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

Friday, September 23, 2016

Police Corruption and Cover-ups Surround "The Brotherhood - The True Story of Two Cops Who Murdered for the Mafia"

In 1994, an underboss of the Lucchese crime family, Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso, flipped. He was in federal custody, facing numerous murder and racketeering counts, when he informed FBI agents that, in return for a "pad" of $4,000 a month, two New York City Police Department detectives had regularly slipped him confidential information from police and FBI organized-crime files: names and addresses of confidential informants (who were then knocked off), tipoffs on raids and phone taps, and advance warnings of arrests.

For almost a decade, Casso said that the two detectives, Stephen Caracappa and Louis Eppolito, conducted secret investigations for the Lucchese family. Eventually, Casso claimed, he hired the detectives as hit men. They used their badges to put unsuspecting gangland targets at ease, killed them and collected payoffs of up to $100,000.

What makes "Brotherhoods: The True Story of Two Cops Who Murdered for the Mafia" even more alarming is the criminal negligence of law-enforcement officials, who showed little interest in bringing Caracappa and Eppolito to justice. "The Brotherhoods" chronicles years of egregious police corruption and the stupefying bureaucratic indifference that allowed it to flourish. It was not until 11 years after Casso first fingered the two cops that they were finally arrested.

After receiving life sentences, the two had their convictions thrown out by a judge who ruled that the statute of limitations had expired. At the time of their arrest, a Drug Enforcement Administration agent said, "It's been a long time coming." Well, it's still not over. The book closes with the government's appeal of the ruling.

Investigative journalist Guy Lawson teamed up for this book with William Oldham, a retired NYPD detective who spearheaded the police corruption investigation as an investigator for the U.S. attorney's office in Brooklyn. Oldham brings an insider's insight and analysis to this absorbing book, which serves as a cautionary tale to all police departments. Because the NYPD brass did not assiduously follow up on the signs of corruption, the job of every cop in the department became more difficult.

Eppolito and Caracappa were longtime best friends and former partners as young detectives in south Brooklyn. Thin, quiet and with a preference for dark suits, Caracappa was called "the Prince of Darkness" by other detectives. He was also one of the department's top detectives, a go-to guy in the elite Major Case Squad, which investigated high-profile, difficult cases. Caracappa had "written the book on organized crime murders in New York," the authors explain. "If a wise guy was killed in Queens or the Bronx and the homicide detective who caught the case wanted to know how his victim fit in the Mafia, he would look in Caracappa's book for connections."

Eppolito, on the other hand, was "fat, loud, foul-mouthed ... with a thick mustache and a taste for gold chains. ... He was a conspicuous cop - he dressed like a wise guy." He also wrote a memoir called "Mafia Cop: The Story of an Honest Cop Whose Family Was the Mob." Given his family's connections with organized crime, it is remarkable that NYPD screeners let Eppolito onto the force. His grandfather - "Diamond Louie" - and his father - "Fat the Gangster" - were members of the Gambino crime family.

Eppolito served as his father's bagman when he was a boy, handing cash to local cops so they wouldn't break up Fat the Gangster's dice and poker games. At his father's funeral - where the FBI took surveillance photos of the numerous organized-crime figures in attendance - Eppolito was slipped notes by wise guys.

After killing time at a no-work job set up by a Gambino relative, Eppolito decided to join the NYPD. To Eppolito's way of thinking, he was simply exchanging one brotherhood for another.

Eppolito retired before his memoir was published; Caracappa didn't. He was still on the force, and in the author's note for "Mafia Cop," Eppolito calls him "my closest and dearest friend." When Oldham came across a copy of Eppolito's memoir in the early 1990s, he was assigned to the Major Case Squad along with Caracappa. Oldham was stunned that Caracappa, who had access to the department's most sensitive intelligence, would be best friends with a dubious character like Eppolito. That was Oldham's first clue that the Mafia might have made inroads into the NYPD.

When Casso told federal authorities about Caracappa and Eppolito's criminality, Oldham assumed investigations would be launched. When the detectives later retired to Las Vegas and bought homes in a luxury development across the street from each other, Oldham was outraged. The crooked cops had skated. Oldham decided to investigate the case himself - first as an NYPD detective and later from the U.S. attorney's office.

In 2004, Oldham's situation improved, as the book relates: "Finally ... a small group of detectives and investigators came together to work on the investigation. Oldham called them 'the cadre.' ... They were all determined to see that justice was done. All of the voluminous information Oldham had gathered over the years was examined anew. More evidence was uncovered. Compelling connections between 'the cops' and long-forgotten murders were unearthed. Even with the accumulated facts, Oldham knew the case needed someone inside the conspiracy ... to take the disparate strands of the case and pull them together. He needed a storyteller."

Oldham found him in "Downtown" Burt Kaplan, a colorful Jewish gangster who was one of the most notorious dealers in stolen goods in New York. It was Kaplan who first made contact with the two detectives; it was Kaplan who set them up with organized-crime figures, and it was Kaplan who ultimately turned on them and testified in court.

Of course, it shouldn't have taken until 2005 to convict Caracappa and Eppolito. Shortly after teaming up in the 1970s, they accumulated numerous Internal Affairs complaints, including cash stolen from arrestees and money missing from a homicide scene. When the nephew of crime boss Carlo Gambino was busted for attempting to set up a major heroin deal with an FBI undercover agent, agents searching the house discovered a confidential NYPD Intelligence Divisions file. The FBI ran the documents for fingerprints, and they matched Eppolito's.

"Eppolito had a long, contorted explanation for how his fingerprints had magically appeared on a police department intelligence document found in a Gambino's house," Oldham recalled. "I wasn't buying it."

After the two cops retired, Oldham continued to try and bring them down. He told his NYPD supervisor about the trail he'd followed and the evidence he had collected. "He didn't want to hear about it. He said the words slowly, carefully enunciating them. 'I do not want to hear about that case ever again. Understand?'" Oldham recalled. "Catching Caracappa and Eppolito would ... hurt the whole department. Certain people think cops go bad every day. This would just confirm it."

"The Brotherhoods" is the anti-"Sopranos." Instead of yarns about colorful mobsters who believe in family, honor and omert ... , the book provides a glimpse of the New Millennium Mafia: arrested mobsters who start singing as soon as the cuffs are on, and crime bosses who let the families of loyal soldiers doing time live in penury. The book is long and dense, and it would have benefited from the perspective and insight of other detectives in "the cadre." On the other hand, readers will find this an important and well-told story.

Thanks to Miles Corwin

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Five Families: The Rise, Decline, and Resurgence of America's Most Powerful Mafia Empires By Selwyn Raab

As the Mafia grew into a malignantly powerful force during the middle of the last century, it owed much of its success to its low-priority ranking as a law enforcement target. During most of his reign as FBI director from 1924 to 1972, J. Edgar Hoover denied that the Mafia even existed. In the late 1950s, Hoover was ''still publicly in denial" that there was such a thing as the Mafia, writes Selwyn Raab in ''Five Families: The Rise, Decline, and Resurgence of America's Most Powerful Mafia Empires," his engaging history of the New York mob.

Even Hoover, who hesitated to tackle mob cases because they were difficult to win and might corrupt his agents, grudgingly came around. ''Five Families," a gritty cops-and-robbers narrative and a meticulous case history of an extraordinary law enforcement mobilization, shows how the federal government finally brought the Mafia down.

Raab, a former reporter for The New York Times whose beat was organized crime, exudes the authority of a writer who has lived and breathed his subject. Indeed, Raab seems too attached to every last nugget that he has unearthed. ''Five Families" bogs down in places under the groaning weight of excessive, repetitious detail.

Even as he tosses congratulatory bouquets to the cops for having reduced the mob to a ''fading anachronism," as one of them puts it, Raab inserts a cautionary note. The redeployment since 9/11 of US law enforcement personnel from an anti-Mafia to an antiterrorism posture is providing Cosa Nostra -- as the Italian-American organized-crime syndicates refer to themselves, meaning ''Our Thing" -- a ''renewed hope for survival," Raab says.

If they are to prosper again, all five of New York's mob families (the Gambinos, Luccheses, Colombos, Genoveses, and Bonannos) must first rebuild their leadership. The top bosses of the five families, along with many underlings, have been convicted in racketeering prosecutions and sentenced to long terms in federal prison. Those prosecutions constitute ''arguably the most successful anticrime expedition in American history," according to Raab.

The decades-long jelling of the law enforcement response to the Mafia threat commands Raab's close attention. An impetus came from Democratic Senator John McClellan of Arkansas, whose subcommittee investigated labor racketeering in the late 1960s. One key behind-the-scenes figure -- an American hero, in Raab's account -- was G. Robert Blakey, who helped craft the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations legislation as an aide to McClellan and, as a crusading law professor, tirelessly promoted the statute's use after Congress enacted it in 1970.

The law enabled prosecutors to throw the book at top mobsters, who otherwise would have been able to insulate themselves more easily from criminal accountability. Electronic surveillance, which a related law authorized, added another invaluable weapon to the federal prosecutors' arsenal.

Another of Raab's heroes, G. Bruce Mouw, supervised the FBI's Gambino Squad. Mouw's relentless, six-year investigation of John Gotti stands as a model of aggressive anti-Mafia pursuit. Gotti, whom the tabloids dubbed ''the Teflon Don," beat federal charges three times. Mouw produced ironclad evidence of Gotti's guilt by identifying an old lady's apartment as the Gambino godfather's clandestine inner sanctum and bugging it. Prosecutors nailed the Teflon Don in a fourth trial.

