Sunday, October 24, 2010

Big Brother TV Show condemned by Mafia Victims

An Italian reality TV show named Big Brother is being condemned by families of Mafia Victims for booking Ferdinando Giordano as a contestant. Fernando Giordano , is the son of Mobster Matteo Giordano, a convicted member of the Neopolitan Camorra. The National Association for the Families of Mafia Victims said it was "shameful" to exploit the gangster's notoriety to boost the show's ratings. Reports BBC News.
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Sicily Police arrest Mafia Boss

ROME - Police in Sicily have arrested one of Italy's 30 most dangerous Mafia fugitives.

Gerlandino Messina had been on the run for 11 years before being nabbed Saturday by Carabinieri in Favara, near Agrigento, his power base in Sicily.

In a statement, Premier Silvio Berlusconi said the arrest was the latest evidence of the government's "unprecedented success" in cracking down on organized crime.

The ANSA news agency said the 38-year-old Messina had been convicted and sentenced to life in prison for mafia association and a series of murders.

Interior Minister Roberto Maroni said the arrest showed Italy was getting closer to nabbing the head of the Sicilian Mafia. Only 16 men remain on Italy's list of 30 top fugitives following a series of arrests.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Nicolas Cage The Mob

Date: Thursday Oct. 21, 2010 8:14 AM ET

VIENNA, Austria — Oscar-winning actor Nicolas Cage, the frequent star of gangster thrillers, is calling for a united fight against organized crime.

Cage, a United Nations goodwill ambassador for global justice, says the threat posed by criminal networks is too big for communities or states to confront on their own and that countries must work together to battle it.

He warns that regions weakened by conflict, lawlessness and extreme poverty are especially susceptible to "the deadly infection that preys on human beings."

Cage won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in "Leaving Las Vegas" in 1995. He spoke Thursday at a conference aimed at boosting support for a U.N. convention to curb organized crime.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Massino and Gorgeous Basciano death trial

There was more than one shock wave in Gang Land last week after Attorney General Eric Holder issued his hard-nosed directive that the government will "continue to seek the death penalty" against Vincent (Vinny Gorgeous) Basciano for the 2004 murder of mob associate Randolph Pizzolo.

First there was the surprisingly tough-guy attitude by the top fed: Basciano is already serving life behind bars, and even the judge in the case - Brooklyn Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis - had suggested that the government take things down a notch. More on that below.

The decision was also a bad sign for another top mobster: Colombo family mobster Joel (Joe Waverly) Cacace, who is awaiting trial for the 1997 execution murder of police officer Ralph Dols. Holder has yet to rule on whether the death penalty is on the table or off for Joe Waverly, who is currently serving 20 years for four slayings - including the murder of an Administrative Law Judge.

But the even bigger news is that Holder's decision means that we will hear the first-ever testimony by a turncoat New York Mafia boss in the person of Joseph Massino, who wore a wire during two jailhouse talks and tape recorded Basciano explaining why his underlings whacked Pizzolo.

Massino is going to have a lot to say on the matter:

"I gave the order," Basciano told Massino, according to a transcript obtained by Gang Land. "You wanna know why? Because he's a fucking dangerous kid that don't fucking listen. He talks stupid... He's just an annoying fucking kid."

The six-year-old case, which includes allegations that Basciano plotted to kill Judge Garaufis as well as a former top federal mob prosecutor, is scheduled to begin in February. In addition to setting up an intriguing courtroom confrontation between Massino and his former acting boss, Holder's decision gives Massino a chance to score some brownie points with the feds, and perhaps gain their support for a release from the life sentence he is now serving.

Garaufis, who presided over two prior Basciano trials, and sentenced him to life, wrote Holder in May. He noted that Vinny Gorgeous was slated to live out his life at the harshest prison in the U.S. and that in addition to the substantial cost of the prosecution, more than $3 million in taxpayer funds had already been spent for the gangster's defense. Citing "current circumstances," the Judge asked Holder to conduct a "candid reappraisal" of the government's decision "to seek the death penalty."

Basciano, who was first arrested for racketeering and detained without bail on November 19, 2004, allegedly ordered the murder of Pizzolo by dispatching messages from his federal lockup in Brooklyn to Bonanno family cohorts who shot Pizzolo to death 12 days later, on December 1.

The following month, based on Massino-obtained tape recordings, Basciano was charged not only with Pizzolo's murder, but also with soliciting his Mafia boss to kill assistant U.S. attorney Greg Andres, the lead prosecutor in several cases against Bonanno wiseguys, including both Massino and Basciano.

Since then, Basciano, now 50, was convicted twice on other racketeering and murder charges. Seven co-defendants in the Pizzolo indictment, including two mobsters involved in his murder, took plea deals, leaving Vinny Gorgeous as the sole defendant.

Early this year, he won a small victory when the Second Circuit Court of Appeals tossed several charges from the indictment, including the alleged plot to whack Andres, ruling that they were all part of the same racketeering charge for which he had been tried twice before, and they were precluded by the double jeopardy statutes.

The current indictment also charges Basciano with murder conspiracy for allegedly plotting to whack a co-defendant in one of his prior trials, Bronx-based capo Patrick DeFilippo.

Last week, Basciano's defense team filed papers indicating it would try to recuse Garaufis from presiding over the trial because if Basciano were ultimately found guilty, the defense would move to submit the Judge's letter to Holder as a mitigating factor in the death penalty phase of the trial and that Garaufis would have difficulty ruling on that issue.

Contacted by Gang Land, lead defense attorney George Goltzer said his client's three-lawyer defense team was "disappointed" by Holder's decision, adding: "We have already reacted, and will continue to react accordingly and defend him to the best of our ability."

Prosecutors declined to comment.

Massino's lawyer, former mob prosecutor Edward McDonald, rejected an assertion by Gang Land that the government's decision to seek the death penalty made his client the big winner, since it would be the only time he would get a chance to show his worth, and earn a get out of jail pass from his federal handlers.

"He has provided information that has led to countless convictions, whether people have gone to trial or not," said McDonald. "On the steps of the courthouse, lawyers have stated that their clients pleaded guilty after my client had agreed to testify against them. They saw no chance of winning their cases."

Francesco Di Fresco, dangerous Sicilian cosa nostra boss caught

ROME — Francesco Di Fresco one of the most dangerous Sicilian mafia La Cos Nostra bosses was arrested Thursday after 15 years on the run when police found him hiding in a secret space behind a wardrobe in his wife's luxury apartment, officials said.

Francesco Di Fresco was arrested after police became suspicious that his wife had hardly left the house in the last few months, a spokeswoman for the police force in the Sicilian capital Palermo told AFP.

"They found him in the secret space," the spokeswoman said.

During a previous search on Monday, investigators had found the table set for three while only his wife and his daughter could be seen in the apartment.

It was only when police returned with a detailed plan of the apartment that they discovered a secret closet, measuring 120 centimetres by 50 centimetres (47 inches by 19 inches), hidden behind a large wardrobe that could be moved.

"The mafia has received a serious blow today. Francesco Di Fresco was considered one of Cosa Nostra's most dangerous members in Palermo," Interior Minister Roberto Maroni said.

The mafia boss has been on the run since 1995 for kidnapping and murder and was one of the 100 most wanted fugitives in Italy.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Mob Boss Angiulo Buried With Military Honors

Before Gennaro “Jerry” Angiulo was a high-ranking Mafioso in charge of the Boston mob, he was a Navy chief serving his country during wartime, and he earned the flag that will cover his coffin, local vets said.

