Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Mafia Boss Game Beta 1.0 Now Open to All Players

While 2010 proved to be a stellar year for The Mafia Boss, the longest running online multiplayer mafia game, 2011 promises to be even better. The Mafia BossOver the next few months, exciting new features will be launched that both diehard fans and newbies will appreciate. The Mafia Boss' brand new Beta version has recently completed its testing phase and is now available to all players; they can log in to play the current ongoing rounds which are both "Public" and "Turbo" rounds. The beta can be easily accessed without having to create a new account or do multiple logins.

Larbi Belrhiti, Founder and Managing Director of Just Fun Softwares Ltd. which produces The Mafia Boss, knows 2011 is going to be the game's best year ever.

"Judging from how well the game did last year and what's in store for our players over the next few months, we know that 2011 will be an amazing year," Belrhiti said. "We ended last year, with 100,000 active players and 34,000 Facebook fans. Collectively, those players and fans have won about 55 million credits, made 16 million attacks, and earned over $94,000 in cash jackpots," he said.

The Mafia Boss Beta 1.0 also features a Protection Program, which was designed to protect new players from experienced looters on the platform. All new players that join the game actually start under the Protection Program.

"The new Protection Program enables players to learn the game quickly and stay protected from other players' attacks," said Santosh Kumar, Marketing Manager, Just Fun Softwares Ltd. "It's a great feature that will help people build up their Mafioso skills and remain in the game longer; this is an essential step on a player's path towards worldwide domination as a mafia don!"

The Protection Program Breakdown
The Mafia Boss Protection Program will buffer new players from the cruel Mafioso underworld so they can get up to speed. Once they've learned the ropes, however, the game's a crime spree free-for-all.

Here are the specifics of the Protection Program:

  • During a hit, players can't get attached or attack other players
  • At the bank players can't transfer money or receive transfers
  • Players aren't allowed to travel to another city
  • Players aren't ranked
  • Player can't use more than 5,000 turns in total scouting
  • Player can't use more than 5,000 turns in total collecting
  • Player can't use more than 5,000 turns in total producing

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Another Soprano's Actor Sent to Prison on Mob Related Charges

The actor who played mafia capo “Larry Boy Barese” on the HBO mob drama “The Sopranos” turns out to be gangster in real life.

Anthony Borgese, who uses the stage name "Tony Darrow," pled guilty in Brooklyn federal court to one count of participating in an extortion conspiracy to collect a debt.

Borgese, who has also appeared in mobster films “Goodfellas” and “Analyze This”, apparently used enforcers connected to the Gambino crime family.

The conspiracy occurred in Monticello in upstate New York in 2004 and Borgese was indicted on the charges two years ago.

Under a plea agreement with the US Attorney's Office in Brooklyn, the 72-year-old Borgese is expected to serve between 33 and 41 months in a federal prison.

According to press reports, had Darrow gone to trial rather than plead out, he might have faced up to 20 years in the slammer. "It's a difficult time for him," his attorney, Kevin Faga, told reporters. "He's not going to make any comment."

Darrow is hardly the first actor from The Sopranos to get in serious trouble.

Tony Sirico, who played the murderous, but hilarious, “Paulie Walnuts” on the popular program was a low-level associate of the Colombo crime family in the 1960s and 1970s and served prison time for armed robbery.

In more recent years, Richard Maldone, who played Albert Barese on the show was arrested in connection with a drug-dealing ring that operated out of Howard Beach, Queens, N.Y. Maldone and a crew of about 45 co-horts were nabbed for selling marijuana, cocaine, Ecstasy and ketamine. Maldone also reportedly served time in the 1990s for assault.

Another actor who had a small part in the Sopranos, Lillo Brancato, was sentenced to ten years in prison in 2009 for first-degree attempted burglary in connection with the murder of a New York City Police officer. Brancato, who played “Matt Bevilacqua” on the show, was cleared of murder charges.

