The Chicago Syndicate: Patrick DeFilippo
Showing posts with label Patrick DeFilippo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Patrick DeFilippo. Show all posts

Friday, July 03, 2009

Mob Hit on Reputed Bonanno Crime Family Solider Anthony Seccafico?

A man identified by a law enforcement official as a soldier in the Bonanno crime family who was under federal investigation was shot to death early Thursday morning near a bus stop on Staten Island, the authorities said.

The man, Anthony Seccafico, was waiting for a bus near his town house on Ilyssa Way about 4:30 a.m. when an unknown number of attackers opened fire, law enforcement officials said.

Witnesses told the police that they heard seven shots and passers-by discovered Mr. Seccafico bleeding in the street about 100 feet from the bus stop, on Arthur Kill Road, the authorities said. Mr. Seccafico, 46, who was waiting for the X17 bus to take him to work in Manhattan, was shot several times and apparently tried to flee his attackers, investigators said. He was taken to Staten Island University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival, the police said.

On Thursday, detectives were trying to determine the motive behind the killing. A police official said it was possible that it was related to Mr. Seccafico’s criminal history, including a 1996 case in Coney Island in which he was charged with four counts of assault and illegal possession of a weapon.

The medical examiner’s office has scheduled an autopsy for Friday morning.

In November 2002, Mr. Seccafico was arrested with 19 others on charges of participating in a $2.5 million-a-year gambling ring as part of a Bonanno crew.

Mr. Seccafico pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges, and received a three-month sentence. Also involved in that case was Salvatore Montagna, who had been elevated to the head of the Bonanno family and was recently deported.

A federal law enforcement official said Mr. Seccafico had been under federal investigation when he was killed, though the official would not describe the nature of the investigation. When Mr. Seccafico was arrested in 2002, he was in the mobster Patrick DeFilippo’s crew, the official said. Mr. DeFilippo, who lived in Manhattan, operated out of the Bronx, and Mr. Seccafico “spent a little time in the Bronx,” the official said. Mr. DeFilippo is serving 40 years in federal prison for racketeering conspiracy, gambling and loan sharking. Mr. Seccafico became a “made” member of the Bonanno crime family after 2003, the official said.

The official said that according to a list obtained by federal authorities, Mr. Seccafico was proposed for membership in the family by Mr. DeFilippo.

An investigator familiar with Mr. Seccafico said he had been a laborer and a member of Local 79 of the Construction and General Building Laborers’ Union. That investigator said Mr. Seccafico was “just a runner” for the 2002 gambling operation.

Before his arrest in connection with the organized crime ring, Mr. Seccafico had a criminal record dating to 1984, when he was arrested on drug and gun charges. He served less than a year for selling a controlled substance. After his 1996 arrest in Coney Island, Mr. Seccafico pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a weapon and served eight days in jail and three years’ probation.

In stark contrast to his life as a soldier for the New York mob, Mr. Seccafico was described by neighbors as a blue-collar family man who worked to support his wife and two young children. “They’re very, very nice people,” said Mona Gaber, a neighbor of the Seccafico family. Ms. Gaber said she would often see Mr. Seccafico come home still dirty from his job as a construction worker.

Thanks to Dominick Tao

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Youngest Boss of Any of the Five New York Mafia Families to Be Deported to Canada

When Salvatore Montagna, named as the boss of one of the notorious five Mafia families of New York City, was given a choice of where he wished to be deported -- Canada, where he was born, or Italy, where he is a citizen -- he quickly made plans for a return to Montreal.

That decision now leaves Canadian officials scrambling with what to do about a man they know little about. He returns to Canada free of any legal obligation and faces no charges.

Nicknamed "Sal the Ironworker" because of his trade in metal work, Mr. Montagna made headlines in New York when he was named as the acting boss of the Bonanno crime family at the improbably young age of 35. Mr. Montagna's youth led the tabloids to dub him the "bambino boss."

