Informant From John Gotti's Old Bergin Hunt And Fish Crew Wins Retrial In 2001 Mob-Linked Hit

As "shocking" as some may find it, Anthony Moscatiello had been a long-time FBI informant since he was indicted on racketeering and drug charges, along with nine other Gambino crime family members. (This is the same indictment that put Gene Gotti away for 30 years.) This came out on Gang Land News and in the murder trial in Florida in 2006.

Moscatiello (top), Ferrari (left), Fiorillo were arrested for the Boulis slaying.

Speaking of Gene and John Gotti, a member of the old Ozone Park Bergin Hunt and Fish crew is getting a new trial in the mob-connected 2001 slaying of a Florida businessman in a power struggle over a lucrative fleet of gambling ships.

Florida's 4th District Court of Appeal ruled that Anthony (Big Tony) Moscatiello and co-defendant Anthony (Little Tony) Ferrari should get new trials — they were both serving life sentences.

Moscatiello and Ferrari initially faced the death penalty for the 2001 whacking of Konstantinos “Gus” Boulis, the founder of Miami Subs.

A third co-defendant, James “Pudgy” Fiorillo, also faced execution, but flipped, pleaded guilty in 2012 to conspiracy, and cooperated with prosecutors during the trial. Today’s he’s a free man. Both Moscatiello and Ferrari were convicted in a second trial — the initial 2013 trial in Broward County ended in a mistrial.

Moscatiello took care of real estate and insurance for the Gotti crew when their headquarters was the Bergin Hunt And Fish Club in Ozone Park and the Dapper Don was an acting capo, Gang Land News has reported.

Big Tony’s strongest claim to Gambino fame arrived in 1992 when he and Gotti were  heard on a 10-year-old recording. Apparently Johnny Boy set a National Public Radio record for saying “fuck,” as per Gang Land News.

Big Tony had leased a car from John Gotti and had taken too long to return a phone call, in John Gotti’s opinion. (Leased a car from John Gotti?)

As per the transcript of the call (from Gang Land News):

“Hi buddy,” Moscatiello cheerfully.

“Buddy my fucking balls! What, I got to reach out for you three days in a-fucking advance?”

“Pal, my wife just called me."

“You know, let me tell you something. I, I got, I need an example. Don’t you be the fucking example. Do you understand me?”

“Listen John …”

You listen. I called your fucking house five times yesterday. Now if you’re going to disregard my motherfucking phone calls, I’ll blow you and that fucking house up.

“I never disregard anything you …”

“This is not a fucking game … my time is valuable … if I ever hear anybody else calls you and you respond within five days, I’ll fucking kill you ...”

John Gotti definitely would’ve fucking killed him if he’d known that, in addition to tardiness, Big Tony was guilty of an additional grievance:  he was a fucking FBI fucking informant for fucking years.

As "shocking" as some may find it, the Miami Herald reported in 2006 that Moscatiello had been a long-time FBI informant. Moscatiello became an FBI informant shortly after he was indicted on racketeering and drug charges, along with nine other Gambino crime family members.

Cover page of indictment in Gene Gotti/Angelo Ruggiero etc. case.

Reportedly at the time of Boulis's murder, Moscatiello was still acting as an informant on local mobsters. Shortly after Boulis's murder, he was said to have stopped cooperating entirely.

Peter (Bud) Zuccaro, a long-time mob informant — testifying under the pseudonym Nick DiMaggio — said that under Gambino crime family rules, it was out of bounds to kill for money — what about that other rule, bud, the one about not flipping? Hits were acceptable only for reasons of “principle,” he added. He testified that he was insulted when Moscatiello asked him to whack Gus Boulis in late 2000 or early 2001.

“In my prior life, you didn’t kill people for money. If it was principle, you killed people. I didn’t kill people for money. Principle, yes. Money, no,” Zuccaro testified. “If it would have been for the family and it would have been over principle, I wouldn’t have been insulted.”

On February 6, 2001, Boulis was ambushed in downtown Fort Lauderdale. The feds identified the shooter as John “J.J.” Gurino, another Gambino associate whom Zuccaro described as his best friend. Gurino was himself later shot to death by a Boca Raton deli owner.