But the idea that one-time Patriarca family underboss, alleged to have ordered beatings and killings, will be laid to rest today with full military honors isn’t sitting well with some vets. At an undisclosed cemetery today, six Navy pallbearers will carry his coffin, a sailor with a bugle blowing taps, and seven others will fire a salute for the departed don.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

'Ndrangheta laundering money in Germany

Berlin – Italian mafia organisations are investing billions of euros into Germany to hide their profits from the Italian authorities, organized crime experts said in Berlin on Friday.

“Germany is one of the most important sanctuaries, if not the most important,” Italy’s top anti-mafia lawyer Alberto Cisterna told German Press Agency dpa.

Since German reunification 20 years ago, he said former East Germany had become a key area for Italian mafia organizations to launder their profits.

Cisterna was part of an Italian delegation meeting German investigators in Berlin for a conference on ways of tackling organised crime.

Laura Garavini, a mafia expert in Italy’s Democratic Party, said eastern Germany was particular popular with the ‘Ndrangheta organisation from Italy’s southern Calabria region.

“In the first few years, when the east drew capital from all sorts of directions and nobody paid too much attention where it was coming from, the mafia channelled investments into real estate, tourism and the restaurant business,” Garavini said.

German investigators have also traced ‘Ndrangheta money to the Frankfurt stock exchange.

Cisterna said the mafia bosses presented themselves in Germany as serious businessmen, when in fact they were laundering money.

“If they pay 700,000 euros (860,000 dollars) into the bank each day, nobody suspects a thing if they own, say, a supermarket – even if it does not sell anything,” the lawyer said, adding that Germany’s prosperity made the country ideal.

“The best place to hide a grain of corn is in a corn shed,” Cisterna added.

Garavini said the mafia felt safe in Germany, in the assumption that it would be harder to confiscate their assets outside of Italy. She appealed for lawmakers to make use of a new EU regulation which enabled investments to be seized abroad.

Doing so had helped to fight the mafia in Italy, Garavini told,italian-mafia-laundering-profits-in-germany-finds-conference.html

Monday, June 7, 2010

Mob Money special on CNBC

It’s the world’s most secretive business, an old school operation that generates billions…tax free.

On Wednesday, June 23rd at 9PM ET, CNBC presents “Mob Money,” a special presentation of “American Greed,” narrated by Stacy Keach that takes viewers inside the inner-workings of a mob family. From loan-sharking and labor racketeering to illegal gambling and murder for hire to its recent invasion into Wall Street it’s all part of the life and death business of organized crime.

The one-hour program chronicles the rise and fall of the DeCavalcante Family—a smaller family operating quietly west of the Hudson River and based in Elizabeth, NJ. Growing in the shadows of the powerful “Five Families” of New York City, the DeCavalcante’s were known by the derogatory term “Farmers” because of their Garden State roots, but they were just as deadly as their New York cousins. This Family’s story bears many similarities to the HBO hit series, “The Sopranos.” Viewers will see how this Family matures, becomes successful…and then eventually, bows to its weakness, bringing the Family down, crumbling to its knees.

The way the mob does business isn’t all that different than any other big corporation. There’s a corporate structure. And there are investments and returns on those investments. In 2002, the FBI estimated the mob’s annual earnings at between $50 and $90 billion dollars a year. Mob bosses take their business as serious as any CEO with one major exception…the way organized crime deals with the competition--making them some of the most violent criminals around. Nothing and no one stands in their way.

The hour profiles Vincent “Vinny Ocean” Palermo, a soldier who, after a struggle for power, takes over the DeCavalcante Family. Under Palermo’s leadership, viewers will see how the Family makes money, where investments are made, who gets promoted and just how bad rats are for business.

But, it will be a mob heist orchestrated by wanna-be wiseguy Ralph Guarino that ultimately brings this mafia family to its knees and forces Guarino to make the ultimate betrayal—lead a double-life as a wiseguy and informant. He wears a recording device so everything that happens to the DeCavalcantes—the murders, the extortions, the beat-downs—all goes right into the fed’s ear. The program uncovers how the old ways of Omerta, the vow of loyalty and silence, has passed as the threat of longer prison times loosens tongues as gangsters scramble to save themselves. No family and no boss is safe anymore… even Palermo turns on his own family eventually becoming an FBI informant and ultimately going into the witness protection program.

For more information and special web exclusives, logon to

CNBC’s “Mob Money” is produced exclusively for CNBC, First in Business Worldwide, by Kurtis Productions.

Sharon Barrett is the executive producer for Kurtis Productions and Bernie Dudek is the producer from Kurtis Productions. Charles Schaeffer is the Executive Producer for CNBC. Ray Borelli is the Vice President of Strategic Research, Scheduling and Long Form Programming.

Mafia Boss Angelo Bruno Home up for sale -Mobsters

The South Philly house where mob boss Angelo Bruno was shot and killed 30 years ago is up for sale.

Bruno’s former home at 934 Snyder Avenue is on the market for $250,000. His daughter, Jean, said she’s planning to move to New Jersey.

Known as the “Gentle Don,” Bruno was killed by a shotgun blast to the head in March 1980 as he sat in a car in front of the three-bedroom rowhouse. His driver, John Stanfa, was also injured.

Angelo Bruno helped the Philadelphia mob rise in prominence during the 60s and 70s. His death sparked years of infighting with dozens of slayings.

Jean Bruno said Stanfa did the house’s brickwork. He’s now serving five consecutive life sentences for racketeering

Thursday, June 3, 2010

body found was Genovese boss Bingy Arillotta's brother-in-law Gary D. Westerman

William M. Bennett confirmed Wednesday that federal and state investigators uncovered the remains of organized crime associate Gary D. Westerman in a wooded area in Agawam in April.
Westerman, missing since 2003, had long been believed a victim of a mob hit, according to investigators. The search for his body unfolded in earnest in the wake of speculation this spring that alleged Mafia boss Anthony J. Arillotta apparently turned government informant.

Westerman, 48, had spent years in prison for drug and armed robbery convictions; he also was Arillotta’s brother-in-law.

Arillotta, 41, was charged with the 2003 murder of his predecessor, Adolfo “Big Al” Bruno, in an indictment in federal court in Manhattan on Dec. 29. The charges were not unsealed until February, however, and Arillotta virtually disappeared from the federal prison where he was being held without bail in late March.

Investigators steadfastly refused to discuss his status as a potential informant, but a horde of FBI agents and state police soon appeared at a residential plot at 160 Springfield St. and dug at a site in the woods behind the home for days. It concluded abruptly after a medical examiner’s truck pulled away after midnight on April 9.

An old friend of Arillotta’s rented the home, investigators said, but was not believed to be complicit in Westerman’s disappearance.

“I can confirm it’s Gary Westerman and that it was a homicide,” Bennett said.

The district attorney refused to provide further details about a cause of death or motive.

Sources familiar with the investigation have said previously that Westerman was shot twice in the head.

Since the Bruno murder investigation was transferred from here to New York, it is expected that charges linked to Westerman’s slaying will originate there also. Several men have been charged in a sweeping racketeering indictment there that includes the alleged murder-for-hire plot and other accusations of organized crime conspiracies that straddled Western Massachusetts and that state.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

New England Crime Family, Kevin Hanrahan cold case mob murder

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) - Court documents reveal the Federal Bureau of Investigation has received new information in the 1992 gangland slaying of reputed mob enforcer Kevin Hanrahan.

