Robbers accused of burrowing through bank ceilings are charged

By Jamie Schram, Kaja Whitehouse and Philip Messing

The NYPD investigates the scene of the bank robbery in Brooklyn.
Three members of a New York burglary crew — including the son of a murdered Gambino crime-family associate — cut holes through the roofs of banks in Brooklyn and Queens and made off with $5million in cash and valuables, authorities said Tuesday.
Suspects Michael Mazzara, 44, Charles Kerrigan, 40, and Anthony Mascuzzio, 36, managed to evade arrest for months after their first heist in April, and make off with enough loot to fund a lavish lifestyle, officials said.
“They bought new cars and motorcycles, Jet Skis and boats,” FBI Assistant Director Diego Rodriguez said at a joint press conference with NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton and Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara.
“They partied in Las Vegas and took trips to Miami while residents of Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, and Rego Park [Queens] got taken to the cleaners.”
The men are being looked at in 10 other robberies, sources said. Bratton said their methods reminded him of a favorite film.
“These heists resembled scenes from the movie ‘Heat,’ said Bratton, referring to the 1995 crime drama with Robert de Niro and Al Pacino. [It was] the work of a crew that was well-organized, meticulous and elusive to law enforcement.”
Investigators tied the suspects to the crimes when the crooks made the same mistake as the fictional holdup artists in “Heat” — they left some of their equipment behind at the crime scene, Bharara said.
As in the film, investigators were able to track down the buyers of the equipment.
Investigators also were able to connect the three men to the crimes with the help of surveillance video and cellphone tower records pinpointing their locations.
“These bank jobs also left enough of a trace for the FBI and NYPD, whose good old-fashioned police work led to the charges and arrests announced today,” Bharara said.
One of the crooks has a colorful criminal pedigree. Mascuzzio’s father, Anthony Mascuzzio Sr., was a close pal of legendary Gambino boss John Gotti.
He was fatally shot in the basement of the Bedrox Disco on West 49th Street in Manhattan in 1988 by the owner, David Fisher, whom Mascuzzio was allegedly extorting.
The younger Mascuzzio and his cohorts first struck over the weekend of April 8 at the HSBC branch at 4406 13th Ave. in Borough Park, where they got onto the bank’s roof by jumping over from the roof of a neighboring building that was under construction.
They then used a blowtorch to cut a large hole in the roof that allowed them to descend into the vault unseen. They also cut the bank’s alarms and phone lines, court papers state.
They took $330,000 in cash and other valuables from safe-deposit boxes and then fled, leaving behind oxygen and acetylene tanks on the roof.
The trio struck again over the weekend of May 20 at the Maspeth Federal Savings Bank at 64-19 Woodhaven Blvd. in Rego Park, according to the papers.
They again used a blowtorch to carve a hole in the roof while being shielded by a makeshift wooden hut before climbing into the vault with a ladder.
They stole $296,000 in cash and $4.3 million in valuables from safe-deposit boxes, including diamonds, jewelry, rare baseball cards and coins.
Again, cops found the trio’s tools abandoned on the roof, including grinding wheels and acetylene tanks.
“From the plywood purchased at a nearby Home Depot, to the torches from a Brooklyn welder used to muscle into the vault, the picture slowly came into focus,” Bratton said.
FBI agents on Tuesday raided Mazzara’s home in Gravesend, Brooklyn, confiscating four trucks and also taking several boxes of tools. Mazzara was granted $2 million bond Tuesday and ordered to wear an ankle bracelet.

Meanwhile, a lawyer for Mascuzzio was working up a bail package Tuesday and Kerrigan was released on a $150,000 bond and ordered to wear an ankle bracelet.

Officials Seize 600 Pounds Of Marijuana In Mob-Related Bust


Some two dozen people, several of whom reportedly have ties to the Mafia, were arrested for allegedly running elaborate marijuana and oxycodone distribution schemes, as well as an illegal gambling operation and tax fraud, prosecutors announced yesterday. They've been charged as the result of a two-year probe run by the NYPD, the Manhattan District Attorney's office, and theWaterfront Commission. Officers seized more than 600 pounds of marijuana, 600 oxycodone pills, and 11 handguns.
According to prosecutors, between February 2014 and November 2015, the defendants grew high-end medical marijuana in California and shipped it to New York via the U.S. Postal Service. New York distributors allegedly picked up the pot from UPS stores in the city and repackaged it, and then sold it under names such as "Pineapple Haze," "Girl Scout Cookies," and "Blue Dreams."
They're believed to have made more than $350,000 a month over a 21-month period, prosecutors said.
John Kelly, 52, and Richard Sinde, 51, are accused of being the ringleaders of the scheme, and the latter is currently in prison for participating in organized crime with the Bonanno crime family. He pleaded guilty and is serving a two- to six-year sentence upstate, according to the Daily News.
Michael Paradiso, 76, who's been charged with conspiracy for allegedly helping transport, distribute, and sell the marijuana, is also an alleged mobster, and Lawrence Dentico, 33, charged with coordinating the shipping and distribution of the weed, is apparently the grandson of the 93-year-old Genovese captain with whom he shares his name. The Daily News reports that two members of the Colombo crime family and one member of the Gambino crime family were also among those busted.
Also among those charged is 60-year-old Frank Parisi of Parisi Bakery on Elizabeth Street, and it appears he was also arrested in 2003 when cops found 75 pounds of marijuana in the pastry shop. He's been charged in both the marijuana scheme and the gambling scheme.
Several of those charged are also accused of participating in an oxycodone distribution operation that netted a comparably wimpy $18,000 in profit, and several are also accused of generating some $1 million in revenue from gambling. Sinde, Kelly, and several others are also charged with tax fraud for failing to report their illegal income.
"Whether the alleged offer was marijuana, pills, or a return on bets placed through an unlawful gambling operation, the defendants developed a comprehensive system of monetizing illicit activities and trade," Manhattan DA Cy Vance said in a statement. "In this case, the alleged schemes generated millions of dollars in illegal revenue for the defendants, virtually none of which was reported, and likely all of which went straight into the defendants’ pockets. Profiting on unlawful conduct will not be tolerated in New York."
The 22 accused have been indicted on a laundry list of charges, including sale of a controlled substance, sale of marijuana, tax fraud, promoting gambling, and conspiracy. Information for their attorneys wasn't immediately available.

