The Chicago Syndicate: Ralph Eppolito
Showing posts with label Ralph Eppolito. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ralph Eppolito. Show all posts

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Mafia Cops's Victim's Families Given Green-Light in Wrongful-Death Lawsuits

A federal judge has green-lighted the multimillion-dollar wrongful-death lawsuits filed against the city by the families of seven men slain in mob hits executed or aided by former two detectives Louis Eppolito and ex-Great Kills resident Stephen Caracappa.

In allowing the cases to proceed, District Judge Raymond J. Dearie said there was evidence to suggest the rubouts would not have occurred had Eppolito been kicked off the force or disciplined after he was "caught red-handed" passing confidential police records to a mobster in 1984.

The slayings took place between 1986 and 1991.

Dearie said evidence also indicated there was a "systemic failure" to address corruption under then-Police Commissioner Benjamin Ward. "The failure to discipline a detective who colludes with organized crime plainly courts the risk that that detective will do so again," wrote Dearie. "And it is likewise obvious that collusion between a police detective and organized crime might well lead, as it did in these cases, to unconstitutional harm to members of the public."

The judge further ruled the plaintiffs' families, who filed the suits in 2006 and 2007, had done so within statutory time limits.

Caracappa, 72, and Eppolito, 66, the so-called "Mafia Cops," are serving life sentences for their roles in the slayings, carried out at the behest of Luchese crime family underboss Anthony (Gaspipe) Casso, who later cooperated with authorities.

The two detectives were paid $4,000 a month to provide Casso with law-enforcement information. They received extra cash for murder contracts, including $70,000 for a hit on Eddie Lino, a Gambino crime family capo suspected of being involved in a failed assassination attempt on Casso, the ruling said.

Eppolito, whose father was a member of the Gambino crime family, retired from the NYPD in 1990. He played a bit part in Martin Scorsese's 1990 mob drama "GoodFellas" and launched an unsuccessful career as a screenwriter.

Caracappa retired in 1992 after establishing the Police Department's unit for mob murder investigations. In 2005, while awaiting trial to start and after posting bail, Caracappa had stayed with his mother in South Beach.

Eppolito, then working in the 62nd Precinct in Brooklyn's Bath Beach neighborhood, came under scrutiny in 1984. FBI agents found confidential NYPD Intelligence Reports in the home of mobster Rosario Gambino, who was under indictment for heroin trafficking, said the judge's ruling.

A probe determined the reports had been photocopied at the 62nd Precinct and Eppolito's fingerprints were on the photocopies, the judge said. Eppolito subsequently underwent a departmental trial which cleared him, despite "compelling" evidence against him, said the judge. The trial was prosecuted by a junior NYPD lawyer and was based on stipulations between the parties, not live testimony, which was unusual, Dearie said.

Commissioner Ward declined to overturn the findings, although a follow-up Internal Affairs probe after the hearing again concluded that Eppolito had leaked the reports, said the judge.

Dearie said a report by the Mollen Commission provides "powerful evidence" that the Police Department at that time "tolerat(ed) corruption to avoid bad publicity." He said the NYPD's "inexplicable failure" to discipline Eppolito may have emboldened Caracappa.

Eppolito started his relationship with the Luccheses after being cleared of the charges, the ruling started.

His cohort Caracappa, who worked for the NYPD's Major Case Squad, was specifically assigned to the Lucchese unit. He often worked on joint NYPD and federal task forces and had access to confidential information about ongoing investigations, said the judge.

Besides whacking Lino, the pair slayed an innocent victim, Israel Greenwald, a Diamond District jeweler, according to the ruling and Advance filings. They also provided information which factored into the slayings of five others, including another innocent victim, Nicholas Guido of Brooklyn, said the judge. And they were convicted of kidnapping Jimmy Hydell in 1986 and delivering him to Casso to be executed in retaliation for a botched attempted on Casso's life, said Advance reports. Hydell's mother, Betty Hydell, testified she saw the two detectives casing her Grasmere home in an unmarked police car the day her son vanished.

The city maintained the cases should be tossed because the plaintiffs did not file them until decades after their loved ones' deaths.

The plaintiffs contended they were not required to commence the lawsuits until they had some reason to link police to the killings. Eppolito and Caracappa were indicted in 2005.

