Staluppi purchased land for strip club


A company managed by vehicle and yacht magnate John Staluppi, when described by the FBI as a member of the Colombo crime family members, purchased the Double D Ranch and Saloon site in 2013 and later transferred it to his son-in-law’s firm, an investigation...

A company managed by vehicle and yacht magnate John Staluppi, when described by the FBI as a member of the Colombo crime family members, purchased the Double D Ranch and Saloon site in 2013 and later transferred it to his son-in-law’s firm, an investigation by The Palm Beach Post has found. Staluppi’s company purchased the website for $1.9 million and sold it in May possibly to a firm owned by Scott Lizza. The buy was at least the second time Staluppi has ventured into the globe of adult entertainment in Palm Beach County in current years.

Billionaire Michael DeGroote's

Billionaire Michael DeGroote's casino dream turns into organized crime nightmare

Late Mafia godfather Vito Rizzuto muscles his way in on Caribbean gambling venture

By Zach Dubinsky, University     
 One of Canada's richest men, a philanthropist and an officer of the Order of Canada, poured $112 million US into a gambling venture headed by three businessmen with ties to organized crime, and is now locked in an international fight over Caribbean casinos with links to one of Canada's most feared Mafia clans.
Michael G. DeGroote, who has the business and medical schools at Hamilton's McMaster University named after him, and who has been lionized as a self-made billionaire philanthropist, lent the money to a trio of men from the Toronto area to create a chain of gaming facilities in Jamaica and the Dominican Republic.
By May 2012, the billionaire's total underwriting of the Caribbean operations stood at $111.9 million US. "I am not an owner of Dream. I am strictly a creditor," DeGroote later said in sworn testimony.
By their own account, the Carbones worked day and night to turn their newly acquired Dominican Republic casinos into a chain of glittering gaming houses worthy of Las Vegas. "A lot of hard work, lot of hours... leaving our families, seven days a week," Francesco Carbone said.
The Lamborghini-driving brothers threw promo events featuring models and Dominican celebrities, took out splashy newspaper ads and gave away cars.
And at first, Dream Group was making good on its loans.
But then, in May 2012, the payments to DeGroote stopped.
After a summer of haggling, in October, DeGroote sued to get access to the company's books and to get his money back, alleging the Carbones and Pajak had misappropriated portions of the funds. One judge ruled in November 2013 that DeGroote had established "a strong case" for fraud.
And as the lawsuit unfolded, so did the Carbones' and Pajak's history.
Handgun convictions
It turned out this was not the first time the Carbones had been sued over large debts. Before Dream Group, they ran a house-painting business and a cigar-importing company. Both were pursued by banks over unpaid loans, and both had receivers appointed who found serious flaws in the companies' books, according to court filings.
The provincial government had pursued them as well, raiding the cigar business in 2009 on suspicion it was underpaying tobacco tax. During the raid, police found two handguns — one in Antonio Carbone's filing cabinet, the other under Francesco Carbone's desk, loaded and with the serial number filed off.
The brothers pleaded guilty in July 2011 to illegal possession of firearms and were sentenced to 60 days in jail. In interviews with the CBC, they admitted it was a "terrible idea" to acquire the guns, but said they had received threats — five bullets in the mail and an accompanying note — and wanted to protect themselves and their families.
There is also evidence they were involved in a bookmaking operation linked to organized crime.
The Carbones deny it, but the investigation by CBC and the Globe and Mail found corporate filings from Panama, Costa Rica and Britain, as well as court and website records, which indicate the brothers were behind an online gambling website called Don Carbone Sportsbook and Casino, or DCSC.com. Banking records show they wired at least $245,000 from their tobacco company's bank account to DCSC in 2008.
Until it closed shop in 2010, DCSC was affiliated with a wider bookmaking network called Platinum Sportsbook, which police took down in February 2013 in a series of raids in southern Ontario. Investigators have publicly described Platinum as a joint undertaking of the Hells Angels and Italian Mafia.
As for Pajak, DeGroote has said he's been friends with the 62-year-old businessman for over 40 years.
Pajak has no criminal record, but four former investigators — two from the RCMP, two from Toronto police — said he has a history of association with known Mafia figures, with one of those investigators describing him as "a mob associate of the first degree."
In a secret recording filed in court by the Carbones as part of litigation over the Dream Group, he is heard saying that "I used to take care of all, a lot of the mob's money."
While DeGroote's legal battles with the Carbones progressed in the first half of 2013, other characters with a dubious past entered the fray.
In May of that year, DeGroote was visited by two men at his family's luxury condo in downtown Toronto.
One of them was Peter Shoniker, an outgoing, white-haired former Crown attorney who had been convicted of money laundering in 2006 after he became caught up in an RCMP sting. Shoniker had been hanging around the Dream Group's Toronto offices for most of the prior year, and came to believe the Carbones were swindling DeGroote.
Vito Rizzuto at Caribbean casino
On Aug. 14, 2013, a security camera at a Dream casino in Punta Cana filmed none other than Vito Rizzuto, once the most powerful mob boss in Canada. (CBC)
The other was a large, broad-chinned man introduced as Alexander Visser.
Unbeknownst to DeGroote, Visser had a long criminal history, amounting to more than 40 convictions in Canada for fraud, uttering threats and assault.
The justice system knows him as Zeljko Zderic, 44. But he also kept passports from various countries under the names Sasha Vujacic and Pavle Kolic, and had ties to a series of mobsters.
