The Chicago Syndicate: Genoveses
Showing posts with label Genoveses. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Genoveses. Show all posts

Friday, November 02, 2007

Alleged Genovese Mafia Boss & Lieutenant Plead Guilty To Extortion

MICHAEL J. GARCIA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that Acting Boss of the Genovese Organized Crime Family, DANNY LEO, a/k/a “The Lion,” 66, and his primary lieutenant and nephew, JOSEPH LEO, 45, pleaded guilty today to charges of extortion. DANNY and JOSEPH LEO pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court before United States Magistrate Judge ANDREW J. PECK.

According to the Indictment and statements made during bail hearings and the guilty pleas:

From 2002 to November 30, 2006, DANNY LEO and JOSEPH LEO agreed to extort a business owner ("Victim-1") by threatening Victim-1 with physical violence and other harm if he did not make prompt repayment of various loans and debts. Also, from about January 2003 to January 2006, DANNY LEO agreed to extort the owners and operators of an illegal gambling business involved in interstate commerce ("Victim-2" and "Victim-3"). DANNY LEO and other members and associates of the Genovese Organized Crime Family, agreed to use threats of economic harm and violence to force Victim-2 and Victim-3 to make payments to a member of the Genovese Organized Crime Family.

DANNY LEO pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiring to commit extortion. Magistrate Judge PECK ordered both defendants to continue to be detained. JOSEPH LEO pleaded guilty to one count of extortion. DANNY LEO faces a maximum sentence of 40 years’ imprisonment and a maximum fine of $250,000. JOSEPH LEO faces a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment and a maximum fine of $250,000.

Mr. GARCIA praised the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the New York City Police Department, and the New York State Police in this investigation. Assistant United States Attorneys ERIC SNYDER and BENJAMIN GRUENSTEIN are in charge of the prosecution.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Reinstatement of Mafia Cops Convictions Sought by US

The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act — known as RICO — was signed into law by President Richard M. Nixon in October 1970. Wielded mainly, though not exclusively, as a sword against the Mafia, it holds in its most basic terms that a person or group of people who commit certain crimes as part of a conspiracy or criminal enterprise can be charged with racketeering.

The law has been used against defendants like Funzi Tieri, who once ran the Genovese crime family, and Michael R. Milken, the junk bond financier, and, over the years, has spawned a voluminous literature about what constitutes an “enterprise” or a “conspiracy.”

Yesterday, another debate on just those themes took place as the opposing sides in the so-called Mafia cops corruption case gathered in a federal appeals court in Manhattan to argue whether the convictions of two former New York City police detectives found guilty of killing for the mob last year should stand.

During that debate, at the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, federal prosecutors argued that the convictions, which were overturned last year, should be reinstated because the killings — some as far back as 20 years — were part of the same ongoing enterprise as a small-time drug transaction in Las Vegas two years ago.

The defense argued that there was no continuing conspiracy and that the government had patched together two separate sets of crimes to bolster its case. The three-judge panel will now consider the arguments and rule on whether the convictions should be reinstated.

After a made-for-celluloid trial (with locations as diverse as a senior citizens center in Las Vegas and the parking lot of a Brooklyn Toys “R” Us), the two detectives, Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa, were convicted in April 2006 of killing at least eight men for the mob in one of the most spectacular cases of police corruption in the city since Lt. Charles Becker went to the electric chair for murdering the bookmaker Herman Rosenthal in 1915.

Almost as spectacular as the trial itself was its aftermath, when the district judge who heard the case in Brooklyn, Jack B. Weinstein, overturned the convictions. He ruled that the government’s case had stretched racketeering law “to the breaking point” and that the five-year statute of limitations on conspiracies had run out.

From the start, it was unclear if Judge Weinstein was going to accept the government’s central premise in the case: that the eight brutal murders the two detectives were accused of committing in Brooklyn in the 1980s and early 1990s were related to the single ounce of methamphetamine they were later caught selling in Las Vegas, years after they had retired from the force and had left New York. Though the government said the crimes were part of the same “ongoing criminal enterprise,” the defense contended that the prosecutors had “bootstrapped” the drug charges to the murder charges to “freshen up” the case.

Yesterday, one of those prosecutors, Mitra Hormozi, found herself peppered with questions from three judges who were trying to determine the exact nature of what the government has called the Eppolito-Caracappa enterprise.

The government concedes that the two men did not commit a crime together from their last murder in 1991 until 2005, when they were caught on videotape arranging the drug deal in Las Vegas, but Ms. Hormozi suggested that the conspiracy survived because the men maintained a desire to make a quick, illicit dollar and because they kept their enterprise a secret.

She also suggested that, in terms of personality, Mr. Eppolito (a gregarious salesman) and Mr. Caracappa (a sullen brooder) continued to play the same roles in each other’s lives in Las Vegas as they had in Brooklyn when they worked for the police.

Daniel Nobel, Mr. Caracappa’s lawyer, found this ridiculous, saying that certain “personality traits” in “a mere friendship” were not enough to constitute a criminal enterprise.

Joseph Bondy, Mr. Eppolito’s lawyer, said that the drug deal in Las Vegas and money-laundering that his client was accused of there were “completely sporadic disparate acts utterly unconnected to the New York acts.”

Thanks to Alan Feuer

Mondera Gifts

Monday, October 15, 2007

"Rocky" Busted in Mob Roundup

The FBI said it arrested seven associates of the Genovese Crime family Wednesday on charges the men took part in a series of armed robberies and other crimes in New York and New Jersey.

Free Shipping Code for Cutter & Buck, Inc.
Among those charged were John "Rocky" Melicharek, Dominick "Shakes" Memoli and Enad "Neddy" Gjelaj.

The suspects are accused of robbing numerous Morris County homes at gunpoint, as well as an Orange County business. The FBI said the men also threatened a Manhattan businessman if he did not make payments to reputed Genovese crime family associates Michael Iuni and Angelo Nicosia.

The suspects were taken to the FBI office in Newark Wednesday morning. They are expected to be arraigned on the extortion and robbery charges late Wednesday.

Melicharek and Memoli face up to life in prison. Others face a maximum of 40 years if convicted. Prosecutors said Memoli and Gjelaj are already behind bars on other criminal counts.

U.S. attorney Michael Garcia said in addition to prison time, his office plans to seek $1 million in restitution from the suspects.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Genovese Family Associates and Others Arrested on Extortion and Robbery Charges

MICHAEL J. GARCIA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, MARK MERSHON, Assistant Directorin- Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation(“FBI”), and WEYSAN DUN, the Special-Agent-in-Charge of the Newark Office of the FBI announced today the arrests of seven individuals charged with participating in a series of extortions and violent home invasions.

