The Chicago Syndicate: Vic Orena
The Mission Impossible Backpack

Showing posts with label Vic Orena. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vic Orena. Show all posts

Saturday, January 05, 2008


Following eight weeks of trial, a federal jury in Central Islip, New York, returned a verdict convicting Colombo organized crime family acting boss Alphonse "Allie Boy" Persico and administration member John "Jackie" DeRoss of murder in aid of racketeering and witness tampering. Specifically, Persico and DeRoss were found guilty of orchestrating the May 26, 1999, murder of Colombo family underboss William Cutolo, Sr.

The evidence at trial established that Persico and DeRoss murdered Cutolo because they believed he was about to take control of the Colombo family from Persico, and to serve as retribution for Cutolo's actions during the bloody Colombo family war in the early 1990s. During the war, Cutolo, on behalf of the faction loyal to Vic Orena, tried to wrest control of the Colombo family from Alphonse Persico and his father, the family's official boss, Carmine "The Snake" Persico. As part of the murder plot, Persico summoned Cutolo to a meeting on the afternoon of May 26, 1999. That afternoon, an auto mechanic dropped Cutolo off at a park near 92nd Street and Shore Road in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, the designated place for the meeting with Persico. Cutolo was never seen or heard from again, and the government's evidence indicated that Cutolo's body most likely was dumped into the Atlantic Ocean. That evening, DeRoss kept watch over Cutolo's crew at the Friendly Bocce Social Club in Brooklyn, where the crew was awaiting Cutolo's arrival for their traditional Wednesday evening dinner. When Cutolo failed to show up, DeRoss feigned surprise and directed Cutolo's son, William Cutolo, Jr., to telephone his father. Early the next morning, May 27, DeRoss, on Persico's orders, arrived at Cutolo's home and began questioning Cutolo's widow, Marguerite Cutolo, about the location The United States Attorney's Office Eastern District of New York United States Attorney's Office Eastern District of New York

Persico and DeRoss were also found guilty of tampering with witnesses Marguerite Cutolo (Cutolo's widow), Barbara Jean Cutolo (one of Cutolo's daughters), and William Cutolo, Jr. The trial evidence included a recording William Cutolo, Jr., secretly made of DeRoss threatening the Cutolo family in March 2000, several months after it was publicly disclosed that Persico was a target of the FBI's investigation of the Cutolo murder. During the meeting, DeRoss ordered the Cutolo family to provide false, exculpatory information to a private investigator hired by Persico. DeRoss told the Cutolo family that, if they did not assist Persico, Marguerite Cutolo could be "hurt," as could the "little . . . kids," referring to Barbara Jean Cutolo's seven and five-year-old daughters. Marguerite and Barbara Jean Cutolo both testified at trial that, as a result of DeRoss's threats, the Cutolos withheld information about the murder from law enforcement authorities for years, including Cutolo, Sr.'s statement to Marguerite Cutolo on May 26, 1999, that he was going to a meeting with Persico.

Persico was the second acting boss of an LCN crime family convicted in 2007 of murder charges in the Eastern District of New York. On July 31st, Bonnano organized crime family acting boss Vincent Basciano was convicted of racketeering murder and is awaiting sentencing. "Law enforcement's campaign against organized crime will continue until our communities are free from its corrupting influence," stated United States Attorney Benton J. Campbell. Mr. Campbell praised the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the agency that led the government's investigation.

When sentenced by United States District Judge Joanne Seybert, each defendant faces a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment. The government's case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys John Buretta, Deborah Mayer, and Jeffrey Goldberg.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Mob Killer Crys on Witness Stand

A stone killer for the Mob, who testified casually about his homicidal jaunts through Brooklyn looking for people to shoot, started crying in court yesterday over his youthful wrong turn into a life of crime.

Tough guy Lawrence Mazza, 46, who was to testify about his gangster boss' ties to rogue FBI agent Lindley DeVecchio collapsed in tears in Brooklyn Supreme Court when he recounted that he spent a year at John Jay College of Criminal Justice studying police science.

"I was planning to follow my father" in civil service, Mazza said, choking up at the thought of his dad, a lieutenant in the Fire Department. "I'm sorry," Mazza told the judge, growing increasingly emotional.

A court officer handed him a tissue. The prosecutor got him a glass of water. But the handsome mobster continued to weep. Finally the judge called a break.

