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Showing posts with label Francis Salemme. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Francis Salemme. Show all posts

Monday, April 22, 2019

Former Mafia Don Francis Salemme AKA Cadillac Frank is Moved to Prison Medical Facility

Convicted former Mafia don Francis "Cadillac Frank" Salemme has been moved to a prison medical facility because of his advanced age, according to his attorney.

Salemme is listed as 85 years old on the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) website, but his lawyer, Steven Boozang, said the former mob boss is "closer to 88."

Salemme is serving a life sentence after he was found guilty last year of taking part in the 1993 murder of Boston nightclub owner — and Providence native — Steven DiSarro.

Salemme had been held at a federal prison in Brooklyn until his recent move to a medical prison in Springfield, Missouri. The facility is described as an "administrative security federal medical center," on their website.

Boozang said he wasn't sure when authorities moved Salemme, but the BOP's online database showed the octogenarian in Brooklyn as recently as last week.

An email to a prison spokesperson was not immediately returned.

Boozang said at Salemme's age the Brooklyn prison was "a tough place," and the BOP moved him to a facility that can better handle elderly inmates. "Being shot as many times as he had and survived, there are some remnants that catch up with you later in life," Boozang said. "He should be in a medical place being monitored for normal age-related type of conditions."

Salemme was convicted in June along with mob associate Paul Weadick. The two were each charged with murder of a witness. Prosecutors say Salemme was concerned DiSarro would cooperate with investigators in an ongoing probe into a nightclub DiSarro managed. Salemme and his son were silent partners in the club.

Rhode Island mob brothers Robert DeLucca and Joseph DeLuca were key witnesses at the trial at U.S. District Court in Boston.

Salemme has appealed the verdict and Boozang said his client is in "great spirits" and optimistic about his chances.

"Frank is strong and plugging along," Boozang said. "We'll just have to wait and see."

In 1989, Salemme was shot by rival mobsters multiple times outside a Saugus, Massachusetts, pancake house. His survival helped cement his underworld legacy and elevate him to boss. Salemme's tenure ended when he was indicted in 1995.

Thanks to Tim White.

Friday, June 22, 2018

"Cadillac Frank" Francis Salemme and Paul Weadick Found Guilty in Mob Murder Trial

Former New England Mafia boss Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme was found guilty Friday, along with an associate, of killing a South Boston nightclub owner 25 years ago to prevent him from cooperating with investigators targeting Salemme and his son.

The verdict signified long-awaited justice for the family of Steven DiSarro, a 43-year-old father of five who disappeared in 1993, his whereabouts a mystery until the FBI found his remains two years ago, buried behind an old mill in Providence.

Salemme, 84, who became a government witness himself six years after killing DiSarro and was in federal witness protection until his 2016 arrest, will probably spend the rest of his life in prison.

Following a five-week trial in US District Court in Boston and four days of deliberations, a jury of eight women and four men convicted Salemme and Paul Weadick, 63, of Burlington, of murdering DiSarro to prevent him from becoming a federal witness. The men face a maximum penalty of life in prison.

Salemme and his late son were business partners with DiSarro in the Channel nightclub, which was located on Necco Street and was demolished years ago.

Judge Allison Burroughs set sentencing for Sept. 13.

DiSarro’s daughter, Colby, cried as the verdict came down around 3 p.m. Friday, and his son, Michael, wiped tears from his eyes.

Salemme, meanwhile, let out a huge sigh when the verdict came down and appeared stunned as he remained standing for a long time in a gray suit and blue tie, taking his seat only after his lawyer told him to.

The once-feared gangster, who had smiled at his attorney when he came into the courtroom to hear the verdict, left court with his head down without glancing at the spectators’ gallery. Weadick shook hands with his attorney before he was escorted out as well. Both men have been in custody since they were arrested in 2016.

Weadick’s lawyer declined to comment outside court Friday.

An attorney for Salemme, Steven Boozang, told reporters that his client, who turns 85 next month, “feels worse for Paul Weadick than he does for himself. He’s just not a self-absorbed guy.”

Boozang also took aim at the government’s star witness, another aging gangster named Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, who’s serving life in prison for 10 murders and who testified that he witnessed Salemme’s son choking DiSarro while Weadick held his legs up and Salemme looked on. Salemme’s son died in 1995.

After the verdict, Boozang called Flemmi an “absolute liar” and said the defense was confronted with “a tough set of facts” but “thought we had overcome them.”

Asked about Salemme’s relatively stoic demeanor in court, Boozang said, “He’s done a lot of time. He was in the gangland wars, so I don’t think much phases him or shocks him. He was hopeful and optimistic” for an acquittal. Boozang said he expects his client to be placed in the general prison population and added that “nobody will bother him. . . . Inside, he’s a pretty decent human being and warm, aside from what he was years ago.”

DiSarro’s family had no immediate comment after the verdict but released a statement on Tuesday as the jury began deliberating.

“The last 25 years have been heartbreaking for us due to the sudden loss of a loved one, coupled with the fact that we were left without any answers as to what happened,” the DiSarro family had said Tuesday.
“Nothing about the circumstances of our father, brother, uncle and husband’s disappearance have been typical. We have been living for years with the idea that a man who was deeply loved by his family, never returned home to those he loved and we never knew why.
“The answers were hidden deep inside a dark, and often violent underworld that we thankfully have never had access to. Of course there have been rumors, speculations, and opinions over the years, but what became forgotten amongst it all is the man that existed and the family and life that he built.”

Thanks to Shelley Murphy and Travis Anderson.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Bobby DeLuca Faces Blistering Cross-Examination at "Cadillac Frank" Salemme Mob Trial

Defense attorneys hacked away at the credibility of Rhode Island mobster Robert "Bobby" DeLuca during blistering cross-examination at federal court in Boston on Wednesday.

DeLuca, 72, told jurors on day one of his testimony that in 1993 then-mob boss Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme told him he needed to dispose of the body of Steven DiSarro, a Boston nightclub owner who investigators say was strangled in Salemme’s Sharon, Massachusetts, home.

DeLuca said he and his brother Joseph DeLuca (who would later be inducted into the crime family by Salemme) followed through on mafia don's order, or they risked grave consequences. “We didn’t want to get killed,” DeLuca said.

One of Salemme’s lawyers, Elliot Weinstein, pressed DeLuca on his lying to federal investigators in 2011 about what he knew of the DiSarro murder. DeLuca has pleaded guilty to perjury and making false statements in that case and will be sentenced later this year.

“You lie to people and they didn’t know you were lying, correct?" Weinstein asked. “That’s correct,” DeLuca said.

After cooperating in a 2011 case that brought down nine members and associates of the New England crime family, DeLuca moved to Florida with his wife and kids. DeLuca said he got out of Rhode Island for his safety and that of his family. But he said he refused the government's offer to be entered into the federal witness protection program.

Weinstein asked DeLuca if he received nearly $64,000 in payments from the federal government in relocation expenses for several years starting in 2011 to fund the move. DeLuca said he didn’t know how much, but did admit he gambled while living in Florida.

Weinstein asked if he gambled with government funds. "I don’t know what pocket the government’s money was in, and what pocket my money was in,” DeLuca said.

DeLuca said he is now locked up in a secure federal facility for his protection - as he awaits sentencing - and refused to say where when Weinstein asked the location. But he did say it was a better facility than the Plymouth County Correctional Facility in Massachusetts, where he was placed when he was arrested in 2016. “Anything is better than Plymouth,” he said.

