Funeral held for alleged key Mafia member




Funeral held for alleged key Mafia member


About 200 mourners gathered for the funeral of alleged Mafia member Joe Di Maulo at Notre-Dame-du-Mont-Carmel cathedral in Montreal's Saint-Léonard borough this Wednesday morning.
Police found Di Maulo, 70, dead in the driveway of his residence in Blainville on Nov. 4.
A significant media presence and a handful of curious onlookers gathered outside the church. They watched six silver Cadillacs adorned with flowers leave the site behind the hearse.
A few police officers discreetly kept an eye on the proceedings.
'Complicated chessboard'
Di Maulo has allegedly been a key figure in Montreal's organized crime since the '70s.
Investigative journalist Julian Sher told CBC News that Di Maulo's death revealed the complicated chessboard of Montreal's organized crime.
Sher said Di Maulo was in the Mafia's Calabrian branch, which ran Montreal in the 1970s in opposition to the Mob-linked Rizzuto family.
Di Maulo escaped a jail sentence in 1971 after a successful appeal on a triple murder case that was committed in his bar, La Casa Loma. The bar was located near Saint-Laurent Boulevard in Montreal at the time.
Di Maulo's death comes a month after Montreal's Sicilian Mob boss, Vito Rizzuto, was released from prison and returned to Canada after serving an eight-year sentence for his role in the killing of three leaders of New York's Bonanno crime family.

He’s ‘dying’ for a break



He’s ‘dying’ for a break

He’s feeling better already.
A former Colombo crime-family consigliere got a sweetheart sentence in a prison hospital yesterday after his lawyer told a judge that the reputed mobster was at death’s door.
When Richard Fusco was last seen in court, he appeared to be the picture of health. But when the 76-year-old defendant showed up for sentencing on extortion charges, he ambled behind a walker with wheels before his lawyer read off enough ailments to fill a medical journal.
“My client’s life hangs in the balance,” defense attorney Martin Adelman said.
Adelman sounded like the surgeon general describing Fusco’s circulatory ailments. When he was done, the judge asked him about his source. “I’m citing Wikipedia,” Adelman said.
Some watching the hearing in Brooklyn federal court were convinced that Fusco was exaggerating.
“I wasn’t sure if that was ‘the Chin’ there or Fusco, but he definitely used a page out of [the Chin’s] book,” said an observer, referring to late Genovese crime-family boss Vincent “Chin” Gigante, who feigned insanity for years to evade prosecution.
Brooklyn federal prosecutors argued that Fusco’s bona fide medical problems could be treated over several years during a substantial stay in a prison hospital and stressed that he has lived with health concerns for years while serving as one of New York’s highest-ranking mobsters.
“He was getting dialysis when he was consigliere of the Colombo crime family,” Assistant US Attorney Liz Geddes told the judge.
On top of the four-month prison-hospital stay, the judge sentenced Fusco to a year of house arrest and two years of probation.
After the hearing, Fusco chatted in low tones with friends — even though moments earlier he had complained he couldn’t hear the judge when she used a microphone and loudspeaker.
He even raised a private objection on the subject of fine he might face.
“I’m not going to pay it,” he told his attorney.
Fusco’s sentencing and a half-dozen guilty pleas from fellow Colombo mobsters effectively end the FBI case against the crime family that began with dozens of raids in January 2011.
Colombo boss Andrew “Mush” Russo pleaded guilty to racketeering charges yesterday and faces 33 to 41 months in prison.
“The guilty pleas today bring this case to a conclusion,” said defense attorney Vincent Romano. “It was a big case — arguably the biggest in organized-crime history.”


