The Chicago Syndicate: Dominick Pizzonia
Showing posts with label Dominick Pizzonia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dominick Pizzonia. Show all posts

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Reputed Gambino Sentenced for Conspiracy to Commit Murder Conviction

Dominick Pizzonia shuffled into Federal District Court in Brooklyn yesterday wearing a faded and wrinkled prison uniform, his hair almost completely gray. Mr. Pizzonia, a reputed Gambino crime family captain, looked more like a middle school mop man than a hardened mobster, fragile as he entered the courtroom for sentencing after being convicted in May of conspiracy to commit murder.

Judge Jack B. Weinstein sentenced Mr. Pizzonia, 65, to 15 years in prison, a point between the 20-year maximum that prosecutors were pushing for and the 7-to-10-year term his lawyers were hoping for.

For Mr. Pizzonia, it was the latest in a long string of court proceedings that included testimony by made men, murderers and Mafia turncoats who were brought in to detail or dispute his role in the 1992 killings of Thomas and Rosemarie Uva.

The Uvas were a married couple from Ozone Park, Queens, who rode roughshod through very rough circles, robbing mobsters with an Uzi and — for a time — apparent impunity. The robberies earned them the nickname Bonnie and Clyde, as well as a bounty on their heads, according to witnesses and prosecutors. They robbed Mafia social clubs, forcing their victims to empty their pockets and drop their pants. Perhaps their gravest mistake was robbing the social club that Mr. Pizzonia managed — not once, but twice.

Prosecutors said that Mr. Pizzonia wanted the couple dead, and had given orders for anyone who found them to kill them. He even went to John A. Gotti, the boss of the Gambino family at the time, for permission for the killings, prosecutors said.

The Uvas had become marked for death by the Bonanno, Gambino and Colombo crime families.

The couple were gunned down on the morning of Dec. 24, 1992. Several bullets crashed through the windshield of their car, striking each of them in the head three times. The killings took place not far from their Queens home and Mr. Pizzonia’s social club on nearby Liberty Avenue. Mr. Pizzonia was charged with the killings, but in the end a jury found him guilty only of racketeering conspiracy for participating in planning the killings.

Joseph R. Corozzo, Mr. Pizzonia’s lawyer, pointed out the government’s disdain for Mafia members yesterday, but he cited what he said was its willingness to offer freedom or lesser charges to those who snitch on — or lie about — a bigger fish.

At trial, Mr. Corozzo cast doubt on the government’s case, picking apart the testimony of its star witnesses, who were mostly Mafia defectors, bookies and criminals, one of whom is in the federal witness protection program. The jury returned a not-guilty verdict on the more serious charges.

Prosecutors, arguing for the maximum sentence, reiterated yesterday that Mr. Pizzonia had boasted of putting an end to the Uvas. They reminded the judge that trial testimony had indicated that when another crime family tried to take credit for the killings, Mr. Gotti told the bosses of that family that it was “our Skinny Dom,” as Mr. Pizzonia is known, who killed the couple.

By yesterday afternoon, the fireworks that had preceded the day had faded. There was no commotion as the judge read Mr. Pizzonia’s sentence.

Mr. Pizzonia was seated at a large conference table in Judge Weinstein’s courtroom, directly opposite the judge. Mr. Corozzo sat to his left. The prosecution team sat to the left of Mr. Corozzo, and in the three-row gallery behind Mr. Pizzonia sat his wife and two sons and other supporters, mostly stoic old Italian men with clean-shaven faces and work-worn hands.

Before the judge rendered the sentence, he likened Mr. Pizzonia’s life to a work of cinema, a film with a split screen and a single actor portraying two roles, masterfully at times. On one side of the screen, Judge Weinstein said, you have the church member who was quiet, generous and courtly. But on the other is a hardened criminal who has been “a lifelong member of a vicious gang.”

“How much credit can be given to the worthy side?” Judge Weinstein asked. “In this case, not much.”

Thanks to Trymaine Lee

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Split Verdict for Skinny Dom

Friends of ours: Dominick "Skinny Dom" Pizzonia, Gambino Crime Family, Michael "Mikey Scars" DiLeonardo, John "Junior" Gotti, Bonanno Crime Family, Alfred Dicongilio

A federal jury convicted a 65-year-old mobster of racketeering and conspiring to murder a husband and wife stickup team who had been robbing Mafia clubhouses, but said the government had not proven he had actually killed the couple.

