Feature Articles

September 2006
Where�s Tommy Longo?

By Amy A. Kisil

The writer of this article is currently researching and writing a trilogy of novels loosely based on both people and events drawn from the Cleveland Mafia. She plans in the future to write a book about Tommy Longo�s relationship to both the Cleveland Mafia and his Sinito cousins, Tommy and Chuck.

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     Where�s Waldo were a series of illustrated children�s books in which you had to search search for a character named Waldo. Waldo could be hidden any where, In a crowd, in a pile of objects, or even in plain sight among of other characters who looked almost like him. You had to pick Waldo from the crowd, sometimes you found him sometimes you didn�t.

     This is the same logic behind law enforcement personnel hunting fugitives. People see what they want to see, logic Tommy Longo knows well. He knows people will see what they want to see, if they can pick Waldo out of a crowd they will, otherwise he�s missed completely.

Thomas Gilbert Longo
Thomas Gilbert Longo * WANTED - US Marshalls
Who�s Tommy Longo? Thomas Gilbert Longo, is an ex municipal prosecutor who worked for Chagrin Falls, Bedford, Solon and Highland Hills. He also had a thriving private law practice. His life started to unravel after he�d been sentenced in 1999 for a Misprision of a Felony This sentence meant he didn�t report a felony to the authorities. The Supreme Court of Ohio disbarred him, he�s permanently prohibited from practicing law in the State of Ohio Tommy not only lost his freedom for 3 years, while he served his federal jail sentence, but he also lost his livelihood.

      After a party on July 31, 2004 at his Cannon Road home with friends and neighbors, he was accused, charged and sentenced with Gross Sexual Imposition. As a result of this the Solon Police Department executed a search warrant for his residence. Police found an unregistered machine gun, 3 silencers and a collection of 16 firearms. Tommy Longo fled before being indicted for possession of illegal firearms.

     Since then Tommy Longo has played a war of nerves with the U.S. marshals service. Despite being profiled on America�s Most Wanted three times and an local television station�s Fugitive of the Week. No new clues have emerged for his current whereabouts.

     With the exception of his appearance at the Cleveland Indians 2006 opener, where a tipster saw him by the elevators on the loge floor. The tipster spotted Tommy and "unknown" female companion named Patti as they were leaving after the game.. He�d changed his appearance slightly, nit enough to fool an old acquaintance, who recognized him. It�s obvious Tommy watched the Indians Opener in relative comfort in someone�s private loge. Since that appearance at Jacobs Field no other viable clues revealing his whereabouts have emerged.

     The question is will the U.S. marshals service ever catch Tommy? Like other infamous criminals James J. "Whitey" Bulger and Richard Lee McNair, both like Tommy have been featured on America�s Most Wanted,

both are still on the run subconsciously or consciously all three of these men use of game theory to keep ahead of their pursuers. Like them Tommy will have both the U.S. marshals and the FBI puzzled for a long time. Like Waldo he�s probably hiding in plain sight, surrounded by people whose life styles are like his. A Waldo hidden in a crowd.

     Maybe it�s time for the U.S. marshal service to apply game theory to find Tommy. Game theory, what�s that? Any one whose watched either the television series Numb3rs or seen the movie A Beautiful Mind is familiar with game theory or fuzzy logic; explained simply game theory is why people make the decisions they do. Tactical uncertainties of all of the players motivations, in this case the hunter and the hunted, this is all of the players involved. It�s like two sports teams watching each other, waiting to see what tactics or strategies the other side is planning to use, each side monitors the other carefully.

     Why apply game theory to finding Tommy? Having been both a prosecutor and a defense attorney he has a solid grounding in how each team plays. He knows the tactics each team uses. Tommy understands the twists and subtleties of underlying the legal infrastructure that runs of both law enforcement and court system. .

     For example, if Tommy were stopped for a traffic violation, as long as his false id holds up through the initial Wants and Warrants check. He is who he says he is. The police will write him a ticket, citation or give him a warning and send him on his way. Again a case of seeing what you want to see.

     If an unknown alias is entered into NCIC(National Crime Information System) it will come back negative for any warrants. He�s free to go. Police don�t test people at traffic stops for DNA(Which is tracked through CODIS) or take fingerprints(Identified through the FBI�s Integrated Automated Fingerprint identification System or IFAIS). Tommy knows the strategy of the other team playing the game. Without positive id, he wouldn�t be held, or even questioned..

