One Story Gangland News Won't Write?

Jerry Capeci is either ignoring George Anastasia's reporting or he knows something that he's not directly reported about in the East Coast LCN Syndicate Case
Merlino was released on bail following "East Coast LCN Enterprise" indictment.

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.

By way of disclosure Capeci once dissed a short-format ebook I coauthored, deliberately mis-characterizing (in my view) and trivializing it. (I will state here categorically for anyone who cares: I am proud of Inside the Last Great Mafia Empire.) I note this simply to acknowledge it. You can determine if I wrote this due to that criticism. That sentiment, however, is delusional, and is as far from the truth as one can get.

The East Coast LCN Enterprise includes charges of racketeering conspiracy, conspiracy to commit assault in aid of racketeering, use of fire to commit a felony and firearms trafficking.

Merlino, 54, was arrested at his Florida home that morning.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York "offered a shopping list of crimes" in the indictment. The New York-based Genovese and Luchese crime families made up the bulk of the arrests, based on federal documents released to the media.

Identified as the supervisors of the illegal enterprise in the indictment are Merlino and two Genovese family capos, Bronx-based restaurateur Pasquale "Patsy" Parrello, 72, of Tuckahoe, and Eugene "Rooster" Onofrio, 74, of East Haven, Conn.

"The families allegedly formed an unusual alliance and joined forces or conducted overlapping business," CBS New York reported.

But the Merlino aspect seems to focus on guys who "Skinny Joey" apparently knocked around with in Florida, where he's lived since getting out of prison following 12 years of a 15-year sentence he was handed in 2001 for racketeering crimes.

These Florida guys include Bradley "Brad" Sirkin, 54, of Boca Raton, Carmine Gallo, 38, of Delray Beach, and Wayne Kreisberg, 39, of Parkland.

Gangland News is showing its hand, to an unprecedented degree, in its coverage of the East Coast LCN Enterprise Case. Now said coverage -- and Gangland News's reporting overall -- is exclusive, exacting and benchmark-setting; the stories well-written, the analyses incisive -- the site offers the "real news" behind the news. There's no doubt about it, Capeci is a great journalist who has great sources.

But he seems to have developed a bit of a blind spot when it comes to Philadelphia, failing to even acknowledge news that has been repeatedly reported by the other great mob reporter, George Anastasia, who covers the Philadelphia-New Jersey-based Cosa Nostra crime family. What is referenced here, specifically, is news regarding how the FBI's New York office operating alongside the "Sovereign District of New York" seemingly deliberately worked in isolation, rather than in tandem with law enforcement agencies in Florida and in Philadelphia.

Anastasia has the same kinds of inside sources that Capeci has; only Capeci seems to be holding to the party line in this instance, while Anastasia is "searching for the truth."

To wit, in yesterday's Gangland News column, Capeci wrote in the story headlined Judge To Patsy: You're A Danger; It's Back To The MCC For You:

The Genovese capo at the heart of an FBI sting that nailed 46 defendants tied to five crime families was kept behind bars as a danger to the community this week. At the same time, gangsters and other mob-connected figures around town are wondering if they're on the short list of names the feds are likely to add to the monstrous racketeering case....

Capeci still reports "five crime families,"  which is in line with what the East Coast LCN Enterprise indictment says:

The East Coast LCN Enterprise was in part composed of members and associates of the Genovese Organized Crime Family, the Gambino Organized Crime Family, the Luchese Organized Crime. Family, the Bonanno Organized Crime Family, and the Philadelphia Organized Crime Family (collectively, the Organized Crime Families) of a nationwide criminal organization known as La Cosa Nostra or the Mafia....

But in reality it names members and associates of four New York crime families. The Colombo crime family is absent -- as is the Philadelphia crime family. Merlino was the only "Philly guy" to be arrested.  And he wasn't even in Philadelphia during the raid.

As Anastasia, has written, on Gangland no less (and as we noted last month):

"In a strange twist ... federal authorities in New York who hit Skinny Joey last month with racketeering charges that carry up to 20 years in prison seem to have done a much bigger favor for Merlino's Philadelphia mob crew."
Despite federal documents that say the 54-year-old mob boss was working to put the Philadelphia crime organization back together while a long-running investigation was underway, and despite federal assertions that Philadelphia was one of the locations where criminal activity had been taking place, no one with ties to the Philadelphia crime family other than Merlino has been named in the four-count racketeering indictment handed up in August. As a result, some of Skinny Joey's top associates in the City of Brotherly Love are waiting for the other shoe to drop — not believing they have dodged a bullet. 
But if law enforcement sources in Philadelphia are correct, Joey's guys may have gotten a pass on this one.
What sources in Philadelphia — and also in Florida — tell Gang Land is that the New York FBI and the Manhattan U.S. Attorney's Office played the five-year investigation very close to the vest.
And that has not set well with the other jurisdictions. 
Only after the indictment was unsealed and arrests were made last month, said several sources, were investigators in Philadelphia given access to any of the secretly recorded conversations made by an FBI undercover agent and by mob associate John (J.R.) Rubeo, a top aide for Genovese capo Pasquale (Patsy) Parrello, who was cooperating with the FBI and who met frequently with Merlino in Florida and traveled with him to New York and New Jersey.

