Retired NYPD cop, Michael Rizzi
|A former NYPD officer who married into the mob was sentenced in May to 15 months for a high end prostitution operation he ran.|
Michael Rizzi, an officer from 1992 to 2000, admited to profiting from roughly two dozen prostitution businesses, including dozens of round-the-clock online operations that provided door-to-door service of women to johns. The Staten Island resident had pleaded guilty in October 2016 to money laundering conspiracy for an operation that raked in more than $2 million in credit card transactions alone between October 2012 and May 2016.
The U.S. Attorney's Office announced that it had taken steps to “restrain” Rizzi's websites.
|Rizzi is married to Jill Juliano, the daughter of Gambino crime family soldier Richard Juliano, whose older brother is Joseph (Sonny) Juliano, a powerful Brooklyn-based capo overseeing their waterfront operations.|
Authorities had alleged that Rizzi’s operation replaced the shuttered Pure Platinum Models, a Manhattan-based online prostitution site taken down by police years ago. His Staten Island based business went under the name MJM/Manhattan Stakes and Entertainment, or BJM. Some of its customers spent as much as $100,000 each, with one spending $25,000 for a single night.
Francesco Paolo Augusto Calì is the boss of the Gambino crime family.
|Big Ron Previte, mobster turned government witness whose cooperation brought down three crime bosses and changed the face of the Philadelphia mob, died last week. Previte was an imposing and intimidating figure. He described himself as a "general practitioner of crime" and admitted his involvement in almost every mob gambit...with the exception of murder. "If a guy owes me money and I kill him, how am I gonna get paid?" he asked.|
He opted not to go into the Witness Security Program after testifying in a 2001 racketeering trial that led to the convictions of Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino and six co-defendants. Instead, he remained in South Jersey. "Where am I gonna go?" he asked. "I like it here."
|Previte wore a body wire for more than a year, recording conversations for the FBI while helping to make cases against Merlino and former mob boss Ralph Natale. He often said wearing that wire on a daily basis was the most exciting time of his life.|
As a soldier in the mob family controlled by John Stanfa in the early 1990s, Previte fed information to the FBI that led to the convictions of Stanfa and more than two dozen associates. In the end, it wasn't the mob, but poor health that brought him down. He suffered a heart attack on Aug. 18th.
|The corpse found in cement overshoes in the waters off Brooklyn over the weekend has been identified as Carmine Carini, 35, a member of a notorious local mob family. The body was found with a cinderblock brick bound to his legs by an electrical cord and his body wrapped in a blue tarp and sealed with duct tape. Carini died from blunt-force trauma to the head and had also been stabbed.|
Carini’s father — also named Carmine — is an associate of the Colombo crime family. Carmine Sr. spent nearly a quarter-century behind bars for a 1983 killing.
Carmine 'The Snake' Persico
|Two cousins of Carini were recruited by Colombo boss Carmine Persico to assassinate William Aronwald, a former prosecutor with the Justice Department, but they offed the prosecutor’s elderly father instead. The bungling wiseguys were found dead a few months later. Then, the hit men who had killed the hit men were killed.|
One of the Carini brothers
|The younger Carmine Carini had his own lengthy rap sheet. He was arrested for robbery in 2003, 2004 and in June last year and also had a drug-possession charge in 2010. He spent five years in the slammer for the 2003 robberies, in which he committed 10 muggings in an hour by driving around in a van and threatening strangers for money with a machete. He earned the moniker the 'Machete Mugger'.|
He was released in 2009 but was back behind bars again in 2011 and 2014.
|A no-nonsense Manhattan federal court judge blasted aged wiseguy Pasquale “Patsy” Parrello before sentencing him to seven years in prison — saying he should have thought beforehand about joining the mob if he didn’t want to die behind bars. “There’s a long history of capos who have died in prison” Judge Richard Sullivan coldly told the 73-year-old before handing down the sentence — which brought audible gasps from the packed courtroom.|
"You must have understood this, you had 88 months to think about it before”. The judge was referring to the Genovese capo’s previous stint in prison on racketeering charges.
