One of Sampson’s campaign donors is a mob associate


By Aaron Short and Bruce Golding

At least one major contributor doesn’t care that Brooklyn state Sen. John Sampson is running for re-election while facing corruption charges — a former legal client with ties to the mob, The Post has learned.
Election records show the pol’s dwindling list of donors includes reputed Gambino crime-family associate George Fortunato, who last month gave $10,500.
According to the Democrat’s latest campaign filing, the Brooklyn businessman provided more than 90 percent of the funds raised between July 15 and Aug. 4.
The next-largest contribution — $500 — was from lobbyist Stacey Rowland, who joined Sampson on a 2011 junket to South Korea.
Sampson described Fortunato, 72, as a “close family friend” and declined to comment further. Campaign treasurer Bernard Alter said Sampson had solicited the contribution.
“He’s a nice guy. He likes the senator. Thank God,” Alter said of Fortunato.
Sampson is also under indictment in Brooklyn federal court, where he’s charged with a litany of crimes, including allegedly embezzling $440,000.
Fortunato, of Mill Basin, has been a Sampson supporter since at least 1999.
Sampson was his defense lawyer after he was busted on hate-crime charges in a 2003 attack on a Chinese woman in a Queens restaurant. Fortunato’s wife, Jackie, and a daughter, Annamarie, were also arrested.
Charges against Annamarie were dropped. George and Jackie pleaded guilty to assault in a deal that spared them prison in exchange for taking racial-sensitivity and anger-management classes.
Also in 2003, Fortunato was identified as an unindicted co-conspirator in an extortion plot that figured in the racketeering trial of ex-Gambino boss Peter Gotti.
Law-enforcement sources said he is considered a “dormant” Gambino associate and not under investigation.
Fortunato didn’t return requests for comment.









Mobster arrested

Mobster arrested
Local media sources have reported that reputed mobster Daniel Pagano, 61, of Ramapo, was arrested on racketeering and conspiracy charges related to loan sharking and gambling. His alleged associate Michael Palazzolo was also arrested.
The Journal News said prosecutors indicated Pagano is a captain or “capo” in the nationwide Genovese crime family. He allegedly runs operations in the Hudson Valley, paying money made from the area to leaders of the organization.
Pagano has had numerous brushes with the law, including a 1998 tax conviction for gasoline bootlegging and another gambling and loan sharking arrest in 1990, which led to three years in state prison.
In his early days of crime, Pagano was accused of doing shady business and dealing drugs with Al Sharpton. Prosecutors accused Pagano of using a Sharpton-affiliated charity’s bank account to launder money



Reputed top mobster from Ramapo arrested
Steve Lieberman
A reputed top-ranking mob figure from Ramapo was arrested Thursday on conspiracy charges involving loan sharking and illegal gambling.
Daniel Pagano, 61, the son of the late reputed mob boss Joseph Pagano, was arrested at his home in Ramapo by detectives with the Rockland District Attorney's Office and the FBI. An alleged associate, Michael Palazzolo, 49, was also arrested.
Both men are accused of participating in a racketeering conspiracy. Palazzolo is also charged with conspiracy to commit extortion.
Pagano's attorney, Murray Richman of the Bronx, declined to comment on the charges but said Pagano pleaded not guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court before Magistrate Sarah Netburn. He said Pagano planned to put up his house on Cherry Lane in Airmont as collateral for bail under an arrangement with prosecutors.
Pagano was identified by prosecutors as a captain in the Genovese crime family. As a capo, Pagano ran a crew and paid money from the gambling operation to the leaders of the crime organization, they said.
The indictment accuses Pagano and Palazzolo of participating in a conspiracy involving gambling and using threats and extortion to collect money from gamblers.
Pagano faces a potential prison term of 20 years, while Palazzolo faces up to 40 years.
Rockland District Attorney Thomas Zugibe said his office's organized crime unit led by Detective Lt. William Michella began looking into Pagano in 2009 with eavesdropping warrants and obtained enough evidence to bring in the FBI in 2010.
Zugibe said the indictment potentially delivers a "significant blow to the Genovese crime family"– named for the late mobster and heroin dealer Vito Genovese.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: "Just as they have for decades, members of La Cosa Nostra... continue to use muscle and intimidation to threaten and extort New Yorkers." He said the indictment shows the mob cannot "operate with impunity."
"You may bully your way into financial gain but ultimately you will pay the price," Bharara said.
This is not Pagano's first brush with the law. He was sentenced to nearly nine years in federal prison after being convicted in 1998 of leading a tax scam related to bootleg gasoline sales involving Russian mob figures.
He also served three years in New York state prison from 1990 to 1993 for gambling and loan sharking.
Back in 1983, Pagano was accused of being involved with the Rev. Al Sharpton in business dealings and drugs. Sharpton has repeatedly denied the allegations.
Pagano's father-in-law, Vincent DeVito, was shot dead in 2003 in the backyard of his Airmont house. DeVito had been tied to the robbery of $100,000 and jewelry from a millionaire businessman living in Piermont. No one has been arrested in DeVito's killing.