As for the villains portrayed by Raab, they and their operatic brutality seem endless. Raab's profiles of such ogres as Joseph ''Crazy Joe" Gallo or Salvatore ''Sammy the Bull" Gravano quickly dispel any Hollywood depiction of mobsters as lovable rogues or, as in the case of Tony Soprano of HBO's prize-winning series, as an angst-ridden man groping for life's meaning.

Mobsters typically start out as losers, dropouts from school at an early age. They are natural bullies who turn to crime out of desperation and indolence. As adults, to quote Raab's description of Gotti's wise guys, they join together as a ''hardened band of pea-brained hijackers, loan-shark collectors, gamblers, and robotic hit men."

No surprise, then, that such lowlifes would resort to violence as their modus operandi. But their cavalier acts of viciousness are nonetheless shocking. Thus, when Vito Genovese falls in love with a married cousin, he apparently has her husband strangled to death so he can marry her.

Or when Lucchese thugs believe that one of their own, Bruno Facciolo, is talking to authorities, they shoot and stab him to death. They then murder two of his mob buddies, Al Visconti and Larry Taylor, to prevent them from retaliating. Visconti is deliberately shot several times in the groin because the Luccheses believe he is a homosexual and has shamed the family.

Although ''Five Families" detours outside New York to chronicle aspects of the Cosa Nostra story, New England's Patriarcas, who deferred to New York's Gigante family, rate only passing mention. Summarizing how officials view Cosa Nostra's once-thriving 20-odd families around the country, Raab reports that those in New York and Chicago retain a ''semblance of [their] organizational frameworks," while the others, including Patriarca's, are ''in disarray or practically defunct."

Raab has much to say about what he regards as the possible involvement of a Florida mafioso, Santo Trafficante Jr., in President Kennedy's assassination. Raab theorizes that Trafficante -- who lost his organized-crime base in Havana when Fidel Castro took over and who loathed Kennedy for not unhorsing the Cuban revolutionary -- may have conspired to kill Kennedy.

Exhibit A is the confession of a gravely ill Trafficante, four days before his death in 1987, that he had had a hand in Kennedy's murder. Raab's source for the purported confession was Trafficante's longtime lawyer, Frank Ragano. Raab collaborated with Ragano on a book, ''Mob Lawyer."

Of course, any mob role in Kennedy's assassination remains a speculative matter, as Raab concedes. But in ''Five Families," he notes that ''Ragano's assertions are among the starkest signs implicating Mafia bosses in the death of President Kennedy." To buttress his theory, Raab might have mentioned that the Mafia was at or near the apex of its power in 1963, the year of Kennedy's murder.

Reviewed by Joseph Rosenbloom

Monday, October 12, 2015

2008 Survey Names the Top 10 Criminal Organizations in the World

THEY trade in everything from stolen art to nuclear technology and leave rivals riddled with bullets in the streets of Moscow.

Now the worst thugs in the Russian Mafia have blasted their way to the top of the global organised crime league.

Moscow's Solntsevskaya Bratva, known as the Brotherhood, have just been named the worst criminal gang in the world in a major survey. And the planet's most famous mobsters, the "Five Families" of the New YorkMafia, barely scrape into the top 10.

The Brotherhood took over the underworld of south-west Moscow in the 1980s after godfather Sergei Mikhailov learned his criminal trade in the Siberian labour camps. Then, by linking up with other gangs, they built an empire worth tens of billions of pounds across Russia and beyond.

The survey says: "From its base in Moscow, this syndicate runs rackets in extortion, drug trafficking, car theft, stolen art, money laundering, contract killings, arms dealing, trading nuclear material, prostitution and oil deals."

Anyone who threatens the Brotherhood's business tends to end up dead.

They murdered a string of rival hoods in Moscow in the early 1990s and a bid to put Mikhailov on trial in Switzerland in 1996 had to be abandoned after several witnesses were shot or blown up.

Former FBI agent Bob Levinson says the Russian Mafia are "the most dangerous people on earth". But the survey, compiled by online men's mag AskMen, reveals that they have rivals in every corner of the world.

No 2 in the gangland top 10 are the Yamaguchi-gumi syndicate, the biggest of Japan's Yakuza crime clans.

Based in the city of Kobe and run by mastermind Shinobu Tsusaka, the 40,000- strong Yamaguchi-gumi run extortion, gambling, vice, drugs and loan-sharking scams. They also take kickbacks from building projects and peddle online porn.

Third place in the poll goes to an Italian Mafia gang - but not the Sicilian Cosa Nostra or the Camorra of Naples. The little-known "'Ndrangheta", based in the southern district of Calabria, have ties to Colombian drug barons. Some believe they are responsible for 80 per cent of Europe's cocaine trade. While other Mafia gangs have been crippled by informers, the 'Ndrangheta have kept their vows of silence because the mob is built on close family ties.

Most gangs only care about cash. But the fourth mob on the list, India's D Company, have sinister ties to Islamic terror. Boss of bosses Dawood Ibrahim masterminded a wave of bombings that killed 257 people in Mumbai in 1993. Ibrahim has links to al-Qaeda and the Taliban and is widely believed to be hiding in Pakistan. He is rumoured to have had plastic surgery to alter his face.

Fifth on the list are the ruthless 14K triad from Hong Kong, who trade in human beings as well as drugs and assassinations.

The Sicilian Mafia only make sixth place in the poll after a string of high-profile arrests of their bosses.

Seventh are the Chinese Dai Huen Jai gang, many of whom are veterans of Chairman Mao's Red Guards.

One of the world's most violent mobs, theMexican Tijuana Cartel, take eighth place. Turf wars between the Cartel, led by Eduardo Arellano-Felix, and other gangs have killed hundreds in recent years.

Ninth spot goes to Taiwan's United Bamboo triad.

And despite their Hollywood reputation, the five New York Mafia families are left bringing up the rear.

The Bonanno, Colombo, Gambino, Genovese and Lucchese clans have been relentlessly harried by the FBI. Many bosses are now behind bars, including Gambino godfather Nicholas Corozzo, who was held in March.

Top 10 criminal organizations

1 Solntsevskaya Bratva

2 Yamaguchi-gumi

3 'Ndrangheta

4 D Company

5 14K

6 Sicilian Mafia

7 Dai Huen Jai

8 Tijuana Cartel

9 United Bamboo

10 The US Mafia 'The Five Families'

Thanks to Ian Brandes

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Gaspipe: Confessions of a Mafia Boss

Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso is currently serving thirteen consecutive life sentences plus 455 years at a federal prison in Colorado. Now, for the first time, the head of a mob family has granted complete and total access to a journalist. Casso has given New York Times bestselling author Philip Carlo the most intimate, personal look into the world of La Cosa Nostra ever seen. "Gaspipe: Confessions of a Mafia Boss" is his shocking story.

From birth, Anthony Casso's mob life was preordained. Michael Casso introduced his young son around South Brooklyn's social clubs, where "men of honor" did business by shaking pinkie-ringed hands—hands equally at home pilfering stolen goods from the Brooklyn docks or gripping the cold steel of a silenced pistol. Young Anthony watched and listened and decided that he would devote his life to crime.

Casso would prove his talent for "earning," concocting ingenious schemes to hijack trucks, rob banks, and bring into New York vast quantities of cocaine, marijuana, and heroin. Casso also had an uncanny ability to work with the other Mafia families, and he forged unusually strong ties with the Russian mob. By the time Casso took the reins of the Lucchese family, he was a seasoned boss, a very dangerous man.

It was a great life—Casso and his beautiful wife, Lillian, had money to burn; Casso and his crew brought in so much cash that he had dozens of large safe-deposit boxes filled with bricks of hundred-dollar bills. But the law finally caught up with him in his New Jersey safe house in 1994. Rather than stoically face the music like the old-time mafiosi he revered, Casso became the thing he most hated—a rat. It broke his family's heart and made the once feared and revered mobster an object of scorn and disgust among his former friends. For it turned out that a lifetime of street smarts completely failed him in dealing with a group even more cunning and ruthless than the Mafia—the U.S. government.

Detailing Casso's feud with John Gotti and their attempts to kill each other, the "Windows Case" that led to the beginning of the end for the mob in New York, and Casso's dealings with decorated NYPD officers Lou Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa—the "Mafia cops"—Gaspipe is the inside story of one man's rise and fall, mirroring the rise and fall of a way of life, a roller-coaster ride into a netherworld few outsiders have ever dared to enter.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Photo of Lucchese Crime Family Tree

Lucchese Crime Family
Alleged Leaders, Members and Associates
(Click on Photo for Enlarged View)



Monday, August 03, 2009

Is the Food at Mob Eateries Overrated?

SO, Fat Tony misses Ba monte's mussels, Rao's chicken, and "great pasta" at Parkside and Don Peppe! It just shows you how out to lunch the mob is these days.

A joke among Italian-Americans secure enough to laugh off stupid stereotypes is to ask not whether a good Italian restaurant is northern or southern, but rather: "Gambino or Genovese?" (Sorry, Bonannos, Colombos and Lucheses.)

The myth that eateries owned or frequented by the Mafia have great food goes back many generations. Maybe "the Luna Azure up in The Bronx" really did have "the finest" veal in town, as Mario Puzo wrote in "The Godfather." But the Corleones never existed. And today's made men are mostly too drugged or stunad to be able to taste the difference between veal and Velveeta.

