Often described as a wiseguy wannabe Louis “Bent Finger Lou” Monacello took the stand to tell his story for at the retrial of reputed Philadelphia mafia boss Joseph “Uncle Joe” Ligambi and fellow mobster and nephew George Borgesi. Monacello was a key witness in the first Philly mafia trial and is once again going to play a big role for the prosecution even though his previous testimony did not lead to a conviction of either Ligambi or Borgesi. At last years trial Monacello at times came off as brash and even cocky and portions of his testimony was contradicted by other witnesses who took the stand leading to a deadlocked jury on the major counts against the Philly mob leaders. Still prosecutors believed there was enough value in Monacello’s information to again make him a key witness and he has been on stand in Ligambi retrial now for days.
Monacello testified that for much of the last decade he was on streets in Delaware County running Borgesi’s rackets while he was in prison. According to Monacello he even collected what the mafia called “Christmas taxes” for mob boss Joe Ligambi from various bookmakers operating in South Philly. He also told stories of Philadelphia mob life airing some of the crime families dirty laundry including family rivalries and jealousies. Monacello claimed that George Borgesi’s kid brother Anthony Borgesi resented that he was passed over to run his older brothers mob business and tried to undermine him consistently. He also said Borgesi’s wife Alyson was nicknamed “Alyson Corleone” because of the way she henpecked mob soldiers working under her husband and collected cash payments protecting the family’s interest.
Monacello said that no one should be fooled by the nice loving family facade because its fake and they all hate each other. Monacello was not immune to this family feuds as he explained that back in 2008 he believed a rival mafia captain was moving in on this business so he hired someone to attack him. When Borgesi found out about Monacello’s actions he was quite upset and according to Monacello began plotting to have him killed. Monacello said fearing for his life was the reason he decided to turn rat and testify against his associates. He said only reason he was on witness stand and not with them (pointing to Ligambi and Borgesi) at defense table is because they were going to kill me.
Lawyers for Ligambi and Borgesi took shots at different aspects of Monacello’s testimony and credibility insisting thet he was running his own illegal gambling and loan sharking business using Borgesi’s and Ligambi’s name in an attempt to inhance his underworld position. They also pressed Monacello on his stories of mob debt collections and interactions with his fellow mobsters. Ligambi’s lawyer asked Monacello if lying to the mob boss might of resulted in death he replied that fellow mob associate DiGiacomo who he accused of lying was not going to get killed over it , he said because this is not that kinda of mob. Stressing the point the defense team has made that the current mob family was not the violent organization of years past which is why the defendants are not charged with any violent crimes.
Genovese crime family mobster turned rat Anthony “Bingy” Arillotta is set to be sentenced in March for his part in the murder of Adolfo “Big Al” Bruno the Genovese family boss in Connecticut among others. Arillotta is looking to cash in for his cooperation and testimony against his fellow mobsters. He testified in two separate trials in 2011 and 2012 in New York delivering information on Mafia life and multiple murder plots including that of Bruno and mob associate Gary Westerman. He supplied key testimony against former mob hit men Fotios “Freddy” Geas and brother Ty Geas and former Genovese family acting boss Arthur “Artie” Nigro.
Arillotta testified that permission to murder Bruno was oked by bosses of the New York Mafia and that Nigro ultimately gave the order. He said they paid hit man Frankie A. Roche $10,000 to gun Bruno down cowboy style in 2003. He also admitted to shaking down local Springfield business owners along with the Geas brothers along with details of how they murdered Westerman because they thought he may have been an informant. He also testified against mob loan shark Emilio Fusco and implicated him in the murder of Bruno and Westerman but Fusco was later acquitted of both murders but got 25 years in prison for racketeering. Nigro along with both Geas brothers were convicted on murder charges and are currently serving life sentences.
Although Arillotta is the most high profile defendant in the case there were other mob informants who testified. Triggerman Frankie Roche along with lower level mobsters Felix Tranghese and John Bologna all flipped. In return for there coopetation Roche received a 14 year prison term, Tranghese got a 4 year term, and Bologna eight years. It is still unknown as the what range of sentencing Arillotta is facing and how big of a break he will get for his testimony. One thing is for sure he will definately be looking to cash in on his decision to cooperate.
