The Chicago Syndicate: Burton Kaplan
Showing posts with label Burton Kaplan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Burton Kaplan. Show all posts

Friday, September 23, 2016

Police Corruption and Cover-ups Surround "The Brotherhood - The True Story of Two Cops Who Murdered for the Mafia"

In 1994, an underboss of the Lucchese crime family, Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso, flipped. He was in federal custody, facing numerous murder and racketeering counts, when he informed FBI agents that, in return for a "pad" of $4,000 a month, two New York City Police Department detectives had regularly slipped him confidential information from police and FBI organized-crime files: names and addresses of confidential informants (who were then knocked off), tipoffs on raids and phone taps, and advance warnings of arrests.

For almost a decade, Casso said that the two detectives, Stephen Caracappa and Louis Eppolito, conducted secret investigations for the Lucchese family. Eventually, Casso claimed, he hired the detectives as hit men. They used their badges to put unsuspecting gangland targets at ease, killed them and collected payoffs of up to $100,000.

What makes "Brotherhoods: The True Story of Two Cops Who Murdered for the Mafia" even more alarming is the criminal negligence of law-enforcement officials, who showed little interest in bringing Caracappa and Eppolito to justice. "The Brotherhoods" chronicles years of egregious police corruption and the stupefying bureaucratic indifference that allowed it to flourish. It was not until 11 years after Casso first fingered the two cops that they were finally arrested.

After receiving life sentences, the two had their convictions thrown out by a judge who ruled that the statute of limitations had expired. At the time of their arrest, a Drug Enforcement Administration agent said, "It's been a long time coming." Well, it's still not over. The book closes with the government's appeal of the ruling.

Investigative journalist Guy Lawson teamed up for this book with William Oldham, a retired NYPD detective who spearheaded the police corruption investigation as an investigator for the U.S. attorney's office in Brooklyn. Oldham brings an insider's insight and analysis to this absorbing book, which serves as a cautionary tale to all police departments. Because the NYPD brass did not assiduously follow up on the signs of corruption, the job of every cop in the department became more difficult.

Eppolito and Caracappa were longtime best friends and former partners as young detectives in south Brooklyn. Thin, quiet and with a preference for dark suits, Caracappa was called "the Prince of Darkness" by other detectives. He was also one of the department's top detectives, a go-to guy in the elite Major Case Squad, which investigated high-profile, difficult cases. Caracappa had "written the book on organized crime murders in New York," the authors explain. "If a wise guy was killed in Queens or the Bronx and the homicide detective who caught the case wanted to know how his victim fit in the Mafia, he would look in Caracappa's book for connections."

Eppolito, on the other hand, was "fat, loud, foul-mouthed ... with a thick mustache and a taste for gold chains. ... He was a conspicuous cop - he dressed like a wise guy." He also wrote a memoir called "Mafia Cop: The Story of an Honest Cop Whose Family Was the Mob." Given his family's connections with organized crime, it is remarkable that NYPD screeners let Eppolito onto the force. His grandfather - "Diamond Louie" - and his father - "Fat the Gangster" - were members of the Gambino crime family.

Eppolito served as his father's bagman when he was a boy, handing cash to local cops so they wouldn't break up Fat the Gangster's dice and poker games. At his father's funeral - where the FBI took surveillance photos of the numerous organized-crime figures in attendance - Eppolito was slipped notes by wise guys.

After killing time at a no-work job set up by a Gambino relative, Eppolito decided to join the NYPD. To Eppolito's way of thinking, he was simply exchanging one brotherhood for another.

Eppolito retired before his memoir was published; Caracappa didn't. He was still on the force, and in the author's note for "Mafia Cop," Eppolito calls him "my closest and dearest friend." When Oldham came across a copy of Eppolito's memoir in the early 1990s, he was assigned to the Major Case Squad along with Caracappa. Oldham was stunned that Caracappa, who had access to the department's most sensitive intelligence, would be best friends with a dubious character like Eppolito. That was Oldham's first clue that the Mafia might have made inroads into the NYPD.