The Target 12 Investigators have learned the FBI is now re-examining the murder based on information from two criminal informants.

The new information came to light in court documents filed in February. According to the documents, an FBI informant — described as a Taunton, Mass., bookmaker — said he was being shaken down for protection money by Hanrahan.

In response, the document states the informant and another man pay a visit to a man named Gordon O'Brien to complain about the shake-down. The affidavit describes O'Brien as "a significant organized crime figure in Southeastern Massachusetts."

According to the documents, the informant claims that during that meeting, O'Brien made a phone call to Frank "Cadillac Frank" Salemme in Boston, then-mob boss of the New England Crime Family.

Within days of the call, according to the affidavit, Hanrahan was murdered.

The document does not disclose who pulled the trigger, but it does reveal the FBI is investigating Salemme for allegedly ordering the hit.

Salemme’s attorney, Steven Boozang of Boston, Mass., said the theory is ridiculous.

"Obviously someone has gotten into trouble and they're trying to get themselves out of trouble," said Boozang. "I know one thing, [Salemme] is an old school guy. He wouldn't have a conversation about anything on the telephone. It just simply would not happen."

Salemme, who federal authorities say was the head of the Patriarca crime family in the early '90's, was released from prison last spring. Boozang said at 76 years old, Salemme is trying to leave his former life behind, "riding off into the sunset" in an undisclosed location.

The new information is part of a criminal complaint against reputed mafia captain Anthony "The Saint" St. Laurent. St. Laurent is accused by the FBI of shaking down several Taunton bookmakers for protection money from 1988 to 2009. He has not been implicated in the Hanrahan mu
Enrico Ponzo, a reputed Patriarca mobster who allegedly aligned himself with a rival faction in an attempt to prevent the ascension of Francis P. "Cadillac

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mobsters: Coming face-to-face with a hit man

It was a haven for mobsters and corruption beginning in the Strip’s early years through the 1980s. By the time Saturday’s speaker, Frank Cullota, co-author of his autobiography Cullotta: The Life of a Chicago Criminal, Las Vegas Mobster and Government Witness, moved to Las Vegas from Chicago, the Strip was lined with casino/hotels, mostly under the control of the mob. There were a myriad of rackets in the city, and murder was the final payoff for those who didn’t follow the code.

Bugsy Siegel once famously said of Syndicate members, “We only kill each other.” Then he was murdered in 1947.

The Mob Chronicles is a new series of talks featuring real stories from the people who lived them. The subject and design of the show holds a morbid fascination for many, and Las Vegas is a ripe source of personalities and stories. Because there is a certain mystique, a curious romance attached to these things, the general public wants to hear what was behind the glamorized accounts in books and movies.

Those who lived it will tell you that the glitz surrounding such a life had a dark underbelly. The reality could mean being arrested, doing time, even killing lifelong friends or being murdered by them yourself. It was a life that was mostly dangerous, but also had humorous moments.

Frank Cullotta told the audience how he grew up in a life of crime, embarking along the path his father walked when he was only ten. He reeled off the crimes he had committed like a grocery list: 300 burglaries, 50 armed robberies, arson and then the chiller—2 murders and 2 attempted murders. As he spoke in a flat voice, devoid of emotion, it was obvious that to him it was just business.

He said he and Tony “the Ant” Spilotro became boyhood friends in Chicago. After Tony learned who Cullotta’sfather was, an unbreakable bond was created. Apparently Cullotta’s father had once saved Spilotro’s father’s life. Photographs flashed on the screen as he spoke, starting from the time they were boys until Cullotta moved to Las Vegas at Spilotro’s request and became the infamous mobster’s lieutenant. He headed a cartel of swindlers, arsonists and killers known in town as the Hole in the Wall Gang. One of the captions on the screen said it all… Tough guys grow up fast.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

relatives of Montreal Mafia, Vito Rizzuto: win tax case

The tax appeals in respect of the sale of the Olifas Marketing Group shares by the former shareholders were settled in favour of the taxpayers, allowing their tax appeals in full,” said Ian Morris, a partner with Morris & Morris LLP, a Toronto tax law firm.

Christina Ham, a Department of Justice lawyer on the case, confirmed a settlement had been reached but would not comment on its terms.

The case was scheduled for a hearing next month in Toronto, in the Tax Court of Canada, as 10 former OMG shareholders appealed a decision by the Canada Revenue Agency to disallow their claimed tax deductions from the sale of their shares.

The company has since been sold to new owners and operates under a different name.

The case revealed that silent investors in OMG, the company that won government contracts in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, London and Windsor, included Giovanna Rizzuto, who is Rizzuto’s wife, and their three children: Nick, who was killed in an unsolved murder in December, Leonardo and Bettina, all of Montreal. Their shares were bought in the name of Nino Campoli in 1999, soon after Toronto approved a pilot project for OMG to place recycling and garbage bins on its streets.

Other shareholders included Giancarlo Serpe and two of his relatives; company founder Salvatore Oliveti and his wife, Loredana, all of Vaughan; and Toronto businessman Filippo Calabro.

Mr. Campoli is the son of Frank Campoli, who married Mrs. Rizzuto’s cousin and remained close to the powerful Mob boss, who is now in prison in the United States for his role in three gangland murders in New York City.

Police have watched Mr. Serpe meet with several Toronto-area mafiosi over the years.

Most of the shares in OMG were sold three weeks after police in Montreal pulled a Jeep over in 2002 and demanded a breath test from its driver. Officers found Vito Rizzuto behind the wheel and the Jeep registered to OMG.

The company denied any relationship to the mobster and the mobster denied any connection to the company. Nonetheless, each of the Rizzuto family members involved claimed almost $419,000 in proceeds from the sale of OMG shares, according to court filings.

There is no allegation of illegality in the transactions. The issue was whether the government properly disallowed the deductions on their 2003 and 2004 tax returns.

The tax agency claimed the OMG shares did not qualify because too little of the value of the assets were used in an active business in Canada.

Earlier this year, Vito Rizzuto’s father, Nicolo, 85, pleaded guilty to tax evasion in Montreal and paid $209,000 in fines after $5.2-million in unclaimed income was found in Swiss bank accounts held in the name of others.

Similarly, in 2001, Vito Rizzuto settled a dispute over undeclared revenue from shares in a different firm that were in the name of others, including Mr. Campoli. He paid a $400,000 settlement.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Justice Department Won't Appeal $102 Million Verdict In Boston Wrongful-Conviction Case

The tortured legal ordeal of four Boston men wrongly convicted of murder by a cabal of gangsters and corrupt FBI agents apparently ended Friday with a decision by the U.S. Department of Justice not to appeal their record, $100 million wrongful imprisonment verdict to the U.S. Supreme Court, lawyers involved in the case said Friday.

The government had not appealed by a 5 p.m. deadline Friday, which lets stand an August 2009 decision by the U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals upholding what is believed to be the largest verdict ever awarded in a wrongful imprisonment case, $101.7 million.

The four men spent decades in prison after FBI agents, in a scheme to cultivate mob informants, permitted the fabrication of evidence that led to their wrongful convictions for a 1965 murder.