At the meeting, Visser made a stunning offer, according to secret audio recordings he made that have been filed in court by the Carbones.
He said he could get Dream employees in the Dominican Republic to sign affidavits claiming the Carbones had massively defrauded DeGroote, but for a price.
"You pay me half a million you're going to get all that. You have my word," Visser said. "I am going to make sure that the Carbones can't even sell chestnuts on the corner of the f—king street."
Initially, DeGroote objected, saying "I cannot buy evidence." But eventually he began negotiating over the asking price, according to the tapes.
They settled on $500,000 — $250,000 for Visser, and another $250,000 to pay the Dream employees' back wages. By the end of the meeting, however, DeGroote again had doubts and said he would first check with his lawyer.
The next day, he retracted the offer.
He nevertheless told Visser he would send him $150,000 with "no strings attached" for possible future help.
DeGroote declined to be interviewed by CBC and the Globe and Mail, but through his lawyers, he said the secret recordings were manipulation, created by "individuals with a long history of practising deceit."
He has also testified under oath that he never actually sent any money to Visser.
But he acknowledged that Visser did end up working for the Dream Group in the Dominican Republic.
Visser flew there in July 2013, and soon began making death threats against the Carbones and one of their associates.
Security footage from around that time shows him walking the floor of a Dream casino in Punta Cana. He's accompanied by none other than Vito Rizzuto, who until his death later that year was the godfather of the Montreal Mafia and one of the most powerful mobsters in Canada.
Rizzuto had a long history in the Dominican. For years, Canadian police compiled evidence that his Mafia clan was using the island to ship drugs to Canada. Testimony at Quebec's Charbonneau inquiry into municipal corruption revealed the godfather often went to the DR to golf and vacation.
The battle over Dream Casinos turned violent. On Dec. 19, 2013, armed men stormed the headquarters in Santo Domingo. Among those repelling the assault was Rizzuto associate Gianpietro Tiberio, seen here in blue delivering a blow.
The Carbones claim that this time, however, he was there as part of an effort by their partner Pajak to take over their company.
Starting that fall, Rizzuto began to have a series of meetings at the tony Casa de Campo community in the eastern Dominican, according to two sources who were present. The meetings were also attended by Visser and Dream Casinos president Pajak, the sources said.
Peter Shoniker, who had flown down to the country and partook in some of the gatherings, said that the men discussed what to do about Dream and the Carbones — and that he was astonished to discover at one discussion that the Mafia godfather would now have a substantial involvement in Dream.
"I recall Mr. Rizzuto saying that, you know, somebody's gotta get this all approved by Mike DeGroote. At which point in time Andy Pajak said, 'I speak for Mike DeGroote,' " he said.
"It was after that conversation that Mike DeGroote called me and said, 'Peter, what the hell is Vito Rizzuto doing involved in this?' I said, 'Why don't you ask your boy Pajak? He's staying at his house.' "
Through the fall, a number of Rizzuto henchmen showed up in the Caribbean.
They included Stacey Richard (Rick the Russian) Krolik, convicted in 2010 for his role in a Rizzuto clan online gambling operation, and Gianpietro Tiberio, who has no criminal record but was named in the Charbonneau commission as an "organized crime figure." Tiberio even attended court representing Dream Casinos and showed up at a radio interview about the company.
Tiberio's lawyer Franco Schiro called CBC News on Friday afternoon to say that while his client met Vito Rizzuto in the Dominican Republic, he was never an operative for the Rizzuto clan. Schiro added that Tiberio was doing legitimate business for Dream Casinos and that he acted as "a management consultant" and met "all sorts of people."
Back in Toronto, in November, Antonio Carbone got an ominous phone call, he claims.
"I was contacted by an individual to attend a meeting. The individual told me that Vito Rizzuto was in Toronto, and he needed to speak to me urgently, and it was in my best interest to meet with him," Carbone said in an interview.
The ensuing meeting was held at a steakhouse north of Toronto, Carbone claims. He maintains Pajak also attended, as well as a number of other Toronto-area men affiliated with Rizzuto.
"He was brought in to intimidate us. And when the time was right that we were putting up a fight, Rizzuto presented himself and told me to walk away, or else," Carbone says.
CBC asked DeGroote, the billionaire who had lent a fortune to the Dream venture, about the involvement of Rizzuto. His lawyer answered: "Mr. DeGroote has never met Mr. Rizzuto, has never spoken to him and has never had any association with him of any kind."
There were many signs by that Christmas of organized crime involvement in the Dream Casino business. DeGroote, however, continued to pour money in, lending a further $2.4 million in "emergency funding" to Dream, which two separate court-appointed supervisors have reported is in financial distress.
His lawyer said in a statement that DeGroote has never "been complicit in members of organized crime becoming involved in any of his business affairs."
The Carbones are adamant they will prevail in court, oust Pajak and retake control of the casinos.
They have also countersued DeGroote and Pajak, alleging a conspiracy to sabotage the Dream venture.
Sasha Visser remains a fugitive from Canadian justice and still has business in the Dominican Republic.
As for the billionaire investor, for his part, he rues ever advancing a single cent to the Caribbean endeavour.
In his only on-the-record statement about the Dream fiasco, issued through his lawyers, DeGroote said: "Frankly, I sincerely regret that I ever agreed to invest in this venture. Indeed, I am embarrassed by it."
His lawyers later added: "Mr. DeGroote is someone who has been wronged, rather than a wrongdoer."



