Longtime Gambino crime family solider Oreste “Ernie Boy” Abbamonte has been sentenced to five years in prison for extortion of a local contractor. The 65 year old wiseguy agreed to a plea deal after being charged with the $1.2 million dollar shake down from 2006 through 2011. According to the prosecution he forced Deca Development a Long Island based company to pay his car payments , mortgage, and travel expenses eventually driving the company out of business. Abbamonte’s criminal and mafia career goes back decades with his first arrest back in 1962 at age of only fourteen years old and he has spent 26 of the last 32 years of his life behind bars.
“Oreste “Ernie Boy” Abbamonte (left), Nicky DiPietro, and John Carneglia”
Judge Arthur Spatt even commented that he was amazed at the amount of crimes Ernie Boy had committed considering he has been in prison for so much of his criminal career. Even with such an extensive rap sheet it didn’t stop lawyers for Abbamonte from requesting a shorter sentence then his plea deal agreement of 60 months. Citing the wiseguys age and various health problems as reasons as to why he should be sentenced to less then the maximum. The 88 year old Judge said “You have got to be kidding me” referring to his age saying in his view 65 was not old calling Oreste a “spring chicken”.
Prosecutors recited the mobsters long criminal past including previous drug convictions among many others calling him a feared member of the Gambino family of the New York mafia. They also argued that his age and health problems didn’t stop him from committing the crimes. Judge Spatt agreed and sentenced Abbamonte to the maximum of five years and he will now be eligible for release in July of 2016. Although he may face up to two more years behind bars for committing crimes while on lifetime parole from his previous drug convictions.
Now that the dust has settled from the recent Philadelphia mafia trials of alleged mob boss Joseph Ligambi and several of his fellow mobsters the Philly mob is somewhat in chaos. Dave Schratwieser takes an inside look at the current status of the mafia in Philadelphi and the possible leadership void that could cause some unrest. He also examines new ways the Philly crime family is attempting to make money as the families power dwindles and competition increases. With what is seemingly three separate mafia factions on the streets now in Philadelpha the old Joey Merlino crew led by alleged acting boss Steven Mazzone , whats left of the Ligambi crew, and the Nicky Scarfo era crew now back on streets from their prison terms some believe violence may be on the horizon. Here is a special report from Fox 29 News and Dave Schratwieser which includes the an interview with a former mob soldier and former city organized crime commander.
The Detroit mafia also known as the Detroit Partnership for the first time in over thirty years now officially has a new boss. Former boss Giacomo “Jack” Tocco has now retired and the family is now being lead by new boss Jack “Jackie the Kid” Giacalone. The change over in power has been rumored for years now and has finally happened according to sources. Anthony “Chicago Tony” La Piana will serve as under boss under Giacalone but work more as a co-boss along side Jackie. Source claim that La Piana has already started to assert his power on the streets and has taken over most of the interests that belonged to former boss Jack Tocco.
Jackie Giacalone has family ties going back decades in the Detroit mob and has long been tapped as the heir apparent to the thrown. He became a captain in the mob back in the 1990′s and was appointed as street boss for the family sometime around 2000-2001. The Detroit La Cosa Nostra family remains as one of the more stable families outside of the New York mafia five families. They are believed to control rackets not only in Detroit but also in states like California, Florida, Ohio, and Texas along with Canada.
Here is a break down of the 2014 Detroit Mafia leadership from new boss Giacalone down to the families current capo’s. This is roughly what things may look like on the streets now that the change over in leadership has taken place.
Boss – Jack “Jackie the Kid” Giacalone
Underboss – Anthony “Chicago Tony” La Piana
Consiglieri – Anthony “Tony Pal/The Butterfly” Palazzola
Street Boss – Peter “Specs/Blackie” Tocco
Counselor emeritus: Giacomo “Black Jack” Tocco, Joseph “Joe Hooks” Mirabile, Dominic “Uncle Dom” Bommarito
David “Davey Donuts” Aceto
Joseph “Joey Jack/Joe Vine” Giacalone
Joseph “Joe the Hood” D’Anna
Paul “Big Paulie” Corrado
Antonino “Tony the Extermintor” Ruggirello (coming out of retirement for short-term stint until La Piana names an official successor as boss of his crew, the former Meli crew)
The low key and steady leadership which has made the Detroit mafia so successful over the years is believed to continue under the control of Giacalone. Although many believe the Detroit family will soon suffer from its older leadership base and a lack of a younger generation coming up to fill the ranks it remains a viable mob family and in the current climate that is no easy task.