One of Toronto’s most powerful mafia bosses according to Italian authorities Vincenzo “Jimmy” DeMaria was quietly arrested at his Mississauga home for a parole violation. A convicted killer DeMaria holds a seat on the Camera di Controllo the ruling body for the Calabrian Mafia or Ndrangheta in Canada according to authorities. DeMaria was on lifetime parole for a previous murder conviction and the exact parole condition in which he committed is not yet known. Some believe he may have violated an order which forbid him from associating with member of organized crime or people with criminal records which he has previous done before in 2009. He was sent to a medium security prison in Kingston and his lawyer when questions said they still are not sure why he has been picked up and he says his client by all accounts has been an angel.
“Vincenzo (Jimmy) DeMaria”
Some have speculated that the Toronto mob boss may have helped back a break off faction of the Rizzuto crime family who tried to wrestle control away from mob boss Vito Rizzuto. Italian police identified him as a top GTA leader for the Calabrian mafia and there is a possibility that he was on a hitlist. As Vito Rizzuto has taken back control of the Montreal mafia more bloodshed has followed as he seemingly is settling scores against those who allied against him. It is possible that DeMaria was involved in the Montreal mafia war and perhaps had something to do with murders deaths of Rizzito family members and if so he would likely be a target. Although so far this is simply speculation and theory it is possible he once again was simply caught associating with known underworld figures which he is forbidden from doing.
A group of Genovese crime family mobsters and associates have coped plea deals to a range of mafia crime. In April of 2012 eleven wiseguys were busted on charges ranging from shaking down San Gennaro festival vendors and extorting major construction project contractors. The quintet of mobsters that coped plea’s on Wednesday included Genovese family captain Conrad Ianniello and soldiers James Bernardone and Salvester Zarzana along with mob associates Ryan Ellis and Paul Gasparrini. Ianniello who handled shake downs at the San Gennaro festival on behalf of the Genovese family is also charged with running union fixing scams and local illegal gambling operations for the crime family.
James Bernardone serves as Local 124 of the International Union of Journeymen and Allied Trades Secretary Treasurer. Fellow mob soldier Salvester Zarzana was formerly the head of Local 926 of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners. Ianniello plead guilty to gambling and extortion charges which Bernardone plead guilty to shaking down contractors on behalf of New York mafia in Queens, Manhattan, and Brooklyn. All of the wiseguys are currently out on bail and will remain out until they are sentencing which is scheduled for March 14th.
Colombo crime family mobster Joel “Joe Waverly” Cacace has been acquitted of ordering the murder of NYPD cop Ralph Dols back in 1997. It only took the federal jury four hours of deliberating to come back with the not guilty verdict as they rejected testimony from cooperating witnesses Joseph Competiello and Dino Calabro both part of the Dols hit team. Prosecutors tried to prove that Cacace ordered the hit on Dols because he married the wiseguys ex-wife and had a baby with him and he felt disrespected. A separate jury last year cleared fellow Colombo family mobsters Thomas “Tommy Shots” Gioeli and Dino Saracino of carrying out the alleged orders from Cacace. Dols was shot and killed in front of his home in Sheepshead Bay. After hearing the verdict Cacace nodded his head as he smiled and hugged his lawyer before blowing a kiss to his family sitting in court.
Although he was found not guilty Cacace is not walking away a free man as he is currently serving a 20 year prison sentence for racketeering. He admitted to ordering the hit against William Aronwald a federal prosecutor in 1987 that lead to the mob busters father being killed by mistake. The 72 year old Cacace is not due to be released until 2020. Joe Waverly’s son Steve said outside court room that truth prevailed and his sister Kathy Vandina added that it was the best day of her life. Sober FBI agents along with Dols mother and sister left the court room with his mom saying the outcome was very upsetting.
