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Showing posts from October, 2014

Gig Is Up for Gambino Associate Nailed for Murder

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Earlier this week, an indictment was unsealed charging Gennaro “Jerry” Bruno, 41, an associate of the Gambino crime family under Joseph “JoJo” Corozzo, with racketeering and racketeering conspiracy, including predicate acts of murder, narcotics trafficking, extortion and obstruction of justice.

The murder of Martin Bosshart in 2002 garnered widespread media coverage. Bosshart himself was a notorious thug who was alleged to be involved in several murders and himself could be likened to a one-man crime wave.

Bruno was arrested on Tuesday in Las Vegas, where his initial appearance for removal proceedings to the Eastern District of New York commenced.

“Gennaro Bruno started his criminal career at a young age as a member of a street gang where he earned his criminal credentials. He then graduated to become an associate in the Gambino crime family, where he proved himself to be both an earner for the family and capable of murder,” stated United States Attorney Loretta E. Lynch.

Powerful Genovese Capo and His NJ Crew Nabbed This Week

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We republished a story about the Genovese crime family from a year ago--and on the same goddamn day the Feds busted a crew headed by one of three key capos mentioned in the re-post.

The Genovese crime family, the most powerful Mafia group in America saw a major bust earlier this week that centered on an 80-year-old capo and his New Jersey-based crew, which earned more than $12 million from various rackets, including loansharking, unlicensed check cashing, gambling and a money laundering operation that included drug trafficking proceeds.

A large portion of the revenue had been funneled to the New York-based bosses of the crime family, none of whom are part of this indictment.

New Jersey law enforcement authorities and the Waterfront Commission named longtime family caporegime Charles "Chuckie" Tuzzo, a resident of Bayside, Queens, as the boss of a 10-member crew that included one soldier who lived near Newark and oversaw the crew's operations. Also, the crew included two…

"Godfather of Pittsburgh" Set to Debut on A&E

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The Godfather of Pittsburgh seems to be garnering interest among some readers.

One of A&E's four new reality series, “Godfather of Pittsburgh,” focuses on Vince Isoldi, an Italian-American who owns nightclubs and restaurants in the Steel City, where he has made friends and enemies, along the way. Eight one-hour episodes, are slated to premiere around now.

Here’s A&E’s Godfather of Pittsburgh announcement:

Pittsburgh is a town ruled by Vince Isoldi, a first-generation Italian American, who has built an empire of nightclubs and restaurants all in hopes of supporting his family. But getting to the top means making a lot of enemies and some of them are kin. While Vince is one of the most revered – and feared – men in the city, all bets are off when he comes home. Between his wife and sons, and his six brothers and sisters, the entire family relies on Vince for jobs, houses and everything in between. The “Godfather of Pittsburgh” takes a fascinating look at a truly original char…

CNN Transcript of 2006 Philip Carlo Interview

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This transcript and a new page I posted tonight about the "Ice Man" Richard Kuklinski convey what I've always believed. Richard Kuklinski was full of shit. And, I have begun doubting my previous thinking about author Philip Carlo. There's a difference between making a mistake and concocting what you should know is false information. Carlo seemed to be working with a damaged filter. I'll leave it there. Enjoy this transcript and the new landing page, Last Word on Kuklinski


CNN.com - Transcripts: "Aired June 26, 2006 - 21:00   ET

JOHN ROBERTS, GUEST HOST: Tonight, exclusive, inside the chilling double life of a convicted killer who claimed to be a brutal Mafia hit man with more than 200 victims. Now in their first ever interview his own family, who he terrorized but didn't know about his deadly secret life until he was arrested next on LARRY KING LIVE.

And good evening, I'm John Roberts sitting in for Larry King tonight. Over the next hour we have a c…

As "The Godfather" Played, The Mafia Committed a Massacre

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While researching a story about Mario Puzo and The Godfather, I found this interesting article regarding a "Mafia hit" that occurred in August 1972 in New York while The Godfather was still playing in theaters.

I had heard of what is widely viewed as one of the worst blunders ever committed in the history of the mob while researching my story on Punchy Illiano, but I never realized that the mob killing of innocent businessmen at the Neapolitan Noodle restaurant located at 320 East 79th Street in Manhattan had actually occurred while the Godfather film was in theaters.


"Yeah, I left it noisy. That way it scares any pain-in-the-ass innocent bystanders away."