Seasoned court watchers said they'd never seen anything like it.

After recovering his composure, Mazza laid out his remarkable story: how he unwittingly romanced a Mafioso's girlfriend, was befriended by the gangster, shared the woman with him and gradually transformed into a feared killer.

Mazza called his mobster patron, Colombo capo Gregory (The Grim Reaper) Scarpa Sr., "vicious, violent" and a man who "told me he stopped counting at 50" when listing his murders. "He was unscrupulous and treacherous. He was a horrible human being," Mazza testified. "I was his right hand man, very, very close."

He described how, during the bloody Colombo family civil war of the early 1990s, they would cruise the streets of Brooklyn in a station wagon tricked out as a death car, loaded with shotguns, rifles and pistols, with special hidden compartments for the guns.

They wore bulletproof vests, carried rudimentary portable phones and looked for members of the rival Orena faction to blow away.

They rarely missed, he said. "Pretty much, we killed who we shot," Mazza testified.

Mazza, who pled guilty years ago to loansharking, racketeering, four murders and conspiracy to kill four other people, now lives in Florida after spending a decade in jail. He began cooperating soon after his 1993 arrest and has helped the feds with three trials so far.

Thanks to Scott Shifrel and Helen Kennedy

Friday, October 13, 2006

Dapper Don Instigated Bloody Mob War

Friends of ours: John "Dapper Don" Gotti, Gambino Crime Family, Colombo Crime Family, Carmine "The Snake" Persico, Michael "Mikey Scars" DiLeonardo, Alphonse "Allie Boy" Persico, Vic Orena, John "Junior" Gotti, William "Wild Bill" Cutolo

The late Gambino boss John Gotti instigated the bloody civil war within the Colombo crime family in a diabolical scheme to consolidate his power on the Mafia Commission, a turncoat witness testified yesterday. Gotti falsely branded jailed Colombo boss Carmine (The Snake) Persico "a rat" in an attempt to get him replaced by another Colombo gangster who was close to Gotti, according to former Gambino capo Michael (Mikey Scars) DiLeonardo.

DiLeonardo, testifying at the racketeering trial of Persico's son and acting boss Alphonse (Allie Boy) Persico, surprised Brooklyn Federal Judge Sterling Johnson when he matter-of-factly said that Gotti was behind the conflict that left a dozen gangsters dead and an innocent bystander slain outside a Brooklyn bagel shop in the early 1990s.

"John Sr. instigated it?" the judge asked the witness.

"Oh, yeah," DiLeonardo replied.

DiLeonardo explained Gotti's strategy this way: "John was close to Vic Orena and figured if he could get him in, and Allie out, he [Gotti] would have a majority vote on The Commission," DiLeonardo said. "He [Gotti] owned Vic Orena."

During the war, DiLeonardo said he accompanied John A. [Junior] Gotti to Rockaway Beach for secret late-night meetings with members of the Orena faction to try to iron out a settlement.

DiLeonardo said he thought that it was wrong that the Dapper Don had slurred the elder Persico's name. "Allie found out about it and wasn't happy," he recalled. "I told him it wasn't right and I set out to try and make things right."

Alphonse Persico is charged with ordering the 1999 murder of Colombo underboss - and Orena loyalist - William (Wild Bill) Cutolo.

Monday, May 15, 2006

La Cosa Nostra Tough Guy-Turned-Witness follows the Rules

Friends of ours: Bruno Facciola, Luchesse Crime Family, Alphonse "Little Al" D'Arco, Sammy "the Bull" Gravano, John Gotti, Vittorio Amuso, Paulie Vario, Henry Hill, Vic Amuso, Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso, Genovese Crime Family, Vincent "Chin" Gigante, Colombo Crime Family, "Little Vic" Orena, Bonanno Crime Family, Anthony Spero, James Ida
Friends of mine: Stephen Caracappa, Louis Eppolito

The killers placed the dead canary in the freezer. Later, after their work was finished, they placed the bird inside the mouth of the equally deceased Bruno Facciola.

The August 1990 mob hit followed a tip from two corrupt NYPD detectives that the Luchese family capo had turned government informant. Facciola was stabbed, shot through both eyes and shot again in the head before the bird was stuffed in his mouth. It was murder with a message: See no evil. And definitely speak no evil.