Mobster groom ordered to disinvite wedding wiseguys


Mobster groom ordered to disinvite wedding wiseguys

JOHN MARZULLI
Thursday, November 08, 2012
He made them an offer he has to refuse to honor. Low-level mobster and city Sanitation worker Joseph Virzi invited a crew of eight made-members of the Gambino crime family to his upcoming wedding — only to learn that he is prohibited from associating with them. Virzi’s lawyer reached out to Brooklyn Federal Judge Kiyo Matsumoto for help with a quandary that isn’t addressed in any etiquette books. “This has placed my client in a very difficult and awkward situation [which includes the fact that he still has to pay for these people] whereby he will have to contact these people and tell them not to attend his wedding,” lawyer Steven Brounstein stated in a letter. The mobbed-up guests are reputed capos John Gambino, Joseph Marino, John Rizzo, Louis Devito and Pasquale Marsala and soldiers Joseph Costa, Joseph Gambino and Pietro (Pete) Inzerillo, according to court papers and law enforcement sources. They have been Virzi’s “family friends” for many years, the lawyer wrote. Virzi, a reputed associate of the Colombo crime family, pleaded guilty last year to participating in an illegal sports betting ring controlled by the Colombos and Gambinos. He was sentenced to 18 months and ordered not to hang out with mobsters. Virzi’s parents sent out the invitations one week before their son was sentenced this past summer, Brounstein furtherexplained. The judge asked the government to take a position, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Geddes tried to offer Virzi an early wedding present. As long as he disclosed the details of the wedding ceremony and reception in advance to the feds, the Gambino gangsters and their wives could attend, Geddes informed the judge Wednesday in a letter. After hearing both sides, Matsumoto “ respectfully denied” the request, so there will be 16 fewer guests at the wedding. The details of the Nov. 23 nuptials in Belleville, N.J., will not be made public, Brounstein said. Virzi may face yet another obstacle to surmount — –storm-ravaged Belleville has a 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew in effect as a result of Hurricane Sandy, which remains in effect until Gov. Chris Christie declares otherwise. Virzi’s friends in high places aren’t all mobsters. Msgr. David Cassato, ann NYPD chaplain, wrote a letter to the judge on Virzi’s behalf before he was sentenced. Matsumoto previously showed sympathy for the groom-to-be: She granted permission for Virzi to travel with friends to Las Vegas in September for his bachelor party. None of the friends were linked to organized crime. jmarzulli@nydailynews.com


Mob turncoat says reputed boss wanted to kill Jerry Blavat


Mob turncoat says reputed boss wanted to kill Jerry Blavat

Reputed mob boss Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi vowed in 2009 to kill radio celebrity Jerry Blavat, a mob turncoat testified Tuesday.
Ligambi was livid over a Philadelphia Magazine article about the mob and believed Blavat was behind it, Louis "Bent Finger Lou" Monacello said.
"He was ranting and raving, 'That [expletive] Jerry Blavat, he set this up. Jerry Blavat, I'm gonna kill this [expletive],' " Monacello testified.
There were no signs that the threat against Blavat, a longtime Philadelphia radio icon and owner of the Memories in Margate restaurant at the Shore, was more than hot air.
Blavat, known to fans as the Geator with the Heater, said the threat was news to him.
Story continues below.
"I never heard it," he said Tuesday. "I grew up with these guys. I know Joe."
The detail emerged as Monacello resumed his role as a star witness in the racketeering trial of the 73-year-old Ligambi and six codefendants.
Ligambi's lawyer tried to portray Monacello as a serial liar who was jealous of the defendants and would say what prosecutors wanted to avoid or reduce a prison term.
Monacello, at times so confident that he bordered on cocky, described himself as a businessman who owned a restaurant and seven fitness training schools, but who also helped run Delaware County gambling, bookmaking, and loan-sharking operations for George Borgesi, an alleged captain and Ligambi's nephew.
Theirs wasn't a loving crime family, according to Monacello. He acknowledged plotting to kill one captain, Martin Angelina, and said he didn't trust Ligambi.
He said he also knew that the mob boss and Borgesi hated each other. "Joe said he hopes his nephew does 100 years" in prison, Monacello testified. "The nephew wants to choke his uncle."
Ligambi's lawyer, Edwin Jacobs, suggested that the witness perjured himself and embellished testimony about his history "to get a good deal."
Jacobs pointed to Monacello's account of an assault on a contractor renovating a property for Ligambi. Last year, Monacello told a grand jury he kicked the victim once in the chest. During this trial, he testified that he kicked the man twice in the face.
Monacello dismissed the discrepancy as irrelevant. "Why would I lie about that?" he asked.
Jacobs retorted: "Maybe to get a good deal?"
Monacello didn't dispute that his relationships with ranking mobsters were frayed.

