Showing posts with label Peter Gotti. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Peter Gotti. Show all posts

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Sammy the Bull, Salvatore Gravano, is Released from Prison 5 Years Early

Notorious ​M​afia hit man-​turned-canary Salvatore “Sammy the Bull” Gravano has been released from an Arizona prison five years early, according to inmate records.
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The ​infamous ​72-year-old mob rat, who ​squealed to ​help authorities bring down “Dapper Don” John Gotti in exchange for a 1991 plea deal, was let out Sept​. 18, Arizona’s Department of Corrections records show.

He’ll​​ remain on federal parole for the rest of his life, as ordered by Brooklyn federal ​Judge Allyne Ross in 2002 when she locked him up.

“I spoke to him,” the aged wiseguy’s daughter, Karen Gravano, ecstatically told The Post. “He is happy to be out after spending the last 17½ years in prison. He’s in good health, great spirits and he’s anxious to move forward with the next phase of his life.”

“There is no doubt I’m extremely happy,” she said. “I’ve been fighting for this day the whole 17½ years that he’s been in prison, so I’m ecstatic it’s finally here.”

Defense attorney Thomas Farinella echoed Gravano’s comments almost exactly, saying his client was “in good health and great spirits” and “extremely happy to be out.” He declined to comment on whether the elder Gravano would settle again in Arizona, or if he would continue sketching — a hobby he picked up while incarcerated.

The former Gambino underboss pleaded guilty to running a nearly 50-person, $500,000-a-week ecstasy ring in 2001, and was sentenced to 20 years behind bars.

That conviction followed a sweetheart deal in which Gravano was sentenced to just five years in prison for an admitted 19 murders — in exchange for helping the feds fell 39 mobsters, including his former boss and pal the Teflon Don.

The turncoat consigliere took the stand and spilled the Five Families’ secrets for five days during Gotti’s trial — and then testified in nine more, putting 39 wiseguys and associates in prison.

At the time, he was the highest-ranking member of La Cosa Nostra to turn fed.

After a short stint in the big house followed by an even shorter one in witness protection, he moved to Tempe, Arizona, and lived under the assumed name Jimmy Moran.

While Gravano was living in Arizona, peddling ecstasy and installing pools, he barely escaped his own killing, when the late godfather’s enraged brother, Peter Gotti, sent a team of hitmen to go find him in the Copper State.

The then-Gambino crime boss ordered the hit in retaliation for his brother’s death from cancer at age 61 behind bars.

His latest bid for early release was in 2015, when Ross declined to shave years off his sentence, citing his “longstanding reputation for extreme violence.”

Thanks to Oli Coleman and Emily Saul.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

DUAL LIVES: from the Streets to the Studio - "Teacher of the Year" becomes Mob Artist

In DUAL LIVES: from the Streets to the Studio, renowned American artist and 3-time national award-winning “Teacher of the Year” Michael Bell has written an inspiring and brutally candid memoir that chronicles his meteoric rise to becoming one of the most highly decorated public school teachers in America, all the while, living out a storied and often controversial professional painting career as “Mob Artist” to America’s most infamous.

Go behind the scenes with his intriguing clientele on how these friendships also fueled his career—from John Gotti to Al Capone’s great-nephew, Dominic Capone to numerous actors from “the Sopranos”, “Goodfellas”, “A Bronx Tale”, and more. Then, take a roller coaster crusade through the ever-changing, volatile landscapes of the art world and a US public education system that has begun placing more of an emphasis on "data mining" than on "building relationships."

This is the ultimate story of overcoming extreme adversity and being a true champion for today’s youth from someone still in the trenches, still at the top of his game. And, in the education arena, Bell has done the unprecedented. His students have earned tens of millions in scholarships; 7 back-to-back NAEA Rising Star Awards in art—an award presented to just one student artist in the entire nation annually; and 8 Scholastic Art National Medalists 3 years straight.

Bell also discusses the impact of his family life on his art—on the tragic stillbirth of his sister; on his lifelong relationship with his Grandmother, Violet, a self-taught artist from Lyndhurst, New Jersey; on his inspiring son, Carmen, (“Lil' C”), and his battles with Autism while on his quest to become a Golden Gloves boxing champion. Then there's Bell's notorious cousin Vinnie, who was part of the longest double-murder trial in the history of the State of New Jersey. Learn how Bell, himself, went from being a troubled youth once facing twenty-years-to-life to saving one of his own students from a similar fate nearly two decades later.