The Justice Department's decision not to pursue another challenge of the verdict, awarded in July 2007 in Boston by U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner, is the latest in a half-century of legal developments arising in Boston about ruthless mob violence and shocking corruption by key figures in law enforcement. In its opening lines, Gertner's decision spoke of "egregious governmental misconduct," a "bullet-ridden" body, and the FBI's "callous disregard" for the four victims, referred to throughout as "the scapegoats."

Barring unexpected legal developments, the judgment will be divided among Joseph Savati, Peter Limone Sr. and the estates of the two other men, Henry Tameleo and Louis Greco Sr.

Tameleo and Greco died of old age in prison before a sensational series of legal developments beginning in the late 1990s proved that they had been framed by mob turncoats with the knowledge of agents at the highest levels of the FBI.

Three of the victims were reputed organized crime figures in Boston and were believed to have been framed to settle old disputes. Salvati, who had no connection to organized crime, was wrongly implicated in the murder because he had borrowed $400 from one of the turncoats and did not repay it quickly enough.

The FBI agents named in the wrongful imprisonment case were the same figures implicated two decades later in what became a sensational attempt by members of Boston's notorious Winter Hill gang to take over a significant portion of the U.S. parimutuel gambling industry. Oklahoma tycoon Roger Wheeler, whose World Jai Alai company owned the jai alai venue in north Hartford, was one of those shot dead in a conspiracy by then-current and retired FBI agents and mobsters in the takeover attempt.

Salvati's lead attorney in his lawsuit against the federal government was Hartford lawyer Austin J. McGuigan, who was joined in Hartford by his partner Joseph Burns and in Boston by attorney Victor J. Garo, whose early work on the case resulted in Salvati's being freed from prison after more than 30 years in 2001.

McGuigan said Friday that he was encouraged by the government's decision not to appeal. When the 1st Circuit upheld Gertner's damage award, McGuigan called the decision "the greatest experience of my legal career in terms of being able to right a wrong that had been perpetuated for so many years."

The 22-day bench trial before Gertner in 2007 amounted to a painstaking re-creation of events that began with the 1965 murder in Chelsea, Mass., of a nickel-and-dime hoodlum named Edward "Teddy" Deegan.

Salvati and the other victims produced as evidence hundreds of previously secret FBI reports showing that their innocence was widely known in the FBI within minutes of Deegan's murder. Nearly all the reports were routinely forwarded to the office of then-Director J. Edgar Hoover.

Deegan's real killers were the two mob turncoats that the FBI was trying to recruit as informants: Joseph "The Animal" Barboza and James Flemmi. Both were cold-blooded killers. An illegal FBI bug captured Flemmi bragging at about the time of the murder that he wanted to be Boston's most prolific hit man.

After Deegan was riddled with bullets in an unlit alley, FBI agents allowed Barboza to implicate the innocent men on the condition that he become a cooperating witness in a series of late 1960s mob prosecutions. Barboza agreed on the additional condition that his partner be kept out of the Deegan case as well.

In the trial court decision, Gertner wrote that the FBI records, which had been illegally concealed for decades, created a strong case against the bureau: "The FBI agents 'handling' Barboza ... and their superiors — all the way up to the FBI Director — knew that Barboza would perjure himself. They knew this because Barboza, a killer many times over, had told them so — directly and indirectly. Barboza's testimony about the plaintiffs contradicted every shred of evidence in the FBI's possession at the time — and the FBI had extraordinary information."

Friday, April 23, 2010

Genovese crime family figure Frank Schwamborn pleads guilty gets 11 years

Vincent "Chin" Gigante in photo
A longtime associate of the Genovese organized crime family has pleaded guilty to securities fraud for selling $2.1 million of worthless stock, according to federal officials.

Frank Schwamborn, 48, of Farmingdale, took over a Ronkonkoma company, called World Cyberlinks, which had been set up to produce docking stations for Palm Pilots, but which did not actually make any products, officials said.

Schwamborn had the company transfer stock to a number of companies he had bought or set up in return for services, officials said. He took control of these companies using money he made selling cocaine, federal prosecutors said.

The companies never performed any services for the Cyberlinks company, officials said. But the stock transfers were backdated to get around the rule requiring that stock used to pay for services had to be held for a year before they could be resold, officials aid.

Among the companies, which prosecutors say are now out of business: Burdette Ltd., on the Isle of Man; Puritan Management of Bay Shore; FRF Holding of North Babylon , and Candles, a restaurant in Bay Shore that also was known as Park 70 Bistro and Giovanna's.

Schwamborn has been held in jail without bail awaiting trial on the charges because of a history of threats made against agents, police officers and state and federal prosecutors involved in the case and other investigations, officials said.

A postal inspector said in an affidavit at the time of Schwamborn's arrest that he was an associate of organized crime who had his own crew, which was "a collection of thieves, drug dealers, prostitutes, 'leg breakers,' and stockbrokers."

A number of stock investors, who were possible witnesses against Schwamborn, had been asked to move ...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Mafia godfather takes revenge on uncle after wife leaves

Mafia gang destroyed a bowling alley and amusement arcade after a godfather's wife left him.
Giuseppe Palumbo, 34, ordered the raid after his wife went to stay with an uncle, the owner of the premises.

Customers cowered as the six-strong gang, wearing crash helmets and carrying guns, pushed over gaming machines and then poured petrol on to bowling lanes before setting them on fire.

Police released the footage of the raids at Giugliano and Pozzuoli near Naples, home of the southern Mafia known as the Camorra.

A spokesman said: “Palumbo was furious because the uncle had been given the money by him to set up the premises and he viewed it as an offence to his honou

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Boston mob fugitive Derek Capozzi captured

Update: Police tell LEX 18 Derek Capozzi is back in custody. U.S. Marshals and Versailles Police tell us they arrested him at 5:45 Saturday evening on Kentucky Street in Versailles. LEX 18 will have much more on Capozzi's capture on LEX 18 at 11.

U.S. Marshals said Saturday that escapee Derek Capozzi was captured by video surveillance at a Versailles business.

Cameras at the Dairy Queen in Versailles caught Capozzi walking in the parking lot at 1:59pm Friday afternoon. Capozzi still had the prison issued tan pants and white t-shirt. He was also wearing prison issued slip-on dark colored shoes.

Investigators say Capozzi kicked his way out of a prison van Thursday morning.

In 2005, he was convicted in connection with the brutal murder of a 19-year old near Boston. At the time, authorities say a group of gang members, including Capozzi, tried to kill her by overdosing her with pure heroin. When that didn't work, they strangled her and cut up her body.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Boston Mob enforcer, Derek A. Capozzi.on the run from kentucky prison van escape

A former Beverly man who was convicted of playing a role in grisly gangland murder of a young woman in 1996 has escaped from federal custody by kicking out the door of a van during a prisoner transport in central Kentucky.

Authorities in Massachusetts said they had been alerted to the escape of Derek A. Capozzi. “He is a bad guy and hopefully he’ll be caught quick,” said Deputy US Marshal Frank Dawson, a spokesman for the agency’s Boston office. “He is extremely dangerous.”

A multidepartment manhunt is under way in Kentucky for the fugitive, said Versailles, Ky., police spokesman Pat Melton.

Melton said Capozzi was being taken to Lexington, Ky., on Thursday to be flown to another facility out of state. He kicked open the door of the corrections van as it was turning onto the Kentucky 33 exit off the Bluegrass Parkway.

Capozzi, 37, was slated to be released from prison in 2046.

