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· "Sperm Gate" Case Closed
Gigante Poll
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· This Week in Mob History
· Trials and Tribulations

LAST ISSUE 4-22-02


"Sperm Gate" Case Closed

     With the sentencing of former Allenwood Prison guard Troy Kemmerer on April 17, "Sperm Gate" has officially come to a close. The investigation began in the late 1990s after Kevin Granato, a convicted hitman for the Colombo Family, showed off his baby daughter to other inmates. The problem was Granato had been in prison for the past ten years.

     Enter the Parlavecchios – Maria and Antonino. In 1992 Antonino was sentenced to 14 years on a racketeering conviction and sent to Allenwood. Six years into his term, while Maria was fast approaching 40, Antonino heard about the sperm smuggling scheme and approached Kemmerer.

     Acting as the go-between was John Alite, a released prisoner who had served time with Parlavecchio. Alite provided Kemmerer with the sperm kits during the summer of 1998 paying him $300 each time he returned with the "contraband." To obtain the sperm kits, Maria convinced a laboratory in Minnesota that Antonino "was stricken with prostrate cancer and needed to preserve his semen before undergoing chemotherapy." Maria had been unsuccessful in three attempts at artificial insemination with the smuggled sperm.

     By this time the investigation was coming to a close. An inmate, cooperating with the authorities, had his "girlfriend," an undercover police officer, offer Kemmerer $5,000 to smuggle out her "boyfriend’s" sperm. In October 2000 Kemmerer was indicted. Over the next few months eleven others were indicted, including four guards who pled guilty. In December 2000 Maria Parlavecchio was indicted.

     An Associated Press story claimed, "To the government, the semen wasn’t a big deal; prosecutors were more concerned with rooting out corruption at the federal prison…"

     John Alite, who was given three months for his role, was represented by attorney Michael Pinsky, who among his other clients is alleged Philadelphia Family acting boss Joseph Ligambi. Pinsky told reporters, "The whole case wasn’t what was smuggled in, or what was smuggled out. It was important that there were guards for sale."

     Eugene P. Tinari, a Philadelphia attorney representing Maria Parlavecchio, stated, "Because of her strong desire to have a child, a previously law-abiding citizen [took] the risks involved in this case knowing she was breaking the law." Tinari claimed his client was desperate.

     When Maria Parlavecchio pleaded guilty she asked government prosecutors to return the remaining sperm samples which had been impounded in her doctor’s office. A judge denied the request. Instead of having her dream fulfilled to have a child, Maria was given a year of probation and denied visitation rights to see her husband. Parlavecchio will be 42 when her husband is released in 2004. At AmericanMafia.com we feel pretty certain of the activities the welcome home party will involve.

     Good luck, Maria.

Gigante Poll     ^TOP

     Two weeks ago AmericanMafia.com asked readers if Vincent "the Chin" Gigante flipped, what would be the first question you would ask him if given the opportunity. Surprisingly the two most popular questions involved his early career.

  1. Why did you only take one shot at Costello when you had the opportunity to finish him off?
  2. Was Tommy Eboli driving the getaway car, if not who was?
  3. Now that your new attorney has declared that you’re not insane, do you feel like an idiot carrying out this charade all these years?
  4. Since you were considered the most powerful mob boss after Castellano, if you had been successful in killing John Gotti, who would you have approved to become the new boss of the Gambino Family?
  5. Was "Fat Tony" really the boss or was he a figurehead?

     Of course my favorite question was "Did you have anything to do with the JFK assassination?"

     Okay, since we had such a nice response to that, let’s try this question. With Nicholas Gambino getting off in the stabbing of Anthony Federici, Jr., son of Genovese capo "Tough Tony" Federici, do you think there will be any further repercussions between the mob families?

Short Takes     ^TOP

Atlantic City - A couple of weeks ago AmericanMafia.com presented a story about the "Black Book" of Atlantic City. We have found a great website that lists all the entries into this "Exclusion List." The site is http://www.state.nj.us/lps/ge/exclude1.htm. What’s so great about this site is that you can click on the name and a photo and some personal information will pop up. It also lists the reason this person was added to the exclusion list. For those of you who have not seen this before, have fun.

