IN THIS ISSUE|
· "Fat Man" Abundance
· Short Takes
· This Week in Mob History
· Trials and Tribulations
"Fat Man" Abundance
Add another name to the list of slime balls who have been dredged up by the government’s ongoing probe into the Boston FBI office’s inner workings with the local underworld. The latest is Richard "The Fat Man" Chicofsky. Hey, wasn’t Vinnie Teresa nicknamed "The Fat Man?" How many "Fat Man" government informants is a city allowed to have?
Just like James "Whitey" Bulger and Stephen "the Rifleman" Flemmi before him, Chicofsky was allowed to run illegal operations on many levels. In 1962 Chicofsky, a grade school drop out, was caught in possession of two machineguns by rogue Boston FBI agent H. Paul Rico. As with much of Rico’s work, the apprehension turned out to be bad news for the public instead of for the criminal. Chicofsky was let go, providing that he ratted out others of his ilk. Meanwhile, Rico allowed him to continue in his criminal endeavors with one difference – his efforts now had the backing of the Boston FBI office. Chicofsky remained a government informant until this past January when he was dumped due to a "pattern of lies."
While an informant working for the FBI he helped "ruin the life" of a former Fall River, Massachusetts police dispatcher, who had the unenviable luck of having the last name of Barboza.
Chicofsky, through a fraudulent investment scheme, bilked a group of investors out of $2 million. Of that, $400,000 came from Nuno Barboza and his wife, who are no relation to the infamous hitman and government witness, Joseph "the Animal" Barboza. J.M. Lawrence of the Boston Herald reported that Chicofsky "cozied up to Barboza’s family by sending expensive bouquets and giving them two terriers when the family’s dogs died."
Adding to the bizarre scheme, Chicofsky talked Barboza into getting him weapons, which the "Fat Man" claimed he needed to protect himself with due to some danger he was placed in as part of his investment plan involved stolen paintings. When the investment scam was exposed Chicofsky sought to cover his ass by turning Barboza over to the authorities as a "drug king pin" who was related to Joseph Barboza. Chicofsky claimed the $400,000 he received from the couple was from drug profits and stated that Nuno Barboza participated in several murders.
The highlight of the ordeal came when Nuno’s wife, Mary, after realizing the couple’s investment was gone, telephoned Chicofsky and left a scathing message. Mary Barboza, who worked at St. Anne’s Hospital for 21 years, was then charged by federal prosecutors with threatening a government witness.
The feds, in wanting to keep Chicofsky off the witness stand (not knowing what damage was likely to come spilling out), offered Barboza a plea deal which would keep him and his wife from going to prison.
After being dropped by the feds as a government witness, Chicofsky told the Boston Globe that he sold drugs and ran scams the entire time he was employed by them. All of this sordid information came to light the first week of March during Congressman Dan Burton’s investigation into the Boston FBI offices inappropriate use of underworld informants.
God only knows what will turn up next.
Boston – Revere bicycle courier William Angelesco was indicted at the end of February for the murder of Peter DeVito. The cold-blooded shooting in the crowded Squire Lounge shocked the community last December 8. Authorities claim the 30-year-old Angelesco was seeking revenge for a beating he received from bouncers at the Centerfolds nightclub, which DeVito managed. Angelesco and some buddies were "out of hand" one night at the club and after Angelesco pulled a knife they were escorted outside by DeVito where the bouncers administered a thrashing. Angelesco was allegedly "disappointed that DeVito had let the beating" go as far as it did. When DeVito showed up at the Squire Lounge, Angelesco happened to be there. After shooting DeVito from behind in the head and abdomen, Angelesco fled and was a fugitive for five days before he was arrested in East Boston.
