The Chicago Syndicate: Mousie Massimino
Showing posts with label Mousie Massimino. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mousie Massimino. Show all posts

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Philadelphia Mafia Takedown Recap


On Monday, a superseding federal grand jury indictment was announced charging 13 members and associates of the Philadelphia La Cosa Nostra (LCN) family with racketeering, extortion, loan sharking, illegal gambling, and witness tampering.

Eleven of the 13—including the reputed boss and underboss of the criminal enterprise—were arrested earlier that day in Philadelphia and New Jersey. Two of the subjects were already serving time in federal prison for previous convictions but managed to continue their racketeering activities from behind bars.

Alleged mob boss Joseph Ligambi rose through the ranks of the Philadelphia LCN crime family and took over at the helm after the 2001 incarceration of previous boss Joseph “Skinny Joey” Merlino on racketeering charges.

The indictment alleges that for more than a decade, Ligambi, underboss Joseph Massimino, and the others conspired to generate money through various crimes. For example, they reportedly operated illegal gambling businesses involving sports bookmaking and electronic gambling devices in places like bars, restaurants, convenience stories, and coffee shops…and pocketed the proceeds. Mafia families like the one in Philadelphia often make millions of dollars and traditionally use gambling proceeds as seed money for other crimes.

The defendants also offered “loans”—at exorbitant interest rates—to victims who knew there would be dire consequences if they failed to repay them within a certain time frame.

To carry out their crimes, the defendants often used actual or implied threats of violence against their victims. According to the indictment, some of the defendants used phrases like, “I’ll put a bullet in your head,” and, “Chop him up,” to threaten victims who weren’t repaying their loans. The defendants used their reputation for violence to intimidate and prevent victims and witnesses from cooperating with law enforcement.

The defendants also actively worked to conceal their illegal operations from law enforcement. For example, they used coded language over the phone, such as calling the electronic gambling devices “coffee machines.” They often took “walk and talks” where they would conduct covert conversations with each other while walking to and from a particular destination because they thought they couldn’t be intercepted. They also established companies that appeared to be legitimate but were actually created to launder money and conceal the illegal nature of their activities.

To collect the evidence needed for these indictments, this long-term investigation included undercover scenarios, court-authorized electronic surveillances, consensual recordings, and many hours of physical surveillance.

This particular case was a good example of law enforcement cooperation at its best—the Philadelphia Police Department, the Pennsylvania and New Jersey State Police, the Criminal Division of the Internal Revenue Service, and the Department of Labor all worked alongside the Philadelphia FBI, with additional assistance from the New Jersey Department of Corrections and the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office.  Prosecutors from the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office and the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime and Racketeering Section are assisting the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania as well.

This arrest of the reputed leadership of the Philadelphia LCN comes on the heels of the large mafia takedown in New York  earlier this year. And law enforcement efforts against the LCN, as well as other types of organized crime—international and domestic—will continue unabated.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Reputed Philly Mob Boss Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi Along with Alleged Underboss Joseph "Mousei" Massimino Among 12 Arrested

The reputed boss of the Philadelphia mob, his alleged lieutenant and 11 others were hit with federal racketeering and gambling charges in an indictment unsealed Monday that federal authorities said shows that violent organized crime remains a real-life menace.

Alleged mob leader Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi, reputed underboss Joseph "Mousie" Massimino and the others ran illegal gambling operations and engaged in loan sharking, according to the 70-page indictment that described a "Godfather"-like world in which reputed mobsters used threats to kill or harm people to recoup business debts.

Eleven people, including Ligambi, were arrested Monday. The other two defendants were already in federal custody.

Ligambi, 72, pleaded not guilty during an initial appearance. His attorney, Joseph Santaguida, said the case against his client isn't strong and that he should be granted bail at a hearing later this week.

Massimino, 61, said in court that he didn't yet have an attorney. He has a bail hearing scheduled for Thursday. A judge also scheduled bail hearings for many of the other defendants this week.

The arrests were the largest action taken against Philadelphia's crime family in a decade.
"They used violence and the threat of violence to exert control over others," Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer said at a news conference, noting that organized crime in Philadelphia had shown "a remarkable ability to reorganize and reinvent itself."

Ligambi, Massimino and the others provided video poker machines and other illegal gambling devices to bars, restaurants and convenience stores in and around Philadelphia, prosecutors said.

Ligambi, Massimino and another defendant tried to make the business appear legitimate to hide the money from the federal government, prosecutors said. Ligambi, Massimino and other defendants also "approved, supervised, and otherwise participated in extortions" to generate income for the enterprise and its members, the indictment said.