DeLuca said he hasn’t made up his mind if he will go into the witness protection program after he is sentenced in the DiSarro case and for pleading guilty to conspiracy in the 1992 murder of mob enforceer Kevin Hanrahan.

Asked if he expects the government to ask a judge for leniency for cooperating when he is sentenced, Deluca said, “I’m hoping they do."

At the end of the day, DeLuca became frustrated with defense attorney Mark Shea – who represents Paul Weadick – over the meaning of wording in transcripts from grand jury testimony.

Shea waived the paperwork in front of DeLuca and told him to read the testimony. “I’m not going to read nothing,” DeLuca snapped. “I know what I’m talking about.”

U.S. District Court Judge Allison Burroughs decided to recess for the day after the heated exchange. DeLuca is expected back on the stand today.

Salemme, 84, and Weadick, 62, are each charged with murder of witness for the DiSarro killing. Prosecutors have said Salemme - and his late son Frank Salemme, Jr. - feared Disarro was going to cooperate with the FBI. Salemme and Weadick have pleaded not guilty. Salemme Jr. died in 1995 of lymphoma.

Thanks to Tim White.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme, Ex-New England #MafiaBoss to Go on Trial for Murder

The high-profile trial of a New England mafia boss charged with killing a nightclub owner in 1993 is set to get underway in Boston.

Opening statements are scheduled for Wednesday in the trial of ex-mafia boss Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme and co-defendant Paul Weadick, who are accused of killing federal witness Steven DiSarro to prevent him from cooperating with authorities.

DiSarro’s remains were found in March 2016 behind a mill in Providence, Rhode Island. The men have denied participating in DiSarro’s killing.

Salemme led the New England family of La Cosa Nostra in the early 1990s and entered witness protection in 1999.

Salemme was indicted in 2004 on charges that he gave false information about authorities about who might be responsible for DiSarro’s death and pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme Jury Selection Will Begin for The Trial of the Former #Mafia Boss

Attorneys are preparing for trial in the case of a former New England mafia boss accused of killing a nightclub owner in 1993.

Jury selection in Boston’s federal court will begin Tuesday for the trial of ex-mafia boss Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme.

Salemme and co-defendant Paul Weadick are accused of killing federal witness Steven DiSarro to prevent him from talking to authorities about illegal activities by Salemme and others. DiSarro’s remains were found in March 2016 behind a mill in Providence, Rhode Island. The men have denied participating in DiSarro’s killing.

The trial is scheduled to begin May 9.

Salemme led the New England family of La Cosa Nostra in the early 1990s and entered witness protection in 1999.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

No Bail for Mob Boss Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme

He left his life as a Mafia don decades ago, disappeared into the federal witness protection program, and was living quietly in Atlanta as Richard Parker, an unassuming octogenarian who loved to read and exercise.But Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme’s past caught up with him Wednesday, when he was arrested at a Connecticut hotel and escorted to a Boston courthouse in handcuffs to face a new charge for an old crime: the 1993 murder of a witness during a federal investigation.

It was deja vu for Salemme, a contemporary of James “Whitey” Bulger’s who will turn 83 this month. Arriving in court, he smiled slightly when he spotted Fred Wyshak, the veteran prosecutor who helped send him to prison twice before, seated at the prosecution table and quipped, “Hey, Fred, fancy seeing you here!”

His casual demeanor belied the severity of the charge, which allows prosecutors to seek the death penalty.

Salemme, who served as boss of the New England Mafia in the 1990s, is charged with the May 10, 1993, slaying of South Boston nightclub manager Steven A. DiSarro, whose remains were discovered in March by investigators acting on a tip. DiSarro was buried in a Providence lot owned by a man facing federal drug charges.

Salemme denies he killed DiSarro and “is ready to fight this case tooth and nail,” Salemme’s attorney, Steven Boozang, said after the court hearing. “This is old stuff that has been dredged up from the past, but he’ll face it head-on as he always has.”

The murder in question stretches back more than two decades, to a time when the mob in New England was being battered by federal prosecutions. DiSarro was 43 when he vanished 23 years ago and was presumed murdered.

The recent discovery of his remains let his family finally lay him to rest. “We buried him this weekend and had a small ceremony,” DiSarro’s son, Nick, said during a brief telephone interview Wednesday. “I am really glad that there is progress and they are moving forward. I’m looking forward to finding out the details.”

The magistrate judge granted a request by the prosecution to keep an FBI affidavit filed in support of Salemme’s arrest under seal.

While Salemme is charged with murdering a witness, authorities have not disclosed whether DiSarro was cooperating with authorities when he vanished, or whether investigators were planning to call him as a witness during a federal investigation that was underway in 1993 against Salemme and his son, Frank.

DiSarro had acquired The Channel, a now-defunct nightclub, between 1990 and 1991 and Salemme and his son had a hidden interest in the club, according to court filings by the government in prior cases.

The new charge against Salemme marks the first time anyone has been charged with DiSarro’s murder. However, Salemme pleaded guilty in 2008 to lying and obstruction of justice for denying any knowledge about DiSarro’s death and was sentenced to five years in prison.

Salemme also spent 15 years in prison for attempting to kill an Everett lawyer in 1968 by planting dynamite in his car. The lawyer lost a leg in the explosion.

After his release, Salemme was being groomed to take over as mob boss, igniting a war with a renegade faction. He survived after being shot by rival gangsters outside a Saugus pancake house in 1989 and was indicted on federal racketeering charges in 1995 along with others, including Bulger, gangster Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, and Rhode Island mobster Robert “Bobby” DeLuca.

In 1999, after learning that Bulger and Flemmi were longtime FBI informants, Salemme agreed to cooperate with authorities against the pair and their handler, retired FBI agent John J. Connolly Jr. In exchange he served only eight years in prison and was admitted to the federal witness protection program.

In 2003, Flemmi began cooperating with authorities and claimed he walked in on the murder of DiSarro at Salemme’s estranged wife’s home in 1993, according to a US Drug Enforcement Administration report filed in federal court in Boston. He claimed that Salemme’s son, Frank, was strangling DiSarro, while Salemme, his brother John Salemme, and another man, Paul Weadick, watched.


Flemmi said Salemme was concerned about DiSarro’s friendship with a man who was cooperating in the federal investigation targeting Salemme and his son. He also told investigators that Salemme later told him DeLuca was present when they buried DiSarro.

Salemme’s son Frank died in 1995.

Salemme was kicked out of the witness protection program in 2004 when he was charged with lying about DiSarro’s killing but was allowed back into the program in 2009 after finishing his sentence.

Court filings indicated that Salemme was using the name Richard Parker while in Georgia.

He was living “a healthy lifestyle,” exercised as much as possible, and was a voracious reader, Boozang said.“He’s a guy that learned his lesson,” Boozang said. “He paid his debt to society. For 21 years he hasn’t been in trouble.”But, Nick DiSarro said, “None of that takes away the fact that he murdered someone.”

Dressed in a short-sleeved navy blue polo shirt and olive green khakis when he appeared in court Wednesday, the gray haired former Mafia don was slightly tanned and looked fit and trim. When told to rise, he took a few moments to get to his feet.

US Magistrate Judge Donald L. Cabell ordered Salemme held without bail pending the resolution of the case. The prosecutor said Salemme had a history of fleeing to avoid charges and recently fled Atlanta, where he was in the witness protection program, and was captured in Connecticut.

Salemme did not challenge the government’s request to hold him without bail. However, Boozang insisted that Salemme was not in hiding, but rather, “He was on his way back to answer any charges that might have been coming forth.”