Dearie sided with the plaintiffs and declined to throw out the suits.

A spokesman said the city Law Department is reviewing the decision.

Thanks to Frank Donnelly.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Mafia Cop to Remain in Vegs Jail Until Tax Charges Trial

Friends of ours: Ralph Eppolito, James Eppolito, Gambino Crime Family
Friends of mine: Louis Eppolito, Stephen Caracappa

A former New York police detective dubbed the "mafia cop" must remain in custody pending his trial in Las Vegas on tax charges, a judge ruled Thursday.

Mafia Cop to Remain in Vegs Jail Until Tax Charges TrialLouis Eppolito, 57, stood before U.S. Magistrate Judge Peggy Leen in a black-and-white-striped inmate uniform as she declared him a danger to the community and a flight risk. Eppolito's wife, two daughters and son attended the Las Vegas hearing but declined to comment afterward.

Eppolito and another former New York detective, 64-year-old Stephen Caracappa, are accused of working for the Luchese crime family while serving as officers with the New York City Police Department.

Last year, a New York jury found the pair guilty of participating in at least eight mob-related killings, but a federal judge later dismissed the racketeering case after determining that the statute of limitations had run out. However, Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Johnson said Thursday, the judge also found that prosecutors had an "overwhelming case" against the pair.

Detention for both defendants already has been ordered in the New York case pending a government appeal of the dismissal. Johnson said he expects the state of New York to prosecute Eppolito and Caracappa on murder charges if the federal government fails with its appeal.

The two detectives retired in the early 1990s and moved to Las Vegas, where they were arrested in March 2005.

A federal grand jury in Las Vegas indicted Eppolito and his wife, Frances, in January 2006 on three counts of filing a false income tax return. Their trial is scheduled to begin Sept. 24 before U.S. District Judge Roger Hunt.

The couple's son, Anthony, has been charged with distributing methamphetamine. His trial is scheduled to begin Sept. 24 before U.S. District judge Philip Pro.

Prosecutors have said Louis Eppolito, who appeared briefly in a dozen movies, grew up in a family closely linked with organized crime.

His father, Ralph, was a Gambino family soldier, and his uncle, Jimmy, was a Gambino captain.

Louis Eppolito's 1992 autobiography, "Mafia Cop: the Story of an Honest Cop Whose Family Was the Mob," details his police career and his Mafia connections.

Thanks to Carri Geer Thevenot

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Mrs. Gotti Praises 'Mafia Cops" Judge

Friends of ours: John "Junior" Gotti, John "Dapper Don" Gotti, Gambino Crime Family, Ralph "Fat the Gangster" Eppolito, Jimmy "The Clam" Eppolito
Friends of mine:
Louis Eppolito, Stephen Caracappa

Brooklyn Federal Judge Jack Weinstein has a new unexpected fan: Victoria Gotti.
The matriarch of the Gotti clan wrote a letter to Weinstein, praising him for showing a "tremendous amount of courage" in knocking out the convictions of the "Mafia cops."

"I am a person that was totally, totally disillusioned with the justice system," Victoria Gotti wrote in an undated letter to Weinstein. "You have restored my hope that my own son may have a chance, or should I say a second chance at life."

The letter was entered into a court file yesterday.

Gotti has been silent since attending each day of her son John A. (Junior) Gotti's trial this winter, when he scored his second mistrial. Then she attacked a government witness who testified against her son, and defended her late husband, John (Dapper Don) Gotti, amid allegations that he'd fathered a love child.

She's expected back in court later this week for opening statements in a racketeering conspiracy case that centers on claims that Gotti, 42, ordered the assault on radio host Curtis Sliwa in 1992. "With two hung juries and a third trial in August, I am beyond [despondent]," Gotti said. "I continue to hope for a better day for him."

Mafia CopsLast month, Weinstein tossed out the federal murder convictions of Mafia cops Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa. In April a jury found that the former NYPD detectives participated in eight gangland slayings while still on the job. Weinstein ruled that the statute of limitations on the racketeering conspiracy had expired.

She began the letter by saying: "I want to applaud you on your decision in regard to the Eppolito and Caracappa case, it takes a tremendous amount of courage to do what you did."

"Those two men, Eppolito and Caracappa need to thank their lucky stars for your wisdom and fairness," Gotti wrote.