For more information on the Detroit mafia and its history both Motor City Mafia:: A Century of Organized Crime in Detroit and The Detroit True Crime Chronicles: Tales of Murder and Mayhem in the Motor City are both highly recommended. Would also like to offer a special thanks to author Scott Burnstein for his help with information for this article. Get a copy of Mr. Burnstein’s books above as his insight into the Detroit mafia is second to none and both are phenomenal reads.
Seems that alleged Bonanno crime family acting boss Thomas “Tommy D” DiFiore believes family captain Vincent Asaro is responsible for his recent arrest. In court documents filed by DiFiore’s lawyer requesting bail he blames the big-mouthed Bonanno family captain directly for dragging him into the recent convictions. Vincent and his son Jerome are facing charges including arson, murder, and their parts in the legendary Lufthansa heist while DiFiore is charged with a single count of extortion. The extortion charge against DiFiore stems from a secretly recorded conversation between Vincent and a mob rat which has caused the unrest in the Bonanno family ranks.
“Thomas Di Fiore”
Vincent Asaro was captured on a secret wiretap during a conversation with his cousin Gaspare “Gary” Valenti who had turned rat and was wearing a wire talking about a mafia payoff. He said to his cousin that “Tommy” took a $15,000 cut from a loan shark payoff of $40,000 that he had received. Asaro always says “He took 15 grand, i want to kill the mother******” on the recording according to court documents. Federal prosecutors claim that the “Tommy” mentioned by Asaro on the tape is Thomas DiFiore and that he hold the ranks of acting boss in the Bonanno family.
Defense lawyer Steve Zissou claims that even if the prosecution could get a jury to believe that the “Tommy” Asaro mentions is indeed his client there is no reason to believe that anything Asaro said was even truthful while calling him a lying degenerate gambler. During his argument for bail he also made the argument that the case could include years of pre-trial motions by the government and defense for the Asaros part of the case while his clients trial could start quicker and would not take long so it was unfair to keep him imprisoned for that extended time period.
DiFiore has been in prison since he was arrested back on January 23rd of this year. He is facing a possible sentence of up to 20 years if convicted of extortion. Zissou also mentioned that several other high ranking New York mafia members had previously been granted bail facing worse charges then his client. But the judge wasn’t buying the defenses argument and ruled the government had substantial evidence that DiFiore was named as acting boss of the Bonanno family back in 2012 and was the highest ranking Bonanno mobster on the streets at the time of his arrest giving him power over the mob family making him a danger to the community. He denied the wiseguys bail request.
After a Mafia civil war that lasted almost five years and the death of longtime godfather Vito Rizzuto just a little over three months ago things have been quiet in and around Montreal. Since the passing of Vito Rizzuto from complications believed to be from lung cancer sources confirm no one now holds the rank of godfather. Instead the new leaders of the mafia in Montreal including Rocco Sollecito believed to be one of the remaining high level leaders of the Rizzuto crime family have suggested that a “table of leadership” between members of the third generation of families who have been in control of the mob in Montreal over the last 30 years be formed according to sources. This is a move to bury the hatchet and settle the disputes which led to the bloody Montreal Mafia war and avoid further violence which many expected to see after Vito’s death.
This new Montreal Mafia table of leadership would include members from the Rizzuto family and its loyal allies along with other clan leaders and associates. Along with this new leadership group the Montreal Mafia would maintain its existing agreements with other criminal organizations like the Hells Angels. Mob sources say the new leaders of the Montreal Mafia want themselves and the organization back into the shadows getting away from all of the exposure brought about over last few years due to the violent war and work of Charbonneau Commission of late. New members of this table of leadership board would be much less visible then previous leaders like Vito Rizzuto and other members of the Rizzuto family were.