Monacello wanted revenge after Angelina took $11,000 from a debtor who owed the cash to Monacello. "As a man, there are certain things you can live with and certain things you can't," he told Assistant U.S. Attorney John S. Han. "I wasn't going to let Angelina rob me."
Monacello said that he planned to beat Angelina but that an associate who was a government cooperator talked him into hiring hit men. The attack never happened, but the plot was detailed in a 2009 indictment against Monacello.
 The morning after his arrest in that case, he said, Ligambi came to his South Philadelphia home to reassure him. "He does this Academy Award-winning speech in front of my family: Don't worry about it," Monacello said.
Monacello then turned and began clapping as he smiled at Ligambi. "Academy Award, Joe," he said, a gesture that stirred rumblings from Ligambi supporters in the courtroom.
Monacello said he decided to cooperate because he believed his dispute with Angelina made him a marked man. He said the task of killing him probably would have fallen to Borgesi, a onetime friend and boss who was ending a prison term.
"These are the mob rules," Monacello told jurors. "They didn't do anything to me, because he [Borgesi] brought me in. He was going to kill me when he was getting out."
Killing him right away would not have been Borgesi's style, Monacello said.
"He's hung out with people for months before he killed them," he said. "One night, I would've gone out and I just would not have come home."

Ex-Bonanno crime boss Joseph Massino, in prison for murder, set to sing again in extortion trial




Ex-Bonanno crime boss Joseph Massino, in prison for murder, set to sing again in extortion trial

Massino was a crucial witness last year against Vincent Basciano, his successor. Massino is now preparing to testify against reputed Genovese family gangster Anthony Romanello, whose attorney said, “I look forward to showing the jury that a man who has been convicted of eight murders has very little credible testimony to offer.”
The Fed's biggest mob rat is being let out of his cage to testify against an elderly Genovese gangster at his upcoming extortion trial, the Daily News has learned.
Former Bonanno crime boss Joseph Massino will be making only his second appearance on the witness stand since he defected to the government side in 2004.
Massino was a devastating witness last year against Vincent (Vinny Gorgeous) Basciano, his successor as Bonanno boss, and now the corpulent cooperator is ready to torpedo reputed Genovese captain Anthony (Rom) Romanello.
Federal prosecutors turned over Massino’s case file to defense lawyers Tuesday in preparation for opening arguments that are scheduled for Nov. 26.
“I look forward to showing the jury that a man who has been convicted of eight murders has very little credible testimony to offer,” Romanello’s lawyer, Gerald McMahon, told The News.
Massino, 69, is expected to provide expert-witness testimony about the mob, of which he has considerable and authoritative knowledge, having navigated those treacherous waters for more than four decades.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Dennehy previously stated in court papers that the government’s evidence includes “testimony regarding the rules, structure, hierarchy and protocols of La Cosa Nostra, particularly with respect to the Bonanno and Genovese crime families.”
He did not personally commit any crimes with the defendant, although they knew each other and Romanello had dined at Massino’s restaurant, CasaBlanca, in Middle Village, Queens, another source said.
Massino has emerged as a witness in the trial only in the past week, after Brooklyn Federal Judge Carol Amon expressed reservations about allowing testimony from a different mob rat about a sitdown with Romanello, sources said.
Romanello, 75, is charged with participating in the extortion of a Bonanno family associate who had failed to repay a $30,000 loan to a mortgage broker, who then sought Romanello’s help.
Massino was once known as the “Last Don,” but he cast aside his oath of omerta on July 30, 2004 — the day a federal jury convicted him of multiple murders.
After claiming to have knowledge that Basciano was plotting to whack a prosecutor, Massino agreed to wear a hidden wire in prison and recorded incriminating conversations that led to Basciano’s conviction.
Massino was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole and is in poor health, but sources said he holds out hope that the government will someday make a recommendation to Judge Nicholas Garaufis for his release as a reward for his service as a rat.