If Fat Tony wants real Italian food, he doesn't have to go back to the old country. It's kicking butt all over town as never before.

If Marea's brawny fusili with baby octopus, bone marrow and tomatoes doesn't give Tony a new perspective, neither will a set of brass knuckles.

The cooking at supposedly mobbed-up, old-time red-sauce restaurants was always overrated. Il Mulino costs a bundle, but it whips the meatballs off Tony's faves. On a good night, chicken scarpariello at cheap, mass-market Carmine's on upper Broadway could give Rao's lemon chicken a run for its money in a blind tasting.

Tony doesn't strike me as the kind of guy to go for prissy pasta primavera -- which is to his credit. But he'd flip for awesomely rich dishes coming out of the kitchens of Marea, Babbo, Il Gattopardo, Esca, Del Posto, Convivio, San Pietro, A Voce, Locanda Verde, Mia Dona, Cellini -- even all-American Union Square Café, where chef Carmen Quagliata's pasta shames most of what they eat in Rome.

The probation poobahs aren't keeping Tony away from New York's exploding (bad word!) super-pizza scene, either -- from the killer (!) $5 slice, hand-made by owner Domenico DeMarco, at Di Fara on Avenue J in Midwood to the luxuriously crusted 12-inchers at Keste on Bleecker Street, where Neapolitan "artisans" preside over the dough.

Thanks to Steve Cuozzo

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

How Mafia Crime Families Adapted for the 21st Century

New York City's Five Families owned the 20th Century. Now they must confront the 21st — still alive, still armed and still dangerous.

Today's traditional Mafia family has ventured far from its roots as an ultra-secret society formed in the streets of New York at the dawn of the Depression. The evolution has been epic.

To some, it appears a gang of criminals has turned into a popular culture commodity, spawning movies and TV shows that will long outlast the real-life story. In that version, the bosses are in jail, the gang is undone, and all that's left is the book and movie deal.

In reality, the mob somehow survives, transforming, changing, adapting to the new economies and technologies — sometimes a jump quicker than law enforcement. "As the economy goes, these guys go," said Michael Gaeta, supervisor of the New York FBI's organized crime unit. "Despite our attacks, they've managed to adapt."

Strategically, law enforcement sources say, the mob is closer to its roots, returning to the shadows, avoiding the public walk-talks that brought law enforcement to their door.

They still reap ill-gotten gains from traditional sources. They still have some control over corrupt contractors and unions, and illegal gambling continues as a primary source of wealth. They've also diversified, crafting new scams befitting a new century.

"They're clearly not as visible as they used to be," Gaeta said. "You're not going to see the regular meetings you used to see. They're much more compartmentalized.

"They're smarter about the way they conduct business. At meetings, they make sure everybody leaves their cell phone at the door."

Today's Mafia families no longer perform the ornate induction ceremonies in which a card depicting a saint is burned and a gun is displayed. They've ditched the saint and the gun. Still, they induct new members when old ones die, and they find new ways to steal.

Several families, for instance, got in on the housing boom of 2002-2007 through corrupt construction companies and unions, court papers and sources say. Records show mob-linked companies have been subcontractors on most of the major projects of the last few years, including highway repair, the midtown office tower boom, the massive water treatment plant in the Bronx, even the rebuilding of the World Trade Center.

"They were taking full advantage of that — even if it was only removing waste from a construction site," one source said. "They'd have their favorite companies getting jobs. If the union was a problem, they'd take care of it."

Each family had a different method of adapting to the new century.

In the Wall Street boom, a Luchese soldier formed a fake hedge fund, operating out of a one-family house in Staten Island. He conned hundreds of wealthy investors into putting their money in bundled mortgage securities — one of the major causes of the economy's collapse.

When the housing bubble burst, a Genovese crew cashed in on the wave of foreclosures through house-flipping schemes in suburban Westchester.

The Gambino family stole credit card numbers via Internet porn sites, laundered gambling money through an energy drink company called American Blast, and took over a company that distributed bottled water — a far cry from the Prohibition days of bootlegging.

All the families use the Web to enhance their multi-million dollar illegal gambling empires through offshore betting shell corporations.

As part of the new mob order, the penchant for violence has diminished. That is a sea change in New York that also represents a return to the old ways.

For years, the five families divided up New York City in mostly peaceful co-existence, with occasional bouts of behind-the-scenes violence usually wrought by internal power struggles.

Bloodshed began to escalate in the 1980s, as bodies turned up in Staten Island swamps, the World Trade Center garage, even at the doorstep of Sparks Steakhouse in midtown Manhattan.

Then came a major shift in the mob's ability to enforce the vow of silence known as ‘omerta.' In 1991, Gambino underboss Salvatore (Sammy Bull) Gravano decided to become an informant. A wave of informants followed, which deteriorated into shootouts in the streets and dozens of suspected informants who disappeared.

Since 2000, the number of bodies has dropped precipitously, law enforcement sources say. They take this as a sign that the mob once again craves a lower profile to avoid scrutiny. "They keep things calm," one source said. "They try to keep things looking legit. They'd rather take 5 cents from 1,000 people than $10,000 from one."

They've also adopted management changes. Since the conviction of all the major bosses of the middle 20th century, all five families have struggled to find replacements who will last.

Three of the five families have retired the official boss altogether, forming flexible leadership panels that mediate disputes and enforce the so-called rules. "They retrenched. They became much less visible," said one law enforcement source. "The days of John Gotti nonsense, you don't see that anymore."

Today, the mob's haunts aren't what they were. Neighborhoods of Italian immigrants that once served as Ground Zero of Mafia-dom are ethnically diverse, with many former residents relegated to suburbia. The days when mobsters hung out at inner city social clubs — and FBI agents watched from nearby vans with tinted windows — are rare.

Some of the best-known clubs have just vanished:

  • Gravano's old hangout, Tali's Bar in Bensonhurst, where bar owner Mikey DeBatt was whacked in the back room by one of Gravano's crew, is a Vietnamese restaurant.
  • John Gotti's Ravenite Social Club is a trendy shoe store.
  • The Palma Boys Club, where the Genovese family met is an empty store front with lime green walls, is up for lease.
  • The Wimpy Boys Club in Gravesend — where a mob moll was once shot in the head and her ear turned up weeks later — is now Sal's Hair Stylist.

But just because they can't be seen doesn't mean they aren't there.

Thanks to John Marzulli

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Did Organized Crime Firms Perform Work on Yankees and Mets New Stadiums?

Millions of dollars worth of work associated with the new baseball stadiums for the Yankees and Mets was performed by companies that New York City avoids doing business with because of prior allegations of corruption and ties to organized crime.

The roughly $17 million demolition of Shea Stadium, which cleared the way for the new Citi Field in Queens, was largely done by Breeze National Inc., whose vice president, Toby Romano, was convicted on federal bribery charges in 1988 and whom law enforcement officials have identified as having ties to organized crime.

Much of the electrical work at the new Yankee Stadium was done by Petrocelli Electric, a company that since June 2006 has been on a list of contractors that New York City cautions its agencies against using. The owner, Santo Petrocelli Sr., was indicted this month on charges that he had been bribing a leading union official for more than a decade.

In a third instance, the millions of dollars in excavation and cast-in-place concrete work at the new Yankee ballpark was performed by Interstate Industrial, a company that has been barred from doing city work since 2004. City investigators concluded several years ago that Interstate had connections to organized crime. The company has been accused of paying for more than $150,000 in renovations in 1999 and 2000 on the apartment of former Police Commissioner Bernard B. Kerik, who pleaded guilty in 2006 to accepting the work.

Two of the three contractors, Petrocelli and Interstate, were not paid with city funds. But both the ballpark projects were overseen by the New York City Economic Development Corporation and together received roughly $2 billion in public subsidies.

In defending themselves to city regulators and others, the companies have denied any improprieties, or have suggested the allegations were ancient ones that had been long contradicted by years of appropriate behavior on job sites.

The city development corporation’s policy is to review the hiring of major contractors on its projects only when they are paid directly with city funds. And even then, it generally takes no action to review what in some cases are dozens of subcontractors, a spokesman said.

The development agency says it does not have the staff to conduct background checks on all the companies working on a particular project, and with undertakings like the stadiums — private projects that are bolstered by a huge infusion of city, state and federal public benefits — the city has never sought to review the selection of the contractors.

The ball clubs say the companies were hired through competitive bidding processes and performed well under their contracts. No one has made any complaints about the competence or safety of the work they performed, and until recent years, both Petrocelli and Interstate had each won large city contracts with some regularity.

In the case of the demolition work at Shea, the contractor, Breeze National, was paid with state and city funds. But Breeze was hired to do the work by a subcontractor to Queens Ballpark Company L.L.C., a company created by the Wilpon family, which owns the Mets, to develop and operate the stadium.

The development corporation’s spokesman, David Lombino, said that while it reviews the general contractor and first-tier subcontractor, it does not review companies more than two levels down, as Breeze was.

Experts say the policy does not go far enough to help address the problems in the city’s construction industry, which has seen a rash of fatal accidents and has a long history of corruption and mob influence.

James B. Jacobs, a professor at New York University Law School who has written extensively about organized crime and construction corruption over the last two decades, suggested it was shortsighted on the part of the city to refrain from reviewing contractors that were not paid directly with city money.