The slaying was orchestrated by one of the crime family's true believers, a diminutive thug known to fellow Mafiosi as "Little Al." Few in organized crime embraced the mob ethos more fervently than Alphonse D'Arco, a hard case from the cradle.

"I was a man when I was born," Little Al once bragged. He committed every crime except pimping and pornography, which D'Arco deemed beneath his dignity. Murder was a different story; he committed eight while rising from Luchese associate to acting boss.

Few in organized crime despised informants more than Little Al. "Rats," he'd spit, his face contorted with disgust. He did a three-year heroin rap without opening his yap. So when the word came down that Facciola was singing to the feds, D'Arco arranged for his demise. And for the canary.

Four months later, with the family in turmoil, D'Arco stepped up to become the Luchese boss. His reign abruptly ended on Aug. 21, 1991, but not in the fashion he expected: on the wrong end of a jury verdict. Or maybe a bullet. Instead, D'Arco _ disgusted by the loss of mob honor, double-crossed by men he had respected _ became what he most abhorred: a rat. And not just any rat.

He brought down mob bosses, underbosses, consiglieres. Fifteen years later, the former made man is still making inmates out of accomplices as perhaps the most devastating mob informant ever _ even better than Sammy "The Bull" Gravano, who famously flipped on mob superstar John Gotti.

Alphonse D'Arco, born July 28, 1932, grew up near the Brooklyn Navy Yards. The neighborhood was heavy with heavyweight mobsters, including some of his relatives. His childhood, D'Arco once recalled, was "like being in the forest and all the trees were the dons and the organized crime guys." D'Arco walked into the woods without hesitation. He was 14 when he started hanging with the local mobsters; one year later, he dropped out of school.

Two tenets of the old-school Mafia appealed to D'Arco: Loyalty and honor. Both extended into his personal life; in 1951, during the Korean War, D'Arco volunteered for the Army, served two years and received an honorable discharge. When he returned to Brooklyn and the mob, he found a wife; they remain married to this day. The D'Arcos had five children.

In 1959, D'Arco first met future Luchese family boss Vittorio Amuso. He was soon making money for the Lucheses in a variety of ways: Hijacking. Drug dealing. Burglary. Counterfeiting. Arson. Armed robbery.

D'Arco became a made man on Aug. 23, 1982, in a ceremony held in a Bronx kitchen. "I should burn like this paper if I betray anyone in this room," D'Arco swore. D'Arco was particularly good with dates, and he always remembered this one. He remembered plenty of other things along the way. D'Arco was a guy who listened more than he spoke.

D'Arco had long ago resolved the differences between mob life and straight society. As John Q. Citizen, D'Arco would have lived by the rules. As Alphonse D'Arco, mobster, he would abide by the Mafia's code _ no questions asked. He obeyed orders and his elders, kicked money up to the bosses. And he never cooperated with law enforcement. Not even on the smallest of matters.

His capo was Paulie Vario, one of the family's most valued leaders. As the entire crew would soon discover, the erosion of mob values was under way. And it was happening in their midst.

Henry Hill was a Luchese associate and a cocaine dealer. Once arrested, Hill became the most notorious Mafia turncoat of the decade. His testimony helped put Vario away in 1984. Hill's life became fodder for the classic mob movie "GoodFellas." Vario, played by Paul Sorvino in the movie, died in a Texas prison four years later. His replacement was Alphonse D'Arco.

D'Arco's old friend Vic Amuso became the head of the family. His underboss was another pal, Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso, a hoodlum responsible for three dozen murders.

The mob life was good for D'Arco. He had about $1 million in loan-sharking money spread around, and ran his own crew. The family hierarchy relied on him to handle important business _ labor unions, racketeering, murder.

"He was a true believer in La Cosa Nostra," said former federal prosecutor George Stamboulidis. "He grew up in the life. It was something that he wanted, and succeeded at."

D'Arco dressed in shirts with big "wiseguy collars," and lived in an apartment on Spring Street in Little Italy. The market rent was $1,200 a month; D'Arco paid $200.

He brought his son, Joe, into the family business, and considered doing the same for another son, John. When the order came down for Joe to whack a guy in California, Al unflinchingly told his son to do it. At his father's behest, Joe committed a second mob murder in New York. The son played by his father's rules.

