The Chicago Syndicate: Mafia Conned by Desperate Housewife
The Mission Impossible Backpack

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Mafia Conned by Desperate Housewife

A desperate housewife pulled a fast one on a mob of real-life Sopranos, the wiseguys' lawyers are whining in court papers. Queens homemaker Yvonne Rossetti conned three Bonanno gangsters out of a cool half-million dollars after convincing them to invest in a phony real-estate deal, court papers say.

When the thugs got wise to the Howard Beach woman and threatened to "put her in the trunk of a car" - mobspeak for murder - her husband wore a wire and turned them over to the feds, the mobsters' mouthpieces claim. "She's a con artist," said Joseph Benfante, who represents Michael "Mike the Butcher" Virtuoso. "The real danger to the community is Yvonne Rossetti."

Virtuoso and Michael Cassese, reputed made members of the Bonannos, and alleged family associate Agostino Accardo were indicted last month on loan-sharking charges in Brooklyn federal court after Rossetti's husband, Vincent, ratted them out. Vincent faces federal extortion charges in an unrelated case.

Cassese's lawyer, Steve Zissou, questioned Vincent's sudden decision to go to the feds. The feds "got it wrong," Zissou said. "They got sold a bill of goods by the Rossetti characters."

Lawyers for all three Bonannos say Yvonne is a con artist who bilked her neighbors, the wiseguys and their family members out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. "For $100,000 . . . she promised an extraordinary rate of return" from selling shares in a real-estate venture in California, Zissou said in court documents.

"As with every pyramid scheme, [her] inability to . . . attract new victims eventually caused the scheme to implode."

In 2005, Yvonne convinced Accardo and his family to invest $500,000 in her land deal, said Accardo's lawyer, James DiPietro. Accardo coughed up what he could, then turned to his friend Virtuoso and his family for the rest.

When the profits failed to appear, Accardo asked Cassese to put the screws to the wayward businesswoman.

Vincent taped Cassese and Virtuoso threatening his wife and gave the recording to the feds, authorities said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Winston Chan insists the three indicted mobsters are in the loan-sharking business. Virtuoso, Chan said, was arrested with a ledger of debts owed to the "family" on him and a scrap of paper with Yvonne and Vincent Rossetti's name in his pocket.

Accardo is free on $1 million bail. The other two men are being held without bail.

Thanks to Stefanie Cohen

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