Gotti surfaces in Milford arrest


 

MILFORD — Richard Vito Gotti, a reputed member of the Gambino crime family, was arrested this month for assaulting a woman in Milford, police said.

Gotti, 70, allegedly struck the unnamed woman in the face, neck, and arm in a fight that happened around 5 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 2, according to a statement released by the Pennsylvania State Police.

Gotti is also accused of choking the female victim, causing various injuries, police said.

After the beating, police said, Gotti drove the injured woman to Milford Urgent Care for treatment.

Police later arrested Gotti, who was arraigned before Pike County Magisterial District Judge Allen Cooper. Cooper released Gotti on his own recognizance, according to the statement.

Police said the fight took place at 123 Santos Drive in Milford.

State police spokesman Adam Reed confirmed that the man arrested in Milford has the same birth date as the man involved in crimes attributed to the Gambino Organized Crime Family of La Cosa Nostra.

Gotti, previously of Howard Beach, N.Y., was indicted in 2002 on charges of racketeering, money laundering, and conspiracy in crimes committed by members of the Gambino family against the International Longshoreman’s Association, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

 

Officials: Deer Park man charged with extortion


A Manhattan District Attorney announced the indictment of Deer Park resident and suspected mobster Joseph Giordano for charges of grand larceny. Giordano is accused of physically beating his victim, a construction company official, in order to extort $50,000.

According to documents filed in court and statements made on the record in court, from on or about March 2009 through June 2009, Giordano, 63, threatened, punched, kicked and slapped his victim in order to extort the money.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr, said in a press release that Giordano committed the crime by using his status as a captain in the Gambino crime family, which is one of the five mafia families operating in the New York area.

The Gambino crime family is divided into crews headed by captains and comprised of numerous members and associates, the attorney said. Girdano is the brother of the late John Giordano, also known as “Handsome Jack,” who, before his death, was also a Captain in the Gambino crime family.

Defense lawyer James Pascarella told the New York Post that Giordano is innocent and not involved in organized crime.

Giordano's criminal record dates to the 1970s, in which he was convicted of illegal gambling. In 1991, he was again convicted, with his late brother John and one other person, of operating a $300 million per-year gambling operation.

Giordano is charged with grand larceny in the second degree, a class C felony.

He will return to court Oct. 1.

Junior Corozzo kicked off Colombo wiseguy's defense team by judge

 

Junior Corozzo’s family ties have gotten the mob lawyer into a bind.

A Brooklyn federal judge booted the mob-scion attorney — whose dad is is reputed Gambino consigliere Joseph "Jo Jo" Corozzo and whose uncle Nicholas is a family capo — from the defense team of a Colombo wiseguy facing murder charges.

Federal prosecutors consider Joseph Corozzo Jr. to be the "house counsel" of the Gambinos but he's also know to rep wiseguys from other families.

In the current case, Junior Corozzo was representing Dino "Little Dino" Saracino, who is charged in Brooklyn federal court with two mob rubouts.

Prosecutors alerted Judge Brian Cogan to a potential conflict of interest with Corozzo, saying the lawyer had arranged a meeting between a mobster who is now a cooperating witness and Theodore "Teddy" Persico, an acting Colombo capo.

Persico and the other mobster, identified by sources as Sebastian "Sebby" Saracino, met at Corozzo’s residence in the summer of 2009 and discussed illegal loansharking and gambling debts, prosecutors said.

Saracino is expected to testify for the government against his brother Dino.

After hearing the evidence, Cogan booted Corozzo from the Dino Saracino case.

The feds also announced that Corozzo is the subject of yet another criminal investigation relating to his mob connections.

A previous probe of the attorney dates back to 2008, when Brooklyn federal prosecutors said they had intercepted Corozzo on a secretly recorded tape that showed he was involved in the mob extortion of Hudson & McCoy, a Long Island fish restaurant.

Corozzo Jr. declined to comment.

 

Reputed Gambino captain indicted on $50G extortion charge


 
By LARRY CELONA and LAURA ITALIANO

Last Updated: 6:05 AM, September 25, 2012

Posted: 2:01 AM, September 25, 2012

He’s the kicking capo.

Manhattan prosecutors have charged a reputed Gambino crime-family captain with grand larceny for allegedly extorting $50,000 from a construction-company official — by threatening, punching, slapping and kicking the poor victim until he couldn’t refuse.

The accused Mafia boss, Joseph “Joe the Blond” Giordano, 63, grew up as Gambino royalty. He is nephew to former John Gotti Sr. underboss Joseph “Joe Piney” Armone, and his brother, John “Handsome Jack” Giordano, was Gotti Sr.’s one-time right-hand man.

Joseph Giordano served on the Gambinos’ ruling commission three years ago, according to sources. The ruling panel of three elder capos was initiated after the Dapper Don was locked away for life in 1992.

