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Showing posts from February, 2011

Gotti Crony Joe Watts Pays Piper

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Lost in the blinding media spotlight of the January 20th bust of about 130 mobsters and associates was the writing of what could be the final chapter in the story of Joseph "Joe The German" Watts, a gangster's gangster, whose resume goes all the way back to Carlo Gambino's reign, for whom he served as a hit man in the 1970s.


Watts --  never "made," or officially indoctrinated into a Mafia family, because he isn't Italian -- was still part of John Gotti's inner circle and often afforded the status of a capo. Watts was respected for his ability to earn and do "work," aka murder, in Mafia parlance. A strong-arm enforcer, Watts was capable of torture, which, contrary to public opinion, most mobsters do not have the stomach for.





Watts, 69, has signed a plea agreement under which he will serve 13 years; initially the Feds had indicated that they might seek the death penalty for Watts (and Gambino capo John "Jackie Nose" D'Amico, w…

Absurd Cigarette Taxes Create Huge Profit Center--But Not Just For Mobsters

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This is one issue that makes my blood boil and has turned my indifference toward politics toward a rather strong dislike aimed at the politicians who run this state and created those cigarette tax hikes. In New York, the cigarette tax is up to $4.35. For comparison, according to an article on CNBC.com written by Brian A. Shactmann, Missouri's state cigarette tax is 17 cents.

Each state sets its own rate, and the disparity is huge, which I didn't need CNBC to point out to me.
Sharp readers of this site see where this is going -- New York state has opened wide a massive door through which organized crime is making a fortune selling bootleg cigarettes courtesy of a former-former governor of this state. Said the article, "According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the United States loses $5 billion in tax revenue every year from the trafficking of illegal cigarettes. Worldwide, it's a $100 billion problem, and it's the No. 1 economic crime in Europe.

"…

Fed First: Heads of New England Mafia Named

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The federal government, for the first time, publicly named who they believe is running the New England Mafia, and that the current official leadership team is in Massachusetts.

The revelation arrived in court documents when former New England mob boss Luigi "Baby Shacks" Manocchio pleaded not guilty to extortion and conspiracy charges.

Federal prosecutors in Rhode Island filed paperwork attesting to his high-level position to help keep Manocchio locked up while he awaits trial.

Kardashian May Play Gotti 'Love Child' In Upcoming Biopic

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"Kim Kardashian is on the verge of scoring the role opposite John Travolta as John Gotti's daughter-in-law in the new biopic about the mafioso's life," TMZ reported.

Kim recently met with executive producers on the film to discuss the possibility of playing Kim Gotti in the movie, producers told the website.

But TMZ added that, "Nothing's been signed yet -- but we're told KK's a front-runner to land the role ... and producers have expressed strong interest in casting her ... to act."

According to My Fox NY, TMZ has confirmed that John Travolta will play late mob boss John Gotti and "127 Hours" star James Franco is under consideration to play his son, John Gotti, Jr. However, I do not see any signs of confirmation that Travolta will play the role; when it comes to the cast, nothing appears to be written in stone yet. In fact, Travolta's people have said that this is one project of four that Travolta is considering.

Fiore Films, LLC, a…

Former Mobster Defends San Gennaro, Takes Aim at Media 'Hypocrisy'

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Former mobster/now published author Sonny Girard has made one of his rare posts on his website/blog, Sonnys Mob Cafe.

"I rarely write in anger, but this article in the NY Post pissed me off enough to rant and rave. If my blog is incoherent at times, just blame it on the devil still in me. Glad I'm at a computer rather than down the block on Mulberry Street," he wrote.

The full post, here, is titled, License to Bash Italians & The Assault on San Gennaro.

"It seems I get more infuriated each day by the official hypocrisy of the media and government in this country, and the general sheep-like acceptance of any crap by citizens who are either too distracted, too self-absorbed, or just too damn stupid to realize what’s going on around them.

"Going back over a century or more, Italians have been a silent minority group that could be officially abused without any recourse. To say that they didn’t bring any of it on themselves would be a lie. However, history should…

Fifteen Alleged Jersey Mobsters Plead Not Guilty

"Fifteen New Jersey defendants pleaded not guilty today to racketeering conspiracy and other charges in federal court in Newark," according to an article by Jason Grant/The Star-Ledger staff on NJ.com.