Capozzi was convicted by a federal jury in 2005 of helping to cover up the killing of Aislin Silva, 19, of Medford. Silva was killed by a Mafia-connected gang of drug dealers and thieves who feared she might cooperate with authorities. Capozzi helped to hack her body into small pieces and bury them after a fellow mobster strangled her.

Capozzi was convicted of joining the conspiracy to kill Silva, being an accessory after the fact, and conspiring to commit robbery. He was sentenced in August 2005 to 23 years in prison. He was already serving a 30-year sentence for a 1999 conviction on weapons and extortion charges.

Several other gang members were convicted in the Silva case. Gang member Kevin Meuse, who allegedly strangled Silva in Medford on Nov. 13, 1996, hanged himself in prison in 1997.

Joseph P. Silva, Aislin Silva’s father, said he had been notified by local law enforcement officials of the escape. He said he was confident that Capozzi would be caught.

“I hold great faith with them. They know what they’re doing,” said Silva. “I don’t believe he’ll get out of Kentucky.”

Doreen Henderson, Aislin Silva’s mother, said that hearing Capozzi’s name again had brought back painful memories.

“I’m hopeful that he will be apprehended very soon,” she said

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Colombo crime-family POW scam

mobster pleaded guilty yesterday to a bizarre scheme to defraud a former Long Island congressman out of $18,500 in exchange for bogus information about Vietnam POWs.

Charles Guiga, 38, admitted that within the last year he’d sent letters supposedly written by a Russian mobster and giving the locations of 75 prisoners of war supposedly being held in the former Soviet republic of Belarus.

But the letters to one-term GOP Rep. John LeBoutillier were in actuality the scribblings of imprisoned Colombo crime-family captain Frank “Frankie Blue Eyes” Sparaco.

Sparaco, 54, who is serving a 24-year federal sentence, once did time with Russian mobster Vyacheslav Ivankov and claimed to have a line into Eastern European gangs. “Frank Sparaco sent me handwritten letters from prison and asked me to correct his spelling, type the letters and send them . . . to ‘John the Congressman,’ ” Guiga told Brooklyn federal Judge Carol Amon in pleading guilty to mail fraud.

LeBoutillier, 56, who held office from 1980 to 1982, served on a special congressional committee on Vietnam War MIA/POWs. He believes that some are still being held, and he remains committed to freeing them.

And he says he still feels that Sparaco’s letters could lead somewhere.

“I’ve gotten some good information from these guys,” he said

Thursday, April 8, 2010

John 'Junior' Gotti was afraid 'every day' of getting whacked

John "Junior" Gotti feared he'd be whacked when he was a member of the Gambino crime family.

"Every day it's a possibility," Gotti told CBS's "60 Minutes" in an interview that will air on Sunday. "It's a possibility that something can happen to you every day of your life. And you know something, when you hang out in the streets, you're hanging with a different type of a person. ... Who knows? Everything is possible. It's a volatile experience."

Gotti, 46, said the best part of that volatile existence was the actual moment he joined the mob.

He said the "proudest moment" of his life was when he was "made" as a member of the Gambinos -- the Mafia's way of formally inducting someone into a crime family.

After the secret ceremony, Gotti said his father, the late John "Teflon Don" Gotti who was the family boss at the time, hugged him.

"I was slowly becoming like [my father]. ... I think he was very happy," said Gotti.

The interview comes four months after the Teflon Don's son scored a fourth hung jury that eventually led the feds to drop the case against him

Gotti had spent more than a year behind bars waiting for his last trial, but was sprung on $2 million bond after the jury deadlocked this past Dec. 1 after 11 days of deliberations.

The case against Gotti involved a laundry list of mob crimes that grew even longer after the feds flipped former Gambino associate John Alite. Gotti was also accused of ordering a 1992 attack on radio talker and Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa.

The jury didn't entirely buy it.

As for Gotti, he never used the words mob or Mafia during the "60 Minutes" interview when talking about his role as a member of the Gambinos, saying instead that he was "a street guy."

"I was in the streets," he added.

Gotti said his induction was a lifelong dream for him after growing up on the streets of Howard Beach, Queens.

"I'd go to the Bergin Hunt and Fish Club all the time and I would just watch ... they'd be playing cards ... hanging out … breaking balls … and laughing and commiserating," he recalled, "And you're right there and you’re saying, 'This is where I belong.'"

Gotti, who claims he quit the mob in 1999, also said he never got angry when the city's newspapers mocked him.

"Every time [we] were in the tabloids on the first page, the sales would go up about eight percent. ... Who cares? I don't really care. 'Dopey don!' Who cares? Have fun with it."

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Italy:Calabrian Mafia attack blamed for halting Easter procession

Vibo Valentia, 6 April (AKI) - Prosecutors in the southern Italian town of Vibo Valentia are investigating the alleged intimidation of a local priest by Calabrian mafia gunmen which led to the cancellation of a traditional Easter vigil procession.

Last Saturday's traditional 'Affruntata' procession in the Calabrian village of Sant'Onofrio was cancelled after suspected mafia gunmen fired rounds of bullets outside the home of the procession's organiser, local priest Michele Virdo.

The attack drew condemnation from across the political spectrum.

"This serious act of intimidation must not discourage those who are fighting the 'Ndrangheta (Calabrian mafia)," said historic anti-mafia campaigner Leoluca Orlando, now a member of the centre-left Italy of Values opposition party.

The gun attack against Virdo's residence followed the exclusion of local mafia members from the 'Affruntata' on orders of the bishop of the surrounding Vibo-Mileto-Tropea diocese, Monsignor Luigi Renzo.

The attack was condemned by far-right party La Destra founder Francesco Storace.

"Our solidarity is with the church which does not tolerate mafia bosses," he said.

In a longstanding tradition, young members of the local Calabrian mafia carry statues of the Virgin Mary, Jesus and various saints during the 'Affruntata' procession.

Taking part in the 'Affruntata' is reportedly considered a rite of passage for many young people aligned with the mafia.

Paramilitary 'Carabinieri' police from Vibo Valentia and the surrounding province collected around 30 bullets and cartridges from outside Virdo's home, which were due to be analysed by ballistics experts.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Genovese Family fink flies the coop

Anthony (Bingy) Arillotta was here one minute, and gone the next. The Genovese boss of Springfield, Massachusetts was arraigned here on March 24 for the mob murder of Arillotta's predecessor as chief of the crime family's Bay State rackets. But we didn't even have a chance to say hello.

The next day, Bingy disappeared from the federal lockup at the Metropolitan Correctional Center without so much as a wave goodbye to capo Arthur (Little Guy) Nigro, his onetime acting family boss who, like Arillotta, had pleaded innocent to the murder charge in Manhattan Federal Court the day before.

Arillotta's absence is something that FBI spokesman Jim Margolin and the U.S. Attorney's office won't talk about. But no one disputes the only obvious conclusion: Bingy is now batting for the other side and swinging for the fences - especially those that surround federal prisons - for the feds.

Bingy's lawyer, Thomas Butters, of Boston, did not return a call from Gang Land. In hindsight, however, the attorney's remarks to Springfield Republican reporter Stephanie Barry after Arillotta's arraignment may speak volumes about his client's apparent move to Team America: "The SHU (special housing unit) in the MCC is an experience," the lawyer told Barry, repeating what an FBI agent had told him. "It makes the SHU at the MDC (Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn) look like a country club."