Bad Dream The Casinos, the Mob and the Missing Millions

The Globe and MailPublished January 23 2015

It was a vision to cap a remarkable career. Deal-making smarts had taken Michael DeGroote from hardscrabble immigrant roots in Ontario farm country to the stature accorded a billionaire and benefactor par excellence.
His new venture, hatched in his late 70s, was to invest in Dream Corporation, whose partners were bent on founding a new Las Vegas in the Dominican Republic.
But those partners became more interested in squeezing each other out than in running the business. Things turned violent. Soon, Mr. DeGroote's millions were gone and his dream had turned into a nightmare.
By Greg McArthurPublished January 23 2015
When Michael DeGroote stepped up to the lectern at McMaster University last May 23, he cemented his position as one of Canada’s most generous philanthropists. In his distinct gravelly voice, the now 81-year-old billionaire, who made his fortune in trucking and waste management, announced to a graduating class of medical students that he was giving their school another $50-million – bringing his family’s total contributions to the Hamilton university to more than $175-million.
The surprise announcement sparked gasps, whistling and a standing ovation.
But at the same time as Mr. DeGroote was being heralded for his largesse, thousands of kilometres away another of his investments was caught up in an entirely different commotion: mounting evidence that the philanthropist had been defrauded, and an underworld war involving Canada’s most powerful and feared Mafia family.
In 2011, Mr. DeGroote served as the sole investor in a casino company trying to capture a swath of the gaming industry in the Dominican Republic. There were three owners of that company, Dream Corporation, and when relations between those three deteriorated, the Mafia inserted itself into the conflict, a joint investigation by The Globe and Mail and CBC’s the fifth estate has found.
This battle erupted in a number of ways, in the form of lawsuits filed in Ontario Superior Court and violence in the streets of Santo Domingo, the Dominican capital.
Video and audio evidence, as well as interviews, show that as the dispute escalated, Vito Rizzuto, the godfather of the Montreal Mafia, inserted himself into the affair, and members of his criminal network helped protect and manage the casino chain.
Mr. DeGroote, who responded to questions through his lawyers, said that he was not complicit in any way in the involvement of the Mafia into the dispute. And there is no suggestion he was.
The philanthropist has never had “any association of any kind” with Mr. Rizzuto, his lawyer William McDowell said in a Jan. 13 letter.
In 2012, Mr. DeGroote launched a lawsuit against the owners of Dream – brothers Antonio and Francesco Carbone, and Andrew Pajak – alleging they misappropriated portions of $112-million he lent for the acquisition of more than a dozen casinos, about 200 sports betting parlours and 1,100 lottery terminals. Several Ontario Superior Court judges have ruled in favour of Mr. DeGroote and the many motions he has filed as part of the suit. Mr. Justice Frank Newbould declared in November, 2013, that the trucking magnate has “established a strong case in fraud” against the Carbones and Mr. Pajak.
“Mr. DeGroote has been targeted by a series of unscrupulous people, as the court decisions reflect,” his lawyer said. “He has been the victim of wrongdoing at every stage of this matter.”
In a bid to demonstrate that they have been miscast as the villains in this plot, the Carbone brothers have mounted an aggressive defence. Armed with surreptitiously recorded audio, surveillance footage, e-mail and other documents, they’ve launched a scorched-earth litigation strategy. Two judges have deemed their recordings inadmissible and unreliable. Another has called them irrelevant to their defence of Mr. DeGroote’s claim of fraud.
Through interviews with a combination of sources – including organized-crime experts, individuals in the Dominican Republic, officials from Dream Corporation, and some criminals – The Globe and Mail and the CBC have corroborated key information contained in the recordings. What that information shows is the ways in which the Mafia exploits conflict, and how organized crime intersects with business.
The story of Dream Corporation is a complex case study in the power of capital and the perils of venturing into high-risk jurisdictions in search of profit. It is also a cautionary reminder that there is far more at stake in an investment than simply making or losing money.
The Dominican Republic has all the characteristics – lax regulations, poor law enforcement, corruptible public institutions – that make for a hazardous business environment. But the country, which shares an island with Haiti, has another distinct feature that renders the gambling industry that much more dangerous: a selection of Canadian Mafiosi who consider the Dominican a second home.