Yes, the Mafia is here, too


Yes, the Mafia is here, too

So he is dead. His body shot and dumped in front of his house. It was a long time coming. For over four decades, Joe Di Maulo was a senior mobster in Canada. He worked for some of the top Mafia clans, but until a few days ago, Di Maulo had an almost untroubled life. The clue to his near care-free existence came in the media coverage of his murder. The principal visual material to identify this thug comes from a CBC television series — Connections — aired in 1979.
The prevailing myth in our society, up until the airing of Connections, was that there was no Mafia in Canada. This was six years after Marlon Brando had won an Oscar for his portrayal of the Godfather. In the late 1970s, most Americans realized there was a strong Mafia presence in their country and were beginning to fight actively against it. But the reigning thought among the Canadian establishment was that there was no organized crime in this county.
The people who made this spurious argument presumably felt that there was an invisible force field that prevented well-resourced thugs and goons from coming into Canada. It ignored over 70 years of our history and the fact that many of the richest Canadian families had made their money supplying alcohol to gangsters such as Al Capone in the 1920s during prohibition in the U.S.
The journalists on Connections did not just disprove the idea of there being no Canadian Mafia — they destroyed it completely. The crew identified, followed and filmed mobsters across Canada. They revealed, for the first time to English Canadians the full extent of mob infiltration in the country. The programs were compelling viewing and were watched by millions of people. Thirty-three years ago, Connections was everything that now the CBC is not: edgy, hard-driven and utterly relevant.
However, since Connections, CBC management has grown fearful of putting anything like it on our screens. There have been a few small-scale investigations, but nothing of the power and extent of Connections. Instead CBC executives feed us a diet of hockey games, David Suzuki and scandals of the British monarchy. (I’m writing about English CBC here. Much of the recent corruption scandal was exposed by Radio-Canada journalists.) Nor is the CBC alone in mostly ignoring of the power of organized crime in Canada.
Since 1979, we have had an almost complete silence about the growth of the mob in this country from our politicians. Yes, in the 1990s we had lots of discussions of the relatively low-level biker thugs — but they were always the drug-sellers of last resort, rather than high-level, well-established criminals. It is a testament to the power of Connections that journalists 33 years later are still relying on the visuals of well-entrenched criminals like Di Maulo, that they collected.
This societal silence is in direct contrast to the United States, where there have been a number of high-level investigations led by men like Donnie Brasco and Rudolph Giuliani — that have put the mob on the back foot in that country. In Canada, our mobsters have lived largely unhindered for years. They infiltrated the construction and public works industry, among others, and yet no official body seems to have done anything about it.
In fact, listen to Ben Soave, a former RCMP detective, who along with other experts in organized crime says that Canada is now a go-to country for Italian and American criminals who fear prosecution in their own homelands.
Here they can carry on their activities, thanks to a Canadian complacency and fear of controversy. The province that, according to Soave and other experts, is the most fruitful area for the mob is not Quebec, where there is a steady toll of dead bodies and an ongoing public inquiry, but Ontario.
In our section of Ontario — Ottawa — it is not clear if there are systems in place to specifically prevent highly resourceful and very violent criminals from corrupting our city. If they are there, it might be a good idea to demonstrate them now. Protecting society from corruption is Caesar’s wife stuff, it must be seen to be effective and strong. One thing that we do know is judging by the past, our media and our municipal politicians will be largely silent until the bodies start to appear.
Declan Hill is an investigative journalist who specializes in organized crime and sport.