Thanks to Shelley Murphy.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Kevin Weeks Calls Whitey Bulger #BlackMass Movie Bogus

From 1978-1994, Kevin Weeks served as a member of the Winter Hill Gang, and a close friend, confidant, and henchman to Whitey Bulger. And he says Johnny Depp’s film is bogus.

“We really did kill those people,” says Kevin Weeks, the former mobster and right-hand man to notorious crime boss Whitey Bulger. “But the movie is a fantasy.”

The film that has Weeks riled up is Black Mass. Directed by Scott Cooper, it stars Johnny Depp as Winter Hill Gang leader James “Whitey” Bulger, and depicts the menacing Irishman’s rise up the criminal ranks from low-level gangster to the most feared criminal in not just his native South Boston, but the state of Massachusetts. Whitey was able to rise so far so fast thanks to his special relationship with the FBI, especially agent John Connolly (Joel Edgerton)—an old neighborhood friend on Whitey’s payroll who’d funnel him information in exchange for intel on the local Italian mafia, led by Gennaro Angiulo. Bulger was eventually arrested in 2011 at an apartment complex in Santa Monica, California, after being on the run for 17 years, and was indicted for 19 murders. He was convicted of 11 of those murders, and is serving two consecutive life sentences behind bars. Interestingly enough, while Whitey’s reign of terror was going on, his brother Billy (Benedict Cumberbatch) was the most powerful politician in the state, serving as president of the Massachusetts State Senate.

Weeks, who’s portrayed in the film by Friday Night Lights’ Jesse Plemons, started out in 1976 as a bouncer at Whitey’s local haunt Triple O’s, and by 1978 he was serving as Whitey’s driver and personal muscle. He officially joined the Winter Hill Gang full-time in 1982, and, along with Johnny Martorano and Stephen Flemmi, served as one of Whitey’s devoted henchmen. In 1999, Weeks was arrested on a 29-count indictment in a RICO case. In exchange for his damning grand testimony against Whitey, Weeks received a 5-year prison sentence. He was released in 2004, and has since penned three books, including the recent Hunted Down: The FBI's Pursuit and Capture of Whitey Bulger, which hit shelves on July 22.

And to say that Weeks is unhappy with the film would be a major understatement. “My character looks like a knuckle-dragging moron,” says Weeks. “I look like I have Down syndrome.”

According to Weeks, the filmmakers behind Black Mass “didn’t consult with anyone within the inner circle about the movie,” and as a result, there are major discrepancies between what really happened and what happens onscreen.

The Daily Beast spoke with Weeks—who saw the film opening night—who opened up about what Black Mass got right and wrong, the murders they committed, and a foiled attempt to assassinate Boston Herald journalist Howie Carr.

You saw Black Mass on Friday night. What did you think of it?

Very disappointing. The only resemblance to Whitey’s character was the hairline. The funny thing is, Whitey’s look didn’t really change at all, just his clothes. It’s like we were stuck in a time warp. And the mannerisms—the way that Whitey talked to us—he never swore at us. In all the years I was with that man, he never swore at me once. We never yelled at each other. The opening scene of me getting beaten up? That never happened. They also have me talking to a black FBI agent in the beginning of the film, but I wouldn’t talk to the FBI. I spoke to a DEA agent, Dan Doherty. And my cooperation came after Johnny Martorano started cooperating. Nothing in the film is chronological, really.

The biggest chronological discrepancy in the film was the death of Bulger’s son, which took place in 1973. The film makes it seem like his boy died later than that in order to position it as his motivation for upping his killing and crime activity.

They made it seem like that was the reason why. I wasn’t there for the death of his son—that happened before my time—but I was there for the death of his mother, which he took pretty bad. But really, Whitey was violent long before his son’s death. And the way the film portrays people like Stephen Flemmi and myself? We come across looking like a step away from Down syndrome, really. We’re portrayed as these low-life thugs that are borderline morons who haven’t washed for weeks. For all the money we were makin’, we came off like paupers. We dressed a certain way during the day, but at night we were wearing $2,700 Louis suits. There’s a scene early on in the film where Johnny Martorano’s character is at the bar Triple O’s, and is reaching into a peanut bowl, licking his fingers, and sticking them back into the bowl, and Whitey starts mocking him for it. First of all, Johnny Martorano was never in Triple O’s. Second, if Whitey ever started talking to Johnny like that—berating him—the movie would be over because Johnny would’ve shot him right then. As bad as Whitey was, Johnny was just as capable—if not more.

Right. Johnny was known as “The Basin Street Butcher.”

He was a violent killer. There’s another scene later on where Whitey is yelling at Stevie [Flemmi] in the car outside the police station where they’re waiting to pick up Deborah Hussey. The language is all wrong. We never really cursed like that unless we were grabbing somebody, and Whitey never would’ve berated Stevie, either. Stevie was a psychopath. Stevie would’ve killed him. And Stevie is portrayed as a very sympathetic character.

In the scene you mention, they pick up Hussey, take her to a house, and Whitey strangles her to death.

Right. And I’m already in the house—they show me in the background. The true story is that me and Jimmy went to that house and we were waiting for Stevie. That house was for sale, and we already had two bodies buried downstairs. When I get to the house with Jimmy, he says, “Oh, we’re waiting for Stevie and Deborah. Stevie might buy the place.” I go and use the bathroom upstairs, and as soon as I come down the stairs, I see Stevie and Deborah come in, and I hear boom-boom. I walk in and see that Jimmy had strangled her. I thought she was dead, but then Stevie put his head on her chest, said she was still alive, and he put a clothesline rope around her neck, put a stick in it and twisted. And then after, Stevie dragged her body downstairs and pulled her teeth out. So Stevie wasn’t all sympathetic, mourning, and sorrowful like he is in the movie. Stevie enjoyed murder.

Back to Johnny Depp’s performance as Whitey. The film made Whitey seem—relatively speaking—like a sympathetic character. He’s portrayed as a very loving family man.

He had a son, Douglas, and he did die of Reye’s syndrome, but Jimmy wasn’t this doting father. Lindsey [Cyr] lived in Quincy, and he used to preach to me all the time, “If you’re gonna be a criminal, you shouldn’t have kids. They’re a liability.” And that scene at the dinner table between Jimmy and Douglas where he tells his son, “Punch them when the other kid isn’t looking,” he didn’t talk to kids like that. He was my older son’s godfather and I remember the way he’d talk to my son. He just talked to him like he was a young kid. Oh, you playing baseball? Normal conversation. He didn’t bring business back to the house. So his portrayal of him, outside of the makeup, I couldn’t believe it. The hairline was fine but the teeth were terrible, too. Jimmy had one front tooth and a nerve in it had died so it was one shade less than white—a little yellow, ya know. And his girlfriend, Cathy [Greig], was a hygienist, so his teeth were in great shape except for that one tooth.

Whitey looks vampiric in the film—like a ghoul.