The Deal
“Whatever they’re telling you [inaudible], I raised all the capital.”— Andrew Pajak recorded by Boghos Alexanian
Part 2
The story of Dream Corporation starts with a wedding and a godfather – but not that kind of godfather. It was at the marriage of his goddaughter in the fall of 2010 that Mr. DeGroote ran into Andrew Pajak, a man he had called a friend for 40 years.
In the 1980s, when Mr. DeGroote was already a well-established titan of Canadian business, Mr. Pajak was a high-rolling real-estate developer who was married, at the time, to a former Miss Toronto.
But now, Mr. Pajak explained, he had moved into the gambling business. He was working for a gaming-technology company with two brothers, Francesco Carbone, who is now 47, and Antonio Carbone, now 39. The trio were manufacturing sleek, screen-based gaming machines designed to offer much more than the passé thrill of pulling a slot-machine handle.
The company had already identified an opportunity in Jamaica. A nightclub and gambling facility, the Vegas Flamingo, was on the cusp of opening in Montego Bay, and the Carbone-Pajak team was hoping to fill it with its machines.
After touring the trio’s Toronto-area office and visiting Jamaica with his chief financial adviser, Mr. DeGroote was convinced they were on to something; he provided their company with a $5-million loan on Dec. 1, 2010.
It was not uncharacteristic for Mr. DeGroote to latch onto shiny new investment opportunities. As Canadian Business magazine once put it, “DeGroote’s real love – and talent – is buying more companies.”
Mr. DeGroote, who emigrated from Belgium with his family as a teenager, dropped out of high school to work on tobacco farms in order to help support his family. In his 20s, he bought a small trucking outfit, Laidlaw Inc., which he gradually built into a $5-billion company with school-bus and waste-disposal operations as well as its original business. He sold his stake to Canadian Pacific in 1988 for $500-million.
Laidlaw itself, built by a string of acquisitions, illustrated Mr. DeGroote’s love of the deal. Over the decades, he has also sunk capital into the taxi industry, the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats, home-security systems, a trust company, car dealerships, and oil and gas exploration. He collects companies the way some people collect stamps. In a 1997 interview with the Financial Post, he compared his latest venture at the time to owning an animal. “I love it,” he said. “It’s great to have pets to play with.”
By the time the opportunity presented by Mr. Pajak and the Carbones came up, Mr. DeGroote might have been content to rest on his laurels. Long having resided in Bermuda, he had been made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1990 and, via his first large donation to McMaster, become the first person to put his name on a business school in Canada, in 1992. And he’d had headaches too: In 1993, he and others had paid $23-million to the Ontario Securities Commission to settle allegations of insider trading of Laidlaw shares. There was no admission of wrongdoing.
Yet Mr. DeGroote not only went for the gambling play in 2010; he quickly upped the ante. His initial returns were good, and he made further investments. The revenue reports he received from Jamaica showed that the machines generated profits of $1.7-million in their first four months of operation.
A little more than a month after the Vegas Flamingo opened, Mr. DeGroote and the trio turned their attention to the Dominican Republic, setting their sights on full-service casinos. Despite suffering from a chronic pain condition that he likens to “living in hell,” Mr. DeGroote braved the Dominican Republic’s notoriously dangerous and unmaintained roads in January, 2011, with Antonio Carbone to scout possible acquisitions.
Shortly after, the Carbones and Mr. Pajak formed the Dream Corporation and went on a shopping spree. They bought all kinds of casinos: beachside gambling houses that feature a few card games and a handful of slots, as well as full-sized casinos outfitted with all manner of wagering. All this was financed with Mr. DeGroote’s money, which he sent to the trio in instalments, in exchange for interest payments and a share of the profits.
 “I am not an owner of Dream. I'm strictly a creditor.”— Michael DeGroote cross-examination (p. 138)
The structure of the deal kept Mr. DeGroote at a distance from the company. Even though Mr. DeGroote was the sole investor, Mr. Pajak and the Carbones were the owners. “I am not an owner of Dream. I am strictly a creditor,” he would later say in a cross-examination.
Nevertheless, Mr. DeGroote was in dangerous territory. His money was being used to purchase assets from questionable businessmen. Among them was a Dominican national who had once been indicted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency for his alleged role in laundering the profits of a Mexican drug cartel.