DUAL LIVES: from the Streets to the Studio, is passionately written, and just as courageously vulnerable as the compelling narratives found within Bell’s paintings. So, ride shotgun alongside Michael Bell throughout his meteoric rise across two very different worlds—from the streets to the studio.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Potential Gambino Crime Family Top Boss Sent to Prison

Nicholas "Little Nick" Corozzo, a high-level lieutenant in New York's Gambino crime family, is to spend 13 1/2 years in prison for murder, a judge has ruled.

Corozzo, 69 -- thought to have been in line to take over the mafia crime operation after Peter Gotti was sent to prison for life -- was sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court for ordering the 1996 slaying of Luchese crime family associate Robert Arena that also left an innocent bystander dead, the New York Daily News reported Saturday.

Corozzo calmly accepted his sentence, but his daughter, Donna Paolino, cried, the newspaper said. Corozzo kissed his nephew Joseph Corozzo on the cheek as he left the courtroom.

Thanks to UPI

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Peter Gotti Denied by Judge in Attempt to Overturn Conviction

Looks like Peter Gotti will be in jail until his dying day.

A federal judge Wednesday shot down the former crime boss' latest attempt to overturn his 2004 conviction for ordering a hit on mob rat Salvatore (Sammy Bull) Gravano.

Manhattan Judge Harold Baer shrugged off the so-called Dopey Don's claims that prosecutors violated his rights by withholding details of a conversation between Gravano and his FBI supervisor Bruce Mouw.

"The fly in the ointment is the failure on [Gotti's] part to explain how the fact of an allegedly ongoing relationship between Gravano and Mouw could have impeached Mouw's credibility," Baer wrote. "Gravano did not testify at the trial and apparently his only role at the trial was as the target that [Gotti] had directed to be killed," Baer added.

Baer said Gotti's lawyers could have simply read media accounts of the recorded conversations between Mouw and Gravano.

Gotti, 69 and in poor health, was sentenced to 25 years for ordering a hit on Gravano - who was nabbed in a drug bust before it could happen.

Gotti already had begun serving a nine-year sentence on a Brooklyn racketeering conviction, and together with the 25-year term he began serving in 2005, he won't be eligible for release until 2032, when he would be 92.

Thanks to Thomas Zambito

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Fannie Gotti, Mother of the Dapper Don, Dies at 96

The woman who spawned some of the most notorious and violent gangsters in mob history died peacefully of natural causes in a Long Island nursing home at age 96, her family said yesterday.

Philomena "Fannie" Gotti died of natural causes Tuesday night at a retirement home in Valley Stream, said "Dapper Don" John Gotti's widow, Victoria. "She was an amazing lady," Victoria Gotti told the Post. "One of those strong, strong old-timers."

The announcement of the gangland matriarch's death came just a day before her grandson, John "Junior" Gotti, will be arraigned on murder charges in Tampa, Fla.

His attorney said the death should not have any impact on today's court hearing. "We don't plan on bringing it up," lawyer Seth Ginsberg said.

Fannie Gotti, a Bronx native, was married to construction worker John Joseph Gotti. She gave birth to 13 children in 16 years, two of whom died in childbirth, according to the book "Mob Star" by Jerry Capeci and Gene Mustain.

Five of her seven sons would go on to become made members of the Gambino crime family, which her fifth child, John, violently took control of by assassinating the reigning boss Paul Castellano in 1985 in front of Sparks Steak House.

Another one of her brutal boys, Peter, 68, tried to whack Salvatore "Sammy Bull" Gravano, the turncoat who helped put the Teflon Don behind bars.

Vincent Gotti, 56, pleaded guilty earlier this summer to the botched rubout of Howard Beach, Queens, deli owner Angelo Mugnolo, in a fight over a woman. He's awaiting sentencing in Brooklyn federal court.

The late John Gotti, famous for his flamboyant style and swagger before he died in prison in 2002, scoffed at news articles that made his parents out to be Italian immigrants who scraped together meager savings to book passage to America.

