The Chicago Syndicate: Baldassare Amato
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Showing posts with label Baldassare Amato. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Baldassare Amato. Show all posts

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Youngest Boss of Any of the Five New York Mafia Families to Be Deported to Canada

When Salvatore Montagna, named as the boss of one of the notorious five Mafia families of New York City, was given a choice of where he wished to be deported -- Canada, where he was born, or Italy, where he is a citizen -- he quickly made plans for a return to Montreal.

That decision now leaves Canadian officials scrambling with what to do about a man they know little about. He returns to Canada free of any legal obligation and faces no charges.

Nicknamed "Sal the Ironworker" because of his trade in metal work, Mr. Montagna made headlines in New York when he was named as the acting boss of the Bonanno crime family at the improbably young age of 35. Mr. Montagna's youth led the tabloids to dub him the "bambino boss."

In the United States, officials are not shy about what they think Mr. Montagna has been up to. "He is a made member of the La Cosa Nostra, more specifically the Bonanno Italian organized crime family. Montagna is accused of making violent threats against a U. S. attorney from the Eastern District of New York," said Brandon A. Montgomery, spokesman for U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Mr. Montagna's New York lawyer, George Stavropoulos, said the allegations are "absolutely, categorically denied."

"He is not involved in the Mafia, he is not the boss of the Bonanno crime family or the acting boss of the Bonanno crime family. This is something that the FBI manufactured."

Mr. Stavropoulos said he was unaware of the threat allegation until told by the National Post. "If they had anything to prove what they are alleging they would be indicting him, not deporting him," he said.

Mr. Montagna was born on May 11, 1971, in Montreal, one of three sons born to Italian immigrants. When he was still an infant, the family moved to Sicily, and over the years shuttled back and forth. At the age of 15, Mr. Montagna moved with his family from Montreal to New York, driving through the Lacolle-Champlain border crossing.

Mr. Montagna followed in his father's footsteps, becoming an ironworker and starting his own company after high school. His company, Matrix Steel Co., of Brooklyn, has grown over 10 years into a multi-million dollar enterprise, according to Mr. Stavropoulos.

In New York, he married an American-born Italian woman and the couple has three daughters, all under the age of 10. His marriage also allowed him to become a legal permanent resident of the United States.

In 2001, just as he was thinking of applying for U. S. citizenship, he was subpoenaed to testify in a state gambling case. The prosecutor was unsatisfied with Mr. Montagna's testimony and charged him with criminal contempt.

On October 28, 2003, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years probation. "He plead as opposed to putting up a fight. He thought that was the easy way out," said Mr. Stavropoulos.

It was a decision he regrets. The conviction ended his citizenship plans and last week came back to haunt him.

In 2006, the New York Daily News named him as the acting boss. Several grand juries had been convened; colleagues and metal work competitors were subpoenaed to testify. As many as 30 federal cars were assigned to monitor him, Mr. Stavropoulos said.

No charges came.

Despite the tough talk from officials, the media attention and the investigations -- even at a time when the Bonanno organization was hard hit by senior members becoming police informants, including the long-time boss -- no indictment was filed against Mr. Montagna.

Instead, last week U. S. immigration officials scooped him up and placed him in detention.

Based on his conviction for contempt, deemed a civil violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act, he faced an immigration hearing on Tuesday.

He agreed to be removed to Canada.

"He will remain in ICE custody until his actual departure from the United States to Canada," said Mr. Montgomery of ICE. "Montagna is relinquishing his permanent residency and will be inadmissible if he attempts to request a visa in Canada."

He will not be alone here when he arrives next week. While one brother remains in New York, Mr. Montagna has a brother in Montreal and his parents still frequent the city. "As soon as his children finish school, his wife fully intends to move to Canada to join him," said Mr. Stavropoulos.

"He feels confident coming to Canada. He loves Canada. He said he was happy to be coming to Canada." He will likely sell his home and business and start fresh if he cannot win a reprieve.

Montreal is a city that also has long ties to the Bonanno crime family.

Montreal's Mafia boss, Vito Rizzuto, is currently in a U. S. prison for a gangland murder on behalf of the Bonanno leadership; and several New York gangsters alleged to have associated with Mr. Montagna also have strong links to the city, including Patrick "Patty From the Bronx" DeFillipo and Baldassare "Baldo" Amato.

In 2006, the FBI secretly recorded a conversation between gangsters in which Michael Cassese said that Mr. Montagna is the family's acting boss, according to court documents. "There's nobody in between. That's it," the gangster said of Mr. Montagna's position.

The RCMP is aware of Mr. Montagna's impending trip, said Sergeant Marc LaPorte, but declined to comment on whether there will be any special attention paid to him.