Long time Bonanno crime family captain Patrick DeFilippo has passed away in federal prison at the age of 74 according to Bureau of Prisons reports. He was reported to have suffered from arteriosclerosis and after having congestive heart failure was fitted with a pacemaker. It was also reported back in 2012 that he had once died in a prison hospital but was brought back by medical intervention and since suffered from fainting spells. DeFilippo was convicted back in 2006 of racketeering conspiracy among other charges and was serving a 40 year sentence which has now amounted to a life sentence. DeFilippo was on trial then with former Bonanno family boss Vincent Basciano who he brought into the crime family years before and who at one point wanted to kill while they were both out on streets him according to federal prosecutors.
DeFilippo has long held ties to the Bonanno family starting with his father who was a close friend of late Joseph Bonanno. According to prosecutors DeFilippo helped run the crime families Bronx based illegal gambling operations for years. Former Bonanno underboss turned rat Sal Vitale testified that DeFilippo was on a list of Bonanno capo’s who had to make ten percent payments from Joker Poker profits up to then mob boss Joseph Massino. DeFilippo also known as “Patty from the Bronx” is yet another of the few remaining old school mobsters left in the New York mafia to have been taken off streets either by feds or death. Funeral and burial information for DeFilippo are not yet known.
Former Colombo crime family acting boss Thomas “Tommy Shots” Gioeli claims feds are trying to frame fellow mobster Joel “Joe Waverly” Cacace with murder of NYPD cop Ralph Dols. Cacace is currently on trial for ordering Colombo family underlings to kill Dols. Tommy Shots isn’t defending Cacace from the witness stand but instead on his blog that he writes from prison. Gioeli was himself charged in the Dols murder but was found not guilty in a previous trial. He now claims Colombo mobsters Dino Calabro and Joe Competiello killed Dols on orders from former and now deceased Colombo underboss Bill “Wild Bill” Cutolo. Both Calabro and Competiello are mob rats that have testified at the trials of Gioeli and now Cacace.
Gioeli claims that the Dols murder was connected to Cutolo’s illegal businesses he was running with help of some bad cops which included dealing of drugs and steriods. After Dols was killed Gioeli said he began to hear rumors involving Dols these bad cops , Russians, steriods and more leading him to surmise that Dols hit had something to do with Cutolo. Tommy Shots says after his arrest that some cops from NYPD supplied some credible evidence that it was Cutolo who ordered the hit on Dols. Gioeli said by time this evidence was brought forward he had already known it was true and that it was Calabro and Competillo that killed Cutolo.
He claims they killed Cutolo to protect themselves as they believed he may become a government informant and could implicate them in Dols murder. It was believed Cutolo was the target of a major FBI mafia investigation and if he was convicted would turn rat because he had become too rich and soft to do a serious prison term. Gioeli said Calabro was scared that Cutolo would save his own self by handing over him and Competiello as cop killers to feds. Cutolo was just another loose end for Calabro and they killed him on the sneak says Gioeli.
In 2010 high ranking members of the Philadelphia mafia family and the Gambino crime family from New York sat down for lunch at La Griglia a nice upscale restaurant in New Jersey. A social gathering between mob families labeled by prosecutors as a mafia “board of director’s” meeting. But no one realized they were being recorded on a secret witetap being worn by Nicholas “Nicky Skins” Stefanelli a former Gambino family mobster from North Jersey who had turned rat. The meeting was attended by three members of the Philly mob including Joseph Ligambi and capo Joseph “Scoops” Licata and six members from the Gambino family including Stefanelli and John Gambino part of the family ruling panel at the time.
During the meeting Stefanelli introduced John Gambino as a “caporigeme with the administration” which indicated he was a not only a captain but also a part of the Gambino families current ruling panel according to testimony from former FBI agent and mob expert Joaquin “Big Jack” Garcia. Licata in turn introduced Ligambi as “our acting boss” indicating that he was currently the head of the family according to Garcia. Both men can clearly be heard on the Stefanelli wiretap recordings making these introductions along with Ligambi and other talking about fellow mobsters , making ceremonies, and mobsters that previously turned rat. At one point Ligambi refers to former mobster Pete “Pete the Crump” Caprio who had flipped on Philly mafia as “that piece of s–t”.