“We’re talking about the nature of the whole construction industry, which affects public construction, private construction, not-for-profit construction and the whole economic viability of the city,” Professor Jacobs said. “So there ought to be a commitment to do what we can to purge corrupt influences out of that industry.”

Like much construction work in New York, stadium projects have some history of being infiltrated by companies whose ownership, work product or associations has drawn the attention of investigators. In the mid-1980s, for example, a plumbing company that listed John Gotti, the Gambino boss, as one of its salesmen, was hired to do work at Shea Stadium.

For the current projects, neither the city nor the baseball clubs released a list of the companies that have worked on the stadiums.

Questions about the city’s oversight of a stadium project also surfaced six years ago when the Yankees built a $71 million minor-league ballpark on Staten Island. On that job, the development corporation approved awarding the concrete contract to Interstate, though the company was then under investigation by the city.

The president of the development corporation at the time, Michael G. Carey, said there was no reason to question the company’s fitness. But city documents show the development corporation knew the city was examining accusations that the company had ties to the mob. It let the contract go forward when the company’s owner denied the allegations and told corporation officials that the inquiry was routine.

Mr. Lombino, the Economic Development Corporation’s spokesman, said the corporation carries out what it sees as its responsibilities under the law. “We go above and beyond what is required by law to ensure that construction projects are carried out safely and in a timely and cost-effective manner,” he said, adding that the effort “created thousands of jobs in neighborhoods that need them.”

David Newman, the vice president of marketing for the Mets, defended the selection of Breeze and Mr. Romano, saying that Queens Ballpark Company made the choice based on the recommendation of Hunt Bovis, which managed the construction of the new stadium and the razing of the old. It was based, he said, on their capability and resources and their ability to meet the schedule and bond the job. “The deconstruction,” he said, “was done on time, on budget and without incident or injury.”

Mr. Romano, for his part, said in an e-mail message: “It is completely untrue and totally unfair for anyone to state that I was ever connected to organized crime.” He said that the allegation was 17 years old and called it “a self-serving lie by a convicted felon.”

The accusation was made by Alfonse D’Arco, the former acting boss of the Luchese crime family, and was cited by city regulators in 2007 when they blocked another of Mr. Romano’s companies from a license to operate a construction trucking business in the city.

In the case of the electric company, law enforcement officials, trial testimony and F.B.I. reports say Mr. Petrocelli has had associations with members of the Genovese family dating to 1988. His lawyer could not be reached for comment. Mr. Petrocelli pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges filed this month.

Interstate’s owners have also denied the allegations that they have ties to the Gambino crime family or that they paid for Mr. Kerik’s renovations.

At Yankee Stadium, the contract was technically awarded to a company called Central Excavators. But the Yankees, Interstate and the Turner Construction Company, which built the stadium for the Yankees, have all acknowledged that Interstate performed the work.

Turner said in a statement that it selected Petrocelli and Interstate “after a competitive-bid process and based on Turner’s positive experiences working with these firms.” The statement noted that the work performed by the two companies was limited to the stadium itself, and thus no taxpayer money was used to pay them.

A spokeswoman for the Yankees, Alice McGillion, said that in an excess of caution, the company had brought in an independent construction monitor to oversee the stadium project, including the hiring of subcontractors by Turner.

The monitor, Edwin H. Stier, said his company came on the job after Petrocelli and Interstate had already been hired, but performed background checks on subsequent subcontractors.

“The important thing is that the Yankees did something about it, and as a result of it, we identified a number of issues, including the presence of Interstate and the presence of Petrocelli,” he said. “They were there already working on site and the Yankees said to our firm, we want you to monitor them very carefully.”

Thanks to William K. Rashbaum

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Convictions of Mafia Cops are Reinstated

The racketeering convictions of two retired New York City detectives who helped to kill at least eight men in their role as mob assassins were ordered reinstated by a federal appeals court. It ruled that a trial judge wrongly overturned the jury’s guilty verdicts two years ago.

The decision means that the two highly decorated detectives — Louis J. Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa — will now face sentencing for their convictions in one of the most spectacular cases of police corruption in city history.

The two men seem certain to spend the rest of their lives in prison. In 2006, after they were convicted of racketeering conspiracy, the trial judge, Jack B. Weinstein of United States District Court in Brooklyn, issued but did not officially impose life prison sentences for each man. Then, saying the five-year statute of limitations for racketeering had run out, the judge overturned the convictions despite what he called “overwhelming evidence” that the two men were “heinous criminals” who were guilty of the “most despicable crimes of violence and treachery.”

But in a 70-page opinion released on Wednesday, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in Manhattan, concluded that Judge Weinstein’s view of the conspiracy was too narrow, and that it had continued to exist within five years of when the men were charged.

Although murders and other serious crimes that the men were accused of occurred in Brooklyn in the 1980s and 1990s, prosecutors used more recent and less serious charges — money laundering and narcotics distribution in Las Vegas in 2004 and 2005 — to bring the earlier acts under the umbrella of an ongoing criminal enterprise.

Judge Weinstein, in throwing out the men’s convictions, had found that the recent crimes were “singular, sporadic acts of criminality,” and could not be considered part of the earlier conspiracy, which included kidnapping, bribery and obstruction of justice. Because the older crimes dated back more than five years, the men, thus, could not be prosecuted for them.

“The government’s case against these defendants stretches federal racketeering and conspiracy law to the breaking point,” Judge Weinstein wrote.

Judge Weinstein had also decided that the earlier conspiracy ended when the two detectives retired and left the New York area and other co-conspirators were arrested. But Judge Amalya L. Kearse, writing for the appellate panel, said Judge Weinstein’s views of the criminal enterprise were too restrictive, given the evidence presented at the trial.

For example, Judge Kearse said, even after the two detectives retired in the early 1990s, one gave his pager number to Burton Kaplan, a former associate of the Luchese crime family who was the government’s key witness and testified about the services that both detectives had provided to organized crime.

She said the appeals panel concluded that the criminal enterprise had not ended before 2000, and thus the prosecution was not disallowed. Joining in the decision were Judges Robert D. Sack and Peter W. Hall.

Benton J. Campbell, the United States attorney in Brooklyn, whose office had appealed the case, said: “We are gratified by the decision of the Court of Appeals reinstating the jury verdict against the two defendants, who can now be sentenced for the extremely serious crimes that they committed.”

A police spokesman had no comment. Lawyers for each of the two men, who have been held without bond, did not respond to phone messages seeking comment.

Prosecutors charged that the two men, who both joined the police force in 1969, had taken thousands of dollars to carry out the mob murders and to leak law enforcement information, disclosing the identities of witnesses and compromising investigations.

In the first of the mob killings, in 1986, the two detectives, driving in an unmarked police car and using a siren, pulled a jeweler named Israel Greenwald over on a Long Island road, according to a government brief summarizing the trial testimony.

The detectives told Mr. Greenwald that he was needed in a lineup concerning an automobile accident. They then drove him to a garage, where he was shot to death.

Prosecutors said the detectives had first offered their services to Mr. Kaplan through a cousin of Mr. Eppolito’s who was also a mobster. Mr. Kaplan entered into an agreement with the detectives to pay them regularly. “The defendants were paid $4,000 a month for information, and tens of thousands of dollars for murders and kidnappings,” the government brief said.

At the trial, the jury also found that the men murdered a capo in the Gambino family in his Mercedes-Benz on the Belt Parkway; and that they kidnapped a Staten Island man, put him in a trunk, and delivered him to another mobster who tortured him for hours before killing him.

Judge Kearse, in the decision, cited the payments to the detectives as one factor that supported the prosecution’s view that the conspiracy spanned the entire period of the indictment, from 1979 to 2005. She said that the jury had been told the principal purpose of the enterprise, as the indictment charged, was to generate money for the detectives, through legal and illegal activities.

Judge Kearse also noted that prosecutors had told the jury that the two men had “received money for each crime in New York, and they broke the law for money in Las Vegas.”

Thus, she ruled, the jury could have inferred that the conduct was “sufficiently similar in purpose” to show that “the enterprise that began in New York continued to exist in Las Vegas.”

Thanks to Benjamin Weiser

Friday, May 09, 2008

Reputed High-Ranking Gambino Figure Among 23 Named in Racketeering Indictment

A man the feds call one of the highest-ranking members of the Gambino crime family in New Jersey was among 23 people named Thursday in a racketeering indictment.

Andrew Merola, 41, of East Hanover was arrested and charged in an 82-page indictment with more than 20 counts that include running an illegal gambling ring, racketeering and extortion, among other charges.

Of the 23 people named in the indictment, 10 were arrested Thursday; the other 13 were issued summonses to appear in court.

Weysan Dun, the special agent in charge of the FBI in New Jersey, said all 23 people named in the indictment are reputed members and associates of Mafia factions. Also picked up in the sweep were Charles Muccigrosso, 68, of Newark, whom the FBI also described as a high-ranking Gambino crime family member, and Martin Taccetta, 56, of East Hanover, a reputed Lucchese crime family member who was granted a retrial in state court over a brutal 1980s murder.

Dun said the arrests were the result of a nearly two-year investigation. He said the bust would deal a significant blow to the Gambino crime family, coming on the heels of a large bust in New York that netted dozens of Gambino figures in February.

"Those out there in the 'wiseguy' community that think that crime pays: Forget about it," Dun said.