Said Patrizia Giolti, spokeswoman for CBSA: "While I will not comment on the specifics of a case, I can tell you that any Canadian citizen has the right to enter Canada."

Mr. Stavropoulos said Canadians have nothing to fear. "He fully intends to lead a lawful life there and raise his young family."

Thanks to Adrian Humphreys

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Is the Mafia a Farce?

A contrite former Bonanno crime associate trashed the Mafia as "a farce" at his sentencing for murder yesterday in Brooklyn Federal Court.

Francesco (Frank) Fiordilino was then rewarded for his cooperation against Bonanno big shots with a sentence of time served plus 30 days.

"Cooperating witnesses are essential to achieving justice, and you have done your part," said Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis.

Fiordilino, 37, pleaded guilty to shooting drug dealer Thomas Sajn in the throat in 1993 in Ridgewood. Sajn wasn't immediately killed by the gunshot, so a second assailant cut his throat, nearly decapitating him.

At the time, Fiordilino was paying his dues, making espresso and cappuccino at coffee shops under the control of the crime family. His uncle, Frank (Cheech) Navarro, was a made member of the Bonanno family.

Fiordilino was after Sajn's drug money and also wanted to prove to gangsters that he was capable of committing a murder. But after the feds arrested him in 2002, Fiordilino decided to change sides.

"I'm totally at peace with my decision to defect," Fiordilino said yesterday. "I no longer have to lie, cheat or pretend anymore."

He acknowledged the taking of Sajn's life was "cowardly," and reflected on the hypocrisy of the Mafia.
"The mob was and still is a farce that's built on deceit, venom, greed and destruction," he said. "As for loyalty and respect, I never seen it. I could recall hundreds of conversations in which guys would sit around a table bad-mouthing each other. I'm so glad that's behind me."

Prosecutor Greg Andres said Fiordilino's testimony against former Bonanno boss Joseph Massino and soldier Baldassare (Baldo) Amato contributed to their convictions.

"I apologize as well, especially to anyone of Italian background, by conspiring and utilizing our culture in the same manner the entertainment industry does with its stereotypes. ... Hollywood intensified my love for that life, and in the process blindsided what being Italian meant," Fiordilino said.

Thanks to John Marzulli

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Bonanno's Name Bambino Godfather

Friends of ours: Bonanno Crime Family, Salvatore "Sal the Ironworker/Sal the Zip" Montanga, Joseph Massino, Baldassare "Baldo" Amato, Patrick "Patty from the Bronx" DeFilippo, Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano, John "Dapper Don" Gotti, Vincent "the Chin" Gigante

The Bonanno crime family has tapped a man of steel to rebuild its crumbling empire, the Daily News has learned.

He's Salvatore (Sal the Ironworker) Montagna, the newly minted boss of the Mafia family, according to law enforcement sources - and he's practically a bambino at only 35 years of age.

The Sicilian-born Montagna and his wife, Francesca, own a small ironworks company in Brooklyn, but they show no signs of living the high-life of a Mafia don. The couple and their three daughters live in a modest ranch house in working-class Elmont, L.I., not far from the Queens border.

"Putting someone that young and relatively unknown in charge indicates that they're desperately seeking to salvage the remnants of the family from the recent prosecutions and convictions," said Mark Feldman, former chief of organized crime for the Brooklyn U.S. attorney's office.

Feldman said the move clearly "signals desperation" on the part of a mob family that has seen three bosses and acting dons bite the dust in three years. Most noteworthy was the conviction of longtime family boss Joseph Massino, who is now serving life in prison.

Last night, a teenage girl answered the door of Montagna's vinyl-sided home on Oakley Ave. and said the reputed crime kingpin was not at home. Two little sisters stood at her side. Outside, a small construction crew was wrapping up its day working on Montagna's brick driveway.

A short time later, Francesca Montagna drove up in a late-model Lexus SUV and turned angry when asked if her husband was the new head of the Bonanno family. "I don't know what you're talking about," said the dark- haired woman, dressed in a sweatsuit. "I have kids in here. It's not appropriate for you to be here."

Until now, Montagna has rarely appeared on the radar of the NYPD and the feds, and neighbors said they knew nothing about any reputed mob ties. Still, the Mafia talk didn't worry them. "Am I scared?" said one local. "Absolutely not. I come from Brooklyn. Believe me, when you live next to one of these people, there's nothing to be afraid of."

Another neighbor found the suggestion "ridiculous," but quickly added, "We'd be shocked and scared at the same time if that is true. Wow!"

The Montagnas run the family-owned Matrix Steel Co. on Bogart St. in Brooklyn. According to Dun & Bradstreet, the firm supplies structural material for builders and reported a modest $1.5 million in sales last year.