Detroit – The US 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati ruled on April 15 that Detroit Mafia Family members Paul Corrado, Anthony Corrado and Nove Tocco were liable for money which was extorted from bookies. In 1998 the men were convicted along with Jack Tocco and Vito Giacalone of RICO acts. However, US District Judge John Corbett O’Meara ruled that the defendants’ assets were not subject to seizure. In September 2000 the Appeals Court reversed that decision as it pertained to Jack Tocco and Vito Giacalone. The decision was expanded two weeks ago to include the three other mobsters. The money that the government can go after, which the Mafia members also extorted from a Toledo trucking company, is in excess of $1.2 million.

Las Vegas – The soap opera that has become the Ted Binion murder case continues. Following a motion to remove US District Court Judge Joseph Bonaventure, the judge filed an affidavit officially stating, "I have no implied or express malice toward Richard Tabish or Sandra Murphy that would prevent me from sitting in a fair and impartial manner on cases where they are defendants." Bonaventure gave his version of the now infamous August 1981 book-signing involving Las Vegas Sun reporter Jeff German’s Murder in Sin City. The judge stated that he and his law clerk, Al Lasso, went to the Horseshoe casino to purchase a copy "because all the bookstores were sold out." While there he declined a free copy offered to him by German. When several purchasers of the book saw the judge in line they asked him to autograph their copies. Bonaventure denied sitting with prosecutors David Roger and David Wall, who appeared with German at the scheduled autograph session. On April 18 Chief District Judge Mark Gibbons allowed Tabish’s Nevada attorney William Terry to withdraw from the case. Terry was replaced by Patrick Walsh of Carson City. Gibbons set a date of April 30 to hear attorney Tony Serra’s motion to have Bonaventure disqualified and Roger’s motion to have Serra removed.

On April 21 Tony Serra filed a motion with Judge Gibbons to force the FBI to turn over any documents that support a 1999 FBI affidavit that suggested there may have been additional suspects in the Binion murder. Jeff German reported, "Serra told Gibbons he wants every piece of information the FBI has on the former casino executive’s death so that he can pursue a motion seeking to overturn Tabish’s conviction based on newly discovered evidence." Prosecutor David Roger commented, "This is just another fishing expedition."

New York (1) – Embattled New York defense attorney Lynne F. Stewart received a vote of confidence from her infamous client Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano during a hearing on April 17 before Brooklyn Federal Judge Allyne Ross. When Ross asked Gravano if he wanted new representation the convicted drug dealer said, "no." Gravano pled guilty last year to his role in an ecstasy pill ring and has been awaiting his prison sentencing for months. Ross heard pre-sentencing arguments last month and was expected to sentence Gravano when Stewart was indicted on charges of "providing material support" to the terrorist organization of Omar Abdel Rahman. Judge Ross informed Gravano that she was appointing attorney Anthony L. Ricco "to advise him about the risks of continuing to be represented by Stewart." In papers filed by Assistant US Attorney Linda Lacewell the prosecutor stated that "no rational defendant would want to have Stewart remain as defense counsel." How Lacewell could conceive of Gravano, who did a measly five years for participating in 19 murders and then returned to a life of crime, as rational is beyond us at AmericanMafia.com. Lacewell’s argument was that because of Stewart’s indictment she "may have a motive to curry favor with the government in a way that is contrary to Gravano’s interests." In response to the government’s "curry favor" claim, Stewart said she told Gravano, "I think you know me well enough to know I’m not selling you out." Apparently the only "selling out" Stewart is doing is to the American people.

Meanwhile, Gravano is fuming because at the pre-sentencing hearing last month courtroom sketch artists made Sammy look more like a bald eagle than a bull. Gravano, whose hair has fallen out due to a thyroid condition the newspapers have identified as Graves disease, told the artists to make him look good. "You ruined me last time," claimed Sammy. "All my love letters stopped."

