Friday, April 29, 2016

The Mob's Theme Song -- "Money, Money, Money"

By George Anastasia
For BigTrial.net

It was the underworld's version of a full service financial operation.

It featured bookmaking, loansharking and money laundering. Most of the wheeling and dealing took place in a Newark check cashing business.

The numbers, detailed in an indictment unsealed this week by the New Jersey Attorney General's Office, were staggering. The loansharking business, according to the AG, generated $4.7 million in interest payments. The illegal check cashing business took in $9 million in fees while allowing customers to launder money and avoid federal tax reporting requirements. The sports betting operation, with an offshore wire room in Costa Rica, generated millions more.

"This case is a smorgasbord of mob schemes," said acting New Jersey Attorney General Robert Lougy in a news release that detailed the indictment of 10 alleged members and associates of the powerful Genovese crime family.

The charges stem from an investigation dubbed "Operation Fistful" that began in 2007. The probe was spearheaded by the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice and the Waterfront Commission. Among other crimes, the indictment alleges that several defendants took control of a trucking company that transported cars from the Port of Newark to dealerships throughout New Jersey. Authorities allege the trucking firm was a front for a series of mob scams, including forgery and tax evasion.

"The more the Mafia changes, the more it stays the same," said Elie Honig, head of the Division of Criminal Justice, pointing out that while those charged "adopted sophisticated financial systems to hide their profits, those profits came from traditional street crimes such as loansharking and illegal gambling."

Threats of violence and extortion were part of the package, he added.

The Roundup

A weekly tab of what's
going on in the courts.

By Shealyn Kilroy
For BigTrial.net

Philadelphia District Attorney's Office:
What's going on with Philadelphia cops?

A Philadelphia Police Officer turned himself in after an investigation of a domestic incident, police announced April 28.

On March 6 around 4:10 a.m., Alex McAdams, 28, allegedly removed a screen from a side window of his girlfriend’s first floor apartment, broke the window, entered, and took a personal item before chasing her outside. McAdams has been arrested, and a District Attorney approved affidavit contains the following charges: burglary, criminal trespass, theft and criminal mischief. McAdams is a four year veteran of the force.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Trump And The Mob?



I Don't Think So!

By George Anastasia

The article in Jersey Man about Donald Trump's alleged mob connections can be read here.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Roundup

A weekly tab of what's
going on in the courts.
Adam O'Donnell

By Shealyn Kilroy
For BigTrial.net

Philadelphia District Attorney:
Another Philadelphia police detective is facing charges. Philadelphia police detective Adam O’Donnell was scheduled, 43,  for a preliminary hearing on April 22 after allegedly assaulting a man and breaking his leg while he was on-duty on Feb. 3, 2015, according to the District Attorney’s office. O’Donnell was escorting Theodore Life Jr., 45, outside of the Special Victims Unit headquarters building at 300 E. Hunting Park Ave and allegedly kicked him once in the knee. Life fell to the ground, and O’Donnell allegedly forced him into an unmarked police car and took him to a random location. The nine-year veteran of the force is charged with aggravated assault, kidnapping, unlawful restraint, and official oppression.


Monday, April 18, 2016

Shady's Case Goes Into Overtime

The bruises on Tamarcus Porter's neck
By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

Thanks to some grandstanding from the president of the Fraternal Order of Police, the state attorney general's office has announced it will review the now-legendary Feb. 7th fight at the Recess Lounge.

On April 4th, District Attorney Seth Williams, backed by a choir of four assistant district attorneys, announced that no charges would be filed against LeSean McCoy or any of his friends at the Recess because of insufficient evidence. But then John McNesby, the FOP president, sent an incendiary letter to the state attorney general.

According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, McNesby in his letter to the attorney general described the D.A.'s decision not to prosecute as "an outrageous cover-up and dereliction of duty by a public official." McNesby, according to the Inquirer, said that the only reason D.A. Williams let McCoy off the hook was "because McCoy is a prominent professional athlete." [But maybe the above photo had something to do with it.]

"I think it's completely accurate to say LeSean McCoy and anyone else allegedly involved in this incident are not totally cleared," Bruce Castor, the state's solicitor general, told Walt Hunter of CBS Eyewitness News. The state attorney general isn't the only party that plans to investigate the fight at the Recess Lounge. The NFL and the NFL Players Association are also expected to investigate as well.

McCoy's attorney, Dennis Cogan, didn't seem too worried. He said that he has a high regard for
Bruce Castor's professionalism and was confident that Castor would find no abuse of discretion by the D.A. in his decision not to prosecute.

