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.