He really does. There’s one scene I have a really big problem with, and that’s a scene down in Miami. Now, I was never down in Miami and they never met Johnny [Martorano] down in Miami. They met Johnny out in a hotel by La Guardia Airport, and it was just Jimmy, Stevie, and Johnny who discussed the John Callahan murder, which came after Roger Wheeler. In the scene in the film, they have me down in Miami and we’re all sitting there. Callahan goes to give Jimmy a big of money and Jimmy says, “Give that to Kevin.” And I take it. And then Stevie supposedly propositions Brian Halloran to kill Roger Wheeler, and Jimmy notices Halloran’s demeanor and says, “Kevin, give him the bag with the $20,000 in it, and forget what you heard here.” That never happened. In fact, I didn’t know about Roger Wheeler’s death until the Callahan murder. So just by having me be there giving Halloran the money, they have involved me in a conspiracy to kill Roger Wheeler. I’ve been libeled. I wasn’t involved in that at all, so I have a big problem with that. I just don’t know where they get the right to put events in there that did not happen.

What about the turf war between the Winter Hill Gang and the Angiulo crime family?

Well, another scene in the beginning where Jimmy pulls up, I get in the car, then we drive somewhere and beat up a guy, and his name is “Joey Angiulo,” and he’s identified as Jerry Angiulo’s nephew. Just by saying that name, “Angiulo,” that never would’ve happened because if it did, there would have been a war. If it did, to make peace, Jerry Angiulo would’ve said, “Kill Kevin, and it’s over.” That scene did happen to another fellow, Paul Giaimo, and the story was that he’d slapped Whitey’s niece.  We got him in the car, drove up to M Street Park, proceeded to give him a beating, then drove him up to Cassidy’s and left the body out front so all his friends could see. Then we found out later on that we beat up the wrong person. But by making up this name and saying “Angiulo” and the mafia, it was so unrealistic. There would have been bodies in the streets if that happened.

As far as the FBI is concerned, the film seemed to really let the Bureau off the hook. John Connolly and John Morris are the only FBI agents in the film who seem to know about Whitey’s double-dealing, and they’re portrayed as sympathetic pawns, to a degree.

The FBI were the ones that enabled Jimmy and Stevie to survive. There’s a scene early on in the film where Connolly and Jimmy make this “alliance,” and then Jimmy goes back and tells Stevie about how they’re going to use the FBI against the mafia. That didn’t happen because Stevie had already been an important since 1965. In 1967, Flemmi and Frank Salemme blew up Joe Barboza’s attorney, John Fitzgerald, and then Stevie and Frankie went on the run, with Frankie going down to New York and Stevie going up to Montreal. Stevie comes back to Boston in 1974, and then the following year, Jimmy becomes an informant. And Connolly was on the payroll. We considered Connolly a criminal, too. He was our informant, and that’s how it was portrayed to all of us—that we were paying for his information. That’s why no one suspected that Jim Bulger was informing on us, because every time we made a score we’d put money aside to pay our contacts in law enforcement, and we were getting good information. Jimmy used to tell me, “I can call any one of six FBI agents and they’ll come to me and jump in this car with a machine gun and go on a hit.” One FBI agent actually gave us 17 kilos of C-4 which we were going to use to blow up a reporter, Howie Carr. Howie thought it was a made-up story, until he found out it was the truth.

Why did Bulger want to assassinate Howie Carr?

He was just a vicious bastard. He was attacking everybody—innocent people and everything. There was a time when we weren’t doing much and everything was running smoothly, and he wrote an article about this kid in South Boston who got killed, and Jimmy decided to make him a hobby and shut him up once and for all. When I look back on it, I wish we did kill him. He’s still the most hated reporter in Boston. Everybody hates him.

And it wasn’t just the FBI that knew about Whitey and what he was doing. Jeremiah O’Sullivan, the head of the organized crime task force, was giving information to Connolly. Every time Whitey or Stevie’s name was mentioned they’d give the information to Connolly knowing that Connolly would be giving the information to us. They were all on the payroll. All of them were receiving presents all the time—money, wine, trips. Some agents you couldn’t give money to because they’d feel insulted, so you’d give them a crystal or a Chelsea Clock. Everybody had their weakness.

One mystery surrounding Whitey Bulger is the Lady of the Dunes—the nickname for the body of the mysterious woman found at the Race Point Dunes. Many believe Bulger murdered her.

That wasn’t him. What happened was, because of Deborah Hussey and Debra Davis being killed, he used to visit Provincetown. And he’d usually have his girlfriend or a young girl he was with. But Whitey didn’t kill her. That’s just people jumping on it and saying, “It could have been him.” He didn’t do it.

But Whitey did kill Debra Davis, you’re saying? That murder was never actually proven to be Whitey’s doing.

I wasn’t there for Debra Davis—it was just Jim Bulger and Steve Flemmi—but here’s the story I was told: [Whitey] told me how when he was in the house with Stevie, they grabbed Debra, dragged her downstairs to the basement, and put her in a chair. She was being killed because she was going to leave Stevie, and he’d told her too much—including about his relationship with John Connolly. So she’s in the chair and Stevie begins putting duct tape around her. She had beautiful hair, so Jim Bulger said to me, “When the duct tape went around her face and her hair, that’s when I knew it was over.” And Stevie kissed her on the forehead and said, “You’re going to another place now.” And then Jim Bulger’s exact words to me were, “And then she was strangled.” So he didn’t say who strangled her.

The relationship between Whitey and his brother Billy has always fascinated me—that the most notorious crime boss in Boston could have a brother who, as president of the Massachusetts State Senate, was the most powerful politician in Massachusetts.

OK, I was up at Billy Bulger’s house over 100 times with Jimmy. He never discussed any street business or crime with Billy. It was always conversations about regular family stuff. There’s no doubt in my mind that Billy knew Jimmy was involved in the rackets, but as far as the murders, if Billy did hear something about that I bet he’d choose not to believe it, because he’s a very religious man. There was the case of Senator John E. Powers, who was a judge. He fired Whitey from being a janitor at the courthouse. Billy never forgave him for that because after Whitey was fired from that job, he started committing all these crimes and stuff. So when it came to John E. Powers getting a raise or anything like that, it never made it past Billy Bulger in the Senate. So if someone was attacking his family, sure, he would stick it to that person whatever way he could legally. But as far as shielding Whitey from investigations? Billy never did that. Never.

Whitey’s attorney, Hank Brennan, recently shot down Black Mass, saying that “the real menace to Boston during that time and in other mob cases around the country—the federal government’s complicity in each and every one of those murders with the top echelon informant program.”

Well, [Jay Carney, Bulger's other attorney] is a buffoon. I mean, really. He was supposed to defend Jim Bulger, and when he stood up and gave his opening remarks, he basically admitted to every charge. What, he’s spoken to Jim Bulger for a hundred hours, and that’s supposed to make him something? Now, he speaks about Jim like he’s his best friend. He doesn’t know a thing about the real Jim Bulger, what’s happened, or anything. He’s literally a buffoon.

But it was the federal government that enabled us to get as far as we did. Without their interference, we would’ve been a short-lived gang. In some cases, we knew about investigations before they’d even been approved, or received financing. And it wasn’t just Connolly and the FBI. There was a bug in the Lancaster Street Garage that was given to us by a state trooper. The state police keep trying to pin it all on the FBI, but they were tipping us off, too. Whitey had his hands in everything. He had FBI. He had the Boston Police. He had Quincy Police. He had one guy in the DEA who was saying stuff to Connolly. He had people all over law enforcement that were giving information to him. With the movie, there’s no accuracy at all. The premise of corruption with the FBI is right, but as far as the events, the people, and the personalities? You could’ve told the truth and the movie would’ve been more violent than it is but they fabricated events. The movie is pure fiction.

Thanks to Marlow Stern.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Current New England Mob is Not Your Father's Mafia

Anthony DiNunzio, the alleged don of the New England Mafia, sat in a federal courthouse in Rhode Island last week, draped in tan prison garb, nodding as a federal judge said he faces a lengthy prison term if convicted of racketeering and extortion.