"That was one of the things John got mad about," said a source. "The stupid reporters who thought his folks came from Sicily. They were born in The Bronx."

Victoria Gotti, John's widow, described her late mother-in-law as a "typical old-fashioned lady. She was a housewife, a stay-at-home mom."

She said that mom and mob-boss son got along swimmingly, although "I'm sure like any mother and child, they had their little tiffs now and again."

In later years, Fannie took a job at the Bohack supermarket chain, where she worked in the butcher department wrapping meat, Victoria said.

In June 1992, Fannie's husband died of cancer at 85. It was just two days after John was sentenced to life in prison for his career of murder and racketeering.

Fannie was living with her daughter, Marie, in Valley Stream before she moved into a nearby retirement home, Victoria said. Funeral arrangements had not yet been made, she said.

Junior Gotti was "as close as any of the kids could be" with his grandmother, Victoria said. He is accused of ordering three gangland slayings in the late 1980s and early 1990s and running a giant coke dealing operation out of bars in Ozone Park, Queens.

Ginsberg said he would soon file a change-of-venue motion with the Tampa trial judge to have the case moved back to New York.

Thanks to Stephanie Cohen

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Do the Gambinos Have a Boss?

One of the biggest mob busts in Mafia history has rocked the Gambino crime family to the core, leaving no clear successor to run street operations.

Law-enforcement officials are watching closely to see how the Gambinos will cope after a new federal indictment stripped the crime family of alleged acting boss John "Jackie Nose" D'Amico, consigliere Joseph "Jo Jo" Corozzo and his brother, Nicholas Corozzo.

The Mafia family's remaining members are expected to go underground in the coming tumultuous weeks - making no official changes in the leadership - as bail hearings unfold in Brooklyn federal court.

Peter Gotti continues to be the official boss of the family as he serves the equivalent of a life sentence behind bars, but he will likely seek an older, loyal capo to temporarily steer the organization on the street, according to knowledgeable sources.

"They've got a problem," said one source, noting that Gotti's got slim pickings since the majority of the crime family's leaders are facing charges contained in the new indictment.

Thanks to Kati Cornell and Murray Weiss

Friday, August 25, 2006

Gotti Said To Break Mafia Vow During Meeting With Prosecutors

Friends of ours: John "Junior" Gotti, John "Dapper Don" Gotti, Daniel Marino, John "Johnny G" Gammarano, Gambino Crime Family, Salvatore "Sammy Bull" Gravano Michael "Mikey Scars" DiLeonardo, Genovese Crime Family, Luchese Crime Family, Paul Castellano, Peter Gotti, Frank DeCicco, Bartholemew "Bobby" Borriello, Edward Lino
Friends of mine: Joseph Watts


Mob prince John "Junior" Gotti broke his Mafia vow of omerta last year and used a pre-trial sitdown with federal prosecutors as an opportunity to settle some old scores with two of his father's former top lieutenants, Gang Land has learned.

Gotti has acknowledged the January 2005 secret session with the feds, but has maintained it was merely an effort to convince the feds of his innocence concerning the charges in the racketeering indictment.

He said he indignantly stomped out once he realized that prosecutors were seeking his cooperation. In a June 27 interview with the Daily News, he insisted he would never tell on his former crime cohorts, underscoring his own attitude about informing by quoting his late father's extreme views on the subject. "I could have robbed a church but I wouldn't admit to it if I had a steeple sticking out of my" rear end, Gotti said the Dapper Don had told him.

However, several sources confirmed to Gang Land that, in a failed bid to persuade prosecutors to drop their case against him, Gotti spilled old secrets about two "made men" and a Gambino crime family associate — all underlings of the elder John Gotti.

Junior fingered capo Daniel Marino, soldier John "Johnny G" Gammarano, and longtime associate Joseph Watts for numerous crimes that took place before 1999, when Junior Gotti has insisted he walked away from the Mafia life, sources said.

Gotti also allegedly gave the feds information about a crooked Queens cop who enabled him to beat one case during the 1980s, and a corrupt politician who was part of a land-grab scheme during the same time frame, sources said. Both men are deceased.

