Thursday, October 01, 2015

Teamsters Indicted for Attempted Extortion of @BravoTopChef Reality Television Production Company #TopChef

Four members of Teamsters Local 25 were arrested in connection with attempting to extort a television production company that was filming a reality show in the Boston area in spring 2014.

“The indictment alleges that a group of rogue Teamsters employed old school thug tactics to get no-work jobs from an out of town production company,” said United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz. “In the course of this alleged conspiracy, they managed to chase a legitimate business out of the City of Boston and then harassed the cast and crew when they set up shop in Milton. This kind of conduct reflects poorly on our city and must be addressed for what it is—not union organizing, but criminal extortion.”

“While unions have the right to advocate on behalf of their members, they do not have the right to use violence and intimidation,” said Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division. “The strong-arm tactics the FBI has seen in this case are egregious and our investigation is far from over. Today’s arrests should send a message to those who think they can get away with manipulating the system that they better think twice.”

Mark Harrington, 61, of Andover; John Fidler, 51, of Holbrook; Daniel Redmond, 47, of Medford; and Robert Cafarelli, 45, of Middleton, were indicted on conspiracy to extort and attempted extortion of a television production company in order to obtain no-work jobs for fellow Teamsters.

According to the indictment, beginning in spring 2014, a non-union production company began filming a reality television show in and around Boston. The company hired its own employees, including drivers, for the filming of the show and did not need work performed by union members. Beginning on June 5, 2014, the defendants conspired to force the production company to pay Local 25 members for unnecessary work by threatening physical and economic harm to the company.

Among other things, the indictment alleges that on June 10, 2014, the defendants showed up at a restaurant in Milton where the production company was filming. The defendants entered the production area and began walking in lockstep toward the doors of the restaurant where they accosted film crew members and attempted to forcibly enter the restaurant. Throughout the morning, the defendants yelled racial and homophobic slurs at the film crew and others, threatened crew and cast members, and shouted profanities. The defendants also blocked vehicles from the entryway to the set, and used physical violence and threats of physical violence to try and prevent people from entering the set.

The charging statute provides a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

48 Mafia Suspects from the Most Active, Richest, Most Powerful Organized Crime Syndicate Arrested

Italian police have arrested 48 suspected members of the southern 'Ndrangheta mafia in a sweep that uncovered dealings in flowers and chocolates as well as drugs and arms, anti-mafia prosecutor Franco Roberti said.

The suspected members of two 'Ndrangheta clans also associated with illicit trafficking in the Dutch flower market and stolen Lindt chocolate.

The mafia centred in southern Calabria have "great flexibility, adapting to markets that offer the most opportunity to get rich," Rome deputy prosecutor Michele Prestipino told a news conference on Monday.

Working with Dutch prosecutors, Italian police uncovered several cells of one of the clans in The Netherlands, focusing on the flower trade. "This operation has shown that the 'Ndrangheta families today have the financial and human means to colonise outside their home territory," Prestipino said.

The probe also uncovered trafficking in 250 tonnes of Lindt chocolate worth more than seven million euros ($7.9 million), stolen in Italy late last year and sold on in Italy, Poland, Austria and Switzerland, the prosecutors said.

The 'Ndrangheta are the most active, richest and most powerful organised crime syndicate in Europe, according to Italian authorities.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

6 Reputed Members of Gangster Disciples Indicted for Roles in 5 Attempted Murders

Six alleged members of the violent Gangster Disciples Gang have been indicted by a federal grand jury for their roles in the attempted murders of five teenagers in South Memphis, Tennessee. Three alleged gang members previously had been charged in this case.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Edward L. Stanton III of the Western District of Tennessee made the announcement.

Ranito Allen, aka Nito, 35; Florence Anthony, aka Nikki, 36; Edwin Carvin, aka Ren, 38; Brandon Milton, aka Lil Folk, 30; and Erik Reese, aka E, 35, all of Memphis, Tennessee, were charged in a superseding indictment unsealed today with five counts of attempted murder in aid of racketeering and related firearms offenses. In addition, Candice Wesley, 29, of Memphis, was charged with being an accessory after the fact.

