Tuesday, December 30, 2008

new england mob boss Bruno shooter laying low

SPRINGFIELD - Where in the world is Frankie A. Roche?
The admitted gunman in the 2003 gangland-style shooting of crime boss Adolfo "Big Al" Bruno, has kept a decidedly low profile since pleading guilty to murder in April.
Roche, 35, has not made a single public court appearance since then, despite the fact that he stands charged in U.S. District and Hampden Superior courts for the same crime.
Most recently, his two codefendants in state court, Fotios A. "Freddy" Geas, 42, and Brandon D. Croteau, 30, appeared Dec. 18 in shackles for a pretrial conference on murder conspiracy charges. Roche was not present.
Assistant District Attorney Carmen W. Picknally said Roche is still charged in both state and federal courts, but declined further comment.
On a prison search Web site, Roche is said to be in custody at the Souza-Baranowski maximum security state prison in Shirley. However, others say he has been behind bars at the Hampshire
County jail and more recently at the Franklin County jail. But, Franklin County Sheriff Fredrick B. McDonald this week said Roche was no longer at that site.

He did his thing ... but now he's gone," McDonald said in response to an inquiry.
Similarly, in Roche's federal case, there has not been a single filing since May, when a transcript of the defendant's guilty plea a month earlier was posted. He has not been scheduled for sentencing, nor has a trial date been set in the state case, which is still pending against him.
Roche waited for Bruno outside an Italian-American social club in the city's South End on Nov. 23, 2003, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd E. Newhouse.
After about a half-hour wait in a dark parking lot, Roche heard Bruno's voice and called out "Hey, Al!," according to the prosecutor. Bruno, the regional head of the New York-based Genovese crime family, responded: "Hey, buddy."
Roche shot Bruno six times and took off on foot, Newhouse said. He later told investigators it was a contract hit. The gunman said he was paid $10,000 by rival gangsters wrestling for power.
Investigators say Geas, previously identified as "the muscle" for Bruno's eventual successor, Anthony J. Arillotta, paid Roche; and Croteau, something of a hapless fringe character, helped Roche get out of town.
Geas was indicted in federal court after Roche pleaded guilty; he is held without bail. Croteau is serving a 15-year prison sentence on unrelated drug trafficking charges.
After Bruno was killed, investigators quickly got a line on Roche, but tracked him for months before he was apprehended by FBI agents while hiding out in Florida the following August.
The arrest was no less eventful than what preceded it: Roche was accidentally shot by agents during the raid.
He sued the FBI in connection with the shooting last year. The civil suit in U.S. District Court in central Florida seems to be the only thing visibly progressing through the court system.
Mark A. Sylvester, a Miami lawyer representing Roche in the civil suit, said he is embroiled in negotiations with the federal government and may not settle out of court. A trial date has been set for Aug. 31 in central Florida.

"I believe that the evidence in this case will show that a series of errors were committed by FBI personnel during the arrest," Sylvester said in an e-mail on Friday. "Those errors culminated with the accidental and wrongful discharge of an M4 carbine rifle into the back of Frankie Roche as he lay face down on the ground surrounded by multiple armed agents."
Roche could use a substantial award in that case, as he also faces a $1 million fine under his plea agreement with federal prosecutors.

In exchange for testimony against others in the Bruno case and other investigations, prosecutors declined to pursue capital punishment and may argue for a substantial reduction in an otherwise mandatory life sentence he faces as a result of his guilty plea in federal court here.
Geas may face the death penalty if he's convicted in the federal court case. Croteau has not been charged there.