In the United States, officials are not shy about what they think Mr. Montagna has been up to. "He is a made member of the La Cosa Nostra, more specifically the Bonanno Italian organized crime family. Montagna is accused of making violent threats against a U. S. attorney from the Eastern District of New York," said Brandon A. Montgomery, spokesman for U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Mr. Montagna's New York lawyer, George Stavropoulos, said the allegations are "absolutely, categorically denied."

"He is not involved in the Mafia, he is not the boss of the Bonanno crime family or the acting boss of the Bonanno crime family. This is something that the FBI manufactured."

Mr. Stavropoulos said he was unaware of the threat allegation until told by the National Post. "If they had anything to prove what they are alleging they would be indicting him, not deporting him," he said.

Mr. Montagna was born on May 11, 1971, in Montreal, one of three sons born to Italian immigrants. When he was still an infant, the family moved to Sicily, and over the years shuttled back and forth. At the age of 15, Mr. Montagna moved with his family from Montreal to New York, driving through the Lacolle-Champlain border crossing.

Mr. Montagna followed in his father's footsteps, becoming an ironworker and starting his own company after high school. His company, Matrix Steel Co., of Brooklyn, has grown over 10 years into a multi-million dollar enterprise, according to Mr. Stavropoulos.

In New York, he married an American-born Italian woman and the couple has three daughters, all under the age of 10. His marriage also allowed him to become a legal permanent resident of the United States.

In 2001, just as he was thinking of applying for U. S. citizenship, he was subpoenaed to testify in a state gambling case. The prosecutor was unsatisfied with Mr. Montagna's testimony and charged him with criminal contempt.

On October 28, 2003, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years probation. "He plead as opposed to putting up a fight. He thought that was the easy way out," said Mr. Stavropoulos.

It was a decision he regrets. The conviction ended his citizenship plans and last week came back to haunt him.

In 2006, the New York Daily News named him as the acting boss. Several grand juries had been convened; colleagues and metal work competitors were subpoenaed to testify. As many as 30 federal cars were assigned to monitor him, Mr. Stavropoulos said.

No charges came.

Despite the tough talk from officials, the media attention and the investigations -- even at a time when the Bonanno organization was hard hit by senior members becoming police informants, including the long-time boss -- no indictment was filed against Mr. Montagna.

Instead, last week U. S. immigration officials scooped him up and placed him in detention.

Based on his conviction for contempt, deemed a civil violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act, he faced an immigration hearing on Tuesday.

He agreed to be removed to Canada.

"He will remain in ICE custody until his actual departure from the United States to Canada," said Mr. Montgomery of ICE. "Montagna is relinquishing his permanent residency and will be inadmissible if he attempts to request a visa in Canada."

He will not be alone here when he arrives next week. While one brother remains in New York, Mr. Montagna has a brother in Montreal and his parents still frequent the city. "As soon as his children finish school, his wife fully intends to move to Canada to join him," said Mr. Stavropoulos.

"He feels confident coming to Canada. He loves Canada. He said he was happy to be coming to Canada." He will likely sell his home and business and start fresh if he cannot win a reprieve.

Montreal is a city that also has long ties to the Bonanno crime family.

Montreal's Mafia boss, Vito Rizzuto, is currently in a U. S. prison for a gangland murder on behalf of the Bonanno leadership; and several New York gangsters alleged to have associated with Mr. Montagna also have strong links to the city, including Patrick "Patty From the Bronx" DeFillipo and Baldassare "Baldo" Amato.

In 2006, the FBI secretly recorded a conversation between gangsters in which Michael Cassese said that Mr. Montagna is the family's acting boss, according to court documents. "There's nobody in between. That's it," the gangster said of Mr. Montagna's position.

The RCMP is aware of Mr. Montagna's impending trip, said Sergeant Marc LaPorte, but declined to comment on whether there will be any special attention paid to him.

Said Patrizia Giolti, spokeswoman for CBSA: "While I will not comment on the specifics of a case, I can tell you that any Canadian citizen has the right to enter Canada."

Mr. Stavropoulos said Canadians have nothing to fear. "He fully intends to lead a lawful life there and raise his young family."

Thanks to Adrian Humphreys

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Powerful Mafia Boss Seeking Plea Deal?

