additional for years in prison.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Carneglia convicted of racketeering, murders

Charles Carneglia, once a trusted hitman for Gambino Crime Family boss John J. Gotti, was convicted in Brooklyn federal court today of racketeering and gangland murders, according to a story by John Marzulli and Larry McShane of the New York Daily News and other published accounts.

The jury reportedly reached its decision Monday night. It found Carneglia (right) guilty of four murders, racketeering, extortion and robbery. His victims were armored car guard Jose Delgado Rivera, Gambino soldier Louis DiBono, and reputed crime family associates Sal Puma and Michael Cotillo. The jury could not agree on whether he committed a fifth murder, that of court officer Albert Gelb in 1976. It found Carneglia not guilty of a conspiracy charge.

A press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York provided details on the Carneglia murders. Cotillo was stabbed to death during a fight between two Gambino factions in front of a Queens diner in 1977. Puma was stabbed to death in 1983 over a dispute concerning the delivery of money to a jailed member of Carneglia's underworld "crew." DiBono was shot to death in 1990 on orders of John J. Gotti. DiBono had refused to meet with Gotti when the crime boss summoned him. Rivera was shot and beaten to death during a 1990 robbery of an armored truck at the American Airlines facility at JFK Airport.

Carneglia faces a possible sentence of life in prison with no possibility of parole. He argued, apparently unconvincingly, that he had left the Mafia life back in 2001, putting his offenses beyond the statute of limitations for federal racketeering charges.

Prosecutors said Carneglia dissolved some of his victims' bodies with acid.

"We sincerely hope that today's verdict brings a measure of closure to the families of Carneglia's victims," U.S. Attorney Benton Campbell said. "They have waited years for this day because the Gambino Family used violence and intimidation to silence witnesses and protect its members."

Carneglia was one of 62 alleged members and associates of the Gambino, Genovese and Bonanno Crime Families arrested on Feb. 7, 2008. Carneglia is the only defendant to insist upon a trial - 60 others have reached plea deals.

Bonanno associate Young sentenced to life

Joseph Young, former associate of the Bonanno Crime Family, was sentenced last week to a mandatory term of life imprisonment for a 2008 murder conviction and other crimes, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York.

Young, 30, was convicted of the March 29, 2005, murder of Robert McKelvey. According to prosecutors, Young belonged to a Bonanno crew led by crime family soldier Gino Galestro. Galestro ordered the murder of McKelvey, who was also a crew associate, after McKelvey openly boasted of the criminal organization's activities.

McKelvey was lured to the historic Kreischer Mansion on Staten Island by another crime family associate. Young worked at the mansion as a caretaker and lived there. Young stabbed McKelvey as he entered the mansion. The victim fled. Young tackled McKelvey and dragged him to a garden pool, drowing him there. Young and three Bonanno associates dismembered McKelvey's body and burned the remains in the mansion's furnace. Ashes and bone fragments were later disposed of in the facility's septic system.

Galestro previously pleaded guilty to ordering the McKelvey murder.

Young was also convicted of arson, attempted arson, extortion, gunpoint robbery, robbery conspiracy, assault, and illegal purchases and transport of firearms.

"Young's gruesome criminal conduct reminds us that organized crime is alive and well," said U.S. Attorney Benton J. Campbell. "We will continue to prosecute the members and associates of organized crime who engage in such wanton acts of violence in our communities."

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Chicago's 'Twan' Doyle gets 12 years

The last of Chicago's Family Secrets defendants, former police officer Anthony "Twan" Doyle, was sentenced today to 12 years in prison, according to a story by Steve Warmbir of the Chicago Sun-Times.

Doyle (left), 64, was convicted of racketeering in the 2007 Family Secrets case. His four codefendants already have been sentenced. James Marcello, Joseph Lombardo and Frank Calabrese Sr., convicted of racketeering and murders, were sentenced to life in prison. Paul Schiro, convicted of racketeering, was sentenced to 20 years.