According to mob sources Giuseppe De Vito who is believed to have formed an alliance with Raynald Desjardins against the Rizzuto family and became a sworn enemy of the Sicilians may also be part of this new leadership commission. This would prove to truly be a move to settle many of the old grudges and allow everyone in the Montreal underworld to peacefully get back to business. It is believed that the murder of Roger Valiquette in Montreal a few days prior to Vito Rizzuto’s death may be the last homicide linked to the recent Montreal Mafia war and the retaliation of Vito.
As of now it seems that a market exists to satisfy the crime organizations in the area which may lead to this type of leadership collaboration working at least for now. It is still too early to tell if this new leadership board will indeed form and be able to maintain control of the mafia in Montreal or if violence will still play a part as the new leadership transitions into place.
Italian authorities now have an updated photo of Matteo Messina Denaro the top boss of the Sicilian Mafia the first such update since back in 2011. According to Interpol Messina Denaro is one of the top ten most wanted me in the world. New information about the 52 year old mob bosses appearance was obtained from a mafia informant according to authorities. The informant claims to have had a recent meeting with the fugitive mafia boss and says he has gained weight and his hair remains dark but his receding hair line has advanced and he no longer wears glasses. This information has been used to come up with an up to date computer simulated portrait of what the crime boss now is believed to look like.
“Matteo Messina Denaro Computer Simulated Photo”
Older Photo’s of Messina Denaro show him wearing thick glasses because of a eye illness. A specialists who treated him in the past in Spain confirmed the severity of the illness and says he believes that the crime lord may have gone blind in one eye. This could possibly explain why he is no longer wearing glasses for the condition. Information from other informants have also been trickling in according to authorities due to recent arrests and asset seizures of those close to Messina Denaro. Last December saw 30 people arrested some being relatives of the mafia boss and police reported that they were closer then ever to capturing him.
Feds have charged five individuals with alleged links to the Colombo crime family for their roles in a scheme to defraud New York’s Newspaper and Mail Deliverers Union. As part of the scheme the men were attempting to secure a union card and job for Benjamin Castellazzo Jr according to the feds. Benjamin Junior is the son of reputed Colombo family underboss Benjamin Castellazzo and was charged along with Colombo family associate Rocco Miragla, a one time Daily News forman, Glenn LaChance and Rocco Giangregorio, business agent for NMDU, and Anthony Turzio, and El Diario employee. All five of the men were arrested and have been charged with mail fraud conspiracy and were scheduled to appear in federal court in Brooklyn.
The Newspaper and Mail Deliverers union has long standing mafia ties and these arrest show that it is still subject to mob influences said United States Attorney Loretta Lynch. The NMDU was once headed by Douglas LaChance who was indicted back in the 80′s and convicted on 124 counts of racketeering and extortion tied to the shaking down of distributors. According to Alphonse D’Arco former Lucchese family acting boss turned rat LaChance was so out of control back then the New York mafia families considered whacking him.
The feds continue to battle the mafia and its control and influence in several unions through out New York and New Jersey. Even though many unions have been deemed free of current mob influence cases such as this one prove otherwise and although it may not be as iron clad and wide ranging as it was in past it remains a viable source of mob profits.
Matteo Renzi the new prime minister in Italy says that his administration plants to break the Italian Mafia. He says they are going after “Mafia Inc.” first off by continuing the attack on the finances of the mob which laundered through legal businesses and other assets. In January it was announced that new measures had been developed and were being implemented by Italian law enforcement to help fight the Mafia with an emphasis on even stronger assets seizures. Former prime minister Enrico Letta said it would be a relentless commitment on behalf of the Italian government to take down the Mafia and get important results because it was in line with the spirit of the country.
Over the last several years Italian mafia families located in the more impoverished south including Cosa Nostra in Sicily, Ndrangheta in Calabria, and Camorra in Naples have shifted their dirty money and investments to the more affluent northern part of the country. In the country’s capital city of Rome assets including companies and property totaling more then 1.2 billions dollars linked to the mafia have been seized by authorities. In total since 1992 across the country law enforcement has seized assets totaling more the 20.4 billion dollars of suspected mob investments and fronts.
