Showing posts from October, 2016

There's Value in a College Education, Even for Members of the Mafia

First revise "You will earn more if you go to college," a universal American adage proclaims.
It now seems to hold true for more types of people than most of you would likely expect. Specifically, some British and American academics include Mafia members in that category.
A recent research paper titled Returns to education in criminal organizations: Did going to college help Michael Corleone? was issued by University of Essex and University of California at Merced researchers who parsed 1940 United States Census data and FBI information to compare more than 700 mobsters with non-affiliated Italian-American men from the same locals. Among their key findings: Mafiosi tend to have less college but ultimately wind up worth more than non-connected college-graduates (at least from the 1930s to the 1960s, which is the time period the research focused on. Also, the initial report (see below) reveals the FBN, not the FBI, as the law enforcement agency that provided data.)
Read about t…

How Cleveland Police Cracked Murder Tied to Heiress, Mafia & Hells Angels

The following article is drawn from the newly published book Badge 387: The Story of Jim Simone by Robert Sberna (See Rob's blog at

In general, mob guys don’t take on civilians as partners in crime. 

Ordinary citizens can’t be trusted to keep quiet. When it comes to police interrogations, they are untested entities. They are likely to fold under pressure by expert interviewers.

And when civilians do get into bed with the Mafia, it’s likely they will be taken for their money. After all, who are they going to complain to? Not the police.

In a convoluted murder case from the 1980s, Lola Toney learned the hard way that crime should be left to the experts. Toney became entangled with a Cleveland mobster when her mother-in-law, Dimple Podborny, asked for help in killing her wealthy husband, Henry.

One Story Gangland News Won't Write?

Who would dare write a critical word about Jerry Capeci?

The longtime, distinguished Gangland News scribe "made his bones"sneaking into Carlo Gambino's funeral, the only reporter able to cop such an inside view of the secret society, and, it could be said, he's been off and running ever since, quickly building up a network of sources and providing unprecedented insight into the American Mafia.

The  “East Coast LCN Enterprise”  case -- the fictional name was  created as a handle for an assortment of mobsters allegedly working together on an opportunistic basis -- landed with a colossal thud this past Aug. 4. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York unveiled the indictment, which depicts a seemingly immense, sprawling collaboration involving four of New York's Five Families: the Gambino, Genovese, Luchese, and Bonannos -- and Philadelphia.

Did New York Plot To Hit Philly Bosses Ligambi, Borgesi, Mazzone?

Does the Mafia learn from its mistakes? Whether it does or doesn't, it appears it is greed that wins in the end. New York's greed once destroyed the Philadelphia Cosa Nostra. But based on court testimony, the New York Mafia in fact was so greedy, it appeared willing to commit a very similar move against Philadelphia in the late 1990s by wiping out Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi, probably the best boss to arise in Philadelphia since Angelo Bruno. Nevertheless he was slated for death along with his underboss and consiglieri...

The March 1980 murder of mob boss Angelo Bruno shattered what had been for two decades a peacefully run, highly profitable criminal syndicate based in South Philadelphia.

The crime family had operations in the City of Brotherly Love's metropolitan areas, as well as in the Delaware Valley, Southeastern Pennsylvania, and in New Jersey, especially South Jersey.

Cipollini's LUCKY Graphic Novel Emphasizes True in "True Crime"

Christian Cipollini, the award-winning author of three true-crime books, has broken new ground with his latest effort, which revisits a somewhat familiar topic: Salvatore Lucania -- that's Charlie "Lucky" Luciano to you.

Cipollini is a standout in the Mafia-based true-crime genre. In addition to authoring three books -- Lucky Luciano: Mysterious Tales of a Gangland LegendMurder Inc. and Diary of a Motor City Hit Man -- he's appeared on several high-profile television shows, including the Biography Channel's Gangsters: America's Most Evil and the History Channel's United Stuff of America (in addition to also serving as a consultant/producer for National Geographic's critically acclaimed series, DRUGS, INC.)

Most recently, he appeared at the Las Vegas Mob Museum to discuss the Mafia's pre-WWII hit squad known as Murder Incorporated (the topic of his most-recent book for the Strategic Media label). He's also a Real Crime Magazine contributor.