Prosecutors charged that Doyle was an associate of the Chicago underworld organization known as the Outfit since the 1960s. He became a member of the local police force in 1980.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Mafia cops sentenced to life in prison

Former New York Police Detectives Louis Eppolito, 61, and Stephen Caracappa, 67, convicted of participating in organized crime murders, were sentenced this afternoon to life in prison, according to a story by Christine Kearney of Reuters.
Dubbed the "Mafia Cops," Eppolito and Caracappa (left) were convicted in 2006 of moonlighting for the Lucchese Crime Family in New York. Federal prosecutors said that, while the two men were detectives on the NYPD, they used police cars and police badges to stop or kidnap victims and provided the Lucchese family with details on organized crime informants. They reportedly collected retainer payments of $4,000 a month from the crime family.
A jury convicted the pair of racketeering and conspiracy charges, including participating in 11 murders or attempted murders. The trial judge, however, ruled that the statute of limitations on the most serious federal charges against them had run out. He threw out the verdict. Prosecutors appealed the ruling, and the guilty verdict was reinstated in September 2008.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Persico control of Colombo clan may be over

With Carmine "the Snake" Persico now 25 years into a life prison sentence and his son Alphonse "Allie Boy" Persico just starting his own life sentence, the Persicos' control over the Colombo Crime Family may be at an end, suggests a story by John Marzulli of the New York Daily News.

Carmine Persico has long called the shots in the Colombo organization, according to authorities. Since his imprisonment for murder and racketeering, Alphonse Persico has been an acting boss of the clan, battling rivals on his father's behalf. Alphonse Persico was sentenced to life on Friday, after being convicted of murdering former Colombo underboss William "Wild Bill" Cutolo.

The Persico branch of the underworld organization came out on top after a bloody 1991 civil war against a faction loyal to Vittorio Orena. With Carmine and Alphone Persico locked away for good, remnants of the Orena faction might move to take control of the organization.

Two Persico relatives could have something to say about that, according to the Daily News story. Reputed crime family soldier Theodore Persico, a cousin of Alphonse, recently was released from prison. Carmine's cousin, Andrew Russo, is reputed to be a lieutenant in the organization.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Allie Boy Persico sentenced to life in prison

Alphonse "Allie Boy" Persico, 55, was sentenced yesterday to life in prison without parole for ordering the 1999 murder of underworld rival William "Wild Bill" Cutolo, according to a story by John Marzulli of the New York Daily News.

"The defendant was born into 'the life,' and like his father, Carmine Persico, will spend the rest of his life in prison," said federal Judge Joanna Seybert at sentencing.

In 2007, Alphonse Persico (left) was convicted of ordering the death of Cutolo, leader of a rival faction within the Colombo Crime Family. Codefendant Jackie DeRoss, 71, was also convicted of involvement in the murder and was also sentenced to life in prison. The Persico and Cutolo factions warred for control of the crime family in 1991, shortly after boss Carmine Persico's 1986 conviction for racketeering and murder.

Cutolo disappeared in 1999. His remains were not discovered until last fall.

New York DA Morgenthau to retire Dec. 31

Robert M. Morgenthau, a fixture as Manhattan's District Attorney since the mid-1970s, has decided not to seek reelection as his term expires later this year, according to a story by Michael Powell, Benjamin Weiser and William K. Rashbaum of the New York Times. The 89-year-old prosecutor will retire, effective Dec. 31.

Morgenthau (right) was raised in a politically active New York family. His father served as treasury secretary for President Franklin Roosevelt. A decorated veteran of World War II, Morgenthau was appointed United States attorney for the Southern District of New York in 1961. He continued in that office until forced to resign by the administration of President Richard Nixon. He won election as Manhattan (New York County) district attorney after the retirement of nine-term prosecutor Frank S. Hogan. Morgenthau is now concluding his ninth term in the office.

"It took me awhile to realize I was getting older," Morgenthau told reporters.

Among those prosecuted by Morgenthau through the past five decades are Lucchese Crime Family boss Anthony "Tony Ducks" Corallo and Tammany political leader Carmine DeSapio.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Alite testifies for feds in Carneglia trial

Federal prosecutors put their latest underworld turncoat on the witness stand today. John Alite, expected to be a key witness in the upcoming racketeering trial against John A. "Junior" Gotti, testified in the Brooklyn federal trial of Charles Carneglia, according to a story by Tom Hays of the Associated Press.

Prosecutors are concluding their case against the 62-year-old Carneglia, a reputed soldier in the Gambino Crime Family who is accused of participating in five racketeering murders and other offenses. While Carneglia was supposed to be on trial, Alite's testimony dealt with a number of offenses charged against Gotti. Alite testified that Gotti collected monthly cash payments from a drug-dealing operation and ordered shootings of underworld rivals.

