One of Sampson’s campaign donors is a mob associate


By Aaron Short and Bruce Golding

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









Mobster arrested

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



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



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


Written by FBI Newark Office

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

•           Patten: Alan Dexter Bowman Esq., Newark


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

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

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




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


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


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



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



Judge blasts Genovese soldier for hiking city construction costs


By Selim Algar

A Brooklyn federal judge blasted a Genovese crime family soldier for helping to hike city construction costs by mobbing up work sites, before sending him to prison for mire than two years.
“Every little bit of extortion affects the cost of doing business,” Judge Nicholas Garaufis told James Bernardone, 47, of The Bronx, in Brooklyn federal court Tuesday. “This is part of the big rip-off that goes on in this town day after day, year after year.”
The hoodlum, a former business agent for Local 124 of the International Union of Journeymen and Allied Trades, pleaded guilty to conspiring to extort a subcontractor on construction projects in Queens and Manhattan so he could line the crime family’s pockets.
With several teary-eyed relatives sitting in the court gallery to support him, Bernardone apologized to the court and to his union before being sentenced.
“I just want to apologize to the court for letting my members down,” he said. “Now I know what I did was wrong — which I didn’t know then.”
Bernardone’s lawyer said that his client’s judgement had been clouded by drug addiction.



Payola Figure Is Charged in Gambino Betting Ring


By JAMES C. McKINLEY Jr.JULY 30, 2014

Joseph Isgro’s résumé tracks a peculiarly American life, a roller-coaster ride through Hollywood and the underworld, with associates ranging from rock stars to mobsters.
He is a decorated Marine who became one of the nation’s most powerful record promoters in the 1980s. In the 1990s, he was cleared of payola charges in federal court. He went on to produce the film “Hoffa,” which received an Oscar nomination. In 2000, he pleaded guilty to running a loan-sharking business in Beverly Hills.
He has long been a reputed soldier in the Gambino crime family and recently promised to tell all about his life in a film still being developed, titled “Hit Man.”
On Wednesday, Mr. Isgro, 66, added a new line to his biography, as he was arraigned in Manhattan on state charges that he helped run a sports book ring for the Gambino family.
Mr. Isgro, who was arrested last week in Los Angeles, wore a red Marine Corps T-shirt and flip-flops as he pleaded not guilty to gambling, conspiracy and money laundering charges before Justice Bonnie G. Wittner in State Supreme Court.
Mr. Isgro, who was released on $250,000 bond, declined to comment as he left the courtroom. His lawyer, Aaron M. Rubin, said Mr. Isgro “strenuously denies the charges.”
An indictment unsealed last week characterized Mr. Isgro as a Gambino soldier who conspired with Joseph Giordano, a Gambino capo and bookmaker, to set up an operation that used offshore wire rooms in Costa Rica, under the names Elite and Cristal, and took bets from people in the United States. Mr. Giordano died of cancer in prison in October.
Another alleged Gambino associate, Leonard Rapisardi, was also charged in the conspiracy, along with two men accused of managing the wire room in Costa Rica and three people in Arizona who the authorities said developed bookmaking software for the ring.
Mr. Rapisardi and the Arizona residents — Robert Stuart, Susanne Stuart and Patrick Read — were arraigned on July 22 and released on bail. The other two people indicted — Gregory Sapon and Braulio Tate Monge — have yet to be apprehended.
Mr. Isgro, who was born in Philadelphia, has always denied any connections to organized crime. For decades, he was an influential player in the music business, starting out as a local promoter for Decca Records.
At the peak of his power in the 1980s, he was a member of a group of independent record-promotion specialists known as the Network. He owned a company that grossed more than $10 million a year and counted labels like Columbia, Warner Brothers and RCA as clients.
Most major labels dropped independent promoters in the late 1980s, as news articles about the resurgence of payola, or bribing radio stations to spin records, led to a federal investigation.
In 1987, Mr. Isgro and two others were indicted on charges they furnished cash and cocaine to program directors in return for airplay. A judge threw out the charges halfway through a trial in September 1990 because prosecutors had violated evidentiary rules; the dismissal came only after executives at four stations had testified Mr. Isgro or his associate had bribed them.
Prosecutors tried to revive the case for several years, but never managed to indict Mr. Isgro again. He continued to produce music, releasing albums by James Brown, Rick James and even a posthumous album from Tupac Shakur. He also got into movies, producing “Hoffa,” which starred Jack Nicholson.
In 2000, he was accused of lending money at interest rates of up to 5 percent a week and sending thugs to beat borrowers who failed to pay. He pleaded guilty to extortion and was sentenced to 50 months in prison.
Now the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., has said he has evidence that Mr. Isgro, after leaving prison, conspired with Mr. Giordano to help set up the offshore sports book in July 2009.
“These charges go back more than five years,” Mr. Rubin said. “It looks to be an ancient, ancient investigation, so we are looking forward to having our day in court.”