Friends of ours: Vito Rizzuto, Joseph "Big Joey" Massino, Salvatore "Good- Looking Sal" Vitale, Gerlando "George From Canada" Sciascia, Patrick "Patty From the Bronx" De Filippo

Vito Rizzuto, named as Canada's most powerful Mafia boss, has asked a New York City judge to delay his trial for three gangland slayings, fueling speculation he is negotiating a plea deal.

David Schoen, defending Mr. Rizzuto against racketeering charges in the United States, declined to discuss any plea negotiations but said one thing is clear: Mr. Rizzuto is not considering co-operating with the authorities, as many of his American co-accused have done. "The answer is absolutely unequivocally 'no,' " he told the National Post.

An earlier document from prosecutors said Mr. Rizzuto, 61, of Montreal, was negotiating a settlement as far back as October, 2006. "If there were plea negotiations going on in any case, notwithstanding what may be a different practice for some other lawyers, I could never conceive of discussing them publicly," Mr. Schoen said. When pressed, he added: "Any speculation about a plea deal, at this point, is misguided."

He and his co-counsel are planning a vigorous defence that is well funded and well planned, he said. "Mr. Rizzuto is very strong and holding up well under these conditions - although I must say he misses Canada and his family very much," Mr. Schoen said. "In my view, there is no need or valid reason whatsoever for Mr. Rizzuto to be incarcerated in a jail in Brooklyn, or anywhere. He is no risk of flight whatsoever and certainly no danger to anyone in any community."

Mr. Rizzuto was arrested in January, 2004, inside his Montreal mansion at the request of the U.S. government. He is accused of being a shooter in an ambush of three rival mobsters in Brooklyn in 1981 as part of an ongoing criminal enterprise. He has been imprisoned since. The charge carries a maximum penalty of a 20 years.

Mr. Rizzuto's desire to return to Canada could factor into any deal; he would likely ask to serve his sentence in Canada. If that were agreed to, it would see him released far sooner than if he served his prison term in America. Under international agreements on the transfer of prisoners, once back in Canada, inmates benefit from our more lenient release rules, including release after serving just two thirds of a sentence.

Mr. Rizzuto was the only Canadian among dozens of men ensnared by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in its assault on the Bonanno Mafia organization, one of the notorious and influential Five Families of New York.

Those indicted alongside him have not fared well. Almost all have pleaded guilty, been found guilty at trial or become government informants.

A cavalcade of Mafia turncoats are pointing fingers at former colleagues. The so-called "rats" include the former Bonanno Family boss, Joseph "Big Joey" Massino, and underboss, Salvatore "Good- Looking Sal" Vitale. Both are expected to be star witnesses against Mr. Rizzuto, should his case go to trial.

Vitale has already testified in other prosecutions, twice telling juries about Mr. Rizzuto's alleged crimes, but Massino has not yet been called to the stand. "I am not in the speculation business and I will leave such decisions to the government," Mr. Schoen said of whether he expects to see Massino testify against his client. "I certainly should hope we will be well prepared to deal with any witness."

Massino has been telling his secrets to the FBI for a year. Although the high-security debriefings are held in utmost secrecy, some of the information he provided was recently summarized in a note from prosecutors to a judge in another case. Some of it involves his contact with Canadian mob figures.

Massino said he ordered the murder of Gerlando "George From Canada" Sciascia, who was the Montreal Mafia's representative in New York and a close friend of Mr. Rizzuto's. He assigned the job to Patrick "Patty From the Bronx" De Filippo at Danny's Chinese Restaurant.

After the murder, Vitale, contacted Massino and spoke a prearranged code to signal the job was done: "I picked up the dolls for the babies."

Mr. Rizzuto continues to be a presence - through his name and photograph - in New York mob cases.

At the trial of De Filippo, which ended this month, the jury heard Vitale claim that Mr. Rizzuto started the shooting that killed the three mobsters.

"What was your role in that murder?" Vitale was asked by Greg Andres, the prosecutor. "Shooter," he answered.

"Were there other people assigned as shooters?" Mr. Andres asked.