New York (2) – George Ludwigsen, the older brother of mob turncoat Chris Paciello, was sentenced to a year and a day in prison and ordered to pay $110,000 in restitution to two banks he was accused of burglarizing. Ludwigsen was an alleged member of the once infamous Bath Avenue crew, which was associated with the Bonanno Family. It was members of the Bath Avenue Crew who became government witnesses and helped put away Bonanno Family consigliere Anthony Spero. On April 15 Spero was sentenced to life in prison by Brooklyn Federal Judge Edward Korman. Four days later, it was Korman who sentenced Ludwigsen. "I just want to say I’m sorry to my family, I haven’t been a good citizen," stated Ludwigsen. "You’ll never see me here again," he promised the judge. As he was leaving reporters asked if he had been in touch with his infamous brother. Ludwigsen snapped, "Speak to my lawyer."

New York (3) – It’s been a busy month for Brooklyn Federal Judge Edward Korman and a bad month for the Bonanno Family. In addition to sentencing Bonanno consigliere Anthony Spero and Bonanno associate George Ludwigsen, on April 23 Bonanno soldier Joseph Benanti was also sentenced. The 67 year-old Benanti was described as a close aide to Spero and allegedly passed on murder orders from him to the underlings who carried them out. In one instance Benanti ordered a hit on his own. Initially Korman was going to sentence the ailing mobster to life in prison, but Benanti’s lawyer David Stern (isn’t he the commissioner of the NBA?) claimed his client is suffering from degenerative dementia and pleaded for a reduced sentence. Korman relented and gave Benanti a stretch of 50 years. Benanti will have until the year 2052 when he is 117 years old to thing about his life of crime.

Philadelphia (1) – Here is additional information on what AM.com reported last week on William "Dust Bunny" Rinick. The assault case was held before Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge Thomas F. Gehret. After hearing testimony from the victim, Salvatore Abbruzzese, Jr., and several witnesses, Gehret found Rinick guilty of simple assault. However, the damage to Abbruzzese sounds far from simple. Kitty Caparella of the Philadelphia Daily News reported:

"Abbruzzese, who has no medical insurance, had two operations at Jefferson University Hospital to repair his crushed left cheek, jaw and eye socket, and was treated at Willis Eye Hospital for his damaged eye.

‘"I got nine screws and two plates in my face. I have an implant in my left eye, and I’m losing my sight,’ said Abbruzzese after the trial. His face remains numb and he continues to have headaches.

"His medical bills amount to $42,000, according to assistant District Attorney Edward Cameron. Plus another $5,000 for doctors visits and prescriptions."

Edwin Jacobs, Jr., Rinick’s attorney, called the encounter "a garden variety fight among friends." Right, Edwin! And Rinick’s reason for hiding under a bed in the Deborah Merlino household was to run a sting operation on bed bugs. Jacobs told the judge that he wanted to review the medical bills. He claimed Abbruzzese, "who has a drug problem," had been looking to capitalize on his injuries to obtain money. Meanwhile, Jacobs, who has a money-grubbing problem, is looking to capitalize on his client’s stupidity to obtain money.

Rinick is schedule for sentencing on July 10. He most likely will get probation and be ordered to pay restitution. However, Rinick is facing far more serious problems as a grand jury in Harrisburg will be deciding on whether or not to indict him for the October 31, 2001 murder of Adam Finelli, a South Philadelphia restaurant owner.

Philadelphia (2) – On April 22 Gaetano "Tommy Horsehead" Scafidi was given a thirty-month sentence. More on this and the life of the "Horsehead" next week.

This Week in Mob History     ^TOP

April 29, 1983 – Pasquale "Pat the Cat" Spirito, according to Nicholas "the Crow" Caramandi, was ordered killed by Philadelphia mob boss Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo for his failure to kill the Riccobenes during the Riccobene/Scarfo War during the early 1980s. Described as a "reluctant hit man," Spirito was murdered by Charles Iannece and Caramandi. See my story http://www.americanmafia.com/Allan_May_5-8-00.html


April 30, 1921 – James "Big Jim" Falcone was the first recognized mob boss of Youngstown, Ohio. On April 28 Falcone was standing in the doorway of his near-beer saloon talking to Dominic Testa, a long-time friend. Mary Falcone, his wife, was seated in an automobile just a few feet away. As the two men talked a man walked down the street and passed within five feet of Falcone. He pulled a gun and fired three shoots at the mob leader. One bullet hit Falcone in the right chest, puncturing his lung, another bullet him in the abdomen. Falcone lingered for two days before dying in St. Elizabeth’s Hospital.