Some of the alleged schemes outlined in the indictment include manipulating union contract bidding; defrauding the chain store Lowe's by manufacturing fake bar codes to buy expensive power tools for pennies on the dollar, and rigging union jobs and construction contracts to force coffee cart vendors to pay kickbacks for being allowed to park their lunch trucks at construction sites.

Dun said that although the charges didn't involve physical violence, they were serious crimes that hurt honest working people.

"The message I hope organized crime families take from this is if they think law enforcement's focus on organized crime has diminished, you can be assured that we'll come after you," he said.

Thanks to Samantha Henry

Saturday, March 01, 2008

The History of Organized Crime Control of Gay Bars

I had a reader send me a link to the the History of Gay Bars in New York City from 1900 to the present. In addition to the Big Apple, you can also read accounts regarding the history of gay bars in Chicago, Montreal, Philadelphia and Washington DC.

Mob buffs will be most interested in the New York articles which include several accounts of involvement by the Bonannos, Colombos, Gambinos, Genoveses, and Luccheses crime families.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

New York's 5 Crime Families to Get Corporate Sponsors?

Maybe the Mafia needs a new business model. The old one hasn’t been working well of late. That seems a reasonable surmise after the mass arrests that had a huge chunk of the Gambino crime family — pardon us, a huge alleged chunk of the Gambino crime family — parading around in manacles the other day.

It is said that the mob prides itself on being a solid business, with diversified interests and assorted revenue streams. If so, organized crime is missing out on a scheme that has been an enormous cash cow for some other businesses.

There is a fortune to be made from selling naming rights to New York’s five Mafia families.

Why should sports teams be the only ones to turn a buck by putting their stadiums and arenas on the auction block? Citigroup, to cite one of many examples, is paying the Mets $20 million a year to have the ball club’s new stadium in Queens called Citi Field.

That’s small potatoes compared with revenue possibilities for the gilded Yankees, who say they have turned down offers of $50 million or more from an unnamed corporation wanting to slap its name on their new Bronx stadium.

In similar fashion, the mob could market itself to certain companies, most likely those in serious trouble themselves.

Imagine an outfit like Enron’s accounting firm, Arthur Andersen. It suffered a scandal-induced collapse. But while it struggled to stay alive, it might have done well to attach its name to a mob family. The way things were going, that kind of maneuver would have been a step up in class. And goodness knows the Mafia could use some new names. The existing ones are mustier than a “bada bing” tabloid headline.

Carlo Gambino has been dead for three decades, yet his name still graces (or disgraces) a crime group that has not lacked for famous latter-day leaders, men like Paul Castellano and John Gotti.

The same holds for the other families: Bonanno, Genovese, Luchese and Colombo, all named for men who died or faded away ages ago. The nomenclature dates to the early 1960s, with the exception of the gang once led by Joseph Colombo; his name supplanted that of Joseph Profaci in 1970. Still, that’s not exactly last week.

What gives with all this yesteryear? In any business, isn’t an occasional sprucing-up required?

In this regard, the mob is not much different from many corporations, said Thomas Reppetto, the author of “American Mafia: A History of Its Rise to Power” (Henry Holt & Company).

“Sears, Roebuck started out with two guys who were not running the company very long, but it’s still called Sears,” Mr. Reppetto said.

“I think, too, that it’s better to keep an established name,” he said. “It makes it appear more powerful when you say the family has been around a long time.”

A similar thought was offered by Mark Feldman, a director at BDO Consulting in Manhattan. He used to track organized crime for the United States attorney’s office in Brooklyn. “I don’t know for sure,” Mr. Feldman said, “but it would seem to me that a brand name means something even in criminal circles.”

Selwyn Raab, who used to report on the mob for this newspaper, says the five families’ labels really began with law enforcement agents, who saw it as a convenient way to distinguish one group from another.

“A guy in the Genovese family didn’t know he was in the Genovese family till he saw it in the newspapers,” said Mr. Raab, the author of “Five Families: The Rise, Decline and Resurgence of America’s Most Powerful Mafia Empires” (St. Martin’s Press). “All he knew was that he worked for Mike. He would say, ‘I’m with Mike,’ or ‘I’m with Al,’ or ‘I’m with Tony.’ ”

Even so, rebranding is not an entirely alien concept to the mob. Look at Joseph Massino, who was the Bonanno paterfamilias until he landed in prison a few years ago and started, as they say, singing to the feds. Mr. Massino appreciated what’s in a name.

“He wanted it to be known officially as the Massino family,” Mr. Raab said. “He had a little bit of, I guess, an ego. He’s gone now, too.”

Nobody said that selling naming rights to the mob would be easy. But opportunities abound, and are likely to continue regardless of last week’s “End of the Gambinos” headlines.

“The F.B.I. continues to use the same five names because it’s simple,” Mr. Raab said. “Also, for them it’s a good public relations ploy — that we wiped out the Gambino family. This is the third time in my lifetime that they’ve wiped out the Gambino family. They ought to call this Operation Lazarus.”

Thanks to Clyde Haberman

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Lucchese Gambling Ring Broken Up

Dozens of alleged members of the Lucchese Crime Family were arrested Tuesday morning in raids in New Jersey and New York that authorities say broke up a major sports betting ring.

Police say the 32 suspects were taken into custody at their homes and are being processed at the West Orange Armory.

They will be arraigned, likely tomorrow, at the Morris County Courthouse in Morristown.

Taken into custody, according to authorities, were the crime family's New Jersey capo, 61-year-old Ralph Perna of East Hanover, as well as several leaders of the New York faction. Also arrested were Ralph's son, Joseph, and 41-year-old Michael Cetta, both of Wyckoff.

Investigators with the New Jersey Attorney General's Office reportedly swooped down on the suspects' homes in Bergen and Morris counties this morning to make the arrests.

Cetta's Wyckoff home was described as a $1.9 million mansion, which investigators were searching this morning. He is a reputed member of the Bonanno crime family, but linked by marriage to the Luccheses.

The suspects were believed to behind a sports betting operation that took in more than $2 billion over the past 15 months. Along with gambling, the suspects are allegedly linked to loan sharking and extortion. Their operation is said to be based in Northern New Jersey and in New York.

Officials say the arrests are the culmination of a year-long investigation by the New Jersey Attorney General's Office.

Earlier this year, authorities arrested a 56-year-old East Hanover man as part of a Lucchese crime family gambling operation. At that time, the quiet Morris County town was described as a hub for illegal gambling activity run by organized crime.

BOGO 50% off

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Old School Mobsters Among "Celebrities" Spending Time in The Big A

The Big A has always been a rough joint.

Before the turn of the last century, the government had no dedicated facilities for men convicted of federal crimes – typically, moonshiners, mail-tamperers and those engaged in "white slavery," better known today as pimpin'.

When criticism escalated about the common practice of renting out federal prisoners as involuntary laborers, Congress passed the Three Prisons Act of 1890, which authorized federal prisons in Leavenworth, Kansas; on McNeil Island in Washington's Puget Sound; and on the southeastern outskirts of Atlanta.

Although 14 more federal penitentiaries – considered the high-security flagships of the Bureau of Prisons – would be built over the next century, Atlanta would remain the largest. And when Alcatraz shut its doors in 1963, it regained its reputation as the meanest.
Plow & Hearth Free Shipping FSH 07
Italian immigrant and small-time scam artist Charles Ponzi served a few years in Atlanta for fraud during the teens. When he got out, he dreamed up an elaborate investment scheme that hoodwinked a nation and, at the time it came crashing down in 1920, was earning him $250,000 a day. Ponzi served another few years in prison, was deported back to Italy and finally died penniless in Brazil.

In 1919, the Atlanta Pen would get its first celebrity inmate in Eugene V. Debs, a renowned labor leader, pacifist and three-time Socialist Party candidate for president. The 63-year-old Debs had been convicted under the liberally worded Espionage Act for giving a speech opposing World War I and sentenced to 10 years in prison. In 1920, he again ran for president from his cell, receiving nearly a million votes, about 3.4 percent of the ballots cast. The following year, Debs was pardoned by President Warren G. Harding.

Another political prisoner was Marcus Garvey, a Jamaican-born journalist who had come to the United States in 1916 to preach the then-controversial notion of social equality for blacks. Launching a back-to-Africa movement, he was viewed as a rabble-rousing seditionist by the feds, who eventually convicted him of mail fraud.

Garvey came to Atlanta in 1925 and immediately wrote his most famous speech, "First Message to the Negroes of the World From Atlanta Prison," which urged his followers to "Look for me in the whirlwind." His sentence was commuted two years later by President Calvin Coolidge and he was subsequently deported.

Also in 1925, Atlanta became home to Roy Gardner, a legendary train robber who had managed to escape from McNeil Island. He tried to tunnel under the thick prison wall and, later, led an unsuccessful breakout by holding two Atlanta guards at gunpoint, a move that earned him 20 months in solitary, followed by a transfer to Alcatraz. Paroled in his 50s, Gardner committed suicide after a movie based on his life failed at the box office.

Al Capone's business card reputedly identified him as a used-furniture dealer. But, although he was never convicted of racketeering or rapped for the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, the Chicago mob boss known as "Public Enemy No. 1" was eventually nailed by G-man Eliot Ness on 22 counts of tax evasion.

Landing in Atlanta in 1932, Capone soon became top dog, bribing guards to run errands and manipulating the warden for special privileges. Two years later, federal authorities fed up with the mobster's cushy arrangement shipped off him to Alcatraz. Released in 1939, Capone spent his remaining years suffering from advanced syphilis.