Judy Sheindlin, Judge Judy
|Prosecutors said Parrello instructed henchmen on the best way to shake down debtors who’d gotten behind on payments to their illegal gambling ring — often instructing his goons to resort to violence. |
The gallery was packed with Parrello’s supporters, including a wheelchair-bound, 107-year-old WWII veteran whose friendship the defense repeatedly dangled as proof of the mobster’s good deeds and character.
|Legendary mobster Venero 'Benny Eggs' Mangano, underboss of the Genovese crime family under Vincent 'The Chin' Gigante, died Friday. He was 95.|
The old-school gangster died in Greenwich Village, the neighborhood where he spent most of his life and ran his operations out of a Thompson Street social club. Mangano was highly respected, rising through the ranks to serve as Gigante’s right-hand man.
Vincent 'The Chin' Gigante
|The longtime Gigante loyalist infamously refused to testify at "the chin's" 1997 federal trial when called by prosecutors. “What do you want to do, shoot me?” snapped tough guy Mangano. “Shoot me, but I'm not going to answer any questions." The mob veteran invoked the Fifth Amendment, his dignity and oath of omerta remaining intact. The resolutely old-school Mangano made his exit without ever giving an inch — or a useful answer — to the feds.|
He was convicted in the 1991 “Windows Case” where the mob made tens of millions of dollars installing new windows in city housing projects. Mangano held the line against the city’s other crime families when they pressed for a bigger piece of the $151 million in business generated by the scam. “It’s all ours” Mangano declared when the Lucheses and the Gambinos complained.
Mugshot of Gigante in 1960.
|Mangano grew up in the Village, joining the Chin’s crew before his ascension to boss in 1981. The pair was even indicted together nine years later as co-defendants in the Windows case. Mangano was busted four times for bookmaking, and once served eight months in jail for refusing to testify.|
Mangano’s nickname stemmed from an egg store once run by his mother.
Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano
|Notorious Mafia hit man-turned-canary Salvatore “Sammy the Bull” Gravano has been released from an Arizona prison five years early. The infamous 72-year-old mob rat, who brought down John 'the Teflon Don' Gotti in exchange for a 1991 plea deal in which he confessed to involvement in 19 murders, was let out September 18th.|
He’ll remain on federal parole for the rest of his life. He has spent the last 17½ years in prison. Originally a mobster for the Colombo crime family, and later for the Brooklyn faction of the Gambinos, Gravano was part of the group that murdered Gambino boss Paul Castellano. Gravano played a key role in planning and executing Castellano's murder, along with John Gotti, Angelo Ruggiero, Frank DeCicco, and Joseph Armone. After Castellano's death, Gotti elevated Gravano to underboss, a position he held at the time he became a rat.
Gambino boss Paul Castellano murder
Last photo of John Gotti on October 17, 2001.
Robert (Bobby Ha Ha) Attanasio
Bonanno crime family capo Robert “Bobby Ha Ha” Attanasio came out on top Wednesday when a judge sentenced him to just six months home confinement for violating the terms of his parole. Prosecutors tried to lock up the capo claiming he’d been caught red-handed playing in a Staten Island bocce tournament against Gambino associate Louis Vallario. But it was actually Attanasio’s namesake son who was in the Mafia-studded games at Angelina’s Restaurant in July 2015.|
70-year-old Attanasio served 10 years behind bars for his role in the 1984 hit of associate Cesare Bonventre. Bonventre’s hacked up remains were found pickled in steel drums secreted away in a New Jersey glue factory after mob boss Joe Massino ordered the hit.
|Attanasio admitted he’d taken part in some 300 calls with former prison pals Vincent “Vinny Goo” Caroleo and Frank “Meatball” Bellatoni. The judge was skeptical. “If someone’s name is “Vinny Goo” or “Vinny Collision” or “Meatball” frankly, based on my extensive experience in organized crime cases, these are the kinds of nicknames given to people in the cosa nostra”. But the argument worked, and the judge let Attanasio off with a warning, 6 months home detention, and 2 years post-release supervision.|
“Stay off the phone with anyone who isn’t a close relative” the judge ordered. “Or your priest.”
|In the 2014 recording the Philadelphia mob boss was talking to Genovese acting captain Eugene “Rooster” Onofrio about how to best off someone.