In the current grand-larceny case, Giordano used his status as a Gambino captain to further intimidate the victim, Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr. said in announcing the indictment.

Giordano, of Deer Park, LI, pleaded not guilty and was ordered held in lieu of $100,000 bail.

The reputed mob boss was caught on video extorting his victim through actual and threatened violence, lead prosecutor Eric Seidel, chief of the DA’s rackets bureau, told Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Gregory Carro in successfully asking for the high bail.

“This is the most violent way for someone to steal,” the judge said of the allegations.

“The force of the threat must have been really strong for the victim to give him the money.”

The victim’s name was not revealed.

Defense lawyer James Pascarella insisted Giordano was innocent, not involved in organized crime, and in precarious health.

“I take exception to his being called a capo in the Gambino crime family,” Pascarella told the judge. “He does carry an Italian name, but aside from that there is no proof.”

Giordano suffers from the autoimmune disease lupus and a heart condition and has had two recent knee operations, the lawyer said.

He also has a criminal record stretching back through the ’80s and early ’90s, officials said.

As rising young gangsters, the two brothers, “Handsome Jack” and “Joe the Blond,” hung out together at DeRobertis Pasticceria and Caffe in the East Village, allegedly learning the business at the knee of their uncle, Gotti underboss Armone, who used the bakery shop as a headquarters.

Armone was sent to prison in 1988 for racketeering — incriminated in large part by secret wiretaps at the bakery — and “Handsome Jack” would soon be busted for taking over.

 

 

 

'Donnie Brasco' says Mob controls construction via unions


 

 

FBI ex-agent Joseph Pistone tells Quebec inquiry how Mafia kept grip on projects

The former FBI agent who infiltrated the New York Mafia and helped convict more than 200 gangsters told Quebec's Charbonneau commission on Monday that the Mob would manipulate the construction industry and rake in large payoffs by infiltrating unions and controlling the supply of raw materials.

Joseph Pistone, who spent five years undercover as a Mafia henchman and whose story was made famous in the movie Donnie Brasco, testified at the inquiry about his experience in "deep cover," mostly inside New York's Bonanno crime family in the late 1970s and early '80s.

"Organized crime cannot operate without corrupting someone," Pistone said in response to questions about how New York's five Mafia families insinuated themselves into business and government.

And in the construction sector, that meant gaining control of labour unions — generally by having a Mafia man get elected president or business manager of a local, Pistone said.

"They'll start their own union, or there will be an existing union where they'll have their man, a Mafia guy within the union, become the representative of the union, become the president of the union," he testified.

Since most big construction projects use unionized workers, a Mafia family could then use its control of the labour force to extort the construction company's bosses.

"They would tell their members to slow down the job so the company's losing money every day," Pistone said. "If a legitimate company did get a contract and didn't play ball with the Mafia, that's what they would do until they finally gave in."

Construction companies could be hit up for millions in payments this way. It might happen subtly: Sometimes the Mob would dictate that 20 workers be hired for a particular construction project, when only 10 were really needed, Pistone said. Or Mafia-run construction companies would submit claims for more expensive unionized labour while actually paying cheaper non-union rates.

Organized crime also had a stake in raw-materials companies like cement or steel suppliers, and could squeeze a piece of the profit that way, even when public contracts went to a business not controlled by dons.

The ultimate consequence of these Mafia rake-offs is to drive up costs, the FBI veteran said.

"The government, taxpayers are paying more when the Mafia is involved in any particular business, if the government or taxpayers have to use that business."

Testifies under protection

The Charbonneau commission is looking into corruption in the awarding of public contracts in Quebec, including the role of organized crime in possibly colluding to drive up the cost of those contracts. It's also examining how that corruption might involve unions as well as the financing of political parties.

It was a key issue in the recent provincial election, when former premier Jean Charest's opponents hammered him for waiting more than two years to call a public inquiry after allegations of corruption in the construction industry surfaced.

Pistone, 73, is considered a star witness in the proceedings, given his insider knowledge of the Mafia. That he was going to testify was supposed to be a closely guarded secret, but it was revealed two weeks ago by CBC's French-language news service. The mob had put a $500,000 bounty on his head in the 1980s after it became clear he was an agent.

A publication ban prevented showing Pistone's appearance at the inquiry. He testified behind a black screen that blocked anyone from seeing his face other than commission chair France Charbonneau, her co-commissioner Renaud Lachance and the commission lawyer posing the questions. (Archive images of Pistone, however, don't fall under the ban).

In his earlier testimony on Monday morning, he outlined connections between the Bonannos in New York and Montreal's Cotroni family, who controlled organized crime in Quebec until they were reputedly supplanted by the Rizzuto family.

During his time embedded in the Bonannos, Pistone said, he heard about trips up to do business with the Montreal faction, who helped deliver drug imports to the U.S.

Pistone said the relationship between Montreal and the New York families had to be close since Montreal had representatives at sit-down meetings with high-ranking mob members.

