Monday, June 22, 2009

Ex-Mafia fixer, mob rat, Mike Franzese offer of help the sport could not refuse

Michael Franzese claims little insight into the secretive detective work of the tennis authorities as they continue to clean up the sport but the ex-New York mafia boss, a former match-fixer in US sport, has worked on the Association of Tennis Professional's education programme to warn players of the dangers of gambling, and has no doubt that fixing goes on
I was asked back in 2006 to address the players," he said, talking to The Independent at the recent Play the Game conference in Coventry. "I've had a lot of consultation with the ATP. They're concerned about the problem and they are as proactive as they can be. People would be naive to think that gambling, fixing and attempted fixing isn't happening in tennis. Players told me stories of being approached. It's happened. It still does.
"After I spoke [to the players] I got emails and telephone calls, they confided in me. I spoke via an interpreter to some Russians. I don't know how much attention they were paying but [another player] said to me they were the ones that needed to because they're the most guilty. That's exactly what I was told." --

Franzese, 58, is the son of the notorious John "Sonny" Franzese, a key figure for years in the Colombo family, one of New York's five Mob clans. Sonny was a ruthless hitman, and has spent 32 years in prison since 1970. Now 92 and out on bail, he is the oldest parolee in the US.
Michael followed in father's footsteps in his twenties and made hundreds of millions of dollars, primarily from bootlegging, racketeering and tax scams, with a healthy sideline in match-fixing, mainly on NBA basketball games and NFL football.
"We'd prey on athletes' weaknesses," he said. "We'd find a player who gambled, extend him credit until he's far out of his depth – hundreds of thousands of dollars. Then we'd offer an easy way to repay. It was all about shaving points."
In US sports betting, the most popular gamble is "the spread". Franzese and his bookies would target players in teams that were strong favourites, and simply "request" the winning margin was lower than expected. In such details huge profits lay.
His extraordinary life story took a twist after an eight-year prison term and after falling in love with a girl (now his wife of many years) who wanted him to go straight. He left the Mafia, and lived to tell the tale by never grassing. He had a contract on his head, however, and still does.
"I was in that life for 17 years so I took a lot of precautions when I left it behind me, although I never co-operated [with the police], and never entered a witness protection programme. When I was in jail, they kept me in lockdown. I was in the hole for three years, they wouldn't let me out on the yard for my own safety. It was tough for years after I came out, effectively on the run for our safety."
How is he still alive? "I outlasted just about everybody in my life [who'd want me dead]. They're either dead or in prison for the rest of their lives. And I didn't testify against anyone."
The NBA and NFL have used Franzese's services to warn athletes about corruption for many years. He makes a living from public speaking and writing, and his latest book I'll Make You an Offer You Can't Refuse: Insider Business Tips from a Former Mob Boss is out now.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Anthony Rotondo

ANTHONY ROTONDO--Anthony Rotondo’s father, Vincent, was a captain in the New Jersey-based DeCavalcante family, but he wanted his son to be a lawyer. Rotondo initially started down that path, picking up a degree in business administration from St. Francis College in Brooklyn. But the lure of the mob soon beckoned, and his father ultimately proposed his son for membership.
Then in 1988, his father was gunned down as he sat in his car outside his Bath Beach, Brooklyn home. The younger Rotondo assumed his father’s position, but turned informant in 1999 after nearly the entire hierarchy of the family was arrested,. He claimed he did so in part because of building resentment over his father’s murder.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Two Former Executive Board Members of Bus Drivers' Union Arrested for Extortion and Unlawful Labor Payments


LEV L. DASSIN, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, JOSEPH M. DEMAREST, JR., the Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI"), DANIEL R. PETROLE, Deputy Inspector General of the United States Department of Labor ("DOL"), ANDREW AUERBACH, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the DOL, Office of Labor-Management Standards, and RAYMOND W. KELLY, Police Commissioner of the City of New York, announced that two former executive board members and assistant trustees of Local 1181 of the Amalgamated Transit Workers Union ("Local 1181"), NICK MADDALONE and PAUL MADDALONE, were arrested today on charges of extortion and violations of the Taft-Hartley Act, which prohibits payments from regulated industries to union officials. NICK and PAUL MADDALONE were arrested this morning attheir homes by Special Agents of the FBI and DOL, Office of the Inspector General, and New York City Police Department ("NYPD") detectives. According to the Indictment unsealed today in Manhattan federal court, where the defendants are expected to appear later today:
Local 1181 is a union which represents approximately 15,000 bus drivers and bus escorts employed by companies that contract with the New York City Department of Education to provide students with school bus transportation to public schools throughout New York City. From at least the 1980s through 2006, the Genovese Organized Crime Family -- a criminal organization that is part of La Cosa Nostra, commonly referred to as the "mafia" -- influenced and asserted control over Local 1181, including by appointing certain individuals to serve as officers for Local 1181. The defendants, who are brothers, served as members, delegates, executive board members, and assistant trustees of Local 1181 -- NICK MADDALONE from approximately 1984 through 2008, and PAUL MADDALONE from approximately 1993 through 2008.From at least the 1980s through 2006, various Local 1181 officers were involved in a wide-ranging scheme to solicit, collect, and receive illegal cash payments of tens of thousands of dollars from bus company owners and operators whose employees were members of Local 1181, and from companies whose employees were not Local 1181 members. The MADDALONES participated in this scheme along with other Local 1181 officers, including SALVATORE BATTAGLIA, who was both President of Local 1181 and a member of the Genovese Organized Crime Family, and JULIUS BERNSTEIN, who was both Secretary-Treasurer of Local 1181 and an associate of the Genovese Organized Crime Family. The MADDALONES and other participants in the scheme used both their union status and, as applicable, their organized crime status, as a means of inducing payment, obtaining tens of thousands of dollars from bus company owners through intimidation, threats, and fear of personal and economic harm.
NICK MADDALONE and PAUL MADDALONE are the fourth and fifth high-ranking Local 1181 officials to be arrested in connection with this investigation. BATTAGLIA pleaded guilty in January 2008 to racketeering, extortion, and Taft-Hartley violations and was sentenced in June 2008 to 57 months in prison. BERNSTEIN pleaded guilty in August 2006 to racketeering, extortion, robbery, gambling, and obstruction of justice, and died before a final judgment was issued in the matter. Former Local 1181 Director of Pension and Welfare ANNE CHIAROVANO pleaded guilty to the obstruction of the FBI's investigation into the connection between Local 1181 and the Genovese Organized Crime Family and was sentenced in January 2007 to five months in prison to be followed by five months of home confinement.
If convicted of the charges alleged in the Indictment, NICK MADDALONE, 54, of Staten Island, New York, and PAUL MADDALONE, 60, of Neponsit, New York, each face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on each of the two extortion counts, and five years in prison on each of the two unlawful payment counts. The case has been assigned to United States District Judge JED S. RAKOFF.
Mr. DASSIN praised the work of the FBI; the United States Department of Labor, Office of the Inspector General; the United States Department of Labor, Office of Labor Management Standards; and the NYPD. He said that the investigation is continuing.Assistant United States Attorneys ELIE HONIG and KENNETH POLITE are in charge of the prosecution