Despite Gotti's claims of retirement and his ultimate decision not to cooperate, any informant activity by the mob scion would be viewed as an abomination within his former realm, and equate him with the defectors who have testified against him and his late father. "If it's true, he's a rat, just like Sammy and Scars," an underworld source said, referring to the two major Gambino family defectors, former underboss Salvatore "Sammy Bull" Gravano and onetime capo Michael "Mikey Scars" DiLeonardo.

The disclosure about Gotti's discussions comes as his third trial stemming from the kidnap-shooting of Curtis Sliwa is under way in Manhattan Federal Court.The trial judge, Shira Scheindlin, has issued a gag order in the case and prosecutors and defense lawyers are prohibited from discussing it.

Gang Land's sources declined to discuss specifics that Junior gave the feds, but said he focused primarily on Marino, 65, a powerful family capo and longtime thorn in the side of the Dapper Don, and Watts, 64, once viewed as a possible FBI informer by the Junior Don and his cohorts. While informing about Marino, Gotti, almost as an afterthought, also related alleged criminal activity by Gammarano, 65, a soldier in Marino's crew, sources said.

Marino, who served six years behind bars for a murder conspiracy ordered by the elder Gotti, was released in 2000. Watts, who spent 10 years in prison for his involvement in the same plot and a separate tax case, was released from prison in May. Johnny G, who served three years for a labor racketeering scam in Brooklyn and a Joker Poker gambling machine scheme in New Orleans, has been back in action since 2002.

Gotti has had it out for Marino and Watts for years, a source said. "He's talked about killing them both," the source said. The Gotti faction has long believed that Marino was poised to take over the crime family in the early 1990s as part of a retaliation plot by the Genovese and Luchese families for the unsanctioned 1985 killing of Gambino boss Paul Castellano.

Even after Marino was incarcerated during the late 1990s, Junior, Mikey Scars, Peter Gotti, and other supporters of the then-jailed Dapper Don debated whether to kill Marino, according to FBI documents. The discussions revolved around suspicions that Marino may have had a role in the murders of Frank DeCicco, Bartholemew "Bobby" Borriello, and Edward Lino — all key allies of the elder Gotti — between 1986 and 1991.

In the early 1990s, according to testimony at Junior's second trial, Gotti had two gunmen waiting in the closet of a Brooklyn apartment ready to kill Marino and Johnny G and dispose of their remains in body bags after Junior suspected they had kept $400,000 in annual construction industry extortion payments that should have been forwarded to him. The plot was thwarted, probably intentionally, by Watts.

Watts, who would become the focus of rubout talk a few years later, had been instructed to bring Marino and Johnny G to a meeting that would end with their execution. But when Watts and the targeted mobsters arrived in a stretch limo along with another mobster and a driver, Junior aborted the plan, according to the testimony.

In 1994 and 1995, according to court documents, Junior discussed killing Watts when "rumors began to spread within the Gambino family that Watts might be cooperating" and Gotti feared that Watts and then-superstar witness Sammy Bull would be a "deadly combination" that would threaten the "survival of the Gottis and the Gambino family."

The nasty talk about Watts fizzled out after he pleaded guilty and went to prison. But Junior has long suspected that Watts, who referred to Junior as "Boss" whenever they met, had worn a wire against him, according to FBI documents. And, during his session with the feds, "Junior was quick to point a finger at him," a source said. Sources said Gotti did implicate himself, and a few longtime friends, in several crimes, but they took place too long ago to be used in an indictment.

Gotti denied any role in a 23-year-old murder, a crime for which there is no statute of limitations, sources said. He insisted that he did not kill Danny Silva, a 24-year-old Queens man who died from a knife wound during a wild melee in an Ozone Park bar when Junior was a rowdy and arrogant 19-year-old wannabe wiseguy. "He said he was there, but he said he had nothing to do with the stabbing," a source said.

As Gang Land reported in our first New York Sun column four years ago, a formerly reluctant witness has told authorities that he "personally saw Junior stab Danny Silva" and the police and FBI reopened the case with an eye toward charging Gotti with Silva's murder.

