Thursday, September 29, 2011

Feds: 'Made' Mobsters to Testify Against New England LCN

Capo "Eddie" Lato
Federal prosecutors have on deck "made" members of the New England mob willing to testify against other alleged wiseguys, reveals a court filing, as reported by

The details came to light in a motion filed in U.S. District Court in which prosecutors asked a judge to keep reputed capo regime Edward "Eddie" Lato behind bars.

"During the course of this investigation, the FBI has developed additional witnesses, including formally initiated or ‘made’ members of the [New England La Cosa Nostra], who will testify that the NELCN exists and further testify about the activities of its members," Assistant U.S. Attorney William Ferland and U.S. Justice Department trial attorney Sam Nazzaro write in the filing.

"These witnesses will testify to the secret initiation ceremony at which newly inducted members of the LCN swear a blood oath of loyalty to enforce 'omerta,' the code of silence," they wrote.

Lato, 64, and Alfred "Chippy" Scivola, an alleged member of the Patriarca crime family, were arrested Friday and charged with shaking down Rhode Island strip clubs for protection money.

Also arrested were reputed mob associates Raymond "Scarface" Jenkins and Albino Folcarelli. All four are being held at the Wyatt Detention Center in Central Falls pending a detention hearing.

Details of the superseding indictment were released last week in a case that has already busted the reputed former boss of the New England crime family, Luigi "Baby Shacks" Manocchio.

Read complete article, Feds: 'made' men to testify in mob case |

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Casting Call: 89 Roles Being Filled for 'Gotti: In the Shadow of My Father'

John Gotti: his role was filled first, by
John Travolta.

OK, wiseguys and wisegals, wannabes and the real deals, there may still be time for you to make the plunge into Hollywood, because casting directors for the upcoming Gotti biopic from Fiore Films still have some roles to fill; they started with nearly 90. If any of my readers tried for a role -- whether you got it or not -- please shoot me an email, I'd love to hear about it and maybe relay it to my readers in a post. The email address, of course, is:

Reports the

"On September 26th and 27th, 2011, the New York and Los Angeles casting directors for the upcoming Barry Levinson film "Gotti: In the Shadow of My Father" sent out casting calls that include over 89 roles. They include both adults and children. The entire Gambino crime family is being cast, along with their wives and kids, countless roles of detectives and legal system players who prosecuted the mob, prisoners, doctors, crime victims, the list goes on and on.

"Shooting will take place starting January 2, 2012, in New York City. Extras, stand-ins and photo doubles are all being cast in New York. Note: Neither Lindsey Lohan or Annabelle Wallis has signed on to play Kim Gotti, as that role is one of the roles that were sent out with the casting call.

"Academy Award Winner Barry Levinson is directing Gotti: In the Shadow of My Father from a screenplay that he wrote with Leo Rossi and James Toback. Levinson's writing and/or directorial credits include And Justice for All, Tootsie, Rain Man, Sphere, Liberty Heights, among countless other film and television show producing/writing/directing credits. Levinson has directed six different actors in Oscar-nominated performances: Glenn Close, Warren Beatty, Harvey Keitel, Ben Kingsley, Dustin Hoffman and Robin Williams."

Read article: Casting call for 89 roles goes out for 'Gotti: In the Shadow of My Father' - Los Angeles Acting Auditions |

News Corp. Unit Used Mob Films as Motivational Tool

If you are going to do something, you might as well learn how to do it from the best. Keeping that thought it mind, the news that a News Corp. unit used Mafia films to motivate employees and crush rivals is quite revealing.

This represents "the latest arm of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire to be swept up in a probe that began with hacking and bribery allegations," reports The Washington Post.

"Already the subject of inquiries in America and the U.K. of police payoffs and illegal voicemail access by its British newspapers, News Corp. has been asked by U.S. investigators for documents relating to its News America Marketing Group, which places in-store ads in supermarkets and retailers worldwide, according to a person familiar with the matter," the Post writes.

The marketing unit, "rivals claimed in court papers, has expanded by flouting antitrust laws, and in one case, computer hacking. News America’s CEO, also publisher of the New York Post, testified in one case that he used popular Mafia films such as A Bronx Tale and The Untouchables to teach employees how to instill fear in potential clients." [Edit. note: Did the CEO forget about Goodfellas and The Godfather? Or even episodes of The Sopranos?]

The article quotes Anthony Barkow, the executive director of the Center on the Administration of Criminal Law at New York University School of Law, who said U.S. investigators may examine whether there’s a “culture” of wrongdoing at News America. "In several cases, its competitors sought to show that [CEO Paul]

Carlucci encouraged a corporate culture modeled on Hollywood’s concept of the Mafia."

Read full article, News Corp. Marketer Used Mafia Lessons to Instill Fear, Respect - The Washington Post

Other links:

US probe of News identifies 'gangster' tactics

News Corp. Unit Probed Over Rival-Crushing Tactics

Report: Ad Unit That Showed Gangster Movies to Workers Is New Focus of News Corp. Probe - News - ABA Journal

Now News Corp's Marketing Division Is Under Investigation For Acting Like The...Mafia

25th Anniversary of 'Wiseguy,' Book 'Goodfellas' Film Based On

The real Henry Hill, left, and Ray Liotta, who played the
Luchese mobster turned informant in 'Goodfellas.'
Twenty-five years after its initial publication, Nicholas Pileggi's Wiseguy remains one of the key memoirs about life in the Mafia. Pileggi adapted his book for the screen, and director Martin Scorsese shot the film 'GoodFellas' in 1990 ('Wiseguy' had already been used as the title of a Mafia film, a quite bad one).