Sumitomo employee nabbed in housing loan to yakuza boss
by Tokyo Reporter Staff onJuly 13, 2016
TOKYO (TR) – Tokyo Metropolitan Police have arrested an organized crime member for allegedly threatening a construction employee over a demolition project, reports TV Asahi (July 15).
In January, Taizo Inada, a 47-year-old upper-level member of a gang affiliated with theSumiyoshi-kai, allegedly made threats in demanding 6.9 million yen from a 72-year-old worker over a delay of several weeks in the demolition of a building in Taito Ward.
Police also arrested two other persons in the case. Inada, who has been charged with attempted extortion, denies the charges, telling police he does not recall the incident.
The suspect made the alleged threats inside a restaurant in Nakano Ward. “Compensation must be paid due to the delay, and I have to shoulder that amount,” the suspect falsely claimed. “You must know what I’m talking about, and I don’t know what will happen next.”
Inada is a member of the Kimoto-gumi, which is based in Shinjuku Ward.

Aichi cops: Assailants shoot yakuza dead, getaway car found on fire

By Tokyo Reporter Staff on July 15, 2016Comments Off on Aichi cops: Assailants shoot yakuza dead, getaway car found on fire
A person believed to be a Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi member was shot and killed in a residence in Naka Ward
AICHI (TR) – Aichi Prefectural Police are investigating the shooting death of a person believed to be an organized crime member in Nagoya’s Naka Ward, reports NHK (July 15).
At approximately 4:30 p.m. on Friday, police received a call about a man who had been shot inside a residence on the fourth floor of a building in the Shinsakae area.
According to TBS News (July 15), the victim, likely a Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi executive aged in his 60s, was confirmed dead about one and a half hours later after being transported to a nearby hospital.
According to police, two assailants entered the residence and opened fire at the victim with pistols. They then fled the scene in a silver sedan.
The vehicle was later found on fire in the parking lot of a shrine located about two kilometers from the residence. Police later confirmed that the car had been stolen.
  Japan, Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi, Nagoya, yakuza, 名古屋, 暴力団, 殺人

Aichi cops: Assailants shoot yakuza dead, getaway car found on fire
added by Tokyo Reporter Staff on July 15, 2016
Freddie Thompson and Daniel Kinahan
Yuki Kawajiri
MIYAGI (TR) – Miyagi Prefectural Police have arrested an employee of a major developer in a fraud case involving a loan of nearly 50 million yen to a gang boss, reports the Sankei Shimbun (July 12).
Police arrested Masakazu Takagi, a 46-year-old employee at the Ishinomaki City office of Sumitomo Realty & Development, as a part of the investigation into a housing loan fraudulently obtained by Yuki Kawajiri, a 54-year-old boss of a gang affiliated with theKobe Yamaguchi-gumi, and his wife, 55-year-old Tomoko.
Takagi partially denies the charges. “I went through the procedures to borrow the money, but I did not know he was a gangster,” the suspect is quoted by police.
According to Kahoku Shimpo (July 13), a loan for 49.35 million yen for the construction of a new home was taken out with a bank in Sendai City in Tomoko’s name in which she did not acknowledge ties to “anti-social forces,” or organized crime. After submitting the application in June of last year, the couple claimed to be divorced. However, police later realized that they were living together.
In May, police arrested Kawajiri and his wife for in separate case involving the forgery of documents for a move in an office, according to the Kahoku Shimpo (May 26). The next month, Miyagi police raided the headquarters of the Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi in Awaji City, Hyogo Prefecture in search of evidence in the case.
On Tuesday, police conducted raids at three locations in Ishinomaki, including the Sumitomo office, in connection with the fraud case.
A representative of Sumitomo said that the details of the matter were “under investigation.” As well, Takagi has been removed from his position at the firm.

According to police, there are about 1,060 gang members in Miyagi, with the Sumiyoshi-kai (735 members), Yamaguchi-gumi (170) and Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi(75) being the three biggest organizations.

Tokyo police arrest yakuza in fight at Asakusa festival

By Tokyo Reporter Staff on July 15, 20161 Comment
A Yamaguchi-gumi member and a rival gangster were arrested for assaulting one another at the Tori no Ichi festival

Kiyoshi Nakahara
TOKYO (TR) – Tokyo Metropolitan Police have arrested a pair of gang members for a fight that broke out a festival in Taito Ward last year, reports TV Asahi (July 15).
In November, Kiyoshi Nakahara, a 55-year-old member of an affiliate gang of the Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi, allegedly beat the head of Koichi Narui, a 44-year-old member of theYamaguchi-gumi, at the Tori no Ichi festival in the Asakusa area.
Narui, whose injuries required two weeks to heal, is also alleged to have assaulted Nakahara.
Both suspects, who have been charged with assault, admit to the allegations.
Held each November, the Tori no Ichi festival features vendors selling colorfully decorated bamboo rakes called kumade, which symbolize the collection of wealth or good fortune.
Just prior to the incident, Nakahara was walking in a group of five persons on the festival grounds when they happened upon Narui, who said, “It seems pretty distasteful for a person like you to be here.” The fisticuffs then ensued.
The Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi formed last summer following the dissolution of theYamaguchi-gumi. According to Fuji News Network (July 15), police suspect that the dispute is connected to an ongoing dispute that his since developed between the two gangs.

On Friday morning, police raided the headquarters of the Yamaken-gumi, located in Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture in search of evidence in the case. The Yamaken-gumi is one of the key gangs that bolted from the Yamaguchi-gumi last year to form the Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi.