According to prison officials, Arillotta spent three days in the MDC, and then 10 days in the MCC, when he was officially "released." That's the technical term for it. More than likely, Bingy was moved to another location where he could be debriefed by FBI agents and federal prosecutors looking to pad their batting averages against wiseguys.

If he has gone bad - as they call it in Gang Land - according to our quick and dirty count, Arillotta would be only the fourth Genovese family wiseguy to defect since Joe (Cago) Valachi became the first to break the Mafia's vow of omerta nearly 50 years ago. For the record, Vincent (Fish) Cafaro, in 1986, and George Barone, in 2001, are the others.

Arillotta, 41, supervised the November 23, 2003 murder of capo Adolfo (Big Al) Bruno for Nigro and other New York wiseguys, according to the New York indictment and court papers filed in Springfield, where Bingy's reputed main enforcer, Fotios (Freddy) Geas, was charged with the slaying back in 2008.

Geas allegedly recruited a low-level Springfield gangster for the hit and paid him $10,000 for his efforts. Freddy was hit with federal murder charges after the gunman, Frankie Roche, fingered him as the man who paid him to whack Bruno. The 57-year-old mobster was shot to death as he left a regular Sunday night card game at a neighborhood social club that he ran.

As "Bruno came out of the social club," Roche boasted to one witness, "I walked up to Bruno and said, 'Hey Al, you looking for me?' and I popped him," according to portions of FBI reports that were filed in Springfield by Peter Ettenberg, a court-appointed Worcester attorney for Geas.

Late yesterday, as news of Arillotta's apparent defection spread like wildfire in organized crime circles, a usually reliable source told Gang Land that the feds were planning to add aging Genovese wiseguy, Pasquale (Scop) DeLuca, who is identified as a co-conspirator in the Massachusetts case, as a defendant. DeLuca, 78, is currently serving a five year prison stretch for being part of the conspiracy to murder mobster Ralph Coppola, who was killed in 1998 and whose body has never been found.

Meanwhile, Geas, who had been scheduled to go to trial in Springfield last month, is en route to New York to face the music for the Bruno murder with Nigro, along with four others who are charged only with other racketeering charges, namely gambling and loansharking.

In an unusual move, Geas asked that his case be transferred to New York. This is not something that Nigro and the lesser codefendants can possibly be happy about because it puts a defendant whom an admitted killer will point to at the same table alongside them. And the prevailing wisdom is that it's always better to go to trial alone, rather than with other accused criminals next to you.

David Hoose, a court-appointed attorney from Northampton who also represented Geas in the Massachusetts case, told Gang Land that Geas was well aware of the downside of moving his trial to New York. But "Freddy - everybody calls him that," said Hoose - and his lawyers felt that even if he were acquitted in Massachusetts, the feds in New York would find a way to charge him again, so why not go there now and be done with it.

Hoose had no real answer when Gang Land noted that if Geas beats the charges in New York, the feds in the Bay State could still opt to bring the defendant to trial there. But maybe Geas and his lawyers are on to something.

The last defendant who sought to move his trial to Manhattan Federal Court rather than go to trial out of state on murder and racketeering charges was mob prince John (Junior) Gotti. And he didn't fare too badly. And wouldn't you know it, of 41 federal judges who could have gotten the case, it was randomly assigned to the same judge who presided over Gotti's trial - P. Kevin Castel.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Paulie "Lefty" Della Universita : The Mafia Judge

Frank Costello, known as the "Prime Minister of the Underworld" and head of the Luciano crime family, announced that he was near retirement in 1957 -- and was unceremoniously shot in the head.
But Costello survived, and fingered Vito Genovese's chauffeur as the shooter.
A war was sure to ensue. Eager to avoid bloodshed, the dons gathered in a "for members only" club on Mott Street between Hester and Grand streets in Little Italy. There sat a Gambino, Bonanno, Luchese and a short, gravel-voiced man nicknamed "Lefty."
Genovese pleaded his case to his mobster peers. The other bosses listened, but it was Lefty who coolly rendered the verdict: Vito's life would be spared, but one more such infraction, and he'd be as good as dead.
Such was the power of Paulie "Lefty" Della Universita -- known as "The Judge" -- who served as an adviser to the Mafia's Five Families at the height of New York City's mob activities, a book claims.
From the 1950s until the 1980s, Lefty provided the final say in almost all mob disputes, according to "For Members Only: The Story of the Mob's Secret Judge" by G.T. Harrell.
When the Gambino family wanted to rub out a made man, they went to Lefty. If the Bonannos wanted to discuss financial matters, the family's boss and cronies held closed-door meetings at Lefty's apartment above Vincent's Clam Bar in Little Italy. And if a lower-level mobster was going to be promoted, Lefty's say was law.
The book was commissioned by Lefty's great-nephew Gerald Vairo Jr., based on interviews with family members and Little Italy residents, and researched with the help of lawyer John Laikin. It chronicles the rise of "The Judge" from a poor Sicilian teen to a legendary adjudicator, who called the Mafia's shots from the shadows, earning him another nickname, "The Ghost."
A Criminal is Born
The Della Universita family emigrated from Sicily to New York in 1915. When Catarina, the mother, died, leaving behind seven children, five were shipped upstate to an orphanage. Paulie, who was 10, disappeared the day he was supposed to go.
Paulie, left with his overworked father, started a life of crime by the age of 13, when he assembled a youth gang.
"The smart little son of a bitch had made a deal with the Jewish owner of a candy store on Mulberry Street to let his 'crew' use an empty room in the back as their own members-only social club in exchange for not robbing his store," his sister, Sadie, recounts in the book.
In their heists, Paulie and his sidekicks staked out stores manned by a single person. Two kids would start a fake fight. As the storekeeper broke up the combatants, one would run around and steal the cash from the register.
After several successful robberies, Paulie was called into a club that catered to the likes of Frank Costello, Carlo Gambino and Giuseppe "Joe Bananas" Bonanno.
Sitting there was none other than the notorious gangster Charles "Lucky" Luciano, who grabbed the kid, warned him not to steal from stores and said, "You ain't nut'n but a piece of s- - -. Capice?" the book says.
Still, Luciano was impressed by Paulie's gumption and offered him a job as counter boy at the club, serving drinks, cleaning ashtrays and sweeping floors.
Paulie Earns His Nickname
Paulie made his "bones" in 1938 after he shot an Irishman who had instigated a fight in Little Italy. That job sealed his status as a member of Luciano's crew.
By 1940, Meyer Lansky, a k a the "mob's accountant," and Benny "Bugsy" Siegel took Paulie under their wings and taught him the numbers racket. Lansky was impressed by Paulie's natural gift for remembering numbers without having to write them down, the book says. He was given a beat along Hester and Mott streets. Paulie sold heroin on the side, diluting the drugs to boost his profits.
He also dressed the part of a gangster, donning custom-tailored suits and fedoras.
He earned his nickname the night that a fellow for-members-only patron started saying lascivious things about Anna, a girl he fancied.
Paulie plastered the guy with punches that sent him "off his feet and launched him through the window smashing onto the pavement outside."
Onlookers were so impressed by his left hook that they began calling him "Lefty." The name stuck. And so did the girl. They married shortly after and remained together until Lefty died in the mid-1990s.
The Heist
Paulie moved into a two-bedroom apartment above Vincent's Clam Bar on Mott Street with his wife. According to family members, he never paid a dime in rent.
In 1945, Paulie arranged a heist from a lower Manhattan dock of morphine pills that were supposed to be sent to wounded soldiers overseas. "Once everyone gets paid, lay low for about a month. If anyone spends any money on a car, suit, or so much as a pair of shoes, I'll personally take him out. Capice?" he said.
He would find that the shipment was worth half a million dollars, making it the largest drug heist in American history at the time, which is confirmed by a New York Times newspaper clipping in 1945.
But he didn't get away with this one. Lefty was arrested in 1945 for hijacking the truck and spent $35,000 on a lawyer, who got him a reduced sentence of three years in Clinton Correctional Facility in upstate Dannemora.
When he got out, it was clear his star was rising in the Mafia world.
The Judge
When debtors got in over their heads with multiple shylocks, or lenders, there were often murders, then revenge killings and then inter-family wars. Lefty decided he would end this practice, so he called together the Commission -- the League of Nations for gangsters started by Luciano.
Paulie suggested to the Commission that if a guy got on the hook for several shylocks at once, one shylock would take up all the debts and negotiate a new, often lower, interest rate. Today, this would be called debt consolidation. Then, it was called common sense. Now, the debtors would be able to pay back their debts and killings would be avoided.
Paulie's street smarts became widely respected after the killings waned, and the Five Families' bosses started to go to him for matters not financially related.
He pressured the bosses for better standards for decisions. If a guy wanted someone rubbed out, he had to present his case to the Commission, Paulie insisted, echoing the rules provided by Luciano. But if the Commission couldn't come to a decision, there would be an impartial judge that would make the final call. This person would come to be Lefty.
He quickly earned the nickname "The Judge" from all the Mafia higher-ups.
He proved prescient in warning the bosses not to attend the famed 1957 Apalachin organized-crime summit in upstate New York. The meeting caused a media sensation and confirmed the existence of the National Crime Syndicate, a crime organization started by Luciano and Meyer.
Almost overnight, his stature grew so much that he was now only taking closed-door meetings with bosses at his apartment.
The Changing of the Guard
Lefty established a ruse, disguising himself as a low-level bookie so that he would move under the radar as the feds focused on bigger fish, the book says.
Although behind closed doors, Paulie sat at the head of the table, reserved for bosses, in public view he was nondescript.
Even when officers raided his apartment or his members-only club, they turned up nothing, since most of the numbers rackets were done in his head.
His power grew beyond New York, as he began visiting Las Vegas, Chicago and Detroit, coming back with suitcases full of $100 bills, his family members recalled. He negotiated with unions like the United Auto Workers and the AFL-CIO.
Still, Lefty wasn't above taking bloody matters into his own hands. When a high-level Mafioso named Salvatore "Sally Burns" Granello told him to "expletive off" during a meeting discussing Granello's drug-addict son, who was stealing from made men, Lefty was enraged. The next day, he shot Burns in the head and stuffed him in the back of a car, the book alleges.
Paulie's hit sent the following message: "I'm in charge and don't any of you forget it," the book says.
He even insisted that Marlon Brando, whom he had most likely met during the time the actor was preparing for "On the Waterfront," stole the deep, scratchy voice he acquired by chain-smoking cigarettes and cigars and used it in "The Godfather."
Is Lefty's story too good to be true?
Law-enforcement mob experts told The Post they'd never heard of him -- but they admit there's a lot of mystery about the mob in Lefty's day. "If he lived on Mott Street and was in the life, that might make sense. There were a lot of guys running around at that time we didn't know anything about," said one.
Public records and news clips back up some of Lefty's exploits. And author Harrell, who says he confirmed the book's contents with FBI sources, believes Lefty lasted so long exactly because he kept a low profile.
If he was the pivotal mobster his family claims, it was in the late 1980s that Lefty started to give up the game.
Lefty went into semi-retirement until his death in 1994 at age 75. But his great-nephew says his name still gets things done in Little Italy.
"It was clear since I was young that he ran that neighborhood," Vairo says.