The story follows the rise and fall of true-life Brooklyn gangster Henry Hill — "a little cog" in the Lucchese crime family who turned FBI informant after a drug arrest, reports NPR.

"He was sort of a soldier in Napoleon's army," Pileggi remembers in the article, noting that his approach to the book sprang from the notion that "it might be interesting to see that world from the point of view of the soldier."

The other key part of Hill's appeal as a subject, Pileggi explains, is that he was "no dummy."

Read full article, For One 'Wiseguy,' A Permanent Place In Mobster Lore : NPR:

Monday, September 26, 2011

Dept. of 'You've Got to be Kidding': Kasman Critiques Travolta as Not 'Tough Enough' to Play Gotti

Kasman: Travolta not tough enough to
play John Gotti Sr. He should know!
Of all people, Lewis Kasman -- who is not a former mobster, as the Mail Online erroneously reports -- claims John Travolta is not tough enough to play notorious Mafia boss John Gotti in the upcoming biopic produced by Fiore Films, reports the U.K. newspaper's website.

"For John Gotti Sr., you need a man's man to play that role," said Kasman, who is in the FBI's witnesses protection program -- not where you'd expect to find a real "man's man."

Let's break this down a little and put the inmates back in the straight jackets to keep them from trying to run the asylum: Kasman was a two-bit phony who pretended to be a friend of the Gotti family, going so far as to call himself "John Gotti's adopted son," when for years he was tape-recording and handing over information to the Feds behind the Gotti's collective backs. He even wiretapped Gotti Senior's wife when she was emotional over the loss of her husband and the seemingly unending RICO onslaught by the Feds against her son, who had a life sentence hanging over his head for years -- enough anxiety -- and legal bills -- to make you want to gargle Drano.

The truth and Kasman do not seemingly overlap. He said once on the Curtis Sliwa show (click here to hear it): "John's thrill of a day was to take the Long Island Railroad, go through Penn Station and come to work, and he used to do that three days or four days a week, with Jackie Nose (D'Amico) in tow." No one believes that one. Any of you LIRR riders from Queens ever see Gotti sitting on the train, maybe flipping through a NY Daily News?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Women Who Really Were Married to the Mob

In a new book, The Mafia: History and Legend, Marco Gasparini looks at women who stepped into the breach when their menfolk were arrested, incarcerated or had to disappear.

“Mafia women have traditionally been wives and mothers first and foremost, yet that role has begun to change,” insists Gasparini.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Canadian Club ‘Boardwalk Empire’ Promotion Celebrates Prohibition Era

 In honor of its key role in the HBO show Boardwalk Empire (it provokes a gunfight, or something like that), which begins its second season Sunday night, Canadian Club is releasing a special promotional package: a bottle of its classic six-year-old whiskey with a metal Boardwalk Empire hip flask.

Watch Character Spot: Lucky Luciano from Season 2 of Boardwalk Empire and other videos online on

As BlackBook reports, "Any American enjoying a cocktail this weekend should raise a glass to our polite neighbors to the north. After all, Canadian producers kept our country awash in hooch during the Prohibition era, with distillers such as Canadian Club inspiring entrepreneurs to deliver the unique and illicit whiskey to drinkers in Chicago, New York and beyond. Yes, the practice gave rise to a mafia we still have today, but at least nobody who really wanted a satisfying drink after a long day's work was deprived of that pleasure during those 13 dark years."

The article includes some Canadian Club/Prohibition trivia:

● Located just over the Detroit, Michigan border in Windsor, Canada, Canadian Club was legally able to continue producing whisky between 1920 and 1933, when the manufacture and sale of beverage alcohol was prohibited in the United States.

● It is rumored that Canadian Club was a favorite of Al Capone, who operated a lucrative business smuggling the spirit into the U.S.

● 20,000 cases of Canadian Club were smuggled into the U.S. each month during Prohibition

Travolta Meets Gotti Matriarch for Sit Down

From left to right: Victoria Gotti (daughter), John Travolta,
John "Junior" Gotti and Lindsay Lohan, who may or may not
appear in the Fiore Films production.
John Travolta visited New York this past week to speak with the widow of the gangster John Gotti, whom he is portraying in the upcoming biopic produced by Fiore Films.

Late Mafia boss John Gotti died in 2002 while serving a life sentence. In the upcoming film, titled Gotti: In the Shadow of My Father, will explore the relationship between the notorious crime boss and his son John "Junior" Gotti (who has a "story by" credit, although he didn't pen the screenplay and reportedly sold the story rights for half a million dollars).

Travolta has been thoroughly researching the role, according to several published reports, and on Thursday even landed on the doorstep of  Gotti's widow, Victoria.

He was photographed arriving at the family home in Queens, New York, and after spending two hours inside, he told reporters he was doing "research for the movie", according to the New York Post.

Travolta's wife Kelly Preston will portray Victoria in the movie, while their daughter Ella Bleu with play the Gottis' daughter Angel. The movie also stars Al Pacino and Ben Foster and is due for release next year. Joe Pesci was to have played a starring role, but pulled out when his part was downgraded to a lesser character; the thespian is now suing the producer.

