Monday, July 23, 2007

Mafia Cop to Remain in Vegs Jail Until Tax Charges Trial

Friends of ours: Ralph Eppolito, James Eppolito, Gambino Crime Family
Friends of mine: Louis Eppolito, Stephen Caracappa

A former New York police detective dubbed the "mafia cop" must remain in custody pending his trial in Las Vegas on tax charges, a judge ruled Thursday.

Mafia Cop to Remain in Vegs Jail Until Tax Charges TrialLouis Eppolito, 57, stood before U.S. Magistrate Judge Peggy Leen in a black-and-white-striped inmate uniform as she declared him a danger to the community and a flight risk. Eppolito's wife, two daughters and son attended the Las Vegas hearing but declined to comment afterward.

Eppolito and another former New York detective, 64-year-old Stephen Caracappa, are accused of working for the Luchese crime family while serving as officers with the New York City Police Department.

Last year, a New York jury found the pair guilty of participating in at least eight mob-related killings, but a federal judge later dismissed the racketeering case after determining that the statute of limitations had run out. However, Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Johnson said Thursday, the judge also found that prosecutors had an "overwhelming case" against the pair.

Detention for both defendants already has been ordered in the New York case pending a government appeal of the dismissal. Johnson said he expects the state of New York to prosecute Eppolito and Caracappa on murder charges if the federal government fails with its appeal.

The two detectives retired in the early 1990s and moved to Las Vegas, where they were arrested in March 2005.

A federal grand jury in Las Vegas indicted Eppolito and his wife, Frances, in January 2006 on three counts of filing a false income tax return. Their trial is scheduled to begin Sept. 24 before U.S. District Judge Roger Hunt.

The couple's son, Anthony, has been charged with distributing methamphetamine. His trial is scheduled to begin Sept. 24 before U.S. District judge Philip Pro.

Prosecutors have said Louis Eppolito, who appeared briefly in a dozen movies, grew up in a family closely linked with organized crime.

His father, Ralph, was a Gambino family soldier, and his uncle, Jimmy, was a Gambino captain.

Louis Eppolito's 1992 autobiography, "Mafia Cop: the Story of an Honest Cop Whose Family Was the Mob," details his police career and his Mafia connections.

Thanks to Carri Geer Thevenot

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