Junior Gotti Goes to Hollywood

From "The Godfather" to "The Sopranos," Hollywood has made a killing off the story of organized crime.
Now John Gotti Jr. is looking to cash in.
The former boss of the Gambino crime family hopes to make a film, documentary and memoir chronicling his life in the mob. Gotti claims he left the game in 1999.
Federal prosecutors announced they would not pursue a fifth racketeering and conspiracy trial against Gotti after the ex-mob scion walked in December. It was the fourth time he got off in five years.
Since the feds said they don't intend to revive the charges, Gotti's free to share his saga for entertainment purposes.
Gotti began writing his story four years ago and is reportedly finished with 75 percent of the book. The documentary would feature, among other things, the last encounter between father and son before John Gotti Sr. died of cancer in prison.
"He's willing to go all the way, revealing as much as possible without hurting anyone who's still in the street life," Tony D'Aiuto, Gotti's former defense attorney and a founder of the production company set to produce the documentary, told
In addition to helping pay his numerous legal bills, Gotti he wants to break into entertainment so he can start a youth center to steer kids away from crime.
Gotti, 46, pled guilty in 1999 to racketeering charges, including bribery, gambling, fraud and extortion, most of which related to his attempts to extort money from the owners of an exclusive Manhattan strip club.
He was sentenced to 77 months in jail and released in 2005.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Mafia figure Roberto Settineri connected to Scott Rothstein pleads not guilty

The reputed mafioso brought down by Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges of money laundering and obstruction of justice.

The reputed mafioso allegedly brought down by Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges of money laundering and obstruction of justice, and will remain in federal custody for the time being.

Roberto Settineri, 41, appeared in court wearing khaki jail scrubs and handcuffs. He did not have to say a word to U.S. Magistrate Robin Rosenbaum during the brief hearing — his attorney did the speaking for him.

Settineri and two of his reported associates — security firm operators Daniel Dromerhauser, of Miami, and Enrique Ros, of Pembroke Pines — were indicted March 10 on federal charges for reportedly shredding two boxes of documents at Rothstein's request and laundering $79,000 for him, before Rothstein himself was arrested Dec. 1 in a massive $1.2 billion investment fraud scheme. Dromerhauser and Ros had already entered not-guilty pleas.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Hollywood Goodfella: Los Angeles Times review : “A Prophet”

Genre is powerful, especially in the hands of as gifted a filmmaker as France's Jacques Audiard. His new film, the masterful "A Prophet," is an answered prayer for those who believe that revitalizing classic forms with contemporary attitudes makes for the most compelling kind of cinema.

Part prison film, part crime story, part intense personal drama, this all-consuming narrative with the power and drive of a Formula One racer has been something of a phenomenon since it took the grand jury prize at Cannes last year. A "Sight & Sound" poll of 60 critics worldwide named it the best film of 2009, it's one of the five foreign-language film Oscar nominees, it took Britain's prestigious BAFTA award in that category and, with 13 nominations overall, it's a prohibitive favorite to win the Cesar, France's Oscar, for best picture

Hollywood Goodfella: Gangster turned TV pundit jailed for 12 years

A professional gangster and TV pundit who wrote an autobiography entitled The Art of Armed Robbery and supposedly renounced crime was jailed for a minimum of 12 years after being found guilty today of masterminding a series of violent cash raids.

Terry Smith, 50, who appeared on chat shows and worked as a film consultant capitalising on his criminal expertise, inflicted near fatal injuries on a commuter who went to the help of an assaulted security guard.