Thanks to Jerry Capeci of Gangland News

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Gambino Boss Heading to Jail

NINE YEARS FOR GEEZER GODFATHER

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks to Kati Cornell and Murray Weis

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Mourning Good Guy Who Went After Wiseguys

Friends of ours: John Gotti, Peter Gotti, Michael "Mikey Scars" DiLeonardo, Junior Gotti

Federal mob investigator Kenneth McCabe scoured the death notices for the names of mobsters so he could be sure and pay his respects. Or he turned up at their weddings, where they'd greet him with a slice of cake and coffee that was always refused. For more than three decades, first as an NYPD detective and then with the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan, McCabe deftly handled skittish government cooperators while charting the Mafia underworld's every move with his camera.

His work provided the backbone for dozens of successful prosecutions, including the late mob boss John Gotti and his brother Peter, that have left the city's Mafia families weakened to the point of extinction.

McCabe, 59, died last Sunday after a year-long battle with cancer.

His intense preparation and his shun-the-spotlight manner won the 6-foot, 6-inch former college basketball player the respect of colleagues - and of the mobsters he arrested. They would regularly counsel their attorneys not to ask McCabe a question when he took the witness stand, said former Manhattan U.S. Attorney David Kelley. "The mob is all about playing by the rules," said Kelley. "He didn't lie. He dealt with them fairly. They got arrested fair and square."

At his funeral Thursday at St. Thomas More Church in Breezy Point, Queens, a priest told the story of a wiseguy who ambled up to McCabe's car while he was conducting another surveillance. "You know, Kenny," he said. "I'm thinking of retiring. I'm getting too old for this." To which, McCabe replied: "Make sure it's someplace warm because I'm tired of freezing out here."

Mob informant Michael (Mikey Scars) DiLeonardo paid tribute to McCabe during his testimony at John A. (Junior) Gotti's federal kidnapping trial last week. Asked to identify a surveillance shot, DiLeonardo guessed that it was probably taken by McCabe. "He was relentless," DiLeonardo said.

McCabe was reared in Park Slope and attended Cathedral High School before playing power forward for Loyola College in Maryland.

His photographs allowed prosecutors to piece together mobster associations and link them together at key moments in a conspiracy. In some shots, smiling mobsters wave hello to McCabe.

Less known was McCabe's handling of wiseguys-turned-informants. "The cooperators had a tremendous amount of respect for him," Kelley said. "He didn't pull any punches. He told it like it was."

Thanks to Thomas Zambito

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

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

New Head of Major Mafia Family

Friends of ours: John Gotti, John "Jackie Nose" D'Amico, Petter Gotti, Junior Gotti, Nicholaz "Little Nick" Corozzo, Gambino Crime Family, Arnold "Zeke" Squitieri

Meet the new John Gotti.

John (Jackie Nose) D'Amico, the Dapper Don's longtime sidekick and confidant, has emerged as the new acting boss of the Gambino crime family, law enforcement officials told the Daily News. D'Amico, known as a dapper dresser himself with a gift for gab and a way with the ladies, even confirmed to The News that he was a "boss."

Well, sort of. "I'm the boss of my house and my bathroom," said D'Amico, 69. "When I go in my house and my bathroom and close the door, I'm the boss." The comment sounds like a tribute to something his dear friend John Gotti often said to reporters: "I'm the boss of my family, my wife and kids."

It was a line D'Amico probably heard a thousand times as the Dapper Don's constant companion on the town and in court. But despite his common-man self-portrayal, law enforcement authorities say D'Amico is the new Don. "It's apparent from a number of directions that Jackie is the street boss right now," one source said. "He is speaking with authority. He's not the same person from eight months ago."

D'Amico, known more as a lover than a fighter, may not have had the respect in the past of tough guys in the crime family, but his skills of diplomacy are needed now more than muscle is. "He's a very personable individual," said Bruce Mouw, the retired head of the FBI's Gambino squad. "He can be a diplomat, a mediator. He's not a hard-liner. They need someone to rally people together."

Law enforcement sources say that after Gotti was convicted in 1992 and sent away for life, a ruling panel consisting of D'Amico and fellow Gambino capos Peter Gotti and Nicholas (Little Nick) Corozzo was designated to assist the Dapper Don's son John A. (Junior) Gotti in running the crime family.

When Junior Gotti and D'Amico were pinched on racketeering charges in 1998, Peter Gotti, the Dapper Don's brother, became boss. Fast-forward to the present, with the beleaguered crime family beset by leadership woes.

