The Chicago Syndicate: Leonard DiMaria
Showing posts with label Leonard DiMaria. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Leonard DiMaria. Show all posts

Monday, March 31, 2008

Eliot Spitzer's Prostitute Connected to Reputed Mobster

Federal investigators have developed information that the prostitute whom Eliot Spitzer is said to have met in Washington last month has some relationship with a man who the authorities contend is an associate of organized crime, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

It was unclear on Friday whether the investigators had determined the precise nature, or timing, of the relationship between the 22-year-old woman and the reputed organized crime figure, Anthony Scibelli, 37, a building contractor now under federal indictment in a separate case in Brooklyn.

But prosecutors and F.B.I. agents involved in the prostitution case have begun asking questions about whether anyone involved with the ring that the former governor is believed to have patronized, the Emperor’s Club V.I.P., understands how Mr. Scibelli knows the woman, Ashley Alexandra Dupré, according to a person with knowledge of the investigation.

A lawyer for Mr. Scibelli acknowledged that his client knew Ms. Dupré but said that the two did not have a sexual relationship.

“He doesn’t deny knowing her, but he does deny having any illicit relationship with her,” said the lawyer, Gerald L. Shargel. “Anthony Scibelli is a hard-working contractor. He is not a mob member. He is not a mobster. He is someone who goes to work every day.”

Mr. Shargel said his client’s only contact with Ms. Dupré, an aspiring rhythm and blues singer, was related to his efforts to further her music career. “He has contacts in the music business,” Mr. Shargel said. “She was introduced to him because of his contacts in the music business, and she obviously thought that he could help further her career, and that was the sole basis of the relationship.”

He said the two met through a mutual friend whom he did not identify.

There is no indication that Mr. Spitzer was aware of Ms. Dupré’s relationship with Mr. Scibelli, or that Mr. Scibelli knew Mr. Spitzer had reportedly been a client of Ms. Dupré’s. Indeed, two people with knowledge of the case said Ms. Dupré’s only apparent contact with the governor had been the Feb. 13 rendezvous at the Mayflower Hotel, a meeting that became famous after it was disclosed that Mr. Spitzer was referred to as Client 9 in a federal complaint against the prostitution ring. But the fact that the scope of Ms. Dupré’s contacts included someone the federal government lists as an organized crime associate underscores the dangerously vulnerable position Mr. Spitzer put himself in if he consorted with prostitutes.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Spitzer, Brandy Bergman, said the former governor had no comment, as did a spokeswoman for federal prosecutors in Manhattan. A lawyer for Ms. Dupré, Don D. Buchwald, also declined to comment. Ms. Dupré did not respond to messages.

Mr. Scibelli is listed as the owner of one construction company and as an executive in another that does business in the New York metropolitan region. He served a state prison sentence in the early 1990s for felony drug sale, according to state prison records.

Last month, he was one of 62 people charged in a sweeping indictment brought by federal prosecutors against the Gambino crime family, including 3 reputed leaders of the family, 6 reputed capos, 16 men the authorities classified as soldiers and others, like Mr. Scibelli, whom the government identified as mob associates.

Specifically, the government accused Mr. Scibelli of extortion and extortion conspiracy, claiming he shook down another contractor and took over the man’s portable cement plant.

He was charged along with three other men, Nicholas Corozzo and Leonard DiMaria, identified in the indictment as Gambino captains, and Mr. Corozzo’s son-in-law, Vincent Dragonetti, a reputed soldier who is involved in a construction business with Mr. Scibelli.

Mr. Shargel noted that Mr. Scibelli was not charged with racketeering conspiracy in the Brooklyn case, as were 25 of the other defendants. And he was named in just two of the 80 counts in the 170-page indictment.

He is now free on $1 million bond that was secured by the house where he lives with his wife in Medford, N.Y., and a home there owned by his parents.

Mr. Corozzo, Mr. DiMaria and Mr. Dragonetti face more serious charges: murder, racketeering conspiracy and nearly two dozen other alleged crimes for Mr. Corozzo; racketeering conspiracy and 30 extortion, gambling and other counts for Mr. DiMaria; and a litany of construction-related extortion, money laundering and gambling charges for Mr. Dragonetti.

