Frank Calabrese Sr.: Chicago-Area Mob Hitman's Jewelry Stash Up For Auction

CHICAGO — Jewelry collectors who don't mind if their gems have a shady past will soon get the chance to bid on a stash of valuables found in the home of reputed mobster Frank Calabrese Sr.

Federal agents raided Calabrese's home in the Chicago suburb of Oak Brook two years ago and found a hoard of jewelry, guns and cash in a secret compartment behind a family portrait.

Now, the Chicago Sun-Times ( ) reports an online auction house in Texas plans to sell the items, which are valued at more than $500,000 and include more than 250 loose diamonds, earrings, engagement rings, luxury watches and other jewelry.

"He's got lots of diamonds," said Bob Sheehan, owner of the Gaston & Sheehan, which will hold the online public auction July 10-24.

Calabrese is currently behind bars. He was one of several reputed mobsters convicted in 2009 in a racketeering conspiracy that included 18 decades-old murders. He was blamed for 13, sentenced to life in prison and ordered to pay more than $24 million. The auction proceeds will go toward that restitution.

During his trial, Calabrese bragged that he made millions on the street and was known among his family for stashing valuables. It isn't clear where Calabrese got all of the jewelry. Defense attorney Joseph Lopez described Calabrese – who accepted items in lieu of cash while doing business as a loan shark – as "a collector."

Next month's auction is the second sale of items from Calabrese's home. Last year, Gaston & Sheehan sold more than 100 rare $500 and $1,000 bills from Calabrese's stash. According to court records, that sale brought in $245,860.

Neptune man faces five years in prison after racketeering plea

Neptune man faces five years in prison after racketeering plea

A 33-year-old Neptune man pleaded guilty today to a racketeering charge in connection with a case involving the Bloods, the Lucchese organized crime family and a state corrections officer who were smuggling drugs and cellphones into prison, authorities said.

Dwayne Spears, 33, entered the guilty plea in state Superior Court, Morris County.

Spears’ brother — a leader of the Nine Trey Gangsters set of the Bloods — and an East Jersey State Prison corrections officer formed an alliance with a member of the Lucchese crime family and with a Bonnano crime family associate linked to the Lucchese crime family through marriage, according to a prepared statement from the state Attorney General’s Office.

Spears admitted he received money from the Bonnano crime family associate to acquire drugs and prepaid cellphones and then gave those items to the guard so he could smuggle them into the prison in the Avenel section of Woodbridge. The drugs and phones were then distributed to inmates who had placed orders through Spears’ brother, authorities said. The state will recommend a five-year prison term at Spears’ Aug. 3 sentencing

'Unstoppable' spread of Calabria's 'ndrangheta mafia sees outposts established in UK and Ireland

The seemingly unstoppable spread of Italy's most powerful organised crime group has now seen it establish outposts in the UK and Ireland, according to anti-mafia judges.

Fuelled by its control of a €27 billion-a year-cocaine business, the 'ndrangheta mafia, with its roots in the southern Italian region of Calabria, has begun to colonise London and Dublin, warn the Reggio Calabria magistrates in key reports.

The documents, including the 'Crimine' and 'Crimine 2' probes into 'ndrangheta activity, reveal the astonishing extent to which the crime cartel has established itself around Europe.

In London, the Aracri and Fazzari clans are thought to be active in the money laundering, catering and drug trafficking. The level of the activity in the UK and Ireland is low relative to continental Europe. But given the group's ruthlessness and ambition, few experts doubt that its presence in the British Isles will increase as it has in other European countries.

Earlier this year, authorities in the south of France warned that the notoriously violent group, which sprang to public attention following the internecine murders of six members outside a pizza restaurant in Duisberg, Germany, 2007, was colonising France's Cote d'Azur, with bases in Marseilles, Monte Carlo, Nice and Menton. 'ndrangheta activity in Barcelona has also risen significantly

"They control territory with extortion and intimidation as they do in Calabria or the urban outskirts of Milan, demanding protection money - and not only from Italian ex-pats," said Michele Prestipino, an anti-mafia prosecutor from Reggio Calabria.