Junior Gotti claims he has quit the Mafia. Peter Gotti was convicted of racketeering, and the former acting boss, Arnold (Zeke) Squitieri, is under indictment. But D'Amico, son of a television repairman from the East Village, insisted the feds and cops have it all wrong.

He said his life has none of the trappings of a Mafia boss. "I'm insignificant, I'm not important," said D'Amico. "I take the 4 train, the 5 train, the 6 train. That's the only way I travel. I don't have a chauffeur-driven car."

D'Amico, who earned his nickname because of his "Romanesque nose," according to the recent testimony of a mob turncoat, dismissed talk about his mob ascension as lies told by snitches. These confidential informants want to ingratiate themselves (with law enforcement), so they can keep on selling drugs," he said.

Still, D'Amico's supposed promotion makes sense for several reasons. Corozzo, the other logical heir to the Gambino throne, is said to be preoccupied these days with health issues and remains on supervised release, which bars him from meeting with goodfellas.

Mob watchers say D'Amico was never much of an earner for the Gambinos, which is the main function of a Mafia family. In fact, Mouw said, "D'Amico was always broke, constantly in debt, a degenerate gambler. John Gotti loved him because ... Jackie was his fellow gambler who placed all his bets for him."

For a while, D'Amico dabbled in a phone-card business and cruised around in a Jaguar, courtesy of a supposed job as a salesman at a Crystal Geyser water distributor in Brooklyn.

These days, D'Amico lives in an Upper East Side high-rise in Manhattan and is known to frequent Fresco, a popular Italian restaurant in Manhattan.

In his conversation with The News, he expressed concern about what his neighbors will think after reading this story. "Go bother the people that are ruining the country, Cheney and Bush," he said. "There are plenty of things more important than who I am or not."

He still owns a modest, split-level home in Hillsdale, N.J., where his wife, Rosalie, resides. "You're not going to get any information from me," she said when a reporter knocked at her door last week. "He comes and goes. That's the way it's been for the past 40 years."

Sunday, November 06, 2005

A Mafia case that matters

Friends of ours: Genovese Crime Family, Gambino Crime Family, Vincent "Chin" Gigante, Peter Gotti, George Barone, Lawrence Ricci
Friends of mine: Harold Daggett, Arthur Coffey

Harold Daggett, of Sparta, will likely find out in the next few days which story a federal jury in Brooklyn believes: that he is a hardworking mechanic who worked his way up the ranks of the waterfront union, or — as the U.S. government says — that he is a "longtime associate" of organized crime. If the jury opts for the latter, Daggett, a 59-year-old father of three, could be headed to prison for up to 20 years.

After hearing the case for seven weeks in U.S. District Court, jurors spent all day Thursday deliberating and will return Monday morning to continue. Lawyers in the case hope they will reach a verdict by midweek. Daggett, the assistant general organizer of the International Longshoreman's Association, was indicted last year along with fellow executive Arthur Coffey, of Florida. Both are charged with extortion conspiracy and fraud for allegedly steering lucrative union contracts to mob-controlled businesses.

It's the latest offensive aimed at rooting out Mafia corruption on the docks — something the government has been trying to do for decades, since Marlon Brando starred in the 1954 film "On the Waterfront." Only now, the goal might be in sight.

Control of the docks has historically been shared by two of the "five families" of the New York Mafia — with the Genovese family in Manhattan, New Jersey and South Florida, and the Gambino family in Brooklyn and Staten Island. With the bosses of both families, Vincent "Chin" Gigante and Peter Gotti, along with other prominent mobsters, now in prison, prosecutors have turned to the allegedly corrupt officials who did their bidding for decades. "This is a big case," a well-known mob expert said Friday. "They've got all the gangsters, (and) this is a particularly important follow-up or complement to that."

On the heels of the current criminal case, the government also has filed a civil lawsuit against the ILA seeking to have just about every current executive permanently barred from union activity. Court-appointed monitors would then oversee new union elections.

Roslynn Mauskopf, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said the lawsuit "seeks — once and for all — to end mob domination of this important labor union and put its future back into the hands of the rank-and-file members it was designed to serve."

