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.

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.