BetEagle Owner Pleads Guilty to Racketeering


BY KATIE BARLOWE

Customers were reportedly intimidated and threatened by Mob associates if they didn’t pay up to BetEagle, which was allegedly run in association with the Genovese crime family.
The owner of BetEagle is one of five men who have pleaded guilty in a Newark federal court to running an illegal sportsbetting site in New Jersey in association with the Genovese crime family. BetEagle owner Joseph Graziano and his employee Dominick Barone were each charged with one count of racketeering conspiracy and ordered to forfeit $1 million and $100,000 to the court, respectively. Earlier in the week, Mark Sanzo, Robert Scerbo, and William Bruder also pleaded guilty to the same charge.
All five men are New Jersey residents and were among 13 defendants arrested in May 2012 for their ties to the New Jersey faction of the Genovese Cosa Nostra. Among them is 81-year-old Joseph Lascala, an alleged capo (or captain) of the crew, who is charged with directing its criminal enterprises, which, as well as illegal gambling, allegedly included theft and extortion.
The Genovese crime family is the most powerful of the “Five Families” that operate organized crime in New York City. The family is run through smaller groups, sometimes referred to as “crews,” each headed by a “capo” and consisting of “soldiers” and “associates.”
BetEagle was a gambling site, supposedly licensed in Costa Rica, that operated at a local level in Northern New Jersey, as a “price-per-head” site. The court heard that mafia associates would act as agents (or bookmakers) of the business and would give local customers a user-name and a password to access the site and place bets. However, no money or credits were made or transferred through the website.
Instead, details of bets would be stored and tracked on the site, while collections were made in person, and customers unable or unwilling to pay debts would be met with threats and intimidation, as well as assurances that the company had the backing of the Genovese crime family. Customers would be forced to cough up interest, as well as the original sum owed.
There are also historical allegations on industry watchdog forums that suggest that some customers who had won large amounts through BetEagle were not paid out. According to prosecutors, money was distributed between the agents, the Lascala Crew, and Graziano and his employees. They claim that Graziano and Barone worked together maintaining the business and technology of the website.
Ironically, in a New York Times article of 2012 that looked at the phenomenon of “price per head” sports betting, websites proclaimed that such sites “attract an increasingly diverse customer base, with demographics far beyond the stereotypical image of the mob-connected bookie.”
And curiously, while the BetEagle.com domain has been shut down, BetEagle.ag appears to still be in operation. Dot.AG is an Antigua and Barbuda domain name.
“With more than 16 successful years in the industry, BetEagle.ag offers a smooth, hassle-free gaming experience that is simply world-class,” the site proclaims.
Sentencing for Barone is scheduled for November 12, 2014, and for Graziano, November 18, 2014. The count of racketeering conspiracy carries a maximum potential punishment of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.




