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Dial-a-wiseguy lets you chat with thugs, mugs.
by Howie Carr, Boston Herald
What a great new innovation - the cops are now putting gangsters' phone numbers into the criminal complaints against them.
So now I am dialing 413-295-3736 - the pager number of one Albert ``Baba'' Scibelli, 80 years young, the owner of a black Mercedes and, according to the cops, a made member of the Genovese crime family out in Springfield.
Two minutes later, my phone rings.
``Yeah,'' a voice says, ``who is dis?''
Baba, is that you?
``Yeah, who am I speakin' to?''
I tell him. Then I ask, are they going to put you in the can, Baba?
``I hope not. I don't think so.''
So is Lt. Timothy Alben of the state police correct in calling you a made member of the Genovese crime family?
``Ah, let's not go through all that will you please now?''
So you are or you are not in The Chin's mob?
``I'm not saying anything about dat. The only thing I can tell you is, all they got me for is gaming, I think.''
This latest bust in Springfield involves what one of the hoods admits is an ``old-school'' gambling operation. You make a bet, you lose, you don't pay, they pour cement on your head. What's not to capeesh?
One of them works at Tony's Famous Barbershop. They use a phone at Phil's Beverage. It seems like a real small-time operation until you realize that earlier this year, the feds and the state police seized more than $950,000 in cash and securities.
Talk about the miracle of compound interest - especially when you're charging your ``clients'' 400 percent vig on any outstanding debts, although some of the Mob's victims didn't appreciate the threatening calls.
``Whatta ya doin', siccin' your dog on me, man?'' one unidentified victim says in a phone message for another defendant, Little Joe Manzi. ``That's dirty. . . . I'm not gonna pay juice. I know you've been waiting, I don't want to have Vinnie start bleepin' harrassin' me, you know.''
That Vinnie, he's a bulldog, ain't he? One of the bosses was another Genovese soldier named Emilio Fusco. Other than The Enterprise, the cops say, Emilio had no source of income. So one day he had his wife, Christine, another co-defendant, call up her mother, Christine, and ask her to launder $3,000 for Emilio through her business, the Italian Bread Co. Mom balked.
``I'm worried,'' Mom said. ``The problem is you can't make more than I make, honey.''
After the bust, the in-laws did put Emilio on the payroll. So I called up the Italian Bread Co. and asked for Mr. Fusco.
``No here,'' said a male voice. The phone was then handed to someone else. ``I don't know nuttin','' the second voice said in a heavy Italian accent.
I decided to try the home phone number of Todd Illingsworth. The answering machine wished me ``Happy Holidays'' but no one returned the call.
Illingsworth, according to the complaint, is employed at a place called the Mass. Career Development Institute, which is run by a member of the Springfield Police Commission. It's a small world, isn't it? Another crew member, who also happens to work at the MCDI is named Andrew Scibelli. The world keeps getting smaller.
A call was placed to the state comptroller to find out whether the MCDI is a state agency. They asked me if it was connected to a college. It appears to be connected to something, I said. The comptroller's office called back later to say that only one Andrew Scibelli turned up on the state payroll, and he was at Springfield Tech.
That's a different Andrew Scibelli, of course.
That Andrew Scibelli is the husband of Senate Majority Leader Linda Melconian of West Springfield, who was put in her job by Senate President Tom Birmingham, who was selected to run the Senate by the Bulgers, and do I have to draw you a diagram?
Speaking of Scibellis, I'm still talking to Baba. Baba, at age 80, shouldn't you be down in Florida, taking it easy?
``That's what I was doing, going to coffee shops, when all this happened.''
Ever put anybody in cement Baba?
``Now you're gettin' ridiculous. Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas.'' Merry Christmas to you too, Baba.
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