Mr. Dragonetti and Mr. Scibelli are involved in a construction firm called Hunter-Atlantic, in Red Bank, N.J. Mr. Scibelli is the vice president and business records list Mr. Dragonetti as the registered agent.

Mr. Scibelli also has another company, VMS Consulting Inc., which is based at his home in Medford, according to business records.

Hunter-Atlantic was involved in shoring up a landmark six-story cast-iron building adjacent to the planned site of a 20-story condominium building called 57 Reade Street in TriBeCa. The city’s Buildings Department halted work there in November after the excavation for the new building left the landmark listing.

Thanks to Willaim K. Rashbaum and Ian Urbina

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Mobster Turns Lemons into Lemonade

It's too bad for Joey Vallaro that so many people want him killed. Otherwise he could make a killing himself on the speakers' circuit with his story of how even in adversity there is opportunity.

In Vallaro's case it would be about how he turned a jail stretch for extortion into a career as a Staten Island trucking magnate.

Always a step ahead, so far at least, Vallaro is the Mafia "rat" at the centre of a 170-page indictment against 62 mobsters and crooks, including the bosses of New York's Gambino family, which resulted in 57 arrests last week. It was a crippling blow to one of the city's notorious Five Families.

Twelve years and a lifetime ago, Vallaro became pals with the Gambino captain Nicholas "Little Nicky" Corozzo while they were in the can. Not long before he was jailed Vallaro and a partner had started a trucking company.

Court documents, referring to Vallaro as "John Doe #4", show that on the outside another Gambino captain, Thomas "Tommy Sneakers" Cacciopoli, recovered a debt owed to Vallaro's company "and, in return, demanded monthly extortion payments from that point forward". After his release from prison in 1999 Vallaro made the payments directly to Cacciopoli, 58, and to stay in business he has since handed over more than $US160,000.

In return, the Gambinos sponsored his business: ushering him into exclusive rights at development sites and granting him permission to start a cement company. When Vallaro wanted to sell after a buyer approached him, he first had to obtain permission from the family.

"In keeping with instructions from Gambino family captains Nicholas Corozzo and Leonard DiMaria to consult them before making any decisions concerning his business, John Doe #4 informed DiMaria of the [buyer's] offer. DiMaria later informed John Doe #4 that the family had agreed to allow him to make the sale, provided he pay $100,000 to the Gambino family," court documents show.

Vallaro's partner did not fare so well: "In early January 2008, Gambino family soldier Joseph Scopo approached John Doe #4 on behalf of Gambino family captain Thomas Cacciopoli and instructed him that when the sale of his cement company took place, John Doe #4 should not provide his partner with the more than $300,000 in sale proceeds due to him, and that Cacciopoli would collect the money himself when he was released from prison."

Long before he OKed selling Vallaro's business, Lenny "Fatso" DiMaria, a family member since the 1970s, had unwittingly given investigators an insight into corporate techniques Gambino-style when he was captured on a surveillance audio tape.

"You have to go bother these people for your money," he was heard telling a subordinate. "Rough them up a little. Tell them 'You're a f---ing stiff' … Crack a face. F--- them up. Don't you do it, send a f---ing kid to rough them up, a f---ing joke."

The most senior of those charged is John "Jackie the Nose" D'Amico, who rose from the rank of soldier to acting boss of the Gambinos. Seventy-three years old and facing racketeering and extortion charges, he may well die in prison like an earlier Gambino boss, John Gotti.

Also indicted are D'Amico's underboss, Dominic "the Greaseball" Cefalu, 61, and Joseph "Miserable" Corozzo, 66, the family's counsellor or consigliere. This trio was the Gambino "administration".

"The Gambino family operated through groups of individuals headed by captains, who were also referred to as skippers, caporegimes and capodecinas. These groups, which were referred to as crews, regimes and decinas, consisted of 'made' members of the Gambino family, also referred to as 'soldiers', 'friends of ours', 'good fellows' and 'buttons' as well as associates of the Gambino family," the indictment reads.

"With the assistance of the underboss and consigliere, the boss was responsible for setting policy, resolving disputes between members and associates of the Gambino family and members and associates of other criminal organisations."