Two Men Sentenced to Prison, Third Pleads Guilty in Racketeering Conspiracy and Illegal Online Gambling Enterprise


Written by FBI Newark Office

NEWARK, NJ—An Ocean County, New Jersey, man who is a reputed associate of the Genovese Crime Family was sentenced today to prison for his role in a racketeering conspiracy and tax evasion conspiracy, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced. Also today, a New York man was sentenced to prison and a Hudson County, New Jersey, man pleaded guilty in connection their respective parts in the scheme.
John Breheney, a/k/a “Fu,” 49, of Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey, was sentenced to 38 months in prison. He previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Claire C. Cecchi, who imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court, to an information charging him with conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations, or RICO, statute by participating in the activities of the Genovese Crime Family of La Cosa Nostra through a pattern of racketeering activity and through the collection of unlawful debt. He also pleaded guilty to tax evasion.
Patsy Pirozzi, 75, of Suffern, New York, was also sentenced today to 22 months in prison. Pirozzi previously pleaded guilty before Judge Cecchi to an information charging him with conspiracy to violate the RICO statute.
And Eric Patten 37, of Bayonne, New Jersey, pleaded guilty today before Judge Cecchi to an information charging him with conspiracy to violate the RICO statute.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Joseph Lascala, 80, of Monroe, New Jersey, was the alleged “capo” and a made member of the Genovese family operating in northern New Jersey. He directed the criminal activities of a smaller group of associates, referred to as a crew, whose activities included illegal gambling and the collection of unlawful debt.
Joseph Graziano, 77, of Springfield, New Jersey, was the principal owner of Beteagle.com, a website located in Costa Rica and used to facilitate illegal online sports betting. Dominick J. Barone, 44, also of Springfield, New Jersey, worked with Graziano in carrying out the daily activities of the website. Both men conspired with the Genovese Crime Family of La Cosa Nostra in the operation of Beteagle. Graziano and Barone pleaded guilty on July 29, 2014, to their roles in the racketeering conspiracy, each admitting that they were associates of the Genovese Crime Family. Beteagle, through the individuals that owned, operated, and controlled it, was a “criminal enterprise” that operated in interstate and foreign commerce.
Lascala’s organized crime crew and the criminal enterprise joined forces to allow traditional organized crime members and associates to use the Internet and current technology to conduct traditional organized crime by engaging in and profiting from illegal sports betting through the website. Associates of the crew were given access to Beteagle and were considered “agents.” Before the advent of computerized betting, these agents would have been referred to as “bookmakers” or “bookies.” The agents had the ability to track the “sub-agents,” or bookies, under them and the wagers placed by their bettors. The agent or sub-agent maintained a group of bettors (the “package”) and were responsible for those bettors.
To place bets online, the agent or sub-agent issued the bettor a username and password to access Beteagle. This access was not given online and no money or credits were made or transferred through the website. Associates of the crew paid out winnings or collected losses in person. If a bettor failed to pay his gambling losses, the crew used their LCN status and threats of violence to collect on these debts.
The agent or sub-agent paid a fee to the website for each bettor added to a package. Barone and others made weekly collections of cash in furtherance of the scheme.
Breheney, Pirozzi and Patten each pleaded guilty to being associates of and conspiring with the Genovese crime family.
Mark Sanzo, Robert Scerbo, William Bruder, Michael O’Donnell, Graziano, Barone, Salvatore Turchio, 48, of Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey and Jose Gotay, 76, New Milford, New Jersey have also pleaded guilty to their role in this racketeering conspiracy and await sentencing.
As to the remaining defendants, the charges and allegations contained in a criminal complaint sworn in May 2012 are merely accusations and they are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
In addition to the prison terms, Judge Cecchi sentenced Breheney three years of supervised release, fined him $16,000 and ordered him to pay forfeiture of $400,000. Pirozzi was also sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay forfeiture of $31,400.
The conspiracy count to which Patten pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential punishment of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 3, 2014.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford in Newark; the Bayonne Police Department, Special Investigations Unit, under the direction of Chief Drew Niekrasz; IRS-Criminal Investigation under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Jonathan D. Larsen; the N.J. State Police, under the direction of Superintendent Rick Fuentes; and the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Acting Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty pleas.
The government is represented by Assistant United States Attorneys Serina M. Vash and Anthony Moscato of the New Jersey U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.
14-281
Defense counsel:
•           Breheney: Anthony J. Pope Jr. Esq., Newark
•           Pirozzi: Michael D’Alessio Jr. Esq., Roseland, New Jersey

