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Tag: Joseph Massino

High-Ranking Mobster Asks to Be Released for Helping FBI Arrest Mafia Members

Joseph Massino/gov photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Ex-Bonanno crime boss and FBI informant wants to be freed from jail in exchange for damaging testimony against the mafia, the New York Post reportsBon.

Joseph Massino, who will be re-sentenced toady, provided key testimony against former colleagues, including Vincent “Vinny Gorgeous” Basciano.

“It is fair to say that not only is Mr. Massino the most prominent La Cosa Nostra leader ever to cooperate but also that seldom in the history of the war against organized crime has anyone contributed as much to the government,” Massino attorney Edward McDonald wrote to the court.

The 70-year-old career criminal is in poor health, his attorney said.

Mob Expert Picks Top Mob Stories of 2011

Joseph Massino/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

As New York mobster stories go, there seemed to be no shortage in 2011. Mob expert Jerry Capeci should know.

Capeci, a former New York Daily News reporter, runs the website Gang Land News. On Thursday, he picked the top mob stories of 2011.

Hands down, he writes, the top story was the Mafia Takedown arrests of 127 wiseguys and “various  cohorts.”

Runner up story, Capeci writes, was the appearance in April in fed court in Brooklyn of ex-Bonanno boss Joseph Massino on the witness stand at the capital murder trial of successor boss Vincent (Vinny Gorgeous) Basciano.  Massino made history, becoming the first mob boss from one of the 5 New York crime families to take the witness stand for the feds.

Though Capeci  picks the massive takedown in January as the top mob story of the year, he is not without some skepticism.

On the day of the announcement, Capeci writes that the “feds put on an overblown dog and pony show at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn in a pretty transparent effort to send a message to mobsters that they were still a top priority of the federal government.”

“Six weeks later, as Gang Land reported on March 3, the priority claims went down several notches when it was learned that FBI bosses had combined the five squads that had been investigating the Five Families into three, and cut the number of mob-busting agents by 25%, to about 45, the lowest number since the days of J. Edgar Hoover.”

Gang Land News website

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.

NY Crime Boss Testifies in Court; Makes Mafia History

Joseph Massino/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

In what’s being billed as a first, a boss of one of the five New York crime families took the stand Tuesday to testify in court for the government.

No New York boss had ever done that before, though it’s generally accepted that the code of silence aint’ what it used to be in the mob.

Joseph C.  Massino, 68, who headed the Bonanno Crime Family in New York for 14 years, and is now behind bars, testified in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn against his successor,  Vincent Basicano,  who is accused of killing Bonanno associate Randolph Pizzolo, the New York Daily News reported. Basciano is already serving a life sentence for a murder and racketeering conviction in 2007.

Massino testified Tuesday that while in prison with Basicano, he  recorded him talking about the killing, the Daily News reported.

“He told me that he had him killed,” Massino testified.  “He said he was a scumbag, a rat, a troublemaker, a bad kid.”

The New York Times reported that Massino became a government snitch after his July 2004 conviction for murder and racketeering. At the time, the government talked about going after the death penalty against Massino. But Massino, as part of his plea,  pleaded guilty to eight more murders and got two consecutive life terms. On the upside, his wife and daughter were allowed to keep their homes.

After his conviction, the Times reports, that Massino offered up info that Basciano was plotting to kill a federal prosecutor and U.S. District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis, who is presiding over the current trial.

Attorney Barry Levin, who represented Basciano in a 2006 trial,  told the Times that Massino was a “pathological liar” and that the government “had welcomed him with open arms only to prove they could break a boss.” He also said the prosecution was a waste of millions of dollar of government money considering Basciano is already serving a life sentence.

Basciano faces a possible death sentence if convicted.

Read NY Daily News Story

Read NY Times Story

NY Killer Mob Snitch Gets Time Served and Witness Protection Program

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The headline in the New York Post read: ” ‘Life’ of a Super Mob Rat; Turncoat Killer Gets Witness Protection.”

The headline referred to former Bonanno crime-family underboss Salvatore “Good Looking Sal” Vitale, who the Post described as “one of the most helpful government informers in US Mafia history.”

Vitale was sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn to time served. And Vitale, who had pleaded guilty to 11 murders and a number of other mob related charges, was being placed in a witness protection program, the Post reported. He had served eight years.

Vitale “will live the balance of his life as a notorious and endangered prisoner, in a cell of his own creation, targeted by the very criminal organization of which he was once a leader,” U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis said, according to the post.

Vitale helped put a number of mobsters behind bars including the boss of the Bonanno crime family Joseph Massino.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Brooklyn Feds Vouch for Bonanno Crime Family Mobster

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Fed prosecutors are putting in a good word for convicted killer and tough guy Salvatore “Good Looking Sal” Vitale, a Bonanno family mobster who is set to be sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court. He hopes to avoid a life sentence.

Newsday reports that prosecutors, in a court filing, are advocating that Vitale get a break in sentencing because his cooperation was “devastating to the mafia” and worthy of a “substantial” sentencing break.

Prosecutors in a court document described the cooperation as “groundbreaking by any measure.”

Newsday reported that Vitale’s testified against his close friend and brother-in-law Joseph Massino, who was the boss of the Bonanno family.

Newsday reported that Vitale provided the FBI with evidence about more than 30 gangland murders or attempted murders. Court papers say he also helped identify hundreds of mobsters.

In court papers the prosecution described Vitale, who had been charged with racketeering,  this way:

Vitale was, for more than three decades, associated with the Bonanno organized crime family of Cosa Nostra (the “Bonanno family”). He rose to leadership positions in that enterprise, and ultimately, as the underboss and acting boss, he served in two of the most powerful positions in the American mafia.

“He has committed, sometimes daily, a wide array of crimes that include horrific acts of violence. He engaged in murder repeatedly, including the eleven murders to which he pled guilty. For most of his adult life, Salvatore Vitale lived outside the laws of the United States.”

Read Government’s 128-Page Filing