New England Mobsters Charged with Stripping $2M from Strip Clubs

Federal prosecutors yesterday charged three alleged members of the New England Mafia and three associates with extorting money from Rhode Island’s adult entertainment industry since the 1980s, a "business" that generated about $2 million, reports The Boston Globe.

"In a seven-count indictment unsealed in Providence today, federal authorities also indicate that the leadership of the Mafia in New England has shifted back to Boston after being under the control of Providence-based mobsters for the past several years," the article says.

Buried within the 22-page document, alleged Mafia capo Edward (Eddie) Lato notes to someone that every time he meets with a wiseguy in Boston, he knows the man is being watched by the law.

“Every time I leave, there’s someone looking at me… there’s a guy on the corner every ----  time,’’ the 64-year-old Lato said, according to the indictment. “They’re following him… I mean… not that they’re not suppose (sic) to follow him, he’s the ---- boss.’’

Rhode Island US Attorney Peter Neronha said in a telephone interview yesterday that he would not identify the current leaders of the New England La Cosa Nostra.

Alleged Mafia members charged with collecting $2m from Providence strip clubs - Metro Desk - Local news updates from The Boston Globe

Friday, September 23, 2011

Zane to Play a Mob Boss on The Playboy Club

Billy Zane plays a mob
boss, terrorizes
The Playboy Club.
Actor Billy Zane, who terrorized Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in Titanic, and has not done much since then, will soon be playing the recurring role of mob boss Oscar Bianchi on NBC's The Playboy Club. His role starts up in the series' sixth episode. If they were smart, they'd have brought him in by episode 2; the first episode didn't exactly knock our socks off.

"Oscar is described as the cool-headed but ruthless younger brother of Chicago Mafia boss Bruno Bianchi, who was murdered in the first episode during an altercation with Bunny Maureen (Amber Heard). He returns to Chicago to avenge the death of his brother and challenge his nephew, John Bianchi (Troy Garity), for leadership of the entire organization," reports

Read article: "Titanic Actor To Terrorize The Playboy Club - Today's News: Our Take |

More articles about the show premiere:

'Playboy Club' series premiere recap | Season 1 Episode 01 |

THE PLAYBOY CLUB 'Pilot' 1.01 | CraveOnline

'The Playboy Club' Stays True To Real-Life Details, Former Bunnies Say | Fox News

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Oprah Opens Mysterious Safe but Saves Results for TV Special

As we wrote about in an earlier post, Secret 'Mafia' Safe Found in Tahoe Casino May Be Opened on Oprah Show, that mysterious safe hidden behind a wall inside Bill's Casino finally has been opened -- and the adventure was indeed filmed by Oprah's people for a TV special. So no one knows what's inside, still, accept for Oprah and her minions.

"There was a slight possibility that the safe was Mafia-connected—as the suspected owner of the safe (and previous owner of the casino) was killed in a car explosion, dripping with Martin Scorcese plot lines," reports Gizmodo.

"However, police were on site as the safe was opened and concluded that there wasn't anything inside worth launching an investigation about."

Read the article: That Mysterious, Possibly Mafia-Connected Safe Has Been Opened But Only Oprah Knows What's Inside.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Film: 'Junior' Pins Four More Hits, Including Favara, on His Late Father -- Maybe

Gotti killed four more,
according to son Junior's
film of his life. (Unless it's
from one of the fake
scripts sent to the media.)
EDITOR'S NOTE: Fiore Films has admitted sending out phony copies of the script for its upcoming Gotti biopic, apparently to fool the media. Mr. Fiore, trust me when I say: The media won't forget this dirty trick, especially when you expect them to hang laurels from the film in their reviews. This was a dumb, arrogrant move on your part, my friend. Anyway, readers, this post may be based on a fake script for all I know, but it was reported on by several sources, including the one and only Jerry Capeci.

John Junior Gotti blames his Mafia father for four additional murders -- heretofore unknown by any sources -- in the upcoming film about the Teflon Don, according to published reports, including in the U.K.'s Mail Online.

"Gotti, who never took the stand in any of the four racketeering trials where he escaped a federal conviction, has claimed his crime-boss dad posed as an NYPD detective while involved in an unknown revenge killing of three Irish gangsters," reports the U.K. paper.

Junior has also pinned the murder of a neighbor on his father, according to the biopic, titled Gotti: In the Shadow of My Father. (Junior has a "story by" credit for the movie - to be directed by Oscar-winner Barry Levinson.) He "credits the 'Dapper Don' with orchestrating the murder of the neighbor, who killed his 12-year-old son, Frank, in a car accident in 1980," the report says.

John Favara was allegedly shot several months after the accident on orders of the late Gambino crime boss, who died from cancer in 2001, Favara's body was never found. A cottage industry of sorts has sprung up about Favara's exact fate, with the goriest version I have ever heard coming from former police detective John Coffey, who has said that Gotti Senior himself chainsawed the man in half while he was still alive.