Yakuza among 11 nabbed by Niigata police over ¥1.8 billion single-day nationwide ATM heist

NIIGATA – Police in Niigata Prefecture said Tuesday they have arrested 11 men, including a gangster, in connection with thefts of ¥1.8 billion ($17.3 million) from cash machines across Japan on a single day in mid-May.
The nationwide heist occurred in about two hours on May 15, involving about 1,400 convenience store automated teller machines in 17 prefectures, including Tokyo.
Junya Tanaka, 35, a senior member of a group affiliated with the Yamaguchi-gumi, Japan’s largest organized crime syndicate, and 10 other suspects aged between 23 and 49 are suspected of stealing a total of ¥11.4 million using fake credit cards from ATMs at 11 convenience stores in the Sea of Japan coastal prefecture on that day.
Some of the 11 suspects have admitted to the allegations, according to the police.
The police tracked down the suspects after examining security camera videos, in which they were using generic white cards to withdrawal cash from ATMs. The police said the fake cards contained data from South Africa’s Standard Bank.

A total of ¥88 millionin cash has been confirmed stolen from around 70 convenience stores in Niigata in the massive thefts.

Gambino associate gets 21 yrs. for killing

Bruno now joins LaBarca behind bars
A Gambino crime family associate last Friday was sentenced to 21 years in federal prison for executing a fellow mobster in Howard Beach in 2002 and conspiring to cover up a federal grand jury investigation into the murder, federal authorities announced.
Gennaro Bruno, 43, who was arrested in late October 2014 and brought to New York from Las Vegas, admitted to the murder of Martin Bosshart in federal court last month.
 Bruno took Bosshart, who was also Gambino associate at the time, to a secluded spot off 155th Avenue near Lahn Street in the late hours of Jan. 2, 2002 and shot him in the head, U.S Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Robert Capers said in a release.
The mobster, who had a lengthy criminal record even before he murdered Bosshart, did not make any public comment before his sentencing. Bruno, according to Capers, was working to move large quantities of marijuana from Canada to New York for the Gambino crime family when Bosshart, then 30, conspired to exclude one of Bruno’s co-conspirators from the operation.
Bruno evaded justice for years and obstructed a grand jury investigation into the murder, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said, while still continuing to make money for the Gambino family though drug trafficking and extortion.
Bruno also pleaded guilty to extorting payments from a Queens waste carting company, according to the government.
Before formally joining the crime family, Bruno allegedly committed other crimes as part of the Ozone Park Boys, a Gambino crew also known as the Liberty Posse, and the Young Guns.
Todd LaBarca, a co-conspirator and alleged Gambino associate, pleaded guilty to Bosshart’s murder and other racketeering charges in April 2012 and is serving a 23-year sentence.
Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in 2013 decided not to pursue the death penalty against several alleged Mafia members, including those involved in the Bosshart case.

— Anthony O’Reilly

Former Mob Boss’ House to be Auctioned

By Chris Fry -
May 9, 2016

Got at least $5.5 million to burn and want to make someone an offer they can’t refuse? Then head over to Fort Lee next month for the auction of a house with a colorful history of owners that was originally built by a mob boss.
Guernsey’s is auctioning off a home at 75 Bluff Road that is currently owned by Arthur Imperatore, the founder of the NY Waterway ferry service. Comedian Buddy Hackett also owned the home at one point. But the most infamous resident of the sprawling residence was named Albert Anastasia, who constructed the house in 1947.
Anastasia for years ran the notorious Murder, Inc. crime organization, which was a group of killers that operated out of the back room of a candy store in Brooklyn owned by mobster Louis Capone. During its ten years of operation in the 1930s, it is estimated that Murder Inc. committed between 400 and 1,000 murders, many of which were never solved. Anastasia later went to be “boss” of what would become the modern Gambino crime family.
Anastasia was killed in October 1957 by two masked men while in a barber’s chair at the Park Sheraton Hotel in Manhattan. No one was ever charged in the case and his killers remain a mystery to this day.
While Anastasia did suffer an untimely death, his former pad suggests that crime actually does pay. The 8,551 square foot house sits on 1.3 acres of property, which is huge by Fort Lee standards. The lot is located right at the top of the palisades cliffs and overlooks the Hudson River, offering unobstructed panoramic views of Upper Manhattan.
The house itself was built in a Mediterranean style with a Spanish roof and contains a total of 25 rooms, including seven bedrooms. Among the standard kitchens, libraries and bathrooms are a full wood-paneled basement complete with a bar, movie theater and projection room. There’s also a recreation room and a spa that sports a sauna and hot tub.
 A bit insightful of what was important to a 1950’s mobster, the home features one-foot thick concrete walls as well as two exits in each room to provide for a quick escape. And then there’s a peculiar fully tiled room with a drain in the floor. None of the more recent owners are quite sure what that room was used for but we can imagine.
Outside the home, features include a large patio with expansive skyline views and an in-ground swimming pool featuring a cabana, pool house, outdoor shower and two-car garage. There’s also an extensive glass-enclosed sun porch to take in the extensive “park-like” landscaped grounds that surround the house.
While the house has had four different owners, it hasn’t had any major updates over the years, making it somewhat of a time capsule to mid-century design. Taxes on the property clock in at a whopping $82,000/year.
For those interested in developing the lot into something different, the listing states the property is located in a R-2 one-family residential zone, but Guernsey’s claims expansion of the house is possible without variances. For buyers seeking to raze the house, subdividing the existing property into four conforming building lots is possible without variances.
Guernsey’s has also prepared ten different “concept plans” depicting various ways the property can be built upon or sub-divided, which are available at the request of potential bidders. Viewings of the house are taking place on June 4 – 7 from 12 – 6PM or by appointment.

All of this will be going to the highest bidder on June 8th, when Guernsey’s will host a 2:00pm live auction at the house. Interested parties, who can also bid on the property online, need to sign up for the auction at Guernsey’s site and wire $300,000 into the escrow agent’s account by June 6th.