Zuccaro has been a government informant since May 2005 and has seven felony convictions. He testified under “extraordinary security.” Several federal agents were inside the courtroom, and photographing or videotaping Bud was expressly banned. It wasn’t revealed why such extensive precautions were implemented nor why he had testified under a pseudonym. Zuccaro had testified on numerous occasions in New York in trials involving the Gambino crime family using his real name.

Under cross-examination, Zuccaro said that, as per his deal for a reduced sentence, he had pleaded guilty to two murders, money laundering, marijuana-dealing conspiracy, and a host of other crimes, including heroin dealing, assaults, and truck hijackings dating back to the 1970s. He served about eight years in prison ultimately.

“When I was in that life, I was in that life thoroughly. I was no good,” he said. “I did a lot of bad things. Very bad things.”

He said the meeting in which the Boulis murder came up took place at Moscatiello’s home in Howard Beach, New York.

Boulis was killed in a struggle for control of the SunCruz Casinos gambling fleet, which he had recently sold to New York businessman Adam Kidan and Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Moscatiello had known Kidan for years, while Ferrari had owned lucrative contracts with the new SunCruz owners.

Moscatiello said that the orders to kill Boulis had come from higher-ups in the Gambino crime family and that the money was coming from Kidan, as per Zuccaro’s testimony.

“He explained to me that it come from the top. The guy (Boulis) was making a lot of problems with the gambling in South Florida,” Zuccaro testified. “There was a lot of money at stake. They needed this guy taken care of right away.”

Kidan was not charged in the Boulis slaying, but he served federal prison time as did Abramoff, over fraud linked to their $147.5 million purchase of SunCruz.

Gurino never said anything about any involvement in the Boulis killing, as per testimony by Zaccaro, though Gurino had sent him a newspaper article about the murder.

“I said to myself, ‘There’s going to be a lot of problems.”

The Florida businessman was gunned down in his car months after selling the casino cruise line.

Konstantinos “Gus” Boulis was killed on a Fort Lauderdale street on Feb. 6, 2001. Two of the three men charged had been hired as consultants by Adam Kidan, one of Abramoff’s partners in the SunCruz Casinos venture.

Moscatiello was arrested in Queens, N.Y. and Ferrari in Miami Beach. Both were charged with murder, conspiracy and solicitation to commit murder. Fiorillo was arrested in Palm Coast, Fla. and charged with murder and conspiracy.

Boulis, millionaire founder of the Miami Subs sandwich chain (the Florida-based restaurants are now called Miami Subs Grill) sold SunCruz to Abramoff and Kidan in September 2000, when Abramoff was one of Washington’s most powerful lobbyists. Abramoff and Kidan were indicted on charges of wire fraud and conspiracy in connection with a $60 million loan they obtained to purchase the casino company.

Abramoff was at the center of a federal investigation into lobbying for Indian tribes and influence-peddling in Washington. Abramoff used contacts with GOP Reps. Tom DeLay (Tex.) and Robert W. Ney (Ohio) and their staffs as he worked to land the SunCruz deal, according to court records.

Dealings between Boulis and the Abramoff group were often tense. At key points in the negotiations, Ney placed comments in the Congressional Record — first sharply criticizing Boulis and later praising the new ownership under Kidan. Ney later said he had been unaware of Kidan’s background.

Also during the negotiations, Abramoff brought a lender he was trying to impress to hobnob with DeLay in Abramoff’s FedEx Field skybox at a Redskins-Cowboys game. DeLay has said he does not remember meeting the lender.

After the sale, the friction led to a December 2000 fistfight between Kidan and Boulis, who had remained as a minority partner. Kidan told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that Boulis had said, “I’m not going to sue you, I’m going to kill you.” Kidan said that SunCruz thereafter barred Boulis from its casino boats.

The 4th District Court of Appeal ruled that a statement was improperly admitted as evidence linking Moscatiello to the alleged hit man. Moscatiello, 79, has been serving a life sentence, imposed in 2015, but now will get a new trial.

Boulis founded the Miami Subs restaurant chain and owned the SunCruz Casinos gambling ships, which became the focus of the struggle that led to his killing on Feb. 6, 2001.

That day, Boulis was in his car in downtown Fort Lauderdale when cars blocked him, in both the front and back. Purported hit man John “J.J.” Gurino fired the fatal shots from a black Mustang that had pulled up to the driver’s side.