Read more: John 'Junior' Gotti to pin four more murders on his late crime-boss father | Mail Online:

'Mob Candy' Cafe in Brooklyn Gets Busted Up

The owners of the Mob Candy publishing enterprise partnered with the owners of a Brooklyn cafe to relaunch the place under the Mob Candy umbrella, making it probably the first and only (and ever?) mob-themed cafe. Uncle Frankie and MafiaLife Chris, the monikers by which they are known, had big ideas for the place, transforming it into a social club of sorts in which to record their radio show and hold events for their magazine and book launches, and to provide a cozy place for their fans to hang out (while promoting their brand at the same time). I know them both, and they are good guys -- entrepreneurs with the same interests that I have, who put their money where their mouth is, and who didn't deserve what later happened.

Customers could sip cappuccinos and take in the Mafia ambiance, created by the photos of legendary gangsters and other mob memorabilia. Copies of the magazine were on hand, as well as the group's latest book-publishing venture, Brooklyn Gangsters - 70 Square Miles of Blood and Balls.

The Mob Candy Caffe before...

But it's all gone now. Someone didn't like it, and they expressed their disapproval by tearing down the sprawling overhanging awning on which Mob Candy Caffe was proudly proclaimed; then, whoever these people were, they (or perhaps even another group) hit the place a second time and stole the club's flat-screen TV.

Now, on the one hand, I could see how certain people may have reacted to seeing the word "Mob" boldly lighting up the dark Brooklyn night. (After all cosa nostra, words first uttered by Joe Valachi, essentially, means "our thing"; some people don't like names! Hence the mandatory use of nicknames, as well. I digress... ) But, on the other, what is this -- high school?

As MafiaLife Chris wrote in a post on his website "I guess it’s safe to say, ‘someone’ had a problem with the word ‘mob’ eh? We didn’t know who did this to us, but we weren’t sticking around to figure it out... "

And after...

But let's allow MafiaLife Chris to tell the story, which he did on his blog:

"Few months ago, my father in law ‘Uncle Frankie’ tells me that the place where we do our radio show ‘Mafia Talk Radio’ was potentially closing down, and he spoke to the current owners about doing some renovations, and partnering up to see if we can spark up some attention to the joint, and drum up some sales to keep it profitable. Frankie, and the 2 pre-existing owners were to go 3 ways. Later on, as we always do, me and Frankie went half on his shares so together we owned a third of the joint. We were pumped. The plan was to put our brand on the caffe, and knock down the private back room, to open up the joint to more space, and ‘mob’ it up. After it’s done. Like a themed caffe.

"And that’s exactly what we did. The renovation process, and the face lift was documented by pictures. You can check them out here."

Federal Prosecutor Cleared Of Charges That He Pulled for a Mafioso

U.S. Assistant Attorney Jeff Auerhahn, free of a cloud of suspicion
that he helped protect mobster Vincent "Vinnie the Animal" Ferrara.
Since 2003 U.S. Assistant Attorney Jeffrey Auerhahn has been under a cloud of suspicion, when a federal judge accused him of outrageous misconduct. But A recent panel of federal judges has lifted the cloud for Auerhahn, who was facing disciplinary action while handing the court’s chief judge a rebuke, according to a story by David Boeri called Federal Prosecutor Cleared Of Charges To Surprise Of Some and published on WBUR.

Vinnie the Animal 
"Trouble began for Jeffrey Auerhahn with his case against Mafia lieutenant Vincent Ferrara, known to the cops as 'Vinnie the Animal.' [Ferrara, from Boston, Mass., was formerly a capo of the New England-based Patriarca crime family of La Cosa Nostra.]

"In the 1990s, Ferrara pled guilty and got an even longer prison sentence because a witness testified that Ferrara had ordered a murder.

"Years had passed when in 2003, that witness, Walter Jordan, came forward to say he had not been telling the truth about Ferrara. He said that Auerhahn knew [that he had lied but kept quiet].

"Last year Jordan told me that he had testified that Ferrara had ordered the murder. 'Yes I testified, but I testified and they knew I was lying. Jeff knew I was lying, because I told him so,' Jordan said. 'All they wanted was Vinnie. It was Vinnie, Vinnie, Vinnie the whole time. If I didn’t say it was Vinnie I was off to prison that was my ticket to freedom.'

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Fed Playbook Is Adding Hobbs Act to RICO to Fight Organized Crime

Putting a mobster on trial with a nice, juicy RICO -- a big, fat one, going back decades to include murder, gambling, extortion and all the other usual goodies, is the dream of every mob-fighting fed, cop, prosecutor, etc. However, increasingly these days law enforcement has been getting a lot of play out of a law that has been on the books for nearly seven decades, called the Hobbs Act.

Here's a quiz. See if you can pick which is the federal crime.

a) Bank robbery.

b) Kidnapping.

c) Robbing a McDonald's.

Would you believe, d) All of the above?

Officials in Minnesota and across the country are more frequently using the Hobbs Act, a federal law that prohibits the obstruction or delay of commerce, to pursue violent offenders who have robbed bars, coffee shops and even McDonald's restaurants.

The act was passed in 1946 to address organized crime and labor racketeering, said U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones. Now, it has new life in a new way: getting career criminals who commit violent crimes off the streets for a longer time.

"We are not creatively using it. We are aggressively using it," he said."

Read full story: Feds use old law in a new way to snare criminals |

Internet 'Rat' Rumor Could Have Mobsters Reaching for Their Pistols

A rumor went around the Internet this week that said one of the leading gangsters in New England had flipped. Is it true or not? We have no way of possibly knowing, but there are many graves filled with the bodies of men who had been falsely labelled rats.