"The Godfather" was still playing in New York theaters five months after its release and audiences were still greeting that line with nervous laughter when, on Friday, Aug. 11, 1972, a hit man from Las Vegas walked into the Neopolitan Noodle, an Italian restaurant on Manhattan's East 79th Street, at…

Franzese Film Rated R; Ex-Capo Says MPAA "Out of Touch"

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God the Father, slated for release on October 31, the day Michael Franzese became a "made man," does not shy away from the real world Franzese once inhabited.

But a scene of Christ's Crucifixion, plus stock footage of mobsters, helped tip the scales at the MPAA, which gave the film an R rating.

"I spent over 20 years on the street, every day in violation of both God's laws and the laws of man," said Franzese. "And the powers that be have a problem not only with Mob reality being seen, but also with Biblical history?  You see worse images and stories on the 6 o'clock news! The entertainment business can't afford to be out of touch with real world problems our youth are experiencing, from gangs to drugs and violence.  Anyone over 13 needs the opportunity to see this film."

"Its real world stuff (the Mob scene footage) that is around us all the time," says Franzese.  "It's not the gratuitous violence most movies include for…

Genovese Family Remains King of the Volcano

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With little fanfare -- and no media coverage that we could find -- Genovese acting boss Daniel Leo is back on the streets, having been released from prison on Jan. 25, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

The Genovese crime family is deemed to be the most powerful criminal group in America -- and now, according to sources, free on the streets are its acting boss, street boss, underboss, consigliere -- and supposedly the capos who run a trio of the family's most powerful crews.
"The Genovese crime family is still the best organized, and has the deepest bench," the chief of investigations for the Manhattan district attorney has said.

"They continue to take part in traditional organized crime activities of gambling, loansharking and labor racketeering in New York and New Jersey."

"The Genovese family is the most secretive, criminally diverse, and powerful family in the country," an FBI agent added, noting that "their power stems from the cont…

"Veil of Secrecy" Hangs Over Christy Tick Release

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Jerry Capeci recently confirmed our story about Christopher "Christy Tick" Furnari getting out of prison last month--and even the storied mob scribe himself is puzzled over this one...(Yes, it does kill me to have to still write this kind of story.)

As we noted in a recent post: Christopher "Christie Tick" Furnari, Sr. walked out of prison last month without a peep. He'd been serving a 100-year stretch he'd been sentenced to back in 1986 as a defendant in the storied Commission Case.

As Mr. Capeci wrote in his last column: "...The end result of the historic Commission case in 1987 was that seven old-school wiseguys were hammered with unprecedented 100 year prison terms, sentences intended to send a message to gangsters everywhere. Under their labor racketeering convictions, none of them were ever supposed to see the light of day outside of a federal prison.

When "English Shaun" and "Sammy Bull" Nearly Collided

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FREE EBOOK PROMOTION INCLUDED:
I met Shaun Attwood in prison.
Actually, he was in prison and I was in an office in Manhattan reading his blog, Jon's Jail Journal, during my lunch break. The blog then consisted of stories about horrible jail conditions: the roaches, the boiling humidity arising from the facility's broken swamp cooler. He'd written the blog stories on toilet paper and smuggled them out.

Shaun, who was since featured on NatGeo, came to America, Arizona specifically, from England to seek his fortune and was busted for running a drug empire. He spent a couple of years in one of America’s toughest jails—run by Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County.

I have posted a few stories about Shaun aka "English Shaun" who I consider a good friend. Stories about Shaun have also proven to be quite popular with my blog readership, especially one about an old-school mobster with whom Shaun had done prison time. The two became quite close, actually. RIP, TwoTonys...


Happy Birthday Mario Puzo, Deceased Godfather Author

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We started writing this on the 15th, his true birthday, but finished after midnight.



Mario Puzo, the Italian-American novelist who created the Godfather saga, was born on this day, Oct. 15, in 1920. Sadly, he died in 1999 at age 78. The man who once called himself "a romantic writer with sympathy for evil" ended a classic collaboration with a great filmmaker who put Puzo's Shakespearean epic of the American Mafia on the big screen, and added the celebrated scribe's name to the title.

Born in humble conditions to immigrant parents from Avellino, Naples on October 15, 1920, he was raised in New York's Hell’s Kitchen.

He resettled in the Bronx, where his mother decided to move with her seven children once Puzo's father deserted them.

Boston Mobster Nailed After Wynn Bought Land for Casino

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POSTSCRIPT ADDED: Three men were indicted on state and federal charges earlier this month for deceiving Wynn Resorts Ltd. and state gaming regulators by hiding the fact that a man with alleged ties to the New England Cosa Nostra held a financial interest in a parcel of land purchased by the gaming company.