Corozzo's brother, Nicholas "Little Nicky" Corozzo, is charged with the 1996 murder of the Lucchese crime family associate Robert Arena who refused to return marijuana he stole from a drug dealer. Arena was already suspected of killing one of Corozzo's crew - Anthony "Tough Tony" Placido - when Corozzo ordered his killing. A friend of Arena's who happened to be with him when he was shot was also murdered. Of the shooter, Little Nicky is alleged to have said he "did good work".

One longtime soldier who was spared the indignity of a physically demeaning nickname - and possibly with good reason - was Charles "Charlie Canig" Carneglia.

Grey-bearded and with an improbable grey ponytail, Carneglia has allegedly been killing for the Gambinos since the 1970s, and not necessarily always while under instruction.

In 1975 Albert Gelb, 25, intervened when he saw a young woman being harassed in a diner by a man who produced a gun before Gelb disarmed him. The man was Carneglia. Gelb was shot dead seated at the wheel of his car shortly before Carneglia's trial.

Carneglia, 61, has been charged with five murders in all and also is suspected of a notorious hit on one John Favara, who disappeared in July 1980. Favara was the unfortunate motorist who struck and killed Gotti's 12-year-old son. The boy rode his bike into the path of Favara's car. Carneglia is suspected of shooting Favara and of disposing of his body in a cement-filled barrel. Favara's body has not been found.

The FBI this week was making a body count of another sort. In the Gambino takedown they counted three family captains, three acting captains and 16 soldiers. "Once ruled by the powerful Carlo Gambino and 'Dapper Don' John Gotti, the Gambino family has been reduced to a shadow of its former criminal self over the years … but it is far from dead, continuing its efforts to infiltrate such industries as trucking and construction," the FBI said. "Still, the investigations and ensuing indictment represent another crippling blow. A total of 25 alleged Gambino mobsters - including each active leader of the family not already in jail - were indicted."

Among those charged are members and associates of the Bonnano and Genovese crime families and figures from the construction industry and unions. The charges span three decades and involve murder, drug trafficking, money laundering, extortion and various scams.

The Labour Department inspector-general, Gordon Heddell, said the scams involved some of New York's biggest building companies. "Many of these construction companies allegedly paid a 'mob tax' in return for 'protection' and permission to operate," he said. "The Gambino organised crime family caused the theft of Teamsters union dues, and of health and pension funds, directly impacting the welfare and future of many workers."

In addition, Carneglia ran marijuana. Other family members dealt cocaine. Corozzo and DiMaria oversaw illegal bookmakers, and acting captain Frank Cali ran illegal poker machines "including approximately four or five machines in Caf Italia in Brooklyn. Cali split a percentage of the gambling profits with the owner of the restaurant, with 10 per cent off the top going to the administration of the Gambino family," court documents reveal.

"In the 1990s, Cali was involved in overseeing the Gambino family interest in the annual Italian Feast on 18th Avenue in Brooklyn. The Gambino family received a percentage of the fees charged for the booths and rides, which generated tens of thousands of dollars each year. Cali split the money with other Gambino family associates, with 10 per cent off the top going to the administration of the Gambino family."

Joey Vallaro was a good earner for the Gambinos. In January 2006 they allowed him to start a new operation, an excavation business. That alone brought in $30,000 in extortion payments.

The New York Post said the crunch came when he was busted with two kilograms of cocaine in 2004. He turned informant rather than face a possible life sentence.

Contrary to expectations, Vallaro apparently did not enter the witness protection program after authorities swooped on the family: some reports claim that Joey stayed around to make a brazen appearance at a sushi bar last Saturday. It was just two days after the arrests, and two doors from the restaurant run by his now-abandoned wife, Trisha.

He is not expected to reappear until his time comes to testify in the looming Gambino trials. That is especially so since Little Nicky Corozzo, the man who ushered him into the fold, was not home when the police came calling. And he is still out there, somewhere.

Thanks to Ian Munro

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Gambino Mobster Nicknames

According to mob expert John Carillo, most gangsters don't know one another's last name. "It's a group of people that know each other basically by nicknames or first names." Among the funniest are:

Thomas Cacciopoli: "Tommy Sneakers." He "likes sneakers," Michael "Mikey Scars" DiLeonardo testified at the trial of Gambino boss Peter Gotti.

Joseph Corozzo: "Jo-Jo," "Miserable." It's about that attitude, Jo-Jo.

