Mob Life Imitating Mob Art

The Con

A friend once told me to write everything I didn’t need to remember down.  Why waste the finite memory in the short and long term memory to remember to gets new socks in the morning when the ink in the black pen and the pad of paper have already been paid for?

There are some things, however, that should never be put on paper.  Things like criminal confessions, names of associates, private numbers and safe houses of people on the run from the government etc.  Do you think the Sons of Liberty kept a written list of their members when the Red Coats were hunting Sam, John, Hiam, John and the rest of the boys?  Hell no.  They spread the word face to face lest the Brits know where to search.

A modern version of why not to write anything down can be found in the 1995 mob film Casino.  The film chronicles the fall of the Mafia’s control of Las Vegas due to various procedural errors.  These mistakes include the Kansas City mob boss who is in charge of the ‘skim’ (the money taken off the top of the Vegas casino profits in the back counting rooms).  He writes down all of the information from his trips to Vegas, names, amounts, places, people etc.  As if this wasn’t bad enough, he is caught on an FBI wiretap telling his mother and another associate about his ledger and other crimes.

This error in judgment leads to a major mob trial where the bosses of various Midwestern crime families are convicted of various crimes.  The bosses are forced to clean house i.e. kill the underlings in charge of the skim and caused other problems in the first place – in order to mitigate the damage done.

16 years later, it seems the lessons of Casino have been lost on a current mob associate.

(From the New York Post)

He gives new meaning to the term “organized crime.’’

A bumbling Bonanno bad guy bizarrely listed all of his contacts — from capos to consiglieres — in a Rolodex, The Post has learned.

Not-so-wiseguy Mike “The Butcher” Virtuoso recorded every one of the names, numbers, nicknames and even mob titles in a file so complete that the FBI agents who stumbled on it felt like they’d discovered a gold mine.

Putting all of that classified information into writing “was an incredibly stupid thing [for Virtuoso] to do,’’ a source told The Post.

The treasure trove was discovered in “The Butcher’s’’ butcher shop, Graham Avenue Meats & Deli, in Williamsburg.

The meticulously detailed “Rolodexes” and “address books” listed contact information for “members and associates of organized crime,” according to the feds.

He didn’t even bother to code or otherwise try to disguise his entries.

“For example, a slip of paper within one Rolodex contained the handwritten entry ‘Capo Lucchese’ and the names ‘Johnny Sideburns Cerello’ and ‘Glenn the Wheel Guadagno,’ ” Assistant US Attorney Stephen Frank wrote to a judge.

“Both men are convicted felons associated with the Lucchese organized crime family, and John Cerrella, also known as ‘Johnny Sideburns,’ is a captain in that family,” Frank wrote.

Now the feds plan to use the Rolodexes and address books to prove that Virtuoso is an ex-con with the kind of mobbed-up friends who make him a serious danger to the community.

They want Judge Sandra Townes to deny the butcher’s bail request and keep him jailed as he awaits trial on extortion charges for allegedly threatening several debtors. A bail hearing is scheduled for today.

Virtuoso’s phone lists comprise a “Who’s Who” of the sort of guys you don’t want to meet in a dark alley, the feds suggest.

His many entries include Anthony “Little Anthony” Pipitone, acting capo of the Bonanno family, feds say.

There also is an entry for Pipitone’s brother, Vito, a Bonanno associate, and for “Vito Adamo,” which lists the phone number for Vito Badamo, a made member of the family, prosecutors say.

Among the numbers scrawled in the Rolodex are several for Angelo Speciale, who was convicted in Italy of group sexual assault and armed robbery, the feds say.

Virtuoso also dabbled in something akin to “Mafia scrapbooking,” the feds say.

FBI agents found newspaper clippings in his shop about cases involving a variety of mobsters, including articles on the conviction of Bonanno boss Vincent “Vinny Gorgeous” Basciano and another about acting boss Sal “The Iron Worker” Montagna, prosecutors say.

Virtuoso’s lawyer maintains that his client has an “impeccable work history” and has never admitted being a mobster.

 The feds disagree and plan to argue that Virtuoso is actively involved in the day-to-day operations of the New York mob.

Virtuoso was more circumspect in his phone chats, talking to Speciale in Italian in one conversation recorded by the feds.

“I’m telling you, let’s not talk about these things,” Virtuoso said in the call. “When you come here, then we’ll talk about them. Understand?”

And this guy was a Virtuoso of what, stupidity?




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