Tag Archives: mafia

Top Trump business adviser admitted role in Mafia-linked stock fraud scheme

Donald Trump tapped a man to be a senior business adviser to his real-estate empire even after the man’s past involvement in a major mafia-linked stock fraud scheme had become publicly known, according to Associated Press interviews and a review of court records.

Portions of Trump’s relationship with Felix Sater, a convicted felon and government informant, have been previously known. Trump worked with the company where Sater was an executive, Bayrock Group LLC, after it rented office space from the Trump Organization as early as 2003. Sater’s criminal history was effectively unknown to the public at the time, because a judge kept the relevant court records secret and Sater altered his name.

When Sater’s criminal past and mafia links came to light in 2007, Trump distanced himself from Sater.

But less than three years later, Trump renewed his ties with Sater. Sater presented business cards describing himself as a senior adviser to Donald Trump, and he had an office on the same floor as Trump’s own office in New York’s Trump Tower, The Associated Press learned through interviews and court records.

Trump said during an AP interview on Wednesday that he recalled only bare details of Sater.

“Felix Sater, boy, I have to even think about it,” Trump said, referring questions about Sater to his staff. “I’m not that familiar with him.”

According to Trump lawyer Alan Garten, Sater’s role was to prospect for high-end real estate deals for the Trump Organization. The arrangement lasted six months, Garten said.

The revelation about Sater’s role is significant because of its timing and directness, and marks the first time the Trump Organization has acknowledged publicly that Sater worked for Trump after the disclosures of Sater’s criminal background. Trump has said that among his secrets of success is that he surrounds himself with the “best and most serious people” and with “people you can trust.”

Sater never had an employment agreement or formal contract with the Trump Organization and did not close any deals for Trump, Garten said.

“He was trying to restart his life,” Garten said. “I believe he was regretful of things that happened in the past.”

Trump did not know the details of Sater’s cooperation with the government when Sater came in-house in 2010, Garten said. But Garten noted that U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch praised Sater’s cooperation with the federal government, when senators asked about him during her confirmation hearings early this year. She said Sater cooperated against his mafia stock fraud co-defendants and assisted the government on unspecified national security matters.

“If Mr. Sater was good enough for the government to work with, I see no reason why he wasn’t good enough for Mr. Trump,” Garten said.

He pleaded guilty in 1998 to one count of racketeering for his role in a $40 million stock fraud scheme involving the prominent Genovese and Bonanno crime families, according to court records. Prosecutors called the operation a pump-and-dump scheme, in which insiders manipulate the price of obscure stocks and then sell them to hapless investors at inflated prices. Five years earlier, a New York State court had sentenced Sater to more than a year in prison for stabbing a man in the face with a broken margarita glass.

Sater declined to discuss his work with Trump.

“Obviously a Donald-and-the-bad-guy piece is not interesting for me to participate in,” Sater wrote in an email to AP. His lawyer, Robert Wolf, said information about Sater in public records and lawsuits obtained by the AP was defamatory. He credited Sater’s stint as a government cooperator with potentially saving American military lives, although he did not provide details. Wolf told the AP to write about Sater’s past “at your own risk” but did not cite specific concerns.

After his 1998 racketeering conviction, Sater spent more than a decade as an informant on the mafia and on national security-related matters. Federal prosecutors kept even the existence of Sater’s racketeering case out of publicly available court records for 14 years.

During that time, Sater launched a luxury real estate development career. Sealed court records prevented potential customers or partners from learning about his past association with organized crime. Sater altered his name, to Satter, and became a top executive in Bayrock, a development firm that partnered with Trump on the Trump Soho high-rise hotel in Manhattan and other branded luxury real estate deals.

Civil lawsuits have alleged that Bayrock engaged in a pattern of misconduct during Sater’s tenure, sometimes involving potential Trump projects. Bayrock’s attorney told AP the firm did not mislead anyone about Sater’s past and denied any misconduct.

The firm has not yet responded to a version of the complaint refiled in U.S. court last month.

Trump’s lawyer, Garten, said Trump had no knowledge of alleged improprieties at Bayrock or reason to believe that Sater was a major stakeholder in Bayrock’s projects. Trump only learned of Sater’s troubled past when The New York Times reported details in December 2007. In the article, Trump distanced himself from Sater, saying: “I didn’t really know him very well.”

Garten said Trump had no further interactions with Sater at Bayrock following the revelations of his criminal history. But a new relationship was formed in 2010 when Trump offered Sater office space and a chance to round up new business possibilities for the Trump Organization.

“The guy’s been in business a long time, he’s got a lot of contacts,” Garten said of Sater.