Pistone referred to a killing of Mafia capos committed by a hit squad that included Montreal's Vito Rizzuto, although he did not mention Rizzuto by name.

"I didn't learn the name until later, but I was told we brought a shooter in – one of the shooters from Montreal," he said.

Joining the mob

Pistone is one of several witnesses testifying before the commission on the inner workings of Italian organized crime in Italy and North America.

During his first hours of testimony, he detailed how men are accepted into the mafia and explained how rare it was that he was allowed in to witness the inner workings, given that he was a newcomer among those who had grown up in the mob.

To be accepted into a family, you have to be white, male and Italian, he told the commission. But you also need someone to vouch for you, given the fear of informants.

"When I infiltrated, the rule was if you brought somebody in and they turned out to be an informant… it's death," he said.

Since Pistone's operation, code named "Sun-Apple," the Mob now requires two different people to vouch for new members.

Pistone testified about a conversation he had with Benjamin (Lefty) Ruggiero, a soldier with the Bonannos, when he was proposed for membership to the family. He asked Ruggerio what the advantage would be of becoming a made man.

Own set of rules

"He looked at me, and he said, 'Donnie, you can lie, you can steal, you can cheat, you can kill, and it's all legitimate,'" Pistone told the commission.

"The key word here is what? It's legitimate. So now you're into the mindset of a mafia guy. You can lie, you can steal, you can kill, you can cheat, and it's all legitimate.… They function according to their own set of rules."

The first round of Charbonneau commission hearings, which ended in the spring, finished off with five days of testimony from Jacques Duchesneau, the former head of Quebec's anti-collusion squad and now an MNA.

The commission will hear from an estimated 50 witnesses this fall, focusing on how organized crime has infiltrated the construction industry, both in Quebec and in other parts of the world.

 

 

 

 

Montreal mobsters involved in New York Mafia disputes, 'Donnie Brasco' says

By Brian Daly, QMI Agency

MONTREAL — Montreal mobsters were so close to New York's Bonanno crime family they testified in internal mediation meetings, an inquiry heard Monday.

The cross-border Mafia ties were illustrated by Joe Pistone, a.k.a. Donnie Brasco, a former FBI agent who infiltrated the Bonannos from 1976 to 1981.

Pistone, 73, penetrated more deeply into the underworld than any FBI agent in history and his information helped to put more than 100 mobsters behind bars.

Sitting behind a barricade that shielded him from cameras at the organized-crime commission, Pistone recalled one meeting involving the Montreal Mob in which his own life hung in the balance.

He said "the Canadians" had come to New York to testify against him during a meeting after he had been accused of stealing $250,000 from the Bonannos.

Bonanno solder Anthony Mirra had made up the story out of jealousy over Pistone alter-ego Donnie Brasco's close relationship with family captain Dominick "Sonny Black" Napolitano, Pistone said.

A close gangster friend told him Mirra called for the false witnesses from north of the border.

"(He) told me 'Donnie, (Mirra) wants this so bad he even brought our people from Canada to this sit-down,'" Pistone said, adding that any mobster found guilty of stealing from the family was doomed.

"If Sonny Black loses that sit-down (meeting), I'm dead," the former agent continued. "There's no appeal system. They come out, 'Alright Donnie, let's go for a ride,' and they kill you."

He didn't identify the Montreal mobsters, but the Cotroni crime family ran Mafia operations in Quebec until 1980, when the Rizzutos took over following a bloody coup.

Pistone said he escaped the pivotal meeting by the skin of his teeth when a mediator sided with him and his boss.

He said the episode was proof the Canadian Mob exerted influence in New York.

"Why would they bring someone from Montreal down to lie for Tony Mirra?" Pistone asked. "So it had to be a close relationship."

Napolitano trusted the agent so much that he recommended Brasco become a "made man," a full-fledged member of the Mob.

But as a test, Napolitano ordered Brasco to murder the son of a rogue gangster who worked with three rival capos marked for death by the Bonannos in 1981.

Pistone wasn't able to find his target and the FBI pulled him out of the Mob in July 1981 before he could be made a full Mafia member.

Napolitano was able to carry out the murders of his three rivals in May 1981, and one of the men on the hit squad was Montreal Bonanno associate Vito Rizzuto, who later became the head of the Montreal Mafia.

Rizzuto is currently wrapping up a 10-year prison term for his part in the murders of the three capos.

Pistone testified behind a shield on Monday because the Mafia still has a price on his head. Police officers were stationed inside and outside the commission's downtown headquarters.

The commission is examining the links between the Mob and public contracting in Quebec.

HIGHLIGHT QUOTES:

"You leave your badge and gun in the office. Your whole existence is dealing with the bad guys or attempting to infiltrate the bad guys."

---

"In a long-term, deep-cover situation, you have to know your enemy. You have to know everything about your enemy. It will keep you alive if you know who you're dealing with."