A’dam restauranteur busted in Italian mob sting


A member of the notorious Italian ‘Ndrangheta’ mob has been arrested in a large-scale sting operation directed at mafia operations in Europe. The 46-year old Marc B., who runs a restaurant in Amsterdam, was arrested in February on suspicion of involvement in the mafia, including the delivery of cocaine to the Ndrangheta, De Volkskrant reports.
Marc B. had an international warrant out on him, part of an operation that expands into Germany and Italy. According to police in Italy, Marc B. partly owned and ran the Casa di David restaurant in Amsterdam, and traded drugs that were sold to members of the Cacciola mob from the South-Itaian Rosamo over the last few years. The drugs were then smuggled through Düsseldorf to Calabria in Italy.
The operation has so far resulted in the arrest of 16 Mafiosos, six of whom are women. The Ndrangheta mob is known as the most powerful criminal organizations in Europe, whose international drug trade is thought to bring in €53 billion per year, De Volkskrant writes.
According to the arrest warrant, Marc B., from Rome, was arrested in 2000 on suspicion of supplying over 5000 ecstasy pills and just under 2000 grams of cocaine. He was released after three days. The Italian will be taken to the Public Prosecutor from the Netherlands Public Prosecution Authority (OM). According to a spokesperson for the OM, the extradition process could take months.
The police found B. after hearing the testament of a mafia widow from the Cacciola clan. She was blamed for her husband’s suicide, and was locked up and abused. When she escape and attempted to commit suicide, her brother stepped in and stopped her. Her brother then mysteriously disappeared. She went to the police with all the information she has about the mob underworld when she got a chance. This has led to 16 arrests.

This is not the first time that The Netherlands has become involved in the world’s most notorious criminal gang worlds. Last year, police arrested a 39-year old Mafioso, Francesco N., in partnership with the Italian authorities. In Italy, Francesco appeared on the list of the 10 most dangerous wanted criminals. Police found him in Nieuwegein, where he was renting an apartment.

Michael Jackson record producer arrested for Mafia gambling links


By Donal MacIntyre

Michael Jackson record producer John Igro, 66, indicted on mafia gambling charges
A record producer who helped launch the careers of Michael Jackson, Elton John, Billy Joel and the Marvin Gaye among many others has been arrested on charges of running a gambling operation in conjunction with a mafia major crime family.
Joe Isgro, 66, based in California has pleaded not guilty to charges that he helped run a gambling operation with mob ties, the New Daily News reported.
The famous record producer was released on a quarter of a million dollar bond from a New York court.
The prosecutor claims that the star record producer - who also produced a film in 1992 with Jack Nicholson on the mob figure Jimmy Hoffa - has been involved in online gambling with the mob and six others for nearly nine years.
Online gambling is illegal in the US. It alleged that online software was linked to the producer and the Gambino crime family according to the NY prosecutor, the Daily News reported.
The record producer denies the charges.
The Gambino crime family is one of the mafia’s five families in New York that control the crime scene and have been cited as key Cosa Nostra players since the 1960’s.

They have been involved in gambling for generations and are noted for racketeering, loan sharking, extortion, prostitution and fraud.

Bulger Lawyers to File Appeal Mid-August


Attorneys for former mob boss have said Bulger believes he should have been allowed to argue that now-dead prosecutor gave him immunity
Lawyers for former crime boss James "Whitey" Bulger plan to file an appeal of Bulger's 2013 convictions on August 14.
Bulger, 84, is serving life in prison. He was convicted in a broad racketeering case, including 11 killings and other crimes in the 1970s and 80s.
Bulger headed Boston's Irish mob and was an FBI informant against the rival New England Mafia.
He was a fugitive for 16 years until his 2011 arrest in California.
Attorney Michael Coyne, Dean of the Massachusetts School of Law, joins us for a discussion.

