Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Gold the 'Ferrari' of money laundering - Peter Ferrari

NTR Metals is the largest money-laundering prosecution involving precious metals in U.S. history, authorities say. “The scope of the conspiracy is enormous,” federal prosecutor Francisco Maderal told a judge during a hearing in Miami last year. Last March, federal prosecutors in Miami charged 3 NTR traders with money laundering, saying the three men bought $3.6 billion of illegal gold from criminal groups in Latin America.

So far, the scandal shut down NTR and cost its Dallas-based parent company, Elemetal, the ability to trade gold on bullion and commodity exchanges.
Prosecutors claimed the gold traders, who eventually pleaded guilty, fueled “illegal gold mining, foreign bribery [and] narcotics trafficking.”
Pedro Pérez Miranda - Peter FerrariIn 2012, the company did relatively little business in Latin America. But the next year, NTR struck a rich vein, becoming the largest U.S. importer of Peruvian gold with $980 million worth of deals. They did it with help from Peruvian businessman Pedro Pérez Miranda, who is suspected by authorities in Peru and the United States of laundering drug money through the gold trade.

Over the past two decades, as the U.S. war on drugs undercut the cash flow of narco-traffickers, kingpins diversified into Latin America’s gold industry. By using drug profits to mine and sell gold, criminal organizations can launder staggering amounts of money.
In 2013, NTR went on to buy $400 million in gold from Ferrari
NTR’s Peruvian operations collapsed at the end of 2013 when local authorities raided a storage facility outside Lima holding gold that belonged to Ferrari and other traders. Agents seized $18.8 million worth of gold. But the party wasn’t over — it simply moved to neighboring countries. In 2014, NTR began smuggling gold across the border to Ecuador and Bolivia. When local governments in those countries also begun cracking down the party moved again, this time to Colombia. In 2015, NTR’s imports from Colombia soared to $722 million. That accounted for more than half of the country’s gold exports to the United States. Illegal mining has devastated the rainforests of Colombia and other gold-producing nations.
Colombia exported 64 tons of gold in 2016, much of it to the United States, according to government statistics. That same year, Colombia’s large-scale, legal mining operations produced only eight tons. A significant part of the gap between what Colombia’s big mines produce and what the country exports is unlicensed and untaxed gold — often unearthed at any cost by operations controlled by narco-traffickers and other criminals.

Drug-cartel associates posing as precious-metals traders buy and mine gold in Latin America. Cocaine profits are their seed money. They sell the metal through front companies — hiding its criminal taint — to refineries in the United States and other major gold-buying nations.
Once the deal is made, the cocaine kingpins have successfully turned their dirty gold into clean cash. To the outside world, they’re not drug dealers anymore; they’re gold traders.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum extends offer of $10 million reward

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum has extended its offer of a $10 million reward for information leading to the return of more than a dozen artworks stolen 27 years ago. It remains the largest unsolved art theft to date, despite decades of investigation by the museum, the FBI, and the US Attorney’s office. 27 years later, none of the artworks has been recovered and the thieves are still at large.
Govaert Flinck’s Landscape with an Obelisk (1638).

'The Concert' one of 34 known works by Vermeer and the most valuable stolen painting at over $200 million.
Some $500 million worth of art, including Rembrandt’s 'Storm on the Sea of Galilee' was stolen from Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in March 1990. The Gardner heist was carried out by two men dressed in police uniforms who apparently overpowered a night security guard who had buzzed them in. During a polygraph test, 82-year-old Hartford mobster Robert Gentile had an intense reaction when shown images of the missing paintings, while he remained calm when shown unrelated artwork. The museum initially offered a reward of $5 million. In 2017 this was doubled to $10 million with an expiration date set to the end of the year.

'A Lady and Gentleman in Black' by Rembrandt, painted in 1633.
Almost 30 years after the heist, the empty frames still hang in the Gardner Museum.

'Chez Tortoni' by Manet.

See ----->

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Health issue delays trial for Joseph 'Skinny Joey' Merlino

Accused Philadelphia mob boss Joseph “Skinny Joey” Merlino — whose trial was slated to start today in Manhattan Federal Court — remains in Florida recuperating from a heart ailment. Merlino went to a Boca Raton hospital emergency room suffering from “chest pains and coronary spasms and shortness of breath,” one of his lawyers said. Merlino, 55, has reportedly survived more than a dozen attempted hits and beat three murder raps. The gangster’s doctor said Merlino is on medication and needs to be under “close observation".Hospital tests had “abnormal” results and “revealed two ‘significant’ blockages” said Merlino’s attorney Edwin Jacobs.
Merlino was supposed to be tried with Genovese capo Eugene “Rooster” Onofrio, who has also got a health related delay. Last month, the presiding judge separated the cases because of Onofrio’s “need for medical treatment.” The trial of 75-year-old Onofrio is now “adjourned indefinitely” court papers say.
See ----->
See ----->