"'ndrangheta is everywhere," the super-grass Luigi Bonaventura, said yesterday in a video interview with La Repubblica. "You only need two to three people to form a cell." Once the number of local mobsters reaches 50, the cell becomes a "locale".

"In Germany they have dozens of locali," Bonaventura said. "In Holland and Belgium they control the ports, in the Cote d'Azur they control the hotels, in Bulgaria investments in the tourist sector on the Black Sea, in the Balkans they control the drug routes."

Other informants have revealed how the crime syndicate is skilled at forming alliances with existing criminal groups before going on to exploit them. This cunning has been credited in a recent report by the Dutch police warning that over twenty senior 'ndrangheta figures and hundreds of their associates are now successfully trading in arms and drugs with authorities virtually unaware of their existence.

The lack of special anti-mafia laws outside of Italy make the rest of Europe fertile ground for 'ndrangheta clans. In Italy, convicted mobsters face long stretches in solitary confinement. And members can be jailed under the catch-all crime of "mafia association". This is not the case outside Italy.

Some observers have even noted how Germany, the biggest 'ndrangheta stronghold outside Italy, has assumed its increasingly familiar role of subsidising the activity of more workshy southern Europeans. The wives of jailed 'ndrangheta mobsters in Germany get state unemployment benefits of €365 a month. "And they don't even have to pay their rent. How is that possible?" said Vito Giudicepietro, a local union representative in the German town of Singen, which saw a huge influx of southern Italians in the late 1950s.

According to Magistrate Prestipino, the lack of anti-mafia laws "is the biggest obstacle". "In Europe, the institutions have trouble understanding the dangers of organised crime clans and their ability to intimidate," he told La Repubblica.

Former Colombo crime family boss, Tommy Shots, denied bail in Brooklyn Federal Court

Tommy Shots’ luck may have run out after a Brooklyn judge shot down his request Friday to be released on bail — and suggested the mob boss may die behind bars.

Thomas (Tommy Shots) Gioeli, 59, who once ran the Colombo crime family, stunningly beat the rap last month on six gangland murders, including the death of a city cop. But Gioeli is still facing 20 years in prison for racketeering counts.

Gioeli sought a taste of freedom before getting shipped to the Big House in three months by citing a string of medical ailments, including diabetes and high blood pressure, and contending he has been treated improperly at his current detention center.

To win that argument, Gioeli had to show that he’s not a flight risk, demonstrate that he poses no danger to the community and prove that “exceptional reasons” exist to justify bail.

Instead, he completely struck out: “I don’t think he met the burden on any of those,” Judge Brian Cogan said during a brief hearing at Brooklyn Federal Court. “He’s facing a sentence that could put him in jail for the rest of his life.”

The judge added that he hopes Gioeli won’t meet his maker in prison.

Tommy Shots’ wife and daughters shook their heads in disappointment as the ruling was declared. On the other side of the gallery, relatives of Carmine (The Gorilla) Gargano, whose grisly death was recounted during Gioeli’s trial, deliberately clapped in the Gioeli’s direction, eliciting icy stares.

DeLeo Crew Member Sentenced to 70 Months in Prison

BOSTON—An Arkansas man was sentenced to 70 months in prison after pleading guilty to a racketeering conspiracy charge.

On June 15, 2012, U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock sentenced George Wylie Thompson, 66, of Cabot, Arkansas, to 70 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. On June 14, Thompson pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the RICO statute for his role in providing firearms, a silencer, and ammunition to those involved in a criminal enterprise.

Thompson was a member of the DeLeo Crew, headed by Ralph F. DeLeo, the former “street boss” of the Colombo Family of La Cosa Nostra. Based in Somerville, Massachusetts, the DeLeo Crew was a criminal enterprise that engaged in the importation, trafficking, and distribution of narcotics and controlled substances, including marijuana, extortion, and loan sharking. The DeLeo Crew operated principally in Massachusetts, Arkansas, Florida, and New York.

La Cosa Nostra, also known as the “mafia,” is a criminal organization that operates in various parts of the United States and Canada through entities known as “families.” The five most powerful families of LCN are based in New York City. The Colombo Family is one of those five families. The DeLeo Crew was a separate entity from the Colombo Family. DeLeo used the criminal activities of the DeLeo Crew to increase and maintain his status in the Colombo Family.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation-Boston Field Division, made the announcement. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy E. Moran and Laura Kaplan of Ortiz’s Organized Crime Strike Force Unit.