The defendants were arrested in January as part of a massive federal roundup of more than 120 suspects in three states in what authorities touted as the largest federal mob roundup in history.
The early morning raids took place from Brooklyn across to New Jersey and included more than 120 alleged members and associates of seven families: the Bonanno, Colombo, Gambino, Genovese and Lucchese families, along with the New Jersey-based Decavalcantes and New England’s Patriarca crime family.
"Most of the New Jersey defendants were linked to the waterfront. The defendants include current or former union officials on the docks with alleged ties to organized crime figures," the article said.

"In a 53-count indictment, the New Jersey defendants were variously charged with…

Judge: Vinny Will Be Gorgeous At His Capital-Murder Trial

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Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano, the former Bonanno crime-family boss serving a life sentence on one conviction and facing the death penalty in an upcoming trial, will live up to his nickname. The New York Post reports, a federal judge ordered he will be able to choose each day's garb from among five coordinated business outfits made available on each day of his upcoming capital-murder trial.

"The court now orders that the [federal Manhattan detention center] accept up to five sets of clothing, including but not limited to undershirts, socks, shoes, dress shirts, suit pants and suit jackets, be made available to Basciano prior to each court date in this case," Judge Nicholas Garaufis wrote.

Dinner With Three Capos; A Personal Experience

The three men were murdered in one fell swoop in May of 1981. I was 13 at that time. A year or two before they met their demise, they had had dinner at my grandparent’s home at my grandfather’s invitation. Unfortunately, because I was so damn young when it happened, I have only a few vague memories of the evening—an historical evening, in my opinion.

I asked my parents, and they don’t remember exactly when the dinner occurred, nor do they remember many details. My grandparents, in whose Queens, New York, condo the dinner took place, have since died—my grandfather 11 years ago, my grandmother two years ago, each at ripe old ages. I love them both dearly and will never get over their deaths.

I may not remember much of that specific dinner, the one the three Bonanno capos attended before their murder at the hands of Joe Massino, Sonny Black Napolitano and Phil Rusty Rastelli, but I can imagine it. My grandmother would have cooked her sauce as she did every Sunday, like any self-respectin…

'Podfathers' Still Waiting for Much-Ballyhooed iPods

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According to a January 1, 2011, article in the NY Post, flagged as an EXCLUSIVE, "Two of the Colombo crime family's top leaders received ... iPods ... courtesy of Uncle Sam.

"Thomas "Tommy Shots" Gioeli, acting boss of the Colombo family, and Joel "Joe Waverly" Cacace, the family's consigliere, will both be getting specially outfitted, 160-gigabyte Apple iPods ...The devices can be used only to review government audio evidence behind bars, part of an $8,700 experiment to help the mobsters speed up preparation for their upcoming racketeering trials."

As of Feb. 9, the iPods still have not reached Gioeli, and presumably, Cacace, according to a post on Gioeli's website early this month.
Gioeli writes, "I was just thinking about whatever happened to the ipod that the government promised to lend to me so that I am able to review the evidence against me before my trial. ...perhaps it's somewhere with my missing legal documents, radio, w…

Blog Poll: Will Mobsters Start Being Executed?

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Another mob blog ran poll results on its related bulletin board regarding which crime figures currently awaiting trial or on trial will be put to death. Voters were asked who do they believe will get the needle if convicted.

The results, from Five Families NYC's Gangster BB site:

Vincent Basciano - (former boss of Bonannos): 120 (34%)

Thomas Gioeli - Colombos: 20 (5%)

Joel Cacace - Colombos: 36 (10%)
The Feds are bluffing: 174 (49%)
"350 total loyal readers voted and 174 of them believe that the Federal Government will not give the death penalty to any of the mobsters it is currently trying to. They believe they are using this for leverage to possibly get these guys to cooperate, as a deterrent against other members of organized crime, or as an example of not to pursue crimes against police officers/judges. 120 people believe that Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano, the former Acting Boss of the Bonanno Crime Family will get the death penalty for his crimes. We shall fi…

Current Leaderships of the Five Families

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By piecing together various newspaper reports we can view a rough snapshot of who is running each family and where each borgata still holds the most sway--at least prior to the events of  January 20, 2011.

Many, however, predict the "biggest bust in the history of the world," or whatever they are calling it, will not have much of a long-lasting impact on the American Cosa Nostra.

One trend leaps out: It seems triumvirates are replacing the long-standing tradition of a single-boss institution. It's like they are taking the boss, underboss and consiglieri, making them of equal rank, and creating a panel to run some of the families. It could help in that it will no doubt confuse the Feds, who like those pyramid charts with all the headshots taped to the wall, stop any one man from becoming too powerful, and ease potential problems that could arise if factions are created.