Alite and Gotti reportedly were close friends through the 1980s and 1990s. The relationship changed after Alite was charged in 2004 with being part of a Gambino crew operating in the Tampa, Florida, area. Alite reached a plea deal with prosecutors. He must testify against Carneglia and Gotti to fulfill his part of the deal.

This past summer, Gotti was charged in Florida with participating in murders and a drug trafficking operation. He pleaded not guilty to the charges. His lawyers succeeded in having the trial moved from Florida back to New York, where Gotti has managed to avoid conviction in the last three racketeering cases brought against him.

'Gaspipe' offers info on gangland murders

Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso has offered to provide authorities in Brooklyn with information on decades-old gangland murders, according to a story by Scott Shifrel of the New York Daily News.

"Gaspipe reached out and said he wanted to talk," according to Jerry Schmetterer of the Kings County District Attorney's Office. "He could be a help on past Brooklyn murders. His hunting grounds were in Brooklyn."

Casso (right), 66 and serving multiple life sentences for murder, is scheduled to meet with Michael Vecchione of the D.A.'s office tomorrow. A former captain in the Lucchese Crime Family, Casso was part of a bloody civil war in that crime family during the 1980s. He has pleaded guilty to more than a dozen murders and is suspected of involvement in 22 others.

Feds: RI mobster tried to hire killers

Anthony "the Saint" St. Laurent Sr., now serving a 56-month sentence for extortion, has been charged with solicitation to commit murder-for-hire, according to a story by W. Zachary Malinowski of the Providence Journal.
Federal prosecutors say St. Laurent (left), now 65, actively tried to recruit assassins while an inmate at federal prison in Fort Devens, MA. St. Laurent was looking to hire someone to kill fellow New England Mafioso Bobby DeLuca. His plot was discovered after St. Laurent described it to an undercover police officer.

According to a federal affidavit, St. Laurent told fellow inmates that the killing of DeLuca had been approved by Luigi "Baby Shacks" Manocchio, reputed boss of the Providence, RI, based Mafia family.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Newspapers link PA judges with crime boss

A Pennsylvania newspaper chain has filed court documents accusing one or both of Luzerne County's corrupt ex-judges with connections to organized crime, according to a story by Dave Jonoski of the Citizens Voice and a petition filed with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

The Scranton Times newspaper chain charges that a 2006 $3.5 million defamation verdict against the company "was fixed" and states that it has a witness who can link either former judge Mark A. Ciavarella or former judge Michael T. Conahan or both directly with William D'Elia (left), reputed head of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Mafia family.

"Among the recent events giving rise to this suggestion are: 1. The entry of guilty pleas by Judge Ciavarella and Judge Conahan to federal charges of defrauding the public of honest services and lying about it; 2. The entry of a guilty plea by William T. Sharkey, the former court administrator of Luzerne County, to federal charges of embezzling public funds; 3. The initiation of investigations into the handling by Judge Ciavarella and Judge Conahan of appointments of supposedly neutral arbitrators in uninsured/underinsured motorist cases; and 4. the public assertion by a Luzerne County lawyer that Judge Ciavarella and Judge Conahan extorted money from his clients and him in exchange for favorable rulings," the court document said.

"These very public revelations have fueled rampany rumors and speculation that Judge Conahan and Judge Ciavarella were fixing cases at the behest of William D'Elia," the document continued. "... Petitioners have identified a potential witness who, on reliable information and to Petitioners' belief, would testify concerning direct connections between D'Elia and Judge Conahan and/or Judge Ciavarella."

Judge Ciavarella decided the defamation case in a non-jury trial that was allegedly assigned to him through the efforts of Judge Conahan and his cousin, who served as court administrator. The defamation award was affirmed by a Pennsylvania court in September. The newspaper company is hoping the Supreme Court will vacate the judgment.

According to the Citizens Voice, Conahan and Ciavarella recently pleaded guilty to accepting $2.6 million in kickbacks from a juvenile detention center owner and contractor. The newspaper said Sharkey pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $70,000 from the county.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Genovese Family 'Delmonico crew' busted

Seven alleged members of a Garrison, NY, based Genovese Crime Family crew were charged Feb. 12 with racketeering offenses, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and a story by Timothy O'Connor of the Journal News.