When Casso told federal authorities about Caracappa and Eppolito's criminality, Oldham assumed investigations would be launched. When the detectives later retired to Las Vegas and bought homes in a luxury development across the street from each other, Oldham was outraged. The crooked cops had skated. Oldham decided to investigate the case himself - first as an NYPD detective and later from the U.S. attorney's office.

In 2004, Oldham's situation improved, as the book relates: "Finally ... a small group of detectives and investigators came together to work on the investigation. Oldham called them 'the cadre.' ... They were all determined to see that justice was done. All of the voluminous information Oldham had gathered over the years was examined anew. More evidence was uncovered. Compelling connections between 'the cops' and long-forgotten murders were unearthed. Even with the accumulated facts, Oldham knew the case needed someone inside the conspiracy ... to take the disparate strands of the case and pull them together. He needed a storyteller."

Oldham found him in "Downtown" Burt Kaplan, a colorful Jewish gangster who was one of the most notorious dealers in stolen goods in New York. It was Kaplan who first made contact with the two detectives; it was Kaplan who set them up with organized-crime figures, and it was Kaplan who ultimately turned on them and testified in court.

Of course, it shouldn't have taken until 2005 to convict Caracappa and Eppolito. Shortly after teaming up in the 1970s, they accumulated numerous Internal Affairs complaints, including cash stolen from arrestees and money missing from a homicide scene. When the nephew of crime boss Carlo Gambino was busted for attempting to set up a major heroin deal with an FBI undercover agent, agents searching the house discovered a confidential NYPD Intelligence Divisions file. The FBI ran the documents for fingerprints, and they matched Eppolito's.

"Eppolito had a long, contorted explanation for how his fingerprints had magically appeared on a police department intelligence document found in a Gambino's house," Oldham recalled. "I wasn't buying it."

After the two cops retired, Oldham continued to try and bring them down. He told his NYPD supervisor about the trail he'd followed and the evidence he had collected. "He didn't want to hear about it. He said the words slowly, carefully enunciating them. 'I do not want to hear about that case ever again. Understand?'" Oldham recalled. "Catching Caracappa and Eppolito would ... hurt the whole department. Certain people think cops go bad every day. This would just confirm it."

"The Brotherhoods" is the anti-"Sopranos." Instead of yarns about colorful mobsters who believe in family, honor and omert ... , the book provides a glimpse of the New Millennium Mafia: arrested mobsters who start singing as soon as the cuffs are on, and crime bosses who let the families of loyal soldiers doing time live in penury. The book is long and dense, and it would have benefited from the perspective and insight of other detectives in "the cadre." On the other hand, readers will find this an important and well-told story.

Thanks to Miles Corwin

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Good Rat - A True Story

Jimmy Breslin stared helplessly out the window of his office in The Daily News one afternoon in the 1970s, seeking inspiration — through a haze of cigar smoke — from the nondescript facade of a building across 42nd Street.

He betrayed no visible brain activity, not even a flicker of the genius that infused his columns, one of which was close to being overdue. I know because I was his anxious editor. But his blank stare was an illusion. Mr. Breslin was eavesdropping. He was mining a rich lode of gossip from his assistant, Ann Marie, who was chatting on the telephone outside his office door.

Mr. Breslin is a very good listener. Almost imperceptibly, his head began to turn until he finally fixed his gaze on Ann Marie, and in one of those unheralded but defining moments in journalism, a series of columns about the underside of life in the Big City — with the names changed to protect the guilty and Mr. Breslin himself — was born.

In “The Good Rat: A True Story” (Ecco Press), Mr. Breslin recalls another of his eureka moments, which took place in a Brooklyn courtroom where he had gone to research a book about two cops turned Mafia hit men. One was fat and sad-eyed, the other thin and listless.

“Am I going to write 70,000 words about these two?” Mr. Breslin asked himself. “Rather I lay brick.” But when the trial started two years ago, he recalls, an unknown name on the prosecution witness list “turns the proceeding into something that thrills: the autobiography of Burton Kaplan, criminal.” Mr. Breslin had found his subject, a Brooklyn Tech dropout, father of a judge, who was “a great merchant, too great, and after he sold everything that did belong to him, he sold things that did not.”