April 30, 1931 – Mike "de Pike" Heitler was described by Capone biographer Robert J. Schoenberg, as a "swinish pimp." The onetime whoremaster in Chicago was pushed out of his operations by Capone. In early 1931 it was alleged that a disgruntled Heitler sent a letter to the State’s Attorney providing intimate details about Capone’s operations. A copy of the letter got back to Capone and Heitler’s charred body was identified only through dental records.

May 1, 1976 – James Erwin was victim #15 for prolific Chicago hitman Harry Aleman. Erwin, a 28 year-old ex-convict, was suspected of being involved in the murders of two local mobsters. Aleman and an accomplice shot Erwin 13 times as he stepped out of his car on North Halsted Street.

May 1, 1999 – Pasquale "Pat" Matassini, according to Tampa Mob expert Scott Deitche, was a local strip club owner and longtime mob associate. Matassini’s first arrest was in 1950 for a robbery he committed with Joe Bedami, Sr. Matassini had a long arrest record. He gave noted Tampa businessman Joseph Redner his start in the adult entertainment business. Matassini died of natural causes.

May 2, 1978 – Myron Mancuso, according to Organized Crime: 25 Years After Valachi, was found shot to death in Kansas City after attending a meeting with Carl Civella and Anthony Cardarella, a reputed hitman.

May 3, 1938 – Joseph Tocco, according to Organized Crime: 25 Years After Valachi, died a day after being shot in the back. His death was one of the major factors leading to the ultimate consolidation of power in the Detroit area by LCN Commission member Joseph Zerilli.

May 3, 1965 – Steve Ryan was a member of the St. Louis Egan Rats during the early 1920s. Jailed in 1924 for a mail truck robbery, which netted the gang $2.4 million in negotiable bonds, Ryan was released from Leavenworth on January 1, 1941. In 1944, he and David Robinson were arrested after a mysterious shooting that took place at the Club Royal, a gambling casino near Belleville, Illinois. Ryan then filed a petition seeking an injunction to halt alleged police persecution claiming to be arrested on many occasions without cause. The detainments, he claimed, lasted from twenty hours to as long as three days. Later in 1944, Ryan and Robinson were again arrested after the murders of Harley Grizzell and Norman Farr on the city’s East Side. Still later, the two were questioned in the murder of a union boss and his driver. On trial in 1946, for extorting $10,000 from a building contractor, a grand jury said there was not enough evidence to indict them. Ryan, was one of the last living members of the Egan’s Rats when he died following a heart attack. See my story http://www.americanmafia.com/Cities/St_Louis.html

May 3, 1988 – Francesco Oliveri was Gravano victim #15. Oliveri was ordered hit by John Gambino and John Gotti because he killed a Gambino crewmember in a fistfight during a dispute. Oliveri was killed by Robert Bisaccia. Joey Gambino and Lorenzo Mannino also participated. See my story http://www.crimelibrary.com/gangsters2/gravano/index.htm

May 4, 1978 – Michael Massy, according to Organized Crime: 25 Years After Valachi, was a former associate of reputed Kansas City hitman Anthony Cardarella. He was found shot to death three days after the murder of Myron Mancuso.

May 5, 1977 – Charles "Ruby" Stein was a well-known loanshark in New York City during the 1960s and 1970s. When infamous Westies leader James "Jimmy" Coonan ran up a sizable debt with Stein he decided to kill him. Stein was lured into a Hell’s Kitchen bar where he was murdered by Roy DeMeo crewmember Danny Grillo. Coonan led the dismemberment squad. A few days later Stein’s headless corpse surfaced on Rockaway Shore in Brooklyn. Stein was identified by a scar on his chest from a recent operation.