According to an Indictment unsealed today in Manhattan federal court: The defendants, JOHN MELICHAREK, a/k/a “Rocky,” MICHAEL IUNI, and ANGELO NICOSIA -- associates of the Genovese Organized Crime Family -- and DOMINICK MEMOLI, a/k/a “Shakes,” LOUIS PIPOLO, DARDIAN CELAJ, a/k/a “Danny,” and ENED GJELAJ, a/k/a “Neddy,” took part in a string of extortions and robberies targeted at business owners based in New York and New Jersey. MELICHAREK, IUNI, and NICOSIA used their status as Genovese Organized Crime Family associates to extort a Manhattan-based business owner. MELICHAREK, MEMOLI, PIPOLO, CELAJ, and GJELAJ also planned and executed home invasions, including a September 2003 robbery of a Morris County, New Jersey business owner, and an October 2003 robbery attempt of an Orange County, New York business owner, using firearms in connection with the crimes. MELICHAREK also faces a stolen property charge.

If convicted, MELICHAREK, MEMOLI, PIPOLO, CELAJ, and GJELAJ face maximum sentences of life imprisonment. IUNI and NICOSIA face maximum sentences of 40 years’ imprisonment.

MELICHAREK, IUNI, NICOSIA, PIPOLO, and CELAJ were arrested this week by FBI agents. MEMOLI and GJELAJ are each currently serving a sentence from a prior criminal conviction and accordingly, will be brought by the United States Marshals Service to the Southern District of New York to face the charges.

Mr. GARCIA praised the efforts of the FBI, the Orange County, New York District Attorney’s Office, the Morris County, New Jersey Prosecutor’s Office, the Rockaway Township, New Jersey Police Department, and the New Jersey State Commission of Investigation.

Assistant United States Attorneys ELIE HONIG and BENJAMIN GRUENSTEIN are in charge of the prosecution.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Bus Union Under Mafia Control Concludes Independent Counsel

An independent counsel appointed to investigate the union representing 15,000 New York City school bus drivers has concluded that there is substantial evidence that “organized crime has infiltrated and controlled” it.

The counsel’s report, written in January and made public yesterday by dissident union members, said that top officers of the union, Local 1181 of the Amalgamated Transit Union, were involved in what it called racketeering activity that included extortion, kickbacks and bribes.

Salvatore Battaglia, the local’s former president, is facing trial on federal charges accusing him of extortion, receiving bribes and hiding Mafia involvement in the union. He has pleaded not guilty. The local’s secretary-treasurer, Julius Bernstein, was forced to resign by federal prosecutors and has pleaded guilty to obstructing justice.

The independent counsel, Richard W. Mark, called on the parent union to bring internal charges against Mr. Battaglia and Mr. Bernstein and to conduct a further investigation “to determine the extent of criminal activity.”

Leo Wetzel, the general counsel of the parent union, said the union had decided against bringing charges against those officials because they had both retired and cannot run again for union office. “It was the judgment of the union,” Mr. Wetzel said, “that the resources and attention of the international and local union were better directed to putting the local on the right course and to leave those matters to federal prosecutors.” Mr. Wetzel said the parent union assigned auditors to review Local 1181’s books for financial wrongdoing.

At a news conference yesterday, a dozen bus drivers complained that the two trustees whom the parent union had named to oversee the local had hired 11 of the local’s executive board members who had worked under Mr. Battaglia.

The drivers said those people had helped perpetuate an intimidating atmosphere that discourages criticism of union leaders. They also complained that not enough was being done to recoup the more than $2.7 million that federal officials say Mr. Battaglia obtained improperly.

“The international didn’t bring in any new faces,” said Simon Jean-Baptiste, who belongs to a dissident faction called Members for Change. “The same people are there who stopped people from talking. It’s a bad situation.”

Another bus driver, Clifford Magloire, said that in May, when he was distributing leaflets criticizing the local’s leaders, one union official pushed him against a fence and started screaming at him as others surrounded him.
Cuban Crafters Cigars
Defending the decision to hire the 11, Mr. Wetzel said: “It is essential that you have experienced personnel to represent the union members. If you sweep house and bring in a bunch of people who have no experience, that is not a good idea.”

Mr. Wetzel said the 11 executive board members were hired for staff positions only after they passed a background check by the parent union. He said one executive board member was not hired because of questions about his integrity.

The independent counsel’s report criticized several officials from the parent union who knew for decades about mob involvement in Local 1181 but did nothing.

Last September, Matthew Ianniello, the acting boss of the Genovese crime family, admitted that he had helped arrange for bus companies to make payoffs to Local 1181 officials. Some payoffs, prosecutors say, went to Mr. Battaglia, who in exchange agreed not to attempt to unionize certain bus companies.

Mr. Ianniello also said he shared kickbacks and extorted money with Local 1181’s leaders. He made those admissions when he pleaded guilty in Federal District Court in Manhattan to obstructing justice.

Mr. Wetzel said that union officials planned to enact a stronger ethics code at their convention this month that would, among other things, require union officials to notify headquarters if they know of any union official mishandling funds or involved in corruption.

Thanks to Steven Greenhouse

Petey Cap Hits a 7 and Craps Out as He Heads Up the River

It's snake eyes for Hudson County gambling racketeer Peter "Petey Cap" Caporino, who is on his way up the river after being sentenced to an unlucky seven years in prison today, officials said.

Caporino ran illegal numbers and sports betting rackets for more than 40 years and was an FBI informant for two decades.

Helping the feds got him off the hook but he just couldn't give up the business he operated out of the Character Club, on Monroe Street in Hoboken. A portion of his take was passed up the chain to Genovese crime family bosses, law enforcement officials said.

"We are gratified that this book has reached it's final chapter," said Hudson County Prosecutor Edward DeFazio.

In 2002, Caporino pleaded guilty to money laundering involving illegal gambling proceeds and was sentenced to five years in prison. That sentence was suspended when he agreed to wear a wire for the FBI and help prosecute 15 reputed Genovese associates.

Caporino could have walked away but he didn't -- and things spiraled from there.
In June, he was arrested at his Hasbrouck Heights home and charged with leading an organized crime network, promoting gambling and possession of gambling records.

On Aug. 16 last year, he was arrested in Hoboken by Jersey City police and charged with promoting gambling and possession of gambling records, officials said. Following this arrest, the feds washed their hands of Caporino and DeFazio reinstated the five year suspended sentence.

Caporino was given seven years today by state Superior Judge Peter Vazquez, sitting in Jersey City, for leading an organized crime network, and five years for promoting gambling. Under the terms of the plea deal, the terms will run concurrently.

The sweep that netted Caporino in June also resulted in the arrest of his wife, Ann Caporino, 68, on the charge of possession of gambling records. The charge against her was dropped as part of his plea deal.