Obama pick for NLRB was top lawyer for union tainted by mob ties, history of corruption

Shown here is NLRB member Richard Griffin, Jr., right. At left are Colombo family boss Joel Cacace, top, and Gambino family member Andrew Merola.

The rap sheet for members of the International Union of Operating Engineers reads like something out of "Goodfellas."

Embezzlement. Wire fraud. Bribery. That's just scratching the surface of crimes committed by the IUOE ranks. And it is from this union that President Obama earlier this year picked one of his latest appointees to the National Labor Relations Board, the federal agency tasked with resolving labor disputes between unions and management.

That recess appointee, Richard Griffin, was former general counsel for the 400,000-member union of heavy equipment operators -- a union tainted over the years by mob connections and a history of corruption.

Public documents obtained by Fox News show that more than 60 IUOE members have been arrested, indicted or jailed in the last decade on charges that include labor racketeering, extortion, criminal enterprise, bodily harm and workplace sabotage.

In some of the more egregious examples, federal prosecutors alleged in February 2003 that the Genovese and Colombo crime families wrested control of two IUOE locals, and stole $3.6 million from major New York area construction projects -- including the Museum of Modern Art and minor league baseball stadiums for the Yankees and Mets in Staten and Coney Islands.

Congress and the American public may never know whether Griffin's fiduciary responsibilities as general counsel were compromised by the avalanche of arrests, indictments and prosecutions of IUOE members. Griffin did not respond to Fox News' request for an interview. Before joining the NLRB, he served in various positions at the IUOE dating back to 1983.

But records indicate he did not take an active role in representing any of the accused union members in criminal matters while he was general counsel for the union.

In at least one case during Griffin's tenure, the IUOE national headquarters placed a local that had run afoul of the law into trusteeship. But it remains unclear what other firewalls, if any, Griffin erected to separate the national union from its corrupt locals, or how he dealt with individual local union members who were in legal trouble.

On April 9, 2008, a dozen high-ranking members of an IUOE local in Buffalo, N.Y., were arrested for damaging more than 40 pieces of heavy machinery at construction sites where non-union workers were hired. They poured sand into oil systems, and cut tires and fuel lines. They also ran the license plate numbers of victims through a state database to get personal information including the names and addresses of victims' wives.

Among the individual union members and associates prosecuted in various investigations were:

Andrew Merola, a high-ranking member of the Gambino crime family who, in 2010, admitted to committing nine different acts of racketeering, including wire fraud involving a no-show/low-show job he got as an operating engineer for local 825 of the IUOE.

James Roemer, a former treasurer of Operating Engineers local 14, who was sentenced in September 2003 to 41 months imprisonment and ordered to pay $2.7 million in restitution for conspiracy to fraudulently receive unlawful labor payments.

Joel Waverly Cacace, Sr. The imprisoned acting boss of the Colombo crime family conspired with IUOE members to get a paid no-show construction job for his son, Jo-Jo Cacace, Jr. The senior Cacace was sent to prison in February 2003 for 20 years. The three-year investigation that sent him to jail also produced more than 24 other convictions.

Former U.S. Attorney and present New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie prosecuted some of the IUOE criminal cases. In one of Christie's prosecutions, Kenneth Campbell, the former business manager of local 825 of the IUOE, pleaded guilty to embezzling $200,000 from his union and taking bribes from contractors to buy high-end electronics and a Lincoln Town Car for his father, a retired IUOE member.

'They treated local 825 like a piggy bank.'

- Then-U.S. Attorney Chris Christie, referring to members of an IUOE local

Then-U.S. Attorney Christie, said, "Campbell and his cronies were simply corrupt. They treated local 825 like a piggy bank at will to treat themselves to luxuries at the expense of dues-paying members they ripped off."

Because he was recess appointed, Richard Griffin, Jr., underwent no congressional scrutiny before he was sworn in on Jan. 9 of this year.