There happens to be a Gambino family connection with Eppolito: Two of his relatives, Ralph (Fat the Gangster) Eppolito and Jimmy (The Clam) Eppolito were Gambino family members.

Thanks to Thomas Zambito

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Time for "Mafia Cop" to Honor his Family

"There are some things that you're taught as a child that stay with you the rest of your life. It's like a code you can't break. In my case, a Cosa Nostra code. And if following that code means having to face the consequences, even among friends, then so be it."

Excerpt from "Mafia Cop," by Louis Eppolito.

It's time. Time for Louie Eppolito to face the consequences.

Now that he has announced he will not even mount a defense against the charges that he kidnapped and murdered for money, it's time for the former detective to act like a man, and fall on a grenade for his family.

Last Wednesday I sat in the courtroom at the so-called Mafia cops trial where a sleazy accountant named Steven Corso - who became a federal wire-wearing mole in the nether world of Vegas - introduced a hit parade of audiotape of Eppolito and former partner Stephen Caracappa. On one tape, Corso, posing as a middleman who can get investors to pay Eppolito money to write a screenplay, says the Hollywood guys want designer drugs. Eppolito says, "Tony can do that."

Tony being his son, Anthony Eppolito. Here is a guy, Louie Eppolito, a former cop who likes to brag he's the 11th-most-decorated cop in NYPD history, involving his son in a drug bust so that he can scam $75,000 for a movie script. Which is $5,000 more than the feds say Louie Eppolito charged for a mob contract killing on the Belt Parkway.

As the audiotape played, Eppolito sat at the defense table nervously craning his neck like a man preparing for the gallows. Seated behind him his wife, Fran, looked as defeated as Edie Falco in the recent hospital scenes in "The Sopranos." Then came the videotape. Fran watched her son sell an ounce of methamphetamine to Corso for $900, for which he's facing major time in jail.

It gets worse.

Because Louie Eppolito failed to report chunks of money on his tax returns, which Fran Eppolito co-signed, she is also facing an income tax evasion rap. Not only is Louie Eppolito a dirty cop, say the feds, but he's also dragging his wife and son into prison with him. Real men don't do that. That's definitely not part of The Code. And there was more.

In the afternoon, Fran watched an attractive woman named Cabrini Cama, who took the witness stand for the prosecution, admit she began a six-year "relationship" with Eppolito in 1983, and confirmed that Eppolito met with Burton Kaplan, the prosecution's star witness, in her Brooklyn apartment.

For causing his wife so much public shame, for getting her and his son jammed up with the law, Louie Eppolito owes it to his family to end this charade and do the time for his crimes.

I asked one of the feds associated with this case if Eppolito could still come clean, fess up and tell the truth, in exchange for a promise of no jail time for his wife and son. "The time to do that was really before the trial started," the fed said. "But, hey, our door is open."

All through his book "Mafia Cop" Louis Eppolito writes about the hard-knock lessons he learned from his brutal Mafioso father, Ralph (Fat the Gangster) Eppolito, who often beat him with his fists, two-by-fours, even loaves of Italian bread across the face at the dinner table. All this was supposed to teach young Louie to be a "man."

Louie Eppolito was raised by wolves and therefore acted like a wild animal out there on the street wearing the uniform and badge of the NYPD, beating prisoners, killing people, laughing as cops gave roof leapers "diving scores" as they plunged to their deaths, according to the book.

Ha-ha-ha. But sit ringside at this trial and you know that Eppolito and Caracappa are so far behind on rounds that they need a lottery punch knockout to win. That could come only if the judge's jury charge is so narrow on the statute of limitations aspect of the case that the jury doesn't believe the 2004 drug bust set up by Eppolito in Vegas constitutes evidence of a continuing criminal enterprise under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) law.

But that's one scary roll of the dice. Especially because there's a strong possibility that if Eppolito and Caracappa are cleared on the statute of limitations technicality in Federal Court, the State of New York could charge them for murder, on which there is no statute of limitations.

In his "Mafia Cop" dedication to Fran, Eppolito writes, "To my wife, Frances, who has put up with me for the past 20 years. Her great love and understanding of me will always be a mystery waiting to be solved."

Indeed.

Thanks to Denis Hamill

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