According to the superseding indictment, the defendants are members of the Gangster Disciples, which is a nationally-known organized street gang that originated in the Chicago area and spread to other regions of the United States, including the greater Memphis area. The superseding indictment alleges that members and associates of the Gangster Disciples engaged in acts of violence, including murder, attempted murder and aggravated assault, as well as narcotics distribution and other criminal activities.

Specifically, the superseding indictment charges the defendants with participating in the attempted murders of five teenagers in South Memphis on or about June 21, 2014. According to the superseding indictment, the defendants did so for the purpose of gaining entrance to, or maintaining or increasing their positions in, the Gangster Disciples.

Tony Coburn, aka Blue, 26; Robert Mallory, aka Rambo, 33; and Almeda Burgess, aka Big Heavy, 28, previously were charged in this case. Mallory remains charged in the superseding indictment. Coburn pleaded guilty on July 28, 2015, to his role in the shootings, and Burgess pleaded guilty on Sept. 9, 2015, to being an accessory after the fact.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Friends of the Family: The Inside Story of the Mafia Cops Case

Detectives Louie Eppolito and Steve Caracappa were the most corrupt and dangerous cops in American history. When they retired in the early 1990s, they left behind a pile of bodies—and for more than a decade, it looked like they were going to get away with it.

As highly decorated NYPD detectives with access to the department's most sensitive information, they sold their badges to the Mafia—and became murderers for the mob. Eventually they retired to Las Vegas, believing they had put their lives of murder and mayhem safely behind them. And they would have lived happily ever after, if not for one dedicated cop at the end of his career and an assistant district attorney. Detective Tommy Dades and Brooklyn Assistant DA Mike Vecchione turned this seemingly unsolvable cold-blooded case into one of the great law-and-order stories in the annals of New York City. And for the first time, in this book, Dades and Vecchione tell the whole inside story of the investigation.

For Detective Tommy Dades, the case began with a phone call from a distraught mother who just happened to mention an almost forgotten meeting that had taken place years earlier. Dades and Mike Vecchione had performed cold-case miracles before, but this one seemed impossible. Together, quietly and tenaciously, they began to uncover the hideous truth. A highly secret joint state and federal task force began building a body-by-body case against an incredible array of characters, from one of the most viciously insane Mafia bosses in history—who wanted to kill people he dreamed were plotting against him—to the one-eyed Jew who knew all the secrets. As the cold case got front-page-headline hot, Dades and Vecchione encountered an unexpected obstacle: the federal prosecutor plotted to take the case—and those headlines—away from Brooklyn.

For the first time, the two men who brought this incredible story to life reveal the epic confrontations that occurred behind the scenes and led to a stunning courtroom announcement—and came perilously close to destroying the case against the Mafia cops.

Friends of the Family: The Inside Story of the Mafia Cops Case, is the complete, inside story of the historic case that rocked the world of law enforcement.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Can the Chicago Turned into a Cesspool of Debt and Corruption be Saved?

There is a dark cloud over Chicago that is getting increasingly difficult to ignore.

As summer comes to a close, murders are up 21% in the city from last year. The depravity seemed to hit a new low earlier this month when the dismembered body parts of a toddler were discovered in a lagoon in a city park. Police still don’t have any clue about who the child is.

Meanwhile, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is expected to soon seek a massive property tax hike — the biggest in city history — to help make a $500 million pension payment due to city firefighters and police.

Chicago teachers started the school year last week without a labor contract, and the school system is mired in a monumental budget crisis. There could be 1,500 staff layoffs, and the city estimates a $1.1 billion budget deficit for next school year.

To add insult to injury, demographers concluded this week that the swampy oil town of Houston will displace Chicago as America’s third-largest city within a decade. Houston!

Maybe, I’m being too gloomy about the city I love. But it’s hard to ignore that Chicago is at an inflection point. The heart of the problem may be that it’s long been too easy to ignore the issues that have been facing this city for years.

Chicagoans have long talked about “two Chicagos.”

There’s the bustling downtown known as the Loop, with its world-class architecture, a culinary scene in the city’s patchwork of neighborhoods that proud Chicagoans like to boast is better than New York's and Los Angeles', and the enclaves on the north side and surrounding downtown where $1 million condos are plentiful.