Thanks to IBT

Friday, February 11, 2011

Growing Up the Son of Tony Spilotro

The only son of Tony Spilotro talks about what it was like growing up in the shadow of one of Chicago's most notorious mob bosses.

When Anthony "Ant" Spilotro walked into a room, he caused hearts to race and sometimes stop. At only 5'5", Spilotro's power wasn't from muscle; it was from an ability to intimidate and an unpredictable temper.

Hollywood tried to chronicle Spilotro's life in the movie "Casino." Now, his own family videos and an interview with his son offer a different take on these blood relatives.

This is what most people remember about Tony Spilotro's life -- it ended in a midnight grave. It was June 1986. After a horrific beating, vengeful mob bosses drove Spilotro and his brother Michael to an Indiana cornfield where they were buried.

"I just want people to understand that he wasn't this monster," Spilotro's only son Vince told the I-Team.

Vince Spilotro knows that rewriting his late father's life story will be difficult. His father was arrested 13 times before age 20; he was initiated as a full Chicago Outfit member at age 25 after authorities believe he committed his trademark torture killing, putting a victim's head in a vice until his eyeballs popped out. From 1971 to 1986, Tony Spilotro ruled Chicago Mob rackets in Las Vegas.

"I just wanted it to come out that he was a man, he did have family, just the human side of him, just tell the truth about it. Even if you're going to tell something bad, tell the truth about it. You know what I mean? You don't have to make up a whole bunch of stuff, " Vince Spilotro said.

It is unclear how many people Spilotro killed during his Outfit career because he was never convicted of murder, but Outfit investigators put the number at between 12 and 20.

"I mean, I take this home with me every night. I mean, I've been taking this home for 20 years," said Vince Spilotro.

Now he is sharing it with the I-Team, and soon Vince Spilotro will be sharing it with the paying public.

Opening next month at the Tropicana Hotel, in the city limits his father once ruled, the interactive Mob Experience will feature Spilotro family memorabilia including baby shoes and pictures -- and guns and bullets.

"I knew what he did," said said Vince Spilotro. "He was just, you know, just a loving father."

And Spilotro family videos that show Tony "Ant" as Tony "Santa." At family parties, including Vincent's birthday's as a boy, where sometimes tony and the boys would play cards off to the side. On family trips to Disneyland, where even a budding Outfit boss waited in line.

GOUDIE: "Do you think your father saw you as someone who would eventually replace him?
SPILOTRO: No, not at all. Here's what happened. In the beginning he didn't, it was all school, you have to do this, you have to do that. In the end he was, he had quadruple bypass, he was getting tired. He was sharing more. I don't know if that's grooming me, but it was still, school, school, school."

When museum plans were unveiled last summer, Tony Spilotro's reclusive widow Nancy was also in attendance. Their family treasures will be on display with some from Chicago boss Sam Giancana and Vegas founder Bugsy Seigel.

GOUDIE: "What would your father think about you selling family memorabilia for a profit.
SPILOTRO: He wouldn't like it. It's a two-way street. I think he'd like that I'm telling the truth, selling it for a profit sounds a little seedy...These people are going to protect it, they're going to display it a little more classy than if someone bought it on eBay."

For the Spilotro family, it is a chance to tell inside stories about the days growing up in their Las Vegas home as the son of a Mob boss.

Spilotro said, "I helped when I was a kid, at 18 years old, helped design this room, at our house, it was a place called the 'Security room.' There was a steel door, which was covered with wallpaper, you never knew it was steel. A solid door with the frame. The walls were all insulated with concrete and stuff. I mean, you couldn't get in that room."

And after almost 25 years, the museum and this interview, are a chance to come to terms with the past.

"I just like to tell everybody that he's just a man that grew up, raised a family and got caught up in some things that maybe he shouldn't have, but he lived it the way he lived it," said Spilotro.

The founder of the Mob Experience museum says he isn't setting out to glorify the Chicago Outfit. He says that showing the living contradictions that were Chicago Mob bosses is aimed at giving the public new insight about a significant American criminal group.

