The Chicago Syndicate: Victor Riccitelli
Showing posts with label Victor Riccitelli. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Victor Riccitelli. Show all posts

Sunday, January 22, 2006

6 Years in Prison for Embarrassed Riccitelli

Friends of ours: Victor Riccitelli, Gambino Crime Family, Anthony Megale

Prosecutors said he should have spent his old age planting gardens or visiting his grandchildren, but instead 72-year-old Victor Riccitelli was running gambling operations for the mob. Friday, a federal judge sentenced him to 6 years in prison for racketeering, flatly rejecting his argument that prosecutors sought to embarrass him by releasing transcripts of his conversations with an FBI informant.

U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton also found "somewhat preposterous" the argument that, when the convicted mobster was recorded discussing his Mafia induction ceremony and the hierarchy of the Gambino crime family, he claimed to have been repeating things he read in a book or saw on the HBO drama "The Sopranos."

Riccitelli, who has 29 convictions dating to the 1950s, became one of the most colorful characters in the landmark Mafia case federal prosecutors brought in 2004. He allegedly moved bulk cocaine - a fact prosecutors said he hid from his mob superiors - and was caught on tape negotiating deals while receiving treatment for colon cancer. "He started chemo in January of '04 and sold a kilo (of cocaine) in February of '04," Arterton said, later adding, "Mr. Riccitelli is a man of great stamina, it would seem."

He was also caught on tape trying to arrange a kidnapping, surprising prosecutors who said most criminals slow down in their old age. "Spend time with the grandkids, plant a garden - something other than plan a kidnapping," prosecutor Mike Gustafson said.

Riccitelli, who is already serving 13 years in prison on federal drug charges, told Arterton he was in the "wrong place at the wrong time." "All I know how to do is gamble. I had no education," Riccitelli said. "I leave my faith up to you."

While all of Riccitelli's co-defendants, including reputed Mafia underboss Anthony Megale, struck plea deals with prosecutors, Riccitelli became a thorn in the side of the Justice Department. He rejected plea deals, accused the FBI of selectively recording him and claimed no knowledge of the Gambino family. Only on the eve of trial, as prosecutors prepared to make public hours of taped conversations between Riccitelli and the informant, did Riccitelli admit his Mafia membership and plead guilty.

Soon after, prosecutors shocked Riccitelli when they released transcripts of his conversations anyway, revealing that he talked freely about the secretive world of the Gambino family. Riccitelli accused the Justice Department of overstepping its bounds and intentionally embarrassing him. "It's turning into something personal against Mr. Riccitelli or using him as a scapegoat to put on a dog-and-pony show against, as your honor calls it, the Mafia," attorney John Einhorn said.

Arterton agreed that he could serve the new prison sentence at the same time as his drug sentence but said she did not accept his argument of prosecutorial misconduct or his renewed efforts to distance himself from the crime family.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Prosecutors deny mobster's "embarrassment" claim

Friends of ours: Victor Riccitelli

Federal prosecutors said Wednesday that they had every right to release transcripts of a Bridgeport mobster's incriminating conversations about the Mafia last month, rejecting the mobster's claim that they were trying to embarrass him. Victor Riccitelli, 72, who faces sentencing for racketeering Friday, broke the mob's honor code in October, admitting his Mafia membership and pleading guilty rather than have secret FBI tapes played in court.

Prosecutors surprised Riccitelli in December, however, when they included details of his conversations in a memo placed in the public court file. The conversations included descriptions of the Mafia induction ceremony and the mob's leadership structure.

Riccitelli accused prosecutors of intentionally embarrassing him and asked a judge to dismiss the case. Prosecutors rejected that argument Wednesday, saying they were just trying to prove that Riccitelli lied under oath when he said his conversations about the Mafia were just things he had read in a book. If the judge wants more evidence, prosecutors said, they're happy to play the secret recordings in open court and discuss them then.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Mobster embarassed after Justice Department releases secret tapes

Friends of ours: Gambino Crime Family, Victor Riccitelli, John Gotti, Anthony "the Genius" Megale

An elderly Mafioso who was caught on tape discussing the Gambino crime family hierarchy asked a federal judge to dismiss his racketeering case this week, saying prosecutors unfairly embarrassed him by making his incriminating conversations public. Victor Riccitelli, 72, broke the mob's honor code in October, admitting his Mafia membership and pleading guilty to racketeering rather than have the FBI's tapes played in court.

Prosecutors surprised Riccitelli in December, however, when they included details of his conversations in a memo placed in the public court file. The Associated Press reported on the conversations, which included descriptions of the Mafia induction ceremony and the mob's leadership structure.

"The government's conduct in this regard was for the sole purpose of embarrassing the defendant and obtaining an outlet for the public disclosure of otherwise nonpublic materials," defense attorney Jonathan J. Einhorn wrote this week in a motion to dismiss the case. Einhorn said the disclosure amounted to prosecutorial misconduct. Justice Department spokesman Tom Carson said prosecutors would respond to Riccitelli's motion before he is sentenced Jan. 20.

In their December memo, prosecutors said they released the conversations to prove that Riccitelli had lied when he said his conversations about the Mafia were just things he had read in a book. "That was a weak excuse as a way to put on a show," Einhorn said Friday. "It was just a back-door opportunity for the government to show all the information it had."

Riccitelli is one of more than a dozen men arrested in a landmark Connecticut organized crime case in 2004. Prosecutors said the Gambino family, the crime syndicate once run by John Gotti, ran gambling and extortion rackets throughout Fairfield County.

Riccitelli's conversations pierced the veil of secrecy surrounding the family. He talked openly with a Stamford strip club owner, not knowing the man was working for the FBI. In those conversations, Riccitelli identified Stamford sanitation worker Anthony "The Genius" Megale as the No. 2 man in the organization. Megale also pleaded guilty in the case and is awaiting sentencing.

Thanks to Matt Apuzzo

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Mobster Breaks Mafia Code

Friends of ours: Victor Riccitelli, Gambino Crime family, John Gotti

A US mobster who wanted so badly to keep his recorded conversations with an FBI informant secret, broke the mob's honour code and admitted his Mafia membership rather than have prosecutors play the tapes in court.

For the first time since Victor Riccitelli and more than a dozen others were indicted in a landmark Mafia case in 2004, prosecutors recently offered the first clues as to why he was so insistent the tapes remain sealed: In them, he revealed the Gambino crime family hierarchy, placing ranks with names and explaining the upper echelon of one of the United States' most notorious crime syndicates.

Riccitelli, in conversations with a Stamford, Connecticut, strip club owner working with the FBI, also described his Mafia induction ceremony, the secret ritual in which members swear a lifelong allegiance to the crime family. "He said that a picture of a saint was placed in his hands and burned, and that he dumped the ashes in a dish," prosecutors wrote in a memo to US District Judge Janet Bond Arterton.

Riccitelli was scheduled to be sentenced for racketeering today but his case was delayed until January 20. He faces six to eight years in prison and prosecutors want that tacked onto the end of his 13-year sentence for cocaine distribution - all but ensuring that Riccitelli, 72 and a cancer patient, will die in prison. Defence attorney John Einhorn did not return a message seeking a response to the prosecution memo.

The Gambino crime family, once led by John Gotti, runs Connecticut gambling businesses that include sports betting, poker machines and the numbers racket, prosecutors said. "The defendant is an incorrigible and possibly violent criminal whose life is marked by one constant: a never ending search for fresh opportunity to enrich himself illegally," prosecutors wrote.

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