Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Galati's Lawyer Bows Out

By George Anastasia
For Bigtrial.net

Wannabe wiseguy Ron Galati, the South Philadelphia auto body shop owner with a Godfather fixation, wants to keep fighting. But it looks like he'll have to do battle without the services of topnotch criminal defense attorney Anthony Voci Jr.

Voci has filed motions to withdraw as Galati's attorney in a pending murder-for-hire case and a massive insurance fraud conspiracy case. Both are listed for trial in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court.

"My client does not have sufficient funds to allow me to continue," Voci said in a brief comment today when asked about the withdrawal motions. Voci, a former Assistant District Attorney, represented Galati in another murder-for-hire case in federal court in Camden earlier this year.

In that case, Galati was convicted of hiring two hitmen to murder the boyfriend of his estranged daughter. The boyfriend survived the hit and was one of several key witnesses. The two hitmen, a third conspirator and Galati's daughter Tiffany also took the stand for the government.

Sentencing in that case is scheduled for Jan. 7. Voci said he remains the attorney of record there but indicated that Galati may decide to go in another direction. Galati, 62, faces a potential sentence of 20 to 30 years.

"He's looking at the rest of his life in prison," said one source familiar with the situation.

The two hitmen and their co-conspirator pleaded guilty in a cooperating agreement with federal authorities. They have also agreed to cooperate and testify for the District Attorney's Office in the pending murder-for-hire case.

In that case, Galati is accused to conspiring to have two rival auto body shop owners, a father and son, killed because he believed -- correctly as it turned out -- that they were cooperating with state and city investigators in an insurance fraud case in which he was targeted.

Galati, who served 37 months for fraud charges in a similar insurance scam in the mid 1990s, was accused of orchestrating a multi-million dollar ripoff of insurance companies, using phony reports of accidents and inflated charges to line his pockets and to kick back cash to customers whose cars were damaged.

Galati formerly owned American Collision, a South Philadelphia auto body shop that his son, Ronald Jr., took over. But authorities allege the elder Galati remained in control of the company and orchestrated the scams that generated millions.  Galati's wife, his son and two dozen others, including the son of mob boss Joseph Ligambi, were listed as co-defendants in the insurance scam which authorities alleged generated nearly $5 million.

Jailed since his arrest in the Philadelphia murder-for-hire case nearly two years ago, Galati has reportedly told associates that he had no intention of pleading guilty to any of the charges, labeling those who have testified against him and those who have given statement to authorities "liars."

That list, according to court documents, would include dozens of customers whose cars were damaged and who went along with Galati's alleged plan to fabricate insurance reports. One technique cited in the grand jury presentment handed up earlier this year involved fake reports of cars striking deer. Galati, according to the presentment, kept deer blood and hair in his auto body shop and took photos claiming that the damage to vehicles was the result of  striking an animal.

That type of accident is a benefit to the owner of the vehicle since, in effect, it is a no fault event.

A source, citing the ongoing investigation, said investigators with the Pennsylvania State Police and the District Attorney's Office have statements from customers who described how Galati would fabricate information, take photos of staged events and inflate repair costs.

One example cited by a source was a customer whose car was damaged in a hit-and-run accident in New York City. When the customer brought the car to Galati, the source said, the accident report filed with the insurance company listed the cause as "struck by a deer." The customer told authorities, the source said, that the pictures of the damage to his car were more than the damage that had actually occurred, indicating that Galati had further damaged the car to inflate the repair and insurance costs.

The customer, the source said, received $3,000 from his insurance company.

At the time of his conviction in federal court in Camden, speculation was that Galati would plead out to the pending cases in Common Pleas Court, perhaps working out a deal that would spare his wife and son. But Galati has apparently nixed any talk of a deal and is now taking a hardline. Without the resources to hire an attorney, he may have to fight his remaining criminal battles with a court-appointed lawyer.

He has also told friends and associates that he has no intention of cooperating with authorities. His links to Ligambi and Ligambi's nephew, convicted mob capo George Borgesi, were mentioned in one pre-trial motion. But sources in both law enforcement and the underworld say Galati doesn't really know enough or have enough information to cut a deal.

What's more, those who know him say, it's doubtful he would make a credible witness. Instead, Galati has apparently decided to go out swinging, fighting all the charges and ripping all of those who have or who will take the stand against him, his daughter Tiffany included.   

"He thinks he's doing the honorable thing," said a source. "He thinks he's being a standup guy. What that's going to get him is life in prison."

While the plot to have his daughter's then boyfriend, Andrew Tuono, killed unfolded as a soap opera, according to testimony in federal court in Camden, the pending charges in Common Pleas Court are more hard-edged.