When the mob learned to love rock and roll


When the mob learned to love rock and roll

Los Angeles journalist John Johnson and his co-author, Joel Selvin, have finished their book on the New York and Miami nightclubs where the mob discovered there was money in rock and roll music. "Peppermint Twist" tells the story of the Peppermint Lounge and what happened after "The Twist" became a hit song and dance craze, The time: 1961. From the authors' post at the Huffington Post:
In the Twist, it is possible to see the beginnings of everything that was the '60s -- sexual liberation, civil rights, draft protests. The young Kennedys were barely settled in the White House and the Soviets were massing troops on their side of the East German border, but all anybody could talk about that October was this crazy new dance.
With powerful forces inside the Five Families trying to kill Biello, he decided to double-down on his unexpected good fortune. He and his young son-in-law, Cami, quickly opened a second Peppermint Lounge in Miami Beach, which was instantly greeted as the nation's top rock and roll club during the golden age of the music.
It was a place where mobsters danced enthusiastically with the kids, where Nat King Cole jammed with the house band to get a feel for rock and roll, and where a young heavyweight named Cassius Clay hung around before the Liston fight with "Mashed Potatoes" singer Dee Dee Sharp. The girls who would become the Ronettes started out at the Peppermint as rail dancers, forerunners to the caged and coiffed Go-Go dancers of later vintage.
Perhaps the high point of the Mob's brush with rock and roll occurred when the Beatles came to see Hank Ballard, who wrote the song that got everyone dancing in the first place. A paid killer's threat of violence -- his girlfriend was infatuated with Ringo -- was averted when Cami assigned him to guard the band. Afterward, mobsters lined up to buy the chairs the Beatles sat in for their kids.
Supported by hundreds of pages of FBI documents, the tale follows the strangest crew of thugs and hustlers to ever run a rock and roll club...
Ronnie Spector, who was still known as Veronica Bennett when she hung out at the Peppermint Lounge, blurbs the book as "The Sopranos meets American Bandstand." Johnson and Selvin launch in Los Angeles on Nov. 20 at Book Soup in West Hollywood.


Survey: Yakuza extorted 18% of companies




Survey: Yakuza extorted 18% of companies

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Among companies subjected to demands from organized crime syndicates such as extortion of money, 18.4 percent acquiesced, according to a recent survey, the National Police Agency has announced.
The figure was almost the same level as a similar survey conducted in 2010 in which 21.8 percent of companies that received unreasonable demands complied with them.
The NPA is calling on companies to consult with police when they are troubled by gangsters.
The NPA, the Japan Federation of Bar Associations and other organizations conducted a survey in July, targeting 10,000 companies nationwide. The survey asked whether they had received unreasonable demands from organized crime syndicates in the past five years.
Among 2,885 companies that responded to the survey, 337, or 11.7 percent, said they had received such demands from organized crime syndicates. Of the 337 companies, 185 had received such demands within the past year.
About 71.8 percent of the demands pressed companies to pay money, give product discounts or buy items to settle quarrels for which pretexts had been fabricated. Sixty-two of the 337 companies accepted either part or all of the demands. Five companies paid more than 5 million yen, the survey said.
As some companies are believed to have given in to the demands for fear of reprisals, the NPA said it will make efforts to familiarize more companies with consultation services and improve protective measures. So far this year there have been 13 cases in which gangsters attacked citizens and companies and no arrests have been made.
According to the survey, 2,562 companies, or 88.8 percent of the 2,885 companies surveyed, knew about antigang ordinances that were enforced by Tokyo and the other 46 prefectures nationwide by October last year. Of them, 63.3 percent said the ordinances were effective in ostracizing organized crime syndicates.
Sixty-one and a half percent of companies surveyed took measures to avoid becoming victims, such as incorporating a clause in contracts with other businesses that prohibits the involvement of organized crime syndicates; this number doubled from the previous survey. While 94.6 percent of companies listed on the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange took such measures, only 37.7 of individual business operators did so, the survey said.
(Nov. 17, 2012)

Judge grants 3-month delay in murder trial of Mass. gangster James ‘Whitey’ Bulger