A few months after they exposed Bruno Facciola, the two crooked detectives provided Casso with a new bit of information: the underboss and Amuso were targeted for arrest. On Jan. 9, 1991, the pair met with Little Al at a Brooklyn bar, where Amuso pronounced him acting boss of the Lucheses. Then Casso and Amuso vanished. Top of the world, Al.

During eight eye-opening months as boss, D'Arco's blind allegiance to the mob was undermined. From seclusion, Amuso and Casso started a whispering campaign against D'Arco among the Luchese faithful. A fellow mobster informed D'Arco about the betrayal; so did FBI agents.

Yet D'Arco was unconvinced until the night of Sept. 18, 1991, when he attended a meeting in a midtown Manhattan hotel room. His longtime Luchese associates appeared unnerved. A family hit man was among the group, and the vibe was ugly. D'Arco had no doubt that he was marked for death.

D'Arco managed to bolt the meeting, and reconsidered his life _ or what might be left of it. He considered going to war against the Amuso/Casso faction, handling things in the style of his Brooklyn mentors. But D'Arco had no more loyalty to the Lucheses. And he no longer viewed them as men of honor.

"So I says, `That's it,"' D'Arco explained later from the witness stand. "I washed my hands of the whole thing."

D'Arco sent most of his family to Hawaii, far from the deadly streets of New York. Accompanied by his son, D'Arco hid in his mother's Long Island home. A deal was made. On Sept. 21, 1991, Alphonse D'Arco became the most unlikely cooperating witness ever recruited. And also one of the most expensive.

The federal government spent more than $2 million to relocate the D'Arco clan. Little Al and six other families were moved from New York to parts unknown. He left behind a mob fortune; his legal net worth was about $30,000.

News of the stunning defection spread quickly through the underworld. An attorney was dispatched to the Metropolitan Correction Center to inform jailed Gambino boss John Gotti that Little Al was switching sides.

The acting boss was one of the highest-ranking mobsters to ever flip, and federal authorities took advantage. He testified more than a dozen times against his former friends and the mob's top echelon.

D'Arco was a combative and effective witness. His memory for details and dates was unshakable. He took on New York's top defense attorneys, and refused to let any put words into his mouth.

Testifying at a 1996 competency hearing for Genovese family boss Vincent "Chin" Gigante, D'Arco flew into a rage. "Don't break my chops," D'Arco warned defense attorney Michael Shapiro. "I'll break yours, too."

D'Arco's testimony helped convict ex-cronies Amuso and Casso; Gigante and Colombo boss "Little Vic" Orena; Bonanno consigliere Anthony Spero; Genovese consigliere James Ida; and an assortment of other mobsters.

He testified before uncounted grand juries, spilling about corruption in the unions, the Garment District, the airports and the Hunts Point market. "D'Arco gave them great value for the money," said criminal defense lawyer Edward Hayes. "He testified against a lot of guys, and they got convicted. D'Arco is a lunatic, but he has a story."

Once, in a Brooklyn courtroom, D'Arco stood before a federal judge who noted they had grown up in the same nearby neighborhood. "Yeah," D'Arco replied. "And we both rose to the top of our professions."

Prosecutor Stamboulidis said D'Arco embraced his new calling as fervently as his old. "When he entered an agreement with the government, he answered all the questions with brutal honesty and thoroughness," Stamboulidis said. "A true believer does everything 100 percent. He believes 100 percent in his current position."

His reward came in November 2002, when D'Arco was sentenced at a courtroom in suburban Westchester County. Little Al appeared via closed-circuit television and received time served, which essentially meant no jail time. He was fined $50, and returned to obscurity.

While mob turncoats like Gravano and Hill went back to jail, D'Arco stayed on the right side of the law. And one of the biggest trials yet remained in his future _ one that brought him back to the day when Bruno Facciola had a canary for his last meal.

It was March 2005 when federal authorities announced the indictments of ex-NYPD detectives Stephen Caracappa and Louis Eppolito, former police partners-turned-partners in crime. The two were charged with taking $4,000 a month from Gaspipe Casso to work as Luchese family hit men.

On occasion, they also slipped the underboss inside information. They let Casso know that Facciola was reportedly working as an informant. Casso ordered D'Arco to handle the hit.

Little Al was called again to testify. The federal RICO statute, a powerful tool that allows law enforcement to link crimes committed over decades, made D'Arco every bit as valuable in 2006 as he was 15 years before. It was a big case, and D'Arco could help bring down the "Mafia Cops."