The mob expert, who agreed to be quoted in this article on the condition that his name not be used, said the outcome of the Daggett-Coffey case may determine how the government will fare in the civil case — often called a "civil RICO" after the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. "Once (the feds) can convict these honchos, it'll go a long way toward establishing their civil case," the expert said. "This'll be like icing on the cake."

Coffey's defense attorney, Gerald McMahon — who in his opening statement called the case a politically-motivated attempt by the Justice Department to take over the union — said essentially the same thing. "Everybody knows that if they get a criminal conviction, it makes the civil RICO a slam dunk," McMahon said.

The core of the government's case is a meeting six years ago at a Miami Beach steakhouse between ILA president John Bowers and Genovese soldier George Barone. Coffey allegedly brought Bowers to the meeting. Bowers later recalled the encounter in a sworn deposition before the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor. "You're doing a wonderful job," he said Barone told him. "We hope you stay forever. But if you ever leave, I would like to see Harold Daggett become president."

Bowers had been backing a Texas man not controlled by the Genovese family to be his successor, and Barone was there to let him know that was not a good idea, the government says. When asked by investigators how he responded, Bowers was matter-of-fact: "I am alone, one-on-one. I know of his reputation; I am not going to ask a lot of questions. I am figuring now how the hell to get out of the place."

Barone, 81, who has admitted murdering at least 10 people in his decades as a mobster, became an informant to avoid prison after a 2001 arrest, and is now the star witness for the prosecution. How reliable the jurors found Barone, and several other turncoats who testified in the trial, could be the deciding factor in their verdict.

The case may also rest on how reliable they found Daggett himself, who took the stand in his own defense during the trial's final week and denied that he even knows any mobsters — except, of course, for George Barone, who he said once held a gun to his head when he was trying to move his local out of Manhattan. "There is no mob in my local," Daggett testified.

Daggett, a third-generation dockworker who now earns almost a half-million dollars between his two jobs as the ILA assistant general organizer and president of the North Bergen local, lives in a gated mansion set back from a neighborhood of small-by-comparison three-garage homes on Green Road in Sparta. He is a parishioner at Our Lady of the Lake Roman Catholic Church and has been portrayed in his defense as an upstanding member of the community who fights for the rights of his laborers.

Daggett's lawyer, George Daggett — his cousin and the former Sussex County prosecutor — called the government's case an "anti-union prosecution" in his three-hour closing argument last week. "I'm pleased with the way the case went in," George Daggett said Friday. He added that he was pleased with what he saw as positive reactions, from some jurors, to his impassioned summation.

The case has had its unexpected twists. In the past two months, for instance, the number of defendants has dwindled from four to two. Or, if you will, 2 1/2.

A third ILA executive, Albert Cernadas — who also headed the union local in Port Newark — was named in a superseding indictment earlier this year but pleaded guilty a week before the trial began to a reduced conspiracy charge. Under the plea deal, he agreed to sever all ties with the union and will likely avoid significant prison time. Then, halfway through the trial, another defendant, a reputed Genovese captain named Lawrence Ricci, disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Published reports cited investigative sources as saying they believed he had been killed by his fellow gangsters. However, Ricci remains merely "missing" in the eyes of the law, and he is still technically a defendant in the case. The judge in the case has instructed the jury not to draw any "negative inference" from his absence.

Thanks to BRENDAN BERLS

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Gotti said to order snitches killed.

Friends of ours: Gambino Crime Family, Peter Gotti, Primo Cassarino, Richard Gotti, Genovese Crime Family, Lawrence Ricci

A convicted Gambino soldier testified in a union-corruption trial yesterday that Peter Gotti once warned that if anyone cooperated with the government, he would, "kill them and their families."

Primo Cassarino, who was convicted with Gotti in 2003 for shaking down action-movie star Steven Segal, said in Brooklyn federal court yesterday that he had spoken to the FBI about cooperating with the government during that trial. But when asked why he decided to go to trial with the former Gambino boss he said, "I didn't have no choice. If I didn't go to trial, I'd have been killed by Peter Gotti. Peter Gotti told his brother, Richard, if anybody cooperates, kill them and their families."