Money laundering – taking the profits from crime and funnelling them through another business to make them appear legitimate – is rampant in the Dominican Republic. A year before the Carbones and Mr. Pajak began snatching up casinos, a U.S. State Department official warned that the country was stumbling toward narco-state status.
“Unless the country’s leaders show that crime is not profitable, real concerns exist that both security and democracy in the DR could be undermined as they were in Colombia,” wrote Richard Goughnour in a 2009 diplomatic note released by WikiLeaks. Mr. Goughnour cited the country’s casinos as “important vehicles” for this crime.
But the country’s reputation did not scare off the trio, whose Dominican acquisitions would be the start of something bigger. The ultimate goal of their blistering expansion, it seemed, was to create a Caribbean gaming empire and to take the company public.
The gaming world was unfamiliar ground for Mr. DeGroote, but he and Mr. Pajak had known each other for decades.
Law-enforcement officers had known him differently. Four former investigators – two with the Toronto Police Service and two from the RCMP – said in interviews that Mr. Pajak was known to police as someone who is close with mobsters. One of those sources called Mr. Pajak “a mob associate of the first degree.”
In a secretly recorded conversation that has been entered into the court record by the Carbones in response to Mr. DeGroote’s lawsuit, and obtained by The Globe and Mail and the CBC, Mr. Pajak was heard saying, “I arranged to take care of all – of a lot of – the Mob’s money, investments. Because I do everything straight.”
Mr. Pajak, who declined to respond to numerous requests for comment for this story, does not have a criminal record.
There is little on the public record that explains how Mr. Pajak and the billionaire became acquainted. In an examination-for-discovery proceeding, Mr. Pajak testified that he and Mr. DeGroote “go back a long way from the disposal business.”
One of the former investigators identified Mr. Pajak as an official with the Super Group, a onetime Toronto-based company whose waste-management wing, Super Disposal, was the subject of a sweeping organized-crime investigation in the early 1980s.
Super Disposal was described by prosecutors in 1982 as “one mass of criminal activity.” There is nothing on the public record to indicate that Mr. Pajak was implicated in that probe.
But Mr. Pajak was only one-third of Dream.
Very aggressive businessmen
“Because one thing – one thing you said right is they fight to the end. I am ready to fight to the end.”— Antonio Carbone
Part 3
Antonio Carbone speaks with a confidence that belies his background as a house painter. Often decked out in a trim suit set off by a hockey-puck-sized Louis Vuitton belt buckle, he paces while he speaks, draws out syllables for effect, and inserts dramatic pauses – often while he’s taking a long drag on the cigarette that seems permanently affixed between his fingers.
Francesco is less loquacious than his older brother. When he does speak, his tone is more measured.
Despite their differences in age and manner, the brothers tend to act in unison, sometimes finishing each other’s anecdotes.
They grew up in Woodbridge, a suburb north of Toronto, and have moved in lockstep throughout their working lives, moving from one industry to another. They started out with a house-painting business and then shifted to tobacco distribution. They sold their own brand of cigars and flavoured cigarillos under the name Don Carbone. They had only recently moved into slot-machine manufacturing when, with the backing of Mr. DeGroote, they became casino executives in 2011.
The brothers credit their smooth transition into the gaming business to two things: their work ethic and the example of Howard Hughes, whom Antonio idolizes and credits with cleaning up and corporatizing Las Vegas. “Our vision here was to create Las Vegas in the Caribbean,” Antonio Carbone said. “Brand-new facilities, proper uniforms, English-speaking dealers, English-speaking bartenders, the proper Las Vegas look and feel.”
“We bought 12 casinos in 13 months and refurbished them. I don’t think it’s ever been done in history,” he said. “Dream dominated the country overnight.”
But there is another factor besides ambition and vision that launched the Carbones into the casino business. Although neither man will admit it, they had recently run an online bookmaking service. The Carbones’ website, known as DCSC.com or the Don Carbone Sports Book and Casino, was once part of the Platinum Sportsbook group, a network of betting websites that was first linked to organized crime in a 2004 shooting and was eventually dismantled by police in 2013.