Potential Rizzuto organization leader arrested in mass Mafia bust

Montreal - The RCMP is carrying out a series of arrests in the Montreal area in what the Mounties are calling the third and last phase of an investigation into the Mafia in Montreal that began several years ago.
Included among the people the RCMP arrested Wednesday is Liborio (Pancho) Cuntrera, 47, a man who police sources have described as a potential leader within what remain's of the Rizzuto organization.
Cuntrera is the son of Agostino Cuntrera, a member of the Rizzuto organization who was gunned down in St-Leonard in 2010 when the Mafia clan was under pressure from rivals. While the Rizzuto organization was under pressure to relinquish control of the mob in Montreal, the older Cuntrera remained loyal to the Rizzutos. Liborio Cuntrera also represents the second generation of a group of well known wealthy international drug smugglers known in many parts of the world as the Cuntrera-Caruana organization.
Cuntrera was not arrested on Wednesday because he is currently on vacation. According to sources familiar with the investigation, Cuntrera is currently in Italy, has been in contact with the RCMP and has agreed to turn himself in when he returns to Canada in a few days, one source said.
One man named as a target in the investigation is Martino Caputo, a 42-year-old man who is serving a 12-year prison term in Kingston for his role in a cocaine smuggling conspiracy to bring a tonne of the narcotic into Canada once a month. Caputo also faces charges in Ontario related to a murder carried out in that province back in 2012.
In February 2004, Crivello was sentenced to a three-year prison term for holding a person against their will and aggravated assault.
According to decisions made by the Parole Board of Canada, Crivello hired a group of men to collect $60,000 that he believed had been stolen from him. Three men were held against their will and beaten while Crivello watched and demanded to know what happened to his money. One of the victims suffered injuries that required surgery.
While he was before the parole board, in 2005, Crivello admitted that he had been involved in drug trafficking from the age of 17.
Another man who was arrested Wednesday, Frank Iaconetti, 48, has also done time in a federal penitentiary. In 1999, he pleaded guilty, in a U.S. District court in Massachusetts, to being part of a conspiracy to distribute cocaine. According to court documents filed in that case, on March 15, 1998, Iaconetti brought $250,000 in cash to undercover agents for what what supposed to be a down payment 100 kilograms of cocaine destined for Canada. When he was sentenced in 1999, a judge was told there was very little evidence that Iaconetti knew details about the actual drug transaction. At the time, Iaconetti said he agreed to deliver the money to deal with a serious addiction to gambling that caused him to ask that he be banned from the Montreal casino.
According to a statement issued by the RCMP Wednesday morning, the arrests are the third part of Project Clemenza, an investigation into the drug trafficking activities of various Mafia clans. Project Clemenza had to be put on hold because while it was underway the RCMP uncovered evidence related to the murder of Salvatore Montagna, a Mafia leader from New York who was one of the leaders in the attempt to wrestle power away from the Rizzuto organization about six years ago.
In a sign of how long Project Clemenza was delayed because of Montagna's murder, the charges filed at the Montreal courthouse against Liborio Cuntrera and Marco Pizzi, 46, of Montreal North, date back to 2011. Both men are alleged to have been involved in a conspiracy to traffick in cocaine between Sept. 28, 2011 and Oct. 6, 2011.
An RCMP spokesperson told reporters that 15 people were targeted in Wednesday's operation and that the investigation probed drug smuggling and drug trafficking.
"The network imported cocaine through the United States and used its contacts in the commercial ground transport industry," the spokesperson said. "The investigation demonstrated that this (network) transported large quantities of cocaine. The American and Canadian authorities have seized more than 220 kilos of cocaine and placed their hands on (more than $2 million). The impact of this operation on organized crime is significant and will have an affect on drug smuggling activities in the Greater Montreal region."
Another of the men arrested Wednesday was Hansley Joseph, 36, a wel-known member of a Montreal street gang who was often seen interacting with Mafia-tied drug traffickers during Project Colisee, a major investigation into the Mafia that had a huge impact on the Rizzuto organization a decade ago. In 2007, Joseph received a two-year prison term for his role in a drug trafficking network that operated in northern Montreal.
The case brought against Joseph and about two dozen other men in 2005, was significant because it represented one of the first times in Canada that gangsterism charges were brought against street gang members.
According to a decision made in the case in 2007, Joseph was part of a group known as the "Dope Squad" and frequently supplied cocaine to a group known as the Pelletier St. gang that sold crack on Pelletier St., near the corner of Henri Bourassa Blvd.

Former Bonanno family FBI informant can sue agents for scheming to throw him in jail

Joseph Barone Jr. claimed the federal agents turned against him because his value as an informer had dwindled, and he refused to wear a wire. The FBI later leaked his status as an informant, according to the suit.

Thursday, May 5, 2016, 2:00 PM

An ex-Mafia informant who spent 18 years as a mob mole can sue his FBI handlers for scheming to throw him in jail — despite knowing he was innocent, a federal judge ruled.
Former Bonanno family soldier Joseph Barone Jr., who once exposed a mob plot to whack a Brooklyn federal court judge, was thrilled by the Thursday decision in his long legal battle with the feds.
“Good? This is great,” Barone said from an undisclosed location where he moved after his 2010 acquittal in a murder-for-hire plot.
 “This is wonderful, this is no joke. I’m nervous, I’m happy, I’m angry still. I’m so thankful to God, and we’ve just got to wait to take the next step.”
Manhattan Federal Court Judge Lewis A. Kaplan issued the 11-page ruling boosting the 54-year-old’s six-year-old malicious prosecution suit against the U.S. government and three FBI agents.
“It’s a great decision,” said Barone’s lawyer, Mark Weissman. “We can proceed full speed.”
The FBI declined comment on the decision, while there was no immediate response from the U.S. attorney’s office.
Barone claimed the federal agents turned against him because his value as an informer had dwindled, and he refused to wear a wire. The FBI later leaked his status as an informant, according to his suit.
“Plaintiff alleges the defendants ... deliberately and maliciously arrested and prosecuted him for serious felonies despite knowing his innocence,” Kaplan wrote in his decision.
“The court cannot now say that a jury could not reasonably find the United States liable ... if these allegations were proven at trial.”
Barone became an FBI informant after the 1992 mob execution of his father Joseph Sr., a made member of the Genovese crime family.
The mobster, known on the street as “JB,” became a valuable confidential informant until his arrest on Jan. 9, 2009, in a plot to kill a Westchester County businessman.
Barone was thrown into solitary confinement for 15 months of the 18 months he spent in federal prison, and charged in his suit that the FBI orchestrated his imprisonment as a punishment.
He finally won a July 2010 acquittal on all charges.

