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Tag: Mob

Eastern European Mob #1 Priority for FBI in South Fla.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

South Florida isn’t just the home of  white belts, white shoes, early bird specials and transplanted New York mobsters.

The Miami Herald reports that the Eastern European mob has become a big concern for the FBI — bigger than the Italian mafia.

“Eurasian organized crime is our No. 1 priority,” FBI supervisory special agent Rick Brodsky of the Miami office told the paper.

To read the full story click here.

100 Ex-FBI Agents Still Pushing to Free Convicted Boston Agent John Connolly

John Connolly

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

One hundred retired FBI agents — including two deputy directors — aren’t giving up their fight to try and exonerate and free convicted ex-Boston agent John J. Connolly Jr., whose relationships with the Boston mob landed  him in big trouble.

The Los Angeles’s Times Richard Serrano reported that the agents, known as Former FBI Agents for Justice For John, are pushing the Florida state courts to overturn his conviction for second-degree murder after having had no luck overturning his federal conviction for racketeering and obstruction of justice.

Connolly Jr., now 70,  was convicted of murder in Florida state court after allegedly tipping off Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger and Stephen Flemmi that World Jai Alai President John Callahan was likely to implicate them in a murder, the Times reported. Hitman John Martorano killed Callahan in 1982.

Connolly’s supporters have pointed to the great disparity in sentences between Connolly and Martorano, who confessed to killing 20 people and served 12 years, the Times reported.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Connolly will leave federal prison next month after 9 years, but will go right to state prison in Florida to begin serving a 40 year sentence for the murder. They say the lengthy sentence amounts to a death sentence.

Ex-agent Richard Baker, who is leading the charge, told the Times:

“I have no problem doing this. John was wrongly convicted. And he’ll be dead after just two years in that Florida system. He’ll be shanked or killed once they figure out he was an FBI agent.”

The Florida prosecutor Michael Von Zamft who convicted Connolly says of the ex-agents: “John Connolly wore a badge. He was an FBI agent, and he swore to uphold the law. And yet he became one of the criminals and, maybe worse, he was hiding behind that badge.”

In March, the Associated Press reported that the ex-agents, including the one whose undercover work inspired the movie “Donnie Brasco,”  filed two petitions with Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. “demanding appointment of a special counsel to investigate the 70-year-old Connolly’s prosecution, raising a grab-bag of claims spanning many years, some of which have been previously rejected by courts and aired in congressional hearings. They include allegations of questionable tactics by prosecutors, evidence that a key witness lied during Connolly’s 2002 federal corruption trial and contentions there was a rigged result in his 2008 Florida murder case.”

Other ex-agents pushing for Connolly include FBI deputy directors Weldon L. Kennedy and Bruce J. Gebhardt, the Times reported.

To read more click here.

Mobster Who Put Hit Out for Late Crime Boss John Gotti Gets 13 Years

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Joseph Watts, a close associate of the late Gambino Crime family boss John J. Gotti, becomes the latest mobster to get a stiff prison sentence.

Watts,69, was sentenced Wednesday in Manhattan federal court by Judge Colleen McMahon to 13 years in prison for participating in “murder and assault conspiracies in order to maintain and increase his influence in the Gambino Family.” He was also ordered to forfeit $250,000.

He pleaded guilty in January after being charged with setting up the murder of a man the Gambino crime family boss John Gotti suspected of snitching.

“Today’s sentence should serve as a sober reminder that if you kill or harm an actual or potential government witness, no matter how powerful you may think you are, we will find you and send you to prison for a very long time,” said U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.”

Authorities say Watts was close to the older Gotti, but never became a “made man”  because he was not Italian. He was, however,  made a Gambino family captain.

Authorities said that in 1989,  Frederick Weiss was a defendant in a case in federal court in Manhattan.

The Gambino crime family boss at the time, John J. Gotti,  suspected that Weiss was cooperating with the government because he got rid of  a lawyer who regularly represented Gambino Family members and associates. Gotti ordered Weiss killed.

Authorities said Watts put together a murder team to carry out the hit.

In September 1989, Watts and others went to  a house on Staten Island where they thought Weiss would be. Authorities said Watts assigned different Gambino members and associates to different tasks, including digging the grave  for Weiss’s body.

Watts  stood in the garage, holding a gun, waiting to shoot Weiss when he arrived. But Weiss never showed up.