Storied Montreal mobster Richard Matticks, dead at 80, was a character in one of the biggest Quebec police scandals Add to ...


Tu Thanh Ha
The Globe and Mail
Richard Matticks, a storied Montreal mobster whose family name became synonymous with one of the biggest police scandals in Quebec history, has died.
Though his criminal record spans decades, Mr. Matticks and his brother, Gerald, became widely known to the public in the 1990s after a judge tossed out a major drug-trafficking case against them because the provincial police had tampered with the evidence. The ensuing uproar triggered a public inquiry and forced an overhaul of the Sûreté du Québec.
A standing-room-only crowd packed a church to bid farewell to the son of Canada's most powerful mobster. There was also a heavy police presence in Montreal's Little Italy as a funeral service was held for Nick Rizzuto.
Mr. Matticks died Wednesday morning in a Montreal hospital, a relative said. He was 80.
The cause of death wasn’t known, but his lawyer had told a court hearing in 1997 that he had heart problems and was checked for a recurrence of lung cancer.
Richard and Gerald were the most famous of the 14 Matticks siblings who grew up in Goose Village, a neighbourhood in blue-collar southwest Montreal.
In the 1970s, Richard, Gerald and two other brothers, Fred and Robert, were named by a public inquiry into organized crime as being the leaders of a crew that specialized in truck hijackings and bank heists.
The inquiry said they worked for the West End Gang, a mostly Anglo-Irish, loosely structured crime group.
By the 1990s, police alleged, the brothers had become leading figures in the gang and controlled the port of Montreal, enabling them to smuggle large shipments of illicit drugs that were resold to criminal organizations who could retail them on the streets.
In 2004, at age 70, Richard was alleged by police to be a drug trafficking kingpin, according to a court ruling.
Richard Matticks was born on April 7, 1934. He and his 13 siblings grew up in an eight-room slum apartment, according to D’Arcy O’Connor’s book, Montreal’s Irish mafia : the true story of the infamous West End Gang.
Their father worked a horse and buggy for the city of Montreal while their mother “spent most of her life pregnant,” according to a 1996 profile of Gerald in The Gazette.
The Matticks’ neighbourhood, at the foot of the Victoria Bridge, was an enclave of six streets populated mostly by Italian and Irish immigrants that was razed by the city in 1964.
By that time, the Matticks were already known as criminals.
Richard’s first appearance in a newspaper came in 1957 when he received a two-year sentence for stealing merchandise from trucks. In his book, Mr. O’Connor noted that Richard was arrested several times between 1963 and 1969, for theft, assault and possession of stolen goods, though he only got fines or short jail time.
“Richard apparently could not break the habit,” the book said. “In one month alone, between September 25 and and October 27, 1973, he and his brother Gerry were busted on 15 charges of truck hijacking, theft and possession of stolen goods, but again received only light sentences.”
Truck theft also featured in 1979 when the brothers came to the attention of the Quebec Police Commission’s inquiry into organized crime.
The inquiry heard testimony from former members of the Matticks crew who described how the gang stole televisions, liquor or jeans by hijacking semi-trailers or through burglary.
The crew had a locksmith, a safecracker and even a specialist in electronics who could disarm alarm systems, the inquiry said in a report that described how the brothers drove around in a Cadillac, looking for trailer rigs or warehouses they could rob.
They also held up banks and even set off makeshift bombs to confuse police during one heist.
The brothers’ proceeds were laundered by one Peter Ryan, the report said.
Peter (Dunie) Ryan was in fact the leader of the West End Gang.
He eventually shifted the gang’s activities into the more lucrative business of cocaine trafficking. After he was murdered in 1984, Mr. Ryan was succeeded by Allan (The Weasel) Ross, who was arrested in Florida and received three concurrent life sentences for drug trafficking.