Borrowing a line from The Godfather, one of the gangster movies that friends say Galati's loved, it was strictly business. Galati, authorities alleged, hired hitmen to killed Joseph Rao and his son, Joseph Jr., rival auto body shop owners who were cooperating in the insurance fraud investigation.

The Raos closed their business before the hits could be carried out, according to court documents.

George Anastasia can be reached at George@bigtrial.net.

49 comments:

  1. was this article necessary with a guy coming up to trial and in for the fight of his life? And George, I never heard of Voci before? He appears to be a bottom feeder that needs to be fed money to find his passion to defend people. He is better off with a court appointed lawyer!

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  2. Voci was a top prosecutor in the DA's office before he went into criminal defense work. the fact that you haven't heard of him doesn't mean very much.
    You're right, Galati is in a fight for his life. So for that reason, his cases shouldn't be written about?
    Not sure what you're trying to say.

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    1. I am well established within the legal community George and for very valid reasons, I am attempting to hide my footprints. That being said, it really upsets me when attorneys take a hike when their clients run out of cash. I don't think that he was a great choice to represent Galati (just my humble opinion). I have some friends and contacts in the community and my understanding is that Mr. Voci may have failed to do what he was asked to do by his client and what he agreed to do for his client. All I can say at this point is that I am not guessing about why he was let go...

      As for my questioning as to why I felt that this article did not need to be written at this time, it is because it is a rehash of everything that is out there already. I think that the article puts him at a distinct disadvantage since he is unable to offer his view point or counter these allegations at this time prior to his day in Court, for obvious reasons. I would have found it more interesting if you were to pursue his lack of resources, because all you hear about from law enforcement sources is the millions of dollars Galati has accrued. To me it is obvious that he does not have that kind of money since he cannot afford his current attorney. And if that is true, where is all the money that he reportedly has? My guess is that there are great exaggerations on things reported about Galati as well as vicious attempts to smear him for a variety of self serving reasons. I am limited in what I can say. A clear example about just how one sided and unfair things have been from a reporting aspect is the contract with the City of Philadelphia. It is made to appear that he had a lucrative 1.8 million dollar contract with the city. He NEVER made 1.8 million dollars, that may have been the GROSS amount of work to date. Now out of that money you must pay for parts, wages, insurance costs, taxes, etc. If you knew that real costs that needed to be deducted to get to the net money earned, it would be in the area of $200-$300,000. Good money but not 1.8 million in the man's pocket. I expect an outstanding reporter such as yourself to educate the public on understanding an issue such as that in the course of your reporting. Without that explanation from someone, people who are part of his potential jury pool go into court possibly thinking that this guy took 1.8 million dollars from the city and deserved to be punished. I look for a reporter like you to educate the public about fact from potential fiction. You are credible and that would be the fair way to pursue an article about him at this point. I understand the negative allegations must be incorporated since they are the basis of the indictment (whether they are right or wrong- that's for a judge or jury to decide). But I miss balanced reporting and so does the public at large. Thank you

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    2. I can see your concern here Counselor for the article being one sided therefore with Mr Galati not being represented he cannot speak on his behalf. May be you can be his Mouth piece and take this case ProBono.Im thinking ur intials are DM just a wild guess though.

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    3. Thank you for your response. While I don't agree with all you have said, it's a pleasure to read one of the more erudite posting I've had to any story I've written for bigtrial. You sound like Galati's next lawyer.
      As to the issues you raised, we can go around forever on what is and what isn't relevant and what should or should not be reported. Like a good defense attorney, you've spun Galati's position on certain issues. I would argue that Voci did the same -- and did it well -- during the trial in federal court. A jury, however, didn't agree.
      Whoever Galati's lawyer is in the future will have a chance to do the same.
      I don't want to argue every point and I've been around long enough to realize that while I may have access to a lot of facts, I may not know the truth.
      But in response to one of your points. The city contract was for $1.8 million. Maybe Galati earned $250,000. The point in the grand jury presentment was that Galati's company was not qualified for that particular contract. Also, authorities questioned how a convicted felon with alleged mob ties was able to get a contract repairing city police cars. These are legitimate questions and worth reporting on.
      I think readers are smarter than you give them credit for and I think a defense attorney can explain to any juror that the profit from that contract was not $1.8 million but substantially less. The issue is how and why that contract was awarded and whether Galati should have gotten it in the first place.
      Also, I notice that while you focused on the insurance indictment, you made no mention of the murder-for-hire case that is pending. To accept Galati's defense a juror will have to find that everyone else is lying and that video of Galati meeting outside his auto body shop with two of the conspirators was not related to the murder plot. Certainly possible, but one jury has already chosen not to accept Galati's version of events. The murder-for-hire case that is pending appears to be even stronger and less emotionally driven than the case in Camden..
      Let's see how it all plays out.
      But again, thank you for your comments.