At the time of his recess appointment, Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, told the Wall Street Journal he was, "extremely disappointed" in Obama's decision to "avoid the constitutionally mandated Senate confirmation process." He said that two of three nominees for the NLRB, including Griffin, were submitted to the Senate on Dec. 15, just before the Senate was to adjourn, allowing only a day to review the nominees.

Griffin has been an advocate for enhanced NLRB power for decades.

In 1988 testimony before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Employer/Employee relations, Griffin, who was then serving on the Board of Trustees of IUOE's Central Pension Fund, argued for more power for the NLRB to fine companies without a court order to enforce its rulings. He also argued against legislation that would have forced the NLRB and the Department of Labor to pay the legal costs for small businesses who won in court against unions.

Griffin's tenure on the NLRB will be longer than most recess appointees. The president delayed his appointment by one day until the start of a new congressional session -- effectively doubling to two years his stay. Recess appointments last until the end of the Senate's next session -- meaning Griffin will sit on the NLRB until December 2013.

Gambino goon used crime family standing to terrify cooperating mob trial witness

Gambino goon used crime family standing to terrify cooperating mob trial witness

A REPUTED GAMBINO soldier whose father was a member of the late boss John Gotti’s inner circle, pleaded guilty Friday to threatening a cooperating witness.

It was like pulling teeth, but a federal judge extracted from Angelo Ruggiero Jr. the details of the intimidation, which took place in a Georgia jail cell.

The feds had moved the victim, Timothy Angelini, into the mob scion’s cell during the summer of 2009. Angelini was supposed to testify in the trial of another Gambino associate in Brooklyn Federal Court.

“I believed he was a cooperating witness …and when I confronted him through my tone of voice and physical demeanor I attempted to dissuade Angelini by letting him know I would be unhappy if he testified,” Ruggiero Jr., 40, said.

Judge Sterling Johnson demanded more specifics about the words used and how he would be “unhappy.”

“I said, ‘If this is true, you’re gonna have a problem with me,’” Ruggiero admitted.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Whitman Knapp said the victim knew Ruggiero’s status in the organized crime world, so those words were enough to pose a threat.

Ruggiero’s father, Angelo (Quack Quack) Ruggiero Sr., was a capo and a close friend of Gotti.

Ruggiero Jr. faces up to three years in prison when he’s sentenced Oct. 17.

Ex-convict in line for cleanup grant in Mahwah

A dozen years ago, federal prosecutors convicted Joseph Minuto of River Vale for his role in directing a multimillion-dollar gambling ring that stretched from South Florida to the Bronx and involved bettors nationwide.

Working connections with the Lucchese crime family, the prosecutors said, the ring also ran a loan-sharking racket that used stolen goods as currency: FedEx lost more than $1 million in the scheme.

Only a few months ago, Minuto was convicted of a new gambling charge.

Despite his record, the state of New Jersey thinks Joseph Minuto is a good bet.

Earlier this month, officials OK’d a $335,435 grant for Minuto and his company, County Oil Corp., from a taxpayer-financed program designed to help needy property owners clean up fuel spills.

Officials say the grant will be used to repair the environmental damage caused by oil tanks that have been leaking underground for years at a truck stop Minuto operates on Route 17, near the bank of the Ramapo River in Mahwah.

The award came after the Economic Development Authority concluded that Minuto’s criminal history, while “serious,” was not reason enough to deny him assistance that will provide the best option to quickly address a serious environmental issue.

A review of official records concerning Minuto, however, raises questions about the process through which the agency reached that conclusion. The review also sheds light on the state’s decade-long failure to get Minuto, 50, to clean up an oil spill that officials say poses a wider threat to water supplies.

Environmental advocates say New Jersey now finds itself in the position of giving taxpayer money to an ex-convict to address a dangerous oil spill it should have corrected years ago.

“You have to wonder why the state is coddling a longtime polluter like this instead of going after him,” said Doug O’Malley of Environment New Jersey, a leading public-interest lobbyist. “How can we trust that the job is going to get done?”

Records raise questions about Minuto’s suitability as the state’s environmental cleanup partner.