Shady McCoy "is in the clear because he did nothing wrong," Cogan said.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Big Trial's Mob Hits

Pal Joeys

Some gangster classics by George Anastasia:

Skinny Joey Talks About Nicky Skins And Life Without The Mob: 
Philadelphia's celebrity gangster gets a fresh start in Florida.

Joe Vito Mastronardo, Gentleman Gambler, Heads To Court: The amazing story of Frank Rizzo's son-in-law.

Masterworks, Murders And Mobsters, A Philadelphia Story: Does A Famous $500 Million Art Heist Have a Philly Connection?


Saturday, April 16, 2016

Big Trial's Cardinal Sins

His Eminence

A trio of blog posts about the late great Cardinal Bevilacqua:

What the Cardinal Knew, or How to Hoover a Pedophile: How Cardinal Tony put two known abuser priests to work polishing his public image.

Ongoing Archdiocese Fire Sale Exposes 19-Year Cover-Up of Cardinal Bevilacqua's Lavish Spending: How Cardinal Tony's PR henchmen used a pack of lies to bail the big guy out of a public relations jam down at the Jersey Shore.

Inside the Archdiocese Spin Machine: How Cardinal Tony employed an outrageous liar as his paid mouthpiece.

Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid that shall not be known. Luke 12:1-2

The Roundup

A weekly tab of what's
going on in the courts.

By Shealyn Kilroy
For BigTrial.net


Philadelphia District Attorney:

A woman who literally inked her name on a voting machine is schedule for trial on April 12, according to the District Attorney’s office.

Authorities received a complaint that Oxana Turketsky, 64, had written her name in ink on the voting machine at the 6900 block of Summerdale Avenue at the 53rd Ward. “Oxana Turetsky” was handwritten on the machine next to the box for “write in” candidates, police confirmed. Turetsky later admitted to writing her name on the voting machine. is charged with tampering with records, criminal mischief and tampering with voting machines.

Turetsky’s charges were brought as part of the Election Fraud Task Force the DA’s office created in November 2014. The purpose of the force was to address voter concerns and investigate criminal activity during elections.
 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Saga Of A South Philly Bookmaker

By George Anastasia
For Bigtrial.net

Earlier this year lawyers for the state of New Jersey presented arguments for the legalization of sports betting in Atlantic City's casinos and at the state's racetracks.

The legal arguments before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals included lots of posturing from both the state and the professional and collegiate athletic organizations that oppose the idea. Ethics and integrity were the buzz words thrown around by lawyers for the NCAA, MLB, NFL and NBA. Economics was the linchpin of the state's positon.

New Jersey just wants a piece of the action.

An obscure case playing out in the same federal courthouse at Sixth and Market Streets helps drive home the state's point.

There's money, serious money, to be made in taking bets on sporting events.

Just ask Leonard Stango, a 68-year-old South Philadelphian who quietly ran a sports book that over a three-year period beginning in 2006 generated over $5 million. That, according to authorities, was just a slice of Stango's business which Assistant U.S. Attorney Nancy Potts wrote "spanned years" and generated "significant profits -- over $2 million tax free."

Stango's case offers a glimpse into the economics of bookmaking. It's part of a financial world often dominated by organized crime. But it's one in which low-key operators can generate significant income without attracting the attention of either the wiseguys or the feds.

Leonard Stango may have been one of those operators.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

The Roundup


A weekly tab of what's
going on in the courts.

By Shealyn Kilroy
For BigTrial.net


Philadelphia District Attorney:
 

Two former Philadelphia cops were scheduled for trial this week, according to the District Attorney’s office. Sean McKnight and Kevin Robinson are charged with aggravated assault, tampering with public records and other charges related to the beating of a man.

In May 2013, McKnight and Robinson pulled over Najee Rivera, 21, in Fairhill. In early 2015, Rivera’s girlfriend brought surveillance video to police that didn't line up with the officers’ accounts of the incident. In Rivera’s testimony, he acknowledged that he was driving his scooter the wrong way on North Sixth Street but didn’t know why the officers were pulling him over. Video shows the officers knocking Rivera off the scooter from the patrol car. The officers then got out of the police car and “threw elbows” at Rivera, striking his face on a brick wall. Rivera suffered broken eye-socket bone and stitches to numerous facial cuts.

After the incident, Rivera lost his job at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city, which the city agreed to settle for $200,000. Rivera died Dec. 20, 15 days after he was shot in a street fight at C and Somerset Streets in Kensington. The jury has not reached a verdict, and deliberations will continue Monday.