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Even Yakuza Can’t Stop Investors Hunting for Yield: Japan Credit


By Finbarr Flynn and Takako Taniguchi July 28, 2014

Yasuhiro Sato, president and chief executive officer of Mizuho Financial Group Inc., center, bows at the start of a news conference in Tokyo on Oct. 28, 2013. Sato gave up six months of pay for failing to stop loans made to yakuza crime syndicates. Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg
Orient (8585) Corp., the Japanese lender at the center of a scandal over loans to gangsters that engulfed Mizuho Financial Group Inc., sold debt at about a fifth of the premium global companies pay, as investors search for yield.
The consumer lender, an affiliate of Mizuho, offered 10 billion yen ($98 million) of five-year notes at 18 basis points over yen swaps earlier this month, in its first public straight bond. That compared with the average spread of 11 basis points for Japanese company debt and 98 for global corporates, according to Bank of America Merill Lynch data.
Unprecedented Bank of Japan stimulus has cut local corporate bond spreads to a seven-year low, prompting investors to seek riskier debt to boost returns. Two top executives at Mizuho resigned posts this year after Japan’s second-biggest bank by assets was penalized twice in 2013 for loans via Orient to organized-crime groups known as the yakuza. The scandal led to revelations of more lending to gangsters in the financial industry, prompting the nation’s regulator to expand its probe.
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“In this environment of unprecedented low interest rates, there are few places to invest,” said Takayuki Atake, an analyst in Tokyo at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc. “Financial institutions are having to invest in securities since their lending isn’t increasing, so they’re taking a degree of risk.”
Investors are buying bonds from issuers with higher spreads such as Orient and Hikari Tsushin Inc. (9435) even after concerns in the past about their ability to honor debts, Atake said.
First Bonds
Daisuke Muraoka, a spokesman at Orient, said the company decided to sell the bond to local institutional investors given favorable market conditions and increased demand for loans. The company has registered to sell as much as 200 billion yen of notes to February 2016.
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Mizuho Securities Co. and Nomura Securities Co. co-managed Orient’s bond sale. The anti-social lending didn’t have any notable impact on the offering, Muraoka said, citing information from the managers.
Orient, known by its brand name Orico locally, is rated BBB+ by Japan’s Rating & Investment Information Inc., the equivalent of its third-lowest investment grade. The provider of auto and credit card loans, bailed out by Mizuho in 2003 and 2007, was rated B+ in 2002, the fourth-highest junk score.
“Orico’s ability to absorb costs with basic profits is not as high as the rating suggests, but it is improving,” R&I said in a statement on July 18. The rating incorporates “credit enhancement” by Mizuho and Orico’s importance to the banking group, according to the statement.
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Hikari Tsushin
Hikari Tsushin, a provider of mobile communication services rated one level lower than Orient by R&I, issued 10 billion yen in three-year notes in March at 109 basis points over yen swaps.
Orient’s five-year bonds sold at 4 basis points more than what Acom Co., a consumer finance unit of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., paid to issue debt of similar maturity on May 30. Acom offered 16 times more to sell shorter-term notes in February 2012.
Mizuho’s Yasuhiro Sato resigned this year as chief executive officer of Mizuho Bank Ltd. while remaining as group head, after Japan’s Financial Services Agency on Dec. 26 ordered the bank to suspend new transactions through consumer credit affiliates for a month. Takashi Tsukamoto, the chairman of the lender, also stepped down.
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Yakuza Transactions
Japanese regulators ordered a second round of penalties against the bank after it failed to stop 200 million yen in credit extended to members of criminal syndicates and then filed an incorrect report on the matter. Mizuho submitted a business improvement plan to the regulator on Jan. 17, outlining steps to strengthen governance toward eliminating “transactions with anti-social elements.”
Other financial institutions including Mitsubishi UFJ’s consumer finance unit Acom, affiliate Jaccs Co. and Shinsei Bank Ltd. later said they had discovered transactions with so-called anti-social groups. Japan’s financial regulator extended inspections to Mitsubishi UFJ and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. in November after finding Mizuho had failed to end loans to gangsters.
A crackdown by authorities has cut the ranks of the yakuza. Membership dropped 7.3 percent last year to 58,600, after a 10 percent decline in 2012, according to Japan’s National Police Agency data. Police arrested almost 23,000 gang members in 2013 for crimes such as drug violations and theft, according to the agency’s website.