Around the time Mr. Ross was sentenced, in the summer of 1992, Richard and Gerald were in Montreal, pleading guilty to stealing $150,000 in merchandise from a trailer-rig. They each received a 90-day sentence to be served on weekends.
Within two years, the brothers were involved in more ambitious projects, police alleged.
At the end of April 1994, a sharp-eyed customs agent spotted something suspicious in the paperwork for the Thor I, a Norwegian-flagged freighter that was sailing from South Africa to Montreal.
The customs agent noticed that some containers aboard the Thor I were destined for what appeared to be bogus shipping companies.
He alerted police, who intercepted a total of 26.5 tonnes of hashish as it arrived in the Port of Montreal.
When investigators went to the address for one of the suspicious shipping companies, they found an apartment that was empty, except for a phone. Police couldn’t even find fingerprints.
The janitor told police that a man came each month to pay the rent in cash. Shown photos of suspects, he identified the renter as Richard Matticks.
Investigators next arrested an import-export broker who had inquired about the shipment, Pierre Friedman. He said he had been hired by Gerald Matticks and agreed to cooperate with police.
Wearing a hidden microphone, Mr. Friedman met Gerald to talk about the shipments and claimed that he was worried about the police.
According to court testimony, Gerald went inside his office, then came out with Richard, who was holding a bag. They took out two wads of dollar bills, $10,000 in total, and handed them to Mr. Friedman.
The next day, the SQ arrested the brothers and announced that the force had struck a major blow against the West End Gang and its control of the Montreal waterfront.
Within a month, however, the case began to unravel.
First, the Crown was told that the janitor now said he had lied to police and could no longer provide a positive identification of Richard.
Then, as the brothers’ lawyers sifted through the documents that were seized by police, they found signs that someone had planted incriminating faxes.
The brothers were released and the provincial police was in turmoil for the following three years as it dealt with the fallouts of what became known as the Matticks affair.
By then, a bloody turf war had erupted between Quebec’s two main biker groups, the Hells Angels and the upstart Rock Machine.
The brothers did business with both sides. Gerry was convicted for dealing drugs with the Hells Angels while Richard pleaded guilty in 1997 to selling cocaine to the Rock Machine.
Gerald, who was present when Richard was sentenced in 1997, maintained that his older brother was innocent.
“The only coke my brother touches is Diet Coke,” he told a Gazette reporter.
“He shouldn’t have gotten nothing, no time in prison.” Instead, Richard had to serve his full three-year sentence because the parole board found he made no effort while behind bars to show that he would change his ways.
Though he didn’t face further criminal charges, Richard still made cameo appearances in recent judicial proceedings.
In 2004, in an operation code-named Relève, the SQ targeted him as a drug trafficking kingpin, according to a 2008 court judgment in Sherbrooke.
Two years later, he was mentioned in a 2006 decision by Quebec’s liquor-licensing board when it revoked the permit of a Montreal bar, the Do Drop In.
Richard was a regular patron at the Do Drop In, even getting personal calls from the bar telephone, the board said in a judgment that described the bar as a violent, troubled establishment where people got beat up, a man was shot dead outside and a pitbull roamed freely.
The brothers’ names then resurfaced in 2013, in the New York court case against Jimmy Cournoyer, a Quebecker accused of importing a billion dollars’ worth of marijuana into the United States.
The prosecution filed a long list of people alleged to be “co-conspirators” of Mr. Cournoyer. These included Gerald, his son, Donald, and Richard.