And the Genovese Family, not the Gambinos,  is recognized as the most powerful Cosa Nostra family in th…

Church-Going 'Beach' Depiro No Match For Profaci

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Stephen "Beach" Depiro is a major player in the New Jersey underworld, a veteran mobster who oversees the highly lucrative rackets along the North Jersey waterfront--and a man who goes to mass every day, according to an article on Philly.com.

"The balding, 5-foot-7 Union County resident is, according to one underworld source, a "flashy" wiseguy out of the John Gotti, celebrity gangster mode, favoring fancy cars, nice clothes, and a manicured look," the article added.

"But court documents filed by his lawyer as Depiro, 55, tries to win release on bail after his arrest last month offer a different picture of the man the FBI has listed as one of the highest-ranking Genovese crime family soldiers in the state.

Scorcese Set To Direct Mob Film Starring DeNiro, Pacino, Pesci, Keitel

Charles Brandt's mafia non-fiction book I Heard You Paint Houses is set to be made into a movie in 2012, featuring a dream cast: Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci and Harvey Keitel, according to an article in the Idaho Mountain Express by Tony Evans. The book, published in 2004, was a New York Times bestseller.

To "paint a house" is a euphemism for murder—the paint is the blood that spatters on the walls.

The film is in production at Paramount Studios under the working title "The Irishman," and will be directed by Martin Scorsese, based on a screenplay by Oscar winner Steve Zaillian.

The book is a true-crime biography of Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran, a Teamsters official and Mafia associate who on orders from his powerful godfather, Russell Bufalino, killed his friend and mentor Jimmy Hoffa, and 25 to 30 others, including Crazy Joey Gallo, according to assertions in the book.

While interviewing Sheeran for the book, Brandt said, he uncovered key inf…

NJ Top Cop: Mobsters 'Patriotic'

The chief of detectives at New Jersey's Union County prosecutor’s office said Mafia members are “patriotic” citizens who “believe in the American way,” according to an article in NJToday.net.

Robert Buccino claimed that gangsters engaged in loan sharking, extortion, dockworker shakedowns and murder for hire would not permit terrorists to access the ports or bring potentially dangerous cargo the country illegally.
Buccino was quoted in an Associated Press story saying of organized crime figures, “They do raise the American flag in front of their house, and they participate in American society.”

“They are patriotic,” said Buccino, “and they believe in the American way.”
Read on

Organized Crime a Remaining Threat to Port Security

It takes only one corrupt official to look the other way to jeopardize security at one of the nation’s main gateways for goods from all over the world, according to some law enforcement officials, referring to the stretch between Port Newark and Newark Liberty International Airport, which the article describes as "the most dangerous two miles in America." A series of recent court cases shows that despite a larger focus on airport security since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, another security concern — organized crime — persists at the ports. An article on The Daily Caller explores this issue, noting that the billions of dollars in cargo that passes through the Port makes it a tempting target for criminals, especially those of the organized crime type. "Experts differ on what mob infiltration of the ports means in a post-9/11 security climate, or how large and influential organized crime syndicates remain after decades of law enforcement efforts to root them out," the …

Former Mobster Sounds Off About Feds' Recent Bust

Sonny Girard is a former mobster and published novelist whose blogs appear on his website www.SonnysMobCafe.com. His latest blog post slams the Feds’ publicity stunt of January 20th. He has an insight not many people have -- because he was a member of LCN.

"On Thursday, January 20, 2011, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder flipped a damaging card off the table as he played a shell game with America. On that day, he had more than 800 FBI personnel arrest 127 alleged mobsters. ...
"First, numbers don’t lie. The 127 men were arrested under sixteen separate indictments. Does anyone believe they were all handed down on or even around the same day? There were so many arrested that they couldn’t even book them in proper surroundings, but had to set up an ad hoc processing center at Brooklyn’s Ft. Hamilton army base. Was that necessary? ..."

It continues..."How about the number of alleged “mobsters” arrested: 127. How many of those 127 are real? How many are wannabes, …

Brit Meets Mobsters, Other Convicts While Serving 'Hard Time'

Shaun Attwood is a Brit who came to America, Arizona specifically, to seek his fortune and ended up getting busted for selling drugs. He spent a couple of years in one of America’s toughest jails—the one run by who else but the self-described toughest sheriff in America, Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County.

Mobsters, Aryan skinheads, bikers, transvestites and assorted other colorful criminals would soon count among his friends. You probably don't know Shaun unless you have come across his superb blog, Jon's Jail Journal, where he detailed his experiences while on the inside.