---

"We go into the club, we go into the back room, they lock the door, one of the guys takes out his gun, puts it on the desk and says to me: 'Donnie, if you don't answer my questions and convince me that you are who you say you are, the only way you're going out of this room is rolled up in that rug.'"

---

"Sworn allegiance is to the Mafia family, then your regular family, then the church and then country. Your first allegiance is to the (Mob) family."

---

"When your boss gives you a contract to kill somebody, you have to accept it. It's your responsibility to make sure that that person gets killed. If you do refuse it, and nobody will, then you get killed."

---

"(A mobster told me) 'You can lie, you can steal, you can cheat, it's all legitimate.' In our world is that legitimate? But in their world, it's legitimate. They function according to their own set of rules."

---

"Some rules will get you killed and some rules won't get you killed."

---

"There's a lot of envy and jealousy in the (Mafia) society. Not that different from Wall Street, except Wall Street don't kill you."

---

"If your mother is dying in the hospital and your capo asks you to do something, what are you going to do? You go with your capo."

---

"That's why the Mafia has stayed around so long. If you're caught breaking one of these rules, you're going to die."

---

"It's important to keep the pressure on (the Mafia). Through movies and television the public has an image of an honourable society. The Mafia is not honourable. They're like an octopus, they just keep growing."

---

"Any product that the Mafia has their hands in, the public ultimately pays for. They cannot operate without corruption. Who do they corrupt? They corrupt public officials, they corrupt businessmen, they corrupt politicians. Without that corruption, they really cannot operate. Once the public realizes that, it lessens the impact that the Mafia has on all of us."

---

"Most of the public, they have this romantic view of the Mafia and they see the movies and they see guys sitting around, wearing $5,000 suits, talking elegantly. Believe me, it's not like that. It's 'Kill that so and so.'"

---

"This is not the movies and this is not the way these guys really are. This is real life. They are a dangerous plague on our society."

 

Reputed Staten Island wiseguy and crime family boss to be sentenced Tuesday


 
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- He's the alleged acting boss of the Bonanno organized crime family, but a federal judge will dictate Vincent Badalamenti's fate on Tuesday.

The Annadale resident, known as "Vinny TV," will be sentenced in Brooklyn federal court. He faces up to 27 months behind bars.

Badalamenti, 54, was among a number of alleged wiseguys arrested earlier this year for racketeering, extortion and other charges. Prosecutors said the suspects used violence and intimidation to get cash from victims, and some crimes date back to 1999.

Four of the defendants -- Badalamenti, Anthony "TG" Graziano, 71, Vito Balsamo, 56, and Anthony Calabrese, 44 -- purportedly have high-ranking positions in or ties to the Bonanno family.

Graziano, father of "Mob Wives" reality-TV star Renee Graziano, is a reputed Bonanno consigliere; Balsamo is an acting captain and Calabrese a solider within the family, according to court documents. Another defendant, James LaForte Jr., 35, who served time for his role in a Nassau County real-estate scam, is a Gambino crime family associate, prosecutors said.

Earlier this year, Badalamenti, Graziano, Balsamo and Calabrese each pleaded guilty to collection of unlawful debt conspiracy. LaForte pleaded guilty to illegal gambling. He was accused of operating an illegal sports-betting operation on Staten Island between Sept. 1, 2008, and Jan. 31, 2009

Court papers said Badalamenti is the highest-ranking Bonanno member on the street. He "wields day-to-day control over all other Bonanno members and associates who are at liberty," those documents said. He also allegedly controls a mob social club on 20th Avenue and 72nd Street in Brooklyn's Bensonhurst section.

Prosecutors allege that Badalamenti, in 1999, ordered a bar taken over on Coney Island Avenue in Brooklyn when its owner failed to pay a debt.

Some of the alleged incidents occurred while Graziano and LaForte were living in federal halfway houses shortly after their release from prison.

Another defendant, Nicholas (Nicky Mouth) Santora of Long Island, allegedly broke the law in some instances while on supervised release after serving a stint behind bars, court papers said. The reputed Bonanno captain is slated to be sentenced next month.

In one incident, Graziano directed his former son-in-law and mob turncoat, Hector Pagan, to see a loanshark victim and to "break his (genitals)" and "open him up," court filings state. In another, Pagan told Graziano that a second man from whom he was trying to collect a debt "was crying hysterical," those documents stated.

In the original court filings, prosecutors accused Calabrese and unnamed others of extorting and beating the owner of The Square pizzeria in New Dorp between May and August of 2010.

Feathers were ruffled over the shop's pizzas, which were considered too similar to those of L&B Spumoni Gardens in Brooklyn. However, the owner, whose two sons previously worked at L&B, has denied being attacked or forced to pay money to end the hostilities, according to published reports.