And lucky for us. His book ingeniously synthesizes Burton Kaplan’s bizarre biography, his testimony, and Mr. Breslin’s memoirs of his own earlier exploits and encounters with characters who punctuated his columns but are mostly dead, imprisoned, or hidden in witness protection programs.

“You can drink with legitimate people if you want,” Mr. Breslin writes of his social circle, adding that he is a product of nights when the mobster Fat Tony Salerno looked around the Copacabana, scowled at him and asked, “ ‘Didn’t you go where I told you to?’ ”

Where had Mr. Breslin been told to go? That morning, he had encountered Mr. Salerno at a court engagement where the mobster complained, “You look like a bum,” and slipped him an East Side tailor’s business card.

“Tell him you want a suit made right away so you don’t make me ashamed I know you,” Mr. Salerno ordered.

The book is cleverly constructed, opening with an annotated cast of characters, and it delivers canny anthropological insights into organized crime (“The feds soon realized all they had to do was follow guys who kiss each other and they’d know the whole Mafia”). Mr. Breslin also criticizes John Gotti for having “violated New York’s revered rush-hour rules when he had Paul Castellano killed in the middle of it.”

Mr. Breslin’s account of a victim who was killed by mistake belies the idea that there are no innocent bystanders. And every page reveals his talent for putting a twinkle in your mind’s eye (the lawyer Bruce Cutler wore “a light khaki summer suit that could have used 10 pounds less to cover”). The book is Jimmy Breslin at his best.

Thanks to Sam Roberts

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Convictions of Mafia Cops are Reinstated

The racketeering convictions of two retired New York City detectives who helped to kill at least eight men in their role as mob assassins were ordered reinstated by a federal appeals court. It ruled that a trial judge wrongly overturned the jury’s guilty verdicts two years ago.

The decision means that the two highly decorated detectives — Louis J. Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa — will now face sentencing for their convictions in one of the most spectacular cases of police corruption in city history.

The two men seem certain to spend the rest of their lives in prison. In 2006, after they were convicted of racketeering conspiracy, the trial judge, Jack B. Weinstein of United States District Court in Brooklyn, issued but did not officially impose life prison sentences for each man. Then, saying the five-year statute of limitations for racketeering had run out, the judge overturned the convictions despite what he called “overwhelming evidence” that the two men were “heinous criminals” who were guilty of the “most despicable crimes of violence and treachery.”

But in a 70-page opinion released on Wednesday, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in Manhattan, concluded that Judge Weinstein’s view of the conspiracy was too narrow, and that it had continued to exist within five years of when the men were charged.

Although murders and other serious crimes that the men were accused of occurred in Brooklyn in the 1980s and 1990s, prosecutors used more recent and less serious charges — money laundering and narcotics distribution in Las Vegas in 2004 and 2005 — to bring the earlier acts under the umbrella of an ongoing criminal enterprise.

Judge Weinstein, in throwing out the men’s convictions, had found that the recent crimes were “singular, sporadic acts of criminality,” and could not be considered part of the earlier conspiracy, which included kidnapping, bribery and obstruction of justice. Because the older crimes dated back more than five years, the men, thus, could not be prosecuted for them.

“The government’s case against these defendants stretches federal racketeering and conspiracy law to the breaking point,” Judge Weinstein wrote.

Judge Weinstein had also decided that the earlier conspiracy ended when the two detectives retired and left the New York area and other co-conspirators were arrested. But Judge Amalya L. Kearse, writing for the appellate panel, said Judge Weinstein’s views of the criminal enterprise were too restrictive, given the evidence presented at the trial.

For example, Judge Kearse said, even after the two detectives retired in the early 1990s, one gave his pager number to Burton Kaplan, a former associate of the Luchese crime family who was the government’s key witness and testified about the services that both detectives had provided to organized crime.

She said the appeals panel concluded that the criminal enterprise had not ended before 2000, and thus the prosecution was not disallowed. Joining in the decision were Judges Robert D. Sack and Peter W. Hall.

Benton J. Campbell, the United States attorney in Brooklyn, whose office had appealed the case, said: “We are gratified by the decision of the Court of Appeals reinstating the jury verdict against the two defendants, who can now be sentenced for the extremely serious crimes that they committed.”