Thanks to Chuck Goudie

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Enrico Ponzo, Reputed Mobster Turned Cow Farmer, Arrested in Idaho

For more than a decade, the vast farm fields of rural southwestern Idaho provided Enrico Ponzo the isolation he needed to hide from his past as a former New England mobster accused of trying to whack his boss.

He introduced himself to his neighbors as Jeffrey Shaw, a man who went by the nickname "Jay." He paid for everything in cash. He bought his house in his girlfriend's name. But his past proved a stubborn companion.

Ponzo couldn't hide his vaguely New York accent. He couldn't keep his stories straight. He couldn't hide his expertise with a gun during a trip to the local shooting range. And in a community where Ponzo was surrounded by wide open ranch land, his neighbors could tell he didn't know anything about farming.

The past Ponzo tried to bury finally came calling this week, when federal agents arrived at a subdivision in Marsing and shattered the life he had so carefully crafted.

In a federal courtroom Wednesday, Ponzo pulled the mask off Jeffrey Shaw. "My name is Enrico M. Ponzo," he said, wearing a yellow jumpsuit with his hands cuffed behind his back. After the judge read a long list of charges against him, Ponzo pleaded not guilty. He was appointed a public defender and ordered him held without bail until another hearing Friday.

Meanwhile, a tiny farming and ranching community about 40 miles west of Boise was left to wonder how all of them got duped, and for so long. His neighbors reached back as far as they could into their memories, scouring for signs of an elaborate ruse. Some found vindication. "We always felt that something was a little strange," said Sharie Kinney, a neighbor.

To them, he was Jay Shaw, who worked as a graphic designer from home and was known for fixing computers. He raised about a dozen cows and lived in a light green two-story home on a hilltop with his girlfriend, who moved out of the house several months ago with their two small children.

To the FBI, he was a New England mobster who vanished in 1994 after a botched attempt to kill his boss.

Ponzo now faces charges from a 1997 indictment accusing him and 14 others of racketeering, attempted murder and conspiracy to kill rivals. He is also charged in the 1989 attempted murder of Frank Salemme. nown as "Cadillac Frank," Salemme is the ex-head of the Patriarca Family of La Cosa Nostra.

Authorities declined to say how the FBI discovered him. During his arrest Monday, agents seized 38 firearms, $15,000 and a 100-ounce bar of either gold or silver from the home.

Neighbors say Ponzo moved into the community, which sits at the base of the Owyhee Mountains in southwestern Idaho, about 10 or 11 years ago. He told some he was from New York, and to their ears, he had the accent to prove it. But he told others that he was from New Jersey.

Bodie Clapier, a rancher who lived next door, remembers Ponzo said his parents were killed when he was young, and that he had no other family. "My dad just said, one time (Ponzo) was telling him, `Yeah, I was in the military and 15 of us got blown up and I was the only one that survived,'" Clapier said. "Well, isn't it weird that the number of people that were indicted was 15? ... Isn't that kind of bizarre?"

Some details that once seemed strange now fit together like a puzzle.

"Every time I talked about a gun he'd say `I've got one of those,'" said Clapier, who went out with Ponzo to shoot guns on a hot September day last year. Clapier and his son came away impressed. "After we got in the truck and were leaving, (his son) said: "Man, that guy knows how to handle a gun," Clapier said. "When he go up to shoot it was just: Boom! Boom! Boom!."

Other details now seem chilling.

"We got in a big argument one time about something. I kind of told him `You know what Jay, just get out of my face. I don't want to talk to you.' But then he came right back the next day smiling and said: `It's ok,'" Clapier said. "I feel like I dodged a bullet. Literally."

Ponzo was arrested at the entrance of the subdivision, where he served on the board that regulates the water supply. Federal agents took him into custody on Monday afternoon, just as children were coming off the school bus, neighbors said. Ponzo later called from the Ada County Jail in Boise, Clapier said.

