John Martorano is a confessed killer for the Winter Hill gang which was led by James “Whitey” Bulger and Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi. He has admitted to being a part of 20 murders many of which he says were on the orders of Whitey Bulger. He was convicted of 10 murders in federal court and 2 more in state courts but received a light sentence serving only 12 years in exchange for his cooperation and testimony against his former Winter Hill gang associates. Martorano was once so close to his Winter Hill gang leaders that he named his son after them James Steven Martorano and said he once considered Bulger to be his best friend. He is now considered by the prosecution to be its star witness against Bulger. Martorano testified that once he found out thet Bulger was an FBI informant it sort of broke his heart and he was beside himself.
Martorano said he first met Bulger in 1972 in South Boston at a bar that he owned along with his brother. He testified that it was William Bulger a longtime Massachusetts state senator and brother of Whitey Bulger who first introduced Whitey to FBI agent John Connolly telling him “If you can keep my brother out of trouble it would be helpful to him”. Whitey and Connolly then touched off on a long running corrupt partnership that allowed Bulger to maintain his iron-clad rule over the street’s of Boston and tainted the FBI’s reputation. Martorano then went on to testify about many of the murders that he took part in adding in many gory and chilling details about stabbings, shootings, and car crashes that killed underworld rivals and even some innocent bystanders. He described one particular hit which he unloaded his gun one three people sitting in a parked car during a blizzard , he was out to kill a man named Herbert Smith for laughing at Stephen Flemmi. Smith was killed in the attack but the gunfire also killed an innocent woman and a teenage boy said Martorano. As he recalled the incident he said “I wanted to shoot myself, but i couldn’t change it”.
Under cross examination from Bulgers defense team Martorano said he took no joy in any of the murders he committed. He said he was no serial killer because they kill until they get caught or stopped by someone else but he stopped on his own and had confessed to the murders. He said “A serial killer also murders for fun and enjoyment , they like it…but i didn’t like doing it or ever got any joy at all from it”. Martorano said he was ordered to kill and took it on as a job a show of loyalty to his crime partners and leaders.
Investigators from the FBI and NYPD showed up at the home of former Lucchese crime family mobster James “Jimmy the Gent” Burke with trowels , pickax, and excavation equipment. Sources confirm that they are searching the backyard, basement, and driveway for a body from a tip they received as part of an ongoing organized crime investigation. A law enforcement source said the search was connected to a old case that could be dating back at least three decades. The former Lucchese family mobster was made famous by the 1990 hit movie “Goodfellas” where Robert De Niro played a character named Jimmy Conway which was clearly based on Jimmy Burke. He was the reputed mastermind behind the 1978 Lufthansa robbery of $5 million dollar in cash and $1 million dollar in jewels. But law enforcement sources confirmed that the current dig is not tied to the Lufthansa case.
Only a small amount of $20,000 was ever recovered from the Lufthansa heist and many of the crew members who helped in the plot were believed to be killed by Burke after its completion. Even though they this dig is not specifically tied to the case sources confirm the Feds wouldn’t mind coming across the missing cash and jewels or other evidence associated with it. Some believed they may have been looking for the remains of Burke former friend Tommy DeSimone who was murdered back in 1979 as retaliation for him killing Gambino crime family mobster William “Billy Bats” Devino in 1970. Devino was a made man in the Gambino family and was beat to death by Burke and DeSimone after a drunken confrontation. But investigators have noted that they are not looking for DeSimone’s remains at the location.
The house they are conducting the dig at is owned Burke’s daughters , Robin and Catherine. His daughter Catherine is currently married to Bonanno crime family captain Anthony “Bruno” Indelicato a convicted hit man. As of now law enforcement has not indicated exactly who or what they are in search of but members of the team could be seen on location sifting through dirt , scooping it from one box to another as they went through it. In the backyard a grave sized hole was visible and marked with orange flags before being covered by a blue tent. A large blue tent was eventually also put up along the driveway of the home along with a tarp that extended all way to the curb. We will update this ongoing operation as more information becomes available about who or what they are searching for and if anything is recovered from the scene.