Federal prosecutors say the arrests broke up the "Delmonico Crew," formerly led by Charles "Chuck Tourine" Delmonico who died in December of natural causes at age 81. Six alleged crew members were arrested Feb. 12, as a federal indictment was unsealed. They were Arthur Tassiello, 65, of Queens; Patrick O'Sullivan, 63, of Garrison; Joseph Belinsky, 75, of the Bronx; James Patrick Ryan, 61, of Manhattan; John Stavern, 62, of Valley Stream; and Joseph Cattaneo, 60, of Manhasset. Arthur Tassiello's brother Thomas Tassiello, 61, of Manhattan, was also charged. He was already in custody, the result of a Feb. 4 arrest of 13 suspected Genovese Crime Family members and associates.

William Donovan, also charged in the federal indictment, remains at large.

An 11-count indictment charges the group with racketeering, loansharking, interstate transportation of stolen property and illegal gambling. Thomas Tassiello was previously charged with assuming an ownership interest in a Manhattan bar after its owner failed to keep up interest payments on $100,000 worth of underworld loans.

D'Amico, Watts charged with 1989 murder

John "Jackie the Nose" D'Amico, reputed acting boss of the Gambino Crime Family, and alleged Gambino associate Joseph "Joe the German" Watts have been indicted for participating in the 1989 killing of real estate developer Fred Weiss, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Weiss was shot to death Sept. 11, 1989, as he climbed into his car in front of his Staten Island home. At the time, Weiss was facing the prospect of 70 years in prison for his alleged role in a mob-connected dumping racket in Arlington, NY. Prosecutors say he was killed because then-Gambino boss John J. Gotti believed he was cooperating with federal investigators. Gotti dispatched a squad of hit men to eliminate Weiss, the press release said.

D'Amico (right), 72, was already in federal custody in connection with another case. He was charged with one count of racketeering conspiracy involving murder, extortion, witness tampering, obstruction of justice and gambling and one count of murder of a witness in a federal criminal case. Sixty-seven-year-old Watts, arrested Feb. 11 in Manhattan, was charged with one count of murder of a witness in a federal criminal case.

If convicted, the men could be sentenced to life in prison. Federal prosecutors are also seeking the forfeiture of $4 million from D'Amico.

D'Amico was sentenced in Brooklyn federal court last August to serve two years in prison and pay a $4,000 fine for extorting money from a Staten Island cement plant. He was arrested a year ago, along with scores of other suspects, in a federal roundup of alleged Gambino Crime Family members and associates. Sixty-two people were arrested in the roundup. Almost all reached plea deals for short sentences. D'Amico agreed to plead guilty to the single count of extortion.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Outfit's Marcello sentenced to life in prison

Former Chicago mob boss James Marcello, convicted of racketeering and racketeering murders in the 2007 Family Secrets case, was sentenced yesterday to life in prison, according to reports by Jeff Coen of the Chicago Tribune and the Associated Press.

Prosecutors believe Marcello (right) was the highest ranking mob leader brought down in the case. Among other crimes, he was convicted of involvement in the 1986 murders of brothers Anthony and Michael Spilotro. The Spilotros beaten bodies were found buried in an Indiana cornfield. Anthony Spilotro led an Outfit arm in Las Vegas for more than a decade. The Spilotro story was fictionalized in the movie "Casino."

At sentencing, Marcello maintained his innocence, allowing his attorneys to speak for him: "Mr. Marcello has denied his involvement in the Spilotro brothers' murder... That's all he can do."

Marcello was also convicted of participating in the 1981 beating death of Nicholas D'Andrea. D'Andrea and Spilotro relatives spoke at the sentencing hearing yesterday.

"[Marcello] should have known better," said Patrick Spilotro, brother of the murdered Spilotros, "having lost his own father in a grisly, horrible fashion - stuffed into a 50-gallon barrel."

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Feds charge 13 suspected Mafiosi

The former acting boss of the Genovese Crime Family and a dozen underworld associates were charged yesterday with racketeering-related crimes, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York.