"He said `I've been arrested, it's all a bunch of bulls---, but I'm going to be in here for a long time. Would you please feed my cows?'"

Mafia Memorabilia War Heats Up

There is a Chicago mob war underway, but it is unlikely to result in bloodshed. But the fight is actually 1,800 miles away from Chicago.

From 1955, when the reign of Mayor Richard J. Daley began, through today with his son, Mayor Richard M. Daley, Chicago has shunned any official recognition of the city's gangland past. But Las Vegas -- for decades controlled by the Chicago Outfit -- is embracing its rich organized crime history.

With not one but two Mob museums planning to open this year, a fight for Chicago Mob memorabilia is now on.

On one end of the famous Las Vegas strip will be the Las Vegas Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, also known as the Mob museum. It is Mayor Oscar Goodman's $50 million pet project in a former federal building, much of it funded by tax money. After countless delays, the official Mob museum is set to open late this year.

At the other end of the strip -- and in direct competition -- is the privately owned and operated Mob Experience. It will fire the first shot with preview parties next week and a grand opening in early March, with interactive holograms of Hollywood Mob figures leading tourists through the exhibits.

"We are not setting out to glorify the Mob by any mean, and nobody in Las Vegas is looking to glorify the mob. But at the same time we are not looking to vilify these people either. I think in the process of collecting these artifacts and being exposed to the stories of the family members, we've been given the greatest Mob story never told," said Jay Bloom, Mob Experience partner.

The late Chicago Outfit boss Sam "Momo" Giancana is among those depicted in exhibits. His daughter Antoniette is among the family members of major Mob figures hired as paid contributors to the Mob Experience. And she is happy to deliver her father's glory days in Vegas.

"It was glorious. I wished he were here now. We were treated like kings, queens and princesses and princes. There was nothing that Sam needed or wanted in this town, it was given to him gladly with love and respect," said Antionette Giancana, Mafia princess.

The Mob Experience will feature memorabilia from the Giancana family along with personal mementos from Bugsy Seigel, Meyer Lansky and others, including Chicago's long-time Mob emissary to Las Vegas Anthony "Tony Ant" Spilotro.

Thanks to Chuck Goudie

Friday, February 04, 2011

The Russian Mafia Code

Like it's American counterpart, the Russian Mafia has a code that all members must follow. They have 18 rules to love by and if you break the rules, the punishment is death.

1. The crime family is your new family. Distance yourself from your real family.
2. Do not have a family of your own. No wives or children allowed. Girlfriends are okay.
3. Have another source of income, a real job.
4. Help other members with support, but material and otherwise.
5. Never reveal anything about your cohorts and associates.
6. If necessary, take the rap for a fellow thief.
7. Hold meetings to settle disputes.
8. Freely participate in these meetings.
9. Punish the guilty parties as determined at these meetings.
10 Do not flinch from performing these unpleasant duties even though the convicted party may be a friend.
11 Learn the "Fehnay" or Russian Mafia Slang
12 Never get in over your head with gambling debts.
13 Coach and mentor younger hoodlums-in-training
14 Always maintain a network of informants among the lower echelon of criminals
15 Be able to handle your liquor, nobody likes a sloppy gangster
16 Do not mingle with the police in social situations or join any social or community clubs. The Elks Club is vertoten
17 Avoid military service, stay out of the draft
18 Always keep your work to another member of the Russian Mafia

Thursday, February 03, 2011

FBI Expands Use of National Data Exchange to Fight Organized Crime

Colorado law enforcement working an organized crime case identified a “person of interest” during its investigation but couldn’t find a current address or much else on the individual.

So a state trooper searched the FBI's Law Enforcement National Data Exchange, or N-DEx, which revealed the subject as a person of interest in an out-of-state drug case worked by a federal agency. The trooper contacted that agency and learned that this individual had been named in other drug-related cases in California.

Based on that information, the trooper began reaching out to other federal, state, and local agencies in California and beyond…and soon discovered that his subject was a member of a violent gang headquartered in Los Angeles that, up until then, wasn’t known to be operating in Colorado.