Full Article – http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2015/12/04/top-trump-business-adviser-admitted-role-in-mafia-linked-stock-fraud-scheme.html

Since Obama can’t handle ISIS, what say we outsource the job to the mafia?

POSTED AT 2:01 PM ON NOVEMBER 29, 2015 BY JAZZ SHAW

A significant majority of the country recently spoke up in a NY Times/CBS poll saying that they had essentially given up hope that the President was going to figure out what to do about the JV Team. These perceptions were likely buttressed a bit when the White House informed us that ISIS was largely “contained” just hours before they lit up Paris like a pinball machine. So maybe we need a new approach? Anonymous apparently declared war on the terrorists recently, though aside from ruining their credit rating I’m not sure exactly what they’re going to accomplish. But lo and behold, a new force is stepping up to the plate and may be positioned to do something a little more… forceful. It arrives in the person of Giovanni Gambino (yes, from those Gambinos) and if nothing else he seems to have the messaging right. (Apologies for NSFW language in graphic and several quotes to come.)

“These people are like walking machines. ISIS brainwashes them through the Internet,” Giovanni Gambino told Mic of the terrorist threat. “You need to beat the fuck out of them to the point where they stop coming back to life.”

Gambino, a prolific author of mob history and a scion of the family that saw the rise of the likes of John Gotti and Paul Castellano, said the nature of the mob made it fundamentally better equipped than traditional law enforcement to handle a threat like ISIS.

“Back in the day, probably the safest place ever was an old Sicilian neighborhood like Bensonhurst or Knickerbocker Ave.,” said Gambino of two Brooklyn neighborhoods. “We got our kids going to those schools. We got families in those neighborhoods.”

Read Full Article – http://hotair.com/archives/2015/11/29/since-obama-cant-handle-isis-what-say-we-outsource-the-job-to-the-mafia/

Italian wiretaps suggest that Toronto is on the verge of a mafia war

October 29, 2015

The long tentacles of the infamous Calabrian mafia are causing trouble in Canada. According to Italian prosecutors, the Toronto outposts of the ‘Ndrangheta crime syndicate may be preparing for armed confrontation.

Wiretaps recorded by Italian investigators show that following a high-profile mob killing in a Toronto suburb in 2014, tensions between mafia families from Italy’s Calabria region are brewing, Canada’s National Post reports.

The conversations of an accused mob member who returned to Italy from Toronto “seriously highlight the danger of an escalation of an armed conflict within the coterie of ’Ndrangheta clans,” Italian prosecutors concluded, “particularly among the Coluccio and the Figliomeni (clans).”

The Italian prosecutors, who prepared a series of documents as part of a sweeping anti-mafia case, said the escalation follows the murder of Carmine Verduci, a big mafioso in the Toronto area. The prosecutors are cooperating with Canadian police.

The National Post spoke to Toronto law enforcement, who haven’t noticed any increased activity among Italian organized crime figures.

Earlier this year, Canadian police broke up a ‘Ndrangheta drug ring, arresting 19 alleged high-level members of the criminal network. According to The National Post, there are at least seven primary ‘Ndrangheta clans in Toronto, supplying a “continuous flow of cocaine.” The Calabrian mafia is among the most powerful criminal organizations in the world. According to one estimate, in 2013 the clans made more than McDonald’s and Deutsche Bank put together.

Read Full Article – http://qz.com/536460/italian-wiretaps-suggest-that-toronto-is-on-the-verge-of-a-mafia-war/

Meet the Oldfathers: How 30 years after Goodfellas heist, veteran Mafia men

By ROB CRILLY FOR DAILYMAIL.COM

Meet the Oldfathers: How 30 years after Goodfellas heist, veteran Mafia men struggled to use modern cell phones and got bartered down to $3,000 in a shakedown

 

  • Testimony in trial of Vincent Asaro, 80, who is accused of receiving money from notorious heist, revealed reality of modern Mafia life
  • His cousin Gaspare ‘Handsome’ Valenti, 68, who is a turncoat, revealed how Asaro hated ‘tiny keys’ of his mobile phone
  • Valenti told of meeting in Starbucks where he couldn’t drink the coffee because it would make him ‘wired’ 
  • They demanded payment of $5,000 debt from family member but he talked it down to $3,000 
  • Prosecution say Asaro was ‘made member of Bonnano family’ and involved in raid at New York‘s JFK airport which inspired Goodfellas

Three decades after allegedly pulling off one of the cash biggest robberies in American history, the men accused of stealing more than $6m in the Lufthansa heist were reduced to shaking down relatives for a few thousand dollars, according to secret recordings.

Vincent Asaro, 80, denies multiples charges of extortion, murder and violence that prosecutors believe spanned four decades as a key figure in Bonanno crime family.