"Vito Rizzuto; an old-timer from Canada, I never got his name; another individual from Canada named Emmanuel."

Vitale was shown a photograph and asked to identify it.

"That's Vito Rizzuto from Canada," he answered.

"Do you know where Vito lives?" Mr. Andres asked. "Montreal, Canada."

Later, Vitale again brought Mr. Rizzuto up.

"At the time of your arrest, was there a particular person who you considered the most powerful person in Canada, the person who you would deal with in Canada?" Vitale was asked.

"Vito Rizzuto," came the answer.

Pretrial motions in the case are expected to be ruled on in June.

Mr. Schoen estimates a trial would last nine weeks.

Thanks to Adrian Humphreys

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Bonanno's Name Bambino Godfather

Friends of ours: Bonanno Crime Family, Salvatore "Sal the Ironworker/Sal the Zip" Montanga, Joseph Massino, Baldassare "Baldo" Amato, Patrick "Patty from the Bronx" DeFilippo, Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano, John "Dapper Don" Gotti, Vincent "the Chin" Gigante

The Bonanno crime family has tapped a man of steel to rebuild its crumbling empire, the Daily News has learned.

He's Salvatore (Sal the Ironworker) Montagna, the newly minted boss of the Mafia family, according to law enforcement sources - and he's practically a bambino at only 35 years of age.

The Sicilian-born Montagna and his wife, Francesca, own a small ironworks company in Brooklyn, but they show no signs of living the high-life of a Mafia don. The couple and their three daughters live in a modest ranch house in working-class Elmont, L.I., not far from the Queens border.

"Putting someone that young and relatively unknown in charge indicates that they're desperately seeking to salvage the remnants of the family from the recent prosecutions and convictions," said Mark Feldman, former chief of organized crime for the Brooklyn U.S. attorney's office.

Feldman said the move clearly "signals desperation" on the part of a mob family that has seen three bosses and acting dons bite the dust in three years. Most noteworthy was the conviction of longtime family boss Joseph Massino, who is now serving life in prison.

Last night, a teenage girl answered the door of Montagna's vinyl-sided home on Oakley Ave. and said the reputed crime kingpin was not at home. Two little sisters stood at her side. Outside, a small construction crew was wrapping up its day working on Montagna's brick driveway.

A short time later, Francesca Montagna drove up in a late-model Lexus SUV and turned angry when asked if her husband was the new head of the Bonanno family. "I don't know what you're talking about," said the dark- haired woman, dressed in a sweatsuit. "I have kids in here. It's not appropriate for you to be here."

Until now, Montagna has rarely appeared on the radar of the NYPD and the feds, and neighbors said they knew nothing about any reputed mob ties. Still, the Mafia talk didn't worry them. "Am I scared?" said one local. "Absolutely not. I come from Brooklyn. Believe me, when you live next to one of these people, there's nothing to be afraid of."

Another neighbor found the suggestion "ridiculous," but quickly added, "We'd be shocked and scared at the same time if that is true. Wow!"

The Montagnas run the family-owned Matrix Steel Co. on Bogart St. in Brooklyn. According to Dun & Bradstreet, the firm supplies structural material for builders and reported a modest $1.5 million in sales last year.

In 2003, Montagna pleaded guilty to criminal contempt charges and was sentenced to probation for refusing to answer questions before a Manhattan grand jury. He had been indicted a year earlier after a probe by the Manhattan district attorney's office as one of 20 wiseguys charged in a takedown of a Mafia crew allegedly involved in gambling, loansharking and weapons possession.

Whether the new Bonanno boss has any other arrests was unclear yesterday.

"He's well-liked by the rank and file," said an underworld source, adding that Montagna is also known as Sal the Zip, a reference to the name bestowed on members of the crime family's Sicilian wing.

Sources said Montagna was close to legendary Bonanno gangster Baldassare (Baldo) Amato, another immigrant from near Castellammare del Golfo in Sicily, and served in the crew of capo Patrick (Patty from the Bronx) DeFilippo. Those guys are largely history now, with Amato recently sentenced to life in prison and DeFilippo facing a retrial on murder charges.