Last month, Graziano was sentenced to 19 months in prison; LaForte was sentenced to 17 months, Balsamo received a year and a day and Calabrese got six months in a medical jail and eight months' house arrest, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Dennehy, one of the prosecutors who handled the case for Loretta E. Lynch, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

Each must pay $5,000 restitution and is subject to three years' post-release supervision, Dennehy said.

Badalamenti's sentencing was adjourned, pending a hearing.

According to court papers, sentencing guidelines recommend a range of 21 to 27 months in prison.

Badalamenti's lawyer, Ronald P. Fischetti, has argued that his client, at the very least, should be credited with 12 months' jail time toward any sentence. That's the time he's already served under a prior plea to a different charge arising from the same offense, Fischetti maintains.

 

 

Is Montreal mobster Vito Rizzuto coming to town?


MONTREAL—When Vito Rizzuto re-emerges next month from the U.S. prison cell where he has been incarcerated for the past five years, he will have many graves to visit at home in Canada.

While behind bars in Colorado for his role in the slaying of three American Mafia leaders, Rizzuto — described in court documents as the “Godfather of the Montreal Mafia” — lost his son, father, a brother-in-law and a close family friend in a series of gangland slayings that rocked this city’s underworld.

Now, veteran organized crime investigators are raising intriguing possibilities: Vito Rizzuto, 66, is considering the GTA as his new home base, where he may choose between revenge and rebuilding his shaken empire.

“Toronto is where he can find strength and calm,” one senior Quebec police official told a team from the Star and the Radio-Canada program Enquête that is investigating the underworld.

For some time now, Rizzuto’s $1.5-million home in a northeast Montreal suburb — described in real-estate listings as a “luxurious property” with five bedrooms and a marble foyer — has been up for sale on an upscale street nicknamed “Mafia Row.”

Montreal police have told their Toronto colleagues that, according their Mob sources, Rizzuto might be contemplating a move to Ontario — right in the heartland of some of his rivals.

“Wow, that’s gutsy,” was the reaction of one veteran Mafia investigator in the province. “But he’s is no stranger to Ontario.”

During the late 1990s and early 2000s, Rizzuto felt comfortable in the Toronto area, where his businesses included investment in a restaurant and nightclub, Bay Street stock trading and garbage disposal.

He visited Ontario often, frequenting his favourite hotels and a golf course in the Vaughan area.

His wife’s family also live in the region.

Some Montreal cops think it would be “suicidal” for Rizzuto to head into the lion’s den of Ontario.

Rizzuto’s Sicilian branch of the Mafia in Montreal has had a tense history of enmity and alliance with the ’Ndrangheta, the Mafia clan based in the Calabrian region of Italy that has established a strong foothold in the GTA.

On Wednesday, the Star reported that the RCMP has raised the ’Ndrangheta in Ontario to a “Tier 1” national threat.

Another organized crime investigator said Rizzuto might even try to find temporary refuge in Venezuela (where his father fled briefly during the Montreal Mafia wars of the 1970s and was later imprisoned).

But everyone agrees: don’t count him out.

“It’s too early to write the obituary of Vito Rizzuto,” said Antonio Nicaso, the Toronto-based Mafia expert who has written more than 20 books on the Mob. “It’s not over.”

Regardless of where he eventually settles, Rizzuto will have the tough task of restoring order to his operations in Montreal, under unprecedented attack in recent years by rival criminals and damaging police probes.

Once known as the “Teflon Don” for his ability to stay out of jail — he twice avoided conviction on drug importing charges in the 1980s —Rizzuto’s luck ran out in 2004 when he was arrested for his role in the New York murders dating back to the 1980s (an execution-style hit dramatically if not very accurately retold in the Hollywood Mafia flick, Donnie Brasco.)

By August 2006, he was extradited to the United States, where he eventually pleaded guilty to racketeering charges related to the murders and received a 10-year sentence.

Within months, the empire he left behind suffered its first major setback when the RCMP and other police agencies arrested more than 90 people in a major money-laundering probe called Project Colisée. Vito father’s and his brother-in-law were among the many who by 2008 pleaded guilty to gangsterism charges, including possession of the proceeds of crime.

The arrests, jailings and the embarrassing revelations through wiretaps and surveillance of the inner workings of the Mafia seriously weakened the Rizzutos in the eyes of the criminal world in Canada and the U.S.

Montreal — with its port that has long been heavily infiltrated by organized crime — is crucial to the drug pipeline that feeds the New York Mafia and the lucrative American market.

“The Ontario ’Ndrangheta is looking for control of the Montreal port,” said Nicaso. “They don’t care who is controlling the streets. What they want is the port.”

According to one Toronto Police intelligence report obtained by the Star and Radio-Canada, there was a general belief among law enforcement that with Rizzuto out of the picture, “the Calabrians are overpowering the Sicilians for power in the drug trade in Montreal.”

By 2009, the bodies of Rizzuto’s family members started falling.