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    4. One guy's rehash is another guy's welcome update. Welcome refresher. Auto repair has expense and overhead but an Attorney has none? The economics lecture misses the point. The upcoming trial is about murder for hire and fraud.

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    5. Thank you George for your kind words. I did not mention the murder for hire charge because I do not know enough about the Philly case. You did mention a video of Galati meeting outside his auto body shop with two of the conspirators. My understanding is that one of them did in fact work at the body shop doing odd jobs from time to time. Correct me if I am wrong, but that video or even its existence was not introduced into evidence at the New Jersey trial. Something that is allegedly that damaging to Galati, not being introduced at that trial is hard to understand. Since the Matthews guy worked there from time to time, then it can be easily understood that he would have an occasion or two to be having a conversation with Galati. Reasonable? I don't know enough about that case to comment on that except for what I learned from a great source about one of the identified shooters working at the shop.
      As for the City of Philadelphia Procurement contract that contract was in fact awarded to the owner of the business Ron Galati, Jr. It is on record and available for public viewing in the Procurement Department. So the son, who is the owner of American Collision, had every right to bid for the contract. I am not certain that you are automatically barred from bidding on a city contract if you are a former offender, as long as you disclose it in your application. In this case, there would be no need for that anyway, because the son had no criminal record. However, my understanding is that the City could suspend their contract due to the indictment and wait for the outcome of the trial. So, I agree with you 100% that these are legitimate questions and worth reporting on.
      No one George, seems to be interested in just following up on the allegations of the contract being awarded improperly. The answer is Ron Galati, Jr. applied for and was awarded a contract to repair police vehicles with the City of Philadelphia. His work product, by the way, I understand was exceptional. Ron Jr. has no criminal record; so the point about letting a contract to a convicted felon is moot. Once again, the contract information is public record. Keep up the great work GA and thank you for your input. I look forward to meeting you at some point. Continued success.

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    6. Why would George A. have to explain the profit margins of municipal contracts concerning the auto body business? Why not examine if Mr. Galati could have gotten a better deal from the man who serviced the office copy machine. It's all profit and loss. Those are legitimate things,we're into fraud and bodily harm here.

      Galati seems to be in about as hopeless a position as you could find yourself, but Voci hasn't jumped out mid-trial. Voci is opting to stay away from the new events.

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  3. Galati wanted to ride the wave and he done it twice for long periods of time but got to close to the rocks on his second turn and no deer blood or paint Job or filler is gonna fix this surf board
    Time to pay the piper as the Barber says Nexxxxxt !!!!"

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  5. Tiff Galati ain't no joke cuz

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  6. Ron Galati, Jr owner of American Collision was awarded the contact by the legal and procurement departments of the City of Philadelphia. No one else had the authority to award but them. The grand jury investigation never proved Galati wasn't in full compliance of the contract requirements. Hey can anyone dig up that picture of Seth Williams & Ron Galati that Williams posted to social media while this investigation was going on? Anyone remember the free paint job Galati gave to Seth on his classic car? The assistant DA wouldn't elaborate on that fact. The DAs office has built this case solely on the word of a thieving lying junkie rat.

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  8. Nice to read intelligent people discussing these interesting cases. Of course there are the morons that entertain themselves by connecting their fingers occasionally with the right letter on their computer. Nice give and take with George and one of the brighter bulbs ob this site. I agree that if the facts are public record, then someone needs to be responsible and report the facts whatever they are.

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    1. A brighter bulb would that this is a Smoke Screen by Galati he has nothing to fight for except to protect his wife and son by pleading guilty to the next two cases to leave them out of it. The real deal is being made behind closed doors now with the Fed's. The first sign will be sentencing postponed January 7th

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    2. Clueless in Philadelphia

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    3. I dont know what he has that could hurt Uncle Joe or Joey.uncle Joes kid was involved but to what extent and his wife was a secretary i thought i read. But with these being State charges i think Seth Dont tell the truth Williams could find a couple defendants to cooperate and lie there asses off wouldnt be the first time he.s tryed that move

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    4. Well let's see Uncle Joe sent dozens of people to Galati to commit insurance fraud and got a piece every time.im sure some have already testified to it not to mention a paper trail of Uncle Joe putting hid wife on the payroll, and now his youngest son Steven is charged in the csse for starts. NOW Let's talk About Jerome Johnson who set up the hit for Galati that's George Borgesis boy who Galati met threw Borgesi (got all jis guns from jim for hits in the 90s) and to keep this short Galati cut the holes in the van for Joey a nd Borgesi for the attempted murder om John Stanfas son in the early 90s.I'll say Galati has a lot to say

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    5. He can say it but again your talking the 90.S on the Guns and the holes in the van the statue on that ran out long ago. But the paper trail on ins fraud if they can prove uncle Joes involved and his wife and son cooperate would help but not knock 10 yrs off his sentence ' then again im no lawyer. Anythings possible but i still think he.s fucked. I say he stays stand up like nicodemo pleas to keep his wife and kid out of trouble just my opinion.

