Another week in the life, and this week the FBI took down 46 guys from a number of families for various racketeering charges. The names you will recognize, because these guys just never seem to learn.
Jimmy Caci, who was the street boss of the Los Angeles family, told me a few months before he passed away that the life was not what it was supposed to be. It had gotten out of control and there was no honor or loyalty anymore. This was after my first book Breakshot had come out.
So here we were, sitting at a diner and he is speaking to me. I felt sorry for him because he was a relic from the past and his time had passed. Jimmy was originally from Buffalo, New York and he knew the long time boss Stephan Maggadino. He was on good terms with all the guys in the family when it was at it’s peak. Jimmy grew up in a different time. A time when Italians were looked down upon. Boxers used Irish names to get fights, and most policemen were Irish. The mafia served a purpose then, but now it may be one more thing, like Sears, we do not need.
You can read more about Jimmy in Breakshot, which has been re-released.
Joey Merlino was the one time boss of the Philadelphia family. He may still be boss, but he is in custody again. Merlino has spent more than half his life locked up. He is the son of former underboss Sal Merlino and is also nephew to soldier Lawrence Merlino, both of whom are now dead.
Merlino has gotten away with murder but he just cannot seem to go straight. Some guys just never get it.
In better times Joey Merlino was out in Los Angeles with Johnny Fratto getting chased by TMZ. Merlino was out to speak about selling his life rights to a well known movie producer. Maybe this story will go into the new Johnny Fratto book that Randazzo is working on.
The new indictment charges many of the guys with bookmaking. They again used offshore websites, but did business here in the US under the name Costa Rican International Sportsbook. One of those charged was Daniel Marino Jr., a friend of Colombo Craig Marino and son of a Gambino heavy weight. Many years ago Daniel was hiding out at Joe Dente's home in Los Angeles.
This time the indictment has a couple of crimes we have not witnessed in an indictment in a few years. Healthcare fraud: where they had doctors prescribing an expensive compound and charging insurance companies. They were also smuggling untaxed cigarettes into the New York area, where they were worth three million dollars.
They had a casino style gambling spot in Yonkers where they hosted poker and other card games.
John Lembo, a name that was well known to those around back in the stock fraud days, was busted for setting up credit card skimmers. Lembo was a friend of Eddie Garofalo and Craig Marino.
The FBI had an undercover agent deep inside that worked with Genovese guys and Joey Merlino. They also had a cooperator wired up the whole time. How many more will flip is still to be seen. The majority of those arrested face up to 20 years, but this indictment seems to be missing the normal murders and other violence. They are charged with assaulting a homeless man who was bothering patrons of a restaurant on Arthur Ave. They did threaten to choke a guy out, but it does not read as bad as the others I have read. I bet everyone pleads out for a lot less time.
One guy arrested is Ralph Balsamo, a Genovese guy. Why he does not just run his family's funeral homes I have no idea. I bet Balsamo has some more problems that are going to come up soon. Stay tuned.