While publishing his memoirs and providing commentary on such events as the £53m Securitas raid in 2006, Smith was plotting a series of cash-in-transit attacks that netted his gang £172,000.

Chelmsford crown court heard that during one of the raids at Rayleigh railway station a passerby, Adam Mapleson, was blasted in the chest as he rushed to help a female security guard.

Mapleson, 26, said he was walking to work in May 2007 when he saw a man carrying the snatched cash box running towards him. Mapleson was shot but survived after the bullet ricocheted off his collar bone, away from a major artery.

Smith, from Canvey Island, Essex, was found guilty of conspiracy to rob between 1 September 2006 and 30 April 2008 and conspiracy to possess firearms with intent to commit robberies.

Smith told detectives "this is outrageous" when he was arrested at his home at dawn in May 2008. Patricia Lynch QC, prosecuting, told the jury that members of the gang had been seen meeting at the Dick Turpin pub near Basildon, Essex.

Smith was asked by his defence counsel, Martin Hicks QC, about his book, which described him as a notorious armed robber. Referring to the exact phrase used in the book, he replied: "I believe the term is infamous armed robber."

He said that he had not agreed with how his publishers had promoted the book, saying it had glorified him.

He was asked directly by Hicks: "The allegation against you is that you are a serious career armed robber."

"That's not true," replied Smith. He said he was a serious crime reporter.

After being sentenced to 31 years in prison for armed robberies committed during the 1980s, Smith had claimed that he was going straight. He wrote The Art of Armed Robbery – The True Story of Britain's Most Infamous Armed Robber, published in 2003.

The book's cover shows a shaven-headed robber carrying a bag of swag and pointing a handgun at the camera. The publicity material said: "Terence Smith was much more than just another criminal. With a penchant for learning and his sophisticated clean-cut image, his tale is told with a finesse and intelligence. He is now fully reformed."

He was said to be "one of the most ­daring armed robbers of his generation" and Britain's most wanted criminal, before allegedly giving it all up for his young family – his wife Tracey and children Terence, Bradley, Jade and Sonny.

After being sentenced in June 1983 to 15 years for armed robbery, he escaped in a prison van in November 1984 and spent two years on the run. During his time as a fugitive he conceived his fourth child Sonny and committed more robberies before his arrest in June 1986, when he was given a further 16 years imprisonment at the Old Bailey.

Smith was released on parole in 1995 before deciding to go straight. In 2004 he was part of a gang of reformed gangsters who took part in a Channel 4 programme called The Heist where the former crooks successfully kidnapped a £1m racehorse called Lucky Harry.

He has also appeared on the Sky programme Inside the Perfect Bank Robbery, on the BBC religious show The Big Question and as a consultant on a Spike Lee film The Insider.

In May 2005 he published another book called Two Strikes and You're Out and gave interviews as a crime pundit during the police investigation into the £53 million Securitas raid in February 2006. He published a third book called Blaggers Inc - Britain's Biggest Armed Robberies.

Smith's brother Lenny, 52, a bricklayer from Dagenham, was cleared of charges of conspiracy to rob and conspiracy to possess firearms with intent to commit robberies.

Friday, February 26, 2010

John "Jackie The Lackey" Cerone: Chicago Outfit

John "Jackie The Lackey" Cerone (July 7, 1914 - November 20, 1996) was a Chicago mobster and boss of the Chicago Outfit, during the late 1960s. During the 1950s Cerone was a chauffeur to boss Antonino "Tony" "Joe Batters" Accardo, then became the protege of boss Salvatore "Sam," "Momo" Giancana.. As an Outfit enforcer, Cerone was arrested over 20 times on charges including armed robbery, bookmaking, illegal gambling, and embezzlement. Cerone became boss of the Outfit following the semi-retirements of Accardo and Joey "Doves" Aiuppa. In 1986 Cerone, Aiuppa, Carl "Corky" Civella, and Carl "Tuffy" DeLuna were convicted of skimming $2 million from a Las Vegas casino. Joseph Agosto, Kansas City crime family member and Las Vegas casino worker, turned states evidence and testified against the bosses. In 1996, Jackie Cerone died of natural causes six days after

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Hollywood Goodfella: Chicago: Mexican drug kingpin pleads not guilty

CHICAGO – The alleged leader of a major Mexican drug cartel has pled not guilty in a Chicago courtroom, to trafficking millions of dollars worth of heroin and cocaine into the United States.

The federal trial of Jesus Zambada-Niebla is the biggest international drug conspiracy trial in the city’s history.

Zambada was charged in Chicago, because most of the smuggled drugs ended up in the city.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Colombo Family: Frank "Frankie Shots" Abbatemarco

Organized Crime Figure. Known as "Frankie Shots", he was a Captain in the Profaci Crime Family (today the Family is called the Colombo Family). He had one of the largest bookmaking and loan sharking operations in New York City during the 1940s and 1950s. He was shot and killed in a bar in Brooklyn, New York City, New York at age 59.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Romania Police Discover Huge Heroin Haul in Bulgarian Haiti Aid Truck

Romanian authorities have discovered “hundreds of kilograms” of heroin hidden in a Bulgarian registered truck carrying aid for Haiti.

The truck was searched on the Romanian border with Hungary and according to reports it was heading to Belgium. Romanian officers using sniffer dogs discovered the haul in bottles next to the brake system of the truck.

Romanian authorities have started an investigation and the Bulgarian truck driver has been taken away for questioning.

Romanian law provides a 25 year prison sentence for serious drug trafficking offenses

Monday, February 1, 2010

Daniel Leo, a/k/a "The Lion,"Genovese Crime Family boss

The acting Don of the New York-based Genovese Organized Crime Family, Daniel Leo, a/k/a "The Lion," and his nephew and primary lieutenant, Joseph Leo, pleaded guilty to racketeering charges Friday in Manhattan federal court.

According to the Indictment filed in Manhattan federal court: Beginning in about 2005, Daniel Leo became the acting boss of the Genovese Organized Crime Family, from his previous post as a member of the Family’s ruling panel.

During the time Daniel Leo served as acting boss, he continued to supervise a "crew" of Genovese Organized Crime Family members and associates, including Joseph Leo and others, who committed loansharking, extortion, and illegal gambling offenses under Daniel Leo's direction.

Both defendants pleaded guilty today to Counts One and Two of the Indictment, which charged them with participating in, and conspiring to participate in, the affairs of the Genovese Organized Crime Family through a pattern of racketeering activity. Both defendants admitted during the plea proceeding that they participated in the affairs of the Genovese Organized Crime Family by engaging in loansharking, and that they conspired to operate an illegal gambling business.

These two defendants entered their guilty pleas before United States Magistrate Judge Ronald Ellis. They are scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Richard Holwell on April 2, 2010.

Each defendant faces a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.

Daniel Leo and Joseph Leo are currently serving prison sentences of 60 months and 46 months, respectively, based on their prior convictions in Manhattan federal court on extortion charges in October 2007.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

mobsters: Nick Rizzuto jr

The son of Canada's most powerful Mafia boss has been laid to rest in a golden coffin.
With a heavy police presence the body of Nick Rizzuto, son of Montreal Mafia head Vito Rizzuto, was carried through the streets of the city's Little Italy neighbourhood yesterday.
Nick, was standing next to a black Mercedes last Monday when a gunman approached him and fire several shots into him. He died at the scene and the killer has still not been full story