Feature Articles

October 2016
Dual Mission:
A True Story about a Secret Service Agent
and His Investigative Experiences to Include His Battle with the New York Mafia!

      By Nino Perrotta

Nino Perrotta

Nino Perrotta is a highly accomplished law enforcement professional with more than 20 years of experience in military, security and protective services, with expertise in threat analysis/mitigation, physical and facility security, major event logistics and VIP travel. Nino has successfully conducted complex investigations both domestically and abroad. He has a proven track record and ability to liaise with diverse stakeholders across agencies and countries.

* * *

Dual Mission was written after Playboy magazine did an exclusive on my prepaid calling card investigation, which was featured in their September 2014 issue. Although the story had some great highlights, there were a few key investigative points that were not completely accurate and Dual Mission sets it straight. Nonetheless, at the time, I was so excited that they were writing a story about my work as a Special Agent, I didn't bother to push back...It was an honor to have a major magazine write about my work.
Dual Mission available at Amazon
Dual Mission

I wanted to set the record straight on both the challenges I personally faced as a young agent who was completely dedicated to working investigations in NYC for an agency; United States Secret Service that had a primary mission of protecting the President of the United States of America. I also wanted to explain the great work we accomplished during a period of time that was not only in the past but gone for ever since our office was destroyed years later by the horrific act of September 11, 2001.

So with a great deal of fortitude and commitment, I embarked on making cases wherever and whenever possible. The investigation into low-level mobsters and associates of the Gambino Crime Family started with my contributions as a task force member to the New York State Organized Crime Task Force and later when asked to re-join the team as a Secret Service Special Agent where the focus was on John Gotti "junior" and an unknown fraud he and others committed. These accomplishments were a total dream come true since as a young child I dreamed about being a mob buster since my personal exposed to the elements of La Cosa Nostra at the family business left a bitter taste.
Nino & fellow Agent
Nino & fellow Agent in Hungary

The book weaves the reader from my time in Sofia, Bulgaria fighting Russian and Bulgarian organized crime to my mom and dad's "Salumeria" Deli to various cases along the way. But the meat of the book is the challenges I faced with the daily need to balance the dual mission of the Secret Service. Here is a secret; you cannot do both missions of the Secret Service protection and investigations at the same time successfully. Many on the job may want you to believe it is possible and I am telling you it cannot be done. Today more than ever before with cyber crimes and financial fraud to include the counterfeiting of U.S. currency all being perpetrated in cyber space all at lightning speed across a borderless transnational arenas, you cannot be a “jack of all trades” and expect to successfully conduct investigations and do protection and compromise your work...

Dual Mission provides the inside look at what really happened during the Gambino crime family investigation that basically started as a low level gambling case that primarily focused on a target known as Lenny Minuto. Lenny was a Lucchese crime family associate. In 1993 there was a great deal of “fall out” regarding corruption within the boxing world and at the time the Gambino’s had a tight grip on the sport and they had interest in regaining that hold.

Initially after the U.S. Secret Service unsuccessfully tasked two seasoned agents to look into the new fraud evidence provided by the New York Organized Crime Task Force. Ercole “Echo” Guadioso, who was a member and also a retired NYPD Sgt., and mentor in frustration called me in confidence and asked me once again to persuade the New York Field Office of the Secret Service in allowing me to handle the investigation. He wanted me back on the the team and the case. In addition, both Vince Heintz as well as Echo wanted the Secret Service to join them in the battle against organized crime.

Within a short period of time on the job, the Secret Service New York Field Office top brass were already looking at me as a “up and coming” star and with that credibility in place, I was able to successfully walk in to my immediate supervisor’s office of Assistant to the Special Agent in Charge Marty Walsh and successfully pitch the case and allowing me to run with it. WALSH a great man who had trust in me ultimately giving me the green light to proceed and I honestly never looked back.

Within months that evidence that Echo wanted me to look into was unraveled and I had basically recreated the fraud scheme. I identified and interviewed witnesses and simultaneously provided the U.S. Attorney’s Office the necessary support to other elements of the case. Heck I knew every part of the case and recall a day when Special Assistant United States Attorney Vince Heintz’s keen eye spotted Gambino soldier Craig DePalma driving away from Federal court house while under house detention. Heintz realizing that DePlama was not heading immediately began to follow him. Within seconds after Vince briefed me of the situation I ask for assistance from SA Michael Breslin who was in close proximity to Vince and with Michael’s help we successfully located DePalma with little surprise he was meeting with a construction owner and other mob associates. In fairness Heintz later admitted that he had called the FBI to assist and they regrettably declined stating they would need to get approval to activate a surveillance team.

Later in the investigation when I placed my focus on Denny McLain, it was clearly obvious from months of interaction with Denny, that the man was a career fraudster and that he had intentionally “busted out” his company, Tel Central Communication. McLain who was already serving federal time claimed he was ready to give up on members of Cosa Nostra to include John Gotti “Junior” and folks like Genovese crime family Alphonse “Allie Shades” Malangone. Denny’s intent was to satisfy the mobsters with there bust out scheme since they had the distribution muscles but Denny through intercepted conversations continually intentionally failed to properly equip his firm to successfully commit the large scale fraud the mafia had intended to execute. So although they had busted MCI and other telecommunication carriers for millions of dollars in a short period of time, Gotti and other mobsters had all the intentions to do far greater damage for starters with Gotti’s card; the Liberty Tel and others already in the pipe line
Nino at 7 WTC
Here I am at 7 WTC with the baseball cap a signature look! I got SA Chris Funk behind me SA Pete Cavicchia to his right and SA Mike Ball to my left! The dream team!
Just to briefly describe the phone card scheme, a typical phone-card firm likes Tel Central contracts with a long-distance provider with the intent to sell thousands of cards to consumers. They immediately ramp up the distribution, which is controlled by the mob and also by selling phone cards at below market long distant rates. Then within 3 to 4 months because the company fails to pay the carrier, the customers' cards are deactivated because the carrier shuts down serve. In addition to Tel Central, Communications Network Corp. (Conetco) began selling phone cards in the summer of 1995, and by spring of 1996 it was activating more than $20 million worth of cards a month.

When Conetco went bankrupt late in 1996, it left WorldCom with more than a $94 million in unpaid invoices. So within basically 6 months the mob realized that with false excuse of hey we made bad business decisions and muddies the waters with excuses like those McLain used where he accused the carriers of over billing and you have the “key” ingredients for success!!!...Now what the mob didn’t realize was that as they were scheming, they were being recorded by OCTF.

At the time, Brooklyn federal grand jury was investigating the alleged fraud and later this was folded into my investigation. We knew from “sources” that the firm was tied to a Gambino crime family now headed by Gotti “Junior”. Other reputed Gambino mobsters tied to the firm include Joseph (Joe the German) Watts and John (Jackie the Nose) D'Amico, sources say.

The prepaid calling card case evidence and cooperating witnesses to include the wiretaps would have buried the New York mob. So during the plea deal due to restitution both Gotti senior and his son junior, were not going to allow the Gambino’s to plea to the phone card scam. This was fine with me since if it weren’t for the 1995 wiretap affidavit that I swore too Gotti “Junior” would never have been indicted in 1998 but then again what do I know…

I hope you enjoy Dual Mission. It can be purchased via on line at Amazon books!



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