Japanese Yakuza arrested in Thailand after tattoo photos go viral

74-year-old Shigeharu Shirai was arrested in Lopburi province, 150 km north of Bangkok. Police said he had confessed to being part of the Yamaguchi-gumi gang within Japan’s Yakuza.
He is accused of a gang murder in Japan 15 years ago. His arrest came after pictures of his tattoos went viral on social media. Shirai will be charged with illegally entering Thailand and then deported to Japan to face the murder charges.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Murder, Incorporated

Murder, Inc. (Murder Incorporated) was the name the news media gave to organized crime groups in the 1930s and '40s that acted as the enforcement arm of the mob, and other crime groups in New York and elsewhere. The groups were largely composed of Italian-American and Jewish gangsters.

Murder, Inc. was believed to be responsible for between 400 and 1,000 contract killings.
Lepke Buchalter started the murder for hire group in 1933 with the mission to kill anyone for a price, as long as the contract was approved by the National Crime Syndicate. Lepke would get orders from the syndicate, and then pick the best hitman for the job, send off the contract, and wait for the task to be carried out. He was executed in the electric chair in 1944.

The Lord High Executioner, Albert Anastasia was one of the most feared men in mob history. He was joint in command with Lepke during Murder Inc’s ten year spell. Anastasia was gunned down in a barber’s chair in late 1957 on orders from Vito Genovese.
Emanuel “Mendy” Weiss was one of Buchalter’s most trusted associates, and he became the second-in-command. In 1935 Charles Workman and Weiss handled the hit on Dutch Schultz. Weiss was later executed for the murder of Joseph Rosen.

Frank “Dasher” Abbandando was a contract killer who committed many murders as part of Murder, Inc. He was a violent sexual predator and a psychopathic killer. He used ice picks in most of the more than 30 murders he committed. Abbandando was executed in the electric chair in 1942.
Abe “Kid Twist” Reles, was one of the organization’s most dreaded gunmen and was an ice pick prodigy, allegedly so skilfull he could make it seem, by stabbing his prey in the ear, as if they had died due to a brain hemorrhage. He brought down the operation as a government witness. Just before he was to be the star witness in the trial of Albert Anastasia in November, 1941 he fell from the window of his room while under police protection.

Frankie Carbo made the changeover from a member of Murder, Inc. to a made man in a New York family. Carbo had five murder raps, but he was never convicted. He is said to have been instrumental in the murder of Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel. He died in 1976.

Florida lawyer Jason Dalley faces jail in $23M auto insurance fraud

Dalley wrote more than $790,000 worth of checks from his law firm bank account to himself to pay the illegal kickbacks between 2012 and 2014South Florida lawyer Jason Dalley, 54, who ran a personal injury and criminal defense law firm in Delray Beach, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to commit health care, mail and wire fraud.

Dalley admitted he was part of a group of corrupt clinic owners, chiropractors and attorneys that raked in at least $23 million from 10 auto insurance companies between 2010 and 2017. The attorney admitted he paid illegal kickbacks of $2,000 to $2,500 to a clinic operator, tow-truck drivers and other “runners” who referred clients to him.
Dalley, who is free on bond, is scheduled for sentencing March 16 in federal court. The maximum punishment is five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. The ringleaders of the fraud pleaded guilty last month to racketeering conspiracy charges. Andrew Rubinstein, 48, and Felix Filenger, 41, admitted the fraud. Chiropractic clinics were secretly owned by Filenger and his allies. Both men face up to 20 years in federal prison when they are sentenced. Dalley faces disbarment but is still listed as “eligible to practice” by the Florida Bar.
Utah man Navid Monjazeb has been sentenced to four months in jail after being convicted of intentionally causing 22 car crashes over the last five years in order to collect the insurance payouts. He received just under $56,000 through a systematic campaign of crashing into innocent drivers, then bullying them into accepting responsibility and sometimes even demanding cash on the spot. He even carried around a pre-made waiver that he would "aggressively" push the other driver to sign, which stated that they were at fault.

Brazen UK drug dealers using Facebook to sell drugs to children

One UK Facebook dealer told a journalist posing as a schoolboy that he could offer 'Banging Charlie’ [slang for cocaine] for £120 or some 'great weed'.

An Instagram dealer posted a picture of two large bags of cannabis, telling potential customers: "Don’t miss out". On Twitter an American dealer offered to mail 150 ecstasy tablets to Britain for £1,630.