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Soprano actor whacks himself out

Actor Who Played Gay Man on ’Sopranos’ Commits Suicideby Steve WeinsteinEDGE Editor-In-ChiefThursday Dec 25, 2008
The Brooklyn actor who played Johnny Cakes, a gay fireman who was also the lover of a mob capo on "The Sopranos," apprently killed himself. John Costelloe appears to be the victim of a suicide in his home in the blue-collar Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn. The incident reportedly happened sometime around Dec. 16, according to unofficial police reports.Costelloe had himself served in real life in the New York Fire Department before becoming an actor. A friend told the Post, "I saw him three weeks ago when he stopped by, and he seemed to be in good spirits."Costelloe appeared in four episodes of "The Sopranos" in 2006. He played a short-order cook named Jim "Johnny Cakes" Witowski, who was in loved with Vito Spatafore--played Joseph Gannascoli, real-life friend of Costelloe’s. On the show, Vito is killed by homophobic mobsters. "It still hasn’t really sunk in," Gannascoli told the Post. "I never detected anything troubling about him. I enjoyed all the time I ever spent with him.""Sopranos" actor Steve Buscemi attended the funeral at a local Catholic Church. Buscemi was also a longtime friend of Costelloe’s.Costelloe had been apperaing in an off-off-Broadway play called "Gang of Seven." The show’s playwright told the paper he suspected the actor was bothered by something, but he never explained what it was.EDGE Editor-in-Chief Steve Weinstein has been a regular correspondent for the International Herald Tribune, the Advocate, the Village Voice and Out. He has been covering the AIDS crisis since the early ’80s, when he began his career. He is the author of "The Q Guide to Fire Island" (Alyson, 2007).

Monday, December 15, 2008

Pellicano gets 15 years in wiretapping case

The private investigator's sentence was longer than the five-year, 10-month term recommended by the Probation Department. Four co-defendants are scheduled to be sentenced in January.
By Victoria Kim
December 16, 2008
Former Hollywood private eye Anthony Pellicano was sentenced to 15 years in prison this afternoon for running an illegal wiretapping operation that gathered information for a list of well-to-do clients, including celebrities, attorneys and business executives.

U.S. District Judge Dale S. Fischer's sentence was longer than the five-year, 10-month punishment recommended by the Probation Department.

Pellicano, whose clients and victims ranked among Hollywood's biggest stars and most powerful executives, was convicted in two criminal trials earlier this year of 78 counts, including wiretapping, computer fraud and wire fraud.

In court papers filed in October, prosecutors asked the judge to sentence Pellicano, 64, to more than 15 years in prison, saying the sleuth was charged with, and convicted of, only a fraction of the crimes he actually committed.

By tapping phones and bribing public officials, Pellicano violated fundamental privacy rights of hundreds of people and chipped away at the integrity of public institutions, prosecutors wrote. They added that Pellicano continues to show nothing but pride for the criminal enterprise he ran.

Though Pellicano represented himself at the federal trials -- lending to moments of farce and confusion -- he relied on a court-appointed attorney for his sentencing. Attorney Michael Artan had sought a more lenient sentence from Fischer, arguing that Pellicano's "hardscrabble" youth, work as a forensic audio expert for the government and financial struggle to provide for his autistic son in the years before his arrest were mitigating factors she should consider.

Similar pleas for leniency for Pellicano and his co-defendants, however, have been dismissed by Fischer.

Last week, the judge ordered Pellicano and two co-defendants to forfeit more than $2 million, an amount requested by prosecutors. And last month, Fischer sentenced Pellicano's co-conspirator, attorney Terry Christensen, to three years in prison, rejecting a recommendation from the Probation Department that he be placed under house arrest. Fischer rebuked Christensen, who was accused of conspiring with Pellicano to wiretap his opponents in trial, for "marring" the legal profession.

Four other defendants are scheduled to be sentenced next month.

Pellicano's troubles began in 2002, when a reporter who wrote negative articles about former Hollywood super agent Michael Ovitz went to authorities after she found a dead fish, a rose and a note saying "Stop" inside the smashed windshield of her car.

The investigation led authorities to Pellicano's office, and it quickly snowballed into a wide-reaching probe that appeared would implicate some of Hollywood's biggest names. Among Pellicano's clients were Tom Cruise, Michael Jackson and Chris Rock.