“It’s easy to kill somebody,” Merlino boasted, with Onofrio agreeing, “It’s simple”. |
Merlino went on to explain his method: “You’re my friend, you trust me, I tell you, ‘Listen, drive me home right now,’ get you in the car, I shoot you in the fucking head, and it’s over with."
Joey "Skinny Joey" Merlino
|A “300-pound muscle guy” who helped mobsters shake down delinquent debtors before cooperating with the feds is getting out of prison early. George Brown was known for his large frame and martial arts skills. Brown let the FBI listen in on his phone calls for two years, wearing a wire in meetings with mob boss Paul Carparelli and members of his crew. Among the memorable quotes Brown captured from Carparelli, “as long as you don’t steal from me, fuck my wife or rat on me, you’re my friend 1,000 percent.”|
|A U.S. District Judge sentenced Carparelli last year to three and a half years in prison. Several of Brown’s other associates also received prison time, including Robert McManus, Michael “Mickey” Davis, Mark Dziuban, Frank Orlando, Vito Iozzo and James Amabile. |
When he was sentenced, Brown told the judge that, “I’m a marked man. I have a target on my back. We can all agree that we’re dealing with people who have the means, the money and the time to retaliate.”
John "No nose" DiFronzo, the current reputed boss of The Outfit
The Chicago Outfit, shortened to "The Outfit", is a powerful, influential, ruthless and organized Italian-American criminal organization based in Chicago. Dating back to the 1910s, it is part of the Italian-American Mafia, however, the Chicago Outfit is distinct from the "Five Families" of New York City, though all Italian-American crime families are ruled by The Commission.|
The Outfit is the only criminal organization that has a monopoly on traditional organized crime in the city of Chicago. Together the Chicago Outfit and the Five Families rules Chicago and Las Vegas with an iron fist, and any street gang, biker gang, drug dealer, drug lord, prostitute, pimp and criminal that operates in Chicago or Las Vegas has to pay "street tax" to the Five Families and the Chicago Outfit at least 35% and in some cases 60%.
|Joseph Salvatore "Skinny Joey" Merlino||A sprawling indictment was filed by federal prosecutors against 46 alleged members in a massive East Coast bust. Charging the men with a smorgasbord of crimes like gambling, loansharking, extortion, arson, gun- and cigarette-running, and conspiracy to commit assault, the feds are also alleging white-collar offenses like health care fraud, credit card fraud and extortionate extensions of credit.|
Members of the Gambino, Bonanno, Luchese, and Genovese crime families from New York, along with a crew allegedly led by Joseph "Joey" Merlino in Philadelphia, were collectively labeled "the East Coast LCN [La Cosa Nostra] Enterprise."
Joseph Salvatore Merlino
Daniel Leo, Genovese acting boss
|The mob in America might no longer be what it used to be, but it's hardly a thing of the past. The new indictment includes what most think of as "normal" mafia crimes like assault, gun trafficking, and loansharking, but also a few that surprise, like health care fraud and credit card skimming. When did the mob get into white collar crimes? Many of the Italian mafia families sought to diversify their interests into more high-tech, white-collar crimes dating back to the 1980s.|
Anthony 'Tony the Wig' Vazzano
Bradford Wedra faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison if he is convicted on racketeering charges
Retired NYPD cop, Michael Rizzi
|A former NYPD officer who married into the mob is expected to plead guilty to money laundering charges in connection with a million dollar prostitution operation he allegedly ran.|
Michael Rizzi, an officer from 1992 to 2000, is slated to appear in Brooklyn Federal Court Wednesday afternoon to admit to profiting from roughly two dozen prostitution businesses for the last four years, including dozens of round-the-clock online operations that provided door-to-door service of women to johns. If convicted, he could face between 2 and 4 years behind bars.