Thanks to Michaelangelo Conte

Sierra Trading Post

Monday, July 30, 2007

Tipster Helps Put Mob Turncoat Behind Bars

Friends of ours: Peter "Petey Cap" Caporino, Genovese Crime Family, Michael Crincoli, Louis "Bobby" Manna, Lawrence "Little Larry" Dentico, Joseph Scarbrough

Peter Caporino stood in a Jersey City courtroom last week in a green prison jumpsuit and blue slippers, with his hands cuffed behind his back. He held his head high but looked tired.

"Mr. Caporino, are you thinking clearly today?" Superior Court Judge Peter Vazquez asked him. "Yes," Caporino replied, nodding.

The exchange began the final ironic twist in the strange, sorry tale of "Petey Cap," one of the better-known and well-liked mobsters to grace or -- depending on your view -- plague North Jersey.

Caporino was the Hasbrouck Heights wiseguy who traded four decades of service in the mob for an FBI wire and the chance to spare himself and his wife from prison. He secretly recorded hundreds of conversations, and later helped federal prosecutors win convictions against 16 Jersey-based members and associates of the Genovese crime family. But as most of them marched off to prison last summer, a whisper campaign was in the works: Caporino, the rumors went, was not only back on the streets, but still brazenly running the lucrative six-figure gambling racket the feds had ordered him -- twice -- to shut down.

A new nickname was in the air. Greedy Petey, they called him.

Anonymous letters found their way to the Jersey City police, the county prosecutors, even The Star-Ledger, identifying locations where Caporino and underlings were said to still be operating. Someone was ratting out the rat.

Last month, police raided his home, seized betting records and cash and charged Caporino and his wife. The end came Thursday, when the 70-year-old mobster admitted his crimes in a plea deal with Hudson County prosecutors, and agreed to a seven-year prison term, most of which will probably be spent in isolation.

Caporino's punishment could ultimately be longer and lonelier than any given to most of the men he helped put away. "It's poetic justice, that's what it is," said Joseph Ferrante, a defense attorney who grilled Caporino on the witness stand during a federal racketeering trial last year. "You can't go and be a rat and put it in everybody's face."

Caporino wasn't a boss or even a ranking member in New Jersey's most dominant crime family. But he was a fixture -- a slight, chatty fellow, known and liked by cops, criminals and politicians alike, fond of fine wines and quick to pick up the tab. With his white hair and silver-rimmed glasses, he was more lottery agent than bruiser.

He was also the proprietor of a Hoboken members-only social hall, the Character Club, that occupied a faded brick building in the shadow of gleaming new condos. Like the building, its owner represented the new realities of the modern mob in New Jersey. A lifelong Genovese associate, Caporino turned informant to save the family that mattered most to him, but couldn't abandon the job. "It's all he knows," said his defense attorney, Sam DeLuca.

Caporino isn't the first wiseguy cooperator to return to his criminal ways. It happens so often that some in Garden State law enforcement circles have a saying about their witness protection participants: You can take the wiseguy out of Jersey, but you can't take Jersey out of the wiseguy.

Caporino refused to enter the program, even after he was forced to testify at the May 2006 trial of reputed Genovese soldier Michael Crincoli. On the stand, Caporino calmly admitted peddling information to the FBI for more than 15 years, including intelligence that helped in the prosecution of Louis "Bobby" Manna, a reputed Genovese underboss who ran operations in New Jersey.

He also acknowledged under oath that agents had repeatedly ordered him to end his numbers racket. But at the hearing Thursday, Caporino admitted he was running it again last June, weeks after the Crincoli trial, raising the prospect that he never really shut it down. "It certainly looked that way," said Assistant Hudson County Prosecutor Thomas Carroll.

Caporino was first arrested and released last summer on minor gambling promotion charges. At the time, Jersey City Police Lt. Gary Lallo credited "community complaints in various sectors of the city" for jump-starting the investigation, but declined to say more. But there was no shortage of suspects behind the campaign to topple him, according to attorneys, investigators and others who know him.

Near the top would be the wiseguys he helped convict, or their friends, looking to exact some revenge, even if it's not a traditional form. "They like to see a guy suffer," said Assistant U.S. Attorney V. Grady O'Malley, a veteran organized crime prosecutor who oversees that office's Strike Force. "He's going to suffer with this. You're talking about spending the remaining good years of his life in jail."

There are other theories. One blames competitors coveting his lucrative turf. Or federal authorities angry at Caporino or looking for a way to force him into the protective custody he had repeatedly refused. Or local law enforcement, relishing the chance to embarrass the FBI by nailing one of its informants.

Another grapevine theory said Caporino's arrest was police payback after one of his right-hand men, Steve French, became a federal witness against a Jersey City detective, Frank D'Agosta, who was convicted of extorting the ring operators.

French became a cooperator after his arrest in a gambling raid by Hudson County investigators in 2002, the same one that snared Caporino, his wife, Ann, and more than a dozen others. By that point, Caporino had secretly been an FBI informant for more than a decade. But the prospect of he and his wife being sent to jail turned him into a full-fledged cooperating witness. In the two and a half years that followed, he recorded more than 300 conversations, most often with a microphone embedded on the pager he wore on his belt.

The racketeering indictment that ensued outlined loan-sharking operations, extortion attempts, and shakedowns against bettors by associates, soldiers, and Lawrence "Little Larry" Dentico, believed to be one of the ranking captains in the crime family.

One of Caporino's recordings captured Joseph Scarbrough, the reputed Jersey crew boss who presided at his own Hoboken social club, musing about whether to execute one gambler before his debts got too big. On another, Scarbrough waxed nostalgic about a particularly ruthless killer from Chicago. "Good man. Good (bleeping) man," said Scarbrough, who later pleaded guilty and was sentenced last year to five years in federal prison. "I loved the guy."

Caporino's role was more benign. He was the bank, the financier of an illegal daily lottery across North Jersey. He and his wife owned a house in middle-class Hasbrouck Heights, where they cared for their adult disabled daughter. Petey Cap's "office" -- the headquarters for the betting operation -- was a rented apartment in Staten Island, he admitted Thursday.

The take was sometimes as high as $40,000 a day, he testified last year, and he passed the proceeds both up and down the organizational ladder. Assistants and the legions of runners got paid for taking daily bets in office buildings, housing projects and storefronts. Scarbrough took as much as $5,000 a month, his "tribute" payment.

Caporino's cooperation won him a five-year suspended sentence in connection with the 2002 arrest and persuaded prosecutors to drop the charges against his wife.

The plea deal announced Thursday calls for Vazquez to reinstate the five-year term when he formally sentences Caporino in September. The judge is also expected to add a concurrent seven-year term for being the leader of an organized crime network. Again, prosecutors will drop their charges against Ann Caporino.