Camden – Fall out from the conviction of disgraced ex-mayor Milton Milan continues. In late February two former police bodyguards were charged in a 16-count indictment with "defrauding the city of thousands of dollars in overtime pay." The two officers, Miguel Torres and Rolando Santiago, are looking at up to ten years in prison. The indictment charges that the men ran up fraudulent overtime – Torres, to the tune of $48,000. In addition, Torres’s name has been connected to police corruption in the city. One convicted drug dealer testified that twice Torres tipped him off to police raids.
Newark – The long awaited trial involving Nicodemo "Young Nicky" Scarfo and the preview of the government’s top secret surveillance technology will not take place. On February 28 the son of ruthless former Philadelphia mob boss, Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo, copped a plea. Scarfo admitted to "supervising a gambling operation" in North Jersey. In exchange the government dropped a conspiracy to commit extortion charge. The plea puts an end to a long festering feud over a government "keystroke recorder" that defense attorneys demanded an explanation of despite the fact government attorneys claimed such disclosure would jeopardize national security. Scarfo will be sentenced in June
New York – Two late items out of New York City. First, former "Dapper Don" bookie Dominick "Little Dom" Curra, who flew the coop Christmas Eve, was apprehended on the morning of March 12 in Costa Rica. Curra, who was fleeing a jail sentence for selling phony artwork, was nabbed in a hotel in San Jose.
Next, Vincent "the Chin" Gigante was denied a transfer to a hospital by Federal Judge I. Leo Glasser. Gigante is in New York where he was recently arraigned for running the Genovese Family from behind his prison cell in Texas. Gigante’s lawyer claims his client is suffering from heart problems and dementia.
Philadelphia – On February 25 AmericanMafia.com reported that mob lawyer Joseph Santaguida was forced to withdraw from representing Trent Pickard due to a conflict of interest because the attorney has also represented imprisoned Philadelphia mob boss, Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino and mobster-turned-government-witness Roger Vella, who is scheduled to take the stand against Pickard. At the time we wrote, "AmericanMafia.com is confidant Santaguida can find another mob client to defend in Philadelphia." Well, it didn’t take long. The Philadelphia Daily News reported on March 8 that the mob lawyer was representing Albert R. Coccia. The Daily News stated that "Coccia, reputed to be a modern-day "Tin-Man," helped people get federally-insured home improvement loans but didn’t tell the lenders or the feds that some loan money was being diverted to pay off the homeowner’s debts." It turns out that Coccia is a friend of Joey Merlino. Santaguida was quick to point out, before he lost more billable hours, that "Joey, I think, worked for him for a while, but it had nothing to do with this case."
Rochester – Last week AM.com reported that federal prosecutors were trying to get a new set of fingerprints from imprisoned hood Albert M. Ranieri in their pursuit of a RICO charge against him for his participation in an armored car robbery over ten years ago. However, his lawyer, Michael Tallon, was whining because the FBI lost the set they took back in 1990. US Judge Jonathan Feldman has given prosecutors two weeks to find the original set of prints. Help me out here. Granted the FBI has recently gained a reputation for losing lots of things – literally hundreds of lap top computers and agency issued side-arms, to name a few. But how much effort would it take to get a second set of prints? Ranieri has been sitting on his ass in jail since December 2000 awaiting trial on cocaine conspiracy charges. It’s not like he can’t fit a fingerprinting session into his busy daily routine. And why didn’t the authorities get a set of prints when he was booked for this more recent arrest? Isn’t that SOP? (That’s cop-talk for Standard Operating Procedure.) By the way, if the feds can’t find the prints, then the judge will grant a court order for a second set. Something tells me the feds aren’t going to waste much time in this search effort.
West Virginia – While the state of Ohio continues to turn its back on the substantial revenues that can be earned by legalized gambling, residents are spending millions of dollars in casinos in nearby Detroit, Windsor and Niagara Falls. Now, West Virginia has become a new source where Ohioans can drop their expendable income in the growing video slot machine market. A New York Times article reported that the city of Chester, West Virginia, located in one of the northern most points of the state, has become the gambling Mecca of a region 15 miles from Warren/Youngstown, 35 miles from Pittsburgh and 60 miles from Akron. Edson "Ted" Arneault, whose company spearheads the operation, calls his audience the "Joe Six Pack crowd." He states his customers "can bet modestly, from five cents to five bucks." This "modest" betting contributed $50 million to West Virginia’s economy last year. Despite the financially strapped condition of many Ohio school districts the state continues to sit with it’s thumb up its butt while millions of dollars go into the economies of surrounding states – and countries.