While Minuto’s 2010 application for state aid, for example, does disclose his federal conviction and sentence in the 2000 case, it makes no mention of the subsequent arrest, which occurred months before he submitted the application. That Rockland County arrest, also on gambling charges, resulted in a misdemeanor conviction earlier this year; Minuto was fined and had to forfeit a Chevy Suburban.

Minuto’s initial application to the state also makes no mention of another New York State scrape, a 2004 arrest and conviction for drunken and reckless driving. Federal court documents show that the conviction violated the terms of Minuto’s probation. A judge ordered him to wear an electronic monitoring device.

The five-page application form Minuto filled out for the grant program requires that applicants detail any criminal history. It notes that having a criminal past doesn’t necessarily disqualify an applicant, but warns applicants that “a deliberate incorrect answer will probably cause your application to be turned down.” It clearly directs applicants to list every arrest or criminal record above the level of minor traffic violations.

Neither Minuto nor his attorney returned calls for this story.

Economic Development Authority Director Caren Franzini, in an interview Saturday, said that a June 12 staff memo she sent to the agency board, issued before the vote approving the grant, contained everything the agency knew about Minuto’s record. The memo, which recommended board approval, did not mention Minuto’s drunken and reckless driving conviction and subsequent tightening of his parole.

“You brought us new information. If that guy lied to us there will be no grant,’’ said Franzini, noting also that no funds have been disbursed because the grant is still in processing.

Prompted by The Record’s questions, she said, the agency has asked the Attorney General’s Office to look into the issue.

Franzini declined to talk in detail about Minuto’s case because she did not have immediate access to his file or staff officials who worked on it. Her overriding concern, she said, was to quickly clean up an oil spill that is now an “imminent threat” to Mahwah’s well fields.

“This is a job that has to get done,’’ she said.

State documents show that over the past decade Minuto and County Oil have been cited for environmental violations by state, federal and local authorities after entering into agreements to stop the underground oil leaks. In 2010, the state Department of Environmental Protection temporarily banned County Oil from accepting new fuel shipments until Minuto agreed to take some of the leaking tanks offline.

The records show that the state has known about the leaking tanks, which hold up to 12,000 gallons each, for at least 12 years. Officials say the danger of the contamination spreading off the truck-stop property, which sits less than 500 feet from the Ramapo River, is real. In a March 2012 letter to the state, Minuto’s lawyer, Eric Grille, did disclose his client’s most recent gambling conviction. The letter did not discuss the 2004 drunken and reckless driving conviction, however. Grille argued that his client should not be disqualified from the grant program for “minor” offenses such as the new gambling charge. Grille also said that Minuto has been cooperating with the DEP on containing the oil spill since 2009 but does not have the money to remediate the Mahwah property.

Minuto’s criminal history, Grille argued, has nothing to do with his operation of County Oil and the Route 17 truck stop. Minuto has also paid up long-owed back taxes to the township, state and federal government and worked to correct issues raised by environmental inspectors.

“These actions are clearly indicative of a corporation with sound business integrity,” Grille wrote.

Grille’s letter came in response to a request from the state Attorney General’s Office, which asked for more information about Minuto’s background.

In an email Friday, before Franzini was interviewed by The Record, state officials said they are confident that taxpayer money will not be misused in Mahwah. They stressed that without the grant there would be no money to clean up a spill that appears to be worsening.

“The grant funds are critical for the applicant to perform the planned tank closure, tank replacement and remediation at the property,” EDA spokeswoman Erin B. Gold said in written answers to questions submitted by The Record. “The DEP has made the cleanup of this site a priority as contaminations of Mahwah’s well fields are being threatened without these seven tanks being addressed in near-term.”

Gold also said that a financial analysis concluded that County Oil qualified as a needy applicant under the rules of the tank-removal program. The analysis, she said, did not take into consideration any assets Minuto owns beyond County Oil because the company, not Minuto, is listed as the official applicant.

On the application form, Minuto is identified as the sole owner of County Oil as well as whole or half owner of two real estate companies and an automotive center in Park Ridge. County Oil also lists several tenants at the Mahwah property, including a tire store and a Dunkin’ Donuts.

DEP officials said that once the oil cleanup begins, they will “scrutinize” all invoices submitted by Minuto’s contractors to make sure the grant is being spent properly.