Pellicano's co-defendants included Sgt. Mark Arneson of the Los Angeles Police Department, computer technician Kevin Kachikian, and phone company employee Ray Turner, who were all convicted in sweeping jury verdicts. They helped Pellicano earn millions by getting information on ex-spouses, business associates and opponents in lawsuits, prosecutors said.

sexy actress Linda Fiorentino wants to make a movie of Pellicano's life in Hollywood.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

'Tough guy'

The feds indicted a reputed Genovese capo Monday for the 1977 murder of a gangster who, after his killer's gun jammed, snarled: "What're you gonna do now, tough guy?"

Prosecutors say Michael (Mikey Cigars) Coppola promptly drew a second pistol and gunned down John (Johnny Coca Cola) Lardiere outside a New Jersey motel.

Coppola, 62, went on the lam in 1996, after authorities asked him to submit a DNA sample to test against hairs found in a hat at the crime scene.

The FBI captured Coppola last year on the upper West Side, where he was living with his wife.

A DNA test of the forensic evidence was inconclusive; New Jersey authorities handed off the murder to case to the feds.

Coppola has pleaded guilty to the fugitive charges and is serving a 42-month sentence.

Monday, December 8, 2008

A Mob Sequel to film "The Departed "

By Suzanne Smalley and Evan Thomas NEWSWEEK

For many years, John Connolly was the FBI's most effective Mafia investigator in Boston. He has a master's degree in public administration from Harvard. He says his "hero" is Bobby Kennedy and points to his family's devotion to public service (his brother is a retired DEA agent, and his sister became a teacher). But when he met last week with a NEWSWEEK REPORTER at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center in Miami, he was wearing shackles around his ankles. Once dashing and athletic, the 68-year-old Connolly was stooped and pot-bellied in his bright-red prison jumpsuit. His skin was paper-thin and white from lack of sunlight. For the past three and a half years, he has lived in a tiny, 10- by 12-foot cinder-block cell; his food is slipped to him through a slot in the heavy metal door. He is kept in solitary confinement for his own protection: a few years ago, Connolly says, another former FBI agent was badly beaten by inmates in the same jail.

Speaking with the reporter in a holding room, Connolly was grandfatherly, intelligent, emotional. "Believe me, I am innocent!" he declared, pumping his fist in the air. "I'm a Catholic. I say the rosary every day and pray for my innocence. I pray to Saint Jude, the saint of hopeless causes, and to Saint Rita, the saint of the impossible." His cause is not entirely hopeless: last week the judge postponed his sentencing for murder in the second degree to next month to consider the defense's argument that the statute of limitations had elapsed. But there is still a chance that Connolly will never emerge from prison to see his wife and three kids.

If Connolly's story sounds like the stuff of movies, that's because it is. In Martin Scorsese's Oscar-winning film "The Departed," Matt Damon plays the role of a cop who works as a mole for the mob; the Damon character is widely believed to be based on Connolly. Jack Nicholson plays a role loosely based on the life of James (Whitey) Bulger an Irish mob kingpin from South Boston who secretly cooperated with the FBI against his rivals in the Italian Mafia. The subtext—in fiction as well as in real life—is the sometimes fine line between power for good and for evil.

In 2002 Connolly was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison on racketeering and obstruction-of-justice charges stemming from allegations that in 1995 he had tipped off Bulger and one of his henchmen, Stephen Flemmi (nicknamed "the Rifleman" for his expert marksmanship in the Korean War), right before they were indicted for racketeering. Bulger vanished. (He was last reliably spotted at London's Piccadilly Circus in 2002.) Flemmi dallied and was caught. In return for avoiding a death sentence for separate murder charges, Flemmi ultimately began cooperating with the government.