BOSTON — A federal judge on Friday agreed to delay the murder trial of former mobster James “Whitey” Bulger by three months, rejecting a defense request for eight months.
U.S. District Judge Richard Stearns said he would put off Bulger’s trial from March until June. He said jury selection will begin on June 6.
Bulger’s lawyer J.W. Carney Jr. said he accepts the judge’s decision and “we will do everything in our power to be ready for the June 6 trial date.”
The 83-year-old Bulger, who was hospitalized briefly after complaining of chest pains a few days ago at the prison where he has been awaiting trial, is known as the former leader of the Winter Hill Gang. He’s charged with participating in 19 murders. He fled Boston in late 1994 and remained a fugitive on the FBI’s Most Wanted list until June 2011, when he was captured in Santa Monica, Calif., with his longtime girlfriend.
Bulger has pleaded not guilty. Carney has said he will testify at trial about his claim that he was given immunity for his crimes by a federal prosecutor while he was an FBI informant on the Mafia.
Carney has argued that the defense needs more time to review a huge volume of materials, including more than 364,000 documents, turned over by prosecutors in what he claims is a disorganized and redundant fashion. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Kelly has accused Bulger and his attorneys of continually trying to stall the trial.
The judge, in his ruling, said he tried to be fair to Bulger by giving his lawyers adequate time to prepare for trial while also being fair to prosecutors, the public and the families of the people who were killed.
Bulger’s girlfriend, Catherine Greig, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to harbor a fugitive and identity fraud related to their time on the run. She was sentenced to eight years in prison and paid a $150,000 fine.
Prosecutors say Bulger and Greig, who’s in her early 60s, posed as married retirees from Chicago and had a stash of more than $800,000 in cash and dozens of weapons in their apartment when they were captured.

FBI declares win in latest battle against New York mafia




NEW YORK — The FBI declared victory Friday in its latest battle against the Cosa Nostra mafia after wrapping up a case that nabbed the entire administration of New York's Colombo organized crime family.
The last of 38 guilty pleas to a variety of mobster activities was entered in Brooklyn federal court by Colombo associate Angelo Spata, nicknamed "Little Angelo."
His plea completed the circle that began with the unsealing of the case in January 2011 and a series of raids that amounted to the biggest single-day US operation against the Italian-American mafia.
With street names like "Big Mike," "the Claw," "Fat Dennis" and "the Beard," the defendants were at the core of one of New York's historic five crime families. Most will now go behind bars.
"Those who have pleaded guilty include the members of the entire administration of the Colombo organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra..., as well as numerous leaders, members, and associates of the Colombo family," the US Attorney's Office said in a statement.
The wiseguys included Andrew Russo, former street boss of the Colombos, Benjamin Castellazzo, the acting underboss, and Richard Fusco, the consigliere.
"When sentenced, the majority of the defendants, including those who pleaded guilty yesterday and today, will face a maximum sentence of twenty years' imprisonment," the statement said.
They have also agreed to surrender $5.6 million in criminal proceeds.
Russo admitted involvement in a racketeering conspiracy and illegal gambling, while Castellazzo admitted racketeering and extortion conspiracies, and Fusco admitted conspiring to extort money from the rival Gambino crime family.
Among the other defendants, two admitted to violent collection of debts.
The FBI said the mass pleas demonstrated the steady dismantling of the Cosa Nostra in New York, long one of its strongholds.
"The dwindling strength of all five La Cosa Nostra families is cause for optimism that their pernicious influence in various industries -- and their violence in pursuit of that influence -- will become a thing of the past," said FBI assistant director-in-charge Mary Galligan.

Mobster groom ordered to disinvite wedding guests from Gambino crime family


He made them an offer he has to refuse to honor.

Low-level mobster and city Sanitation worker Joseph Virzi invited a crew of eight made-members of the Gambino crime family to his upcoming wedding — only to learn that he is prohibited from associating with them.

Virzi’s lawyer reached out to Brooklyn Federal Judge Kiyo Matsumoto for help with a quandary that isn’t addressed in any etiquette books.

“This has placed my client in a very difficult and awkward situation [which includes the fact that he still has to pay for these people] whereby he will have to contact these people and tell them not to attend his wedding,” lawyer Steven Brounstein stated in a letter.

The mobbed-up guests are reputed capos John Gambino, Joseph Marino, John Rizzo, Louis Devito and Pasquale Marsala and soldiers Joseph Costa, Joseph Gambino and Pietro (Pete) Inzerillo, according to court papers and law enforcement sources.