(Feds on scene at Burke home dig location)
The FBI executed a sealed search warrant today in a field in northern Oakland township in Michigan in search of the remains of Jimmy Hoffa. The former Teamster boss disappeared in 1975 after leaving to meet a suspected Detroit Mafia member in suburban Detroit. Hoffa was 62 years old at time of his disappearance and was declared legally dead in 1982 after multiple attempts by law enforcement to locate him. Keith Corbett a former U.S. Attorney said that organized crime was involved in Hoffa’s disappearance but Detriot’s Mafia family members are often related to go along with their sworn Mafia bonds and that loyalty is one reason the Hoffa mystery has remained unsolved. The dig is currently underway in the area of Buell and Adams a location provided to the FBI recently by former Detroit Mafia leader Tony Zerilli.
The aging mobster supplied the feds with information on the possible location of Hoffa’s body earlier this year. Zerilli said that the body of Jimmy Hoffa was buried in a field only 20 miles down from the restaurant that he disappeared from all those years ago. His story was that Hoffa was buried in a shallow grave at that location and plan was to have the body moved at a later date. But the plan never worked out and the remains of Jimmy Hoffa were never moved. Zerilli said “once he was buried , he was buried and they let it go” talking about the hit team that killed and disposed of Hoffa. Zerilli and his attorney are expected to arrive at the dig site at some point today. We will update all of our readers as news reports become available and any remains are indeed discovered.
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The long awaited trial of Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger charged with 32 counts of racketeering where is he accused of participating in 19 murders during his reign as boss of the Winter Hill gang in the 1970′s and 80′s. Bulger was one of the most wanted men in the world after he fled Boston in 1994 until he was captured in 2011. The Prosecution opened its case against Bulger with surveillance photo’s and videos from 1980′s showing Bulger meeting with other known organized crime members from the Patriarca crime family the Italian New England mafia family and his Winter Hill gang. The evidence including the surveillance photos are from a state police led investigation conducted while the feds were secretly protecting Bulger. Assistant US Attorney Brian Kelly said during his opening statements that Bulger was a “hands-on killer” responsible for years of murder and mayhem for over 30 years in Boston. Multiple members of the state police who were involved in the investigation during into Bulgers activities in the 70′s and 80′s took the stand to testify about the photo and video evidence being submitted.
(Bulger meets with criminal figures in 1980′s)
(Bulger holding court at a Lancaster street garage he used to conduct business)
(Bulger “left” and George Kaufman “right” meet at the same Lancaster street garage)
Also set to testify in the upcoming days are former Bulger cohorts including former Bulger partner Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, former Bulger lieutenant Kevin Weeks, and hit man John Martorano. But Bulger lawyer J.W. Carney Jr in his opening statements attacked the credibility of these witnesses saying each of the men received extraordinary deals from the prosecution in return for their testimony. Carney also denied claims by the prosecution that Bulger was once an FBI informant who provided the feds with information about the rival New England Mafia family. He claims Bulger was never ever an informant of any kind and had simply paid off FBI agents for inside information about investigations into him and his gang or to tip them off about any upcoming indictments. The prosecution claims that Bulger supplied the feds with information and in return was protected and allowed to continue operating his illegal activities including murder.
Kelly said that Bulger and his Winter Hill gang had a strategy that worked and was successful in corrupting law enforcement and instilling fear into other criminals. Kelly showed the jury pictures of the 19 murder victims as he read the names of each one in court as the relatives of the victims watched. Showing the devastating impact that the murderous Whitey Bulger had on so many families during time his gang ran amok in Boston. A couple of former bookmakers also took the stand in first couple days of testimony and told about threats and violence used by Bulger and his cohorts in efforts to make them pay a tribute for doing business in the area they controlled. As the Bulger trial moves forward and some of the key witnesses take the stand against Bulger things may seem even more bleak for the infamous gangster.