Capone was only one of many gangsters to spend time in the Big A. Irish-American hoodlum James "Whitey" Bulger served three years here in the mid-'50s for armed robbery and hijacking before returning to Boston to take charge of a crime ring that controlled much of the narcotics trade throughout New England. A fugitive since 1994, Bulger is widely thought to have been the inspiration for the mob boss portrayed by Jack Nicholson in The Departed.

Old-school Mafia Don Vito Genovese ended up in Atlanta for heroin dealing not long after he had finished bumping off rivals to secure his place as boss of the country's pre-eminent crime family. Reportedly, he continued to run the family business from behind bars until his death in 1969.

After the fabled French Connection narcotics ring had been broken up in the late '60s, Vincent Papa, a major New York drug runner, organized one of the most brazen series of thefts in that city's history. Over the course of three years, more than 250 pounds of seized heroin was stolen from the NYPD property room and replaced with baking flour. The switch was only discovered when police noticed the powder was being eaten by small beetles.

Although Papa was convicted for the scheme and sent to Atlanta in 1972, authorities never solved the question of how he managed to get the drugs out of the heavily guarded room. Five years later, Papa took his secret to the grave when he was stabbed to death by inmates reputedly hired by Lucchese family mobsters who'd heard the rumor – spread by then-prosecutor Rudolph Giuliani – that he was talking to the feds.

In 1957, Atlanta became home to Rudolph Abel, a Soviet superspy whose real name was Vilyam Fischer. After supervising Moscow's entire U.S. espionage network for decades, Abel was finally caught when the FBI found one of the hollow nickels he used to hide microfilm. He was returned to the Motherland in a secret 1962 swap with downed U2 pilot Francis Gary Powers.

Gifted con man Frank Abagnale had already successfully impersonated an airline pilot, a pediatrician and an attorney when, at the ripe age of 23, he was sent to Atlanta in 1971. He didn't stay long. Abagnale reportedly walked out the front gate by pretending to be an undercover prison inspector. Later recaptured, he served less than five years in prison and now runs a thriving consulting firm specializing in fraud prevention.

During his 1970s heyday, Atlanta's own "Scarface of Porn," Mike Thevis, owned more than 500 adult bookstores, controlled distribution of 40 percent of the country's pornography and was raking in $100 million a year. Thevis was convicted of burning down a competitor's business in 1978, and he escaped from jail to shotgun the former associate (and a bystander) who'd ratted him out. Thevis was recaptured and briefly held in the Atlanta Pen before being sent off to a federal prison in Minnesota to serve a life sentence.

Another notable Atlantan to pass through the Big A was Fred Tokars, a former prosecutor and magistrate judge who had his wife killed in 1992 rather than pay a divorce settlement. Hit man Curtis Rower kidnapped Sara Tokars and her two young sons, then shot her in the back of the head with a sawed-off shotgun as the children watched. Sent away for life, Tokars now suffers from MS in a federal prison infirmary in Florida.

Charles Harrelson, father of Woody Harrelson of "Cheers" fame, was sent to Atlanta for the notorious 1988 murder of a federal judge in Texas. A freelance contract killer, the elder Harrelson is often cited by conspiracy buffs who place him on the Grassy Knoll during JFK's assassination. After a failed escape attempt, he was sent to the Supermax facility in Colorado, where he died in his sleep in March.

The Atlanta Pen's last real celebrity prisoner was ill-starred baseball star Denny McLain.

A two-time winner of the Cy Young Award as a Detroit Tiger and the last major-league pitcher to win 30 games, he finished his career with the Atlanta Braves. Unfortunately, McLain also was a born flimflam man who makes Pete Rose look like the Dalai Lama.

Even as a player, he was suspended for running a bookmaking operation and once cost his team a pennant race when he had his toes broken by a Mob loan shark. Not long after leaving baseball, McLain declared bankruptcy for the second time, fell in with gamblers, and was convicted of racketeering, extortion and cocaine possession.
Plow & Hearth Free Shipping FSH
On arriving in Atlanta in 1985, the former all-star tipped the scales at 275 pounds and was in such bad shape that when he pitched in a jail-yard baseball game, he had to be relieved after the sixth inning and his team lost 25-5.

McLain was eventually released two-and-a-half years into a 23-year prison sentence when it was proved that several of the jurors who'd convicted him had slept through the trial. But, unable to stay out of trouble, he spent another six years behind bars for looting the pension fund of a company he'd bought, finally getting sprung in 2003.

In his various memoirs, McLain singled out the Big A as the filthiest and most dangerous of the many prisons he'd known, once writing: "After Atlanta, the men's room at a Texaco would look like a hospital operating room."

Thanks to Scott Henry

Friday, July 27, 2007

Goodfella, Henry Hill, Says NBA Ref Donaghy Just the Tip of Scandal

Friends of ours: Gambino Crime Family, Lucchese Crime Family, Jimmy "The Gent" Burke, Paul Vario
Friends of mine: Henry Hill

Tim Donaghy was born and raised in Pennsylvania. He was an All-American kid who played baseball and basketball in high school and then attended Villanova University. Following college Donaghy eventually would reach the pinnacle of his chosen profession -- a referee in the National Basketball Association.

Henry Hill grew up in the hardscrabble streets of East New York in Brooklyn. He was hardly a student, spending most of his days hanging out with the gangsters who held court across the street from his parents' home. Hill and his colleagues would would go on to commit some of the most notable crimes of the past 30 years.
Tim Donaghy

Once you cross the line like Tim Donaghy, you're just another criminal.

You can't avoid the name Tim Donaghy these days.

If you don't know who Henry Hill is, then stop what you're doing and go and rent "Goodfellas." It's the 1990 Martin Scorsese film based on Hill's life as a soldier in the Lucchese crime family in New York City.

If you've seen the movie, you know about the Lufthansa heist (where Hill's crew stole $5.8 million from a vault at JFK Airport), the cocaine dealing (this was the genesis of Hill's downfall, courtesy of the Nassau County narcotics task force), the violence, the murders … all of it. Sure, that all led to Hill's ending up in the FBI's witness protection program, but there's one story "Goodfellas" didn't tell you and it's this story that brings Hill together with Donaghy more than David Stern would ever like to think about.

Henry Hill was the mastermind behind the the Boston College point shaving scandal in the 1978-79 season. And Hill believes this latest scandal could be a lot bigger than just Donaghy.

"There's still a million ways to do it today," says Hill. "That's why [Donaghy] didn't get caught for so long." Plus, Hill adds, "the government works in strange ways. They'll let you go and go and go until they have a huge case against you, right when you think you won't get caught the feds reel you in and you're hanging from their fishing poles. Now, with this whole NBA thing? Forget it. Now that everyone is talking they have computer records, they have everything. It's going to get a whole lot bigger than this … you wait for the trial. This is going to be the tip of the iceberg. This guy Donaghy is in a lot of freakin' trouble."

Hill always was looking to make his next score. He was a good earner for Jimmy "The Gent" Burke (Jimmy Conway in the movie, played by Robert De Niro) and Paul Vario (Paul Cicero in the movie, played by Paul Sorvino) and when he had an idea about a scam or a robbery, it usually worked out. So when Hill approached them with his latest idea, everyone jumped at the chance to make a few bucks. The idea: Get a couple guys on the Boston College basketball team to shave points off the spread so Hill and his friends could lay bets all over town and clean up.

Why Boston College? For one reason -- Hill had an "in."

Back in 1978 one of Hill's associates was Paul Mazzei, a former inmate with Hill from Pittsburgh who helped set up a lucrative cocaine business after the two got out of prison. With this new powerful connection to one of the major organized crime families, Mazzei always was bragging to his friends back home.

"Paul would talk a big game to his friends about his organized crime connections, and how they could make the [B.C.] thing happen," says Ed McDonald, who at the time was the attorney in charge of the Organized Crime Strike Force in NYC. "One of Mazzei's friends from Pittsburgh was a guy named Tony Perla, who was a librarian at a junior high school. I know, you can't make this stuff up. His brother, Rocco, grew up with a guy named Rick Kuhn who at the time was on the B.C. basketball team."

One summer when Kuhn was back in Pittsburgh, Rocco asked his friend if he was interested, it went up the chain to Mazzei and then to Hill and his crew in New York and the fix was on.

Kuhn wasn't some 18-year-old babe in the woods who just got caught up with the wrong people. He had been a pitcher in the Cincinnati Reds organization before he blew his arm out, so he arrived on the B.C. campus as a 23-year-old with a few years of pro ball under his belt.

"I'll tell you, because Kuhn was older, he knew what was going on, he was definitely calling the shots," says Hill. "He brought in the captain of the team and the leading scorer because he had to -- he tried to shave points and he messed up a couple games. We are all losing money until those other guys came on board."

Today Henry Hill has turned in his titles of point shaver, witness and gangster for more benevolent ones. Hill sells his art on eBay, he's opening a restaurant in New Haven, Ct., called Henry Hill's Goodfellas and his tomato sauce, Henry Hill's Sunday Gravy, will be for sale at stores and on the Internet in August. "I'm surviving. I'm doing better than surviving, I'm existing," says Hill. "I have a bunch of irons in the fire and I shouldn't even be here."

Out of the nine games they attempted to fix, Hill and his associates won bets on only six. "That's right," adds McDonald. "I used to call them 'The Gang That Could Shoot Straight.' If it were left to Kuhn, they wouldn't have made a dime."