Kenji: Gambino Drug Trafficker Tried to Wangle Clinton's Pardon

This story is from Kenji Gallo's Breakshot Blog -- posted this past Sunday, it's titled Clinton Pay for Play with the Gambinos:
So much is in the news about the presidential race, most of which is blasting Trump. One can easily forget that the Clintons have been enriching themselves at our expense for decades.

The big question is how Rosario “Sal” Gambino, a convicted heroin trafficker and a member of La Cosa Nostra - who with his brothers flooded the streets of America with over 600 million dollars in heroin, got on the pardon list in the last days of Bill Clinton's Presidency?

Boston-area Editors Cite Mobster's Case While Seeking Ex-Speaker's Release

Do the right thing -- free Sal DiMasi, proclaimed the Lowell Sun's editorial, which was published online yesterday.

The editorial weighs Salvatore F. "Sal" DiMasi's crimes against those of legendary former Patriarca crime family underboss Gennaro "Jerry" Angiulo, who operated with his brothers a highly profitable gambling and loansharking operation. The vast revenue-spawning operation formed part of the bedrock foundation of the New England mob's empire.

Based in Boston's North End on the aptly named Prince Street, the Angiulo brothers ran their empire enjoying insulation from the probing eyes of law enforcement for decades. (How? By bribing cops and elected officials.)

Gomorrah Author Saviano Marks 10th Year in Protective Custody (Sort Of)

In October 2006, precisely 10 years ago yesterday, Roberto Saviano, the award-winning Italian writer who lives under police protection, received the phone call that changed his life.

Saviano's widely lauded Gomorrah was issued earlier that year in his homeland by Mondadori, one of Italy's top publishing houses. (It wouldn't be available in the U.S. until 2008.) It was the source material for an acclaimed film, an award-winning play and a television series in production today.

The Camorra, the Mafia in Naples -- the inner working of which Saviano's book had laid bare --initially chose to ignore the writer, reportedly under the belief that simply shooting him dead in the street wasn't worth the heat from both law enforcement and the media, which are feared equally in Italy, unlike in the U.S. But Saviano's influence continued to grow, which stimulated, then fed the Neapolitan Mafia's anger.

Violi's Revenge? Rizzuto Allies Whacked...

An alleged Montreal Mafia member was shot to death last night.

Vincenzo Spagnolo, 65, a Vito Rizzuto loyalist who served as a consigliere of sorts, was gunned down at his Laval home. The shooting appears to be linked to a "settling of accounts" within the Mafia, Sgt. Audrey-Anne Bilodeau told one newspaper.

Laval Police were called to the house, on Antoine-Forestier Street after reports of gunfire had reached law enforcement.

Shooting Brooklyn: Indy Filmmakers Ready Debut of Mob Web Series

Video added We support the independent authors, writers, artists, designers, filmmakers, etc., who create the stories and images that move us. Today, the Internet's DIY emphasis has stimulated the growth of new storytelling formats including ebooks, YouTube videos and podcasts, in addition to the traditional mainstays of stage, screen and T.V.
And despite all the critics and industry prognosticators ever seeking to raise the bar as high as possible, at any given time a self published ebook or podcast or whatever may debut, gain traction and rocket to success, or become an underground classic or even a masterpiece. 
You'll notice that the independent film the following  story details may gain distribution at one of the many film festivals -- but even if it doesn't, the filmmakers can still distribute the finished property. Emboldened by this artistic sentiment, contributor Nick Christophers, aka "Nicky Packs," (though I still call him Nicky Vegas) offers the follow…

Feds Delete Colombo Capo's Decisive Role in Civil Rights Murder Probe

The Justice Department recently closed a decades-long, multi-pronged investigation into the 1964 murders of three civil rights volunteers in Mississippi by members of the Ku Klux Klan.

On June 21 that state's Attorney General, James Hood, held a press conference during which he said, "I am convinced that during the last 52 years, investigators have done everything possible under the law to find those responsible and hold them accountable .... we have determined that there is no likelihood of any additional convictions. Absent any new information presented to the F.B.I. or my office, this case will be closed."

