Lufthansa Case Collapses for the Feds

Vinny Asaro alone pays the piper.
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.

One source told us in an interesting conversation before he went off to serve time that the nickname "Papa Smurf" had been fabricated by the pederast informant himself. Carmine Fatico was occasionally called "Papa" and "Papa Bear" by those closest to him as a term of endearment and, apparently, the wired informer -- whose job was to deliberately engage "Papa" in arguments and physical confrontations to prompt him to issue incriminating threats -- thought he'd create a clever and insulting spin on it, the source said.

The Lufthansa case was so intriguing, recalling the film Goodfellas, complete with papparazzi films and photos of five different gangsters forced into the notorious "perp walk." Even the acting boss had been caught!

However, all along only one gangster was actually facing charges for the storied heist masterminded by the one and only James "Jimmy the Gent" Burke...

Scene from Goodfellas, in which the Lufthansa heist served
as a major plot point for the excellent film.
As a result of what can only be a lack of hard evidence ensuring draconian sentences four of the five Bonanno gangsters swept up in the January bust are negotiating plea deals to settle their cases, according to a Brooklyn federal court filing.

Vinny Asaro, the one who benefitted (though he'd consider that arguable) from the Lufthansa heist back in the 1970s will now face the music all alone. He will go on trial for a slew of raps including murder and racketeering in addition to Lufthansa. He faces life behind bars.

Vinny's son, Bonanno captain Jerome Asaro, 56, also faced life behind bars, but was able to plead guilty in Brooklyn Federal court yesterday (to digging up a years-buried corpse). He can get up to eight years, newspapers reported.

Lawyers for three of Asaro’s co-defendants — acting capo Jack Bonventre, soldier John Ragano and DiFiore — had been granted severance from charges related to the 1978 JFK robbery when a judge agreed it was too prejudicial and that the three had nothing to do with the crime.

They successfully had their cases severed from Asaro’s and are now hammering out deals, according to a filing by DiFiore’s ­attorney, Steve Zissou, the New York Post reported.

Vincent Asaro allegedly had a man suspected of being a stoolie killed in 1969 as a favor to Burke.


  1. Another good story. Feel I have been out of the loop with no information coming out. Thanks for keeping me updated,

  2. Considering Mr. Asaro has retained the best mob lawyer in NYC Gerald Mcmahon who won many cases for many wise guys in recent years along with weak evidence being presented by the feds, I would say there is a big chance vinny will be acquitted.

  3. The Gov getting sloppy they think they can throw any informant up there and half as facts and the jury will buy it them days are over my friends. Philly

  4. They have Vinny on tape complaining about Burke keeping everything and Lord knows what else. Vinny is fucked I think.

  5. If convicted, should we as observers expect him to flip?

  6. Doubt it. What can he give them. He's been out of the loop. Dominick Cicale who, according to Anthony DeStefano, was Vinnny Gorgeous's chief enforcer, rising from associate to capo in ..... five years? Said Asaro had been shelved and was not a factor. I don't believe they wanted Massino either so he had to give them something. Massino DIDN'T WANT TO GET ARRESTED, that was his fundamental strategy. He changed all the rules but still got caught. I believe--actually I know -- that Massino originated the order to take out Andres and he had to implicate Vinny on tape to win his seat. Vinny was fucked; he had to talk to Massino as the boss of the family. The feds used the Mafia's own rules against Vinny who was in a no win situation. When the boss rolls its fucked up to the marrow.


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