According to the Feds, Connolly not only helped Bulger escape but was also a spider in a tangled web of gangland slayings. In 2005 he was charged with three murder counts in connection with the death of John B. Callahan, a Boston jai alai executive who liked to drink and hang around with mobsters. In 1982 Callahan's rotting, bullet ridden body was found stuffed in the trunk of his Cadillac at Miami International Airport. A dime was found on the body—a message, some speculated, to those who would think of "dropping a dime," street parlance for cooperating with the Feds. The government charged that Connolly had let Bulger and his crew know that the FBI wanted to question Callahan about the slaying of another jai alai executive, Roger Wheeler, who had been snuffed by a member of Bulger's Winter Hill Gang. At Connolly's trial this fall, the prosecutor argued that Connolly should have known that Callahan would be killed because something similar had happened at least twice before. The Feds assert that in 1976, after Connolly allegedly leaked to Bulger that the nightclub owner and bookie Richard Castucci was an informant for the FBI, Castucci was shot to death. In another case, Edward (Brian) Halloran and an uninvolved friend were slain, execution style, while standing outside a bar on Boston's waterfront in 1982—allegedly because Connolly had told Bulger that Halloran was cooperating with the Feds

The star witnesses testifying against Connolly in his murder trial were Flemmi and John Martorano, a mob assassin known as the Basin Street Butcher who has admitted to killing 20 people. He is out of prison after serving a 12-year sentence, shortened because he agreed to testify for the government. In his jailhouse interview with NEWSWEEK, Connolly claimed that Martorano and other mobsters turned government witnesses were lying: "They're trying to save their own skin. They're like trained seals … Martorano never met me, never spoke to me … Everything he says is hearsay." (Flemmi claimed he was at a meeting—attended by Connolly—at which Bulger announced that Martorano would "take care of" Callahan, the jai alai exec.) The government presented evidence alleging that Connolly had received bribes totaling $235,000 from Bulger's gang—enough, prosecutors say, to buy a boat that cost almost as much as Connolly's annual FBI salary. (Assistant State Attorney Michael Von Zampf told NEWSWEEK THAT Connolly was so close to Bulger that he vacationed with him in Mexico.) Connolly's lawyer, Manuel Casabielle, says the idea that his client took bribes is "absolutely, categorically untrue." He adds that the defense was able to document in court that all of Connolly's assets were purchased with legitimate earnings

In his conversation with NEWSWEEK, Connolly protested that government investigators have to get close to their high-level informants, who are typically bad people, because that is the only way to penetrate secret criminal organizations or terrorist cells. While the government portrays him as a single rogue agent, Connolly describes himself as a "scapegoat." Even Von Zampf admits the FBI's Boston office was permeated by corruption; he says he believes other agents knew Connolly was taking money from Bulger but didn't act. A former FBI agent testifying for the defense admitted that Connolly delivered Christmas gifts from mobsters to him—a black leather briefcase, an expensive figurine, a bottle of cognac. Connolly's FBI supervisor has admitted receiving $7,000, some of which was delivered in a case of wine from the mob via Connolly. (The supervisor, John Morris, was granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for testifying.) It is commonplace and necessary for federal agents to use criminal informants to crack criminal conspiracies. But "you don't have informants at the top of the food chain," says Rick Fraelick, a retired Massachusetts State Police major, who attended part of the trial because he said Connolly compromised his own probes of Bulger's gang. "The whole point of an informant is to get to the top of the food chain." Maybe so, but as "The Departed" portrayed, life in ethnic melting pots like South Boston can be complicated

Connolly grew up in the same grim housing project in "Southie" as Bulger did. As they rise out of poverty, proud and ambitious men can make different choices. Whitey Bulger's brother Billy became president of the Massachusetts state Senate and the University of Massachusetts. Connolly recruited Whitey on a beach in Quincy in 1975. At the time, Bulger was afraid he had been targeted by the Mafia and wanted some cover. In addition to a lot of useful tips about the Italian mob, Connolly seems to have gotten a charge from hanging around a colorful and smart (if wicked) character like Bulger. But the game turned ugly. Connolly said that the Feds made a deal with Bulger to turn a blind eye to his gambling and loan-sharking—but betrayed him by bringing racketeering charges in 1995. By then, Connolly says, he feared Bulger would come after his family. Connolly says he never crossed the line in helping Bulger. But in Boston's byzantine world of cops and mobsters, where morals are murky and tribal loyalties are strong, lines separating good from evil can be blurry indeed from Newsweek.com