The New England Mafia. Illustrated.: With testimoney from Frank Salemme and a US Government time line.Boston Mob: The Rise and Fall of the New England Mob and Its Most Notorious Killer

Luigi Manocchio, DiNunzio’s 84-year-old predecessor, will go before a judge in Rhode Island on Friday to be sentenced for extorting protection payments from strip clubs. And Mark Rossetti, one of the most feared captains in the New England mob, is being held in Massachusetts on state charges of extortion and bookmaking. He has been cooperating with the FBI as an informant. Meanwhile, Robert DeLuca, a notorious captain from Rhode Island, has disappeared from the area and is widely reported to be cooperating with authorities against his fellow made members.

This is the leadership of the New England Mafia, a skeleton of the organization glorified in novels and in Hollywood. No more than 30 made, or sworn-in, members make up an organization that in its heyday was more than 100 strong, law enforcement officials say.

Investigators, legal observers, and court records describe an organization that continues to erode, as made members and associates abandon the code of silence and cooperate with investigators. The younger crop is addicted to drugs, and the older, wiser members have either died or have gone to jail, officials said.

“This is not your father’s Mafia,’’ said Massachusetts State Police Detective Lieutenant Stephen P. Johnson, who oversees organized crime investigations as head of the Special Service Section.

He said the arrest of the 53-year-old DiNunzio by federal authorities from Rhode Island on April 25, about two years into his reign as boss, also shows that law enforcement has been able to suppress the workings of the Mafia to the point their crimes are minimal.

DiNunzio is the sixth consecutive head of the New England Mafia to be charged: His predecessors have all been convicted, and the area has not seen a don hold as much power as Raymond L.S. Patriarca, the longtime head of the Patriarca crime family, did until his death in 1984.

Patriarca, who died at the age of 76, controlled an empire in the 1960s that stretched from Rhode Island to Maine, specializing in loan sharking, illegal gambling, and profiting on stolen goods, according to FBI documents released after his death. "In this thing of ours,’’ Patriarca once told an associate while under electronic surveillance, “your love for your mother and father is one thing; your love for The Family is a different kind of love.’’

Johnson and other investigators still expect someone will take DiNunzio’s place, knowing that, for some, the thought of living the “Sopranos’’ lifestyle is too attractive to ignore. “If it wasn’t for the Sopranos, we’d be able to suppress it even more,’’ Johnson said. “You’ve got to continually prune at the mob, because if you don’t it will grow like a weed.’’

Anthony Cardinale - a Boston lawyer who has represented a Who’s Who of Mafia figures including former bosses Francis “Cadillac Frank’’ Salemme and the late Gennaro Angiulo - said that as long as there are criminals who need protection, there will be organized crime. “As long as there’s drugs going on, and bookmaking, there will always be a mob,’’ he said. “Even with all the risks involved, there will still be somebody policing the bad guys, and that’s what the mob guys do.’’

He added, however, “as far as I’m concerned, it’s a dying occupation, in a sense that anyone who’s out there should realize that if they look to the left or look to the right, they should realize someone is working with the FBI or wearing a wire . . . which is unheard of.’’

According to prosecutors, at least two Mafia figures have cooperated against DiNunzio: One of them is a senior member of the New York-based Gambino crime family who has reportedly committed suicide, and the other is said to be DeLuca.

DiNunzio can be heard in wire recordings saying, “You get no shot today, no shot at all.’’

DiNunzio is the younger brother of convicted mobster Carmen “The Cheeseman’’ DiNunzio, the former underboss who was jailed for trying to bribe an undercover agent posing as a state highway worker, and separately for extortion and gambling.

Both brothers started their careers in organized crime with the Chicago Mafia, and were convicted in 1993 of extorting gamblers in Las Vegas for a Chicago Mafia crew based in Southern California. They served several years in prison before making their way to Boston.

Anthony DiNunzio became acting boss of the Patriarca family in early 2010, following the arrests of his brother and predecessors Peter Limone, who is in his late 70s, and Manocchio.

Limone is serving probation for bookmaking. Manocchio and several members of his crew have pleaded guilty to extorting strip clubs in Rhode Island.

Soon after becoming boss, Anthony DiNunzio allegedly demanded 50 percent of the strip club payments that were going to Manocchio’s crew, a demand that would prove to be his downfall. He faces up to 20 years on some charges, and a judge has ordered that he be held without bail.

Longtime Mafia observers said the arrest of DiNunzio was disappointing, embarrassing even, given that the once-proud organization has resorted to shaking down strip clubs.

“It’s just not glamorous now,’’ said Arlene Violet, a former Rhode Island attorney general and radio personality who has written a musical about the mob lifestyle. She recalls the days when made members ran businesses and matched wits with Wall Street.

“When your scheme is shaking down strip clubs, oh brother,’’ she said. “It’s so sleazy. Their crimes aren’t as sexy anymore.’’

Even in Boston’s North End, where prosecutors said DiNunzio showed up regularly at the Gemini Club, a small, members-only social club on Endicott Street, locals said the Mafia’s working was virtually non-existent.

“I’ve never heard of anybody being pressured here,’’ said Joanne Prevost Anzalone, former president of the North End Chamber of Commerce. “I think it’s always been a little exaggerated here to begin with. . . . You don’t walk down the street here and see anything you don’t see in any other neighborhood in the city.’’

But according to prosecutors, DiNunzio wanted power, and he sought to define his reign as soon as he took the helm. He explored ways to extort new businesses, and used the threats of violence to keep his underlings in order. He had questioned whether any of his members were cooperating with the FBI, and he suspected Salemme, who is in a witness protection program, was talking. He sent someone to look for the former boss.

DiNunzio had also worked quickly to reestablish a crew in Rhode Island, following the arrest of Manocchio and the arrest of his crew in September 2011.

He named an existing made member captain, so that he could continue the extortion of strip clubs, according to prosecutors. But the new captain, prosecutors said in court last week, wanted to install his own crew, to replace everyone he knew to be under investigation.

“They’re all in trouble up there, they ain’t coming home,’’ the new captain reportedly said.

Thanks to Milton J. Valencia

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Robert DeLuca Expected to Testify Against Whitey Bulger

In a Mafia induction ceremony in 1989, Robert Deluca drew blood from his trigger finger as fellow alleged mobsters burned a Madonna prayer card and vowed to never betray the mob’s code of silence.

“As burn this Saint, so will burn my soul. I enter into this organization alive, and I will have to get out dead,’’ Deluca recited in Italian as he became a “made man” in the mob at the Medford initiation that was secretly bugged by the FBI.

Newscenter 5 has learned that Deluca, who is a reputed capo in the New England crime family, has betrayed the blood oath. He has agreed to cooperate with the FBI and act as a star witness in the James “Whitey” Bulger case, several sources said.

In 1995, DeLuca was indicted along with Bulger, Steven “The Rifleman” Flemmi, James “Jimmy the Bear” Martorano and Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme in a plethora of racketeering charges. But, by the time Deluca and his codefendants were arrested, Whitey Bulger was gone. He was tipped off to the pending indictment and went on the lam until his arrest in Santa Monica this June.

While Whitey Bulger was on the run, Deluca pleaded guilty to six counts of conspiracy, racketeering and interference with commerce by threats of violence charges and served 34 months in a federal prison, according to court documents.