This process of connecting the dots between seemingly unrelated pieces of criminal data housed in different places is the backbone of N-DEx. The system enables its law enforcement users to submit certain data to a central repository—located at the FBI's Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division in West Virginia—where it’s compared against data already on file from local, state, tribal, and federal agencies to identify links and similarities among persons, places, things, and activities across jurisdictional boundaries.

Until now, N-DEx—accessed through a highly secure Internet site—has only been a viable option for a relatively limited number of agencies.

Now, the FBI's about to take N-DEx to the next level: When its final phase is delivered later this month, N-DEx will truly live up to its name…and over time will be available to thousands more law enforcement and criminal justice agencies around the country.

A quick look at how N-DEx has evolved:

  • 2008: The first phase gave participating agencies basic capabilities, including the ability to create link analysis charts and to search several thousand incident/case report records and arrest data to help determine a person’s true identity.
  • 2009: The second phase supported 100 million searchable records and added the capability to do full-text and geospatial searches. It also enabled users to exchange information with each other and to subscribe to automatic notifications concerning people/cases of interest to them.
  • This month’s third and final phase will add probation and parole information to the database, as well as enhancements to some of its existing capabilities. And best of all, the N-DEx interface has been completely redone, giving it the look and feel of a commercial search engine, complete with filters and more streamlined result sets. Now, N-DEx will now be able to support 200 million searchable records, and with future modification, that number can readily increase to two billion records.

Entering information into N-DEx is easy. Agencies participating in state or regional information-sharing systems that “feed” N-DEx don’t have to do anything. For other agencies, once their data is mapped to N-DEx, contributing data will be as easy as a monthly download and submission. And for smaller agencies without automated record management systems or with fewer records, information can be loaded manually.

Bottom line: N-DEx is a powerful investigative tool that will, according to CJIS Assistant Director Dan Roberts, “help keep our communities safer, not only by linking criminal justice data together as never before, but also by enabling investigative partnerships across jurisdictions.”

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Anthony “The Saint” St. Laurent Is Scheduled to Plead Guilty

New England Mafia capo Anthony “The Saint” St. Laurent is scheduled to plead guilty in a Rhode Island court Wednesday to a failed murder-for-hire plot to rub out his reputed underworld rival and fellow made mobster Robert “Bobby” DeLuca, according to court papers.

“Shoot him in the (expletive) head. Say, ‘This is from the Saint,’ ” prosecutors allege St. Laurent coached an undercover cop posing as a hit man in 2007 on one of at least three attempts he made to execute DeLuca for control of his rackets, according to court papers.

St. Laurent, 69, faces up to 10 years in the slammer. He has spent the past three years behind bars for extortion.

As part of a plea agreement, the feds will dismiss separate extortion charges in exchange for the aging gangster admitting he was part of the all-in-the-family conspiracy to shake down bookies in Taunton between 1988 and 2009 for between $800,000 and $1.5 million in “protection” fees, court filings state.

St. Laurent’s wife, Dorothy, 71, pleaded guilty last year to helping her hubby collect the money. Sentenced to six months’ home confinement, she yesterday declined comment. Anthony St. Laurent Jr., 44, pleaded guilty to interfering with commerce by threats and violence. He is serving 78 months.

Thanks to Laurel J. Sweet

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Chicago's O'Hare Field Named for the Son of One of Al Capone's Associates

Times-Union readers want to know:

An e-mail I received contains two stories: one about "Easy Eddie," who was Al Capone's lawyer who lived the high life of the Chicago mob, and the other about war hero Lt. Cmdr. Butch O'Hare. They are great tales, but are they true? They are great tales and, except for a little exaggeration and some speculation, much of the information in the e-mail is true.

The stories are too lengthy to reprint in full, but here's an abridged version:

"Eddie's skill at legal maneuvering kept Big Al out of jail for a long time. To show his appreciation, Capone paid him very well and gave him a mansion with all conveniences.