They have been Virzi’s “family friends” for many years, the lawyer wrote.

Virzi, a reputed associate of the Colombo crime family, pleaded guilty last year to participating in an illegal sports betting ring controlled by the Colombos and Gambinos. He was sentenced to 18 months and ordered not to hang out with mobsters.

Virzi’s parents sent out the invitations one week before their son was sentenced this past summer, Brounstein furtherexplained.

The judge asked the government to take a position, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Geddes tried to offer Virzi an early wedding present.

As long as he disclosed the details of the wedding ceremony and reception in advance to the feds, the Gambino gangsters and their wives could attend, Geddes informed the judge Wednesday in a letter.
After hearing both sides, Matsumoto “ respectfully denied” the request, so there will be 16 fewer guests at the wedding.

The details of the Nov. 23 nuptials in Belleville, N.J., will not be made public, Brounstein said.
Virzi may face yet another obstacle to surmount — –storm-ravaged Belleville has a 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew in effect as a result of Hurricane Sandy, which remains in effect until Gov.
Chris Christie declares otherwise.

 Virzi’s friends in high places aren’t all mobsters. Msgr. David Cassato, ann NYPD chaplain, wrote a letter to the judge on Virzi’s behalf before he was sentenced.

Matsumoto previously showed sympathy for the groom-to-be: She granted permission for Virzi to travel with friends to Las Vegas in September for his bachelor party. None of the friends were linked to organized crime.

 

The recent murder of a Montreal mobster is indicative of a power struggle


 

The recent murder of a Montreal mobster is indicative of a power struggle within the city’s organized crime set and more violence will likely follow, a Mafia expert says.

Speculation about a possible shake-up within the ranks of Montreal’s Mafia swelled Monday when the public learned that Joseph Di Maulo had been found dead north of the city.

Reports indicate Di Maulo, 70, was gunned down on his driveway in Blainville, Que.

And while police investigate the homicide, Mafia expert Antonio Nicaso says the crime hints at a larger, more worrisome problem: a period of instability within Montreal’s Mafia.

“At this point, Montreal is like a powder keg. Anything can happen,” he told CTV’s Canada AM on Tuesday morning.

Nicaso ventures that much of the unpredictability is related to the return of influential mob boss Vito Rizzuto, who came back to Canada in early October after serving a five-year prison sentence in the United States on charges of racketeering and conspiracy.

While Rizzuto sat in a Colorado prison, his father and son were murdered in Montreal. At the same time, his brother-in-law disappeared without a trace.

His prison sentence and the subsequent incidents fueled discussion about who was now controlling Montreal’s enigmatic Mafia.

It’s difficult to determine how Di Maulo fits into Rizzuto’s story, said Nicaso.

Though the two once had a good relationship, Nicaso said Di Maulo’s allegiances became difficult to follow once Rizzuto left the country.

“During a power struggle, alliances form and break up constantly. So the problem for police investigators is now to identify who is on one side, who is on the other side,” he said.

Di Maulo was widely regarded as an influential member of the Montreal Mafia, a Calabrian whose profile rose considerably when the Cotroni crime family was in power. According to Nicaso, Di Maulo held onto that clout once the Rizzuto family came into power.

“People used to say that he had his foot in two camps. Capable to switch from one side to another,” said Nicaso.

Di Maulo’s death comes as a Quebec inquiry continues to look into allegations of corruption and the role of organized crime within the province’s construction industry.

Explosive testimony at the Charbonneau Commission has delved into accusations of illegal financing for political campaigns and kickbacks for construction bosses. Montreal mayor Gerald Tremblay cited the revelations when he resigned Monday night.

In Nicaso’s eyes, the commission has offered a glimpse into how the Montreal Mafia has thrived in the past, by forming connections with movers and shakers.

“Let’s forget about the movies, big-screen violence and everything. The Mafia survives only if the Mafia is capable (of building) political and financial connections,” he said.

Reputed Montreal mob boss found dead in driveway


 

 

MONTREAL — A man alleged to be an influential member of the underworld whose career spanned nearly five decades has been gunned down in what appears to be a new chapter in Montreal's ongoing Mafia war.