The recent sentencing of former Genovese acting boss and others was, in part, for the murder of a man who they believed -- incorrectly, it turns out -- was an informant.

"First it was just a whisper, but then it appeared on the Internet, posted by some guy with the moniker 'vinniegorgeous,' after a New York gangster," reports Howie Carr on

Specifically the rumor said, “Oh boy here we go again. Ladies and Gentlemen I am sorry to report that yet another Mafia informant has come out of the woodwork in New England, though it has not hit the newsstands yet.”

Writes Carr: "Is this true? I don’t know. I called a guy who’s close to the alleged rat and he says he saw him last weekend.

"'I don’t believe a word of it,' my friend said.

"Here’s the genesis of the rumor. The guy hasn’t been seen for a couple of weeks. Now, in the old days, everyone would have jumped to the same conclusion: Somebody whacked him. You’d ask around and some wiseguy would take the stogie out of his mouth, shake his head slowly and rasp, 'He’s gone to California.'

"Gone to California. Or, as they said in 'The Godfather,' 'He sleeps with the fishes.'

"Nowadays, though, if you go MIA, the wiseguys jump to a completely different conclusion. They figure you flipped and have vanished into the Witness Protection Program. You’re now a hardware store owner in Iowa.

YouTube Footage of Renee Graziano's Birthday Party

Renee Graziano recently celebrated her birthday party -- and MafiaLife Chris, mob entrepreneur/enthusiast was there to take some footage of her when she walked in to the crowd. Check it out here.

If you don't know who she is, here is a bio from
Renee is second from the right; here she is with the other Mob Wives.

Renee Graziano is the daughter of Anthony Graziano, who according to the Federal Government was a high ranking member of La Cosa Nostra. Renee grew up during the heyday of the mob -- when things still fell off trucks and people still dropped off envelopes even when it wasn't your birthday. Immersed in the culture since birth, she embraced the lifestyle as her own and became a "mob loyalist". Renee eventually married (then divorced) Junior. Together they have one son, AJ.

When Renee was young her best friend was arrested and sentenced to many years behind bars. This was her first real introduction to prison, but unfortunately not her last. Thanks to a circle of friends living the street life, Renee has visited over 83 prisons and written hundreds of letters to comfort the many friends she had on "the inside." This correspondence gave her the idea to turn her love of the "the life" into a greeting card company called JAIL MAIL.

Renee sometimes longs for the good old days, but thanks to her friends she is slowly starting to realize that this is not a life she wants her son to lead. She struggles to balance her allegiance to the street life with her hopes that her son will live a life free of it all.

Renee is hysterical, Renee is crazy, and Renee is drama, but she will be the first to give you the shirt off her back. Everyone and anyone who knows her, knows this.

See the full page at Renee Graziano | Mob Wives |

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Legal Bills Hold Up Fourth 'Big Al' Prosecution

Fusco is doing a nice job of
not letting his trial for the
murder of Big Al move along
Prosecution of a fourth defendant in the 2003 murder of Adolfo "Big Al" Bruno, slowed when the alleged killer fought extradition from his native Italy, is now throwing a wrench into the works again via a dispute over $5,500 in lawyers' fees, reports

"Emilio Fusco, 42, of Longmeadow, appeared in U.S. District Court in Manhattan on Tuesday for a status conference and to introduce a brand-new lawyer to the case after recently firing another one. The outgoing attorney, William I. Aronwald, told the court he intends to hold hostage 15,000 pages of alleged evidence in the case until Fusco pays his bill," the website reports.

"But, according to his new lawyer, Richard Lind, Fusco contends he was overbilled by Aronwald and doesn't intend to pay him any more money. The legal standoff that played out in court prompted U.S. District Judge P. Kevin Castel to order Aronwald and Lind into a private room - or even better yet, to lunch together - for no less than 45 minutes to arrive at a compromise."

Read the full article: Legal bill throws temporary wrench into prosecution of Emilio Fusco, 4th defendant in 'Big Al' Bruno murder case |

Ex-Acting Genovese Boss Sentenced to Life

In Manhattan federal court, former Genovese crime family acting boss Arthur Nigro and two associates were sentenced to life in prison.

They were found guilty of a range of crimes, including two murders, back in April.

Nigro and Fotios and Ty Geas, brothers, were found guilty of the 2003 murder of former Genovese boss Adolfo "Big Al" Bruno, who ran the family's Springfield crew.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sonny Girard on Imprisoned Mobster Shot Up With Rubber Bullets

Acting Colombo crime boss Andrew (Mush) Russo, 77, made it through fifty years of mob life without getting shot. But, thanks to that "earthquake" that struck the Northeast last week, he took more than five bullets in the back. Thankfully for Mush, they were rubber bullets, so he is not hovering near death's door -- but getting hit with a rubber bullet is supposedly more painful than taking a lead slug.

He was shot by corrections officer in the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, where Andy is living these days.

Ironically, he was on the phone, checking if his lived ones were okay, when the officers let loose; they also lobbed a tear gas canister at him, which smashed his leg, in addition to spewing its vile contents into his eyes, nose and mouth.