A police spokesman had no comment. Lawyers for each of the two men, who have been held without bond, did not respond to phone messages seeking comment.

Prosecutors charged that the two men, who both joined the police force in 1969, had taken thousands of dollars to carry out the mob murders and to leak law enforcement information, disclosing the identities of witnesses and compromising investigations.

In the first of the mob killings, in 1986, the two detectives, driving in an unmarked police car and using a siren, pulled a jeweler named Israel Greenwald over on a Long Island road, according to a government brief summarizing the trial testimony.

The detectives told Mr. Greenwald that he was needed in a lineup concerning an automobile accident. They then drove him to a garage, where he was shot to death.

Prosecutors said the detectives had first offered their services to Mr. Kaplan through a cousin of Mr. Eppolito’s who was also a mobster. Mr. Kaplan entered into an agreement with the detectives to pay them regularly. “The defendants were paid $4,000 a month for information, and tens of thousands of dollars for murders and kidnappings,” the government brief said.

At the trial, the jury also found that the men murdered a capo in the Gambino family in his Mercedes-Benz on the Belt Parkway; and that they kidnapped a Staten Island man, put him in a trunk, and delivered him to another mobster who tortured him for hours before killing him.

Judge Kearse, in the decision, cited the payments to the detectives as one factor that supported the prosecution’s view that the conspiracy spanned the entire period of the indictment, from 1979 to 2005. She said that the jury had been told the principal purpose of the enterprise, as the indictment charged, was to generate money for the detectives, through legal and illegal activities.

Judge Kearse also noted that prosecutors had told the jury that the two men had “received money for each crime in New York, and they broke the law for money in Las Vegas.”

Thus, she ruled, the jury could have inferred that the conduct was “sufficiently similar in purpose” to show that “the enterprise that began in New York continued to exist in Las Vegas.”

Thanks to Benjamin Weiser

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Old Days: Mobsters Whacked for Revenge; Now: They Evict

If you can't settle a vendetta with blood, try real estate.

Burton Kaplan, a Mafia informant in the "mob cops" case, was getting back at his one-time ally, Luchese underboss Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso, when he sued to evict the capo's son from his Brooklyn home last year, court papers reveal.

"When asked why, after all these years, he was trying to take the premises . . . Kaplan stated that he's getting even for Anthony Casso Sr. ordering a contract on his [Kaplan's] life," lawyers for Anthony Casso Jr. claim in a countersuit to the eviction filed last week.

According to the countersuit, Kaplan sat down with Casso Jr., at a Brooklyn restaurant in late 2006 and admitted that he'd taken the deed to the house as part of a money-laundering scheme with the father.

It seems the Luchese underboss had "sold" the Mill Basin home to Kaplan in 1985, with the expectation that it would be transferred back to the Cassos at an appropriate time.

Kaplan allegedly told Casso Sr.'s late wife that he'd give the house back for $125,000. That demand was upped to $650,000 in 2006, the papers allege.

Thanks to Alex Ginsberg

Monday, March 05, 2007

Mob Money Pays for Judge's Wedding

Friends of ours: Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso
Friends of mine: Burton Kaplan

A Manhattan judge's lavish wedding was paid for by Mafia mass murderer Anthony (Gaspipe) Casso as a favor to the mobbed-up father of the bride, according to court papers obtained by the Daily News.

The shocking allegation is the latest embarrassment for acting Supreme Court Justice Deborah Kaplan, whose father, Burton Kaplan, had mob ties and was convicted of drug trafficking.

In a suit filed yesterday in Brooklyn Supreme Court, Anthony Casso Jr., the son of the jailed-for-life Luchese underboss, claims Burton Kaplan recently admitted to him that he borrowed $150,000 from the elder Casso to pay for the wedding.

"She has no knowledge of the allegations contained in the suit," said Bob Liff, a spokesman retained by Deborah Kaplan.

The loan was made around the same time as an alleged sham purchase by Kaplan of Casso's home on E. 72nd St. in Brooklyn as part of a "money laundering deal," the suit filed by attorney Bruce Baron contends.

Casso Jr., who still lives in the house with his wife and infant son, is fighting eviction proceedings started by Kaplan. His attorney Bruce Baron also is seeking a stay of the trial in Brooklyn Housing Court.