The killing of Joe Di Maulo is the first murder of a reputed Mafia boss since Vito Rizzuto, allegedly the most powerful Sicilian mobster in Canada, emerged from a long prison stint. Di Maulo was said to have once worked for a rival crime faction before joining with the Rizzutos in the 1970s.

He was killed outside his home late Sunday.

Di Maulo's body was found face down in the driveway of his home that borders a golf course in a posh suburban area. Police said a 911 call came from a member of the family inside the home.

He was the brother-in-law of Raynald Desjardins, charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of the alleged Mob boss Salvatore Montagna. Currently awaiting trial, Desjardins recently lost a bid to get out of testifying before Quebec's corruption inquiry.

Sources said Di Maulo suffered at least two gunshot wounds to the head but police would only say that an autopsy was needed to determine the cause of death.

"We're still at the beginning of the investigation," Sgt. Benoit Richard of Quebec provincial police said Monday.

"We're still going over the scene right now — everything outside and inside the house — and we went over the area with sniffer dogs."

There is a wooded area near Di Maulo's home, which police paid close attention to on Monday. No weapon was found on the scene, Richard said.

Richard said police were meeting with neighbours, one by one, to determine if anyone saw anything suspicious in the days or weeks leading up to the death.

Police said the 70-year-old victim had links to organized crime but Richard said it was too soon to tell who might have been behind the attack.

"We need to have a clean slate to have an open mind and consider everything," Richard said. "We've had information about Mr. Di Maulo's links to organized crime, but we can't any one group is behind this."

Di Maulo's slaying is the latest in a series of attacks on Mafia-linked figures in recent months and years. The majority of the attacks have centered on key figures and members of the once-formidable Rizzuto clan.

Pierre de Champlain, a retired RCMP Mafia analyst and organized crime author, said that Di Maulo was a legendary figure in the Montreal Mafia — a man who had been involved in the underworld for 50 years and continued to be an important player.

His ties to the Calabrian clan that once dominated the Montreal crime scene became public during a provincial inquiry into organized crime in the 1970s. That Cotroni-Violi empire was soon violently wiped out by the Sicilian Rizzuto family — and Di Maulo survived the transition.

The businessman was discreet and kept a low profile.

"Over time, he became very influential and respected in Montreal," said de Champlain.

"He wasn't someone who was flamboyant or went out seeking attention from the media or the police."

He said Di Maulo recognized that the Cotroni-Violi era was ending in the late 1970s and the Sicilians were on the rise.

He joined forces with them, de Champlain said.

"Because of his experience and expertise, he managed to convince other Calabrian factions to join the Sicilians, he served as a sort of middleman between the two sides," de Champlain said.

Rizzuto, the reputed head of Montreal's Mafia, was released from a U.S. prison in October and returned to Canada.

He returned to an organization that had been battered by police sweeps since he was arrested in 2004.

Several of his closest family members and confidants were slain in the past few years, including Rizzuto's father and his son, who were both gunned down.

His brother-in-law has been missing for two years and is presumed dead.

An RCMP analyst testified earlier this year that a Calabrian faction had taken control of the Mafia in Montreal, but after Sunday's slaying of Di Maulo, de Champlain said he's not sure how secure that hold is.

"It's hard to say since Mr. Di Maulo represented the head of the Calabrian factions in Montreal," de Champlain said.

Whitey Bulger Hospitalized With Chest Pains




(NEWSER) – James "Whitey" Bulger, the Boston gangster who was finally captured last year after 16-plus years on the run, was rushed to the hospital early yesterday with chest pains, officials tell the Boston Globe. Little is known about Bulger's condition, but this is at least the second time he's been hospitalized over the past year, and the 83-year-old does take a beta blocker used for high blood pressure and blood flow problems. But some relatives of his alleged victims are unimpressed, and they've complained that he's using his health as an excuse to stall his trial. “I hope he’s all right because I want him to hang in there,” says the widow of a man Bulger is accused of gunning down. “I want him to go to trial. I think he has a lot to say, and I want to hear it.”