Friday, January 13, 2006

Alleged mob cop's wife arrested for tax evasion

Friends of ours: Lucchese Crime Family, Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso
Friends of mine: Louis Eppolito, Stephen Caracappa

The wife of "Mafia Cop" Louis Eppolito was arrested Wednesday in Las Vegas on federal tax evasion charges, defense attorney Bruce Cutler said. Fran Eppolito was taken into custody by federal agents on the basis of a complaint that accused her of not paying taxes, Cutler said. Cutler, who is representing Louis Eppolito in a Brooklyn federal indictment, said details of Fran Eppolito's case were not available late Wednesday. Officials at the Las Vegas U.S. attorney's office wouldn't comment on any case pending the unsealing of court documents.

Eppolito's husband, a former NYPD detective, was indicted last year on charges he and his partner, Stephen Caracappa, worked as hit men for the Luchese crime family while they were police officers in the the 1980s and '90s.

Federal prosecutors allege that they took tens of thousands of dollars from former acting Luchese boss Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso to carry out gangland hits and funnel confidential law enforcement information to the mob. In total, prosecutors have charged the pair with involvment in 10 homicides.

Both Louis Eppolito, 57, and Caracappa, 64, have been free on $5 million bail and are under house arrest in the New York City area. They are scheduled to go on trial next month in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn.

Cutler characterized the arrest of Eppolito's wife as "a low-blow thing." Rather than handling tax matters with "civility," the government engaged in "federal thuggery" by using an indictment in such fashion.

The Brooklyn-born Eppolito and his wife moved to Las Vegas after he left the police force in early 1990 after suffering a heart attack. He had been highly decorated during his 21 years as a cop, earning more than 100 medals of recognition and two medals for valor, his attorney said.

Fran Eppolito has been a regular spectator at her husband's Brooklyn court appearances.

Thanks to Anthony Destefano

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