Kaplan allegedly fessed up about the wedding loan during a secret sitdown he sought with Casso Jr. at a barbecue restaurant in Brooklyn last October, just one month after Kaplan was sprung on bail as a reward for his testimony against the Mafia cops.

Kaplan, 72, guarded by two federal agents at the meeting, allegedly told Casso Jr. that he "partially repaid" the wedding loan, according to the suit.

Deborah Kaplan was elected to Civil Court in 2002 and promoted to the Supreme Court after her father's mob ties became public.

Thanks to John Marzulli

Monday, October 02, 2006

Stool Pigeon in Mafia Cops Case Freed

Friends of ours: Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso, Lucchese Crime Family
Friends of mine: Louis Eppolito, Stephen Caracappa, Burton Kaplan

The truth has set him free.

Stool pigeon Burton Kaplan, the key witness against mob cops Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa, was sprung from prison yesterday after serving just over nine years of a 27-year sentence for dealing tons of marijuana.

Brooklyn federal Judge Jack Weinstein commuted the prison stint for Kaplan, who was the go-between for the ex-NYPD detectives and Luchese crime-family boss Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso, as part of a deal for his cooperation. "His information led to the resolution of eight murder investigations," said prosecutor Robert Henoch, who had nothing but praise for the detailed information Kaplan, 72, offered - which Henoch said was "excruciatingly corroborated."

"His memory was astounding," Henoch said, noting that Kaplan helped investigators uncover evidence that the cops were acting as paid Mafia moles and hit men while wearing their shields.

Neither Kaplan's wife nor daughter, Manhattan state Supreme Court Judge Deborah Kaplan, were in court yesterday because Kaplan feared for their safety, according to his lawyer Michael Gold. "I know words cannot change my crimes," Kaplan told Weinstein. "My only concern was my own selfish motives of not wanting to get caught."

The judge released Kaplan, who pleaded guilty in March 2005 to charges stemming from the crooked cops' case, on $2 million bail while he awaits sentencing for those crimes.

Eppolito and Caracappa were convicted in April, but Weinstein overturned the jury conviction on a legal technicality. The pair are on 23-hour-a-day lockdown in a federal prison in Brooklyn while prosecutors appeal Weinstein's decision.

Thanks to Zach Haberman

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Snitch from "Mafia Cops" Case May Have Sentenced Reduced

A former mob associate who helped convict the "Mafia cops" could have his prison sentence reduced because of his testimony, according to a published report.

During Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa's trial, Burton Kaplan told jurors he acted as a middleman, passing secret police information -- including names of confidential informants and imminent mob arrests -- from Eppolito and Caracappa to Luchese crime family underboss Anthony (Gaspipe) Casso.

As thanks, prosecutors are expected to ask U.S. District Judge Jack Weinstein to resentence Kaplan, 72, who has served 15 years of a 27-year sentence, according to the New York Daily News. "Burt was an incredible witness, he was certainly telling the truth and was responsible for getting convictions against two really bad people," a legal source told the News. "If anybody deserves a sentence reduction, it's him."

While Eppolito and Caracappa, a former Great Kills resident, were found guilty of every count in the racketeering conspiracy case -- from murder for hire to kidnapping to witness tampering to bribery -- the verdict was tossed out June 30 by Weinstein, who ruled that the statute of limitations had run out on the pair's racketeering convictions. Weinstein has ordered a new trial on charges of money laundering and drug trafficking.

Thanks to Staten Island Advance

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Bad Cops First, Then Mob Cops?

Friends of ours: Burton Kaplan, Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso, Luchese Crime Family, Gambino Crime Family, Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano, John Gotti, Paul Castellano
Friends of mine: Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa

Before they were mob cops, they were bad cops. On top of eight murders, disgraced NYPD detectives Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa are accused of other sordid deeds while wearing their shields - including drug use and robbing stores for extra cash.

Caracappa, 64, boasted to one witness expected to testify at their pending trial that he dabbled with cocaine while working as an undercover narcotics cop, according to court papers filed by the Brooklyn U.S. Attorney's Office.