I could tell you the whole story, but all I am doing is setting you up for the latest blog post from former mobster-turned-published author Sonny Girard, courtesy of his blog, Sonny's Mob Cafe:

Reputed mob boss Andy Russo was shot in the back eight times. Mob war? No, he was shot by Metropolitan Detention Center guards while on the phone during last week’s New York earthquake. Since he was the only one who got hit with those eight non-lethal bullets, it begs the question, “Was it a hit by the prison guard mob against a well known street guy?” Seems absurd, but eight? Andrew is in for a very serious crime too. When a friend of his got stabbed by a guy linked to the Gambino’s, he met with the Gambino rep to work out a deal so that their friend paid for the damages. The charge by Eric Holder (yes, the same AG who dropped voter intimidation charges on the New Black Panthers AFTER they’d been judged guilty), is that Russo “extorted” the Gambinos. Sound stupid? Yes, it is.

Not All Consider 'Mikey Scars' the King of the Rats

Having served as John Junior's attorney, Jeffrey Lichtman is far from an unbiased source when it comes to the subject of "Mikey Scars" DiLeonardo. Lichtman called the sentence DiLeonardo wound up with -- time served, which freed the former Gambino mobster right then and there --  a "disgrace to our criminal justice system," in a story on

Other choice phrases that dropped out of Lichtman's mouth regarding Scars included "serial killer" and a "liar who was a horrible witness and was rewarded with less than three years in prison."

"John's moved on, this is ancient history for him," Mr. Lichtman said of Mr. Gotti, in the story. "The ultimate irony is that Mikey Scars has served three times the amount of time in prison as John did [meaning three years] and unlike John, he's got a felony conviction from these cases."

But other observers were skeptical that Mr. DiLeonardo's cooperation was as important as the government argued, the notes, among them Jerry Capeci, Mafia historian and author, who could be considered an unbiased source on this topic.

Capeci called DiLeonardo a "far cry from the biggest cooperating witness to come down the pike." He noted the recent testimony of Joseph Massino, the former boss of the Bonanno crime family, who turned cooperating witness and became the first head of a Mafia family to testify against his associates.

Read the full article here: 'Mikey Scars' Gets Repaid For Informing -

Friday, September 9, 2011

Mikey Scars Out of Prison Following Praise From Law Enforcement

Mikey Scars was
sentenced to time served.

Once upon a time, he was a close friend of John Gotti Jr., and he confessed to conspiring to kill three people.

He was freed from jail at his sentencing Friday -- for helping law enforcement jail 80 members of organized crime.

"Authorities described the cooperation of 56-year-old Michael 'Mikey Scars' DiLeonardo as revolutionary in the annals of mob history, saying it led to convictions that included 20 high-level, dangerous mobsters," reports the Sacramento Bee.

"He testified at 14 trials, including Gotti's, and investigators praised his encyclopedic knowledge of mob life. Gotti remains free after the government dropped its charges when juries repeatedly deadlocked at trials over several years."

U.S. District Judge John Koeltl in Manhattan sentenced DiLeonardo to time served, freeing him after three years in custody, because of the kudos he received from law enforcement. Though freed, he will probably be in Witness Protection for some time.

At sentencing, "Scars" said: "I was born into an ideology. ... I was not a victim of it. I created victims for it," he said. DiLeonardo also apologized to society for himself and his forefathers, saying his family's life in organized crime goes back hundreds of years," reports the Bee.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Elie Honig told Koeltl that DiLeonardo's cooperation was "nothing short of historic."

Read the full story: US lawmen praise mob killer turned informant - Sacramento News - Sacramento Bee.

Read Mikey Scars testimony here.

Feds Still Seeking the Outfit's Former Underboss, Missing Five Years

Outfit Underboss Zizzo, MIA for five
years now, is believed murdered.
Five years ago mob associate Anthony Zizzo said goodbye to his wife as he left his Westmont townhome and nobody has admitted seeing him since.

On the fifth anniversary of his disappearance FBI and Westmont officials reminded the public there's a $10,000 reward for information leading to the whereabouts of Zizzo, a man the FBI said has an extensive criminal record.

Zizzo was 71 when he disappeared, and his 2005 Jeep Cherokee was discovered two days later parked outside a restaurant in Melrose Park, the FBI said. The vehicle was undamaged and no signs of foul play were found.

No witnesses were ever found, and to this day there has been no reported usage of his cellular telephone or credit cards, the FBI said. The FBI release described Zizzo as white, 5-foot-3 and 200 pounds, with a heavy build, gray hair and blue eyes.

Read the full story: Officials still looking for mob associate missing 5 years -

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Obama Admin Wants to Charge Hackers With RICO

The Obama administration is working to toughen sentences for those convicted of hacking or other digital offenses, reports The Hill.

Maximum sentences for cyber crimes are not in sync with the damage and threats posed by some hackers, agree both Associate Deputy Attorney General James Baker and Secret Service Deputy Special Agent in Charge Pablo Martinez, in the article.

Martinez said hackers are often members of sophisticated criminal networks. Read: The Mafia.

"Secret Service investigations have shown that complex and sophisticated electronic crimes are rarely perpetrated by a lone individual," Martinez said in the story.

"Online criminals organize in networks, often with defined roles for participants, in order to manage and perpetuate ongoing criminal enterprises dedicated to stealing commercial data and selling it for profit," he said.

"Hackers are often members of sophisticated criminal networks. Read: The Mafia."