“The department will approve everything,” said DEP spokesman Larry Ragonese.

In addition, officials said, Minuto will be required to hire a state-licensed “remedial professional” to oversee the project. The widespread use of such private consultants is part of a new DEP strategy to expedite cleanup of New Jersey’s contaminated sites by ceding remediation and monitoring of many sites to trained contractors hired and paid by the polluter.

Critics say the plan will lead to abuses and, ultimately, declining public health and safety.

“This is worse than the fox guarding the hen house; this is fox designing the hen house and then certifying the hen house is safe,” said New Jersey Sierra Club chief Jeff Tittel, an outspoken opponent of the new plan.

Minuto’s grant comes from a dwindling pool of money used to finance the Petroleum Underground Storage Tank Program, which was established in 1997 and has helped hundreds of property owners replace leaky fuel tanks and remediate contaminated areas left behind. Applicants to the program must show that they are financially needy and unable to get bank loans or insurance to clean up leaky tanks.

The state stopped taking applications for the tank cleanup program, and a similar program to aid cleanup of other toxic spills, more than a year ago. Officials say the tank fund may not be replenished until 2014.

Neither Minuto nor his wife appears to be politically active.

State election records show only a handful of contributions connected to Minuto. County Oil gave $3,000 in political contributions to Bergen County Republicans from 2000 to 2003. They include four $500 donations to Sen. Henry McNamara and a $1,000 donation to the county GOP organization.

Franzini, the EDA chief, said she did not know if any elected officials or others sent her agency letters of support for the tank grant. Last week, an agency official, responding to a request to review any such letters, said he needed more time to review the file.

Judge rejects bond for reputed Gambino gambling chief

Judge rejects bond for reputed Gambino gambling chief

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BRIDGEPORT -- A $4.5 million bond, home detention and electronic monitoring was not enough to spring the reputed head of a Fairfield County gambling operation run by the Gambino crime family.

"I don't believe there are conditions that could secure his release," U.S. Magistrate Judge Holly B. Fitzsimmons told Dean DePreta, the 44-year-old Stamford man accused of being a Gambino crime family wannabe.

That offer more than doubled the one made Monday by DePreta, of Bartina Lane, Stamford, who co-owns Westover Pizza with co-defendant, Richard Uva, 43, of Trumbull.

However, none of the properties belonged directly to DePreta, who, Fitzsimmons noted, "has no assets in his name."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Hal Chen convinced Fitzsimmons, at least for now, that DePreta could not be trusted to abide by conditions and laws. The prosecutor pointed out that DePreta is facing the same federal gambling and extortion charges that sent him to prison for 39 months in 2002. He further claimed that a source told the FBI that DePreta was involved in illegal activity while being supervised by the U.S. Probation Department following his release on that sentence.

The current charges involve a gambling operation which earned $1.69 million during a six-month period in 2011. It included independent bookmakers who kicked up a portion of their profits, an Internet website based in Costa Rico and three gambling houses in Stamford and Hamden, according to Chen and court papers.

John Walkley, DePreta's attorney, pointed out that his client never was cited by the Probation Department and the current charges have not been proven.

The Milford defense lawyer accused the prosecution of punishing DePreta by denying him bond. "What they are doing is sentencing him first and then having the trial."

The popularity of the Hamden site enraged the local Genovese crime family, which launched an attack on the Gambino house at 2965 State St., Hamden, authorities said. That, in turn, led to an counterattack by the Gambinos on cars at the Genovese house at 37 Orlando St., West Haven.

Court documents state that on Oct. 28, 2010, three Genovese associates unsuccessfully attempted to force open the electronic door at the Gambino club in Hamden but left after throwing rocks at the building.

The following night, Chen said, DePreta, Uva and eight associates drove to the Genovese's West Haven club. There at least two cars were vandalized.

Chen charged DePreta's "show of force in the face of a rival La Cosa Nostra family's encroachment is strong proof of DePreta's leadership role in safeguarding the Gambino crime family interests in southern Connecticut."

Chen displayed surveillance photographs that he said show DePreta meeting with Gambino soldiers during the past two and a half years. The prosecutor accused DePreta of angling to become a Gambino member.

