The Chicago Syndicate: Mobster Breaks Mafia Code

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Mobster Breaks Mafia Code

Friends of ours: Victor Riccitelli, Gambino Crime family, John Gotti

A US mobster who wanted so badly to keep his recorded conversations with an FBI informant secret, broke the mob's honour code and admitted his Mafia membership rather than have prosecutors play the tapes in court.

For the first time since Victor Riccitelli and more than a dozen others were indicted in a landmark Mafia case in 2004, prosecutors recently offered the first clues as to why he was so insistent the tapes remain sealed: In them, he revealed the Gambino crime family hierarchy, placing ranks with names and explaining the upper echelon of one of the United States' most notorious crime syndicates.

Riccitelli, in conversations with a Stamford, Connecticut, strip club owner working with the FBI, also described his Mafia induction ceremony, the secret ritual in which members swear a lifelong allegiance to the crime family. "He said that a picture of a saint was placed in his hands and burned, and that he dumped the ashes in a dish," prosecutors wrote in a memo to US District Judge Janet Bond Arterton.

Riccitelli was scheduled to be sentenced for racketeering today but his case was delayed until January 20. He faces six to eight years in prison and prosecutors want that tacked onto the end of his 13-year sentence for cocaine distribution - all but ensuring that Riccitelli, 72 and a cancer patient, will die in prison. Defence attorney John Einhorn did not return a message seeking a response to the prosecution memo.

The Gambino crime family, once led by John Gotti, runs Connecticut gambling businesses that include sports betting, poker machines and the numbers racket, prosecutors said. "The defendant is an incorrigible and possibly violent criminal whose life is marked by one constant: a never ending search for fresh opportunity to enrich himself illegally," prosecutors wrote.

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