March 18, 1943 – Frank Nitti, whose name became synonymous with Eliot Ness due to the popular television series "The Untouchables," committed suicide after he and seven other Chicago Outfit members were indicted in New York City in what became famous as the Hollywood Extortion Case. Under the influence of alcohol, Nitti had to fire three shots before the deed was accomplished.
March 18, 1952 – Joseph Vallone, according to Organized Crime: 25 Years After Valachi, was the boss of Milwaukee until his death from natural causes.
March 18, 1998 – Anthony Turra, a tough-talking South Philadelphia mobster, was gunned down on the sidewalk near his home in front of his girlfriend. The 61 year-old was hit in the eye by the bullet that killed him. Anthony Turra was said to be the patriarch of a family long involved in underworld operations in the city.
March 19, 1993 – Fernando Vincenti was abducted and in the process of being given a one-way ride if it hadn’t been for the quick reactions of his fellow employees at a South Philadelphia restaurant. The police were alerted and after a high-speed chase the would-be killers, Rosario Bellocchi and Gary Tavella, were apprehended. Vincenti soon high-tailed it back to his native Italy.
March 20, 1933 – Giuseppe Zangara was described as mentally unbalanced when he sent several bullets flying at President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt in Miami Florida on February 15, 1933. His bullets missed Roosevelt, but one struck Chicago Mayor Anton J. Cermak. The wounded mayor died three weeks later. Two weeks after Cermak’s death Zangara was executed. Rumors persisted that the Chicago Outfit had hired Zangara to kill Cermak after the December 19, 1932 wounding of Frank Nitti in a shooting allegedly ordered by Cermak.
March 21, 1928 – Joseph "Diamond Joe" Esposito was a Republican ward committeeman and a renowned figure in the Italian community. A supporter of the Genna Brothers, Esposito ran the popular Bella Napoli Café. During the "Pineapple Primary" Esposito was warned by Capone to get out of town. Other threats followed. Esposito kept two bodyguards, the Varchetti brothers, at his side. They were walking him home when gunmen struck, cutting him down with shotgun fire as his wife and children watched from a window in their home.
March 21, 1928 – Morris "Big Ben" Nadel and Morris Goldman, Cleveland area bootleggers, were found shot to death in an automobile left off the side of the road in a rural area east of Cleveland. Nadel had been sentenced to a five-year prison term fourteen months earlier for harboring the killer of a Canton, Ohio newspaper publisher and was out pending appeals.
March 21, 1934 – Fred Goetz, alias George Ziegler, was a Capone gunman who was believed to have been one of the shooters in the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. A few years after the massacre Goetz hooked up with the Barker-Karpis Gang and was involved in the kidnappings of William A. Hamm and Edward G. Bremer. Nicknamed "Shotgun," it was this weapon that was used to eradicate him on a Cicero sidewalk.
March 21, 1980 – Angelo Bruno, known as the "Docile Don" for his reputation of urging the use of peaceful negotiations instead of violence, was shotgunned to death as his sat in an automobile outside his Philadelphia rowhouse talking to driver John Stanfa. Bruno had been the leader of the Philadelphia Mafia Family since the late 1950s and was alleged to be a member of the National Commission. His death began a period of bloodshed and unrest in the city that has yet to end.
March 22, 1972 – Nicholas Camerato, according to Organized Crime: 25 Years After Valachi, was the head of the Genovese Family’s operations in Springfield, Massachusetts. He died of natural causes.