The ex-detective also admitted to Mafia turncoat Burton Kaplan - the go-between for the pair and Luchese family boss Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso - he and Eppolito used to hold up local delis for spending money in the late '70s, when the two started working together.

Prosecutors also unveiled allegations that when Eppolito was getting ready to hang up his badge, he asked Kaplan for cash so he could use it to bribe doctors into lying that he had a bad heart.

The court document, which prosecutors hope the judge presiding over the case will allow into evidence, details the numerous shady dealings the cops had with the Mafia.

The two were busted in Las Vegas last March on charges that they acted as assassins and moles for the Luchese crime family in the '80s and '90s.

Eppolito began taking bribes for leaking information to mobsters as early as 1979, the papers say, while Caracappa joined five years later, and the two were put on a $4,000-a-month retainer.

Some of the jobs prosecutors say the pair took on:
  • In 1982, Eppolito tried to get a $5,000 bribe from Gambino big-turned-rat Salvatore "Sammy Bull" Gravano to not investigate a murder Gravano was suspected of committing. Prosecutors did not say if he ever received the cash.
  • In 1990, Casso offered to pay them to assassinate Gravano to avenge the murder of Paul Castellano by John Gotti. The pair declined the contract.

The documents go on to describe a conversation Caracappa had with Kaplan. Caracappa said he would "keep an eye on Eppolito, because both feared Eppolito would cooperate against them," the court papers say.

"Caracappa was the real thing - a hero," said his lawyer, Ed Hayes. "I look forward to confronting these human monsters who say otherwise in court."

Monday, January 09, 2006

Alleged Mafia Cop Speaks Out

Friends of ours: Lucchese Crime Family, Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso, Eddie Lino, Nicholas Guido
Friends of mine" Stephen Caraccappa, Louis Eppolito, Burton Kaplan

Over the years, 60 Minutes has done its share of stories about police corruption, but none more outrageous than the one you’re about to hear: it's the story of two New York City police officers who stand accused of being hired killers for the mafia. Stephen Caraccappa and Louis Eppolito - two highly decorated former detectives - are set to go on trial next month, charged with the murders of 10 people, murders committed on the orders of a vicious mob boss. For the first time, one of those detectives, Stephen Caracappa, who is free on bail, talks to correspondent Ed Bradley and answers the allegations that he betrayed his badge and became a mafia hitman.

Caracappa says the allegations against him are ridiculous. "It's ludicrous. Anybody that knows me, knows I love the police department. I couldn't kill anybody. I shot a guy once on the job, and I still think about it. It bothers me," he says.

Why does he think police went after him? "I could come up with 100 different scenarios. But none of the scenarios make any sense to me, myself," says Caracappa. "All I know is that I am here now. And, I'm fighting for my life. I'm fighting for my reputation. I want to be vindicated of this. And, I'm mad. I'm angry."

For most of his 23-year career in the New York City Police Department, Stephen Caracappa was widely respected for his tenacity and savvy in cracking complicated cases. He rose from street patrolman to undercover narcotics officer, to first-grade detective, receiving numerous commendations along the way. He helped create the prestigious organized-crime homicide unit. His mission was to investigate the Lucchese crime family but instead, prosecutors say that in 1985 Caracappa and his former partner Louis Eppolito actually joined the family, and began working for its brutal boss, Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso.

Speaking to Ed Bradley in a 1998 prison interview, Casso said, "I have two detectives that work the major squad team for the New York Police Department." Asked what their names were, Casso told Bradley, "Lou Eppolito and Steve – he’s got a long last name, Ca... Capis..."

"Caracappa?" Bradley asked.

"Caracappa yeah," Casso replied. "Caracappa, whatever it is. I can’t say it all the time you know. Louis is a big guy who works out. Steve is a little small skinny guy."

Casso remains in the prison, serving a life sentence after admitting to 36 murders. He told Bradley about the extraordinary relationship he had with Detectives Caracappa and Eppolito. He also told his story to federal prosecutors, spelling out how, for a hefty salary, Caracappa and Eppolito would walk right up to Casso’s enemies, trick them into believing they were under arrest, and then deliver them to Casso to be executed.