By the time Bulger – who topped the FBI’s Most Wanted List – was captured, law enforcement sources said Deluca was losing his Rhode Island power base as the Mafia’s leadership roles shifted back to Boston.

In recent months, Deluca vanished from his base on Federal Hill and has not been seen in the North End. His North Providence home has been sold. His wife and two kids have vanished. “We saw the moving truck there and they were gone,’’ said Grace Olsen, Deluca’s next-door neighbor.

Deluca is one of several mob bosses to “flip” in recent years. In New York, Bonanno crime family boss Joseph “Big Joey” Messina cooperated with the government to avoid a death sentence. The Philadelphia Mafia’s boss, Ralph Natale, also made a deal.

“Historically it was very rare,’’ retired Massachusetts State Police Det. Lt. Bob Long said of Mafia leaders becoming cooperators. “Now rumors are that Deluca is doing the same thing…

“It appears that the old days of following the code of silence, the omerta, of this thing of ours is crumbled. It’s like a bygone era,” said Long.

Deluca’s neighbor said living next to a mob boss had its benefits. “We were very sad to see him go,’’ Olsen said.

When asked if she knew about his cooperation agreement, she nodded. “Knowing him and having broken bread with him,’’ she said, “I think that he did what he had to do to protect his young family.”

Thanks to Michele McPhee

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Where's Robert P. “Bobby” DeLuca Sr.

Where’s Bobby?

That’s the question that has been on the minds of mobsters, law-enforcement officials and followers of organized crime since four mobsters and mob associates were indicted last week on federal racketeering and extortion charges for shaking down several strip clubs and collecting $25,000 from a woman they threatened at work. But the indictment makes no mention of Robert P. “Bobby” DeLuca Sr., a major player in the New England La Cosa Nostra for more than three decades.

In papers filed in U.S. District Court, federal prosecutors noted that “made members” of the mob have cooperated with them in their investigation, and they have and will continue to rely on them in the prosecution of Edward C. Lato and Alfred “Chippy” Scivola Jr., made members of the New England mob, along with mob associates Raymond “Scarface” Jenkins and Albino “Albie” Folcarelli.

“During the course of this investigation, the FBI has developed additional witnesses, including formally initiated or made members of the New England La Cosa Nostra, who will testify that the [mob] exists, and will further testify about the activities of its members,” the papers say.

The prosecutors, William Ferland and Sam Nazzaro, also wrote that “these witnesses” will testify about the secret mob initiation ceremony in which the “made men” take a blood oath of loyalty to omerta, otherwise known as La Cosa Nostra’s code of silence. Part of the oath requires the mobsters to engage in acts of violence, including murder, when called upon by ranking members of the criminal enterprise.

DeLuca is an expert on mob initiations. In 1989, he was one of several mobsters, including then-mob boss Raymond J. “Junior” Patriarca, whom the FBI captured on tape during an induction ceremony in a house outside of Boston. DeLuca was one of the mobsters who, that day, became a “made man,” or full-fledged member of La Cosa Nostra.

The recording was the first time the FBI had ever recorded a mob induction, and it has been played at countless mob trials to show that the Mafia does indeed exist.

DeLuca’s star rose quickly in the mob. Once a small-time hood, the now-inducted wiseguy hitched his wagon to Boston-based mob boss Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme. But the high times were short-lived. In 1996, DeLuca was sentenced to 10½ years in federal prison for his role in the shakedown of Paulie Calenda, a Cranston businessman and mob associate.

The jury was convinced at the colorful trial, featuring sobbing strippers, mob informants and gangland thugs, that Gerard T. Ouimette, a feared mob enforcer, threatened Calenda for a $125,000 extortion payment. The panel also concluded that Ouimette was acting under orders from DeLuca.

The court papers filed last week do not identify the cooperating mob witnesses in the recent sweep, but they have fueled plenty of speculation that DeLuca has switched allegiances and is now working for his longtime nemesis: the Justice Department.

It’s ironic that some believe DeLuca is now a government informant, an accusation he cast about 10 years ago against fellow mobster Anthony M. “The Saint” St. Laurent Sr.

The indignity of being called a turncoat so infuriated St. Laurent that he solicited a Taunton, Mass., man to kill DeLuca. St. Laurent, 70, who is in a wheelchair and has been seriously ill for more than a decade, was charged and convicted of orchestrating the murder-for-hire scheme. He was just sentenced to seven years in federal prison.

At a recent news conference announcing the indictment and arrests, Peter F. Neronha, the U.S. Attorney for Rhode Island, refused to identify DeLuca or anyone else as witnesses for the government. Instead, he said, that he would only discuss what was in the indictment.

Jim Martin, Neronha’s spokesman, issued a standard “no comment” to a series of questions about DeLuca.

Is DeLuca cooperating in the federal investigation? Has he joined the federal witness protection program? Are the federal authorities concerned about the safety of the mobster, his wife and two small children?

“No comment,” he said.

The same questions were posed to state police Supt. Steven G. O’Donnell, a longtime mob investigator who has tracked DeLuca’s criminal activities for more than 20 years.

“I can’t tell you if he’s cooperating or not,” he said. “I have no concerns for Bobby’s safety or anybody’s safety” who chooses a life of organized crime. “That’s the world they live in.”

In North Providence, there is no sign of DeLuca, his wife, Gina, a former hairdresser, or their two young children. At first, nobody thought much about not seeing him around. Each summer, he would travel to Saratoga Springs in August for the annual horse races, but this summer he never returned to his old haunts.

In June 2009, Gina DeLuca bought the large, 4,746-square-foot colonial-style house for $340,000 from Christina Schadone, wife of Rep. Gregory J. Schadone, D-North Providence. On Aug. 1, less than two months ago, the house next to Greystone Elementary School, was placed on the market for $335,000.

The furniture has been cleared out and little more remains than steel-brushed appliances and a chandelier in the front foyer.

Paul M. Martellini, the acting police chief in North Providence, said he knew that the mobster lived at the address, but his department has received no reports of foul play involving the DeLucas. He checked the department records and said that police responded to the house on the morning of July 1 for a false alarm. At the time, he said, the family was living there.

“We have had no contact with him other than the alarm,” Martellini said. “We didn’t know that he hasn’t been around.”

After DeLuca wrapped up his federal prison sentence, he returned to Rhode Island and spent a few years in the state prison system.

Over the past six years, DeLuca, now 66, has worked at the SideBar & Grill, a small restaurant and nightclub at the corner of Dorrance and Pine streets. The establishment’s owner is lawyer Artin H. Coloian, once a top aide to ex-Providence Mayor Vincent A. Cianci Jr.

Coloian hired DeLuca back in 2006 when he was in a work-release program at the Adult Correctional Institutions. He remained a fixture at the restaurant after he completed his prison sentence. He was often seen hanging out with Coloian or puffing a cigar as the two strolled down Dorrance Street.

Coloian, who has defended DeLuca in the past, insisted that his client is not cooperating with the federal authorities, but he refused to say whether he’s still employed at his restaurant.

“I’m not obligated to tell you who my employees are or are not,” he said, adding that he would not disclose the last time he saw the mobster.

Thanks to W. Zachary Malinowski

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?'"

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Feds Keeping an Eye on Luigi "Baby Shacks" Manocchio

Ever since Luigi "Baby Shacks" Manocchio, reputed mob boss of the Patriarca Crime Family, took the reigns from Boston's Francis "Cadillac Frank" Salemme in 1996, he's been able to avoid significant legal troubles from law enforcement. But, that stretch may be coming to an end.