In one instance, between about 2002 and 2006, Massimino and another defendant extorted a bookmaker by demanding that the bookmaker provide "yearly tribute payments" to the Philadelphia La Casa Nostra in order to "avoid personal harm" and the disruption of business, the indictment said.

The indictment is also riddled with allegations of defendants threatening to kill or harm people who haven't paid their debts, including alleged threats to "put a bullet in your head" and to "chop him up." Massimino allegedly told one victim that he wouldn't "be able to hide anywhere in the U.S.," prosecutors allege.

"The defendants also used express and implied threats of physical violence and economic harm to instill fear in their victims and to preserve and sustain the enterprise," the indictment said.
U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger said the arrests should serve as a warning that law enforcement hasn't forgotten about the Mafia.

"Today, we make clear that such activity will not be tolerated by my office and that La Cosa Nostra remains a priority for the Department of Justice," Memeger said.

Ligambi took over the Philadelphia mob after former boss Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino was convicted of racketeering in 2001, according to investigators. Merlino was later acquitted of a murder charge in 2004.

Ligambi was convicted in the 1985 gangland slaying of Frank "Frankie Flowers" D'Alfonso and spent 10 years in prison before he was acquitted on retrial in 1997.

Merlino is currently serving a six-month term at a Florida halfway house after being released from federal prison in March.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Joseph "Mousie" Massimino, Reputed Underboss of Philadelphia Mob, Granted Early Prison Release

Joseph "Mousie" Massimino, the reputed underboss of the Philadelphia mob, is coming home after serving more than five years of a 10-year sentence on a New Jersey racketeering charge.

Judge Anthony Pugliese reduced Massimino's sentence to time served during a sentence reconsideration hearing today in Camden County Superior Court.

In issuing what amounted to a get out of jail card to the 57-year-old mob leader, Pugliese accepted the arguments of Massimino's lawyer who said "he's done more than enough time considering the nature of the crime."

In fact, attorney M.W. "Mike" Pinsky pointed out that Massimino has served more time than any other defendant in the case, including a co-defendant who pleaded guilty to the same charges and was given the same 10-year sentence.

Massimino was denied release in February by a state parole board that cited his extensive criminal history and his failure to abide by prior parole requirements.

"If you're alleged to be a member of organized crime sometimes you're treated more harshly than if you're not," Pinsky said in pointing out the disparity between Massimino's treatment and that of his co-defendants.

All eight defendants in the case pleaded guilty.

Massimino, who began serving his sentence in June 2004, was charged with being one of the leaders of a multi-million dollar, mob-linked bookmaking operation and also with engaging in loan-sharking.

The charges were part of a racketeering indictment brought by the New Jersey Attorney General's Office based on an investigation by the State Police.

Pinsky argued that while the charge was racketeering, the offenses were gambling and loan-sharking and that taken separately they would have amounted to no more than five-year sentence.

The sentence reconsideration hearing grew out of a motion filed earlier this year by Jeffrey Zucker, Massimino's original lawyer.

Zucker filed the motion after the parole board had turned down Massimino's request for release. Zucker cited a stipulation in Massimino 2004 guilty plea agreement that permitted him to ask for a sentence reconsideration if he were denied parole after serving five years.

The State Attorney General's Office neither opposed nor supported the application for release, but agreed that a sentence reconsideration hearing was warranted under the terms of the original plea deal.

Massimino would have been eligible for release in 11 months in any event. At that point, Pinsky said, he would have maxed out his sentence under state guidelines.

In addition to reducing the sentence to time served, Pugliese also ordered Massimino to serve one year probation, to enroll in gambler's anonymous and to take part in drug and behavior modification counsel.

Pugliese added those requirement after noting that the parole board, in denying Massimino's request in February, cited his failure to recognize and acknowledge his criminal behavior.

Massimino, a close associate of reputed mob boss Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi, has a criminal case file dating back to the 1970s. The parole board cited his lengthy record which includes convictions for, among other things, drug dealing, assault, gambling and receiving stolen property.

He is also believed to be one of several targets in an ongoing federal racketeering investigation aimed at the Ligambi organization.

Three members of the FBI's Philadelphia-based organized crime squad were in the courtroom during today's hearing. They declined to comment about the case.

Pinsky said his client, who formerly owned a bar-restaurant in South Philadelphia, probably would be released early next week.

He first had to be returned to Northern State Prison in Newark where he has been housed for most of his sentence.

Pinsky said the prison, regard as one of the toughest in the state, was an unusual place for someone convicted of bookmaking to be housed. It was, he said, just one example of how Massimino's sentence exceeded the nature of his crimes.

"It's overkill for the type of offense we're dealing with," he said in arguments before Pugliese.

Thanks to George Anastasia

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