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    6. 2UP
      U GOT ALL THIS INFO WHY THEY NEED GALATI U TESTIFY THEY.LL BE ABLE TO TRY THIS CASE IN ONE DAY CONFICT ' SENTENCE AND OFF TO JAIL THEY GO . THEY DON.T NEED MO BODY ELSES TESTOMONY U GOT IT ALL COVERED. U MUST BE A REAL SLAP DICK.

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    7. This above comment is for anonymous 8.09 pm thank u

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    8. Yeah i guess the true story is the true story. Right slap DICK?

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    9. U have all this info be a man or woman' not sure who im talking to make the phone call
      im sure the authorities would be more than happy to speak to someone who has all this knowledge of prior incidents. Or are u afraid u peers will think ur a rat either way ur still a coward because u sit behind ur computer like a tough guy or woman make accusations and are afraid to step to the plate. That my friend is a real slap dick !

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    10. The stuff that happened in the 90 ' s I think includes attempted murder and if that is true there may be no statute of limitations. So key people could still be charged and tried for attempted murder with the van attack on stanfa's son. Not sure.

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  9. Is chickie chang home yet or still in halfway house and is Joey in fla till the holidays are over.

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    1. U got anything on this George A inquiring minds wanna know lol

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  10. Galati's attorney got out of the case. Man can't afford an attorney now (who could with all these cases???) Galati needs a court appointed attorney but the ADA Dawn Holz objected because she thinks he can afford one. Well maybe you can show him where the money is because he does not have any. This is great stuff. She thinks he has money and objects. Galati states that he doesn't have anymore money and I don;t think that the guy would gamble with his life hanging in the balance.If he does not have the money that the ADA claims, then what does that say about the rest of their case? This can go on forever.

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    1. Ok he would pay to have his daughters boyfriend killed while she is there, but he wouldn't lie about money. DA! Either your an idiot or uncle Joe da boss of da South philly Mob is hiring people to write comments.

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    2. Da! Uncle Joe ain.t gonna pay no body for comments. He might let u pay him to post one though .Lol
      I dont care who he gets as a lawyer. No Fed ' State plea deal gonna help Ronny the wig here
      He.s looking at 20 plus here and that.s a death sentence at his age.

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    3. Sounds like you no Galati and all the inside info JB watch what you post the Feds might just pay you a visit.

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    4. That.s a Good one anonymous but even Ray Charles if he was still living could see Ronny the wig Galati is F---ed here and he was blind my friend

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    5. Omg and lol. Ron loves russian roulette

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  11. Hey uncle Joe how's the Christmas street tax goin?

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    1. The Christmas tree gang gots all the street tax and christmas tree money this year and they really aint sharing it with anyone but the Boca King himself Boss man Skinny Joey merlino.

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  13. I compare Galati to a man who has been told he has a serious illness. The first trial was the potential remedy but unfortunately for him the treatment was not effective. Now Galati faces a re-occurrence, a terminal diagnoses. At this point advice would be to get his affairs in order, further treatment will not be successful. If Galati finds acceptance he will cut a deal to help his family and others with their charges.

    I tend to think the Jan. sentencing date will be postponed.

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  14. Is he a fringe guy.. Knock around guy or just a stand up guy???

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    1. That will be up to his immediate family to decide down the road that.s the only one that matters. His friends and associates are just that 'there not family what ever decision is made here this time all that will matter is family and i never ment the guy and know that nothing else matters in the end but family no matter how bad it got.

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  15. 2 up .. He's a semi fringe guy who seen too many movies

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  16. No deals for galati. I think that they ain't letting his wife and son off the hook because they r equally guilty of running da bizness. He got to cocky this time so everyone in the family has to defend themselves

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    1. Along with his silent partner Joe Ligambi and some members of his family aside from he son Steven who is already charged with Ins fraud.

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  17. George A. Why do you think the law is waiting to charge mob boss Joe Ligambi with insurance fraud?

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    1. Uncle Joe recommended people to Galatis shop no crime there. No paper trail because uncle Joe is.nt on any paper work or checks. If he was given money from galati it was cash no crime there. As for his wife her checks were in her name not her spouse same for son.if ron says he was shaken down no kuries gonna believe them . Hope this helps ur concern for uncle Joe not being charged for ins fraud

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  18. UJ is boss??? Shit I can't believe I been kicking up to the wrong guy

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    1. BGB GETS ALL LIGAMBI ENVELOPES NOW. AS FOR THE THE CHRISTMAS TREE GANG READ EARLIER COMMENT 11 UP

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