Daniel Leo (left), former Genovese acting boss, and 11 other people were charged in a 38-count indictment charging violent extortion of individuals and businesses, loansharking, narcotics trafficking and illegal gambling. Federal prosecutors say Leo became acting boss of the family in about 2005 and supervised a crew engaged in loansharking and the operation of an illegal gambling operation. According to the prosecutors, Leo placed longtime Genovese soldier Anthony Palumbo in charge of the crime family's New Jersey operations in 2006.

A separate indictment charged Genovese Crime Family associate Thomas Tassiello with racketeering, extortion and other offenses. Prosecutors say Tassiello took an ownership interest in a Manhattan bar after its owner failed to keep up interest payments on $100,000 of loans.

Tassiello, Anthony Palumbo, 59, of New York City; Rocco Petrozza, 49, of Pompton Lakes NJ; Patsy Aversa, 67, of Wood Ridge NJ; Joseph Petullo, 30, of Fairfield NJ; and Arthur Boland, 62, of White Plains NY, were arrested yesterday morning at their homes. Felice Masullo, 37, of Brooklyn NY; Anthony Masullo, 33, of Middle Village NY; and Angelo Masullo, 39, of Maspeth NY, were expected to surrender during the day. Daniel Leo, Joseph Leo, Charles Salzano and Vincent Cotona were already in federal custody on other charges.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

"Joey the Clown" to prison for life

Chicago Outfit big shot "Joey the Clown" Lombardo, convicted of racketeering and the 1974 racketeering murder of Daniel Seifert, was sentenced yesterday to life in federal prison, according to reports by Jeff Coen of the Chicago Tribune and Mike Robinson of the Associated Press.

Lombardo (right), now 80, and four other defendants were convicted of racketeering in the landmark Family Secrets trial of September 2007. Lombardo, Frank Calabrese Sr. and James Marcello were also convicted of racketeering murders. Calabrese was sentenced last week to life in prison.

Before sentencing, Lombardo remarked, "I suppose the court is going to send me to a life in prison for something I did not do... I did not kill Danny Seifert."

Seifert was shot to death by masked men at his Bensenville plastics company, as his wife and son looked on. Seifert was expected to testify against Lombardo in a 1974 case. After Seifert's death, the charges against Lombardo were dropped.

Trial witnesses described Lombardo as boss of the Outfit's Grand Avenue crew and indicated that he extorted "street tax" payments from area businesses.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Calabrese sentenced to life in prison

Frank Calabrese Sr., 71, convicted of racketeering and racketeering murders in Chicago's Family Secrets trial of 2007, was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison, according to reports by Jeff Coen of the Chicago Tribune and Steve Warmbir of the Chicago Sun-Times.

A jury found Calabrese (right) guilty of participating in seven killings related to Chicago organized crime. His victims were William and Charlotte Dauber, Michael Cagnoni, John Fecarotta, Michael Albergo, Richard Ortiz and Arthur Morawski. The panel could not reach a decision on whether he had a part in six other killings.

At sentencing, Calabrese told the judge, "I'm no big shot. I'm not nothing but a human being, and when you cut my hand, I bleed like everybody else."

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Racketeer Schiro gets 20 years in prison

Paul "the Indian" Schiro, 71, convicted of racketeering in the Family Secrets trial of September 2007, was sentenced yesterday to 20 years in prison, according to reports by CBS2Chicago and by Jeff Coen of the Chicago Tribune.

Though the Family Secrets jury did not convict Schiro (right) on a racketeering murder charge, U.S. District Court Judge James Zagel said he considered the 1986 murder of Emil Vaci when calculating Schiro's sentence. Vaci was killed in Phoenix, Arizona, after Chicago mob bosses felt he was cooperating in a federal investigation.

Schiro was indignant at his sentencing and denied that he was involved with Chicago's underworld. "There's no evidence of racketeering I can see at all," he said. "I went to trial with codefendants I never met in my whole life."

Federal officials say Schiro has been a career criminal and was once a close friend to Anthony Spilotro. The Chicago Outfit sent Spilotro to Las Vegas in the early 1970s to watch over its casino investments there. Spilotro was killed in 1986.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Former FBI agent Connolly gets 40 years, but...

John J. Connolly, a former FBI agent recently convicted of second-degree murder, has been sentenced to 40 years in prison, according to a story by Shelley Murphy of the Boston Globe. However, the judge in the case believes it is unlikely that the conviction will stand on appeal.

