August 27, 1987 |
Federal prosecutors yesterday unveiled a novel legal weapon to rub out the Mafia by "hitting them in the pocketbook" and preventing recruitment of new members. Andrew Maloney, the U.S. attorney in Brooklyn, announced the filing of a multimillion-dollar civil suit to recover ill-gotten loot from the Bonanno crime family - with a new twist to allow a judge to prohibit the racketeers from inducting new "soldiers" or associating with each other in businesses. Maloney said FBI surveillance could be used to enforce the ban. The penalty for flouting a judge's injunction could be an open-ended jailing for criminal contempt of court.
September 5, 1999 |
In the archives of automotive marketing, Frank Ozga and Patrick Smith's gimmick probably should rank right up there with rebates, loaner cars and tent sales. The concept was an "Elite Line," a two-way communication system linking Ozga and Smith's Philadelphia auto-body repair shops to junkyards and body shops throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. Instead of a time-consuming search for a hard-to-find car part to complete a customer's repair job, owners of local body shops just called Ozga and Smith's hotline, the part was quickly found and the order filled.
March 2, 2000 |
For nine weeks, they were jurors in U.S. v. Rivera - a captive audience in a chilling drama about drugs and murder, crooked police, and greedy cocaine dealers. And money. Lots of money. In the fifth-floor courtroom, they listened intently as one drug dealer after another described huge cocaine shipments and lucrative deals carried out by Camden's most notorious drug organization, and some dealers even testified that Mayor Milton Milan was once a player in the city's turbulent drug world.
June 21, 1990 |
Frank Friel spent eight of his 28 years with the Philadelphia Police Department chasing mobsters. He studied their history in FBI files, heard their oral tradition from bad guy raconteurs like Harry "The Hunchback" Riccobene, visited their homes and haunts. He watched them, warned them, and put a lot of them in jail. He knows what makes them tick, even if he doesn't pretend to understand all of it. Why, for example, would a guy who was marked for death hang around the old neighborhood?
February 9, 1993 |
Confessed South Jersey hit man Willard "Junior" Moran heard about the murder of Mario Riccobene last week while sitting in a special wing of a federal prison somewhere in the United States. And even though he's been away from the Philadelphia area for more than a decade, Moran - like Riccobene, a cooperating government witness - knew immediately what it was all about. "It was a message to all of us," Moran, the triggerman in the 1980 murder of union boss John McCullough, said in a telephone interview.
January 13, 1993 |
Rod Colombo lived in the fast lane. And that, law enforcement investigators are saying, makes it all the more difficult to determine how he ended up dead on a quiet, residential street in Audubon last week. Colombo, 29, had been living in South Philadelphia for the last year, according to authorities and family members. But his roots go back to the West Coast where he grew up and where, four years ago in Los Angeles he was tried and acquitted in the murder of a suspected drug dealer.
September 23, 1993 |
He was, they said, a South Philadelphia bon vivant, a happy-go-lucky gambler, a legendary bartender who was known everywhere and knew everyone. What he wasn't, they added quickly, was a gangster. "No way," said a friend yesterday as he left the funeral Mass for Frank J. Baldino at St. Rita's Roman Catholic Church on South Broad Street. "This guy wasn't involved with this stuff. This never should have happened. " This, of course, was the Friday night ambush in the parking lot of the Melrose Diner that left Baldino, 50, riddled with bullets and slumped over the wheel of his late-model Cadillac.
March 13, 2001 |
His name was Butchie. He was a low-level wiseguy who back in 1975 was suspected of skimming money from an organized-crime bookmaking operation in North Jersey. So his friends lured him to a social club on Hudson Street in Newark, offered him a drink at the bar, and shot him twice in the back of the head. Then they dumped his body in a grave already dug in the basement of the club. They poured acid over the body, covered it with dirt, and patched the hole in the floor with cement.
April 11, 1993 |
Rosario Bellocchi, the suspected mob hit man charged with murder in Camden County last week, was angry. The Sicilian-born pizza maker stood with his hands cuffed behind his back during a March 29 preliminary hearing. A Montgomery County District Court judge had just refused to lower his $250,000 cash bail in a mob-related kidnapping case when he shouted: "What am I, an animal? I'm in jail, I didn't do nothing . . . What did I do?" Who Bellocchi is and what he has done are, in fact, two central questions in a broader organized crime investigation that sources say is aimed at bringing down reputed Philadelphia-South Jersey mob boss John Stanfa.
May 1, 1990 |
John Gotti's son, John A. "Junior" Gotti, was married two weeks ago, and the New York tabloids went crazy. Blaring headlines and breathless stories were built around bits and pieces of information - some factual, some little more than gossip - about the 26-year-old bridegroom and his 21-year-old bride. There was even more about the wedding reception, a splashy affair at the Helmsley Palace in Manhattan, where, it was later reported, 240 guests were served tenderloin of beef, stuffed veal loin, pasta, shrimp, seared medallions of veal and lobster, mousse and fresh fruit.