Manocchio, 80, is not charged with any crime at this time. However, the Target 12 Investigators have learned within the last several months, FBI agents served a search warrant on Manocchio. Investigators reportedly found a small amount of cash in Manocchio's possession. Cash, investigators said, they could trace as tribute money; which is money paid up to a mob boss.

According to Target 12 sources, Manocchio immediately began shopping around for an attorney. However, it is unclear who, if anyone, he's retained.

Sources on Federal Hill - the Providence neighborhood out of which Manocchio runs the crime family - said they haven't seen Manocchio since the feds moved in, leaving many to wonder if he went on the run. However, law enforcement sources said Manocchio often travels during the winter, and they are not concerned about his absence at this point in time.

Although the FBI won't comment if Manocchio is part of an ongoing criminal investigation, it's no secret agents are keeping an eye on him.

In fact, shortly after arriving in Providence to head up the FBI's Organized Crime Unit for New England, FBI Supervisory Special Agent Jeffrey Sallet approached Manocchio on Federal Hill in 2007, introduced himself and let him know he was watching.

Thanks to Target 12

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

"Cadillac Frank" Salemme Gets Five Years in Prison

Former New England Mafia boss Francis "Cadillac Frank" Salemme was sentenced today in federal court to five years in prison on charges of lying and obstructing justice. With credit for time served, the sentence handed down by US District Judge Richard G. Stearns means that Salemme will be free by Christmas. Salemme, 74, pleaded guilty in April to a two-count indictment in US District Court in Boston.

Salemme has admitted that after he began cooperating with the government in 1999 -- in an investigation into the FBI's corrupt handling of long-time informants James "Whitey" Bulger and Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi -- he lied about the 1993 disappearance of South Boston nightclub owner Steven DiSarro.

Prosecutors alleged that Salemme watched his son, Frank, strangle DiSarro at a Sharon home, then helped his son dispose of the body. The younger Salemme has since died of lymphoma. But in his plea agreement, Salemme denied any responsibility for the "disappearance and presumed murder" of DiSarro.

Asked by the judge at today's hearing if he had anything to say, Salemme said he wanted to "categorically deny" any involvement in DiSarro's murder. Salemme said he believed he had cooperated fully with law enforcement. "I've done what I thought was right all along," he said.

On his way out of the courtroom, a handcuffed Salemme in a black suit with a crisp shirt looked at his brother, Jack, and said, "Give my love to the kids."

Outside the courtroom, Jack said, "He's just going to fade off into the sunset and he doesn't want to come around here."

"As far as Frank is concerned, he stuck by his end of the bargain and it's over now," said Jack, "I don't think he's ever coming back to the Boston area."

Salemme became the head of the New England mob in the early 1990s. He ruled during a bloody power struggle until his indictment on federal racketeering charges in January 1995, along with Bulger and Flemmi.

He pleaded guilty to racketeering and extortion and admitted participating in eight gangland killings in the 1960s. A judge reduced his sentence in 2003 because his cooperation had helped convict former FBI agent John J. Connolly Jr. of racketeering. Salemme testified that Connolly had warned him, Bulger, and Flemmi to flee just before they were indicted in 1995. Bulger remains a fugitive.

Salemme was released into the federal witness protection program in 2003. He was indicted on the most recent charges a year later.

Thanks to Shelly Murphy

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Appeal Heard for FBI Agent Convicted of Aiding Whitey Bulger

A lawyer for retired FBI agent John J. Connolly Jr. urged a federal appeals court today to overturn his 2002 racketeering conviction because one of the government's key witnesses, former New England Mafia boss Francis "Cadillac Frank'' Salemme, allegedly boasted to a fellow mobster that he lied on the stand.

Judge Bruce M. Selya questioned the events described by Connolly's lawyer, suggesting that Salemme may have told the truth in court and then lied to Philadelphia mobster Roger Vella when the two of them were imprisoned together later.

"We have a Mafia don who is committing the worst crime a Mafia don can ... he rats out and cooperates with the feds,'' said Selya, one of three judges on the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit considering Connolly's case. "Why isn't it the most natural thing for him to try to explain away his cooperation?''

Braintree attorney Terrance J. McCarthy, who represents Connolly, argued that Salemme "had every reason to tell Vella the truth'' when he claimed prosecutors helped him shape his story to win a conviction because he didn't know Vella was a confidential informant and would later report the boasts to the FBI.

Connolly is serving 10 years in prison. He was convicted of racketeering, obstruction of justice, and lying to an FBI agent for protecting longtime informants James "Whitey" Bulger and Stephen "The Rifleman'' Flemmi from prosecution and leaking them information. He's also scheduled to stand trial in Miami in March for a 1982 gangland slaying.

Salemme, who had been granted immunity for his testimony at Connolly's trial, was indicted in 2004 on a charge of lying to investigators by withholding information about the 1993 disappearance of South Boston nightclub manager Steven DiSarro. Federal prosecutors allege Salemme witnessed DiSarro's slaying and helped bury his body, and he is awaiting trial in that case.

"Doesn't that cloud the picture a bit?" said Circuit Judge Kermit V. Lipez, questioning the government today about why any of Salemme's testimony at Connolly's trial should be believed, given that he's now awaiting trial for lying.

US Special Attorney William J. Nardini said Salemme allegedly lied about his involvement in DiSarro's slaying to protect other organized-crime figures. He argued that Salemme's statements to Vella -- including claims that the government promised him $500,000 for his testimony and a condo on a golf course -- were "pretty absurd.''

Thanks to Shelley Murphy

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

America's Most Wanted: James "Whitey" Joseph Bulger

Friends of ours: James "Whitey" Bulger, Raymond Patriarca, Jerry Angiulo, "Cadillac" Frank Salemme, Steven "The Rifleman" Flemmi
Friends of mine: John Connelly

There was a period of time in the 80s when renowned mobster James "Whitey" Bulger led a reign of terror of sorts in Boston, Mass. Those who knew him or dug around for information found their lives threatened by Bulger and his crew. So when he went on the run in 1995, no one talked for fear of retaliation. But now, FBI Agents have released surveillance video of Bulger in hopes of helping their investigation. Although the video is more than 25 years old, agents on the Bulger Fugitive Task Force believe bringing national attention to the case may help jog the memories of those who were too scared to come forward when Whitey Bulger had control.

The housing projects in South Boston are a difficult place to grow up. Crowded and violent, these complexes are renowned in the Boston area for creating tough, often criminal, young men. That's where the Bulger boys, Jimmy and Billy spent their formative years. But the neighborhood had different effects on the two boys. Billy grew up to be a very well respected leader in the community. He was elected to the Massachusetts Senate in 1979 and became its president, a position he held for 17 years.

Jimmy, however, was a different story. He was always known as a tough kid on the streets - no one would call him his nickname, "Whitey," to his face. Bulger hated the name, given to him for his shock of blond hair. At a young age he turned to a life of crime. He was convicted of bank robbery in the 1950s and spent nine years in federal prisons, including the infamous Alcatraz. When he got out, he made his way back to Boston and reportedly vowed never to go back to prison again. But that's not to say that Whitey changed his ways. Authorities allege Whitey became an underworld mob figure, involved in loan sharking, extortion, money laundering and various other crimes. In the 70s state police and DEA agents say Bulger's most common criminal activity was extortion of other criminals. Drug dealers who wanted to move their drugs through South Boston had to pay Bulger for the privilege. As a result, he was known as a Robin Hood figure in the community, stealing from the criminals and giving back to the residents of his neighborhood.