“We’re going to move quickly,” Barone told the Daily News. “I’m ready for trial.”

No verdict in Bonanno mob trial; deliberations resume Monday

By Mira Wassef |
MANHATTAN, N.Y.-- After six days of deliberations, the jury in the Bonanno mob trial did not reach a verdict Thursday in state Supreme Court in Manhattan.
The deliberations will resume Monday.
Anthony (Skinny) Santoro, 52, of Great Kills, and his alleged Bonanno co-defendants -- Vito Badamo, 53, Nicholas Santora, 73, and Ernest Aiello, 36 -- are accused of enterprise corruption, including loansharking, gambling and drug dealing, after authorities reportedly busted the family's nine-man crew in July 2013.
On Thursday, the panel asked to hear a series of calls regarding a bettor who owed money from betting on, the gambling site Santoro allegedly ran.
In one of the calls, Santoro says, "I'm gonna split his f------ head open with a hatchet, to be honest with you."
"Biz, I'll put two holes in his f------ forehead, I'll double tap his forehead right now. I will go right now put two holes in his head. He'll be one dead young punk. I'll leave him in the street right now. I'll shoot him right now, right this minute. I'll take a shower and shave, just to go shoot him."
They jurors also asked for clarification regarding the difference between direct evidence and circumstantial evidence.
The panel asked the judge Wednesday for advice about resolving its disagreements so it can avoid a hung jury.

The skinny on 'Skinny' -- Man at center of mob trial
Anthony (Skinny) Santoro, the alleged Staten Island Bonanno mobster, has been portrayed with these conflicting -- yet fascinating -- personalities.
On Tuesday, the jurors requested to see all the photos from the trial, the vouchers from all the executed search warrants, and asked to hear calls involving Badamo, Santoro and Nicholas Bernhard, one of the other five co-defendants who pleaded guilty.
The panel also heard a car-bug call between Badamo and alleged Bonanno boss Santora. They also wanted to see the phone books and vouchers from Santora's home search.
The jurors had deliberated for two days before a week-long break and returned on Monday. On Monday, the panel asked to see evidence pertaining to They also asked to see the vouchers pertaining to the search warrant executed at Santoro's Tanglewood Drive residence in Great Kills.
During their brief discussions two weeks ago, they had questions about venue and the loansharking charge.
The panel was charged with the different elements constituting enterprise corruption, grand larceny in the second-degree and first-degree criminal usury.
The state claims Santora, who is allegedly nicknamed "Captain Crunch," is the crime family's ringleader. The prosecution says he was in charge of an Internet gambling site, sold prescription drugs, such as Cialis and Viagra, on the black market, and the other three defendants were his underlings.

Mystery of Manhattan cathedral fire deepens as former Gambino mob enforcer is accused of arson by Serbian newspaper

•           John Alite has spent years in prison in America and Brazil but is now free and has become a motivational speaker
•           A Serbian newspaper has accused ex-mobster of starting a fire that gutted a Christian Orthodox cathedral
•           Investigators believe inferno was started by candles used in earlier Orthodox Easter services that were not properly extinguished
•           But others have said the the blaze could be an act of revenge arson
•           Church figures suggest Orthodox buildings are being targeted after the church blocked a controversial Cardinal from being made a Saint
•           In 2008, Alite put his Mafia life behind him, pleading guilty to two murders, four conspiracies to murder, eight shootings and two attempted shootings
PUBLISHED: 23:02 EST, 7 May 2016 | UPDATED: 14:27 EST, 8 May 2016
John Alite has taken a baseball bat to countless guys. He has stabbed, shot and killed dozens more, yet despite putting his Mafia life behind him in 2008, he is now accused of setting fire to a Manhattan cathedral.
A Serbian newspaper has accused former Gambino enforcer of torching the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava on West 25th Street last Sunday.
Speaking to the New York Post, he called the allegation 'ridiculous.'
Scroll down for video
New life: Mob enforcer John Alite has put aside a life in the Mafia to become a motivational speaker
Some believe the devastating fire was an act of arson carried out by people angry that the Orthodox church is attempting to block a controversial Cardinal from being made a Saint
Alite, who was released from jail in 2013, said the article was likely planted to inflame long-standing tensions between Albanians and Serbs.
'That's not what my life is about,' he said. 'I don't want to be known as the guy who used to kill people on the street.'
Alite says he called the FBI and Homeland Security when the article appeared.
'I contacted them,' Alite told the Post. 'I told them I was being accused of something. Everybody thought it was ridiculous.'
Investigators believe the blaze may have been started by candles left over from Easter services on Sunday that were not properly extinguished before being placed in a cardboard box.
Two services took place in the morning at the church, with a luncheon scheduled for 1pm that was attended by around 700 people.
Fortunately nobody was in the building at the time of the blaze, though a caretaker did attempt to extinguish the flames before suffering from smoke inhalation and being dragged to safety.
However, members of the community believe the fire may have been sparked as retaliation for a row over the church's role in blocking the canonization of Nazi-supporting Cardinal Aloysius Stepinac, which has caused a rift between Serbia and Croatia.
The theory comes after three other Orthodox churches across the globe - two in Australia and another in Russia - also caught fire on Sunday.
'His canonization, to our great regret, would return the relations between Serbs and Croats, as well as between Catholics and Orthodox faithful, back to their tragic history.'
More than 170 firefighters were called to deal with the blaze in the Flatiron district of Manhattan after it broke out at around 7pm on Sunday
 While 700 people are estimated to have attended Easter services in the building earlier in the day, nobody was inside at the time the blaze broke out
Designed by Richard M. Upjohn, founder of the American Institute of Architects, the church was consecrated in 1855 and made a New York landmark in 1968
Dusan T. Batakovic, a former Serbian ambassador, told the New York Post: 'Too many churches have burned to call it an accident.
'It is very strange that it happened, that the fires all took place on Easter, the greatest Christian Orthodox holiday. Some kind of terrorist action can not be excluded.'
Alite, meanwhile, has been out of jail for the past four years and has 'reinvented' himself as a motivational speaker who hopes to 'scare kids straight,' give corporate employees an aggressive edge and consult on movies and TV shows trying to accurately portray the world in which he once live and excelled.
For more than twenty years Alite was a high ranking member of the Gambino crime family. He worked for the Gottis – both father and son. He was, he said, 'at the top of the food chain', one of their top earners and enforcers.
He could never be a 'made' man in the mafia but he thought he was moving in a world governed by rules; codes of honour, loyalty and respect.
Then, when he was in jail in Brazil, Alite was passed secret 302s (files kept by the FBI documenting interviews with their informants) showing that John Gotti Jr, the man who had stood by him when he married his first wife in 1998, was 'a super-rat'. And everything changed.