According to U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz and Attorney General Martha Coakley’s Office, the trio all held a financial interest in FBT Everett Realty LLC, the entity that owned the title to the land on which Wynn Resorts had proposed to construct a destination resort casino.

Charles Lightbody, 54, of Revere, Dustin DeNunzio, 37, of Cambridge, and Anthony Gattineri, 56, of Winchester were indicted on Oct. 2 by a federal grand jury for their role in concealing from Wynn Resorts and Massachusetts gaming regulators the financial interests of Lightbody, a convicted felon and known associate of the New England Cosa Nostra Family.

Each is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire frau…

Feds Ended "Shelved" Mobster's Inexplicable Rise to Power

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REVISED:  We found some interesting information about Vinny Asaro that explains something we've been puzzling over for some time: how did Asaro, who'd been busted from capo to soldier, then shelved, abruptly get reinstated and promoted to a spot on the panel overseeing the Bonanno family?

At first we'd also been curious whether the FBI had known of this prior to its investigation of Asaro, which primarily centered on 30-year-old charges, including the much vaunted Lufthansa Heist celebrated in the film Goodfellas, but also the 1960s murder of a man who Asaro and Jimmy the Gent Burke had deemed an informant, incorrectly, as is usually the case in Mafia murders. We wonder how often the mob disposed of someone over some reason and used the "rat" excuse as justification...

Asaro's cousin however began wearing the wire in 2009, so Asaro's change in fortune was not a stimulant for law officials.

US Attorney Says: Five Families "Still There"

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U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara: The Mob Is “Still There” | Vanity Fair: At Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit, contributing editor Bryan Burrough asked U.S. attorney Preet Bharara a question he said he has always wanted to ask a U.S. attorney: what’s going on with the mafia?

The mob is still there,” Bharara said. “The Five Families are still there, they’re still extorting business, they’re still using baseball bats.”

Interestingly, he acknowledges this while fully aware of the fact that the Feds have cut their manpower and resources to combating OC in New York.

As we reported in Why New York's Five Families Have Regained Power, the New York Mafia in fact "has quietly staged a comeback and is now more powerful than it has been in years," said Richard Frankel, special agent in charge of the Criminal Division for the Federal Bureau of Investigation's New York office.

Lufthansa Case Collapses for the Feds

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One rule of thumb for reporters is, if something happens three times it's a trend. Well, it seems we have something of a trend...

The recent Lufthansa news, beginning with street boss Thomas "Tommy D" DiFiore's successful motion for separation, something virtually unheard of in racketeering cases involving multiple members of a single crime family, makes for three recent New York Mafia cases in which the Feds' once promising indictments slowly crumbled and ended up a shadow of what they were supposed to be.

As for the other two: one involved reputed Gambino crime-family associate Daniel Fama, who faced charges that were eventually dropped for allegedly driving the getaway car in the 1990 gangland hit on Edward "Eddie the Chink" Garofalo ordered by then Gambino boss John Gotti; the other was the "Papa Smurf" case involving a three-family panel trying to take control of the waste hauling business in the tri-state area.

Skinny Joey Can Still Pack a Courtroom

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Big Trial | Philadelphia Trial Blog reports that Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino can still draw a crowd.

"The one-time South Philadelphia celebrity mobster had a nearly packed courtroom for his probation violation hearing this morning. Friends, family members, law enforcement officials and more than a dozen members of the media showed up for a 90-minute proceeding that revolved around mundane technical issues and that offered all the drama of a first-year law school seminar.

Finally, Update on "Skinny Joey" Merlino's Fate

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Joey Merlino at 10 a.m. tomorrow will be standing before U.S. District Court Judge R. Barclay Surrick.
The judge "will ultimately decide the short term future of the 52-year-old mobster. Merlino has to respond to a summons alleging he violated the terms of his supervised release by meeting with three convicted felons, including Philadelphia mob capo John Ciancaglini, in Florida on June 18," George Anastasia writes.

Merlino's attorneys said the meeting was nothing more "chance encounter" that was "much less nefarious that the government wants this court to believe."

Former Gotti Capo Died Last Week

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Gambino capo George "Big George" DeCicco died late last week of natural causes, according to a New York Daily News report published today that also noted he was 85.

DeCicco was part of former crime boss John Gotti's inner circle, according to law enforcement sources noted in the article.

He headed a crew in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.

DeCicco's son, Robert, made newspaper headlines himself back in June of 2007. He was shot in one of two attempted Mafia rubouts that occurred in the same week in Brooklyn, where the Mafia once dominated, prompting the New York Times to run a story headlined: “Onetime Mob Stronghold Hears Echo of the Old Days.”