That’s exactly what Casso told 60 Minutes the detectives did to a young hood named Jimmy Hydell. "They put him in the car. The kid thought they were taking him to the station house. But they took him to a garage. When they got to the garage, they laid him on the floor; they tied his feet, his handcuffs, put him in the trunk of the car," Casso said. "After that, I killed the kid. Myself, at that time I gave Louis and Steve, I think, $45,000 for delivering him to me."

"You gave them a bonus for delivering some one to you, you killed?" Bradley asked.

"Right. Well they wanted to kill for me. I didn’t even have to do it. They were gonna get him, kill him and do whatever I wanted to do with him," Casso replied in the 1998 interview.

"I don’t know Hydell, never met Hydell, says Caracappa. "I never met Anthony Casso. I don't know Anthony Casso."

What about Casso's claim that he had met Caracappa during the alleged delivery of Jimmy Hydell? "Mr. Bradley, I never met - I spoke to Anthony Casso. Never," Caracappa says.

Why would Casso lie? "To save himself, I would assume," says Caracappa. "But, why would he use me? I don't know."

Casso was, in fact, hoping to save himself, and reduce his sentence, when he first told his astonishing account to investigators 12 years ago. But prosecutors say they couldn’t charge Eppolito and Caracappa then because they couldn’t prove Casso's story. But now they have witnesses to many of the murders who corroborate what Casso had to say. Among them is Jimmy Hydell’s mother, who told investigators that the detectives came to her house looking for her son a few hours before he was abducted and killed, and a garage worker who told authorities where to dig up the body of another man Caracappa and Eppolito allegedly buried beneath a lot in Brooklyn.

The most brazen crime former Detectives Eppolito and Caracappa are accused of took place along New York City’s Belt Parkway. Allegedly in broad daylight, the two detectives pulled over a car driven by a mobster named Eddie Lino. They flashed their badges, and according to prosecutors, shot him dead.

"I gave them $75,000. They killed him, like, cowboy style. They pulled alongside of him. They shot him. They made him crash into the fence alongside the Belt Parkway on the service road. Right? Then Steve got out of the car, ran across the street and finished shooting him. Finished killing him in the car," Casso said during the 1998 interview.

It's a claim Caracappa denies. "I was a New York City detective for 23 years. We don't go around killing people. I did not kill Eddie Lino. I'm not a cowboy," he says.

Caracappa agrees that being on the police force doesn't automatically mean someone is a good guy and acknowledges that there have been members of the police force who have killed.

"So, that doesn't, you know, that's not a good answer for me to say, 'I didn't do it because I'm on the job,'" Bradley says.

"No, it's my answer. It's my answer because I have pride in myself, Mr. Bradley," Caracappa replies. "I wouldn't do something like that. Put my life in jeopardy. My family. Disgrace the badge. Disgrace the city. Take everything that I had worked for my whole life and throw it away? And, killed somebody in the street like a cowboy? That's not my style. It's not me."

"If you thought you wouldn't get caught?" Bradley asks.

"Get caught? Everybody gets caught. And, the person who did this is gonna get caught," says Caracappa.

Caracappa says he’s also speaking for his friend and co-defendant Louis Eppolito, who declined 60 Minutes' request for an interview.

"He’s not the monster the newspapers portrayed him to be," says Caracappa. "We’ll put up the evidence to show that we couldn’t have done these crimes. We just couldn’t have done 'em." But prosecutors say Stephen Caracappa left a paper trail - a key piece of evidence – proving he used his position to access police department computers andfunnel confidential information to Anthony Casso about the whereabouts of his enemies. One of them was a mobster named Nicholas Guido.

Investigators say Caracappa ran that name through his computer, mistakenly came up with an address for the wrong Nicholas Guido and a few weeks later, it led Casso to kill an innocent man. "I don’t remember running Nicholas Guido in the computer. But if they have a printout saying I did, I probably did. I ran countless names in the computer," says Caracappa.

So does Caracappa think Guido's murder was just a coincidence? "I don't know if it's a coincidence," he says. "But, if I did anything and I had to run a name, it's down on paper and it's documented why I did it…. And, who I did it for. And, I definitely didn't do it for any wise guy."