In 2008 he secretly pleaded guilty to two murders, four conspiracies to murder, at least eight shootings and two attempted shootings as well as armed home invasions and armed robberies in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Florida.

Reputed Gambino mobster Gennaro (Jerry) Bruno gets 21 years in prison for hit on urinating drug dealer

Gennaro (Jerry) Bruno, 43, was sentenced to 21 years on prison Friday.

 A reputed Gambino mobster was sentenced Friday to 21 years in prison for murdering a drug dealer while the victim was urinating on the side of a road in Queens.
Gennaro (Jerry) Bruno, 43, pleaded guilty last month to fatally shooting Martin Bosshart on Jan. 2, 2002 after stopping their car in a deserted area of Howard Beach. The motive for the hit was a dispute over marijuana.
Bruno "personally shot Bosshart execution style at close range with one bullet to the back of Bosshart's head, which penetrated his skull and perforated his brain," Assistant Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Kristin Mace stated in court papers.
Bruno was not a made member of the mob, but his resume included membership in violent robbery crews based in Ozone Park called "Young Guns" and "Liberty Posse," and he was also an alleged member of reputed consigliere Joseph (JoJo) Corozzo's faction of the Gambino crime family, according to court papers.
 Another alleged Gambino associate, Todd LaBarca, also pleaded guilty to participating in the murder and is serving a 23-year sentence.
He declined to make a statement at the sentencing in Brooklyn Federal Court.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder declined to seek the death penalty against Bruno for the gangland killing.

Another alleged Gambino associate, Todd LaBarca, pleaded guilty to participating in Bosshart's murder and is serving a 23-year sentence.

Is the Mob Receding or Just Going Lower Profile?