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

canker sore Colombo Capo

Meet Dominic Montemarano, a/k/a "Donny Shacks . Donnie is a canker sore of a capo in the Colombo crime family and he also moonlights as an actor. Maybe when Donnie dressed up in drag when he went on mob hits he considered it acting experience.

Speaking of hits, Shacks is quite a hit with the ladies..He hits the hell out of most of them. His. last girlfriend called the coppers on the creep after he beat the bejesus out of her. .Shack's wound up locked down in the slammer over it.

Seems Donnie went ballistic when the chick brought up his part in , dare I say, a movie, called "Night at the Golden Eagle" Most of the Goodfellas in Gangland were shaking their heads when they saw Shacks had gone Hollywood on them and made the. flick... I mean, come on, a made man acting in movies.

.They were all saying "This Thing of Ours" is really over"... .Maybe if the movie hadn't stunk as bad as a cesspool, and resembled a runaway train wreck, they might have cut Donnie some slack

From the very start the movie flat lined like a heart monitor on a dead man. Shack's acting in the dramatic and tragic scenes came off like slapstick... .One of Donnie's old friends was overheard saying, Oy, Vay, Donnie did to acting what he did to the guys he clipped........ Anthony "The Animal" Fiato

Monday, December 1, 2008

woman in the mob

In Italy, the first-ever study on women in Italian organized crime reveals that women are rising up the ranks to leadership positions. This is both because the mafia is changing, and women are changing the mafia.

From la dolce vita, the sweet life, to the malavita, the underworld, the growing presence of women is being felt everywhere in Italy.

Until recently, this was almost unthinkable. The first woman arrested for "criminal association" was just five years ago, in 1999. Police have known that women play a supporting role within the mafia: As mothers, wives, and daughters, they've carried out minor tasks.

Filling in for locked up hubbies

Occasionally, women have even stepped in to run things temporarily when their men have been jailed or murdered.

But a new study shows that women within the mafia are rising through the ranks and becoming bosses in their own right. And it says that the Italian judicial system should start paying closer attention.

Ernesto Savona of the Catholic University of Milan, one of the report’s authors, says criminal organizations are becoming more appealing to women. "Criminal organizations are changing. They’re producing less violence. Less people are killed in Palermo and Columbia and in others in proportion to how many were killed before. They’re transforming the hierarchical organization into a more flexible one. That means you’ll get more women having managerial roles. We call them 'sweet criminal organizations'," he told Deutsche Welle.

From hard crime to financial crime

As underworld activities have shifted to financial crimes, violence has dropped. Organizations have also become less centralized.

"That you find women having managerial roles in small criminal organization shows that it's very flexible and not hierarchical," Savona explains. "Especially juvenile gangs. Sometimes you find a woman who has the leadership in the organization."

The evolution of women in the criminal world is exactly the same as that of women in the business world.

Pierluigi Vigna, who heads up Italy’s national anti-mafia office, says that with politically motivated crimes, women are just as willing to kill as men. Mafia women, however, aren’t as willing when it comes to business. The researchers say that’s because women find murder for profit harder to justify. And their roles reflect this difference in values.

"They’re mainly found in areas that require a certain finesse," Vigna explains, "like money laundering rather than murder."

While there are no statistics on the exact number of women in the Italian mafia, the researchers say that more women in key positions are being arrested. In April, a 28-year-old Sicilian woman was found guilty of 50 percent ownership of a thriving underworld business.

This may not be this kind of emancipation feminists had in mind, but it does show that women in Italy need to be taken seriously in all facets of life.