Friends of Ours Blog Profiles Outfit's "Little Caesar" DiVarco

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Friends of Ours has posted a lengthy and revealing profile, hot off freshly available FBI documents, of  Joseph "Little Caesar" DiVarco, a member of Chicago's Outfit charged with heading gambling, vice and nightlife on Chicago's Near North Side from the mid-1940s to the mid-1980s.
He was a huge earner, the story notes, basing this on recently released FBI documents.
"For example, an informant told the FBI in 1971 that "money . . . is no problem for DI VARCO inasmuch as he made big money in the past and saved much of it," and then another informant told the FBI a year later that "DI VARCO has money and is constantly looking for a way to make more money."

"Mafia Cops" Lawsuits Allowed to Proceed

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From The New York Law Journal: Nearly three decades after two New York City police officers carried out murders for organized crime, families of "Mafia Cops" victims can proceed with some of their claims against the city.

Ruling on seven cases regarding New York City's purported liability for Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa's notorious actions, Eastern District Judge Raymond Dearie (See Profile) said the plaintiffs overcame timeliness hurdles and made arguments about deliberate indifference and causation that were sufficient to raise factual issues for a jury.

Though Dearie said the plaintiffs presented federal municipal liability claims that could withstand the city's summary judgment motion in Pipitone v. City of New York, 06-cv-145, he dismissed their state law claims.

What Happened to the $6 Million from the Lufthansa Heist?

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TheCrimeBeat.com has an interesting story posted regarding what happened to most of the cash and and jewels taken from the infamous Lufthansa heist masterminded by James "Jimmy the Gent" Burke. This Dominick Cicale guy was a capo in the Bonanno family and apparently he gave a big scoop to my friend Rob. Check it out:

"The Jan. 23 arrest of Bonanno crime family member Vincent Asaro  in connection with the Lufthansa Airlines robbery has sparked renewed interest in the daring heist, which was dramatized in the Martin Scorsese movie “Goodfellas.”

"The unsolved caper, which occurred at New York’s JFK airport, netted $5 million in cash and $1 million in jewelry. At the time, it was the biggest cash robbery in U.S. history. In today’s dollars, the take would be worth about $21 million.

Get Ready for Mob Wives Season Five in December

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Make sure you are watching at the 10 minutes 35 seconds part....from April....

REVISED, INCLUDES BACKLINKS: "Mob Wives" season five is slated to commence in December.
Check out the above video of Sway interviewing Renee and Jennifer Graziano. I had never listened to or even heard of Sway: I think he's pretty damn good. He comes off all folksy and polite and supportive to kind of disarm the guests. The questions he poses are quite relevant.

He's asking about the right stuff -- and not really getting any answers.

The Grazianos chose this forum to bolster sales of their cookbook, the one with Meat Cleaver in the title.

Christy Tick, 90, Beats the System, Departs Prison

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Christopher "Christie Tick" Furnari, Sr. walked out of prison last month without a peep.

He'd been serving a 100-year stretch he'd been sentenced to back in 1986 as a defendant in the storied Commission Case.

The legendary Luchese consiglieri was responsible for bringing two of the most violent mobsters in New York into the family, Vittorio "Vic" Amuso and Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso, who assumed control after those convicted in the Commission Case were sent away for a century, Christy Tick among them.

Did Sonny Black Scam the Bonanno Crime Family?

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In 1986, at the age of 71, Santo Trafficante faced the most formidable indictment of his life.

The reason, briefly, was Dominick"Sonny Black" Napolitano, a onetime Bonanno capo

The Feds wanted Santo Trafficante on a platter.

Operation Coldwater ran from 1979 to 1981 and was the FBI's attempt to infiltrate the Mafia then infesting Florida's Gulf Coast.  However, from its inception, the op's true goal was much more targeted in nature.

Galati Guilty; One Down, Two to Go

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The jurors deliberated for an hour on Monday and an additional three hours on Tuesday.

They were hung--hopelessly deadlocked. They said as much in a note to Judge Joseph Rodriguez.

Keep trying, he responded.

And, presto! Less than one hour later, the jurors reached a verdict and just... like... thatRonald Galati was found guilty on all counts in his murder-for-hire trial.

The man himself "sat stone-faced at the defense table," noted Philly.com, while the forewoman read the verdicts aloud in the courtroom.

Galati, 64, was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder for hire, murder for hire, and associated weapons charges.