In December, his son Nick, 42, was gunned down on a west-end street. Police sources say the younger Rizzuto was trying to shake down a local businessman involved in construction.

By 2010, Rizzuto faced a wider and more serious assault on his power, this time from within the Mafia.

In May, his brother-in-law, Paulo Renda, vanished in an apparent abduction.

Then in November 2010, Vito’s father Nicolo was killed with a sniper’s bullet through the patio window of his home on “Mafia Row.”

The man many suspect was behind the power grab against the Rizzutos, if not the killings, was Salvatore “The Bambino Boss” Montagna, a Montreal-born gangster who rose to prominence in the New York mob but was deported to Canada in 2009 in an FBI crackdown.

Though a Sicilian, he reportedly made several trips to Toronto and Hamilton, apparently to get the support and blessing from Calabrian ’Ndrangheta leaders eager to get rid of the Rizzutos.

Montagna’s alleged move against the Rizzutos promised the Ontario mob players a return to the glory days of the 1960s and ’70s when Calabrians like Paolo Violi ran the Montreal Mafia scene.

The Rizzutos had wrested control away from the ’Ndrangheta by the 1980s, in a bloody mob war that saw close to two dozen murders in Montreal and Italy.

But Montagna’s bid for power did not last long. In late 2011, his bullet-riddled body turned up in a river outside of Montreal.

In the complicated crime chessboard that is the Canadian Mafia, Rizzuto had always been shrewd enough to build alliances with the GTA-based underworld.

The close ties between the Sicilian and Calabrian mob families were in evidence at a 50th wedding anniversary in Vaughan in February 2011 attended by so many figures of “traditional organized crime” — the polite police term for the Mafia — that the Toronto Police conducted extensive video surveillance.

The surveillance report on the event concluded that, “the mix of both Sicilian and Calabrian guests at this event would appear to show there is no animosity between the two groups in the GTA.”

“It would be more plausible to believe the two factions are working together in the GTA to possibly share control of Montreal,” the report said.

 

 

Mobster receives 57 months for racketeering


 

Martin Angelina, a South Philadelphia mobster, was sentenced Monday to 57 months in federal prison for racketeering involving loan sharking and illegal gambling.

Angelina, 50, pleaded guilty last month to a racketeering conspiracy charge and three related extortion and gambling charges.

He admitted using extortion to collect loans and operating an illegal video-poker-machine business.

Angelina was among 13 mobsters and associates indicted with acting mob boss Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi.

Ligambi and seven others are scheduled for trial on Oct. 9 before U.S. District Judge Eduardo C. Robreno, who sentenced Angelina.

The case involves racketeering conspiracy, extortion, loan sharking, illegal gambling, witness tampering, and theft from an employee benefit plan.

Angelina was convicted with former mob boss Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino in 2001 in another racketeering case and sentenced to 78 months in prison.

Gaeton Lucibello, another mob defendant in the current case, pleaded guilty to similar charges in August and was sentenced last week to 51 months in prison.

 

Gambino consigliere gets 5-plus years


Gambino consigliere gets 5-plus years

He pleaded guilty to extortion, but the reputed consigliere of the Gambino crime family apparently draws the line at scarfing down free pizza.

Joseph “JoJo” Corozzo was sentenced to five-plus years in the slammer today by a judge who marveled at a letter sent to him by the mobster’s son and defense lawyer, also named Joseph Corozzo.

“In that letter you recounted an event with your father at a local pizzeria,” Judge Richard Berman revealed.

“And the owner of the pizzeria offered you a slice at no cost. And before you could take the slice your father stopped you and said: Now son, you go up there and pay him because you should never put your hand in another man’s pockets.”

The younger Corozzo said hearing the story read aloud “brings me chills ... because it reminds me how I could talk for hours about the kind of man my father is and the good things he has done.

”Yes, he has been involved in some crimes but we are asking you to look at the true person,” the younger Corozzo added.

In the end, however, the tale of eatery ethics failed to win the elder Corozzo any leniency, with Berman citing “the severity of the extortion charge and the fact that Mr. Corrozo has an extensive criminal history extending well into his 60s.”

 

All in the crime family as gal pleads for Mafia dad

She’ll always think of herself as Daddy’s little girl — even if Daddy is the Bonanno crime family’s street boss.
Kristin Badalamenti, 22, the daughter of Vincent “Vinny TV” Badalamenti, 54, has written a heartfelt letter to a Brooklyn federal judge asking her to go easy on the Mafioso in his sentence for a loan-sharking conviction.
In her note, the daughter, a second-year law student, describes how her tough-guy father is a teddy bear when it comes to family.
She recalled how not long ago, she became distraught after a pre-Valentine’s Day breakup with her boyfriend and, seeing how upset she was, her father tried his best to put things right.
“Without me knowing, my dad sat with my brother and made two handmade Valentine’s Day cards — complete with stickers of hearts and glue-on rhinestones,” she wrote. “When [they] gave me these cards, I cried.”
Under the terms of a plea agreement with federal prosecutors, Badalamenti likely faces a sentence ranging from 21 to 27 months for sending three wiseguys to shake down mobster-turned-rat Hector Pagan, the ex-hubby of “Mob Wives’’ TV star Renee Graziano.
 