The ex-boss, now 73, looked more grandfatherly than Godfatherly as he testified, his thick Brooklyn accent unchanged by years of life outside the city. He wore a 20-year-old suit to court, one of two now hanging in his closet.

He spent parts of two days on the stand, standing firm under withering cross-examination from Hayes and former Gotti lawyer Bruce Cutler. Caracappa and Eppolito were quickly convicted, and faced life in prison.

Alphonse D'Arco went home, where his loyalty was still appreciated. But there was a moment during his testimony where D'Arco recalled a less complicated time, when he was a young man whose belief in simple values was absolute.

The burly Cutler, his booming voice filling the courtroom, recited a litany of perks that came D'Arco's way from the Witness Protection Program: No jail time. A new identity. An attorney, free of charge. "That's another reward, yes?" Cutler asked.

"I don't see anything to be a reward," D'Arco responded without hesitation. "I'd trade it all to go back on Spring Street."

Thanks to Larry McShane

Sunday, April 16, 2006

For Ex-F.B.I. Agent Accused in Murders, a Case of What Might Have Been

Friends of ours: Colombo Crime Family, Gregory Scarpa Sr., Victor J. Orena

R. Lindley DeVecchio once stood atop the New York office of the F.B.I. as a legendary Mafia hunter, a storied agent who helped break the back of the mob in the celebrated Commission Case. Now he stands accused of helping the mob commit murders, charged in a state indictment last month with feeding lethal secrets to a captain of organized crime.

Mr. DeVecchio has been hailed as a hero and tarnished as a scourge, and yet there was a moment in a Pennsylvania parking lot 30 years ago that almost caused him to be neither.

In 1976, as a young F.B.I. agent, Mr. DeVecchio sold old handguns to undercover officers, who later sought to charge him with a felony. Had he been convicted, the case might have led to prison or his dismissal as an agent. But Mr. DeVecchio, who said he acted legally and to benefit a widow, was neither jailed nor fired.

The case against him was ultimately discarded without an indictment by officials at the highest levels of the Justice Department, a decision that the federal prosecutor in the original case says was largely made by the top aide to the deputy United States attorney general, a 32-year-old attorney named Rudolph W. Giuliani.

"Rudy expressed no other reason not to prosecute the guy except the guy was a cop," said the former prosecutor, Daniel M. Clements, who is now in private practice. "And he didn't want to embarrass the bureau."

Mr. Clements said last week that he recalled in detail his meetings 30 years ago with Mr. Giuliani, as well as his frustration that the case was dismissed as unimportant.

Mr. Giuliani, who built a reputation in part by prosecuting corrupt police officers, said through a spokeswoman, Sunny Mindel, that he had no recollection of the DeVecchio case.

Whatever the level, if any, of Mr. Giuliani's role, the case stands as a long-buried piece of law enforcement history, a fork in the road that, if traversed differently, may have led to an entirely different set of consequences. Indeed, from the vantage point of 1976, the gun case may have seemed a minor matter. There was no way to know that seven years later, according to the state indictment filed last month in Brooklyn, Mr. DeVecchio would step across the line, helping a Mafia informant kill at least four people. But if Mr. DeVecchio had been pursued in 1976, would he have risen to lead the F.B.I. squad that hunted the Colombo crime family? Would he have had a role in some of the government's watershed cases against the mob? Would he now stand accused of second-degree murder?

His lawyer, Douglas E. Grover, said federal officials were right to never charge his client in the gun case because they were merely antiques that were peddled at a gun show. But he acknowledged that had that case been successfully pursued Mr. DeVecchio would probably have lost his job. "It also means that they may made not have made the Commission Case," he said, referring to a 1986 trial at which top organized crime leaders in New York City were convicted.

The gun case began in early 1976 when Mr. DeVecchio traveled from New York to King of Prussia, Pa., to sell a Nazi-era Luger at the Valley Forge Gun Show, which promotes itself as "a gun show in the truest American tradition."

He was looking, according to his testimony in a later case, to sell the weapons "for the benefit of the widow" to whom they belonged.