March 23, 1966 – Robert "Bobby" Lagville was caught up in the Mickey Spillane / Jimmy Coonan Westies war that was raging in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen. Spillane had ordered Lagville to murder Eddie Sullivan, a Coonan associate. Soon after Coonan found out about the contract Lagville was discovered on a Queens’ street with six bullets in his head and body.
March 23, 1996 – Lawrence Sisman operated a strip club in the Mahoning Valley when he was gunned down by Mark Batcho. The hard-luck hitman, Batcho, had previously shot and wounded to Mahoning Valley prosecutors. After he copped a plea agreement in Federal court, he blurted out in state court that he murdered Sisman, a yet unknown fact to prosecutors.
March 24, 2001 – Joseph Guidici suffered an inglorious mob ending when he was whacked out by his wife. Guidici’s father was a Gambino loan shark and involved in gambling operations. Joseph, a mob wannabe, tried to fashion himself after John Gotti and had studio photos of himself dressed like the "Dapper Don." But the 270-pound Guidici was an unemployed drug addict and worse, a wife beater. After enduring seven years of brutality Guiseppina "Jolie" Guidici, using a pillow for a silencer, silenced her abusive husband.
AmericanMafia.com attempts to keep its audience advised of ongoing legal matters in the world of organized crime. New entries and addition to existing information will appear in RED.
Due to space constraints, the complete "Trials and Tribulations" listing will only be shown on the first Monday of each month. Weekly we will show the ones that are due to occur in the next 30 days and any new additions.
March 19, 2002 – New York – Nicholas Gambino is due in court to hear a decision on the charges that a jury deadlocked on in his recent trail for the stabbing of Anthony Federici, Jr. and others. Gambino was found not guilty on all the other charges, the jury decided that he was acting in self-defense.
April 1, 2002 – Boston – Retired state trooper Richard J. Schneiderman goes on trial on charges that he hampered the FBI’s search for James "Whitey" Bulger by letting Bulger family members know that the FBI had requested pen registers on their telephones. The trial was originally scheduled for January 28. AmericanMafia.com would like to thank Boston Herald reporter J. M. Lawrence for the update. AM.com, which uses a lot of Lawrence’s articles, was surprised to find out J. M. is a woman. Lawrence also tells us that Judge Edward F. Harrington, who was called Washington DC to testify last week, has recused himself from the case.
April 15, 2002 – Providence – Mayor Vincent A. Cianci, Jr. and four co-defendants go on trial in what the FBI has dubbed Operation Plunder Dome.
April 15, 2002 – Boston – The racketeering trial of Robert Luisi, Jr. is scheduled to get underway before US District Court Judge Reginald C. Lindsay. Luisi at one time had a plea agreement which called for him to testify against Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino last year. On December 27, 2001 Luisi withdrew the plea.
April 15, 2002 – Rochester, NY – Albert M Ranieri goes on trial for conspiracy to traffic cocaine. Since his arrest on December 29, 2000, another defendant, prominent defense attorney Anthony Leonardo, Jr., has pled guilty and implicated Ranieri in the May 2000 murder of his former business partner Anthony Vaccaro. Authorities also suspect Ranieri of a 1990 armor car heist of $11 million.
March 22, 2002 – Trenton – Joseph V. Lo Re and four others will be sentenced for their December 17 conviction for an embezzlement conspiracy involving a Bayonne, New Jersey waterfront union.
March 25/26, 2002 – New York – Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano is scheduled to speak at his sentencing for his conviction in running an ecstasy ring in Arizona, which had ties to New York.
March 27, 2002 – New York – Joseph "Joey Flowers" Tangorra will be sentenced after a plea agreement was reached on December 21. Tangorra admitted to wounding a man in 1992 over an unpaid debt and dealing in cocaine for 15 years.
June 2002 – Newark– Nicodemo "Young Nicky" Scarfo will be sentenced for supervising a North Jersey gambling operation by US District Judge Joel Pisano.
Copyright © 1998 - 2002 PLR International