Baker and Martinez appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee to the White House's cybersecurity legislative proposal touting the need for "stiffer penalties for cyber crimes as part of an update to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA),"  The Hill writes.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Organization Chart of the American Mafia, From Past to Present

This is the most comprehensive, updated list you are likely to come across anywhere of the Italian American Mafia crime families, including their home bases and members' names and titles, from the kings of the volcanoes, to the lowly street-based associates. The names have previously appeared in books, published news reports, legal documents or other forms of communication, and have been vetted by the writers who posted this on Wikipedia.

The lists are divided by crime family, and the names under the various titles of rank appear in chronological order, starting in the past and ending in the present. So under the Genovese family you will see the first Boss on the list is the storied "Clutch Hand" Giuseppe Morello, who ran the family, said to be the first Mafia family in America, from the 1890s to 1909.

Also, you can click on the city, crime family name, and the names of individuals to obtain additional information.
Boss/Acting Boss
§                    Giuseppe "the Clutch Hand" Morello - Boss (1890s-1909)
§                    Nicholas "Nick" Morello - Boss (1909-1916) killed in 1916
§                    Vincenzo "Vincent" Terranova - Boss (1916-1920)
§                    Giuseppe Masseria - Boss (1920-1931)
§                    Lucky Luciano - Boss (1931-1946)
§                    Frank Costello - Acting Boss (1936-1945), Boss (1946-1957)
§                    Vito Genovese - Underboss (1931-1936), Boss (1957-1969)
§                    Anthony "Tony Bender" Strollo - Acting Boss (1959-1962)
§                    Thomas Eboli - Acting Boss (1962-1965)
§                    Frank Tieri - Don (circa 1972-1981)
§                    Philip Lombardo - Boss (1969-1981)
§                    Anthony "Fat Tony" Salerno - Front Boss (1981-1987)
§                    Vincent "Chin" Gigante - Underboss (1981-1987), Boss (1981-2005)
§                    Liborio Bellomo - Acting Boss (1990-1992), Street Boss (1992-1996)
§                    Dominick Cirillo - Acting Boss (1997-1998)
§                    Matthew "Matty The Horse" Ianniello - Acting Boss (1997-2006)
§                    Mario Gigante - Street Boss (2006-2007)
§                    Daniel Leo (mobster) - Acting Boss (2005-present)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Mafia Wives and Goomattas— Behind Closed Doors

Every mob wife -- except supposedly for the wife of now-deceased Joe "Piney" Armone, formerly of the Gambino crime family --- eventually has to deal with the “goomatta” issue.

"Whether pronounced “goomah,” “goomar” or “goomatta,” the word is the Americanized corruption of the Italian word comare, which means “mistress” or “girlfriend.” According to the glossary in The Sopranos: A Family History, ”No self-respecting wiseguy is without one,”" reports the Crime Library on

"How a mob wife reacts when she learns of her husband’s goomatta is usually determined by the wife’s age. The younger wives tend to lash out and demand their husband’s fidelity, but in time these women learn that the goomatta is a fact of mob life. To keep the goodies—the house, the cars, the furs, the jewelry, etc.—the mob wife has to put up with the mistress.

"The flashy young girlfriend is a necessary accessory for a man of honor, like a Lexus or a Rolex. Having a woman on the side is a symbol of the man’s success and power. It says to the world that, not only is he potent enough to keep two women satisfied, he clearly rules the roost and doesn’t have to worry about retaliation from the woman he married."

Read the rest of the article, MARRIED TO THE MOB: MAFIA WIVES AND MISTRESSES — Behind Closed Doors — Crime Library on

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Old-time Buffalo Mobster 'Jimmy' Caci, 86, Dies

Jimmy” Caci

Vincent D. “Jimmy” Caci, described by associates as one of the toughest mobsters ever to emerge from Buffalo’s underworld, died of an illness last month in Palm Springs, Calif., two weeks after his 86th birthday.

A one-time tough mobster said to have specialized in loansharking and shakedown schemes in Buffalo, and later in Las Vegas and Los Angeles, he was buried in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Cheektowaga, "a low-key farewell for a man who lived a stormy life, rubbed elbows with big-time mobsters and entertainers, and got involved in some high-profile criminal investigations," reports The Buffalo News.

According to other reports, he also owned his own construction company in Erie, Pa., and was also the owner of a restaurant and nightclub in New York and California. He was well known for his cartoon drawings, whether they were on a tablecloth, napkin or a drawing board, which he would give to children sitting nearby. He was known as a clever wit.

“Guys like Jimmy are part of a dying breed,” Ronald M. Fino, a former Buffalo mob associate and FBI witness who now works as a PI in Norfolk, Va., tells the newspaper. “The guys who ran things in the Buffalo mob back in the ’60s, there’s only a few of them left.”

“He was tough, he was a strong man,” adds a Buffalo businessman who knew Caci for decades. “Jimmy was a stand-up guy. He was in and out of prisons all his life and never ratted on anybody.”

Caci’s mob career launched after he left Buffalo in the 1970s and went on to grow into a feared mob leader in Los Angeles, Palm Springs and Las Vegas.

Read the complete article at 'Jimmy' Caci, 86, dies; had ties to local mob - City of Buffalo - The Buffalo News.

Mexican Mafia Weapon of Choice: Gold & Jewel Encrusted

Some mobsters make wads of cash, and it isn't hard to imagine what they spend it on. However, the Mexican Mafia definitely takes the prize for creative spending, as The Rich Times reports.