Without a license, he moved through the stalls of the firearms bazaar, and was soon approached by Michael Flax, an undercover agent with the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Mr. Flax said. Mr. Flax's job was to troll the show in plainclothes looking for such illicit deals. That year alone, he said, several people he caught similarly selling guns without paperwork went to prison. "I was usually like, 'Gee I'd like to get this gun,' " he said in an interview from his retirement home in San Diego. ' "Do we have to go through all the paperwork?' "

Mr. Flax recalled that he bought the Luger in a parking lot outside the show. Over several weeks, he said, he pursued an investigation of Mr. DeVecchio in which a second agent secretly recorded the F.B.I. man selling another gun. He said that Mr. DeVecchio, at one point, gave him a phone number at which he might be reached. It was, he said, an office of the New York F.B.I.

A few weeks later, Mr. Flax brought the case to Mr. Clements, then a young federal prosecutor in Baltimore. Mr. Clements is now in private practice and active in the Democratic Party, having given money to candidates like John Kerry and Al Gore.

"Flax comes to me saying, 'You're not going to believe this,' " Mr. Clements said last week. " 'I have an F.B.I. agent selling guns illegally.' "

A few months later, Mr. Clements said he told the F.B.I. as a courtesy that he was investigating one of its agents. A few weeks passed, he said, with discussions back and forth with F.B.I. officials in Maryland and in Washington. "The next person I heard from," he went on, "was Rudolph Giuliani."

Mr. Giuliani was, at that point, an aide to Harold Tyler, the deputy attorney general, who reviewed such cases. Mr. Giuliani had joined his staff in 1975 after serving in the United States attorney's office in Manhattan where he had helped direct the prosecution in the Prince of the City police corruption case.

Over several weeks, Mr. Clements said, Mr. Giuliani asked him to write a pair of memoranda on the case in which he noted that Mr. DeVecchio had sold the guns without the proper paperwork, a crime, Mr. Clements said, for which he thought there was sufficient evidence to prosecute. Mr. Clements said he attended a pair of meetings about the case with Mr. Giuliani, including one in Mr. Giuliani's office also attended by Mr. Tyler and Jervis Finney, the United States attorney in Maryland who was then Mr. Clements's boss.

Mr. Finney, now the chief lawyer for the governor of Maryland, said last week he has no recollection of the meeting. But Mr. Clements produced a datebook he said he had saved that listed a meeting with Mr. Giuliani in June 1976.

At that meeting and a subsequent meeting in October, Mr. Clements said Mr. Giuliani repeated his desire not to prosecute the case, saying the guns were old and the sale of them without paperwork did not warrant prosecution.

Judge Tyler, who Mr. Clements said was at the second meeting, died last year. The bottom line, after both meetings, Mr. Clements said, was that the case would be dropped.

In the ensuing years, Mr. DeVecchio rose to lead the F.B.I.'s special unit that investigates the Colombo crime family, a position in which he had success in part because of his relationship with a captain in the family, Gregory Scarpa Sr., who became his informant.

The closeness of that relationship ultimately led to a two-year inquiry of Mr. DeVecchio by the F.B.I. that ended in 1996 with the decision to bring no charges against him. But Mr. DeVecchio soon retired.

In 1997, the old gun case briefly resurfaced. At a federal appeals hearing in Brooklyn. Mr. DeVecchio was called as a witness by a gangster, Victor J. Orena, who was trying to win his freedom by suggesting that Mr. DeVecchio was a corrupt agent who had lied about the facts in his case. Under questioning by Gerald Shargel, Mr. Orena's lawyer, Mr. DeVecchio acknowledged selling the guns to the federal agents.

Mr. Shargel then went on to ask him: "Do you remember agents of the A.T.F. reporting to the F.B.I. and Rudolph Giuliani — not yet the mayor — that you had lied to those agents who questioned you, that when confronted with the crimes that you committed, you gave them false exculpatory statements?"

Mr. DeVecchio said that he did not.

In the new indictment, announced last month by Charles J. Hynes, the Brooklyn district attorney, Mr. DeVecchio is accused of helping Mr. Scarpa commit at least four murders in the 1980's and early 1990's in exchange for weekly payments. Most of the victims had been talking to the authorities, prosecutors said, and thus were a threat to Mr. Scarpa.

When Mr. Clements read of the indictment, he said he was surprised. At the same time, he recalled the words that he and Mr. Flax had swapped, years ago, when the gun case, as he put it, "went away."

It was an old-time adage on those who break the law, a general theory of recidivist crime. "If someone's a bad actor, we'll get him again," he remembered telling Mr. Flax.

Thanks to Alan Feuer


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