Led by Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Andres, the feds have indicted and convicted more than 70 Bonanno gangsters since 2002, leaving behind about 75 shell-shocked members on the street. Sources said Montagna's promotion couldn't have happened without the blessing of Vincent (Vinny Gorgeous) Basciano, who once operated Hello Gorgeous, a hair salon in the Bronx, and became the official boss of the crime family after Massino turned rat.

Thomas Reppetto, author of the just-published "Bringing Down The Mob: A War Against the American Mafia (Henry Holt)," said the new breed of boss pales in comparison to past godfathers like the late John Gotti or Vincent Gigante. "There may no longer be a boss in the sense that we understood the term, an all-powerful figure at the top, because naming an official boss provides the FBI with a clear target," Reppetto said.

Thanks to John Marzulli

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Canaries Get Tweet Salvation

Friends of ours: Junior Gotti, Bonanno Crime Family, Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano, Patrick DeFilippo, Vito DeFilippo, Gambino Crime Family, Salvatore LoCascio, Genovese Crime Family, Joseph Ida, John Gotti, Joey "The Clown" Lombardo

Today's rats escape sleepin' with fishes

The stampede of Mafia turncoats joining Team U.S.A. is radically changing the way gangsters try to beat the rap. Faced with damning testimony from high-ranking rats, wiseguys are wising up to the fact that it's futile to deny they're in the mob.

It was once a violation punishable by death to publicly acknowledge one's membership in a crime family. But John A. (Junior) Gotti has done it. So too has a gaggle of gangsters in the hope the wiseguys can neutralize the government's weapons.

"He's in the Bonanno family," declared defense lawyer Barry Levin last week at the trial of Vincent (Vinny Gorgeous) Basciano, once the clan's acting boss. "We don't care. So if you spend three weeks listening to the Bonanno family, you've heard it here. You can take a nap."

Levin's strategy so infuriated prosecutors they asked the judge to instruct the jury that it was out of bounds. The lawyer for Basciano's co-defendant Patrick DeFilippo was also up front with jurors about his client's mob lineage. "His father Vito was a member ... and it was as natural for him at that time a long time ago to join as it was, say, for me to become a lawyer," said attorney Richard Levitt.

Recently, lawyers for Gambino capo Salvatore LoCascio and Genovese soldier Joseph Ida admitted their clients were made men, but insisted each had decided to quit the Mafia.

It's a long way from the bold denials John Gotti's mouthpiece Bruce Cutler was making in 1990 when he said: "There is absolutely no evidence of what prosecutors call an Italian-American Mafia in America."

Mafia historian Thomas Reppetto recalled that Chicago gangster Joey (The Clown) Lombardo even took out an ad in a newspaper in 1992 to proclaim he wasn't in the Mafia anymore. Lombardo was indicted last year on a raft of charges.

For years wiseguys and their lawyers nervously tiptoed around naming the criminal enterprise when pleading guilty to racketeering. Has omerta - the Mafia's code of silence - been revised? "Apparently so," said former federal prosecutor Edward MacDonald. "There's no point in contesting membership anymore. The evidence is so overwhelming. You might as well concede the obvious."

Thanks to John Marzulli

Friday, February 24, 2006

Godfather Facing Rat Infestation

Friends of ours: Bonanno Crime Family, Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano, Joseph Massino, Patrick DeFilippo, James "Big Louie" Tartaglione
Friends of mine: Frank Santoro

Call it the March of the Rats.

When acting Bonanno boss Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano goes on trial, he'll face an extraordinary number of Mafia turncoats. The Brooklyn U.S. Attorney's Office has a list of "more than 75 witnesses, including 18 cooperators," according to court papers filed by Basciano's lawyer. "There is not one trial in public consciousness that has seen as many rats," one legal insider said.

Former family godfather Joseph Massino, who was convicted in 2004 of committing seven rubouts but cooperated to skirt the death penalty, is expected to make his rat debut. Many of the Bonannos who testified against Massino will also be witnesses against Basciano and his co-defendant, reputed capo Patrick DeFilippo, when the trial begins Thursday, a source said.