•           Patten: Alan Dexter Bowman Esq., Newark


Bayonne man pleads guilty to alleged online gambling scheme with Genovese crime family

Eric Patten, 37, of Bayonne, is one of over a dozen New Jerseyans being prosecuted for his association with the Italian Mafia’s illegal online gambling website “Beteagle,”  U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman announced.

By Kate Mosso
In U.S. District Court, Beteagle was shown to be a vehicle for racketeering activities including illegal online sports betting, unlawful collection of a debt and tax evasion. Court documents allege that the man behind it all was Genovese Crime Family member “Capo” Joseph Lascara, 80, of Monroe.
“To place bets online, the agent or sub-agent issued the bettor a username and password to access Beteagle. This access was not given online and no money or credits were made or transferred through the website. Associates of the crew paid out winnings or collected losses in person. If a bettor failed to pay his gambling losses, the crew used their LCN status and threats of violence to collect on these debts,” said the U.S. Department of Justice, when describing how Beteagle operated.
Tuesday in Newark Federal Court, Patten and two other men plead guilty to conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) statute by being associates of, and conspiring with, the Genovese Crime Family.
Patten faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine and is scheduled to be sentenced on December 3.
The Bayonne man joins 9 other New Jersey residents who are also awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to their roles in the same conspiracy.




Bayonne man pleads guilty to conspiring with the Genovese crime family in internet gambling


A Bayonne man pleaded guilty today to being an associate of and conspiring with the Genovese crime family in connection to a federal online betting ring probe, and two others were sentenced after pleading guilty to the same offense, officials said.
Eric Patten, 37, of Bayonne, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO Act) and will face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 when sentenced on Dec. 3, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
The organized crime crew and the criminal enterprise joined forces to allow organized crime members and associates to use the Internet to engaging in and profiting from illegal sports betting through the Beteagle website, according to court statements and documents.
Of the 14 people originally charged in the probe in May of 2012, seven have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing. Charges against the others are still pending, officials said.
John Breheney, 49, of Little Egg Harbor, was sentenced to 38 months in prison today in connection to beteagle.com for conspiracy to violate the Rico Act by participating in the activities of the Genovese Crime Family through a pattern of racketeering activity and through the collection of unlawful debt. He also pleaded guilty to tax evasion, officials said.
Patsy Pirozzi, 75, of Suffern, New York, was sentenced to 22 months in prison today in connection to the website after having pleaded guilty to violating the RICO Act, officials said.
Last week, Bayonne residents Mark A. Sanzo, 56; Robert J. Scerbo, 56, and William A. Bruder, 44, pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy in connection to the Beteagle.com probe, officials said.
Associates of the crew were given access to Beteagle and were considered “agents.” Before computerized betting, they would have known as “bookmakers” or “bookies.” Agents or sub-agents maintained a group of bettors and to place bets, the agent or sub-agent issued the bettor a username and password for the website, according to court statements and documents.
No money or credits were made or transferred through the website. Associates of the crew paid out winnings or collected losses in person. If a bettor failed to pay his gambling losses, the crew used their organized crime status and threats of violence to collect on these debts, according to court statements and documents.