Dominick The ruling will spare Dominick "Skinny Dom" Pizzonia the possibility of a life sentence, but he could still get a lengthy prison term for his involvement in illegal gambling and the murder plot.

Prosecutors said Pizzonia, a reputed soldier in the Gambino organized crime family, was behind the slayings of Rosemarie and Thomas Uva. The couple were believed to have been humiliating the mob by ripping off card games at social clubs, usually armed with a submachine gun.

On Christmas Eve 1992, the Uvas were sitting in their car at a Queens intersection when they were each shot in the back of the head. The car rolled through the intersection and collided with another vehicle before it stopped; police officers found a stash of jewelry with the bloody corpses.

Prosecutors based their case against Pizzonia partly on testimony by Michael "Mikey Scars" DiLeonardo, a Gambino crime family soldier who has been cooperating with authorities for several years.

Pizzonia "was very angry, as everybody else was, that these guys had the nerve to go around robbing clubs, like committing suicide," DiLeonardo told the Brooklyn jury. The turncoat Gambino capo said then-acting Gambino boss John A. "Junior" Gotti sanctioned the slayings -- an allegation Gotti has denied.

Defense attorney Joseph R. Corozzo Jr. attacked the government for building its case on the word of admitted killers like DiLeonardo and suggested another crime family -- the Bonannos -- whacked the Uvas. Corozzo argued in his closing argument Wednesday that the evidence was too weak for a conviction.

Jurors in the case delivered a split verdict, finding that Pizzonia had engaged in illegal gambling and had been in on the murder conspiracy, but finding him not guilty of carrying out the killings.

At trial, the panel heard testimony that the couple had gambled with their lives by ripping off card games at a Queens social club operated by Pizzonia. Rosemarie Uva, 31, took the wheel of the getaway car, and Thomas Uva, 28, armed with an Uzi submachine gun, stripped patrons of their money and jewelry and made the men drop their pants, witnesses said. Their brazenness earned them the nicknames Bonnie and Clyde.

A second defendant in the racketeering case, Alfred Dicongilio, was also found to have been involved in gambling, but was acquitted and walked free because federal racketeering cases require that a person has engaged in more than one illegal act.

Thanks to CNN

Friday, May 04, 2007

Little Italy's Bonnie and Clyde were Gambino's Trophy

Friends of ours: Gambino Crime Family Bonanno Crime Family, Dominick "Skinny Dom" Pizzonia, Michael "Mikey Scars" DiLeonardo, John "Junior" Gotti, Joseph Massino

Thomas and Rosemarie Uva were not exactly criminal geniuses.

The couple liked to rob Mafia-run social clubs in Little Italy and elsewhere around the city, which, as just about everyone knows, is a really good way to get killed.

They even had the audacity to force mobsters to drop their pants as they swiped their cash and jewelry and cleaned out their card games.

The holdups proved predictably hazardous: The Uvas got whacked on Christmas Eve 1992.

Fifteen years later, the story of the bandits who made the stupid mistake of stealing from the mob is playing out at the trial of the man accused of murdering them, a reputed Gambino crime family captain named Dominick "Skinny Dom" Pizzonia.

"There's virtually no greater insult than robbing the Gambino family where they socialized and hung out," federal prosecutor Joey Lipton said last month in opening statements in Brooklyn.

Prosecutors claim that John A. "Junior" Gotti, while acting boss of the Gambino family once led by his father, sanctioned the killings -- a charge he has denied.

Pizzonia's attorney, Joseph R. Corozzo Jr., told the jurors they would hear testimony that members of the Bonanno crime family were the real culprits.
Mafia 'turncoats'

Corozzo noted that the government was relying on an unsavory cast of Mafia turncoats to make their case, including former Gambino capo Michael "Mikey Scars" DiLeonardo, who got his nickname as a child after a dog bit him in the face.