Thursday's plea hearing lasted just 15 minutes. Caporino stood at the defense table, guarded by two sheriff's officers and flanked on his left by DeLuca, his lawyer for more than 20 years. "Are you satisfied with the services of your attorney?" the judge asked. "Totally," Caporino said.

DeLuca then asked him a brief series of pre-arranged questions about the gambling ring and his role. Caporino limited his answers to one- or two-word replies. He wasn't asked to explain why he committed the crimes, though he'll get the chance to do so at sentencing. By that time, about half of the defendants he cooperated against will be free.

DeLuca said he hopes that Caporino will be eligible for parole in less than two years, although prosecutors said that was unlikely. Meanwhile, DeLuca said he will ask that Caporino serve his time somewhere outside of North Jersey.

He also can't expect any 11th hour assistance from the federal government. "We're not going to step in now and rescue him," said O'Malley, the federal prosecutor. "He takes the entire weight -- and he deserves it."

Thanks to John P. Martin

Friday, July 27, 2007

Mafia Barber Avoids Jail

Friends of ours: Genovese Crime Family

It was a close shave yesterday for an East Harlem barber who nearly went to prison for lying to the FBI about his Mafia clientele.

Instead, a federal judge sentenced Claudio Caponigro to a year's probation for playing dumb when FBI agents asked him to identify photos of some of his mobster pals

"Your honor, I'm sorry to hurt anybody," Caponigro, 76, told Manhattan Judge Lewis Kaplan.

The Italian immigrant will go back to doing what he has done for more than 56 years - cutting hair in his tiny shop on E. 116th St.

Caponigro's lawyer, Michael Washor, said his client is "embarrassed and shamed" but has no plans to retire. "This is a man who has devoted his life to his family, to his neighborhood and, believe it or not, to his profession," Washor added.

Caponigro was indicted last year along with 45 others in a vast racketeering conspiracy that included charges that the acting boss of the Genovese crime family signed off on a hit from prison.

FBI agents visited Caponigro's shop in November 2004 and asked him if he could identify several Genovese crime family members. Later, he was caught on tape telling mob-lawyer-turned-informant Peter Peluso, "They ask me a couple of questions. I don't answer not one question. I says, 'I don't know what you're talking about. I'm just a barber.'"

Caponigro was sentenced with several other septuagenarian mobsters accused in the same case.

Thanks to Thomas Zambito

Monday, July 16, 2007

Former Judge Faces 20 Years In Prison For Mafia Dealings

Friends of ours: Genovese Crime Family, Nicholas Gruttadauria
Friends of mind: David Gross

A former Nassau County judge pleaded guilty Friday to trying to launder more than $400,000 for members of the Genovese crime family.

David Gross, 45, admitted he agreed to try to launder the cash he knew was the result of a jewelry heist. What Gross did not know is that one of the men he was making the deal with was an undercover FBI agent.

Federal prosecutors said Gross planned to keep up to 20 percent of all cash he agreed to launder. He also agreed to try to sell more than $280,000 worth of stolen diamonds. "Sworn to do justice, a sitting judge violated his oath as well as the law when he partnered with a member of organized crime to launder proceeds of criminal activity," U.S. attorney Roslynn Mauskopf said.

Gross was first elected as a Nassau County judge in 1999. He was arrested in 2005 and suspended pending the outcome of the criminal case against him. The investigation began after the FBI developed leads stemming from raids on several mafia-run gambling houses on Long Island.

New York FBI Director Mark Mershon described Gross' criminal conduct as "the most egregious betrayals of the public trust."

Investigators said the former judge had teamed up with Nicholas Gruttadauria who they said is a member of the Genovese crime family. Gruttadauria has also pleaded guilty. FBI officials said the two men tried to use invoices from Freeport restaurant Cafe By The Sea to launder the money.

Gross faces 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Thanks to WNBC

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Mobster's Visit Meets with Gunfire

Friends of ours: John Agathos Sr., Genovese Crime Family

A police officer fired a shot at a man who tried to ram a cop while making his getaway after shooting the front door of a residence where a reputed mob figure was visiting family, officials said.

Bernard Yanotta, 65, of Meadow Lane , made his first court appearance yesterday on three counts of aggravated assault and weapons offenses on charges that he shot at the home of Helene Agathos-Schoendorf, officials said. Police also alleged he tried to ram Sgt. Thomas Borrelli with his Ford Explorer and pointed a pistol at him, Hudson County Prosecutor Edward DeFazio said.

Neighbors and law enforcement sources say reputed Genovese crime family associate John Agathos Sr. was at the home at the time of the shooting. The bullet lodged in the front door and no one was injured, DeFazio said. Officials say there is no reason to believe Agathos was the target, saying only that the motive of the shooting was related to a dispute over money, officials said.

When Yanotta's Explorer collided with the police vehicle, Borrelli got out of his cruiser and fired a round at Yanotta's car as he drove with gun in hand, DeFazio said, adding that Yanotta was not hit. Yanotta was then arrested by other officers, DeFazio said.

Emmett Thompson, a neighbor who has lived across from the Agathos home since 1967, said he took a look when he heard the ruckus on the night of the shooting. "I looked out the window and saw a lot of police cars," Thompson said yesterday. "The father (John Agathos Sr.) came out of the house in a robe, then got in the car and drove away." Thompson said he's known the Agathos family for years. "I know Helene a long time, watched her grow up."

Yanotta, a first-time offender, appeared in court via video link from Hudson County jail in Kearny . When asked if he had any questions, Yanotta said: "I was just hoping to have the bail reduced. I've been a good citizen all my life." But Nieto said the charges were too serious.

According to a report to Congress by the Office of the Inspector General in 1996, Agathos was removed and banned for life from membership in the Hotel Employees & Restaurant Employees International Union Local 69 in Secaucus, where he served as president.

The report stated that "Local 69 President, John Agathos Sr., and fund administrator, John Agathos Jr., were associated with the Genovese "la cosa nostra" family." It was "also determined that John Agathos Sr. embezzled approximately $150,000 from the Local."

John Agathos Sr. was in the news again in 2005 when union official David Feeback was convicted of stealing money from the local. Assistant U.S. Attorney Grady O'Malley told The Star-Ledger at the time that Feeback was brought into the local by "alleged mob associate John N. Agathos."

Numerous attempts to reach Agathos-Schoendorf by phone yesterday were unsuccessful. Secaucus police would not confirm or deny the shooting even happened, despite the fact one of their officers had fired his gun.

Thanks to Michaelangelo Conte

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Genovese Mafia Crime Family Captain Returns to Prison

Friends of ours: Angelo "The Horn" Prisco, Genovese Crime Family

Reputed Genovese family capo Angelo "The Horn" Prisco pleaded guilty in Newark federal court to one count of extortion in connection with attempts to win electrical business connected to the San Gennaro festival in Little Italy.

