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.