Judge Stanford Blake of Miami-Dade Circuit Court noted that a defense challenge citing the statute of limitations was legally correct. Blake said he could not throw out the conviction because the defense argument was not made until almost a month after the verdict was returned.

Connolly (left), 68, is already serving a sentence in federal prison that continues until 2011. He was recently convicted of leaking information to Boston area mobsters James "Whitey" Bulger and Stephen "the Rifleman" Flemmi that led to killing of potential government witness John B. Callahan. Callahan had knowledge of Bulger's and Flemmi's role in the 1981 killing of Jai Alai businessman Roger Wheeler. Callahan's body was found Aug. 2, 1982, in the trunk of his car at Miami International Airport.

Judge refuses Gotti bail request

A Manhattan federal judge has denied release on bail to John A. "Junior" Gotti, according to a story in the New York Daily News. Gotti (right) is awaiting yet another racketeering trial in New York. His last three such trials ended in hung juries.

Judge Kevin Castel also denied Gotti's request to have his latest case transferred to Judge Shira Scheindlin, who presided over the three Gotti mistrials. The defense argued that Scheindlin was familiar with the background of the case.

Gotti acknowledges having been a part of the Gambino Crime Family leadership but claims he gave up the Mafia life years ago. He was indicted in Tampa, Florida, for three racketeering murders and drug trafficking. He pleaded not guilty to the charges in August. Early in December, his lawyers succeeded in having his trial moved from Tampa back to New York.

Alite Targeted

Former mobster John Alite was targeted for assassination, Federal prosecutors revealed earlier this month, according to a story by Thomas Zambito of the New York Daily News. Alite, an old friend of Gotti, is expected to testify against Gotti in his upcoming racketeering trial. Alite was part of a Gambino Crime Family crew engaged in rackets in western Florida.

Prosecutors noted there is no evidence that Gotti was involved in plotting against Alite. Defense attorney Charles Carnesi said the prosecutors mentioned the murder plot in a bail motion related to Gotti, "to be inflammatory. Even they acknowledge he had nothing to do with it."

Friday, January 2, 2009

Imprisoned Scala, 65, succumbs to cancer

Salvatore "Fat Sal" Scala, 65, died Dec. 29 in Butner Federal Medical Center in North Carolina, according to a story by John Marzulli of the New York Daily News. Scala was serving a six-year sentence for extorting money from a Manhattan strip club.

Authorities suspect that Scala (right) was one of four men involved in the 1985 assassination of Gambino Crime Family boss Paul Castellano. That assassination allowed John J. Gotti to take command of the Gambino organization. However, Scala was never charged with Castellano's killing.

Battling liver cancer, Scala requested an early release. The request was denied by the federal prisons system, despite the recommendation of the judge who sentenced him last year. In a letter to prisons director Harley Lappin, federal Judge Lewis Kaplan wrote, "At the time of sentencing I made clear my view that his offense, though serious, did not in my view warrant his dying in prison. I respectfully urge you to look into this man's situation with a view to the possibility of compassionate release of this apparently dying man."

Uvino convicted of Long Island beatings

Michael Uvino, reputed captain in the Colombo Crime Family, was convicted by a federal jury on Christmas Eve of beating two men, according to a story by John Marzulli of the New York Daily News. The victims reportedly had set up a robbery of poker players at a Long Island social club. Uvino was convicted along with Philip Costanza and Brian Dono. Codefendant John Tripi was acquitted.

Gotti attorneys request Judge Scheindlin

Attorneys for John A. "Junior" Gotti have asked that their client's upcoming racketeering trial be held before Manhattan federal Judge Shira Scheindlin, according to a story by John Marzulli of the New York Daily News.

Scheindlin presided over Gotti's last three racketeering trials, all of which ended in mistrials. The Gotti camp believes that Scheindlin is fair and that her familiarity with Gotti history will ensure a swift trial.

Gotti, 45, is awaiting transfer from Florida back to New York. Prosecutors transported him south for arraignment and hoped to try him in the Tampa area. But a federal judge ruled that the trial should be held in New York.

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 tphunt@gmail.com.)
I am editor/publisher of crime history journal, Informer; publisher of American Mafia history website Mafiahistory.us; 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.