     Tommy had opportunities to observe how the U.S. marshal service operates when they hunt fugitives. He served , while he attended law school at Cleveland State University, as a Law Clerk for U.S. District Judge Robert Krupansky from 1970 to 1973. After passing the bar exam in 1973, Tommy became a federal public defender from 1973 to 1974. During this time, he had experience in what tactics the U.S. marshal�s service used in hunting for fugitives. He knows first hand what strategies and tactics they�d use in hunting for him.

     In the early 1970�s, while her served as a federal public defender he shared an office with Elmer Guiliani, an attorney who represented various organized crime figures, like Anthony Liberatore and Danny Greene. Tommy existed in a parallel world divided between the non Mafia and Mafia, he felt comfortable with it.

     He�ll duck and weave the U.S. marshals service and other law enforcement agencies. Tommy understands the Machivallian attitude governing the legal system.

     The thrill of the chase and eluding the authorities, like defending his former clients in court, excites him too. Tommy possesses the emotional qualities all good lawyers have: ego and vanity. As his adrenaline rush increases from each encounter, Tommy will take the same risks he took as a lawyer to defend his clients.

     Then too, Tommy knows the other part of the fugitive game. He grew up in a parallel world, one organized crime, the Cleveland Mafia; the other his career as an attorney and an prosecutor. He saw and lived the wiseguy story through his Sinito cousins, Tommy "The Chinaman" Sinito (A "made" man in the Cleveland Mob) and Chuck Sinito (Associate). He was and is probably still connected to various members of the Cleveland Mafia.

     Tommy grew up around wiseguys, he absorbed their philosophies. I�m not sure how far this Mafia involvement went in his immediate family, father, mother etc. . .Other Mafia families became his family, his family became theirs.

     He went into business with them, defended them in court. This social undercurrent ran parallel to his non Mafia life. Tommy blended their life histories with his.

     Tommy�s law office was located on Chagrin Boulevard in what used to called "Mafia" central. His former law office was surrounded by Mafia owned front businesses. John Licavoli and Angelo Lonardo operated a business called Shopping�s Our Service or SOS, Another front business located close to SOS was Developers Unlimited run by Sam Vecchio. His own cousin, Tommy Sinito had a gift basket shop in the same area.

     Like Jackie Presser�s Mayfield Heights restaurant, The Forge, these businesses became another place for the Mafia to conduct business and socialize.

     It�s possible Tommy accompanied his Sinito cousins to Jackie Presser�s restaurant The Forge. Presser�s restaurant was located, in a one story building, between the Gates Mills Apartment buildings in Mayfield Heights, Ohio. He probably experienced the glow of reflected glory of being around the same group of wiseguys he knew from Chagrin Boulevard James Licavoli, Curly Montana and his cousin Tommy Sinito. Seeing the respect they garnered, would be a heady experience for the young , fledging lawyer starting his legal career. Surrounded by these flashy, loud, hedonistic, violent, leisure suited men. Tommy couldn�t help think "what if"? If he wasn�t "amico nostra" he was close enough.

     Even if The Forge�s decor was loud, the food mediocre and the wait service uneven. Jackie Presser�s restaurant was no elegantly appointed, superbly managed Lockkeepers. It had one advantage! Location! The Forge was a good location for Cleveland�s Mafia to gather and socialize. There were always a crowd of gangsters sitting on the red leather covered banquettes located in the back of The Forge. For them all the meals and drinks were free. The Forge�s version of Tin Roof Service, it�s on the house.

     To an outsider, like Tommy it would be heady. Maybe he envied his cousin�s freedom being in the Mafia. Again this is all speculation, but with exposure to this gangster world, a world he secretly envied. Tommy will gravitate to people he�d felt comfortable with; either lawyers or gangsters.

     His daily exposure to the front businesses ran by the Cleveland familiga and possible side trips to The Forge, didn�t leave him isolated from Mafia influence. Tommy didn�t have a Chinese wall isolating him or operated in a vacuum about his Sinito cousins involvement with the Mafia

     In 1991, Tommy argued Sinito v. Kindt in the federal Court of Appeals in Illinois. Sinito v. Kindt regarded whether or not his cousin Tommy Sinito�s second concurrent running federal sentence�s time had been calculated correctly. Tommy Sinito claimed he should have had several years credited against the second concurrent sentence. During the time of the first sentence Tommy Sinito had experienced a series of transfers from one federal prison to another, he claimed these transfers affected the credit for time served. The lower court denied his claim and the Appeals court denied Sinito�s claim too. All of the crimes his cousin participated in were detailed in the case summary

     During his career as an attorney Tommy was never a "mob" lawyer or an "errand" boy for any local mob figures. During the course of his career he took a few cases defending Mafia connected clients. Tommy Longo was his own man when he practiced law, or prosecuted cases. He is tough, crafty and has a "brass set of balls" When he argued cases in open court. Tommy could twist the law and make loopholes for his clients. What good lawyer doesn�t want the best for their clients? He danced a legal tarantella for all of them. Tough, cunning, he had a high success rate and did well for his clients. .