So the next day, a different team of shooters killed Weiss outside his apartment building, authorities said.

Authorities said Watts also roughed up someone who refused to give back some investment money.

That all began while Watts was serving a prison sentence in connection with his 2001 conviction for money laundering. In prison, he met a fellow inmate who he admired for his stockpicking.

After the stockpicker got released from prison, Watts sent an emissary to deliver approximately $350,000 to $400,000 in cash to the man to invest, authorities said.

The investment failed.  In 2002,  Watts demanded his money back. The man returned some, but not all.

Watts started threatening the man.  On one occasion, Watts and another individual confronted the man in Manhattan and physically assaulted him, authorities said. On a  subsequent occasion, Watts threatened the man and physically shoved him against the wall.

Ex-NY Mob Boss Testifies that Crooked FBI Agent in 80s Tipped Off the Mafia About Arrests

Joseph Massino/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ex-Bonanno mob boss Joseph Massino — the first N.Y. family boss to ever take the witness stand for the government — testified Thursday that a crooked FBI agent tipped off the Mafia back in the 80s that he and others were about to get arrested, the Associated Press reported.

As a result, he said, he went on the lam for two years, AP reported.

“The FBI agent never gave a bad tip,” Massino testified, according to AP. “Anytime he told us something, we could take it to the bank.”

Massino is currently serving a life sentence for multiple murders. He was testifying against his successor in the mob, Vincent “Vinny Gorgeous” Basciano, who is accused of putting a hit out on a mob associate. Basciano is already serving a life sentence in another case.

AP reported that it was unclear whether authorities ever confirmed Massino’s story about the crooked FBI agent. AP reported that the FBI on Thursday declined comment.

Modern Mobsters Still Follow Dad into the Mafia

John Gotti Jr./youtube

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

The historic mobster roundup that collared more than 120 people in the New York region last month provided a snapshot of the Mafia of today: murder, gambling and extortion; big bosses and small fries; “made guys” and associates. But what it didn’t show was the pervasive nepotism that still exists in organized crime — only one son with a father with alleged ties to a crime family was arrested that day.

Even so, organized crime experts say the mob of the 21st century, just like the one in the 20th century, is still a magnet for the younger generation.

Father John J. Gotti

“Unfortunately, there’s still quite a few sons in the business,” David Shafer, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s Organized Crime Branch in New York, told AOL News. “Hollywood has glamorized the business with shows and movies like ‘The Sopranos’ and ‘Goodfellas.’

“But it’s not a glamorous lifestyle. A lot of wise guys and associates aren’t living the luxurious lifestyle and living in a mansion like Tony Soprano.”

Adds Andrew DiDonato, a former associate of the Gambino crime family: “There’s still a ton of nepotism in organized crime. Nepotism still runs wild.”

To read more click here.

John Travolta to Play John Gotti Jr.’s Father in Movie?

127 Busted in Largest Mafia Roundup in FBI History

FBI's Janet Fedarcyk at Brooklyn press conference/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

Federal authorities Thursday announced what they called the largest mob roundup in FBI history: the indictment of 127 people, including key Mafia figures from the New York, New Jersey and New England crime families, on charges ranging from murder and racketeering to gambling, extortion and loan-sharking.

About 800 law enforcement members from the FBI, the Secret Service, the U.S. Labor Department, and state and local law enforcement Thursday arrested 121 people who were named in 16 indictments filed in different jurisdictions. Four others were already in custody, and one member of the Colombo family was arrested in Italy.

The indictments were aimed at all five New York crime families — the Colombo, Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno and Luchese families — along with the New England Patriarca family and the New Jersey Decavalcante family.

“Today’s arrests mark an important and encouraging step forward in disrupting La Cosa Nostra operations,” Attorney General Eric Holder said at a press conference this morning in Brooklyn, N.Y. “But the reality is that our battle against organized-crime enterprises is far from over.”

Authorities said the indictments resulted from years of investigations, including the use of wiretaps and cooperating informants.

“These cases are the cumulative results of years of investigative work, including the development of key cooperating witnesses, a trend that has definitely been tilting in law enforcement’s favor,” said Janice Fedarcyk, head of the New York FBI. “The vow of silence that is part of the oath Omerta is more myth than reality today.”

To read more click here.

Read indictments

Weekend Series on Crime History: Mobster John Gotti the “Teflon Don”