The case against him is built on recordings made by his alleged associate Gaspare ‘Handsome’ Valenti, who wore an FBI wire for five years.

While the early evidence was a reminder of the power once wielded by New York’s five crime families, the later recordings show how the world of the mafia hood has changed.

Aging associates struggle to deal with mobile phones and meetings are held at Starbucks, rather than the social clubs favored during the 1970s and 1980s – and one could not even drink the coffee, saying it would leave him ‘wired’.

On the second day of the trial in Brooklyn, Valenti, 68, testified in minute detail how he had taken part in the Lufthansa raid – a robbery later dramatised in the Martin Scorsese film Goodfellas – with Asaro.

But on Wednesday, he described a modest endeavor 32 years later: helping Asaro obtain money from a cousin, Carmine ‘Skippy’ Muscarello, who had inherited a house.

The episode began with Valenti, now 68, telephoning Asaro on his mobile phone in October 2010, to discover he was shopping in a local market for the ingredients for soup.

Ansaro answered: ‘I’m in Waldbaum’s. I’m shopping, I’m going to make lentil soup. I just bought lentils and some orzo and s***.’

They discussed the deal in a series of phonecalls, some apparently ending abruptly with dropped signals. Asaro said Skippy had promised him an ‘end’ – or a share – amounting to $5000 when he sold the house in Brooklyn.

fat

Valenti agreed to visit Asaro at his office in Long Island City where he was a manager for an electrical contractor. Perhaps he would wear a suit, he said.

‘Just be a gentleman,’ he added, ‘but do you want me to… you don’t want to get… uh?

‘No, no, no,’ answered Ansaro. ‘But let him understand that we want our money. I mean it Gar, I mean really he promised it to us. If you have to, then do it, that’s all.’

Valenti wore a wire to the meeting.

After waiting as Skippy orders parts on the telephone, he said: ‘Vinny wants this money. He felt he had the money coming to him.

‘Look, we did a lot of things for you… your brother, when Johnny was in trouble… ‘That’s not my debt,’ said Skippy. ‘That’s the only one that…

‘May your brother rest… ‘That’s my brother’s debt.’ ‘Wait. May your brother rest in peace…’

Valenti persuaded Skippy to speak with Asaro on his new mobile phone, but struggles to get through.

‘They made these numbers any smaller… it’s for Braille,’ Asaro can be heard saying.

Later he added: ‘I just got this phone the other day. It’s driving me crazy.’

drawmafia

Eventually Skippy spoke to Asaro and then said he was ready to write a check for $3000.

‘I’m gonna settle up with him but I don’t wanna here from you ever again, you understand? All right? All right?

They arranged to meet the following day, at a Starbucks on Cross Bay Boulevard, Queens.

‘You ever have any problems, you know exactly what you gotta do. You call me, Vinny or Jerry, and they’ll be there for you.’

They meet the next day at Starbucks, where Skippy produced the check.

Valenti has to apologise for leaving his coffee, which he explained would make him ‘wired’.

For Full Article – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3283389/Meet-Oldfathers-30-years-Goodfellas-heist-Mafia-men-struggled-use-modern-cell-phones-moaned-Starbucks-coffee-got-bartered-3-000-shakedown.html

 

‘Goodfellas’ heist case could be last old-school Mafia trial

 

Accused “Goodfellas” mobster Vincent Asaro personally handed off a case stuffed with jewelry from the infamous 1978 Lufthansa heist to future Bonanno boss Joey Massino, a witness testified Monday as the first ever trial in the long unsolved crime got underway in Brooklyn federal court.

Veteran mafia snitch Salvatore “Good Lookin’ Sal” Vitale took riveted jurors inside the more than $6 million heist that gained legendary status after its depiction in Martin Scorsese’s 1990 film.

“When Joe got in the car he had the case that Vinny gave him,” Vitale testified. “He had it in his lap…He opened up the case and he showed me all kinds of chains and he said ‘this is from the Lufthansa score.’”

Later that day, Vitale went to Massino’s Queens house and was shown a portion of the breathtaking haul.

“All of the jewelry was laid out on the dining room table,” Vitale said, griping that Massino tossed him just one measly necklace as a gift. “He was always a big spender,” Vitale quipped.
Eager to convert the glittering booty into cash, Vitale said he and Massino took a ride to Manhattan shortly after the big JFK score.

“A couple of days later I drove Joey to the diamond district on Canal Street and after I parked we entered into a jewelry store,” Vitale said. “There was a guy there — him and Joe went in the back with the case and I never saw the case again.”

Full article – http://nypost.com/2015/10/19/goodfellas-heist-case-could-be-last-old-school-mafia-trial/