Cops say Bulger was not always so philanthropic. Those who knew him say he could be violent, especially to those who got in his way. When a liquor store owner would not sell his business, cops say Bulger threatened his infant daughter. Those who seemed to be a threat to Bulger kept disappearing. But for years, Bulger was never charged with any crime, and never arrested.

Meanwhile, a crackdown on the Italian Mafia was taking place all over the country, and Boston was no exception. In the 60s and 70s, Boston's mob community was controlled by the Patriarca family. Raymond Patriarca ruled out of Providence, Rhode Island, and his underboss Jerry Angiulo ran the rackets in Boston. The mafia controlled most of the nefarious business in the city, but they were not the only act in town. The Winter Hill Gang, an Irish force named for a hill in Somerville, MA, was renowned for their violent manner and iron fist with which they ran their extortion schemes.

In the mid eighties, two events left the New England mob scene in turmoil. The mob boss, Raymond Patriarca died. His lieutenant in charge of Boston, Jerry Angiulo, was sent to prison. Boston was up for grabs. The Patriarca family out of Rhode Island tried to maintain power, but they were challenged by a local don, "Cadillac" Frank Salemme. Salemme wound up on top, thanks to, officials report, Steven "The Rifleman" Flemmi and James "Whitey" Bulger.

The government's investigation of the Boston mob did not end with Patriarca's death. They went after Salemme and his organization next and were able to connect members with multiple counts of extortion, drug charges and many counts of murder. In January, 1995, a RICO indictment was released charging Bulger and others with crimes. The other co-conspirators were arrested, but Bulger, mystifyingly, escaped.

Soon after the indictment came down it became clear how Bulger had managed to evade the law over all those years and how he knew to run when the indictment was issued. Bulger was working as an informant for the FBI. An FBI agent, John Connelly, who also grew up in the South Boston projects, had been brought in to help the organized crime division bring down the Italian Mafia. One of Connelly's techniques was to use his connections in the underworld to recruit informants. Steven "The Rifleman" Flemmi was one of those, as was "Whitey" Bulger.

In return for their information, Connelly promised that the FBI would turn a blind eye to any criminal enterprises Bulger may be involved in. In addition, the FBI tipped Bulger off whenever another agency, like the Massachusetts State Police or the DEA, was trying to build a case against him. So, when the US Attorney was about to release the indictment against Bulger, Connelly tipped him off and gave him a head start on those pursuing him.

Authorities believe Bulger could be anywhere now. They have tracked him all over the country and the world. They believe he was in Britian a few years ago, and they found safe deposit boxes in England and Ireland filled with money.

Agents believe Bulger is staying in a warm climate, and believe he may have to treat a heart condition with a drug called Atenolol.

Thanks to AMW

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Mob Still Thrives in New England Despite Lower Membership

Friends of ours: Carmen "The Big Chese" DiNunzio, Luigi "Baby Shanks" Manocchio, Francis "Cadillac Frank" Salemme, Peter J. Limone, Robert J. DeLuca

Forget about HBO's Tony Soprano. Today's mob leaders, at least in New England, are low-profile wiseguys with unglamorous jobs, and in Boston, membership is dwindling, according to the State Police.

The number of so-called made men who have taken a formal oath and pledged their souls to the Mafia is only about half of what it was in the Boston area in the early 1980s, according to Detective Lieutenant Stephen P. Johnson of the State Police.

The Boston faction has about 20 to 25 active soldiers who report to several capos, while another 10 inactive members are behind bars, said Johnson, who oversees organized crime investigations as head of the Special Service Section.

While waning membership reflects a mob weakened by several decades of federal prosecutions, the New England Mafia continues to thrive and uses a substantial number of associates to make money, officials said. "It is the only traditional organized crime group left in town, with the exception of Asian gangs who primarily stay within their neighborhoods," Johnson said. "What they've tried to do is keep a low profile while maintaining their traditional activities, which would include extortion, drug trafficking, bookmaking, loansharking, and even pornography."

State Police in Massachusetts and Rhode Island said illegal gambling, and sports-betting in particular, remain the life blood of the organization.

Alleged underboss Carmen "The Big Cheese" DiNunzio, 49, owner of Fresh Cheese shop in Boston's North End, drew little public attention until his arrest by State Police last week on charges of extortion and running an illegal sports-betting operation. He makes fabulous sandwiches, law enforcement officials said, but he captured their attention because he allegedly oversees all of the mob's activities in the Boston area.

His lawyer, Anthony Cardinale, said they have it wrong. "They are trying to create something that really isn't there," said Cardinale, who insisted that DiNunzio is no underboss, describing him as "a low-key, well-liked neighborhood guy who happens to be Italian." Though DiNunzio occasionally helps his sister by cooking at her East Boston restaurant, Carmen's Kitchen, he has no ownership interest in the business, Cardinale said.

The New England Mafia operates in Rhode Island and Eastern Massachusetts up to Worcester, while the western part of the state is allegedly controlled by New York families.

Leadership of the New England organization has shifted between Boston and Providence since the 1930s, reverting to Rhode Island in 1995, when the reputed current godfather, Luigi "Baby Shanks" Manocchio, took over. Manocchio, 79, has been described as a low-key boss who has pulled warring factions together after the bloody reign of Francis "Cadillac Frank" Salemme. Manocchio, who law enforcement officials say would rather make money than spend it, works out of Addie's laundromat on Federal Hill in Providence and lives in an apartment upstairs.

Rhode Island State Police have identified the mob's consigliere, who traditionally moderates internal disputes, as 72-year-old Peter J. Limone, who was exonerated of a 1965 gangland murder after spending 33 years in prison and is now suing the government for more than $100 million. His lawyer, Juliane Balliro, denied that Limone was a consigliere and added that with his civil trial underway in federal court in Boston, "we find the timing of these revelations very suspicious." But Major Steven O'Donnell, a longtime organized crime investigator who is in charge of field operations for the Rhode Island State Police , said informants and wiretap information indicate that Limone is consigliere to Manocchio.

O'Donnell also identified Robert J. DeLuca, who was paroled in March after serving 12 years in prison, as a capo in Rhode Island. DeLuca gained notoriety in 1989 after an FBI bug indicated he was among four new soldiers inducted into the Mafia in a blood-oath ceremony in Medford. Since his release from prison, DeLuca has been working at the upscale Sidebar & Grille restaurant in Providence, owned by his lawyer, Artin Coloian, who said DeLuca had a flawless record in prison and "there's no reason for anyone to doubt that his life would go the same way."

The number of mobsters in the Providence area, where there are about a dozen active members, has remained consistent over the years, O'Donnell said. But they generally are no longer raising their children in the old Federal Hill enclave and grooming them to follow in their footsteps, O'Donnell said.

It's the same in Boston, according to Johnson, who said there is no longer a so-called mob headquarters in the North End, though mobsters fraternize there at restaurants and social clubs. "The bad guys live in suburban towns now," said Johnson. As a result, he said, the mob's activities are more spread out, with members casting a wider net when it comes to shaking down bookmakers and drug dealers. "If you're a member and you live in Framingham and are aware of somebody who is a dope dealer in your area and you can extort them, you do." But even with dwindling ranks, it would be misguided for law enforcement to let up pressure on them, Johnson said.

"The key is to not let it grow, to keep pruning away at it, so it doesn't get a chance to take off again," he said.

Thanks to Shelley Murphy

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