Under the plea deal announced Thursday afternoon, federal prosecutors said Prisco must serve five years in prison.

Investigators said Prisco, 68, threatened violence to intimidate rivals out of the running for hanging lights and other electrical work associated with the summer outdoor festival. The threats were recorded by the FBI during a meeting at an Edgewater, N.J., restaurant back in July 2004.

Prisco has been at the center of controversy over his parole from state prison when James McGreevey was governor. Prisco had been sentenced to 12 years for arson and conspiracy back in 1988. But he was paroled after serving about one third of his state sentence.

Some questioned whether the reputed mobster received special treatment. McGreevey has denied any impropriety and denied he played any role in helping arrange Prisco's early release. But former Parole Board Director Kenneth Connolly had claimed that McGreevey's office demoted and transferred him in 2002 when he questioned Prisco's early release. Connolly claimed that a top McGreevey aide had intervened in the Prisco case.

Connolly's lawsuit was settled for more than $400,000. At the time, the deal permitted Connolly to transfer from the Parole Board, where he was a hearing officer, to the Motor Vehicle Commission.

Thanks to Jonathan Dienst

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Ray Ruggiero, Genovese Crime Family Member, Sentenced to 168 Months in Prison on Racketeering Charges

Friends of ours: Renaldi "Ray" Ruggiero, Genovese Crime Family

R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Alice Fisher, Assistant Attorney General in Charge of the Criminal Division, U.S. Department of Justice, Jonathan I. Solomon, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Miami Field Division, and Michael E. Yasofsky, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Plantation, Florida, announce that defendant Renaldi (Ray) Ruggiero was sentenced to 168 months’ imprisonment after having pled guilty in February 2007 to conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influence Corrupt Organization (RICO) statute, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1962(d). Ruggiero was also ordered to serve 2 years of supervised release, to pay a fine of $25,000 and to forfeit $10,000 previously seized by the government.

At the time of his plea, Ruggiero admitted that he was a soldier and then made a captain in the Genovese Crime Family and was in charge of its operations in South Florida. Ruggiero admitted that he supervised and directed the activities of members and associates committing criminal acts in the Southern District of Florida, and was employed by the Genovese Crime Family of La Cosa Nostra. He further admitted that he conspired to engage in a pattern of racketeering activity, including extortion, robbery, money laundering, making of extortionate extensions of credit, collection of extensions of credit by extortionate means, travel in aid of racketeering, possession of stolen property, and bank fraud.

This is the sixth defendant to have been sentenced in this case. Previously, co-defendants Colasacco, Steinberg, Weissman, Santoro and O’Donnell received sentences ranging from 41 months to 97 months after pleading guilty to one count of RICO conspiracy.

Mr. Acosta commended the investigative efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service, and United States Postal Service assigned to this case. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jeffrey N. Kaplan and Trial Attorney Cynthia Stone from the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section of the United States Department of Justice.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Genovese Crime Family Members Sentenced to Prison, Supervised Release

Friends of ours: Genovese Crime Family, Mitchell Wiessman, Joseph Dennis Colasacco, Charles Steinberg

A federal judge has sentenced three reputed associates of the Genovese crime family to prison and supervised release, according to court documents.

Mitchell Wiessman, Joseph Dennis Colasacco, and Charles Steinberg were arrested in June 2006 and later pleaded guilty to RICO conspiracy, a charge designed to cut down on organized crime. Prosecutors said the men were involved in the Genovese family's South Florida operations.

Cases against several other men arrested with the three are still pending.

Wiessman, 54, was sentenced to approximately eight years of prison. Colasacco, 55, received approximately six years of prison and Steinberg, 31, was sentenced to more than three years. All three were also sentenced to two years of supervised release after they leave prison. They were sentenced Friday.

As terms of his supervised release, Colasacco must attend anger management courses. Wiessman has to seek help for substance abuse after his release, and Steinberg must undergo treatment for gambling.

Wiessman's attorney, John Contini, said he and his client were upset with the sentence. Describing his client as a "chubby little Jewish boy driving a used Hyundai,'' Contini said Wiessman's only crime was knowing members of the Genovese family.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Hoboken Genovese Gang Not Seen Much Any More

Friends of ours: Genovese Crime Family, Michael Coppola, Michael "Tona" Borelli, Peter Grecco, Peter Caporino, Tino R. Fiumara, Lawrence A. Ricci

The old gang isn't seen much around Hoboken any more, thanks to the recent efforts of the FBI to nab the city's most notorious mobsters.

The latest arrest: Michael Coppola, 60, a reputed captain in the Genovese crime family, who was arrested Friday in New York City and charged in the 1977 killing of a mobster in Bridgewater .

Coppola was one of the FBI's most wanted fugitives, and he'd been featured on " America 's Most Wanted" several times. Investigators had searched for him in Nevada , Pennsylvania , Florida , Canada , Italy and Costa Rica .

In the 1970s and 1980s, Coppola could be seen in Hoboken social clubs meeting with the likes of Michael "Tona" Borelli, 69, of Fort Lee, a reputed made member of the Genovese crime family, Peter Grecco, 70, of Woodcliff Lake , and infamous mob rat Peter Caporino, 69, of Hasbrouck Heights , Hoboken police sources said yesterday.

Borelli and Grecco are facing prison time after a federal probe into gambling and other rackets in Hoboken and Jersey City . Caporino, who cooperated with the feds in that case to avoid jail time on a gambling charge in Hudson County , faces jail time himself, as authorities said he continued his criminal activities even after the feds told him to stop.

Caporino wore a wire for the FBI for years and made one recording of Borelli in the "Company K" social club on Jefferson Street , where Coppola used to hold court. When Genovese boss Tino R. Fiumara was in prison and Coppola was on the run, Borelli and Lawrence A. Ricci ran the Coppola/Fiumara crew, says a report 2004 by the New Jersey Investigation Commission. Ricci was found dead in a car trunk behind a Union County diner in December 2005.

With the help of Caporino, Borelli and Grecco pleaded guilty in April 2006 to operating an illegal gambling business. "The Fiumara/Coppola crew is one of the largest and most resourceful Genovese crews operating in New Jersey ," the state report says.

Coppola is accused of gunning down Johnny "Coca Cola" Lardiere outside the Red Bull Inn on Route 22 in Bridgewater in 1977.

Investigators believe Coppola drew a silenced .22-caliber pistol and pointed it at Lardiere - but the gun jammed. Lardiere then sneered at the hitman, "What're you gonna do now, tough guy?" Coppola then drew a second gun from an ankle holster and shot Lardiere five times, authorities said.

Nine years later, DNA evidence and an informant led the FBI to Coppola, but he disappeared.

Coppola has been listed at or near the top of the state Division of Criminal Justice's 13 most wanted fugitives since the list was drawn up five years ago.