The jury process has now been completed and opening statements are set to begin today in the trial of reputed Winger Hill Gang leader James “Whitey” Bulger. The jury is made up of 18 people and contains 11 men and 7 women from eastern Massachusetts. Bulgers fate will be decided by 12 of these jurors with the remaining 6 being alternates. Prosecutors plan to prove that Bulger was the boss of the Winger Hill Gang and participated in as many as 19 murders from the 1970′s to the 1980′s. The Bulger trial is expected to last several months and end sometime in September. Prosecutors have a mountain of evidence along with testimony from cooperating witnesses which they believe is enough to convict the South Boston mobster.
James “Whitey” Bulger
Bulger’s attorney J.W. Carney argued on Tuesday for a delay in the opening statements during a heated debate. Carney also argued a delay was needed for documents that could prove Massachusetts State Police have shielded John Martorano a Bulger cohort set to testify against him from prosecution for alleged crimes he committed since he was released from prison in 2007. But judge Casper was not impressed with the arguments made by Carney and denied his motion allowing the trial to begin today.
Joseph Massino former boss of the Bonanno crime family was the first official American Mafia boss to publicly testify against his fellow wiseguys. His cooperation was a key tool used by the feds in a decade long effort to dismantle La Cosa Nostra. Massino turned rat and agreed to a cooperation deal after he was convicted in 2004 of racketeering charges which included eight mafia murders. He won over skeptical prosecutors right off by supplying information about a plot by his successor Vincent “Vinny Gorgeous” Basciano to whack Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Andres a known mob buster. Massino testified at two mafia trials along with providing the feds with information and assistance that led to dozens of convictions of his fellow mobsters.
Now that Massino sang he is looking to collect for his cooperation. The feds on behalf of Massino are asking for his current life sentence to be reduced as a reward for all of his cooperation. This type of cooperation from a leading member of an organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra is unprecedented. A re-sentencing hearing has been scheduled for June 20th of this year by federal judge Nicholas Garaufis. Massino has already served more then 10 years in prison since his last conviction. It will be interesting to see how big of a reward Massino receives for helping the feds and if this reward may somehow influence more leading members of the mafia to also become informants when they get in a pinch.
Dean DePreta pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the RICO act and as part of his plea deal admitted to his involvement in an illegal gambling and extortion ring in Connecticut. DePreta was called the titular head of the Gambino crime family in southern Connecticut by Assistant U.S. Attorney Hal Chen. He controlled an illegal Costa Rican internet sports gambling site along with multiple illegal high stakes poker games on behalf of the Gambino family. He was arrested along with 19 others in June of last year and has been held without bond since then. DePreta also has a previous conviction from 2002 where he pleaded guilty to federal gambling and extortion charges and got 39 months in prison. This time around DePreta is facing up to 20 years in prison and is set to be sentenced on August 28.
Taped conversations and telephone calls made by Gambino soldier turned informant Nicholas “Nicky Skins” Stefanelli played a major roll in the case according to the FBI. Stefanelli spent two years wearing a wire for the feds after him and his son were caught on drug charges. The FBI was able to also photograph meetings between DePreta and Stefanelli along with other meetings between DePreta and Mario Antonicelli another Gambino family soldier. Stefanelli went on to kill himself on February 26 of last year after murdering the man he believed had set him and his son up. According to authorities the illegal gambling and extortion operation netted $1.7 million dollars from 2010 to 2011. Both state and federal authorities said if nothing else this case shows that illegal gambling is still a major money maker for the Mafia.
Decades after Chicago Outfit mobster Frank Calabrese Sr committed some of the most gruesome mob slayings in history relatives of those victims will receive $1.7 Million dollars in restitution. Calabrese Sr was convicted in the “Family Secrets Trial” in 2007 of racketeering which involved thirteen murders that spanned decades. The $1.7 Million dollars comes from assets of the late Calabrese who died last December while serving his life sentence. The majority of the money was found by federal agents back in 2010 in Calabrese’s home in a secret compartment in the basement hidden behind a family portrait. There were envelopes stuffed with $644,000 dollars in cash and hundreds of pieces of expensive jewelry much of which was still in display boxes with store tags.