When Richard Gotti relayed his brother's warning, he was unaware Cassarino had spoken to the FBI, Cassarino testified under cross-examination in the trial of Harold Daggett and Arthur Coffey. The two International Longshoremen's Association members are accused of conspiring with the Genovese crime family to have them installed as union heads.

Another co-defendant, reputed Genovese capo Lawrence Ricci, has been missing since the start of the trial, leading to speculation that he has been the victim of a mob hit. Ricci is accused of steering an ILA contract to a pharmaceutical company with mob ties. When asked why he had decided to be a government witness this time around, Cassarino said he was hoping to have his sentence reduced. Cassarino's conviction was for racketeering and money-laundering after he tried to force Segal to give them a cut of movie profits in a deal brokered by his former producer.

Monday, April 27, 1998

A Who's Who, and Who's Where, of Mafia Families

Although six leaders of the Genovese crime family were convicted of racketeering last year, investigators still rank the Genoveses as the nation's most potent and insulated Mafia faction. The family is said to be the largest gang, with 200 to 250 ''made,'' or inducted, members and almost 1,000 associates -- people who assist the family's underworld operations.

Joseph J. Coffey, the former commanding officer of New York State's Organized Crime Task Force and a consultant to the New Jersey and Nevada gambling commissions, described the Genovese family, with its extensive network of gambling and loan-sharking operations in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, as ''the Ivy League of the underworld,'' referring to its reputation among law enforcement officials as the most successful organized-crime family.

Federal and state officials have identified Dominick V. Cirillo, a longtime capo, or captain, as the acting Genovese boss. They say Mr. Cirillo, 68, of the Bronx, took over last year in the wake of the racketeering conviction and imprisonment of Vincent Gigante, 70, his predecessor.

Law enforcement analysts see the Gambino crime family as the area's second-most-powerful group. But they say its influence has been undermined by a spate of convictions of its leaders and the defection of a former underboss, Salvatore Gravano.

John J. Gotti, 57, the family boss, is serving a life sentence without parole for murder and racketeering, and his son, John A. Gotti, 34, who Federal and state officials say was appointed as the acting boss by his father six years ago, is being held without bail, awaiting trial on racketeering, fraud and extortion charges.

Investigators identify John J. D'Amico, 63, a Gambino capo with homes in Hillsdale, N.J., and on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, as the family's primary leader. Mr. D'Amico's prestige, the authorities say, increased after the indictment in January of the younger Mr. Gotti, and the conviction and imprisonment last year of Nicholas Corozzo, 58, another high-ranking capo.

J. Bruce Mouw, the former head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Gambino squad, said that although the younger Gotti has the title of acting boss, the family actually has been run by a committee consisting of Mr. D'Amico, Mr. Corozzo and Peter Gotti, a capo who is John J. Gotti's brother. John J. Gotti's attempt to oversee the family from a Federal prison in Marion, Ill., floundered, Mr. Mouw asserted. ''They are in a sad state,'' he said. ''They have no real boss, no underboss and no consigliere.''

As a sign of the Gambinos' problems, law enforcement agents note that its crews -- units led by capos -- are down to 12 from a high of 21, and that active soldiers now number about 150, compared with 250 in 1986 when John J. Gotti seized power.

Although overall mobster influence appears to be declining, the authorities believe that the Bonanno family has gained strength and is approaching the Gambinos as the country's second-most-dangerous Mafia faction.

The Bonanno organization, the authorities say, has 100 active members and is the only New York family with an active boss, Joseph C. Massino, 55, of Howard Beach, Queens. And, unlike other mob families, it has no top leaders in prison or under indictment.

Murderous family disputes, turncoats and numerous convictions have severely weakened the Lucchese and Colombo crime families in the last decade, investigators say. Each group is estimated to have about 120 members and is led by acting bosses and committees. Joseph A. DeFede, 64, a capo from Howard Beach, is the temporary Lucchese chief, and Andrew Russo, 63, of Old Brookville, N.Y., who is in jail for parole violations, is the Colombo family's acting boss.

In describing the Mafia's gradual decline in the area, Robert T. Buccino of the New Jersey Attorney General's office said that in 1969, the apparent peak of the mob's influence, more than 200 Mafia capos and soldiers flourished in the state. Today, he said, the number of active New Jersey mobsters is about 20.

Thanks to Selwyn Raab


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