Many are accusing the sites of "aiding and abetting" the sale of drugs to minors.

One drug dealer boasted about his stash on Facebook
A Facebook spokesman said: "We encourage our community to report any activity like this using our reporting tools so we can quickly remove it."

Instagram said it encouraged users to report illegal activity, while a Twitter spokesman said: "By using Twitter, you agree to comply with all applicable laws governing your online conduct and content."

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Vincent Basciano's lawyer Anthony DiPietro determined

A lawyer for the Bonanno crime family’s imprisoned ex-boss is throwing the book at a pair of federal judges. Mobster Vincent 'Vinny Gorgeous' Basciano’s murder and racketeering convictions deserve another look because of a conflict of interest between the jurists and a Connecticut author, the boss’ lawyer claims.

In 2012, the court of appeals rejected Basciano’s appeal for the shotgun murder of Frank Santoro on a Bronx street. He was also convicted for orchestrating the 2004 murder of mob associate Randolph Pizzolo.
The author dedicated his 304-page effort to the judges. Photos of Raggi and Garaufis appeared above the passage “Justice, justice shall you pursue.” Raggi was part of a three-judge panel that ruled against the gangster Nov. 28. Garaufis presided over Basciano’s 2011 death penalty trial. The book dealt with the Basciano trial and the death penalty case involving Bonanno hitman Thomas “Tommy Karate” Pitera.
The mob boss had previously alleged that Garaufis was biased against him because the gangster was charged with plotting to kill the judge.

Lawyer Anthony DiPietro found his life's calling in an unexpected place: a Manhattan courtroom where his father, mobster Angelo 'Fat Angelo' DiPietro was sentenced to serve the rest of life in prison. DiPietro decided he would become a lawyer and clear his father's name. He was unsuccessful in that pursuit.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Acting boss of Bonanno crime family Joseph Cammarano Jr. among 10 arrested

Joseph Cammarano Jr.
10 mobsters, including the acting boss of the Bonanno crime family Joseph Cammarano Jr. have been arrested on racketeering and other charges. The recently unsealed federal indictment charged the wiseguys with a variety of crimes that took place between 2012 to 2018 including conspiracy to commit murder, extortion, loansharking, wire and mail fraud, and narcotics distribution.

The 58-year-old Cammarano is the son of a mob underboss who died in prison. He is believed to have taken over the Bonanno family in 2015. Also arrested were consiglieres John 'Porky' Zancocchio, 60 and Simone Esposito, 47, along with captains Joseph “Joe Valet” Sabella, 52, and George 'Grumpy' Tropiano, 68.

Simone Esposito leaves Manhattan Federal Court after his arrest and arraignment on Jan.12, 2018.
If convicted, the men face a maximum of 20 years in prison for each count against them. Raids on Staten Island, including one at Xcess Gentlemen's Club in Charleston, led to the arrests. Formerly 'Curves Gentleman’s Club' the business has long been banned to police officers, off duty or not, due to it's mob connections.
A former NYPD officer is also accused of smuggling guns to the Bonanno family. In a separate indictment, Patrick Balsamo, aka 'Patty the cop', is charged with interstate transfer of firearms.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Man sets trap for package thieves

In the U.S., 31 per cent of people say they have had a package stolen from their doorstep. More than half knew someone who had fallen victim to the crime. Consumers must weigh the convenience of online shopping with the risk of having their purchases left on their doorstep in public view.

One man exacted revenge on package thieves after being victimized. He constructed a trap that fires shotgun blanks.

Fentanyl laced cocaine found in Montreal

Naloxone kits are available free of charge in Quebec pharmacies.
Montreal public health say they have found cocaine laced with fentanyl, and it has caused at least one death and one hospitalization due to overdose this month. While fentanyl has been found in intravenous drugs, this is the first time it has been detected in cocaine. The health authority is concerned the opioid crisis will arrive to a new population of recreational drug users. It advises drug users to never use alone and make sure they have access to naloxone.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

'Sell Drugsz' rapper sentenced for trafficking heroin, fentanyl

Rhode Island rapper Michael Persaud, aka "Montana Millz," 30, whose songs include "Sell Drugsz" and "Feds Watching" was sentenced to three years in federal prison for trafficking heroin and fentanyl.

Police began covert surveillance due to the fact that the lyrics of his songs all too often mentioned drugs. Last March police executed a search warrant at the home of the mother of one of Persaud's children, where they seized 44 grams of fentanyl he had hidden in the residence. Persaud also faces sentencing on similar charges out of Pennsylvania, where he was convicted in August.