In 2006, Circuit Judge Stephen Rapp reduced the sentence of the man who killed Gurino, Ralph Liotta, from 15 to 12 years after hearing testimony that the man Liotta killed may have been Boulis's hit man. That was further proof of how dangerous Gurino was, and why Liotta was justifiably afraid of him, Liotto's attorney, Doug Duncan, argued.

Liotta was convicted of manslaughter with a firearm, which carried a sentence of 12 1/2 to 30 years in prison.

Judge Rapp didn't specifically mention the possible Gurino-Boulis connection in his sentence reduction order, but he said that "additional support has come to light which supports the fact that the victim was, in fact, a violent person."

Liotta shot Gurino four times inside Liotta's Corner Deli in October 2003. Gurino had boasted of being connected to the late Mafia boss John Gotti, claimed he beat a murder rap in New York by threatening a witness and continually threatened Liotta, even vowing to have him raped in front of his family, according to trial testimony. Liotta borrowed $26,000 from Gurino to open his deli, and hadn't repaid the debt.

After Boulis was gunned down, homicided detectives investigated payments made to Moscatiello, his daughter, and Ferrari in the months before the killing. SunCruz paid $145,000 to Moscatiello and his daughter for catering, consulting and “site inspections,” Kidan said in a 2001 civil court deposition. The checks to Jennifer Moscatiello were made at Anthony Moscatiello’s instruction, although his daughter provided no services for the money, Kidan said in his deposition.

Moscatiello was indicted on federal heroin-trafficking charges in 1983 along with Gene Gotti, brother of John Gotti, then head of the Gambino family. Gene Gotti and several others were sent to prison, but the charges against Moscatiello were later dropped.

Kidan met Moscatiello in 1990 while he was running New York City’s Best Bagels in the Hamptons and Moscatiello was running a catering hall. Moscatiello provided Kidan advice on running the business. Kidan said in a deposition that he was unaware of Moscatiello’s 1983 indictment or his affiliations with the Gottis.

SunCruz also paid a company called Moon Over Miami Beach Inc. $95,000 for surveillance services in 2001. Ferrari is a principal in Moon Over Miami Beach. Ferrari and several associates also reportedly received $10,000 in SunCruz casino chips.

Kidan has denied that the SunCruz payments to Moscatiello and Ferrari had anything to do with the slaying. In 2001, he told the Miami Herald: “If I’m going to pay to have Gus killed, am I going to be writing checks to the killers? I don’t think so. Why would I leave a paper trail?”

Ferrari also was convicted and is serving a life sentence. A third conspirator, James “Pudgy” Fiorillo, pleaded guilty and testified for prosecutors after serving more than six years behind bars.

The appeals court found that a statement attributed to Gurino — “I got the work from Moscatiello” — was improperly admitted because it came second-hand from a dead man. The witness said he was told that by Gurino himself, but by the time of the trial, Gurino was long gone, killed in a 2003 shooting during a dispute with a Boca Raton delicatessen owner.

Moscatiello denied any role. “I truly am sorry about what happened to Gus, but I assure you I had nothing to do with it,” he told Boulis’ family at his sentencing.

Prosecutors, who had sought the death penalty for Moscatiello, did not immediately comment.

According to trial testimony, Kidan was paying Moscatiello and Ferrari thousands of dollars each month to handle security and other services — and that the payments would have ended if Boulis regained control.

The judges noted that the Gurino statement was central to the prosecution case, and many other witnesses had questionable backgrounds or had been given favorable plea deals before testifying against Moscatiello.

“Given the substantial issues of credibility of all of the major witnesses in the case, we cannot say that the state has shown beyond a reasonable doubt that the error in admitting Gurino’s statement was harmless,” the court found.

“We are mindful that there is plenty of evidence of Moscatiello’s guilt. But our (Florida) Supreme Court has consistently stated that overwhelming evidence is not the test, particularly where the erroneously admitted evidence becomes a focal point of the trial,” the judges added.

Ferrari also gets a new trial because the judge improperly allowed the jury to hear cellphone evidence that was obtained without a warrant. The appeals court also determined that prosecutors had failed to share relevant evidence with the defense about secret recordings made to implicate a co-defendant in the case.

Buy me a coffee
Buy Ed Scarpo a coffee