"It's almost surreal the manner in which the Mexican Mafia spends millions on getting their guns personalised," the article says.

Read the article Gold & Jewel Encrusted Guns of the Mexican Mafia | The Rich Times.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Brighton Beach a Den of 'Russian Dolls,' But What of the Mob?

Lifetime's reaality show Russian Dolls is about life in Brooklyn's
Brighton Beach, which is filled with Russian immigrants. Also
known as 'Little Odessa,' it has been featured on TV shows
and in films as ground zero for the Russian mob.
We have been watching Lifetime's Russian Dolls; some of the most beautiful women in the world are from Russia, and some quite adorable women are on this, the latest "reality" TV show.

We are hopeful a Russian mobster subplot will join the mix -- it would certainly hold our interest in the show, which at present is toilet-tissue thin.

We have already discovered a past connection between the Russian and Sicilian mob with a nightclub that appears in many episodes of Dolls. But we don't mean to besmirch the current owners in any way; published reports we have read say the club's "connections" are years old.

Dolls, of course, takes place in Brooklyn's Brighton Beach section.

"It's one square mile of Brooklyn, jampacked with crazy Russians," notes one of the show's "characters."

But the silent majority of residents not on reality TV living in the largely immigrant neighborhood say the show hardly reflects their reality, writes NPR in a story critical of the show: Bling And Borscht: 'Russian Dolls' Play Up Stereotypes.

"Russian Dolls is crammed full of short skirts, short fuses, plastic surgery and gaudy jewelry. It gives the impression that Brighton Beach's women hang out in bath houses all day and drink vodka in Russian clubs all night. In their downtime, they talk behind each others' backs," reports NPR.

Brighton Beach is "largely a working class community nestled under a subway trestle, the final resting place on the B train in Brooklyn. It became a stronghold of Jewish immigrants starting in the 1930s and '40s, and it's now often referred to as 'Little Odessa' because of the heavy concentration of immigrants who fled the former USSR to rebuild their lives," NPR reports.

Secret 'Mafia' Safe Found in Tahoe Casino May Be Opened on Oprah Show

The supposed Mafia safe may
make a guest appearance on a
new Oprah Winfrey series, Found.

During a remodeling of Bill’s Casino in South Lake Tahoe, a hidden safe was found inside the walls. "There was literally NO ACCESS to this safe. It was just there, totally walled in. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking: “there has got to be something incredible in that safe," writes

The former owner of Bill’s Casino -- "and likely the guy who knows what is in the safe," the website adds -- was killed by a car bomb in 1968. "We’re gonna go out on a limb and say that casino owners who get killed by car bombs in the 60s were generally involved in the mob," reports

The Mafia did operate in Tahoe. Sinatra owned the Ca-Neva casino, which is said to have had a slew of secret tunnels that JFK used to "secretly enter the room of Maryln Monroe..."

The deceased supposed-mobster and one-time owner of Bill’s was Richard Chartrand. Mike Laub is currently the owner and has the safe. Laub’s son Jordan claims that "he’s gonna open the safe live on the Internet on Reddit or some damn thing like that. They apparently aren’t worried about what’s inside nor the Mafia repercussions…"

More recently Mike Laub told the Toronto Star that Google+ wanted to livestream the event and that Oprah Winfrey’s producers would be filming it for a series called Found, reports

It appears Winfrey’s producers are attempting to land exclusive broadcast rights.

According to Jordan Laub, the show’s locksmith will open the safe on Labor Day, Sept. 5. writes that it will update this strange story with more details as info becomes available.

Read both articles in full:

An Imprisoned Conrad Black Made Mafia Connections

Black back to prison for fraud.
Former media baron Conrad Black returned to prison this summer, but not before giving an interview with a major U.S. magazine, Vanity Fair, in which he discussed life behind bars, which included befriending certain members of the Mafia. Wonder if they'll still be friendly after this!

Black said he got along with almost every ethnic group during his initial 29 months at the Coleman Federal Correctional Facility in Florida in the VF interview, according to the

"I quickly developed alliances with the Mafia people, then the Cubans," he told the magazine. The edition with the interview hits newsstands on Sept. 6, the same day as the deadline for Black to report back to prison, the reports. 

In the interview, he noted that a senior member of one crime family told him: "If you catch a cold, we will find out who you got it from. You know, we have much in common... We are industrialists." 

According to Wikipedia, "Conrad Moffat Black, Baron Black of Crossharbour, OC, PC (Can.), KCSG (born August 25, 1944) is a Canadian-born member of the British House of Lords, historian, columnist and publisher who was for a time the third largest newspaper magnate in the world. Black controlled Hollinger International, Inc. Through affiliates, the company published major newspapers including The Daily Telegraph (UK),Chicago Sun Times (U.S.), Jerusalem Post (Israel), National Post (Canada) and hundreds of community newspapers in North America.

"He was convicted of fraud in a US court in 2007 and sentenced to six and a half years' imprisonment. On July 19, 2010, Black was granted bail. The U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned two of the three remaining mail fraud counts in October of that year. On June 24, 2011 he was resentenced on one remaining count of mail fraud and one count of obstruction of justice to a prison term of 42 months and a fine of $125,000 (USD). As the 29 months Black has served is included in this sentence, he is required to return to prison on September 6, 2011, for a remaining thirteen months."

Read the entire article about the interview: Conrad Black tells magazine connections made with mafia.