Prosecutors believe that these wiretap tapes should be enough evidence to prove their racketeering conspiracy charges against Ligambi. Although these same tapes were played for the jury at the previous trial which ended in a hung jury. Prosecutors hope this jury will see things differently and buy into their belief that these tapes clearly establish Ligambi in his role as boss of the mafia in Philadelphia. But the tapes do not contain any discussions about illegal gambling or loansharking which the racketeering conspiracy charge is built around which may be a problem once again at this retrial.
Frank “Bobo” Marrapese a capo for the New England mafia also known as the Patriarca crime family plead guilty to racketeering conspiracy and was sentenced to nine years in prison. He was arrested back in 2011 for his role in an illegal gambling operation while he was on parole for a previous murder conviction. Marrapese will be credited for time served for the 2.5 years he has spent in prison since his arrest. Although he looked like an ordinary 70 year old senior citizen in court he has a reputation for being a vicious enforcer for the New England mob. He was caught on a secret wiretap in February 2011 in a conversation with mob associate Thomas “Red Ball” Hartley saying “People know about me and what im about, people soil their pants when they hear my name”.
Marrapese spent 25 years in prison for the 1975 murder of mafia associate Richard A. “Dickie” Callei. The hit went unsolved for several years with Marrapese as a prime suspect before he was finally convicted for it in 1987. He was also charged with the mob murders of Anthony “The Moron” Mirabella and Ronald McElroy in the 1980′s but was found not guilty in both cases. Only five years out of prison and Marrapese had already resumed his criminal ways running the illegal sports gambling operation along with fellow mobsters Edward Lato and Alfred “Chippy” Scivola Jr. Both Lato and Scivola are currently in prison after pleading guilty to their parts in a mob shakedown scheme of Providence strip clubs.
The New England mafia is thought by many to be on the ropes and almost completely dismantled from recent convictions by the feds. Marrapese is another of the few remaining active Patricarca family mobsters taken off the streets in last couple of years. With many of its leaders now in prison and its remaining hierarchy aging many wonder how stable the La Cosa Nostra family in New England is currently and if any power remains.
Jurors at the racketeering retrial of reputed Philadelphia mafia boss Joseph “Uncle Joe” Ligambi and fellow mobster George Borgesi were teased with tales of modern day contract slayings and mafia shakedowns and swindles. But instead of these mob tales they have been treated to a long and slow lesson on how the illegal video gambling business works along with stories from the glory days of the Philly mafia. Even though there are no new fireworks to speak of so far during the retrial the prosecutions hopes the simple rerun will be enough to get this new jury to buy into the racketeering conspiracy charges that remain for both defendants. The broader racketeering case from previous trial which produced convictions against mob underboss Joseph “Mousie” Massimino and capo Anthony “Ant” Staino among others failed to do so for Ligambi and Borgesi as they were acquitted of most of charges against them.
“Ligambi (left) and Borgesi (right)”
Multiple witnesses so far as in previous trial have outlined their business dealing with many low level Philly mobsters but few of them have mentioned dealings with either Ligambi or Borgesi. Lawyers for Ligambi and Borgesi continue to argue that they had nothing to do with the crimes committed by Staino , Massimino, and others who were previously convicted and that the days of violent mafia activity in Philadelphia are the past. Liagmbi’s lawyer Edward Jacobs Jr argued that the indictments against his client alleges none of the violent acts seen in previous cases against Philadelphia mobsters of the past. George Borgesi’s lawyer Christopher Warren said “How can you have a mafia trial with no violence , murders, or money”. Prosecution continues to call more witness to the stand which will include more mob turncoats like Louis “Bent Finger Lou” Monacello who also testified during the previous trial and tapes made by now deceased New York mob rat Nicholas “Nicky Skins” Stefanelli. Stefanelli a soldier in Gambino crime family secretly wore a wire for two years as an FBI informant which included tapes of a meeting between heads of Gambino family and Ligambi and company before committing suicide in March of last year.
Even though it seems like mob trial Deja vu the prosecution believes it has enough evidence for a new jury to convict both Ligambi and Borgesi on conspiracy.