Mob pot pusher gets seven yrs.


A Gambino crime-family associate who pleaded guilty to dealing nearly a ton of marijuana over 20 years was sentenced in Manhattan federal court yesterday yesterday to the maximum of seven years.

"While I respect the judge's decision, I was displeased that the judge gave him the maximum under the plea deal,” said defense attorney Bruno Gioffre Jr. "We are talking about low level sales of marijuana over a long period of time."

In a sentencing letter, prosecutors wrote that “Dunn has been working as a mob-backed marijuana trafficker for over 20 years.”

Judge allows citing of mob history in trial of 10



The Philadelphia mob's history of violence will be part of the evidence presented to a jury at the racketeering trial of reputed boss Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi and nine codefendants, according to a 59-page legal opinion filed Tuesday by the federal judge presiding over the case.

Judge Eduardo Robreno also ruled that mob informant Louis "Bent Finger Lou" Monacello can testify about alleged acts of violence tied to codefendant George Borgesi, including Borgesi's reputed boast about his own involvement in 11 gangland murders.

"I'm a professional," Monacello has said Borgesi told him during a conversation in the late 1990s.

In his ruling, Robreno seemed to indicate that a controversial tape recording made at a North Jersey restaurant by a mob informant who subsequently killed himself could also be introduced as evidence, but he has not ruled definitively on that.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank Labor, one of the prosecutors in the case, had likened the restaurant session to a "meeting of the board of directors of organized crime."

Robreno's rulings set the stage for the racketeering conspiracy trial, which begins with jury selection Oct. 9.

The judge said the conversations at that meeting and other references in the case to the violent history of the Philadelphia crime family established the organization's "reputation ... for using violence, threats, and intimidation to achieve its criminal objectives." And that, he ruled, "is relevant to explaining how the enterprise could effectively enforce its will upon others to carry out its extortionate moneymaking activities."

Defense attorneys had argued that evidence about the violent history of past mob leaders and specific uncharged acts of violence would create undue prejudice and deny defendants a fair trial.

The 52-count racketeering indictment is built primarily around charges of bookmaking, extortion, loan-sharking, and the operation of illegal video poker machines. Ligambi, 73, is also charged with defrauding a Teamsters Union health and welfare fund through a no-show job.

In addition to Borgesi, codefendants include alleged mob underboss Joseph "Mousie" Massimino, capos Anthony Staino and Joseph "Scoops" Licata, members Louis "Big Lou" Fazzini and Damion Canalichio, and associates Louis Barretta and Gary Battaglini.

Two other mob members, Martin Angelina and Gaeton Lucibello, have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.

Honest Italian pays heavy price for defying mafia


 IT WAS the severed rabbit's head that did it.

 Rosy Canale, an anti-mafia activist, had had threats before. But when the bloodied head arrived at her parents' house in a neat little package on her 40th birthday, she fled.

 Behind her, she left the ruins of a project that posed a subtle challenge to Italy's most ruthless organised crime syndicate: the 'Ndrangheta, the mafia that began life in Calabria, the ''toe'' of the Italian boot.

 Ms Canale knows all about its brutality. She used to own a restaurant and disco in the region's biggest city, Reggio Calabria, and the 'Ndrangheta wanted to push drugs there. ''I was to turn a blind eye,'' she said, speaking by phone from an undisclosed location in the US.

 ''If I had done so, I'd doubtless still be in Reggio Calabria, driving round in a brand-new Ferrari.''

 Instead, she refused. And the 'Ndrangheta took its revenge. Ms Canale was kicked and pistol-whipped almost to death. ''Nearly all my teeth were broken. So was my upper jawbone. They broke my collarbone, several ribs and a leg. It was eight months before I left hospital. The doctors had to reconstruct my mouth and for a long time I had to be fed through a tube. At one point, my weight dropped to 39 kilograms,'' she recalled.

 After being discharged, Ms Canale left for Rome and the start of three years of rehabilitation. ''I needed to learn to speak again because my tongue had also been damaged,'' she said. ''Even today, I can't run, though I can walk. And my right hand was so badly injured that I can't play the piano any longer. This is the price I paid for being an honest person.''

 Ms Canale said she was lurching from one bout of depression to another when, on August 15, 2007, the 'Ndrangheta unwittingly changed her life again. Six people were shot dead in a St Valentine's Day-style massacre outside a pizzeria in the German town of Duisburg, where they had been conducting a mobsters' initiation ritual.