Prosecutor snubs Mass. mobster's 'immunity' claim

Prosecutor snubs Mass. mobster's 'immunity' claim

BOSTON (AP) - The top federal prosecutor in Massachusetts expressed skepticism Tuesday about mobster James "Whitey" Bulger's claim that the government allowed him to commit crimes because he was an FBI informant.

U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz said Bulger's former co-hort, Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi, who was also an FBI informant, used a similar defense, which was rejected by the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

"Being an informant in a criminal case does not in and of itself immunize you from crimes," Ortiz told reporters during a break at a civil rights symposium.

Ortiz said the appeals court "held that being an informant, in and of itself, and certain representations by law enforcement agents does not provide sufficient or adequate immunity."

Bulger, the former leader of the notorious Winter Hill Gang, is accused of participating in 19 murders beginning in the 1970s, while he was a top-echelon informant for the FBI. Bulger fled Boston in late 1994 after he was warned by his former FBI handler that he was about to be indicted.

Now 82, Bulger was apprehended last year in Santa Monica, Calif., after 16 years on the run. Former Boston FBI Agent John Connolly Jr. was convicted of racketeering in 2002 for tipping off a Bulger associate about the upcoming indictment and protecting Bulger from prosecution.

Bulger's lawyer, J.W. Carney Jr., said Monday that Bulger should not be prosecuted because he was promised immunity by a "representative of the federal government" for past or future crimes. He said Bulger's indictment "directly violated the immunity agreement that the defendant had bargained for, had relied upon, and had been promised."

Carney would not say who made such a promise to Bulger, but said the agreement was made in the 1970s, when Bulger was recruited by the FBI to become an informant on the rival New England Mafia.

Carney's claims were made in a defense motion asking that U.S. District Judge Richard Stearns recuse himself from presiding at Bulger's trial, saying he expects to call Stearns as a witness on a request to dismiss the charges against Bulger. Stearns was a top prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney's office in the 1980s.

Mafia widow who became feared Mob boss known as 'The Big Female Kitten'

Mafia widow who became feared Mob boss known as 'The Big Female Kitten' is finally collared over extortion and robbery charges

A blonde Mafia Godmother who led a criminal clan had been arrested, Italian police said today.

Raffaella D'Alterio, 46, nicknamed the 'big female kitten', was held along with 65 other suspects in a series of dawn raids by armed officers who also used helicopters and sniffer dogs in the operation.

Police in Naples later revealed that among the items impounded in the operation was a flaming red Ferrari with a solid gold number plate which was given to the boyfriend of Raffaella D'Alterio's daughter Caterina as a gift.

Raffaella D'Alterio, the head of the Camorra clan Pianese-D'Alterio, was held by police in Naples this morning

Officers confirmed that Caterina and another of D'Alterio's daughters Costanza was also among the people arrested in the raids.

In total around £10 million worth of cars and properties were seized in the operation with police adding that D'Alterio and her family would regularly fly to Monte Carlo for the weekend to go shopping.

D'Alterio took over the reins of her clan after her husband Nicola Pianese was gunned down by rivals six years ago aged 45.

Three years later she suffered gunshot wounds herself after she was targeted by fellow mobsters jealous of her control of lucrative drug cartels in the crime ridden southern port city of Naples.

Her son Raffaele was also injured and at the time of the attempted murder the family's lawyer Pasquale Russo said: 'Being the wife and son of a boss does not automatically make you a criminal or the leader of a clan. My client Raffaella has one conviction for a false statement to the council while her son has been cleared of possession of a weapon.'

Pianese was nicknamed 'o mussutto' which in Neapolitian dialect means 'the big lipped one' while his wife is known as 'a miciona' which translates as 'the big female kitten.'

The city of Naples and the surrounding area is the heartland of the local Mafia known as the Camorra and there is a bloody turf war ongoing between rival factions with shootings and murders a daily occurrence.

Although less well known than its Sicilian counterparts, the Camorra is seen as more ruthless and bloodthirsty with daily shootings common place in Naples and the surrounding suburbs.

