Thursday, May 20, 2010

Italian police release 'depressed' Mafioso

Magistrates in the northern Italian city of Pavia have released a jailed mobster because he was reportedly depressed and afflicted with diabetes and a heart condition, according to a story by Nick Squires of the UK Telegraph. Sicilian Mafioso Salvatore "Vito" Vitale (left), 64, was part of a gang that kidnapped and killed a boy in order to silence his informant father. Eleven-year-old Giuseppe DiMatteo was kidnapped in November 1993. He was held for two years as gangsters tried to force the father to alter his testimony. The boy was then strangled to death. Vitale provided his underworld associates with a tub of acid to dissolve the boy's remains and conceal the murder. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. Vitale's attorneys convinced the Pavia court that Vitale was deserving of a compassionate release. He has returned to his home in Palermo, Sicily.

Staten Island loan shark to prison

Joseph Datello, 59, will serve up to three and a half years in prison for running a loansharking operation out of his brother's Staten Island bar, according to a story by Frank Donnelly of the Staten Island Advance

    Prosecutors charged Datello (right) and his brother with conducting illegal gambling and loansharking from the bar between October 2007 and July 2009. According to court documents, the operation paid tribute to the alleged Lucchese Crime Family capodecina Anthony Croce. Croce pleaded guilty to first-degree criminal usury. He will be sentenced June 22. Michael Peterson, charged with working as a collector for the Datellos, has not yet been tried. 
    Prosecutors say Joseph Datello is a Lucchese Family soldier. Datello was previously convicted of enterprise corruption and served two years in prison.
    The Datello brothers pleaded guilty last month to one felony count of first-degree usury. Joseph Datello was sentenced to serve between one and three-quarter years and three and a half years in prison. Frank Datello remains free on $125,000 bail. He is scheduled to be sentenced June 23.
    The Datellos were arrested in November 2009 during organized crime raids that netted 22 suspects.

Michael Persico released on $5M bail

Accused racketeer Michael Persico was released May 16 on $5 million bail, according to a story by John Marzulli of the New York Daily News. The 53-year-old son of imprisoned Colombo Crime Family boss Carmine "the Snake" Persico, Michael Persico was charged in Brooklyn federal court March 8 of extorting a construction company into hiring a mob-controlled trucking firm to help remove debris from the site of the 2001 World Trade Center bombing. He pleaded not guilty to the charge. Judge Carol Amon approved the release on several conditions. Persico must wear an electronic monitoring bracelet. He may not leave his Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, home aside from driving his daughters to school. His telephone conversations will be monitored by the FBI. And he is prohibited from contact with a list of underworld figures.

Kerik begins four-year prison sentence

Bernard B. Kerik, 54-year-old former commissioner of the New York Police Department, on May 17 began a four-year prison term at the Federal Correctional Institution in Cumberland, Maryland, according to a story by Sam Dolnick of the New York Times. Kerik (left) pleaded guilty in 2009 to eight felony charges. He was indicted back in November 2007 on charges that he concealed favors he received while employed as a New York City official. Apartment renovations valued at $165,000 were provided to him by a construction company government officials linked with the Gambino Crime Family. Kerik admitted tax fraud, making a false statement on a loan application, and lying to White House officials while being interviewed for the position of Homeland Security Department chief for the George W. Bush Administration.

Kerik's pre-scandal autobiography:
The Lost Son: A Life in Pursuit of Justice

Chicago hit man Aleman dies at 71

Convicted Chicago underworld hit man Harry Aleman died May 15 at the prison infirmary of Hill Correctional Center in Galesburg, Illinois, according to stories by Andrew L. Wang of the Chicago Tribune and Robert Herguth of the Chicago Sun Times. Aleman was 71.

Regarded as a chief enforcer for the mob in 1970s Chicago, Aleman (left) was suspected of involvement in 20 or more murders. However, he was convicted only of the Sept. 27, 1972, shotgun murder of Teamsters union steward William Logan. It took many years for prosecutors to win that conviction. Aleman was acquitted of the murder in 1977. An informant later revealed that trial Judge Frank Wilson had been bribed. Wilson apparently took his own life during the ensuing investigation in 1990. The bribery accusation cleared the way for a second trial though defense attorneys argued it exposed Aleman to double-jeopardy (a second prosecution on a charge for which he had already been tried and found not guilty). Prosecutors successfully argued that Aleman faced no actual jeopardy in the first trial because of the bribery of the judge. Aleman was convicted of the Logan murder in 1997. Judge Michael Toomin sentenced him to a prison sentence of 100 to 300 years.

During his underworld career, Aleman was feared throughout the Midwest. Retired reporter John Drummond, who covered Aleman's murder trials, told the Tribune, "You were in trouble if you looked in your rearview mirror and saw Harry Aleman."

Read about the Chicago Outfit:
Family Secrets: The Case That Crippled the Chicago Mob
Capone: The Life and World of Al Capone
The Outfit: The Role of Chicago's Underworld in the Shaping of Modern America
Mr. Capone: The Real - and complete - story of Al Capone

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.