Then there’s the other Chicago on the city’s south and west sides, where a vastly disproportionate number of the city’s 325 homicides this year have occurred. These are also the same neighborhoods, predominantly black and Latino, that have endured the brunt of dozens of school closures and seen the shuttering of mental health clinics in recent years as the city has become weighed down by debt.

For those of us who live in that leafier, more idyllic side of town, the violence and inequity in those neighborhoods that we rarely, if ever, visit can almost seem like it is in a foreign country — one that happens to be just miles away from our homes.

We read about the violence in the Monday papers that give us a macabre body count of those killed and wounded over the weekend. More often than not, the crime scenes are far from where we digest the grim mayhem over our cups of coffee. But occasionally reminders of the violence come to even the postcard version of Chicago, where I live and play.

Last week, I was out to lunch with my wife and daughter in the city’s West Loop, a popular neighborhood where airy lofts and some of the city’s most popular restaurants have replaced what in another era was a rancid-smelling meatpacking district.

As we walked through the neighborhood after lunch, we passed a club, Red Kiva, whose name seemed far too familiar to me — a guy who is rarely out after 8 p.m.

It took a couple of minutes before I remembered that I had read a couple of days earlier in one of those Monday morning violence roundups that a young man, LaVell Caron Southern, was gunned down soon after leaving the Red Kiva.

The story registered, in part, because Southern, 23, was a former standout football player at Mount Carmel High School, a sports powerhouse that produced former NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb and former three-time NBA all-star Antoine Walker.

According to news reports, Southern had no enemies and was a good guy. His slaying was sadly just another tragedy in a seemingly endless trail of senseless violence that’s become part of this city’s backdrop.

After the remains of the dismembered toddler were discovered, Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy called it a “heinous, senseless crime.” It is one, he said, that “goes beyond human reason.”

The police chief’s outrage is appropriate.

Now, it’s time for my neighbors and me to be just as angry about the dark cloud that hovers over our city.

Thanks to Aamer Mashani.

Whitey Bulger's Girlfriend, Catherine Greig, Indicted for Criminal Contempt

Catherine Greig, longtime companion of convicted killer James “Whitey” Bulger, was indicted in U.S. District Court in Boston in connection with her refusal to testify before a grand jury.

“Ms. Greig was ordered by the Court to testify before a grand jury about whether others assisted Mr. Bulger while he lived on the lam for 16 years,” said United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz. “By refusing to comply with that order, Ms. Greig has committed a new crime and this indictment seeks to hold her accountable. The grand jury is entitled to her testimony and flouting a federal court’s order has substantial consequences.”

“Catherine Greig has yet again failed to do the right thing,” said Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division. “Her refusal to testify has hindered the FBI’s efforts to seek justice for the victims of his crimes. Our efforts to find those who assisted them during their lives as fugitives will not stop despite the fact that Ms. Greig has refused to testify.”

Catherine E. Greig, 64, was indicted on one count of criminal contempt. The indictment alleges that on Dec. 9, 2014, and continuing through Sept. 22, 2015, Greig refused to testify before a federal grand jury regarding an investigation into whether other individuals assisted Bulger while he was a fugitive from 1995 through 2011. In 2012, Greig was convicted of identity fraud and harboring James J. Bulger, and was sentenced to eight years in federal prison.

The charge of criminal contempt provides for a prison sentence to be served subsequent to her current eight-year prison sentence and a fine. There is no fixed maximum penalty for criminal contempt, so courts may impose any sentence. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Brutal: The Untold Story of My Life Inside Whitey Bulger's Irish Mob

Brutal: The Untold Story of My Life Inside Whitey Bulger's Irish Mob
I grew up in the Old Colony housing project in South Boston and became partners with James "Whitey" Bulger, who I always called Jimmy.

Jimmy and I, we were unstoppable. We took what we wanted. And we made people disappear—permanently. We made millions. And if someone ratted us out, we killed him. We were not nice guys.

I found out that Jimmy had been an FBI informant in 1999, and my life was never the same. When the feds finally got me, I was faced with something Jimmy would have killed me for—cooperating with the authorities. I pled guilty to twenty-nine counts, including five murders. I went away for five and a half years.

I was brutally honest on the witness stand, and this book is brutally honest, too; the brutal truth that was never before told. How could it? Only three people could tell the true story. With one on the run and one in jail for life, it falls on me. -- Kevin Weeks

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