The Chicago Syndicate: Gregory DePalma
The Mission Impossible Backpack

Showing posts with label Gregory DePalma. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gregory DePalma. Show all posts

Sunday, May 21, 2006

And the Oscar goes to ... Gregory DePalma?

Friends of ours: Gambino Crime Family, Gregory DePalma, Vincent "Chin"Gigante, Joe Bonanno, Gennaro Angiulo, Stefano Maggodino, Aniello "Neill" Dellacroce
Friends of mine: Ilario Zannino

Gregory DePalma, the powerful Gambino family captain, allegedly bragged about his Academy Award-caliber performance playing a desperately ill man looking for a sentence reduction. It worked; a federal judge jailed DePalma for less than six years instead of the 13-year maximum back in 1999.

There was just one problem: The federal government was secretly taping DePalma's post-sentencing review. And now he's back in court, allegedly battling another debilitating illness as prosecutors attempt to convince another jury that DePalma is a racketeer.

The 74-year-old mobster, sitting at the defense table with an oxygen tube in his nose and his feet resting on a small stool, is the latest Mafiosi caught in a medical controversy over competency to stand trial. The government inevitably insists the defendant is a healthy candidate for prosecution; the defense is equally insistent that he is not.

"Surveillance photos will show you Gregory DePalma on the move, an energetic, active man," Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Marrah said in his opening statement at the reputed mobster's trial in Manhattan.

Not so, said defense attorney John Meringolo. DePalma was "a broken-down man who has a big mouth and is living through the past," Meringolo argued.

Trying to dodge prosecution through illness _ the "Sicilian flu," as federal agents once derisively called it _ is a long-standing Mafia defense. The most famous of all was Vincent Gigante, the so-called "Oddfather" who avoided conviction for nearly three decades by publicly acting like a loon.

Gigante strolled through his Greenwich Village neighborhood in bathrobe and slippers, whether it was time for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Gigante avoided conviction from 1970, when he first launched the ruse, until a 1997 conviction for racketeering and murder conspiracy.

FBI agents serving Gigante with a subpoena once found him standing naked in a running shower, clutching an open umbrella.

"With some of these guys, it would be hard to tell if it's dementia or just the way they are," said mob expert Howard Abadinsky. "They're that nutty."

The majority of cases run to heart problems rather than head cases.

Joe Bonanno, one of the founding fathers of New York City's mob, was summoned to testify in 1985 at a federal prosecution of the Mafia's ruling "Commission." Then 80, he was retired and living in Arizona - where he was definitely too ill to take the witness stand, said his lawyer, William Kunstler. The stress of testifying, Kunstler insisted, was too much for the octogenarian mobster. Bonanno did 14 months for contempt, coming out of prison in 1986. He died ... 16 years later, at the ripe old age of 97. Kunstler had died seven years earlier at 76.

Ilario Zannino, an associate of New England mob underboss Gennaro Angiulo, managed to avoid prosecution - albeit temporarily - after he was hospitalized with heart problems in 1985. He died in jail 11 years later at age 74.

Buffalo boss Stefano Maggodino, following his arrest, once claimed he was too sick to get fingerprinted. At a bedside arraignment, he told the assembled authorities, "Take the gun and shoot me. That's what you want!" He survived for another five years.

Not everyone lived as long as those three. Aniello "Neill" Dellacroce was arraigned by telephone in April 1985 from his Staten Island home, where he was laid up with heart disease and cancer. Dellacroce was dead before the end of the year.

"When you start to think of the lifestyles these guys live, there's a good chance it's not going to be so healthy," said Abadinsky. "One of the things that always fascinated me is that these guys didn't die earlier."

The Gigante case, with a mob boss feigning dementia to maintain his freedom, has become part of pop culture. Junior Soprano, on the hit HBO show, went from malingering to menacing mobster this year when he shot nephew Tony in a case of mistaken identity. The long-running hit TV show "Law And Order" did an episode using the Gigante premise. And author Jimmy Breslin did an entire book, "I Don't Want to Go to Jail: A Good Novel," that parodied Gigante with a character called Fausti ("The Fist") Dellacava.

"Gigante got a lot of exercise walking around the Village," Abadinsky said of the mobster who lived to age 77. "He just said he was nuts."

Thanks to Larry McShane

Friday, May 19, 2006

Mob Boss Threatens Liza Minnelli's Former Manager

A New York mob boss allegedly forced Liza Minnelli's former manager to pay for a group of Mafia wives to go to Las Vegas, a federal jury was told.