 By Timothy Ferry
Over the decades, media reports in Taiwan have depicted highly efficient and ruthless underworld organizations with exotic names such as the Bamboo Union, Four Seas, and Heavenly Way as engaged in international counterfeiting, human trafficking, gun-running, and drug smuggling.
During the economic boom years of the 1980s and 1990s, in addition, Taiwanese mobsters seemed ever-present in everything from bid-rigging on construction projects to political assassinations. Most notoriously, in 1996 Taoyuan County Magistrate Liu Pang-you and six members of his family were tied up and shot at point-blank range, a crime that remains unsolved but is generally considered mafia-linked. Other gang connected shootings of local politicians have occurred from time to time around the island. And the funerals of mafia godfathers in Taiwan have attracted thousands of mourners, including organized crime members from Japan, Hong Kong, and Macau who flew over to pay their respects.
Crime bosses have held seats in the Legislative Yuan and mafia thugs were routinely deployed by legitimate businesses to deal with disputes. The collusion among politics, business, and organized crime was dubbed hei jin – black gold – and was seen as a major stain on Taiwan’s early efforts at democratization. In the early 2000s, the hei jin problem and its impact on the business climate was regularly raised in AmCham Taipei’s Taiwan White Paper.
But does organized crime continue to play a big role in Taiwan’s political and business environment?
Police officials and criminology experts say that these gangs, after being targeted for decades, no longer have the resources to run sophisticated criminal operations. Instead, Taiwan’s organized crime groups are portrayed as small time hoods looking to brawl, party, and make money. Where liumang once commanded respect in society and were guided by strict ethics and rituals, there is wide agreement that gangs are now far less regimented. In fact, they are said to be easy to join because so few want to become members.
Whether Taiwan has actually won the war against organized crime is more difficult to assess. Even basic facts about the nature and activities of gangsters are uncertain. For example, estimates of the number of people involved in organized crime in Taiwan vary enormously. The police say a couple of thousand at most, while the U.S. Customs Department and some knowledgeable domestic sources put the total 10 to 20 times higher.
Historical background
Many historians have noted that Chiang Kai-shek had significant triad connections in mainland China, and it is known that a number of gangsters were among those who retreated to Taiwan with the Nationalist government in 1949. However, Criminology Professor Chou Wen-yung of Central Police University, one of the foremost experts on local organized crime, says that while certain criminal organization did migrate across the Taiwan Strait in 1949, all of Taiwan’s major gangs were founded in Taiwan – although the founders of at least two, the Bamboo Union and Four Seas, were from “mainlander” families.
The Four Seas, for example, came together on school basketball courts in the 1950s when the offspring of veterans from the mainland banded together to confront bullying by local jiaotou – semi-organized gangs of thugs. The Bamboo Union has a similar origin story of mainlander teens joining together to secure a place in a society in which they were an unwelcome minority. As these gangs graduated from street fighting and basketball to organized crime, their involvement with certain elements in the political and military system increased, climaxing in the notorious assassination of dissident Taiwanese journalist Henry Liu on October 15, 1984 in Daly City, California. Liu had written a controversial unauthorized biography of Chiang Kai-shek’s son and successor, Chiang Ching-kuo. Bamboo Union chief Chen Chi-li, known as “Dry Duck,” along with associates Tung Kuei-sen and Wu Tun, were accused of ambushing and murdering the journalist in his garage.
The assassins retreated to Taiwan where they remained unmolested until agents of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations came into the possession of a recording (given to them – by his own admission – by Chang An-lo, the legendary “White Wolf” and spiritual leader of the Bamboo Union) in which Chen Chi-li confessed to the crime and revealed that it had been ordered by the head of Taiwan’s military intelligence bureau, Admiral Wang Hsi-ling.
The United States pressed Taiwan to try the suspects, and in April 1985 Chen, Wu, and Wang were each given life sentences for their roles in the crime (Tung seems to have been cleared for his role). But just six years later, Chen, Wu, and Wang were granted clemency and released. Chang, on the other hand, was convicted of drug smuggling in the United States and served 10 years in prison, seven of them in the Federal Penitentiary at Leavenworth, Kansas.
The Henry Liu case sparked international condemnation of the Kuomintang government and cemented the reputation of the Bamboo Union as a fearsome international syndicate. As a result, it also marked the beginning of widespread crackdowns on organized crime, with the first – Operation Clean Sweep – taking place in 1984-1985.
According to an interview with former Minister of Interior Wu Poh-hsiung, published in 1985 in the government publication Taiwan Journal (now called Taiwan Today), the operation was a success, entailing the arrest of 2,346 gangsters and confiscation of large quantities of guns and knives. Crime rates dropped sharply. Wu said that government surveys showed a marked reduction in violence related to debt collection and construction bids, with similar reductions in extortion of small business owners, gambling, and prostitution.
Unfortunately, these early efforts later caused a major surge in organized crime. Putting all the top gang leaders in the same prisons at the same time gave them ample opportunity to coordinate their efforts. Central Police University’s Chou says that a small-time jiaotou boss named Lo Fu-chu was imprisoned during Operation Clean Sweep, where he reportedly suffered at the hands of the other gangs. When he was released after three years, he created an alliance of local jiaotou groups – the Heavenly Way – aimed at contesting the supremacy of the mainlander gangs. It had considerable success, and the Heavenly Way reportedly remains a formidable force in Taiwan’s underworld. With deep roots in rural areas, it is reputed to control more territory and thus have more influence over elections than other criminal organizations.
The book “Heijin: Organized Crime, Business and Politics in Taiwan”, published in 2003 by Chin Ko-lin, distinguished professor in the School of Criminal Justice at Rutgers University-Newark, cites two contrasting trends in law enforcement as both feeding the growth of organized crime in Taiwan during the 1990s. Recurring police crackdowns saw thousands more arrested while others fled the country. Many gang leaders reached the conclusion that the best way to protect themselves was to get directly involved in politics and legitimate businesses.
Another major turning point was the abolishment of martial law in 1987, which reportedly led to an influx of guns and drugs into Taiwan because of the reduction in maritime patrols. Crime rates soared during the 1990s and mob infiltration of business and politics became rampant. The era of hei jin was fully underway.
Organized crime today
According to the police, the image of Taiwan’s organized crime generated during the 1980s and 1990s does not reflect the current reality. The Ministry of Justice website credits legislation such as the Organized Crime Prevention Act and the Witness Protection Act as being instrumental in combatting organized crime, enabling the MOJ to target mob-linked politicians and businesses for prosecution. Police investigators with the Taoyuan City Criminal Investigation Bureau say that the changes in the law and better-coordinated enforcement have made it possible to keep organized crime at far a more manageable level. Conducting operations against the local mobs several times a year – “mowing the lawn,” as one investigator calls it – enables them to hold the power of the mob in check
For example, despite media reports linking Taiwanese gangs to human-trafficking operations, these investigators describe Taiwanese hoodlums as incapable of running large-scale international rings. Most of the alleged cases of human trafficking, they say, involve people who came to Taiwan voluntarily, either as tourists or workers, and decided to stay. Lacking any ties to the local community, the illegal migrants turn to the mafia for help with finding work and other necessities. Many of these individuals are Southeast Asians running from their employers, and the mobsters use their vulnerability to control them, often forcing them into prostitution or other exploitative and dangerous work.
Similarly, investigators say that Taiwanese gangs lack the resources and sophistication to run elaborate drug smuggling or gun-running schemes. Instead, what they see are mafia-linked distribution networks for drugs that are already smuggled onto the island, as well as for replica guns that have been converted into working firearms.
Central Police University’s Chou says that Taiwanese mobsters spend the majority of their time partying, brawling with other gangsters, racing cars and motorcycles, providing protection for both illegal and legal businesses (including bars, nightclubs, brothels, and KTV joints), and gambling. The Taoyuan investigators say that gangsters primarily earn money through strong-arm debt collection and operating brothels.
Even here, business seems to be slow, and Chou for one sees the influence of the mafia on Taiwanese society as waning as economic and social development overtakes the primitive appeal of organized crime. For example, he observes that fewer people seek out the services of mafia-linked thugs to collect a debt; instead, redress is likely to be sought through the courts. Sources differ, perhaps for self-serving reasons, regarding the extent of continuing mob influence in the construction business. Police investigators contend that gangsters no longer have any significant presence in the construction industry, while mafioso maintain that the mob continues to play an integral role in bid rigging.
The question of the mob’s influence in politics is a major source of disagreement as well. Chou says that mob-linked politicians are no longer considered the folk heroes of yesteryear, and that voters now largely reject politicians tainted by the mob. After serving as a legislator from 1996 to 2002, for example, Lo Fu-chu of the Heavenly Way lost his reelection bid and in 2013 was convicted of stock manipulation, money laundering, and insider trading, and fled the country. He is suspected to be in hiding either in the United States, Australia, or China. In addition, the Union Party formed by Chang An-lo, the reputed spiritual godfather of the Bamboo Union, garnered a mere 20,000 votes for its candidates running for the Legislative Yuan this past January.
On the other hand, some sources familiar with the mafia say that links among politics, business, and the mob will always be present, regardless of political party. They note that politicians, mobsters, and businesspersons all need one another. Business wants attention from the politicians, politicians need business’s campaign contributions, and they both need the mob to facilitate the deal and make sure everyone honors their end. And the mob needs both money and the protection that having a well-placed friend can bring.
According to the police, some 90% of Taiwanese gangsters proclaim no political affiliation. If true, that apathy might confirm that Taiwanese gangsters don’t care about politics, but it might also support the observation that they will switch sides in a heartbeat.
While some see the lower profile of the mob in modern society as indicative of the diminished power of organized crime, Chang An-lo points to the emergence of a more sophisticated mob that has more deeply infiltrated modern society and is now less visible. Chang, who says that he hasn’t been actively involved in the Bamboo Union for over 30 years, observes that in previous decades, the arena of crime and politics was brand new to the gangsters, and that their brutality and brazenness stemmed from inexperience.
He suggests that the mafia has now become more careful and more conscious of the need for good public relations. “You know the carrot and stick?” asks Chang. “Twenty years ago it was only stick. Now, more carrots.” The mafia “always exists,” he contends. “It’s human nature.”