Two months ago, on-the-run cop killer Gianfranco Techegne, a Camorra mobster, was arrested in London as he queued up in a post office in St James's Park, opposite Scotland Yard.

While in 2006 fellow Camorra gangster Raffaele Caldarelli was held in Hackney where he had been hiding out for several years and he was extradited back to Italy.

Within the last 24 hours, two people have been shot dead in Naples, including an 18-year-old man lured to a rendezvous and then gunned down, and another, who was a bar owner in his 40's killed as he opened up his business.

More than 4,000 people have been killed by them in 30 years.

Four years ago, the Camorra was responsible for one of the bloodiest hits in recent memory when six rival African drug dealers were gunned down on the same night as Naples were involved in a top football match ensuring there were no witnesses

Police said both of those killed in the recent shootings were victims of organised crime although there was no connection with D'Alterio's clan officers said.

She and the others were held on allegations of extortion, possessing illegal arms, robbery and dealing drugs.

She and her crime family are also said to have used violence and intimidation to tackle competition from rivals over an extortion and counterfeit money trafficking ring.

She is also accused of building up ties with other clans in the Camorra, which has a vast international network that generates billions of pounds in profits from drug trafficking, counterfeit goods, waste disposal and construction and whose influence is even known in London.

Italian police estimate that the Camorra makes more than £130 billion a year and it was recently revealed that they had bought shares in the reconstruction of the World Trade Centre in New York.

New York mafia families close to starting mob war over pizza sauce recipe Colombos say was stolen from the Bonannos

New York mafia families close to starting mob war over pizza sauce recipe Colombos say was stolen from the Bonannos

A family's pizza recipe almost lead to gangland war, a court heard, after a new outlet opened that offered near identical food to another takeaway.

Francis Guerra, a Colombo mafia family associate in New York, is on trial for extortion after demanding payment from a rival pizzeria that he said had stolen a recipe from popular L&B in Brooklyn.

Anthony Russo, a former Colombo mafia boss, told a jury in Brooklyn that he became angry after learning that a member of the Bonanno crime family had taken one of his recipes.

It is alleged that Eugene Lombardo took the cooking method from L&B Spumoni Gardens then used it at his new restaurant, The Square, in Staten Island.

L&B is very protective over its products which are considered to be among the best in New York City, according to New York Daily News.

Russo said 'It's a famous pizzeria. Their pizza, their Spumoni, their ices.'

He added that 'they put the sauce on top of the cheese' when asked by Assistant Brooklyn U.S. attorney Nicole Argentieri asked what made them so special.

Brooklyn Federal Court heard that Guerra caught Lombardo, whose sons worked at L&B, in the basement of the pizzeria looking at flour supplies, according to the New York Daily News.

Russo said: 'He was angry, he wanted to hurt [Eu]gene.'

Russo went to Staten Island to confront Lombardo over the copying of the recipe.

When he arrived there with Guerra and Frank Iannaci they saw a sign that advertised their products as 'L&B style pizza'.

Russo told the court: 'Gene came out and (Guerra) started yelling at him. He told him he's a "piece of s***, a s***bag, robbed my family, I’ll break your head",' Russo said.

There were fears that the confrontation could have turned nasty after Iannaci slapped Lombardo.

However, the rivals decided to sit down and discuss the problem at a Panera Bread in Staten Island.

The meeting was called by Bonanno soldier Anthony Calabrese and it was there that the Colombos demanded a share in the restaurant or a $75,000 payment for stealing the recipe.

Eventually Lombardo agreed to pay $4,000 - Guerra received $2,000, Calabrese got $1,500, and $500 went to their consigliere - to the Colombos after Calabrese pointed out that it would be impossible to try sauce from every pizzeria in New York.

'I told Frank to take the offer. It was ridiculous to go any further with it, just accept the money and move on, Rosso said. has various recommendations for The Square which compare it to L&B.

One user wrote: 'Oh man, oh man is this pizza good! I've been to L&B's plenty of times and I can tell you that this pizza is better! I had a few slices left over from a box and popped it into the freezer. A week later and they tasted just as good!'

Another said: 'So obviously L&B still has the best square slice hands down, the place is a great alternative for those Staten Islanders who can't make it over the bridge.'