Implications of Recent "East Coast" Syndicate Case

Genovese crime family was a focal point of Recent East Coast Syndicate Case
The Chin's Triangle social club suffered the same fate as the Ravenite: gentrification.

"We got 30, 40 guys. Don't let anyone tell you that we're dead, 'cause we're here." 
--Genovese capo Alan "Baldy" Longo speaking in October 2000
with Michael "Cookie" D'Urso, a mob turncoat.....

Jerry Capeci of Gangland News discussed last month's bust of dozens of mobsters for large-scale racketeering conspiracy on an episode of MetroFocus hosted by PBS show producer William Jones.

Reputed members of an East Coast crime syndicate were charged in midsummer with racketeering, extortion, loansharking, gambling, credit card fraud and healthcare fraud. The indictment depicts an interesting version of how the New York Mafia seems to be evolving.

Though largely focused in New York, crimes alleged in the case also occurred in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Florida and New Jersey.

The MetroFocus episode commences with a clip from a two-year-old Vanity Fair-sponsored symposium (to the strains of The Godfather's iconic theme music) at which the U.S. Attorney for New York's Southern District, Preet Bharara, confirmed that the New York Mafia remains "a very serious force," though not as serious as it's been in the past.
Mobsters are committing lucrative white-collar crimes, which tend to carry less prison time than other, more traditional mob crimes, he noted.

Video of 2014 Vanity Fair Q&A with Preet Bharara

MetroFocus's host, Jones, then detailed the recent mob indictment that focused on four of New York's Five Families, plus reputed Philadelphia mob boss Joey Merlino and apparently his Florida crew (which includes a mobster with the unlikely nickname of "Brad." It was "Brad" we referred to in a recent remark about mob nicknames.)

This case is interesting because it brings the mob into new types of rackets, Capeci noted.

"Like Preet Bharara said two years ago, the mob will do whatever it can to make money," Capeci said. "And if they can move into new things, they definitely will. Most recently they're into this Medicare, healthcare fraud, which made them a lot of money."

"These are the guys Vincent the Chin Gigante founded. They are supposedly the number one. This is the first time any agent has gotten close to them..."    --Jerry Capeci

By getting doctors to write prescriptions for pain creams that cost maybe 3 dollars to manufacture, "they were getting reimbursed 200 to 300 dollars. There is a lot of money there for the mob to take a piece of. Anything they can take a piece of they will."

Jones noted that while not every page of the indictment was "a page-turner" it still generally "made for pretty compelling reading." Noting that the two key characters in the indictment are the undercover FBI agent and the turncoat informant, Jones asked Capeci what in the case most shocked him.

The answer: The FBI agent's ability to infiltrate the Genovese crime family.

"This is the Ivy League of organized crime, not the Colombo crime family, which is teetering right now."

"These are the guys Vincent the Chin Gigante founded. They are supposedly the number one. This is the first time any agent has gotten close to them. And he was close enough to two captains, where he was sitting down at the table tape-recording conversations along with a cooperating witness."

What about the slow death Omerta's been suffering the past several decades?

"That's a tremendous asset for law enforcement. Guys on the inside who can tell what happened are very important to have. In this case (the value of having an insider) was even doubled, (because they had) an agent who doesn't have the criminal baggage when he sits on the witness stand and testifies in court. He's a good guy from the get-go. He's much more important, I think, than just a cooperating witness."

Read: Path to WITSEC Built on Omerta's Dead

Geographically, "the hub" of this case is in New York City, though it's described as an "East Coast" syndicate that spanned from Massachusetts to South Florida. Ground zero, in any event, is Arthur Avenue's Pasquale's Rigoletto Restaurant, owned by Patsy Parrello, capo in the Genovese crime family.

"It's a good restaurant," Capeci said, located in a "great little Italian neighborhood" in the Bronx. "The food is pretty good. He used the restaurant for sitdowns, as well as informal meetings with some of his gangster friends."

 "There are a lot fewer major organized crime indictments than there once were, even three-four years ago."   --Capeci

What does the indictment say in terms of the Mafia as a priority for law enforcement?

"This is an effort by the federal government to show the Mafia, we're out there still, and going to arrest you if we can, but it's few and far between, these days," Capeci said through a chuckle. "There are a lot fewer major organized crime indictments than there once were, even three-four years ago."

The indictment may put away some of these mobsters for life. "How big a hit" is this case on the Mafia, Jones asked. "Are there others ready to step into the leadership roles if they're vacant?"

"This is a big hit, it's a good case and there will be other indictments, I'm sure. Everybody who's charged in this case is accused of racketeering, there are some others who are going to be charged with specific crimes. I think there will be some other people out there who will be interested in stepping into the shoes of people who will be going away for a long time -- less than there used to be, however, which is one of the things that has made the clout of the Mafia in New York and around the country much less than it used to be in recent years."

MetroFocus posted the slightly repetitively named episode, MAFIA: The Modern Mob, online.