Kuhn, the team's starting center, soon recruited two other starters. Payment to the players was set at $2,500 to $3,500 per player, per game. At times, cocaine was used as payment for Kuhn, and he wasn't even good at that. "We found out that one time, when B.C. was on their way to a tournament in Hawaii, Kuhn lost a whole thing of coke in the airplane bathroom," says McDonald. All three players were on board and everyone was "winning." Hill adds, "It was great, there was a lot of sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll … and missed shots."

Goodfella, Henry Hill, doesn't think NBA Ref Tim Donaghy is the only one out there, just the only one to get caught.The questions swirling around Donaghy now include whether he made certain calls that affected games or point spreads and whether anyone should have noticed. "It's harder than you think if you're not looking for it," says Hill. "At B.C. we had three guys cooperating with us and even the coach didn't notice. Well, there was a little suspicion, but we made it through the season OK. We didn't think anything of it. I know I didn't."

As far as money, even though it's 2007, the Gambino crime family isn't making Donaghy fill out a W-2 -- organized crime is still a cash business.

"Here's how he probably did it," says Hill. "You get a nephew or a cousin or someone you trust. You meet them in a restaurant somewhere and you have them hand you the envelope. And it's cash. Always cash. Nothing on the Internet or with a bank. That stuff is too traceable. If it's more than that we get word to you to leave your keys on your tire, when you come back there's a bag of money in your trunk. Like I said, there's a million ways to do it."

But how did Henry Hill get caught? He didn't. He gave himself up.

After the Lufthansa heist in 1978, Jimmy Burke started eliminating everyone involved to avoid any possibility that someone would turn an informant -- and send him to jail for the rest of his life.

"Everyone in town knew who did it, they just couldn't prove it," says Hill. "First the feds would come to my house with B.S. warrants, then they started coming with pictures of the bodies. Everyone got whacked here. Eleven guys including two guys' wives got it. I started to see the writing on the wall, but wasn't sure until I heard the tape."

It was the tape that would end Hill's career in the mafia and begin a series of trials as a government witness. A record Hill is proud of: "Hey, we went 11 for 11. All convictions."

On that tape Hill heard Jimmy Burke talking to Paul Vario. "I hear Jimmy talking about me," says Hill. "Jimmy says 'we gotta whack him.' I couldn't believe it. That floored me. I thought I was immune to all that because of how tight I was with those two guys. In the end it didn't matter."

Almost immediately, Hill entered the witness protection program.

Hill explains that one part of the program includes signing a contract that basically states "you get caught in one lie, the whole deal was off. But I could confess to anything. I didn't commit any murders, but I was present many times when murder was committed. So when you sign that, you have to change your whole way of thinking. My life was on the line, my family's life was on the line.… They had everything I had done, even my terrible record as a kid. So, you have one choice: Be absolutely truthful."

During his debriefing, the FBI would ask Hill all sorts of questions based on the information they had -- phone records, surveillance, airplane receipts.

"They start coming at me with all these records. 'Henry, why were you talking to Jimmy right here? Why did you keep flying to Boston?' Compared to the other stuff I was doing, I didn't even think it was a crime. What was I doing in Boston? I was shaving points!"

Listening to this was McDonald, Hill's sponsor in the witness protection program.

"Man, when I told him about B.C., Ed McDonald went postal, he went ballistic," says Hill. "He couldn't believe what I was telling him."

McDonald admits they had no clue about the point shaving. "No, we wouldn't have even known about it," says McDonald. "That was totally out of the blue." Adding to McDonald's reaction was that he was a graduate of Boston College and even played on the freshman basketball team. Hill's testimony regarding the B.C. point shaving scandal resulted in multiple convictions, including Kuhn, Mazzei and Perla.

That closed the book on one of the biggest scandals sports has ever known. But what about Tim Donaghy and his partners?

Hearing reports that it wasn't until after a few days that Donaghy's name was made public that he requested police protection, Hills says, "That's a joke he doesn't have protection. He's probably under wraps with the feds. I bet he's going into the witness protection program."

Hill thinks Donaghy will "probably get 10 years and they'll make him go to Gamblers Anonymous. Then they'll suspend the sentence probably. Hey, the guy has a disease, he's a degenerate gambler and he's a fool for what he did. Still, he'll try to cut the right deal and get immunity if he can for everything." But there's still the question of how Donaghy and his partners got caught.

Hill thinks it's because everyone got greedy. It would make sense not to go overboard and fix too many games … and of course never talk. You don't know who's listening.

"Sense isn't part of it, once [organized crime] got their hands on him, they were never going to let him go," says Hill. "They owned him and they were calling the shots, no question. They're too greedy because they're betting money everywhere now: the Internet, Vegas, every bookie they can find, and everyone wanted a piece. It can get out of hand real fast."

According to Hill, everyone from himself to Donaghy is subject to the failings of the human condition -- that's why you'll never see him bet on sports again.

"Maybe I'll make a pinky bet for 10 bucks with a guy if we're watching a game, but that's it," says Hill. "All these people are humans -- they're greedy, they use steroids, maybe they have a coke habit. Who knows? Look at the bike guys in the Tour. It's everywhere. There's too much money involved. And the guys that are helping them? Players, officials, whatever -- they know they're only in the game for a few years and that's if they stay healthy. They all want to put something in the cookie jar. They buy all sorts of stuff with cash only. Cars and art, all that B.S. Hey, art goes up in value. I know. That's my main source of income, my art. You can find it on eBay, by the way."

Hill doesn't think Donaghy is the only one out there, just the only one to get caught. "I'm pretty sure there are guys all over on the take," says Hill. "They're going to get these guys good, because like always, they're after the Gambinos. And I'll tell you, I wouldn't be surprised to see some players involved."

Of course, like Hill said, this is nothing new. "Back in the '70s I had a joint on Queens Boulevard right between Aquaduct and Belmont. Every jockey in town came in and bet there." Other athletes had places as well. "There were athletes and bookies everywhere back then."

Hill would run into a few of them -- they were hard to miss. "Joe Namath used to fool around with my girlfriend's roommate back then," says Hill. "I used to see Joe over at the apartment every couple days. Before he left for Super Bowl III though, he told me to 'bet the f------ farm' on the Jets. I went down there and took the money line. Man, did I clean up."

Hill didn't just run into athletes in his line of work. "I used to have a guy that reffed games in the Garden in the '70s," says Hill. "I don't want to use his name, but he was a degenerate gambler. He'd come to Belmont or Saratoga and tell one of us 'I want $4,000 on the seven horse' or whatever. And we'd send someone in front of him to make his bet. That guy would leave the tickets on the table and the ref comes up and bets a couple bucks on something else, then, when he walks away, he palms the ticket for the $4K bet. I mean, what the hell is a ref doing betting $4,000 on a race?"

As Hill learned, it all comes to an end. Money, friends, easy living … it all disappears.

"My father was strict as they come," says Hill. "He realized who I was involved with when I was a kid and he would say 'stay away from those bums across the street.' Well, I didn't listen. As my mom used to say, my eyes were bigger than my stomach, I got blinded by that life. I thought it was the good life. Good living, Cadillacs and diamond rings. In reality, it's just jails, institutions or death."

Welcome to the rest of your life, Mr. Donaghy.

Thanks to Mike Philbrick

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Old Days: Mobsters Whacked for Revenge; Now: They Evict

If you can't settle a vendetta with blood, try real estate.

Burton Kaplan, a Mafia informant in the "mob cops" case, was getting back at his one-time ally, Luchese underboss Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso, when he sued to evict the capo's son from his Brooklyn home last year, court papers reveal.

"When asked why, after all these years, he was trying to take the premises . . . Kaplan stated that he's getting even for Anthony Casso Sr. ordering a contract on his [Kaplan's] life," lawyers for Anthony Casso Jr. claim in a countersuit to the eviction filed last week.

According to the countersuit, Kaplan sat down with Casso Jr., at a Brooklyn restaurant in late 2006 and admitted that he'd taken the deed to the house as part of a money-laundering scheme with the father.

It seems the Luchese underboss had "sold" the Mill Basin home to Kaplan in 1985, with the expectation that it would be transferred back to the Cassos at an appropriate time.

Kaplan allegedly told Casso Sr.'s late wife that he'd give the house back for $125,000. That demand was upped to $650,000 in 2006, the papers allege.

Thanks to Alex Ginsberg

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Failed Bribery Scheme Leads to Mafia Indictments

Friends of ours: Gambino Crime Family, Lucchese Crime Family, GEORGE DECICCO, JOSEPH ORLANDO, STEVEN FAMIGLIETTA, ROBERT DECICCO, RICHARD JULIANO, RICHARD J. JULIANO, JOSEPH ZUCCARELLO, KURT RICCI, MICHAEL FICHERA, VITO RAPPA, FRANCESCO NANIA, JAMES AVALONE and JERRY DEGEROLAMO

The Justice Department has made the following announcement: Roslynn R. Mauskopf, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Mark J. Mershon, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office, announced that an indictment and complaint were unsealed this morning in federal court in Brooklyn, New York charging eleven members and associates of the Gambino and Luchese organized crime family and two associates of the Sicilian mafia with multiple charges, including racketeering, loansharking, extortion, bribery of a federal official, money laundering, attempted bank fraud, check forgery, interstate travel in aid of racketeering, and smuggling conspiracy.