The American release of his first and only book, which is based on his time in Arpaio's jail -- Hard Time: Life with Sheriff Joe Arpaio in America's Toughest Jail -- is set for May on Amazon.com, but you can buy a used British copy now off the site if you want. I wanted to, so I did (I'd been reading his blog for years. One of the highlights is his deep friendship with an elderly, now dying, …

How the Mob Makes Money In the New Millennium

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I came across an article on Salon.com that goes into how the mob is primarily filling its coffers these days, what with the old workhorses like large-scale union corruption pretty much gone.

"With the Boardwalk Empire bootlegging days a distant memory, street gangs selling drugs, and Vegas prostitution only a short Southwest flight away, a startled public is left wondering: How does the modern Mafioso make a living?" the article queries, then serves up its answer: Craigslist sex trafficking (which that website has since banned), offshore Internet gambling, and wind energy.

"Sure, the Mafia still traffics heroin, extorts businesses, and kills people. But today's gangster—like any good venture capitalist—has adapted to the times. It's not that the Mob is necessarily branching into new industries. It's just that they've pushed age-old breadwinners—prostitution, gambling, and money laundering—to new levels (or depths) in order to compete in an increasingly gl…

Wiretap of Decavalcante Mobster Aired on 'American Greed' Show

American Greed’s Mob Money, which is aired from time to time,  reveals the inner workings of the mob through the eyes of New Jersey’s DeCavalcante family. They were once seen as second-class mobsters living in the shadows of the bigger New York City families. But that changed in the late 1990’s when the feds busted all five New York families for racketeering. For the DeCavalcantes, the timing couldn’t have been better. Discover how the family matures, becomes success and eventually bows to its weakness and crumbles to its knees. A webpage dedicated to the show offers a written transcript between an informer and a mobster who didn't know he was being recorded. Joseph "Tin Ear" Sclafani is the Decavalcante mobster who was taped.

Sclafani and other members of his Borgata were also taped discussing The Sopranos, which they believed was about them (to an extent it was; David Chase likely based some characters and story lines on people and incidents that were reported to have …

U.K. Media: Mob 'Sleeping With the Fishes'

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"They felt untouchable. The Dons, the consiglieres and their made men secure in their gaudy out-of-town mansions.

"As they slept 800 heavily armed FBI agents and police officers gathered for the biggest swoop on organised crime in history.

"And as dawn broke on Thursday 127 mobsters were dragged from their silk sheets and arrested."

So begins an article in the U.K.'s Mirror, which proclaims that with the big mob bust in January, organized crime is on its last legs.

"Now Mafia watchers are wondering if this is the end of La Cosa Nostra – an Italian phrase meaning “this thing of ours” – after almost a century of power." The article then offers a history of the mob, going back to the arrival of the first Men of Honor from Sicily in the U.S. in the 1920s. It tries to shock more than anything else, calling attention to, "Dominick “Sonny Black” Napolitano, a captain in the Bonanno family, had his hands chopped off because he told gangsters to shake han…

When Colombo Boss Joe Waverly Paid the Piper

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The U.S. attorney general ordered prosecutors to seek the death penalty against mobster Joel (Joe Waverly) Cacace for ordering the murder of an NYPD cop, officials said in a New York Daily News article.

Cacace, 69, a former acting boss for the Colombo crime family, is charged with putting a contract on Officer Ralph Dols after the cop married the mobster's ex-wife.

Dols was off duty when he was gunned down outside his home in Brockton in 1997.

‘Craigslist Mobster’ Shows Major Pitfall of Choosing ‘The Life’

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If you are 66 years old and still an associate in a mob family –  it’s probably time to change professions. In fact, it was probably time to change professions 30 years ago. I mean, if you're not even a made guy by 66, but still a struggling associate, is it really worth it?

If Gerard DeGerolamo, the now-dubbed 'Craigslist Mobster,' had held down a regular job, he wouldn't have to waste his time now developing needlessly complicated, low-pay-off cons that probably aggravate his arthritis. He would get Social Security and maybe what’s left of any 401k plans or other investments he accrued over the decades of his career. He wouldn't have gotten arrested waving a can of mace while trying to rob a 31 year old  -- a 31 year old who had the guts to stand his ground and fight back, giving DeGerolamo a pretty good beating for his troubles.

Jimmy Breslin, in "The Good Rat," wrote about how "the life" treats older mobsters, guys past their earning prime, wh…

Nepotism Still Runs Wild In The Mob

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The big mobster roundup that collared more than 120 people in the New York region last month, was a great equalizer, with bosses and small-time associates, the made and unmade, brought in together for committing a wide range of crimes, ranging from murder and extortion to gambling.