 Half of the victims were from San Luca - a hill town in Calabria that had become the arena for a lethal feud between rival 'Ndrangheta families. As the hunt for the killers pressed ahead, the prefect - the local representative of the Interior Ministry - launched a contest for projects to give a new and different life to San Luca. Ms Canale decided to enter. ''I was annihilated as a person,'' she said. ''The only way out I could see was to work for others. Perhaps then my pain could be put to some use.''

 It is hard to overstate the courage - or recklessness - needed for a victim and target of the 'Ndrangheta to countenance working in San Luca, often described as the organisation's spiritual home. The town's mobsters enjoy a unique authority within the 'Ndrangheta.

 Ms Canale's project had three phases. The first was to set up a playschool. The idea was to get the children of San Luca off the streets and involve their mothers in a way that could drive a wedge between them and the 'Ndrangheta. Women have long played a prominent role in Calabria's mafia, carrying messages, keeping accounts and hiding fugitives.

 Ms Canale had limited success with phase two - the creation of soap-making and lace-making businesses, to be staffed largely by women - and never got as far as phase three, the founding of a women's centre. But the playschool was still running long after the last of the other projects folded.

 The survival of the school, however, came to rely on Ms Canale's readiness to dig into her savings and the willingness of her 12 helpers to provide their services for nothing. Eventually, the women told her they needed some kind of payment.

 Ms Canale said they would have been happy to work for €250 ($A304) a month: ''I told them they should hang on, and I'd soon get some funds to pay them.''

 She approached local authorities and then the national ones, asking for €30,000 to keep her project alive. ''I wrote to everyone, from the president of the republic down. Everyone knows what I do and who I am,'' she said. ''No one replied.''

 The end came when she found herself without the money to pay the electricity bill. By then, two things had happened: Ms Canale had decided to write a book about her experiences and she was again being threatened.

 ''In February, some men came to my parents' home in Rome posing as postmen. They said they had a letter. My mother opened the door and they pushed past her. They told her that if I published my book, they would cut me into pieces and feed me to the pigs. A book creates awareness,'' she said. ''And it remains.''

 The threats continued after she fled to the US, with the result that the police in Rome had told her 18-year-old daughter not to attend school. ''She is shut in the house. She cannot go out,'' said Ms Canale, whose plans for a book are nevertheless going ahead. It is due to be published on October 8. ''I'm not the sort of person whose mouth they can shut.''

RDP building new ground for mafia wars, police suspect



MONTREAL - It’s a slick, modern building, three storeys high, fronted by a textured concrete colonnade and brightened by large windows tinted blue. It houses offices and a large dental clinic as well as a restaurant called Shekz. A parking lot separates the building front from the street. It’s a typical contemporary suburban strip mall. Not a place you’d expect trouble.
But trouble came about 5 in the dark hours of Tuesday morning. Arsonists broke through the glass door of the Shekz, tossed in gas containers and tried to burn the place down.
The damage was “relatively minor,” Constable Daniel Fortier of Montreal police said.
It wasn’t the first time the building has been hit.
This unassuming commercial space appears to have become the most recent battleground in Montreal mafia wars that have taken the lives of several top bosses, including the son and father of jailed alleged kingpin Vito Rizzuto.
On Aug. 22, arsonists launched their first attack on the building at 7272 Maurice Duplessis Blvd., at the corner 6th Ave. in Rivière-des-Prairies. Fortier said police are trying to establish a link.
That attack also failed to do any real damage. But police speculate the gas containers and broken windows were a message to the building’s owners, brothers Antonino and Domenico Arcuri Jr., who have been linked to the Rizzuto clan.
Domenico Arcuri’s record is clean, but police wiretaps suggest he might have been used by the mob to hide property ownership.
His brother has been convicted of assault, breaking and entering and narcotics trafficking.
The Arcuris own the embattled building through a Quebec numbered company that is in turn owned by a federal numbered company headquartered in a factory building at 8390 de Creusot St. in St-Léonard.
Here, the Arcuris make gelato ice cream under the brand name La Bella Italiana through a company called Ital Gelati. A sign on the factory sports the Mona Lisa.
The family is believed to control most of the gelato production in Quebec.
Their links to the Rizzuto clan were exposed by an RCMP investigation that wiretapped mob headquarters at the Consenza social club.
Taped conversations disclosed Domenico Arcuri participated in 2005 and 2006 in seizing the property of a dead fraudster named Magdi Samaan.
The conversations reveal a mafia underboss, Francesco del Balso, discussing how Arcuri would put the properties under his own name.
In one conversation at the social club, Arcuri discussed with Paolo Renda, a brother-in-law of Vito Rizzuto, and Rocco Sollicito how to dispose of the properties.
Fortier said police “will certainly be looking into the links between these two incidents.”
Renda disappeared two years ago and is believed to have been murdered.
Jan Ravensbergen of the gazette contributed to this report