Newhouse News Service contributed to this report.

Thanks to Michaelangelo Conte

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Albert "The Old Man" Facchiano Pleads Guilty

Friends of ours: Albert "The Old Man" Facchiano, Genovese Crime Family

Albert Facchiano pleaded guilty Wednesday to racketeering conspiracy and other offenses prosecutors say he committed for the Genovese crime family, but its unlikely that the mobster will serve a day behind bars.

At 96, Facchiano, known in crime circles as "The Old Man," is in frail health and will likely be sentenced to house arrest, the Associated Press reports. Faces charges robbery, money laundering and bank fraud, the aged gangster pleaded guilty to a Florida charge of racketeering conspiracy and a New York charge of witness tampering.

Although Facchiano could have faced a maximum sentence of 30-years in prison and up to $500,000 in fines, under a plea agreement, prosecutors recommended that he be placed under house arrest, the AP reported. He's scheduled to be sentenced May 25.

Facchiano was among 30 alleged members of the Genovese crime family charged in a wide-ranging federal case.

What surprised some observers is that the charges against Facchiano stemmed from crimes committed late in his life. Prosecutors charged that from 1994 to 2006, Facchiano supervised associates who committed robberies, laundered money, engaged in bank fraud, and possessed stolen property. Prosecutors, defense attorneys and experts in organized crime say Facchiano may be the oldest racketeer ever prosecuted for crimes committed so late in life.

Facchiano's lawyer, Brian McComb told the AP that his client must see a doctor four times a week for back pain and other maladies, and "couldn't have stood trials in both Florida and New York."

Facchiano, who has an arrest record dating to 1932, walks with a cane and in court used a special headset to hear questions from the U.S. District Judge James Cohn.

A "made" man in the Genovese crime family, he spent eight years in prison on a 25-year sentence for racketeering after being arrested in 1979. The FBI, which monitors known members of organized crime, considers Facchiano a low-level figure.

Facchiano turns 97 on March 10.

Thanks to William Macklin

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Still in the Mob at Almost 100?

Friends of ours: Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Carlo Gambino, Albert "Chinky" Facchiano, Corelone Crime Family, Genovese Crime Family, Matthew "Matty the Horse" Ianniello, John "Dapper Don" Gotti, Liborio "Barney" Bellomo, John Ardito

Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky and Carlo Gambino are long gone. Murder Inc. is out of business. Las Vegas has been so cleaned up it resembles Disneyland. And Havana? Forget about it since Castro took over. But Albert "Chinky" Facchiano, at 96, is still standing. And like Michael Corleone in "The Godfather III," he is still very much involved in the family business, according to the FBI.

At an age when most people are long retired and happy just to be alive, the reputed mobster was indicted earlier this year in Florida and New York. He is accused of trying to intimidate and possibly kill a witness against the powerful the Genovese family of New York in 2005. He is also accused of helping to run the rackets in Florida.

It was unclear whether Facchiano intended to break legs with his own gnarled, 96-year-old hands.

There have been plenty of elderly Mafia defendants, including 86-year-old Genovese family member Matthew "Matty the Horse" Ianniello, who pleaded guilty to federal charges recently in Connecticut. But prosecutors, defense lawyers and Mafia experts say they can't remember someone Facchiano's age facing crimes of such recent vintage.

"I don't think there's anybody older than him," said Jerry Capeci, author of several books on organized crime and operator of the Internet site ganglandnews. "The rule is, you go in alive and you go out dead. You're not allowed to quit."

It appears that Facchiano, also known as "The Old Man," lived up to that Mafia credo, according to prosecutors. Facchiano, born in 1910, has been a "made member" of the nation's largest and most powerful Mafia family for decades, but was a low-level figure, rising no higher than soldier, according to the FBI. His nickname is apparently a play on his last name.

He was a boy when Arnold Rothstein supposedly fixed the 1919 World Series. He was a young man during the Depression when he took his first arrest. He was entering middle age during La Cosa Nostra's go-go years in the 1940s and '50s, when the Mafia skimmed its share of America's postwar prosperity. And he was a senior citizen in the 1980s and '90s when John Gotti and other bosses were taken down by the FBI.

In Florida, Facchiano was indicted along with the reputed Genovese chief in the Miami area and several others on charges of extortion and racketeering. Prosecutors say Facchiano from 1994 to 2006 mainly supervised associates who committed such crimes as robbery, money laundering and bank fraud.

The New York indictment accuses Facchiano and more than 30 other alleged Genovese members, including acting family boss Liborio "Barney" Bellomo, of a range of mob-related crimes. Facchiano is accused specifically of trying in 2005 to locate and intimidate a government witness known as "Victim-5" in court papers.

In one conversation picked up on an FBI listening device, Genovese associate John Ardito said he and Facchiano were "the hit men" who were looking for Victim-5, according to federal prosecutors. Ardito traveled from New York to Florida to meet with Facchiano about Victim-5, who had "gone wrong," according to an FBI transcript.

Facchiano pleaded not guilty and is free on bail, living at a condominium in swank Bal Harbor with a daughter. Facchiano's lawyer in the Florida case, Brian McComb, would not discuss the charges. He said his client is in reasonably good health, apart from a bad back and difficulty hearing. "He's got the typical ailments of an almost 97-year-old man," McComb said. "From day to day, who knows? He seems like a very nice gentleman."

Facchiano's first arrest came in 1932, on robbery and receiving stolen goods charges out of Pittsburgh, according to an FBI rap sheet. He got a sentence of two to five years, then was arrested again in 1936 in New York on grand larceny charges and yet again in 1944 on a bookmaking count. The records do not show how much prison time he did, if any.

"Chinky" stayed relatively clean until 1979, when he was arrested on federal racketeering charges and got a 25-year sentence. He served eight years, winning release at age 79. Then, nothing until his twin arrests this year.

If convicted on all charges, Facchiano could be looking at a sentence of well over 60 years in prison. Given the slow pace of federal prosecutions, he could be nearly 100 by the time he is sentenced.

U.S. Bureau of Prisons records show that as of the end of 2003 - the last year complete records are available - there were 30 inmates 80 and older. Officials could not say whether anyone as old as Facchiano is behind bars in the federal system.

As for his chances of actually being sent to prison, Ryan King, policy analyst with the nonprofit Sentencing Project, said: "A judge might look at someone in their 90s and consider the likelihood of re-offending. Are they really going to go out and commit another crime?"

Capeci, the Mafia expert, said someone Facchiano's age might have some difficulty keeping up with the younger wiseguys if he does go free. "There's no way a guy at age 96 can threaten people, break legs, do the normal routine that guys 50 and 60 years younger can do," he said. "But the guy is, according to the rules of the Mafia, still a made guy. He still has to take orders from the superiors and do what they tell him."