Stephen Caracappa’s lawyer, Ed Hayes, argues it would have been implausible for a first-grade detective like Caracappa to make such a rookie mistake. "If he had been looking for the right Nicky Guido, it would have been easy for him to find him," says Hayes. "It’s practically impossible to me to assume that he would have made this mistake. Because he's based his whole career on avoiding that kind of mistake, assuming you're going to kill people for money, you want to kill the right guy. Not the wrong guy. Otherwise you got to kill two people for the price of one, right?"

Maybe he was just sloppy. "Yeah. Maybe he made a mistake. Or maybe he didn't do it," says Hayes. "But in our system, you don't convict somebody on a maybe."

While that may be, prosecutors have also obtained information from a former top associate of Anthony “Gaspipe” Casso named Burton Kaplan, a convicted narcotics trafficker, who claims he personally paid detectives Caracappa and Eppolito when they committed murders for Casso. Ed Hayes says neither Casso nor Kaplan have any credibility.

"You have several individuals that even by criminal standards are revolting. And I think they saw this as an opportunity to make a plan, where they could get special treatment and get out of jail. And in fact, Burt Kaplan, who’s a drug dealer, a super large money launderer, has gotten out of jail because of making these accusations," says Hayes.

Stephen Caracappa says he knows he is being framed. And he says he has a good idea why he was implicated in the first place: his relationship with Louis Eppolito, who came from a family of mobsters, and wrote a book about it, titled "Mafia Cop: The Story of an Honest Cop Whose Family Was The Mob." In the book, Eppolito brags about socializing with mobsters and torturing suspects when he was on the job.

Does Caracappa fear jurors might know of the book and lump him in by guilt of association? "It could be. But if you knew Louie Eppolito and you spoke to Louie Eppolito, and you spent any time with him, you would see he couldn't do that. The guy is gentle," says Caracappa. But there’s a separate case that paints a dark picture of Louis Eppolito, involving Barry Gibbs, who spent 19 years in prison for a murder prosecutors now say he didn’t commit. He was freed four months ago, after a judge ruled that Det. Eppolito, who investigated the crime, intimidated the only eyewitness in the case into falsely testifying against Gibbs.

"He is a corrupt cop, and he is no good, and that’s the end of it," says Gibbs. "He ruined my life. He could have done that to anybody. It just so happens it was me. He could have done it you. He could have done it to anybody sitting here."

That eyewitness who testified against Gibbs was a former Marine, Peter Mitchell. In 1986, Mitchell saw a man dumping a woman’s body along a road in Brooklyn. He gave a description of the suspect to Eppolito, who was on the scene investigating the murder, and while his description bore no resemblance to Barry Gibbs, Mitchell says Eppolito threatened to hurt him and his family, if he refused to pick Gibbs out of a police lineup and point the finger at him in court.

Mitchell admits he knew he was lying on the stand and that his testimony would land Gibbs in jail. "Yeah, but you know what? I don't want this cop after me," says Mitchell.

How could he do that? "How could I do that? My family was on the line here. And I, if I had to do it, I'll do it again," says Mitchell.

Mitchell says that if he hadn't fingered Barry Gibbs he would be dead.

As for Barry Gibbs, he would still be in prison today if prosecutors hadn’t stumbled across his case file last spring during a search of Louis Eppolito’s home. Eppolito has not been charged with any criminal wrongdoing in this case, and claims he did nothing improper. The former detective made a brief statement to reporters recently about the 10 murder charges against him.

"I was a very highly decorated cop. I worked very hard my whole life and I just wanted people to know I’m not the person that they’re portraying me," he said.

Asked by a reporter if he was ever a bad cop, Eppolito replied, "Never in my life, never."

The question for the jury in this case, which goes to trial next month, is: did two decorated police officers cross the thin blue line and become hitmen for the mafia?

"You must know that if you get convicted on even one of these murder charges, you'll go down in history as one of the most corrupt cops in the history of the department," says Bradley. "That's true, Mr. Bradley, but I won't be convicted, because I didn't do this," replies Caracappa. "I won't, didn't do it. So I'm not gonna be convicted. I won't have that on my epitaph."

Courtesy of 60 Minutes

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