Basciano and DeFilippo are charged with a host of illegal-gambling counts and attempting to murder David Nunez in 1985 over rival gambling operations. The hit failed, and Nunez is alive and well but currently serving a three-year stint in an upstate prison for sexually abusing two young girls.

On top of that, Basciano, 46, allegedly took part in the February 2001 murder of mob associate Frank Santoro, who was blasted with a shotgun while walking his dog after he plotted to kidnap one of Basciano's sons.

Playing the part of the Pied Piper is prosecutor Greg Andres, whom Basciano allegedly plotted to whack for decimating the crime family through numerous convictions. Basciano is charged with that crime in a separate indictment, and Brooklyn federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis said Andres is not allowed to mention it to the jury. Andres could often be seen glaring at Basciano and recently took umbrage with the reputed crime boss' passing comments to him and an unorthodox habit of standing next to his lawyers during side conversations with prosecutors and the judge throughout jury selection. "I don't want to talk to him, I don't want to hear from him, and I don't think he should be at the sidebar," Andres said during one of the side sessions, according to court papers filed late last week.

Also in the prosecutors' arsenal of evidence is a recorded conversation between Basciano and turncoat James "Big Louie" Tartaglione in which Basciano downplays the chances of being convicted of the Santoro murder, which could put him away for life.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Dramatic mob trials still fill the seats

Friends of ours: John "Junior" Gotti, John "Dapper Don" Gotti, Joey "the Clown" Lombardo, Tony "The Ant" Spilotro, Genovese Crime Family, Vincent "Chin" Gigante, Gambino Crime Family, Peter Gotti, Colombo Crime Family, Alphonse "Allie Boy" Persico, Lucchese Crime Family, Steven "Stevie Wonder" Crea, Bonanno Crime Family, Joseph "Big Joe" Massino, Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano, Patrick "Patty from the Bronx" DeFilippo
Friends of mine: Louis Eppolito, Stephen Caracappa

Organized crime may be on the decline, but Mafia trials are getting as much attention as ever.

In New York City alone, three upcoming federal prosecutions are targeting La Cosa Nostra, the Italian-American crime syndicate made famous by The Godfather books and films, and the HBO series The Sopranos. Defendants include John A. Gotti, son of John J. Gotti, the "Dapper Don" who died in federal prison in 2002 while serving a life sentence for murder and racketeering.

In Chicago, federal prosecutors hope to try alleged mobster Joey "The Clown" Lombardo, 76, and 10 alleged associates later this year for conspiracy to commit at least 18 unsolved murders, some dating back more than 30 years.

The cases all have the ruthlessness, and the color, that America has come to expect from the Mob.

First, there are the names. "Vinny Bionics," "Jackie Nose," "Mikey Scars," "Louie Electric" and "Skinny Dom," are among the characters who appear in court papers filed in the New York cases.

Then, there are the details. One case features an apparent first: the boss of a New York City crime family who, court papers say, "wore a wire" to secretly record conversations that were used to bring charges against other members. In another, two former New York City police detectives are accused of accepting thousands of dollars to carry out or aid seven Mafia-related slayings.

The public and the media are sure to be watching. Last month, a standing-room-only crowd showed up for Lombardo's first court appearance. Lombardo, who got his nickname by making jokes during legal proceedings, had disappeared soon after he was indicted and was on the lam for nine months before he was captured in a Chicago suburb Jan. 13.

Mafiosi "are not as large and as powerful as they once were, but they can still draw a crowd," says Jerry Capeci, organized crime specialist for Ganglandnews.com and author and co-author of six books on the Mob. "And let's face it, (Mob trials) are a lot more colorful than, what, Enron and like that."

Defendants in all of the Mafia cases have pleaded not guilty.

In Chicago, Lombardo and his associates are charged with plotting to kill a potential grand jury witness. They're also charged in the June 1986 killings of Chicago organized crime figure Tony "Ant" Spilotro and his brother Michael, who were beaten, then buried alive in a cornfield. The episode was fictionalized in Casino, a 1995 movie in which actor Joe Pesci played a character based on Spilotro.