Robert Epifania: "Bobby the Jew." He's not Jewish. But he "looks like a Jew," his cohorts told investigators.

Domenico Cefalu: "Italian Dom," "Dom from 18th Avenue," "The Greaseball." "Greaseball" is the pejorative the elder John Gotti used for Sicilians; 18th Avenue is in his neck of the woods, Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.

Nicholas Corozzo: "The Doctor," "The Little Guy," "Seymour," "Grandpa," "Grandfather," "Little Nick." This 5-foot-6 mobster goes by "Grandpa" when with close friends.

Vincent Decongilio: "Vinny Hot." His father was "Freddy Hot" - plus he's into gambling.

Leonard DiMaria: "Uncle," "Lenny," "L," "Fatso," "The Conductor." Self-named, he once signed a get-well note to a Newsday reporter "Uncle Lenny." He's short, squat, with a broad nose.

Anthony Licata: "Anthony Firehawk," "Anthony Nighthawk," "Cheeks." Firehawk and Nighthawk are names of trucking companies. Personal Creations

John D'Amico: "Jackie Nose." "He had his nose fixed. He had a big, distorted nose at one time," DiLeonardo said at the Gotti trial. D'Amico was said to have been upset with prosecutors for using the nickname.

Thanks to the NYPost

After Husband is Arrested, Did Mobster's Wife Reach Out and Touch a Warning to Her Reputed Gambino Capo Father

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Reputed Gambino capo Nicholas "Little Nick" Corozzo was able to elude the feds' rubout of more than 100 of his associates Thursday - allegedly thanks to a timely, heads-up phone call from his daughter, who had just watched her mobster husband hauled away in cuffs, sources told The Post yesterday.

Vincent "Skinny" Dragonetti was busted as he walked out of his Bellmore, LI, home a few minutes ahead of the early-morning synchronized sweep. That gave his wife, Bernadette, enough time to warn her dad, who lives a few blocks down the same street.

Corozzo was so quick in fleeing that he left behind his wallet, sources said.

Bernadette refused to answer a Post reporter's questions yesterday, slamming the door in his face.

Corozzo remained on the lam as new details emerged about the historic mass arrest - which involved charges of murder, corruption, extortion, drug dealing and loan-sharking from the city to Sicily.

Its central figure, Staten Island truck-company owner Joseph Vollaro, wore a wire for more than two years.

The ex-con provided intricate details of the Gambino crime family's inner workings at meetings and meals with top bosses, sources said.

Vollaro, who had been staring at a life sentence after he was pinched with two kilos of cocaine in 2004, made the deal in exchange for his freedom and entry into the witness-protection program.

His wife has decided not to join him in the program, which he entered last week as the feds were putting the finishing details on Thursday's massive bust, sources said. The couple has no kids.

As valuable as Vollaro was in bringing down one of the city's biggest crime syndicates, the feds apparently didn't know what to expect when he first agreed to help with their large-scale investigation.

Vollaro, who shared a federal prison cell with Corozzo and began doing business with the Gambinos when he got out in 1999, was initially expected to help with a multifaceted national drug investigation. But he cozied up to the "family" so well over the next few years that he was even on the verge of becoming a made man when the hammer fell on the organization, the sources said.

Vollaro's sweetheart deal sickened the rogues gallery of thugs he ratted out.

"Everybody thought he was a nice guy," said Joel Winograd, the lawyer for Leonard "The Conductor" DiMaria, who, among other things, is charged with money laundering, stealing union benefits and gambling. "He's probably in Hawaii on the beach spending his illegally obtained drug-dealing money right now."

The evidence obtained by Vollaro was a key building block for many of the extortion and racketeering cases.

The multiple murder charges - for crimes that date back as far as 30 years - were brought with extensive wiretap evidence gathered by longtime Gambino associate Peter Zuccaro, 52.

Zuccaro was a key member of one of Corozzo's biggest crews run by Ronnie "One Arm" Trucchio. He and several other associates cut a deal with the feds after his conviction in Tampa, Fla., in 2005 on extortion and other charges.

Zuccaro, a trusted member of the late John Gotti's inner circle, provided a treasure trove of damning evidence - including information on the murder of court officer Albert Gelb, which was allegedly committed by hit man Charles Carneglia.

Thanks to Murray Weiss, Stephanie Cohen, Eric Lenkowitz

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