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 ...
Friday, April 23, 2010
Thursday, April 22, 2010
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
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
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
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 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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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 DeadlineHollywoodDaily.com.
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
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.