Monday, April 4, 2016

The D.A.'s Dog And Pony Show And The Piles He Left Behind

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

The D.A. put on quite a dog and pony show today.

But when the dog and pony departed the stage, they left behind a few fragrant manure piles.

The first pile dropped when the D.A. and four assistant district attorneys told a room full of reporters and TV camera crews that the Feb. 7th brawl at the Recess Lounge, featuring Shady McCoy and a couple of off-duty cops, was just another routine case. And that the D.A. treated it just like he would any other investigation. As in, just the facts, ma'am.

Yeah, right. We're talking about a barroom brawl over a $350 bottle of pink champagne that featured a celebrity pro football player and a couple of off-duty cops who got beaten up. It's a story that made it onto WIP, TMZ and ESPN, as well as The Washington Post, and every pro football blog in the country.

Our D.A. is a well-known publicity hound. And we all know that R. Seth Williams doesn't devote nine weeks and assign at least a half-dozen ADAs and a bunch of detectives to investigate every barroom brawl.

So please Mr. D.A., don't try and tell us what we're smelling after your press conference is a bunch of daisies.

Shady Walks

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

Expect to see puffs of white smoke today emanating from the district attorney's office.

According to multiple sources, after nine weeks of investigating a ten-minute bar fight, the prosecutors, detectives and politicians in the D.A.'s office, have finally reached a consensus. According to multiple sources, the district attorney will call a press conference this afternoon to announce that NFL star running back LeSean "Shady" McCoy and his buddies will not face any criminal charges as a result of a Feb. 7th brawl at the Recess Lounge.

In February, both the mayor and the president of the Fraternal Order of Police, after seeing a 30-second cell pone video posted on TMZ Sports, had called for McCoy to be arrested for the brawl that resulted in serious injuries to two off-duty police officers.

But after nine weeks of investigation, the district attorney's office has concluded that because there's such a cacophony of versions of what happened inside the Recess Lounge, no single account can be discerned, much less proven. So no successful prosecution can be brought

From the outset, the D.A's investigation has been hampered because the off-duty officers involved in the fracas supposedly had been drinking, not only at the Recess Lounge, according to witnesses, but also at another Old City bar earlier in the evening. There was also a witness report that one of the off-duty cops at the bar was packing a gun, in violation of department policy.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Battaglini Gets Another Day In Court

By George Anastasia
For BigTrial.net

Gary Battaglini's never been to law school but the one-time South Philadelphia bookmaker has apparently learned to speak legalese.

And speak it fairly well.

Filing motions on his own behalf, Battaglini has won the right to an evidentiary hearing that he hopes will result in either his conviction being overturned or will earn him a reduced sentence or a new trial.

If you're taking book on it, make it a longshot. But that hasn't stopped the soft spoken but street-savvy Battaglini from trying. The hearing, on his rule 2255 motion, is tentatively set for Thursday morning before Judge Eduardo Robreno who presided over the mob racketeering trial in 2012 that ended with Battaglini, 54, and three others being convicted. Battaglini was sentenced to eight years.

As he had throughout the trial, Battaglini from prison has continued to insist that his conviction was without merit and that he was swept away in an anti-Mafia prosecution in which the feds played fast and loose with the rules.

Among other things, inmate Battaglini, from his prison cell, filed a civil against his chief prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank Labor 3d, and FBI Agent John Augustine alleging they withheld and distorted evidence that could have resulted in his acquittal.

In a move that demonstrated the legal equivalent of chutzpah, Battaglini sought $1.5 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. The suit was dismissed as baseless shortly after it was filed.


Saturday, April 2, 2016

The Roundup

A weekly tab of what's
going on in the courts.

By Shealyn Kilroy
For BigTrial.net



Christopher Haas
A Villanova professor has been charged with possession of hundreds of child pornography images, according to Radnor Township police.

Christopher Haas, 60, an Associate Professor of History and Classical Studies, was charged with 415 counts of sexual child abuse. David Tedjeske, Villanova Director of Public Safety, says the university monitors its networks for illegal and suspicious activity and that is how they were alerted of Haas' activity, 6abc reports.

“A faculty member in the history and classical studies department accessed child pornography from a computer in the common area of an office in the Saint Augustine Center in the center of campus,” Tedjeske said.

Homeland Security had been conducting an ongoing investigation since 2012 after receiving information that Haas’ was accessing on child porn on his home computer. Haas' arraignment is scheduled for April 27.

 

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