Italian authorities now believe by targeting the so called legitimate businesses and assets of the mafia is the best way to dismantle these organizations. Perhaps this anti-mafia playbook should be examined closely by U.S. law enforcement in their fight against the American mafia. The U.S. Treasury Department could designate all the New York Mafia families among others that remain as transnational criminal organizations and freeze their assets and ban American banks and companies from doing business with them under Executive Order 13581.
Only time will tell if this shift in tactics in Italy will actually lead to the dismantling of the Mafia organizations there or if the mafia will once again adapt and survive as it has done for centuries.
Thomas “Tommy Shots” Gioeli the former acting boss of the Colombo crime family was sentenced to 18 years in prison for multiple murder and racketeering conspiracy raps. Back in 2012 Gioeli was convicted of plotting gangland hits against rivals John Minerva and Frank Marasa along with a single charge of orchestrating violence against rivals to gain power. But the New York mafia leader was some how acquitted on several murder charges and avoided a probable life sentence. Although his lawyers argued before sentencing asking for leniency saying at the age of 61 a long term sentence would be equal to a life sentence.
Gioeli was cleared on murder charges which included the mafia hit on former NYPD cop Ralph Dols back in 1997 , who was killed because he married to ex-wife of former Colombo family consigliere Joel “Joe Waverly” Cacace. Tommy Shots along with fellow Colombo mobster Dino Saracino were also acquitted for the 1995 execution of mob associate Richard Greaves and the murder of former Colombo family underboss William “Wild Bill” Cutolo.
The mobsters attorney Adam Perlmutter argued that his client was not what the prosecution made him out to be as he read excerpts from letters of support which presented him as a lovable grandparent and community pillar. Perlmutter also noted that his client had already been behind bars for six years since he was charged with his crimes and no other punishment in his eyes was necessary.
But prosecutors reminded Judge Brian Cogan that the aging wiseguy has led a long and frightening criminal career and had spent more then a decade as a leading figure in the mafia. They labeled the crimes he committed on bahalf of organized crime as vicious and pointed out it took a vicious person to carry them out and he should receive the maximum of twenty years under the sentencing guidelines.
Secret wiretap recordings recently heard by the Charbonneau Commission a Quebec corruption inquiry unveiled links between the Rizzuto crime family including its former deceased boss Vito Rizzuto and construction kingpin Tony Magi among others. Some of the conversations involve the transforming of a industrial building at 1000 de la Commune in Montreal into modern luxury condominiums dating back to 2002. Seems Magi had run into some financial problems during the project and had to pay a sizable investment loan in approx 60 days which he would of been unable to meet. At this point Vito Rizzuto is brought into things offering Magi help and insuring him that the project would be completed with out incident. Vito can be heard on the secret wiretaps negotiating deals between Magi and John Norman Myette a local business man among others.
According to Eric Vecchio a Charbonneau Commission investigator Rizzuto pulled the strings on financing to insure the projects completion to get control of Magi but he never invested his own money. During some of the wiretap recordings played for the commission Rizzuto can be heard discussing the project with Michel Argento of Paramount Paving telling him that Terry Pomerantz of TRAMS Property Management along with Giorgio Tartaglino would be financing the Magi project. He also stated that in return Magi would be required to share 18 percent of the shares in the project which would be split between Argerito, Tony Renda a partner of Tartaglino’s, and Rizzuto himself.
Vecchio called Vito Rizzuto a “man of compromise” always more interested in mediating then he was in relying on violence to do business. His ability to keep everyone around him happy and making money is one reason why he was able to maintain his power for such a long time and remain head of the Montreal mafia.
“Rizzuto Wiretap Transcripts”
Other wiretap recordings only contained conversations from other players and reputed Montreal mafia members including Vito Rizzuto’s son Nick Rizzuto Jr. It is believed by many that Magi is the one who ordered the murder of Nick Rizzuto Jr as the relationship soured between Magi and the Rizzuto family over the years. With the Rizzuto family in shambles and the death of Vito Rizzuto among many other high rankings members of the Rizzuto family it is now unclear what if any effect these proceedings will now have on the mafia in Montreal.
Here is a link to the Rizzuto wiretap transcriptions presented to the Charbonneau Commission.