The U.S. Attorney's Office announced that it had taken steps to “restrain” Rizzi's websites.
|Rizzi is married to Jill Juliano, the daughter of Gambino crime family soldier Richard Juliano, whose older brother is Joseph (Sonny) Juliano, a powerful Brooklyn-based captain in that Mafia family overseeing their waterfront operations.|
Authorities had alleged that Rizzi’s operation replaced the shuttered Pure Platinum Models, a Manhattan-based online prostitution site taken down by law enforcement years ago. His Staten Island-based business went under the name MJM/Manhattan Stakes and Entertainment, or BJM. Some of its customers spent as much as $100,000 each, with one spending $25,000 for a single night.
Francesco Paolo Augusto Calì is the boss of the Gambino crime family.
|Vincent "Vinny Ocean" Palermo||Vincent "Vinny Ocean" Palermo (born June 4, 1944) is a former de facto boss of the New Jersey DeCavalcante crime family who eventually became a government witness. Fictional mob boss Tony Soprano is based upon Palermo.|
In the early 1960s, Vincent Palermo met and married the niece of mob boss Sam DeCavalcante. DeCavalcante took a liking to his son-in-law and began inviting him to visit his social club in Kenilworth, New Jersey. He worked at the fish markets in the early morning hours and hung out with mobsters on Sunday afternoons.
|James Gandolfini - Sopranos|
Local authorities uncovered the scheme and started investigating Weiss, and the two mob families became nervous. Gambino boss John Gotti requested that the DeCavalcante family murder Weiss.
|On September 11, 1989, Palermo, Anthony Capo, and James "Jimmy" Gallo murdered Fred Weiss, on orders from DeCavalcante boss Giovanni "John the Eagle" Riggi. Weiss was associated with mobsters from both the DeCavalcante family and the New York Gambino crime family.|
Weiss and his mob partners had purchased a vacant property in Staten Island and illegally dumped large amounts of dangerous medical waste there.
Mob Boss Giovanni Riggi during the trial of the 1989 slaying of Weiss
|Palermo was quickly 'made' and shortly after was appointed caporegime and given his own crew. Riggi was sent to prison in 1989, and he appointed John "Johnny Boy" D'Amato as his acting boss. However, D'Amato's disgruntled girlfriend alleged in 1992 that he was bisexual. Riggi ordered Palermo and Anthony Capo to murder D'Amato in order to avoid embarrassment to the DeCavalcante family. In early 1992, D'Amato disappeared and his body was never found.|
By the mid-90s, Vinny Palermo was the de facto boss of the family, paralleling Tony Soprano in the Sopranos, and John Riggi was the boss in absentia from jail.
|'Vito Spatafore' - Sopranos|
|After testifying for the government, Vincent Palermo and his family entered the federal Witness Protection Program.||In 1998, the FBI recruited DeCavalcante associate Ralph Guarino as a mob informant who devastated the DeCavalcante family. The agency gave him cell phones rigged with surveillance equipment to distribute to other family members. In October 1998, Vincent Palermo's trusted lieutenant Joseph Masella was shot to death, leaving an opening in the family. Guarino was promoted to made man.|
In 1999, the FBI moved in on the DeCavalcante family. Palermo decided to become a government witness. He confessed to killing Weiss and mobster Louis LaRasso and to planning the murders of John D'Amato, Joseph Masella, Charles Majuri, Frank D'Amato, and Tom Salvata. He also implicated other DeCavalcante family members in various crimes.
Vincent "Vinny Ocean" Palermo
|On September 14, 2009, the New York Daily News exposed Vinny Ocean's new life in witness protection as a strip club operator in Houston, Texas. The 'Penthouse Club' and 'All-Star Men's Club' were hotbeds of prostitution and drugs according to police. He also owned a Mexican restaurant and a car wash - all next to one another in a gritty section of Houston.|
On March 4, 2013, Palermo filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Under Chapter 11, a person's assets and debts are not liquidated, but the filer is given court protection from creditors.