The case reflects a new willingness among several old-school gangsters -- some admitted killers like DiLeonardo -- to break the mob's vow of omerta, or silence, and help prosecute graying reputed gangsters like Pizzonia, 65, for crimes dating back decades.

In 2005, Bonanno boss Joseph "Big Joey" Massino stunned the underworld by becoming the first boss of one of New York's five Mafia families to flip.

Exactly why the Uvas gambled with their lives by robbing mobsters remains a mystery. But their former boss at a New York collection agency, Michael Schussel, offered some possible clues for resorting to making collections of a criminal kind.

Schussel testified that Thomas was a Mafia aficionado who asked for days off to attend the trial of the elder John Gotti, the Gambino don who died behind bars in 2002. The couple lived in Gotti's neighborhood in Ozone Park, Queens. "He was obsessed with the mob," the witness said.

Authorities say the Uvas began their robbery spree in 1991, apparently believing that social clubs -- home to high-stakes card games -- would provide an easy mark.

Rosemarie, 31, took the wheel of the getaway car and Thomas, 28, armed with an Uzi submachine gun, stripped patrons of their money and jewelry and made the men drop their pants. The couple became known on the street as Bonnie and Clyde.

The moonlighting was stressful: The day after one of the holdups made headlines, Rosemarie showed up for work looking pale and fainted to the floor, her ex-employer said.

By the time the Uvas had hit his Cafe Liberty in Queens a second time, Pizzonia had tired of their act, DiLeonardo testified.

Pizzonia "was very angry, as everybody else was, that these guys had the nerve to go around robbing clubs, like committing suicide," DiLeonardo said. A plan was hatched to track down the couple by getting their license plate number, he said.

On the morning of December 24, they were sitting in their Mercury Topaz at an intersection in Queens when they were each shot three times in the back of the head. The car rolled through the intersection and collided with another vehicle before it stopped; police officers found a stash of jewelry with the bloody corpses.

The killers vanished as mob bosses argued behind the scenes over who should get credit, DiLeonardo said. During a sitdown with his Bonanno counterpart Massino, the younger Gotti set the record straight.

The Bonnie-and-Clyde hit, Gotti said, was "our trophy."

Thanks to CNN

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Gambino Hit Man is Free

Friends of ours: Gambino Crime Family, Dominick "Skinny Dom" Pizzonia, John Gotti

An alleged Gambino hit man was released on a $3 million bond yesterday - even though the accused double murderer is charged with committing a crime while out on bail. Dominick "Skinny Dom" Pizzonia, 64, is awaiting trial on charges of extorting money in 2001 - while he was awaiting trial on another extortion case. Authorities will be able to keep an eye on him this time around because, as part of his bail terms, Pizzonia will be on home detention and his movements will be monitored electronically.

The extortion raps could be the least of his problems. Prosecutors say Pizzonia rubbed out a husband-and-wife robbery team that targeted mobbed-up social clubs. Thomas and Rosemary Uva became the Mafia's top enemies in 1992 when they targeted locales run by the five crime families. Thomas, 28, would bust into the clubs brandishing an Uzi submachine gun, while his 31-year-old wife stayed behind the wheel of their getaway car.

Their mobster victims dubbed the pair "Bonnie and Clyde," and the couple seemed to know that they'd meet the same fate as their notorious namesakes. When one mobster told Thomas the Mafia would kill him, he shrugged and said, "Everybody dies."

Brooklyn federal prosecutors say Pizzonia was the one who caught up with them on Christmas Eve 1992. They were both shot in the head while sitting in a car at an intersection in Ozone Park, Queens. Their car kept rolling and collided with another vehicle before coming to a stop against a curb. Pizzonia is also charged with the 1988 murder of a mob underling.

Prosecutors say he was running his latest extortion scam while on bail pending trial in the 2001 case, and then again after he pleaded guilty and was awaiting sentencing. Prosecutors signed off on Pizzonia's $3 million bail package at a hearing in front of Judge Jack Weinstein yesterday.

Pizzonia, who reportedly was once placed in charge of "Dapper Don" John Gotti's Bergin Hunt and Fish Club, was able to raise the bond money after his son Frank and other relatives put up six of their properties. He's expected to stand trial on racketeering charges — including extortion and murder — in June.

Thanks to Heidi Singer

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