The Justice Department's report to the Mississippi AG on the final investigation into the June 21, 1964 murders of Michael Schwerner, 24, and Andrew Goodman, 20, both white New Yorkers, and James Chaney, 21, a black Mississippian, is 48 pages long and includes not one reference to Colombo crime family captain/high-echelon informant Gregory Scarpa.

Italy's "Gomorrah" a Mob Tale Writ Large

Robert Saviano'sGomorrah correctly depicts the Camorra — Italy's Neapolitan Mafia — as having a horizontal structure. This simple fact plays a key role in the plot machinations of the television show.
The Camorra, established in Campania and Naples, may be older and even larger than Italy's other Mafias, with its roots possibly dating back to the 16th century.
The vertical Cosa Nostra (the Sicilian Mafia and the proper name of America's Mafia) is run by bosses with a hierarchy in place. There's a "commission" to help, literally, organize crime, specifically, inter-family criminal activity so wars don't break out. It was quite effective, in America, anyway.

An Ex-Corrections Officer Is a Bonanno Associate?

A Brooklyn judge rejected Bonanno crime family associate Ronald "Monkey Man" Filocomo’s compassionate release request, as was recently reported.

Filocomo, in above pic, was a participant in the 1981 execution of former Bonanno crime family capo Dominick "Sonny Black" Napolitano. Monkey Man pleaded guilty to racketeering and is serving a 20-year sentence.

His effort would've shaved time off the remaining four years in prison he faces. However, Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis, ever wise to the way of the wiseguy, reviewed Filocomo's medical problems,determined that they were not terminal, and denied the motion.

As noted in numerous reports on this story, Filocomo can never become a full-fledged member of any Mafia family for the simple reason that he is a former corrections officer.

The Mafia doesn't induct men with law enforcement backgrounds, including ex-corrections officers. In fact, it is surprising that they'd even take one on in an associate c…

Major Witness To Testify Today as Montreal Mafia Probe Inches Onward

Project Mastiff, a lengthy drug trafficking investigation that ensnared Montreal Mafia boss Leonardo Rizzuto and around 40 others, who were arrested last November, is slated to inch forward in the courtroom today, with the scheduled debut of a key anonymous witness.
The witness sparked the investigation into alleged drug trafficking ties between the Montreal Cosa Nostra clan, the Hells Angels MC and various street gangs, the Montreal Gazettereported.

Rizzuto was identified by law enforcement as one of two bosses of the Montreal Mafia family previously run by his father, Vito, who died in December 2013. Leonardo was arrested on Nov. 19 as part of Projects Magot and Mastiff, a joint investigation into drug trafficking in the city.

The Last Word on Kitty Genovese and the Mafia Crime Family...

One night in 1990s Kew Gardens, Queens, we parked on a side street and headed towards the bar up the block on the brightly lit main street.

At some point en route, we left the sidewalk and were walking through a parking lot, which at that hour of the night was nearly deserted, when Karen, my girlfriend at the time, told me, in her usual matter of fact tone, that "Kitty Genovese was murdered around here."

And that stopped me -- or rather, us -- in my tracks (we'd been holding hands at the moment).

To this day, whenever I recall that night, I get the chills. That brief moment in my life, coupled with the facts of the murder as originally (and ultimately incorrectly) reported were ingrained in my memory. I can still visualize the parking lot's pinkish-colored night sky (the color owing to the gleam of the streetlights?), almost sense that foreboding, seemingly solidified silence, as if a herculean dome had been placed over Kew Gardens.

Truth be told, while we certainly…

Updating Earlier Reports on Carmine Agnello, Gotti Grandson

In a previous story, we incorrectly noted that Victoria Gotti's ex-husband, Carmine Agnello, was is in jail pending a racketeering case.

That's not the case, as a Gotti spokesperson icily remarked in a Facebook message.

Agnello is out on a $100,000 personal bond, which a Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court judge set. Agnello also was to wear an ankle monitoring bracelet.

Agnello is charged with running a $3 million scrap metal scam out of his Cleveland auto body and salvage yard.

One report raised the question of whether Agnello was following a common practice in the scrap recycling business. In the story, Cleveland 19 noted that it had submitted to Cuyahoga County video of what may be evidence of another scrap yard doing something similar to what Agnello is accused of doing.