The jury in the trial of Greg DePalma heard recordings made by federal agents that revealed DePalma forced Gary Labriola to use his American Express card to pay for the women's $12,000, eight-night stay at the Venetian Hotel -- then threatened him when some of the charges were rejected -- The New York Post reported Thursday.

"I'm with my friends now. I look like a (expletive) horse's ass," DePalma said in the recording made Oct. 21, 2003.

After DePalma threatened him, Labriola promised to take care of the bill. However, when notified two months later there was still an outstanding balance of $4,800 on the hotel's account, DePalma made a phone call -- again recorded -- saying if he had Labriola in his hands "I would strangle him." Labriola paid the remaining balance a short time later, the Post said.

DePalma, 74, is on trial for charges including extortion, loan sharking, assault and receiving stolen property.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Mariah Carey Linked to Mafia

Diva Mariah CareyPop beauty Mariah Carey allegedly dined with a New York gangster during her marriage to ex-husband Tommy Mottola, a former FBI agent claims.

Joaquin Manuel Garcia, who retired from the FBI in March, made the revelations as he testified in alleged mob boss Greg DePalma's racketeering trial in a Manhattan court room on Monday.

Garcia claims De Palma, 74, brought him into the mob and he secretly recorded conversations during his time with the criminal gang. During a recorded conversation, De Palma claims he enjoyed a series of dinners with the singer and her music mogul husband in the mid-1990s. De Palma described Carey as "very nice, very quiet, reserved".

When asked for comment by the New York Daily News, a spokesman for Mottola denied he had spent time with De Palma.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Gambino Boss Heading to Jail


Friend of ours: Gambino Crime Family, Arnold "Zeke" Squitieri, Peter Gotti, John Gotti, Gregory DePalma

Reputed Gambino head Arnold "Zeke" Squitieri copped a plea to racketeering charges stemming from a daring three-year probe by an undercover FBI agent who infiltrated the crime family's ranks and brought down its leadership.

Squitieri, 70, confessed to racketeering and three shakedown schemes in a plea deal with the feds that will likely land him behind bars for nine years - roughly half the time he would have faced had he taken his chances with a jury. But the aging mafioso, who appeared in Manhattan Federal Court clad in tan prison garb that exposed a tattooed arm, made it clear he wasn't pleading guilty to save himself.

After admitting his misdeeds yesterday, Squitieri turned to coldly point at his wife, Marie, in the spectator seats.

"I did it for you. I pleaded guilty because of you," Squitieri said, prompting his wife to well up with tears and rush from the courtroom.

Also looking on were three of Squitieri's daughters, including raven-haired attorney Ginger Squitieri, who sat next to her father as a member of his defense team and greeted him with a kiss.

The feds claim Squitieri took the reins as Gambino acting boss when reputed boss Peter Gotti was arrested in 2002 - the first generation of Gambino bosses in the post-John Gotti era.

Under the deal hammered out with Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Conniff, Squitieri confessed to racketeering and raking in cash through shakedown schemes targeting two construction companies, in Mineola, L.I., and Westchester, and a New Jersey trucking company.

"I know it was wrong," Squitieri said. But the reputed mob leader - identified by the feds as an acting boss - kept his lips zipped when asked to acknowledge his role in the Gambino crime family.

"Mr. Squitieri makes no concession with respect to the name of the enterprise," defense lawyer Gerald Shargel told Magistrate Judge Michael Dolinger.

"With the Gambino name out of it? Guilty," said Squitieri, who must also forfeit $100,000 in cash.

The gravelly-voiced wiseguy joked with the judge when asked to identify the time frame of his crimes. "I can't remember too good, your honor. I'm getting up in age," Squitieri said, estimating that the extortions occurred between 1999 and 2005.

The feds have pegged Squitieri as official underboss and acting boss of the crime family, but some members of his ranks viewed him as holding the ultimate power, according to tapes of secretly recorded conversations.

On Nov. 5, 2004, steely-nerved undercover FBI agent "Jack Falcone" asked reputed capo Gregory DePalma if Squitieri was acting boss, to which the high-ranking mobster replied, "No, he's the boss. The boss is the boss," law-enforcement sources said.

In that same momentous conversation, DePalma told the 6-foot-4, 300-pound-plus Falcone he wanted to propose him as a "made" member of the crime family - not knowing he was an undercover agent.

The probe came to an abrupt end soon after this exchange in order to protect the burly agent, who was later targeted in a $250,000 murder contract foiled by the feds in August 2005 and first reported by The Post.

Squitieri was one of 32 reputed mobsters rounded up in March 2005 as the result of the daring undercover investigation, and all but two have pleaded guilty.

Thanks to Kati Cornell and Murray Weis


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