Thanks to Curt Anderson

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Roving Bug in Cell Phones Used By FBI to Eavesdrop on Syndicate

The FBI appears to have begun using a novel form of electronic surveillance in criminal investigations: remotely activating a mobile phone's microphone and using it to eavesdrop on nearby conversations.

The technique is called a "roving bug," and was approved by top U.S. Department of Justice officials for use against members of a New York organized crime family who were wary of conventional surveillance techniques such as tailing a suspect or wiretapping him.

Nextel cell phones owned by two alleged mobsters, John Ardito and his attorney Peter Peluso, were used by the FBI to listen in on nearby conversations. The FBI views Ardito as one of the most powerful men in the Genovese family, a major part of the national Mafia.

The surveillance technique came to light in an opinion published this week by U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan. He ruled that the "roving bug" was legal because federal wiretapping law is broad enough to permit eavesdropping even of conversations that take place near a suspect's cell phone.

Kaplan's opinion said that the eavesdropping technique "functioned whether the phone was powered on or off." Some handsets can't be fully powered down without removing the battery; for instance, some Nokia models will wake up when turned off if an alarm is set.

While the Genovese crime family prosecution appears to be the first time a remote-eavesdropping mechanism has been used in a criminal case, the technique has been discussed in security circles for years. The U.S. Commerce Department's security office warns that "a cellular telephone can be turned into a microphone and transmitter for the purpose of listening to conversations in the vicinity of the phone." An article in the Financial Times last year said mobile providers can "remotely install a piece of software on to any handset, without the owner's knowledge, which will activate the microphone even when its owner is not making a call."

Nextel and Samsung handsets and the Motorola RAZR are especially vulnerable to software downloads that activate their microphones, said James Atkinson, a counter-surveillance consultant who has worked closely with government agencies. "They can be remotely accessed and made to transmit room audio all the time," he said. "You can do that without having physical access to the phone."

Because modern handsets are miniature computers, downloaded software could modify the usual interface that always displays when a call is in progress. The spyware could then place a call to the FBI and activate the microphone--all without the owner knowing it happened. (The FBI declined to comment on Friday.)

"If a phone has in fact been modified to act as a bug, the only way to counteract that is to either have a bugsweeper follow you around 24-7, which is not practical, or to peel the battery off the phone," Atkinson said. Security-conscious corporate executives routinely remove the batteries from their cell phones, he added.

The FBI's Joint Organized Crime Task Force, which includes members of the New York police department, had little luck with conventional surveillance of the Genovese family. They did have a confidential source who reported the suspects met at restaurants including Brunello Trattoria in New Rochelle, N.Y., which the FBI then bugged. But in July 2003, Ardito and his crew discovered bugs in three restaurants, and the FBI quietly removed the rest. Conversations recounted in FBI affidavits show the men were also highly suspicious of being tailed by police and avoided conversations on cell phones whenever possible.

That led the FBI to resort to "roving bugs," first of Ardito's Nextel handset and then of Peluso's. U.S. District Judge Barbara Jones approved them in a series of orders in 2003 and 2004, and said she expected to "be advised of the locations" of the suspects when their conversations were recorded.

Details of how the Nextel bugs worked are sketchy. Court documents, including an affidavit (p1) and (p2) prepared by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Kolodner in September 2003, refer to them as a "listening device placed in the cellular telephone." That phrase could refer to software or hardware.

One private investigator interviewed by CNET News.com, Skipp Porteous of Sherlock Investigations in New York, said he believed the FBI planted a physical bug somewhere in the Nextel handset and did not remotely activate the microphone. "They had to have physical possession of the phone to do it," Porteous said. "There are several ways that they could have gotten physical possession. Then they monitored the bug from fairly near by." But other experts thought microphone activation is the more likely scenario, mostly because the battery in a tiny bug would not have lasted a year and because court documents say the bug works anywhere "within the United States"--in other words, outside the range of a nearby FBI agent armed with a radio receiver.

In addition, a paranoid Mafioso likely would be suspicious of any ploy to get him to hand over a cell phone so a bug could be planted. And Kolodner's affidavit seeking a court order lists Ardito's phone number, his 15-digit International Mobile Subscriber Identifier, and lists Nextel Communications as the service provider, all of which would be unnecessary if a physical bug were being planted.

A BBC article from 2004 reported that intelligence agencies routinely employ the remote-activiation method. "A mobile sitting on the desk of a politician or businessman can act as a powerful, undetectable bug," the article said, "enabling them to be activated at a later date to pick up sounds even when the receiver is down."

For its part, Nextel said through spokesman Travis Sowders: "We're not aware of this investigation, and we weren't asked to participate."

Other mobile providers were reluctant to talk about this kind of surveillance. Verizon Wireless said only that it "works closely with law enforcement and public safety officials. When presented with legally authorized orders, we assist law enforcement in every way possible."

A Motorola representative said that "your best source in this case would be the FBI itself." Cingular, T-Mobile, and the CTIA trade association did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

This isn't the first time the federal government has pushed at the limits of electronic surveillance when investigating reputed mobsters. In one case involving Nicodemo S. Scarfo, the alleged mastermind of a loan shark operation in New Jersey, the FBI found itself thwarted when Scarfo used Pretty Good Privacy software (PGP) to encode confidential business data. So with a judge's approval, FBI agents repeatedly snuck into Scarfo's business to plant a keystroke logger and monitor its output. Like Ardito's lawyers, Scarfo's defense attorneys argued that the then-novel technique was not legal and that the information gleaned through it could not be used. Also like Ardito, Scarfo's lawyers lost when a judge ruled in January 2002 that the evidence was admissible.

This week, Judge Kaplan in the southern district of New York concluded that the "roving bugs" were legally permitted to capture hundreds of hours of conversations because the FBI had obtained a court order and alternatives probably wouldn't work.

The FBI's "applications made a sufficient case for electronic surveillance," Kaplan wrote. "They indicated that alternative methods of investigation either had failed or were unlikely to produce results, in part because the subjects deliberately avoided government surveillance."

Bill Stollhans, president of the Private Investigators Association of Virginia, said such a technique would be legally reserved for police armed with court orders, not private investigators.

There is "no law that would allow me as a private investigator to use that type of technique," he said. "That is exclusively for law enforcement. It is not allowable or not legal in the private sector. No client of mine can ask me to overhear telephone or strictly oral conversations."

Surreptitious activation of built-in microphones by the FBI has been done before. A 2003 lawsuit revealed that the FBI was able to surreptitiously turn on the built-in microphones in automotive systems like General Motors' OnStar to snoop on passengers' conversations.

When FBI agents remotely activated the system and were listening in, passengers in the vehicle could not tell that their conversations were being monitored.

Malicious hackers have followed suit. A report last year said Spanish authorities had detained a man who write a Trojan horse that secretly activated a computer's video camera and forwarded him the recordings.