Two alleged Jersey mobsters sentenced for role in online sports betting operation



NEWARK — It was a high-tech offshore sports betting operation run by a bunch of alleged old school Jersey wiseguys.
Today, two men tied to the scheme — 75-year-old "Uncle Patsy," aka Pat Pirozzi, and 49-year-old John Breheney, better known as "Johnny Fugazi" or "Fu" — were sentenced in Newark federal court for their role in the sophisticated, mob-backed internet gambling scheme based out of Costa Rica.
And a third individual, Eric Patten, 37, of Bayonne, pleaded guilty to conspiracy.
The three were among 13 arrested in May 2012 in what federal prosecutors called a multi-million-dollar sports betting ring out of northern New Jersey involving the Genovese crime family.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the operation was headed by Joseph "Pepe" Lascala, 80, of Monroe, the alleged "capo" and a made member of the Genovese family. The group took sports bets through a password-protected website called Beteagle.com, principally owned by Joseph Graziano, 77, of Springfield.
"You’re in the wrong business now, you know?" Graziano remarked on one surveillance recording included in the original criminal complaint. "You should be in the sports business. ... They’re gonna build it up to, like, (expletive) no end."
Those running the operation were given access to Beteagle. Known as "agents" of the betting operation, prosecutors said they were essentially bookies, with a stable of bettors who were able to place their wagers online.
But the group — with alleged nicknames that included "Frankie the Flea," "The Worm" and "Harpo" — depended on old-fashioned mob muscle to go after those who failed to pay their gambling losses, charging high interest and using threats to collect debts incurred on events like pro football games.
In one meeting, also captured on surveillance tape, Breheney spoke with an informant about one individual who owed money.
"There’s no escape routes here," he said, according to the 2012 criminal complaint. "The only thing you can do is pay the money. ... These are gangsters."
Graziano has already pleaded guilty to his role in the operation, as have seven others, who are all awaiting sentencing. Lascala is still awaiting trial.
Law enforcement officials said the mob has increasingly looked to expand its reach with the internet.
"While traditional organized crime has been severely diminished by law enforcement efforts, there are still pockets of activity to be rooted out," said U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman. "In just the past week, nine defendants have either pleaded guilty or been sentenced in this scheme, which married new technology to an old school, illegal sports gambling operation. Whether you track the bets with a notebook and pencil or a smartphone and laptop, bookmaking is still illegal."
Two years ago, 20 people — including alleged associates of the Gambino crime family — were charged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Connecticut in connection with an illegal internet sports bookmaking operation known as 44wager.com, also based in Costa Rica.
GETTING STARTED
In 2009, New York authorities busted up an alleged half-billion-dollar internet betting ring, with indictments against 30 suspects — some also tied to the Gambino crime family. The off-shore sports betting operation took in an average of $20 million a month from more than 8,000 gamblers, officials reported.
And last year, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan charged 34 people with alleged ties to Russian organized crime with operating an international bookmaking organization that laundered tens of millions of dollars from Russia and Ukraine through Cyprus and into the U.S.
The New Jersey gambling operation was lucrative, court filings indicated.
In the surveillance recordings, Graziano bragged about his net take out of the Costa Rica operation.
"I got 49 people. ... These kids get two thousand each," he said. "If at the end of the year I can make two million and I gotta give away, like four or five hundred (expletive), that’s a million and a half, you know. My money."
But Breheney, further down in the food chain, saw a lot less. According to the court filings, he complained about his obligation to "kick up" money to Pepe Lascala.
'THE RIGHT-HAND MAN'
"I got obligations," he told an informant, according to a surveillance recording. "I gotta give Pep money every week. I give him part of my business."
Breheney, of Little Egg Harbor, pleaded guilty last October to racketeering conspiracy by participating in the activities of the Genovese crime family, and tax evasion. In a proceeding today before U.S. District Judge Claire Cecchi in Newark, he was sentenced to 38 months in prison and a $16,000 fine and forfeited $400,000.
Pirozzi, of Suffern, N.Y., identified in the criminal complaint as "the right-hand man" to Lascala, pleaded guilty in October to racketeering conspiracy charges. He was sentenced to 22 months in prison.
Attorneys for the two did not return calls for comment.
Patten faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced in December.