As Italy mourns thousands of coronavirus dead, and survivors brace for life in an economic wasteland, one rung of society looks to win big: organised crime.
“The Italian mafia can turn threats into opportunities,” top government anti-mafia investigator Giuseppe Governale told AFP.
Over 10,000 people have died in Italy of the flu-like disease, which has forced the country into a lockdown that is devastating the eurozone’s third largest economy.
From the historic Cosa Nostra in Sicily, to the immensely powerful ‘Ndrangheta in Calabria and trigger-happy Camorra in Naples, Italy’s mafias were “caught on the back foot (by the virus), but are now organising themselves,” Governale said.
The Economist Intelligence Unit said Thursday it expected Italy’s GDP to contract by a colossal seven percent for the year. Italian experts say some 65 percent of Italian small and medium businesses are at risk of bankruptcy.
Genovese turncoat Michael “Cookie” D’Urso, who is now using a different identity after testifying against the mob, wrote an open letter to his former colleagues, warning them against trying to take revenge.
D’Urso, 49, apparently heard that members of the Genovese family were discussing his new name and whereabouts at an Upper East Side steakhouse.
“I am ready, able and willing to defend my family and myself,” D’Urso threatens in the letter, first obtained by Gang Land News. “A bat and a knife won’t help you so you will have to use a gun.”
D’Urso was an up-and-coming gangster when, in 1994, he survived a bullet to the head over a gambling debt during a predawn card game in a Williamsburg social club. The hit also killed a beloved cousin, but the mob family wouldn’t allow D’Urso to seek retribution, an episode he alludes to in the letter.
He says the acting boss of the Genoveses, Frank “Farby” Serpico, threatened to assassinate him, which drove D’Urso to begin wearing a wire in 1998.
The FBI has issued a warning for Americans to be wary of “confidence/romance scams,” after the Bureau saw a 70% annual rise in reported fraud, where dating sites were used to trick victims into sending money, purchasing items or even laundering or muling money for people met online. The shift from basic fraud to money laundering is a significant worry for U.S. law enforcement and represents a nasty twist in the age-old problem of romance scams.
In 2018, more than 18,000 complaints were received with losses totalling more than $362 million. And, to state the obvious, this is likely the tip of the iceberg. For every reported incident there will be others where victims don’t come forward.
In particular the FBI warns, threat actors “often use online dating sites to pose as U.S. citizens located in a foreign country, U.S. military members deployed overseas, or U.S. business owners seeking assistance with lucrative investments.”
Read Full Article – https://www.forbes.com/sites/zakdoffman/2019/08/06/fbi-warns-americans-as-cyber-crime-on-dating-sites-up-a-massive-70/#351ad11a53e5
A Mafia bust — believed to be the biggest in the Canadian province of Ontario — has resulted in 15 arrests and the seizure of homes and sports cars worth $33 million.
“Project Sindicato” targeted the Figliomeni crime family which has links to Italy’s notorious ‘Ndrangehta Mafia clan in Italy, York Regional Police announced Thursday.
“(The Figliomeni crime family) has benefitted from generations of crime to live a glamorous and indulgent lifestyle at the expense of law-abiding citizens,” Police Chief Eric Jolliffe said, according to the Toronto Sun. “We have dismantled the financial structure of this organized crime organization both here and in Italy.”
The investigation led to separate arrests of 12 individuals in Calabria, Italy, according to CTV News. Those arrests were announced Wednesday by Italian State Police.
York Police launched the investigation 18 months ago in response to a spike in shootings and arsons in Vaughan, a city north of Toronto, CTV reported.
Those arrested were accused of operating nearly a dozen illegal backroom gambling dens in various cafes and extending loans to tapped-out gamblers at extortionate rates who were then threatened with harm if they didn’t pay up, CTV reported.
The arrests included the reputed head of the crime family, Angelo Figliomeni, who was charged with directing a criminal organization, money laundering and fraud, police said.
Read Full Article From – https://www.foxnews.com/world/biggest-mafia-bust-in-canada-nets-15-arrests-33-million-worth-of-homes-and-cars