"Eddie gave little consideration to the atrocity that went on around him, but he did have one soft spot - a son whom he loved dearly. Eddie saw to it that his young son had nice clothes, cars and a good education. Price was no object. "And, despite his involvement with organized crime, Eddie even tried to teach his son right from wrong. Eddie wanted his son to be a better man than he was.

"One day, Easy Eddie decided to rectify wrongs he had done. He decided he would testify against the mob and Capone, clean up his tarnished name and offer his son some semblance of integrity. "So he testified. In 1932, Capone was sentenced to 11 years in prison. In 1939, Easy Eddie was gunned down on a lonely Chicago street. Most people credited Capone's people for the hit.

"Police removed from Eddie's pockets a gun, a rosary, a crucifix, a religious medallion and a poem clipped from a magazine. "The poem read: 'The clock of life is wound but once and no man has the power to tell just when the hands will stop, at late or early hour; now is the only time you own, live, love, toil with a will; place no faith in time for the clock may soon be still.'"

The second story

"World War II produced many heroes. One such man was Lt. Butch O'Hare, a fighter pilot assigned to the aircraft carrier Lexington in the South Pacific.

"On Feb. 20, 1942, his entire squadron was sent on a mission but O'Hare soon realized his fuel tank was too low. He headed back to the fleet and noticed that a squadron of Japanese aircraft was speeding its way toward the Lexington.

"Laying aside all thoughts of personal safety, he engaged the formation of Japanese planes. He fired at the planes until all his ammunition was spent, then dove at the planes, trying to clip a wing or tail. Finally, the Japanese squadron took off in another direction.

"Butch O'Hare and his tattered fighter limped back to the carrier. He had destroyed five enemy aircraft and, for that, became the Navy's first ace of World War II and the first naval aviator to win the Medal of Honor.
"A year later, Butch was killed in aerial combat at the age of 29. His memory is kept alive as Chicago's O'Hare Airport is named for him."

The kicker

So, the e-mail asks, what do these two stories have to do with each other?

Butch O'Hare was Easy Eddie's son.

Numerous historical accounts show that Edward Joseph "Easy Eddie" O'Hare was Capone's lawyer and a partner in some of the gangster's criminal activities. Easy Eddie had a hand in running Capone's horse and dog track operations; in fact, earlier in his career he was a partner with the man who invented the "rabbit" that greyhounds chase around the track. He did help the government imprison Capone on tax evasion charges but accounts differ as to whether he did that after an attack of conscience or because he saw a way to keep himself out of prison.

Eddie also might have made a deal to get his son into the Naval Academy, according to the organized crime section of the Illinois Police and Sheriff's News (IPSN) website. Eddie's son, Edward Henry "Butch" O'Hare, did indeed shoot down five Japanese fighters and disable a sixth, according to the historical accounts. The shootout took place within sight of hundreds of Lexington crew members, according to IPSN. O'Hare was being fired on with machine guns and cannons from all angles, but he "just kept moving," one eyewitness report said.

Lt. Butch O'Hare received the Medal of Honor in 1942 for his actions defending the Lexington and was promoted to lieutenant commander. The medal citation calls it "... one of the most daring, if not the most daring, single action in the history of combat aviation. ..."

O'Hare was killed in November 1943 when his plane went down during the battle for the Gilbert Islands in the South Pacific, but there's controversy over what led to his death. In the biography of O'Hare, "Fateful Rendezvous: The Life of Butch O'Hare" co-authors John Lundstrom and Steve Ewing write that he was shot down by a Japanese bomber. Other accounts say he was shot down by friendly fire during a night mission.
A 1947 Collier's magazine article about Easy Eddie O'Hare stated that his work as an informant helped win public favor for him, the fact-finding website reports.

In 1949, Orchard Field Airport was renamed O'Hare to honor Easy Eddie's son, World War II ace Butch O'Hare.

Thanks to Carole Fader

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