MAFIA CONVICTIONS AT A GLANCE
During the past nine years, federal and local prosecutors in New York City have secured convictions and prison sentences for defendants they described as the bosses or acting bosses of all five of the city's Mafia "families."
Family Boss Conviction Sentence
Genovese Vincent "Chin" Gigante Racketeering (1997) 12 years (died in prison, 2005)
Gambino Peter Gotti Conspiracy; money laundering (2003) 9 1/2 years
Colombo Alphonse "Allie Boy" Persico Racketeering (2003) 13 years
Luchese Steven "Stevie Wonder" Crea Construction bid rigging (2004) 3 to 6 years
Bonanno Joseph "Big Joe" Massino Multiple murders (2005) Life


In federal court in Brooklyn, testimony is scheduled to begin Feb. 22 in the murder, racketeering, bookmaking and extortion trial of Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano, 46. Court papers describe him as the acting head of the Bonannos, one of five Mob "families" in New York City. Since mid-January, jury selection has been going on in secret to protect potential jurors' identities, court spokesman Robert Nardoza said.

Basciano, whose nickname, Capeci says, derived from a Bronx beauty parlor Basciano once owned, is charged with killing a Mob associate and plotting two other slayings. Patrick "Patty from the Bronx" DeFilippo, 66, an alleged Bonanno capo, or crime crew chief, is accused of killing another family associate.

Both men also face gambling, loan sharking and extortion charges. The charges are based in part on secret recordings made by convicted Bonanno boss Joseph Massino, 66, in January 2005, when he and Basciano met in a detention center in New York City, court papers say.

Basciano, awaiting trial, was unaware that Massino — who was awaiting sentencing for a racketeering conviction — had agreed to work for the FBI, Basciano's attorneys say in court papers.

"That's huge," says Ronald Kessler, who has written two books on the FBI. "Getting a family leader to wear a wire is something that's never happened before. It should make for very interesting testimony."

One of the most interested parties might be DeFilippo, Basciano's co-defendant and, according to prosecutors, his fellow Bonanno family member.

Transcripts of the tapes in court papers indicate that Basciano asked Massino, the family leader, for permission to "jocko" — Mob slang for kill — DeFilippo in a dispute over money and Basciano's leadership style. "I have a problem living in the same world as this guy," Basciano said of DeFilippo, the court papers say.

Jury selection is scheduled to begin Monday in the retrial of John A. Gotti in federal court in Manhattan. Gotti, 41, called "Junior" in court papers, is charged with ordering the kidnapping and non-fatal shooting of Curtis Sliwa, a New York City radio talk-show host and founder of the Guardian Angels citizen-patrol group. Sliwa was abducted by Gambino family crime members under Gotti's control in 1992, prosecutors allege, because Gotti was upset by Sliwa's criticism of his father. When Gotti was first tried in September, jurors could not reach a unanimous verdict on the kidnapping and extortion and loan-sharking charges. He was found not guilty of securities fraud. His attorneys disputed prosecutors' claims that he is boss of the crime family his father once led. They said he had severed his ties with organized crime.

The younger Gotti was convicted of racketeering in 1999 and was imprisoned for six years.

This week, Judge Shira Scheindlin turned down Gotti's request that Sliwa not be allowed to criticize him on Sliwa's show during the trial. Gotti said Sliwa's comments could unfairly influence jurors.

On Feb. 21, also in federal court in Brooklyn, jury selection is scheduled to begin in the murder and racketeering trial of former New York City police detectives Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa.

Eppolito, 57, and Caracappa, 64, are charged with accepting up to $4,000 a month in the 1980s and early 1990s to give members of the Luchese crime family information on police surveillance and help them find the targets of seven family-ordered hits.

The retired detectives also are accused of fatally shooting a Mafia member who had agreed to turn over information to the government.

Jack Weinstein, the judge in the case, has asked for a larger courtroom to accommodate crowds.

"They don't get better than this," Capeci says.

Thanks to Richard Willing

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