The two cases represent the culmination of an eleven-month investigation that generated hundreds of hours of recorded conversations with Gambino family captain GEORGE DECICCO, soldiers and associates of DECICCO’s Gambino family crew, and other organized crime members and associates as they planned and engaged in criminal activity, including a plot to bribe a federal immigration officer to release a member of the Sicilian mafia from federal detention.

The charges contained in the indictment and complaint are merely allegations, and thedefendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The defendants arrested this morning are: GEORGE DECICCO, JOSEPH ORLANDO, STEVEN FAMIGLIETTA, ROBERT DECICCO, RICHARD JULIANO, RICHARD J. JULIANO, JOSEPH ZUCCARELLO, KURT RICCI, MICHAEL FICHERA, VITO RAPPA, FRANCESCO NANIA, JAMES AVALONE and JERRY DEGEROLAMO. The defendants are scheduled to appear this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Joan M. Azrack, at the U.S. Courthouse, 225 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, New York. The indicted case has been assigned to United States District Judge Raymond J. Dearie.

As alleged in the indictment and a detention letter filed by the government, in 2006, Gambino family soldier Joseph ORLANDO believed that a Gambino family associate had connections to corrupt immigration and other government officials. ORLANDO approached the individual and sought his assistance in obtaining legal residence status for his girlfriend through those corrupt contacts. Although the individual did not in fact have any such contacts, he accepted $9,000 from ORLANDO as potential bribe money. When the individual was unable to procure the resident status sought by ORLANDO for his girlfriend, ORLANDO threatened to kill him. Fearing for his life, the individual contacted the FBI and agreed to cooperate in an undercover investigation. Subsequently, the FBI arranged for ORLANDO to meet an undercover agent, posing as a corrupt immigration official. These and later meetings would be recorded by the FBI.

ORLANDO told other members and associates of the Gambino family of the cooperating witness’s purported contact with corrupt government officials; this in turn led other defendants to contact the cooperating witness in attempts to further other criminal schemes.

For example, the indictment alleges that ORLANDO, Gambino family associates JOSEPH ZUCCARELLO and STEVEN FAMIGLIETTA, and Sicilian mafia associates FRANCESCO NANIA and his brother-in-law VITO RAPPA offered bribes to the cooperating witness’s purported corrupt contact at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") to arrange for the release of NANIA from federal detention, where he was being detained in connection with his immigration status. NANIA has since been charged in a criminal complaint filed in the District of NewJersey with making false statements in immigration applications.

NANIA and RAPPA paid approximately $70,000 to ORLANDO and the cooperating witness in order to secure NANIA’s release. According to the government’s detention letter, NANIA was previously convicted in Italy for mafia-related aggravated attempted extortion, and Italian law enforcement authorities are seeking his extradition to Italy.

In another scheme alleged in the indictment, ORLANDO, FAMIGLIETTA, and Luchese family associate JERRY DEGEROLAMO are charged with illegally conspiring to smuggle gold bars worth millions of dollars from the Philippines into the United States.

The defendants planned to use the cooperating witness to bribe his purported corrupt ICE contact to ensure the success of the scheme.

The criminal complaint filed today also charges that ORLANDO and Gambino family associate JAMES AVALONE plotted to bribe the purported corrupt ICE contact to protect from investigation by immigration officials a New Jersey spa owned by AVALONE, and paid ORLANDO more than $100,000 in an effort to gain access to the supposed ICE contact in order to obtain legal immigration status for the women who worked in the space.

As set forth in the documents filed in connection with today’s arrests, during the course of the investigation, several defendants discussed their willingness to commit violent acts in furtherance of their criminal activity. In one recorded conversation concerning the cooperating witness’s outstanding loansharking debt to Gambino family captain GEORGE DECICCO, DECICCO stated, "I’ll burn your eyes, did you ever screw me? Do you want me to burn your eyes out?" In another conversation, Gambino family soldier ORLANDO admits committing eight murders: "I got eight under my belt already, so I don’t give a f--- who nine’s gonna be. . . . " In a conversation recorded during a trip to Las Vegas to collect a $250,000 debt, ORLANDO stated that he was "going to shoot him [the debtor] in his f------ knee for starters."

"We are committed to eradicating the violence and corrupting influence of organized crime in our communities," stated United States Attorney Mauskopf. "The investigation and prosecution of organized crime continues to be a priority of this office." Ms. Mauskopf thanked U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey for their outstanding cooperation and assistance in the investigation.

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Mershon stated, "George DeCicco has operated continuously for so long that his arrest today is like the end of Cal Ripken’s consecutive-game streak. The difference is that Ripken’s streak ended when he voluntarily took himself out of the lineup. Today’s arrests also show that New York-based mobsters and the Sicilian mafia are willing to work together, which is why the FBI and Italian law enforcement authorities have solidified an already-strong partnership. We will continue to maintain vigilance against the threat posed by organized crime."

If convicted of racketeering or racketeering conspiracy, defendants GEORGE DECICCO, JOSEPH ORLANDO, JOSEPH ZUCCARELLO, STEVEN FAMIGLIETTA, ROBERT DECICCO, RICHARD JULIANO, and RICHARD J. JULIANO face a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment. If convicted of attempted bank fraud, defendants KURT RICCI and MICHAEL FICHERA face a maximum sentence of 30 years’ imprisonment. If convicted of bribery, VITO RAPPA and FRANCESCO NANIA face a maximum sentence of 15 years’ imprisonment, and if convicted of conspiracy, defendants JAMES AVALONE and JERRY DEGEROLAMO face a maximum sentence of 5 years’ imprisonment.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Merry Christmas Bin Laden!

Only in New York would a Mafia associate nicknamed The Irishman allegedly provide a bomb used to destroy a Pakistani immigrant's deli that was competing with a bagel store protected by the mob.

The feds yesterday charged reputed Gambino crime associate Edward Fisher with orchestrating the December 2001 arson attack on My Deli and Grocery in Staten Island.

Police had originally suspected the attack might be connected to the 9/11 terrorist attacks because the firebomber had yelled, "Merry Christmas, Bin Laden."

The feds now say the attack was an old-fashioned mob attempt to eliminate competition. "Cowards threw a firebomb into an occupied grocery store and then ran away," said William McMahon of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Deli owner Hamim Syed was warned by an acquaintance that his plan to open a second convenience store would not sit well with "two strong Italian partners" with ties to a nearby bagel store.

In what may have been a staged extortion scheme, Syed was paid a visit by "Sonny" and "Vinny" - later identified as Luchese crime members - who warned him "things could get ugly," according to court papers.

The plot thickened when Syed sought help from a Pakistani businessman with ties to the Genovese crime family who arranged a sitdown with two other gangsters at the Hooters restaurant in Staten Island in the summer of 2001. Syed thought the matter was resolved and went ahead with his expansion plans.

According to court papers and sources, the owner of the bagel store - also a Pakistani immigrant and allegedly paying protection to the Gambino crime family - sought to get rid of Syed's rival store.

Fisher, a retired city Sanitation worker known as The Irishman, was allegedly tasked to give a bomb to another Gambino associate, Salvatore Palmieri. On Dec. 22, 2001, at 4:50 a.m., truck driver Anthony Maniscalco held My Deli's door open while Palmieri tossed in a bowling bag containing the device.

The deli was destroyed, but Syed, a founding member of the borough's Pak-American Civic Association, later reopened. The bombers pleaded guilty and are serving jail sentences.

Fisher, 54, facing at least 35 years in prison, was ordered held without bail. His lawyer denied the charges.

Thanks to Ernie Naspretto and John Marzulli

Monday, October 02, 2006

Stool Pigeon in Mafia Cops Case Freed

Friends of ours: Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso, Lucchese Crime Family
Friends of mine: Louis Eppolito, Stephen Caracappa, Burton Kaplan

The truth has set him free.

Stool pigeon Burton Kaplan, the key witness against mob cops Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa, was sprung from prison yesterday after serving just over nine years of a 27-year sentence for dealing tons of marijuana.

Brooklyn federal Judge Jack Weinstein commuted the prison stint for Kaplan, who was the go-between for the ex-NYPD detectives and Luchese crime-family boss Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso, as part of a deal for his cooperation. "His information led to the resolution of eight murder investigations," said prosecutor Robert Henoch, who had nothing but praise for the detailed information Kaplan, 72, offered - which Henoch said was "excruciatingly corroborated."

"His memory was astounding," Henoch said, noting that Kaplan helped investigators uncover evidence that the cops were acting as paid Mafia moles and hit men while wearing their shields.

Neither Kaplan's wife nor daughter, Manhattan state Supreme Court Judge Deborah Kaplan, were in court yesterday because Kaplan feared for their safety, according to his lawyer Michael Gold. "I know words cannot change my crimes," Kaplan told Weinstein. "My only concern was my own selfish motives of not wanting to get caught."

The judge released Kaplan, who pleaded guilty in March 2005 to charges stemming from the crooked cops' case, on $2 million bail while he awaits sentencing for those crimes.

Eppolito and Caracappa were convicted in April, but Weinstein overturned the jury conviction on a legal technicality. The pair are on 23-hour-a-day lockdown in a federal prison in Brooklyn while prosecutors appeal Weinstein's decision.

Thanks to Zach Haberman

New York Crime Families

Flash Mafia Book Sales!

Al Capone's Vault

Crime Family Index


The Sopranos Library