Thanks to Declan McCullagh and Anne Broache

Sunday, October 08, 2006

"JP" Helps the Syndicate

Friends of ours: Gambino Crime Family, Albert "The Blast" Gallo, Genovese Crime Family, Colombo Crime Family, Crazy Joe Gallo, Larry Gallo, Vincent "Chin" Gigante, Frank "Punchy" Illiano

On your "Gambino Crime Family" profile chart you list Albert "Kid Blast" Gallo as a Friend of Ours. He's actually a made member of the Genovese Family. He started with the Colombos in the crew run by his brothers--Crazy Joey and Larry Gallo. He went through the Gallo-Profaci War with them. He was supposedly a favorite of Vincent "Chin" Gigante until The Chin died this past December.

Then Albert "Al the Blast" Gallo Jr. (his full name and I don't think he uses the "Kid Blast" nickname anymore) switched allegiance to the Genovese Family in the mid-1970s after Larry died of cancer and Joey was hit in 1972 at Umberto's Clam House in Little Italy. Nearly the whole crew switched to the Genoveses.

Former Gallo crew member Frank "Punchy" Illiano is now a capo in the Genovese Family and Al Gallo is a made guy in his crew (or it could be the other way around, Gallo's the capo and Illiano's the top member of his crew--reports are conflicting on exactly who the capo of the crew is).

Thanks to "JP" who emailed this information to me.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Matty the Horse Cuts a Deal

Friends of ours: Genovese Crime Family, Matthew "Matty the Horse" Ianniello, Vincent "The Chin" Gigante

The ailing, aging reputed boss of the Genovese crime family pleaded guilty Thursday to helping try to infiltrate a union and thwart a federal grand jury probe.

The 86-year-old Matthew "Matty the Horse" Ianniello, his wooden cane hanging on a chair beside him, entered the plea before U.S Magistrate Judge Ronald L. Ellis in Manhattan.

A plea agreement signed with the government called for Ianniello to be sentenced to 1-1/2 to two years in prison on the single racketeering charge. Without the deal, Ianniello would have faced up to 20 years in prison. Sentencing was set for December 14. He also agreed to forfeit up to $1 million to the government.

Ianniello was reputedly a longtime capo in the crime family and allegedly became one of its acting bosses after the 1997 racketeering conviction of Vincent "The Chin" Gigante, who died in prison last December. Ianniello, who lives on Long Island, is free on bail.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Treanor told the judge that Ianniello participated in a conspiracy in which union officers lied to federal investigators about the involvement of organized crime in union business, among other things.

In court, Ianniello was difficult to understand as he read a statement admitting a role in efforts to corrupt a union and to prevent the union's leaders and employees from being honest with the government during a federal grand jury probe of mob activities. Ianniello's lawyer said his client's voice was affected by a stroke.

In his plea, Ianniello admitted receiving unlawful payments from a labor union and that he conspired to obstruct justice between 1990 and 2005.

Gigante had long been dubbed the "Oddfather" for bizarre behavior that included wandering the streets of Greenwich Village in nightclothes, muttering incoherently.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Megale Gets Capone Prison Sentence

The sole remaining defendant, Gambino Family associate Louis Natrella

Mob underboss Anthony "The Genius" Megale, a/k/a “Mac,” a/k/a “Machiavelli,” was sentenced Friday in Manhattan federal court to 11 years imprisonment, following his conviction on racketeering and extortion charges. Ironically, he received the same sentence as the legendary Chicago mobster Al "Scarface" Capone.

United States District judge also imposed a term of three years’ supervised release, a fine of $30,000, and ordered Megale to forfeit $100,000, representing the proceeds of his criminal activity.

Megale's sentencing followed his guilty plea on March 30, 2006, to four counts of an Indictment unsealed last year. It charged 32 defendants, most of whom are members or associates of the Gambino Organized Crime Family of La Cosa Nostra, with wide-ranging racketeering crimes and other offenses spanning more than a decade, including violent assault, extortion of various individuals and businesses, loansharking, union embezzlement, illegal gambling, trafficking in stolen property and counterfeit goods, and mail fraud.

As part of his guilty plea, Megale admitted participating in a racketeering enterprise and extorting the owners of a restaurant in Greenwich, Connecticut, a New Jersey trucking company, and a construction company in Westchester County.

As stated in the Indictment, from approximately 2002 until the time of his arrest in late 2004, Megale was the Acting Underboss of the Gambino Organized Crime Family. Megale assumed this position when official Underboss Arnold Squitieri , a codefendant, was elevated from Underboss to Acting Boss. The Gambino Crime Family was once headed by John "Teflon Don" Gotti and Paul Castelano, whom many believe was assassinated by order of Gotti.

The charges leading to Megale's conviction were the result of an almost three-year long investigation that included obtaining court authorization to intercept conversations among high-ranking members of the Gambino Crime Family at several locations in the Bronx and Westchester County, including at the United Hebrew Geriatrics Home, located in New Rochelle, New York. An undercover FBI agent also infiltrated the Gambino Family in the course of the investigation.

All but one of the defendants charged in this case have pleaded guilty or, in the case of Gambino Family Capo Gregory DePalma, been convicted at trial. In the past two weeks, Gambino Family Capo Thomas Cacciopoli, a/k/a “Tommy Sneakers,” Luchese Organized Crime Family Captain John Capra, a/k/a “Johnny Hooks,” and Genovese Organized Crime Family Soldier Pasquale DeLuca, a/k/a “Scop,” have all pleaded guilty in this case.

The sole remaining defendant, Gambino Family associate Louis Natrella, is scheduled to go to trial on September 11, 2006.

Anthony Megale, who was known as "The Genius," began his criminal activity in Stamford, Connecticut. In August 2001, it is believed that Megale became a Capo (Captain) within the Gambino Family and was made acting underboss after Peter Gotti -- son of John Gotti --was arrested on racketeering charges.

During August 2002, a Fairfield County nightclub owner, met with Megale after the nightclub owner had been approached by members and associates of the Gambino Family and another organized crime family who sought to extort payments from him, his associates, and his businesses.

Megale represented to the nightclub owner that he was a top Gambino Family member, that he had met with leadership of the rival organized crime family, and that he had prevented members and associates of the rival family from extorting payments from him.

Then Megale told the nightclub owner that he would have to pay for “protection” in order to ensure the safety of himself, his associates, his property and his businesses. Megale demanded payment of $2000 every month plus an annual Christmas bonus as tribute money.

According to the FBI, for almost two years the nightclub owner was forced to pay protection money to Megale. It is further alleged that Megale threatened the nightclub owner with violence, destruction of property and disruption of his business if and when Megale didn't receive his protection money from the owner.

Thanks to Jim Kouri

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