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.

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.