This year closes with more mafia busts. You can see with the new indictments that the Mafia has changed along with the times. It has become a more secretive operation concentrating more on crimes that bring in a lot of profit and without risking as much prison time. Gambling and loan sharking are the lifeblood of the mafia. Other Italian crime groups are much more involved in the drug trade.
If they keep up with this low profile the FBI will stay busy with Islamic terror organizations and maybe the mafia will rebuild.
The reckless boss of Philadelphia, Joey Merlino, was taken down by the FBI. He was involved in a multi-family gambling, loan sharking and medical fraud operation. The FBI intercepted a Genovese wiseguy telling another member that Merlino was a boss.
Meanwhile, Joey Merlino was on the books as employed at a restaurant in South Florida. This is the same Joey Merlino who visited Los Angeles and was caught by TMZ (not the FBI) with Howard Stern personality Johnny Fratto.
The video is online for anyone to watch. Hey, maybe Merlino was visiting his relatives in Los Angeles.
There has been a lot less activity in Los Angeles since Pete Milano died. Joe Isgro, the Gambino family man who used to be in Mikey Scars’ crew, was arrested for gambling and money laundering. Isgro was a successful record promoter and producer. He also produced movies like Hoffa. I know some day he will produce the Lucky Luciano movie. This time he was able to get out of the gambling charges with a misdemeanor plea, which was much better than his loan sharking charges in Los Angeles years ago.
The Bonanno family had a better year after last years Christmas party was monitored by the FBI. Some of their men may face a retrial on charges.
The mafia is fairing much better because they are killing less. The “no murder policy” has done well, because juries are hard pressed to convict on big charges when there are no bodies.
There may be some fireworks coming up with the Genovese family’s Bronx crew for a murder.
Michael Persico, the “good son” of Carmine “The Snake” Persico and brother of “Allie Boy” Persico, managed to put off his sentencing again until 2017. I am amazed because others like Eddie Garofalo are already out from the case. Teddy Persico Jr., his cousin, has a bit more time, at least until 2020. Steve Marcus flipped and soon Michael Persico will be going bye bye.
The Montreal wing of the Bonanno family is still in turmoil and they continue to blast each other.
A member was convicted this year for taking part in killing former acting Bonanno boss Sal “The Ironworker” Montagna who was deported by the Feds to Canada.
The staples of the mafia: gambling, loan sharking, garbage, untaxed cigarettes, unions and construction will keep it in the money for some years to come.
Have a great 2017!
I’m sure there will be more to write about for years to come.