Italian police smash mafia drug ring



Rome police have seized more then 600 kilograms of cocaine and hashish and arrested dozens of suspected members of the infamous 'Ndrangheta clan. The organization has tried to monopolize drug trade in Rome, said police.
Over 30 alleged mobsters have been arrested in a crackdown on one of the most powerful clans of the Italian mafia on Tuesday. The alleged representatives of the 'Ndrangheta crime syndicate were in direct contact with Moroccan and Colombian cartels, and had attempted to take control of Rome's cocaine trade, police sources said.
In addition to the narcotics which were seized on Tuesday, police said they had documented the trafficking of another 1,500 kilograms of cocaine and hashish (about 3,300 pounds). Police also seized an arsenal of weapons.
"They have a presence in Rome. We can't yet say they made it a base but it is no less dangerous for that," Rome prosecutor Michele Prestipino told a press conference.
'The strongest' global traffickers
'Ndrangheta is regarded by some as the most powerful Mafia organization in Italy, controlling most of Europe's cocaine trade. Although still based in the poor region of Calabria, the "toe" of the Italian boot-shaped peninsula, the crime syndicate has been increasing its activity in Rome and northern Italy, thus reaching the areas where the influence of the Mafia is traditionally weaker.
"The 'Ndrangheta considers Rome an integral part of its criminal project. Some members have said: 'Rome is the future,'" Prestipino told reporters. "The Rome marketplace is strategic and helps the clans accumulate criminal and economic power."
The crime syndicate has also made significant moves to increase its influence in northern Europe, Latin America and the United States. In 2012, former police chief Antonio Manganelli described the Calabrian mob as "the strongest" global drug trafficker.
Aiming for monopoly
As a part of its push to take over the drug market in Rome, the gang arranged a hit on a rival mob boss two years ago. After the alleged assassins were discovered, one of them provided information vital to Tuesday's arrests, Prestipino said.
The gang's ambition was to establish itself "as the broker for the other criminal groups operating in the same territory," according to the police sources.
The Sicilian Mafia, long considered the most influential crime organization in Italy, has suffered heavy blows by the police and the prosecutors in the past two decades. At the same time, the 'Ndrangheta has grown in strength by becoming one of Europe's biggest cocaine importers.

The name 'Ndrangheta comes from the Greek word for courage or loyalty, and prospective members are required to take an elaborate oath in order to join the organization.

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