Palermo put his $2.45 million home up for sale in September 2015.
Stephen Caracappa (left) and Louis Eppolito.
|Stephen Caracappa and Louis Eppolito were two former New York Police Department (NYPD) police detectives who worked on behalf of the New York Mafia, principally the Lucchese crime family. In 2006, they were convicted of labor racketeering, extortion, narcotics, illegal gambling, obstruction of justice, eight counts of murder and conspiracy to commit murder. Both were sentenced to life in federal prison.|
|In the history of the NYPD there have been many corrupt cops. Lt. Charles Becker, electrocuted at Sing Sing in 1915 for killing a snitch; Murder Inc. canary Abe “Kid Twist” Reles who went flying out of a Coney Island hotel window, while being guarded by cops (“Canary Could Sing But Couldn’t Fly”, the tabloids screamed); Frank Serpico and the drug scandals of the 1960s; Officer Michael Dowd who ran a dope empire out of a Brooklyn precinct.|
Caracappa and Eppolito, though, were something altogether different. At $4,000 a month each, they were on permanent retainer for the Lucchese crime family.
Cops by day, hitmen by night they used police data bases to find turncoats, impeded investigations, and at $65,000 a pop, were killers.
|The duo were given the contract to whack diamond dealer Israel Greenwald. He’d been cooperating with the FBI on an investigation and the mob was unhappy. Very unhappy. Caracappa and Eppolito got his address then snatched him off the street and blew his brains out in a Brooklyn warehouse. The body was buried in a garage where it stayed for 20 years until the dirty cops were ratted out.|
Dope dealer and career criminal Burton Kramer dropped the pair in 2005. In court, he laid out a sickening buffet of murder, corruption and betrayal of public trust. Caracappa and Eppolito were both convicted of murder. Eppolito was sentenced to life plus 100 years. Caracappa received life plus 80 years. In April, at a prison hospital in North Carolina, Caracappa died at age 75 after a long fight with cancer. As he was dying he begged to be let out of prison. He was denied.
|Mafiaso Anthony Graziano was respected for his nerve and his loyalty. He did his time, twice, but didn’t become famous for that. Graziano shot to fame when his daughters aired the mob’s dirty laundry on TV.|
|Graziano, born in the 1940s, is still feared in his Staten Island neighborhood. An old-school hoodlum from the start he got involved in the neighborhood business, climbing the ranks of the Bonanno crime family and becoming a capo by the 1980s. In 1990, Graziano landed in prison, sentenced to five years and a $250,000 fine after pleading guilty to a tax-evasion charge. He was released in 1993, resuming his role as a capo and eventually rising to the position of consigliere in the Bonanno crime family.|
He was arrested again in 2002 after ordering the murder of two Colombo crime family associates who shot up his Staten Island topless bar. Those hits were called off after a sit-down with the Colombos, but Graziano ended up pleading guilty to racketeering charges, including conspiracy to murder, cocaine distribution and loan-sharking. He was sentenced to 11 years.
|One of the guys in his crew, John “Porky” Zancocchio, was the bookmaker who took bets from Pete Rose. Zancocchio was under Dominick Napolitano, aka Sonny Black, until Napolitano was killed in the 1981 Donnie Brasco fallout. Porky was Graziano’s son-in-law, married to his daughter Lana, and Graziano’s other daughters, Jennifer and Renee, also married Bonanno mobsters. With Graziano raking in mob cash, his daughters were mob royalty who never wanted for anything.|
|Graziano hated how his daughters exploited the organization he’d dedicated his life to honoring. When he got out in 2011, he refused to appear on the show. Renee Graziano's then ex-husband secretly recorded Graziano and other Bonanno members as they planned to collect an illegal $150,000 gambling debt, leading to the 72-year-old gangster being indicted again. Graziano was sentenced to 19 months for his role, but Bonanno family leaders were furious that their business had been aired in public. They stripped him of his senior role. 'Mob Wives', created by Jennifer Graziano aired on VH1 for six seasons from April 17, 2011, to March 16, 2016.|