Anastasia this week followed up on his reporting regarding how the Southern District of New York has domineered and exploited the East Coast LCN Enterprise case, reporting on PhillyVoice that the genie has fled the bottle. This case is problematic now, due to infighting, rivalries, etc., and seems to be beyond the point of repair.
In fact, it seems like the SDNY would've been better off not naming Merlino in the East Coast indictment; they should've left him to the South Florida FBI and prosecutor's office, which has another developing, seemingly tighter case. (Merlino's associates -- you know, Brad, etc. -- were indicted again, a few days after the East Coast LCN Enterprise, over the healthcare fraud; Merlino wasn't part of that indictment.)

Maybe there will be superseding indictments that put skin on the bones of what is a skeletal document, particularly when it comes to “Skinny Joey.” 
Or maybe the indictment—and this is where the break for Merlino lies—was a rush job, one that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York insisted on bringing despite the objections of law enforcement agencies in Florida and in Philadelphia. ... 
Those other things include investigations into the current activities of Merlino’s top Philadelphia and South Jersey operatives, and a continuing look at four mob murders that authorities have long hoped to tie to the Merlino organization.
None of that, of course, matters to federal law enforcement officials in Manhattan where the current case was brought. And that’s the problem. There are those in the law enforcement community here and in Florida who will privately tell you that New York acted like the 500-pound gorilla in the current case. The feds in Manhattan forgot, or perhaps never learned, the lessons that are crucial in kindergarten. ...
But in this instance, it was the feds in New York freezing out their fellow federal agencies in two other jurisdictions. 

It was so bad, Anastasia reported, that when Genovese  associate John Rubeo arrived in Florida to speak with Skinny Joey. armed with a hungry body-wire, the FBI in New York didn't even tell the FBI's Miami office that a wired informant was recording an alleged Cosa Nostra boss on their turf!

And when it came time for the bail hearing, New York didn't fly any of its prosecutors or FBI agents down to Florida to press the judge to hold Merlino without bail, as Anastasia further noted.

Genovese crime family boss Barney Bellomo, left, wasn't touched in this case.

Merlino's two Florida associates, Sirkin and Kreisberg, were working in cahoots with Merlino in a medical insurance fraud case over compound lotion, which supposedly treats pain.
On PhillyVoice Anastasia further reported:

Compound creams have been described by insurance fraud publications as the “snake oil” of the 21st century. It’s a highly expensive snake oil... 
The scam, as outlined in other cases, involves bribes paid to doctors to write prescriptions for medical compound creams that a pharmaceutical company creates... The key is setting up and controlling the company that manufactures the cream. Authorities contend that Sirkin and Kreisberg did just that. 
The interesting thing about Sirkin and Kreisberg is that a few days after the New York indictment was made public, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Tampa announced that Sirkin, Kreisberg and five others had been indicted on insurance fraud and money-laundering charges in an elaborate compound cream scheme that generated $157 million in what authorities say were phony medical insurance reimbursements.

Returning to this week's Gangland News column (which ignored Anastasia's recent report entirely), we learn instead that:

Meanwhile, sources say there is some high anxiety in mob circles that there are more charges and arrests in the case to come. Several defendants, the sources say, fear they may soon face additional charges when federal prosecutors proceed with plans they stated last month to present "additional evidence to the Grand Jury." Prosecutors also vowed to seek "indictments against presently uncharged individuals."

Law enforcement sources tell Gang Land that prosecutors have enough evidence to charge "a dozen or more" suspects with fraud, money laundering, extortion and other crimes but declined to provide any specific timetable about the planned new charges. The sources say it's likely that the new charges will be part of a new indictment.

"The rumor is that the BOP has cleared out a whole floor for the new arrivals that they're expecting any day now," said one underworld source, using familiar shorthand for the Bureau of Prisons, which runs the two federal lockups in the city. For the record, five of the seven detained defendants — three are doing time for other convictions — are housed at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan; two are at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn.

No mention regarding the BOP in Florida. Or Philadelphia.

And whether this case overall does any truly lasting damage to the New York Mafia remains to be seen....

See East Coast LCN Enterprise indictment here