Trials and Tribulations     ^TOP

AmericanMafia.com attempts to keep its audience advised of ongoing legal matters in the world of organized crime. New entries and addition to existing information will appear in RED.

Due to space constraints, the complete "Trials and Tribulations" listing will only be shown on the first Monday of each month. Weekly we will show the ones that are due to occur in the next 30 days and any new additions.


May 6, 2002 – Boston – The long awaited trial of former FBI agent John J. Connolly, Jr. is scheduled to get underway before US District Judge Joseph L. Tauro.

May 20, 2002 – Chicago – Michael Spano, Sr. and Cicero Town President Betty Loren-Maltese go to trial for looting the city coffers of millions of dollars.

May 28, 2002 – Boston – US District Judge Robert E. Keeton will hear arguments on the April 16 conviction of Michael L. Carucci. The judge will decide whether to uphold the conviction or overturn the six convictions the jury arrived at. Carucci was found guilty of transferring money earned from the criminal activity of Stephen "the Rifleman" Flemmi, who earlier pled guilty to the same charges.

June 27, 2002 – Las Vegas – The Nevada Supreme Court has scheduled arguments on the appeals of Sandy Murphy and Rick Tabish the convicted murderers of Ted Binion. Alan Dershowitz will argue Murphy’s case.

July 29, 2002 – Cleveland – Richard E. Detore goes to trial on one count of conspiring to violate a federal bribery statute involving United States Congressman James A. Traficant, Jr.

POSTPONED INDEFINITELY – Rochester, NY – Albert M Ranieri goes on trial for conspiracy to traffic cocaine. Since his arrest on December 29, 2000, another defendant, prominent defense attorney Anthony Leonardo, Jr., has pled guilty and implicated Ranieri in the May 2000 murder of his former business partner Anthony Vaccaro. Authorities also suspect Ranieri of a 1990 armor car heist of $11 million.


April 29, 2002 – Chicago – Originally scheduled for January 31, the sentencing of the former chief of Chicago detectives William Hanhardt was delayed to allow prosecutors additional time to prepare their pre-sentence report. Hanhardt pled guilty to racketeering conspiracy and interstate theft for operating a nationwide jewelry theft ring that involved members of organized crime. Hanhardt, 72 years old, has been held since an unsuccessful suicide attempt this past October.

May 17, 2002 – New York – Colombo Family underboss John "Jackie" DeRoss will be sentenced for his February 6 conviction on extortion charges.

May 23, 2002 – New York – Nicholas Gambino will get his official sentence of five years probation after copping a plea on April 17 involving the stabbing of two men outside the Metropolis nightclub in Queens. A February trial resulted in Gambino being acquitted on 9 of 12 charges after he took the stand and lied to the jury telling them he had acted in self-defense.

June 2002 – Buffalo – Three former Buffalo narcotics detectives will be sentenced for their role in stealing money from an undercover FBI agent posing as a Jamaican drug dealer. The men were found guilty in March.

June 2002 – Newark – Nicodemo "Young Nicky" Scarfo will be sentenced for supervising a North Jersey gambling operation by US District Judge Joel Pisano.

June 13, 2002 – New York – Alphonse "Allie Boy" Persico will be sentenced after pleading guilty to extortion, loansharking and money laundering. The son of jailed-for-life mobster Carmine "the Snake" Persico was the alleged "acting boss of the Colombo family.

June 27, 2002 – Cleveland – Mahoning Valley Congressman James A. Traficant, Jr., will be sentenced after being found guilty on all ten counts in a Federal trial which ended April 11.

July 10, 2002 – Philadelphia – William Rinick will be sentenced for his April 17 assault conviction of Salvatore Abbruzzese in a South Philadelphia men’s shop. Rinick made headlines in December 2001 when narcotics investigators raided the home of Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino and found Rinick hiding under the bed of one of Merlino’s daughters.

Contact: AllanMay@AmericanMafia.com

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