The News Lens has been authorized to repost this article. The piece was first published by Taiwan Business TOPICS.

'Dirt brokers' polluting N.J., investigators say

 By Andrew Seidman, TRENTON BUREAU
POSTED: MAY 27, 2016
TRENTON - Convicted criminals and individuals with ties to organized crime have dumped tons of contaminated soil and construction debris near residential areas and waterways in New Jersey in recent years, enabled by gaping loopholes in state regulations, investigators say.
The scheme stretches across the state, from Palmyra to Newark, according to the State Commission of Investigation, which held a three-hour hearing on the matter Wednesday at the Statehouse.
Between 2012 and 2013, a small recycling center in South Jersey became a "sprawling landfill occupied by acres of construction debris strewn within shouting distance of the Delaware River," Lee C. Seglem, acting executive director of the commission, said in an opening statement.
"It should surprise no one that the architects of this toxic trafficking include organized-crime associates and convicted criminals," he said.
Rogue "dirt brokers," Seglem said, have been able to recruit truckers to haul contaminated soil from New York to unauthorized locations in the Garden State.
Unlike solid-waste haulers, the brokers are "subject to no licensing requirements, not even simple background checks," Seglem said.
The investigation is continuing. Once it is complete, the commission will issue recommendations. As a result of the investigation so far, two Hudson County men have been sentenced to federal prison for extortion, investigators said.
The commission's findings are disconcerting not least because it released a report just five years ago exposing organized crime's role in the solid-waste industry. The current investigation is a spin-off of the 2011 effort.
In Palmyra, a 100-acre site operated by Jersey Recycling Services adjacent to the Pennsauken Creek had state authorization to accept 20,000 cubic yards annually of leaves and vegetation to be processed and sold as mulch to the general public, said Michael Dancisin, senior special agent with the commission.
The site's owner, Bradley Sirkin, skirted regulations, hauling in 19 times that amount of contaminated soil, concrete, and other materials for which he didn't have a permit to process. The debris came from construction sites in Philadelphia, Camden, and New Brunswick, investigators said.
The soil from the construction site of what was to become Camden Community Charter School and a development in New Brunswick contained levels of PAHs, a carcinogen, that exceeded safety thresholds for residential areas.
Sirkin told contractors his facility had been approved by the state to accept such materials, which was not true, investigators said.
Jersey Recycling Services (JRS) mixed clean topsoil with contaminated dirt to sell mulch to landscapers, who in turn sold it to the public, investigators said, citing interviews with employees.
However, investigators could not say definitively whether the "dirty dirt" ended up in homeowners' flower beds and vegetable gardens, since they couldn't test what had been sold.
Soon after the commission alerted the state Department of Environmental Protection to its findings in 2013, the agency shut down the Palmyra site.
The DEP took photos showing runoff into the Pennsauken Creek. The department sent Sirkin notice of violations, but by then he had moved to Boca Raton, Fla., investigators said.
Thomas Farrell, chief of the department's Bureau of Solid Waste Compliance and Enforcement, said he was working with the Attorney General's Office "to generate an order to show cause" and make Sirkin take corrective actions.
Investigators said Sirkin was convicted on federal racketeering charges in the 1990s, is related to a member of the Lucchese crime family in New York, and has a relationship with a high-ranking member of the Philadelphia mob.
A source, speaking on condition of anonymity, identified that person as Joey Merlino, the mob boss who was released from prison last year.
In a more direct connection with organized crime, bank records reviewed by investigators show that a captain in New York's Bonanno crime family gave a $50,000 "shareholder loan" to JRS through a shell company. Sirkin never repaid the loan.
Dancisin, the special agent, testified that dirt broker Frank Gillette "collected payments" from JRS. It was not clear how much money Gillette or the Bonanno crime-family member made from the arrangement.
Gillette, who investigators said has served time for petty larceny and writing bad checks, was issued a subpoena to testify at Wednesday's hearing. He appeared with his attorney and declined to answer questions, asserting his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
The commission also served subpoenas on Sirkin, whose attorney wrote back that Sirkin also would assert his Fifth Amendment right.
"It's all about money," said Robert Collins, another SCI special agent, describing the motivation behind organized crime's infiltration of the recycling industry. "Finding a home for soil, especially contaminated soil, is extremely expensive."
Gillette and his associate in the Bonanno crime family also were involved in a scheme to dump contaminated dirt in the Cliffwood Beach section of Old Bridge Township, according to investigators.
Hurricane Sandy caused significant beach erosion there, and homeowners sought the help of Gregory Guido, a dirt broker, to bring in fill material, according to a commission investigator.
Guido, who had been convicted on racketeering charges, collaborated with Gillette to dump contaminated material on the beach, investigators said. When homeowners saw the debris, they asked Guido to stop hauling it.
But he continued, investigators said, working with Gillette to transport the dirt, which contained known carcinogens, from a demolition site in the Bronx to Cliffwood Beach and to the Middlesex County Utility Authority. Guido, who could not be reached Wednesday, has spoken with commission investigators privately.
The chemicals are airborne, posing a danger to homeowners, and also could run off into the Raritan Bay, adjacent to the beach.
The township is capping the site as part of a remediation project that cost taxpayers there $250,000. The area will need to be monitored for the next 30 years, said agent Joseph Bredehoft.
Bank records reviewed by investigators show that the enterprise was lucrative for some. A subcontractor paid $320,000 to companies controlled by Gillette. Bredehoft also said records show that Gillette had written a $25,000 check to his contact in the Bonanno crime family.
"In short time, these people . . . had reaped great profits at the cost of the citizens," Bredehoft said.
Gary Sondermeyer, who worked at the DEP for 30 years before becoming vice president of operations for Bayshore Recycling Inc. in 2010, told the commission that inspection resources at the agency were "so limited" that these sites "are virtually unbridled."