As an article on AOLNews.com by contributing writer Allan Lengel, indicated, what it does not show is that nepotism is alive and well in the Mafia. "Only one son with a father with alleged ties to a crime family was arrested that day," Lengel wrote.
"Unfortunately, there's still quite a few sons in the business," David Shafer, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI's Organized Crime Branch in New York, was quoted saying in the story.
And the reason? In a word, Hollywood, Shafer said, using The Sopranos tv show and Goodfellas film as two examples.

Wild Bill Larger Than "the Life," Son Says

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William "Wild Bill" Cutolo (June 6, 1949 – May 26, 1999), a Brooklyn-born mafioso in the Colombo crime family, chose the wrong side in the third Colombo war.


The war, the last time a crime family split into two major factions and engaged in a years-long street way, began when acting boss Vic Orena decided he wanted to take over the family from jailed-for-life boss Carmine "The Snake" Persico. It's been said that none other than the Dapper Don, John Gotti himself, had whispered into Vic's ear to take it, take control of it; in addition to flattering Orena as was the Gotti style, the Gambino boss also was seeking to strengthen his hand at Commission meetings.


As for the Colombo family, today in complete disarray, boss Carmine Persico apparently had visions of setting up a Mafia dynasty by making his son, Alphonse "Little Allie Boy" Persico, the boss.

The war, which shot up the streets of New York City from 1991 to 1993, ended when Orena was sent to…

John Pappa Failed at Shooting His Way into the Mafia

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In May 1999 John Pappa was convicted of racketeering, drug dealing and four murders, including the 12th and final killing of the Colombo family war, which ran its bloody course from 1991 to 1993 after other crime families tried to mediate a truce.

The judge sentenced the would-be wiseguy to life in prison -- and due to Pappa's young age, he has the dubious distinction of potentially serving one of the longest sentences in U.S. criminal history.

Pappa, at the ripe age of 22, was nabbed while participating in a wedding rehearsal on Staten Island in 1997. He ironically had murdered the brother of the man getting married, along with two others. Pappa believed the trio had been seeking to steal "street cred" for killing one of the Colombo crime family's most powerful mobsters, Joseph Scopo, a key player in the Orena faction of the mob clan.

Philip Carlo, Noted Author of the Dark Side, Passed On

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Philip Carlo appeared on an episode of Mobsters about Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso, the subject of his book Gaspipe: Confessions of a Mafia Boss.

Carlo died last year, on Nov. 8, never to see the publication of his last book, The Killer Within:In the Company of Monsters, which was released on Jan. 6, 2011. (Read an interview with Carlo.)

Although he's made some whopping errors (Ice Man, for example, meaning the entire book), I still recommend his books due to a fascinating intimacy in them that flowed from his relationships with numerous New York organized crime figures. (His wife is the daughter of slain Gambino mobster Eddie Garofalo); additionally, Carlo and his family had been close friends with Casso.

Luciano the Inspiration for The Godfather?

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Small World News Service is running a review of a book about Charles ‘Lucky’ Luciano, "Lucky Luciano: Mafia Murderer and Secret Agent," by Tim Newark (though the title seems to have been changed to "Lucky Luciano: The Real and the Fake Gangster," which at least sounds less silly than the first title, though it is still pretty damn silly nevertheless).

The book describes him as being "heralded ... as the model for legendary mafia boss Don Vito Corleone," from The Godfather, novel by Mario Puzo, and the film, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, screenplay by both men [as well as the screenplays for the two sequels].

"He was widely credited for running New York’s notorious underworld, and linked to multimillion dollar extortion rackets, revenge beatings and gangland murders," the review adds, quoting the book or a release about the book.

Mobsters Keep Hope Alive Even When Facing Life

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Mobsters, even once the game is over and they are sentenced to life, are not ones to give up so quickly.

In The Good Rat, Jimmy Breslin's book of musings about the mob, Burt Kaplan and the murderous NYPD detectives Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa, he related how Vic Orena thought he had a legal way over the wall. Orena had waged war for ownership of the Colombo family but lost when he got two life sentences plus 80 years courtesy of U.S. District Court Judge Jack Weinstein, age 84, a judge who, Breslin writes, "knows that numbers, as in years in prison, not speeches, are the way to end the Mafia."

Orena, sent to cool his heels -- forever -- in Atlanta was soon on a bus back to Weinstein's courtroom after his lawyers entered a motion to throw everything against Orena out the window. The trip took weeks, and Orena "spent the nights with bugs and rodents in county jails" on his way to what he thought would be bail -- and an escape to Europe with his lady…