“Frank Calabrese Sr”
The 2007 operation Family Secrets trial offered up some lurid testimony from mob turncoats such as Nick Calabrese the brother of Frank Calabrese Sr about some of the most gruesome and notorious mob slayings over several decades. Nick Calabrese alone gave testimony about 14 murders that read more like a Hollywood script. Along with Calabrese Sr other top Chicago Mafia leaders including James Marcello and Joseph “Joey the Clown” Lombardo were also convicted of multiple gangland slayings. This is the largest amount of money to be paid for restitution in an organized crime case according to veteran law enforcement officials. U.S. Attorney Gary Shapiro said “They never find the money and if you do find were never able to get our hands on it” and this restitution is yet another remarkable part of the Family Secrets investigation.
The Family Secrets trial is one of the largest take downs of the Chicago Mafia in history and solved 18 murders many of which were considered cold cases. Many believe that the Chicago Outfit still has not rebounded from its effects and may never.
U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno for the second time in a month has delayed the sentencing of reputed Philadelphia Mafia underboss Joseph “Mousie” Massimino. He was scheduled to be sentenced on charges of racketeering conspiracy on Wednesday. Lawyers for the 63 year old mobster believe he deserves to be sentenced to less then six years after being convicted in the latest marathon Philly Mafia trial that ended in mixed verdicts. Prosecutors have yet to file an official sentencing memo but with the long criminal history of Massimino they are expected to argue for a sentence of more then a decade in prison. A sentence of that length could end up being a death sentence for Massimino. Massimino is now set to be sentenced on July 11.
Sentencing was also rescheduled by Robreno for mob associate Gary Battaligni and alleged mob soldier Damion Canalichio the two other defendants that were convicted along with Massimino on conspiracy charges. Battaligni is now set to be sentenced on July 12 and Canalichio on July 16. Reputed Philadelphia mafia boss Joseph “Uncle Joe” Ligambi and alleged mob capo George Borgesi are on track for their upcoming retrial in October for conspiracy charges which the previous trial jury was deadlocked on.
The Russian Mafia has shown its ability to operate around the world including its reach into the United States while U.S. law enforcement has no ability to reach them in Russia. Federal prosecutors in the U.S. have recently charged Alimzhan T. Tokhtakhounov with running an illegal gambling and money laundering ring. In the indictment he is identified as a leading member of the Russian Mafia also known as a “Vor” or “thief in law” sort of priestly Russian criminal order. Tokhtakhounov is one of the last of the old generation of Russian Mafia godfathers and is among a handful of names that virtually every other member of organized crime in Russia knows according to U.S. sources. Although according to reports the Russian police claim to have nothing on Mr. Tokhtakhounov and he shows up on no wanted list in their country and is free to walk the streets albeit with a bodyguard.
Federal authorities in the United States have been after Tokhtakhounov since he was charged with rigging pair skating and ice dancing competitions at the Olympics in 2002. Since then he has been accused of being part of a multi million dollar money laundering scheme and the latest charges in April of running an illegal gambling ring operating in the U.S. along with two associates Vadim Trincher and Anatoly Golubchik. Prosecutors say the gambling ring operated high stakes poker games for celebrities and financial titans in New York and Los Angeles and was helped in part by Hillel Nahmad a scion of a New York art dealing family. With no extradition treaty between the United States and Russia there is no way for U.S. prosecutors to get their hands on Mr Tokhtakhounov. Because of his fugitive status in other countries Tokhtakhounov has not left Russia in over a decade.
Back in Russia Mr Takhtakhounov claims to be a real estate investor in Moscow and an organizer of fashion shows and Russian pop concerts and not a criminal and contests the F.B.I.’s characterization of him. U.S. authorities also claim he is a friend and affiliated with Semyon Y. Mogilevich who is also considered to be a Russian Mafia godfather and site on the F.B.I.’s Top Ten Most Wanted list and is also living freely in Russia. Mr Tokhtakhounov denies knowing Mr Mogilevich but admits some friendships with other reputed Russian Mafia leaders such as Granpa Hassan who was recently killed in what was believed to be a mob hit.