In 2003, Montagna pleaded guilty to criminal contempt charges and was sentenced to probation for refusing to answer questions before a Manhattan grand jury. He had been indicted a year earlier after a probe by the Manhattan district attorney's office as one of 20 wiseguys charged in a takedown of a Mafia crew allegedly involved in gambling, loansharking and weapons possession.

Whether the new Bonanno boss has any other arrests was unclear yesterday.

"He's well-liked by the rank and file," said an underworld source, adding that Montagna is also known as Sal the Zip, a reference to the name bestowed on members of the crime family's Sicilian wing.

Sources said Montagna was close to legendary Bonanno gangster Baldassare (Baldo) Amato, another immigrant from near Castellammare del Golfo in Sicily, and served in the crew of capo Patrick (Patty from the Bronx) DeFilippo. Those guys are largely history now, with Amato recently sentenced to life in prison and DeFilippo facing a retrial on murder charges.

Led by Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Andres, the feds have indicted and convicted more than 70 Bonanno gangsters since 2002, leaving behind about 75 shell-shocked members on the street. Sources said Montagna's promotion couldn't have happened without the blessing of Vincent (Vinny Gorgeous) Basciano, who once operated Hello Gorgeous, a hair salon in the Bronx, and became the official boss of the crime family after Massino turned rat.

Thomas Reppetto, author of the just-published "Bringing Down The Mob: A War Against the American Mafia (Henry Holt)," said the new breed of boss pales in comparison to past godfathers like the late John Gotti or Vincent Gigante. "There may no longer be a boss in the sense that we understood the term, an all-powerful figure at the top, because naming an official boss provides the FBI with a clear target," Reppetto said.

Thanks to John Marzulli

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Bonanno's Baldo Gets Life in Prison for Murders

Friends of ours: Baldassare "Baldo" Amato, Bonanno Crime Family
Friends of mine: Sebastiano DiFalco, Robert Perrino

Baldassare Amato, a powerful Bonanno crime family figure who represents the group’s traditional Sicilian roots, stood silently with his arms crossed yesterday as a federal judge denounced him and meted out a life sentence for two 1992 Mafia murders.

As the judge, Nicholas G. Garaufis of United States District Court in Brooklyn, tore into him for “using murder as a business tactic,” at several points Mr. Amato raised his right hand to his chin and then crossed his arms again in front of his chest. “Mr. Amato,” said the judge, making no effort to mask his disgust, “you’re just a plain, wanton murderer and a Mafia assassin. The sentence I’m going to give you, as far as I’m concerned, is a gift.”

Mr. Amato, 54, dressed in a gray prison sweatshirt and khaki trousers, appeared unmoved when the judge handed down the life sentence, almost as though it were a cost of doing business. He and his lawyer had both declined to address the court.

After pronouncing the sentence, Judge Garaufis asked the lead prosecutor in the case, Assistant United States Attorney John Buretta, how much of a fine he could levy. Mr. Buretta said the maximum was $250,000, and the judge levied it.

Mr. Amato, who is known as Baldo and who immigrated to New York from the Sicilian fishing village of Castellammare del Golfo when he was 18, was convicted on July 12 of racketeering conspiracy charges, including the murders of two Bonanno associates.

The jury concluded that he ordered the murder of restaurant owner Sebastiano DiFalco and carried out a second killing himself, shooting Robert Perrino in the head several times.

Prosecutors had presented evidence that the Bonanno family was concerned that Mr. Perrino, a delivery supervisor for The New York Post, might help expose an infiltration of The Post’s delivery operation by the crime family.

The judge said that Mr. DiFalco was killed “possibly because Mr. Amato and his Mafia colleagues wanted to take over the business and they might have had a disagreement over price or some other detail.”

The six-week trial was a primer on the devastation that federal prosecutors in Brooklyn have wrought on the Bonannos, cutting a swath through the family’s ranks and upending its traditions with a growing cadre of informers.

Mr. Amato was also stoical when Judge Garaufis rejected a request by his lawyer, Diarmuid White, for a recommendation that he be sent to a prison in the New York area so his family could visit. “It’s for them, your honor,” Mr. White said of the family.

The judge was unmoved.

“I have compassion for the defendant’s family, and I also have compassion for the members of the families of Sebastiano DiFalco and Robert Perrino,” the judge said. “This defendant made it certain that they would never visit their family member, anywhere.”

Mr. DiFalco’s two nephews were in court yesterday and said they were gratified by the life sentence and the fine against Mr. Amato. “He’s a cold and evil person,” said one of them, Sal Montoro, 42. He said Mr. Amato had gone to their uncle’s wake and vowed to help find the killer.

For Mr. Amato, after the sentence was handed down, it was a brisk, businesslike handshake and a small smile for his lawyer, and he walked out the courtroom’s side door to the holding cells, accompanied by United States marshals.

Thanks to William Rashbaum


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