     Not only did Tommy collect good fees for his legal services, he carefully invested this earned money, he also collected information. People he�d done favors for, either in and out of the Mafia. While on the run, he can in collect these favors from those who owe him. Tommy�s contacts range over 30 odd years of his legal practice. Beginning .when he was a federal public defender in the early 1970�s, to his last stint as a municipal prosecutor in various communities. It�s only speculation, it�s possible.

     With this information it�s easier for him to see what the other team is doing. Forewarned is forearmed.

     Tommy is probably monitoring how his pursuers are hunting him. He possesses enough computer skills to do internet searches. While Tommy doesn�t have the technological knowledge to program or understand how computer autopsies are done. He has enough computer skills to use the internet. All he has to do is toggle his name in any search engine and review all of the current entries to see how the chase is going,

     Tommy probably monitors Cleveland area media closely. I suspect he uses the services of public internet cafes or cybercafes. The public terminals there make it virtually impossible to trace email or instant messages. He can download files through file sharing into a PDA, lap top or a smart drive.. He probably contacts people, he trusts, in the Cleveland area by using email or instant messages , through a cybercafe internet connection, both are untraceable.

     Tommy can use a smart drive, portable hard drive, small enough to use as a keychain, or wear as a necklace, to download files. Most cybercafes have USB ports available on their public terminals. You connect the smart drive to the USB port, it leaves no trace of your software or you. An electronic disguise. Smart drives are cheap and easy to use, some drive capacities run into the gigabyte range..

     Cybercafe resources can be used for file sharing too. Any information, personal or financial can be downloaded. All Tommy needs is a PDA a lap top to connect to the network and download, all the banking data he needs. File transfer goes directly from computer to computer, internet porn files are transferred this way. The process skips the internet servers where data shifts can be traced. Add a smart drive, a device that leaves no trace of itself or the user, the downloaded files are untraceable.

      Tommy sits, silently, sipping an espresso at a computer terminal somewhere. He�s monitoring through the internet the Cleveland media. He quietly gathers information about what the other team is planning. Planning his next move.

     Tommy probably envied his Sinito cousins experience of the so called romance of the Mafia. He might have been Tommy Longo, successful lawyer and municipal prosecutor, but he was also first cousin to Tommy

     "The Chinaman" Sinito, a "made" man in the Cleveland Mafia . It�s his secret, part of the game. A piece of fuzzy logic.

     Tommy knows the tactics and strategies of both sides. He can both sides of the field and use the proper tactics to elude capture. Like James "Whitey" Bulger who�s constructed a series of false ids and deposited large amounts of cash in bank boxes both in America and aboard. Tommy probably did the same, I suspect, over a period of years, he funneled laundered money into offshore accounts. Tommy traveled extensively. It�s easy to set up off shore accounts, under false ids, to deposit money in. The first rule of laundering money is to keep it moving, shifted, and liquid between various accounts for the first 24 or 48 hours. No one knows how many off shore accounts he created, or the amounts of money he deposited. It�s possible Tommy created front businesses to generate income and launder money through. These businesses would be listed under different names from the decoy business papers the Solon Police found in their search of his residence.

     Tommy doesn�t need to be physically present to deposit money into these offshore accounts. Fed-Ex or any other package delivery system could stand in for him. It�s the principle of people see what they want to see. Whatever amount of money is delivered, through either a courier system, or electronic deposit, the depositor is who he says he is.

     Only Tommy knows where these offshore accounts are. He have recorded them in either an address book, make the accounts names and numbers resemble addresses. Tommy can have stored in an digital form on either a smart drive, or a PDA for backup. As he travels around both in America and foreign countries eluding his pursuers, he has these financial resources to draw from.

     The above is pure speculation, but as a theory it changes the rules of the game for both teams playing. These untraceable funds are probably his lifeline while he�s on the run. Game theory applies here, leaders like Tommy Longo don�t move with the rest of the pack. Their aims, motivations and actions are different from those who follow. Leaders change the rules as they play.

      Tommy may have made contact with various South American drug cartels or narco-corridas. Tommy traveled regularly to Florida to visit his parents, it�s possible he might have done some illegal side business, again this only speculation. Florida is a hotbed of South American drug cartel contacts. Pablo Escobar, a cocaine drug lord, killed while on the run from the law, is still celebrated in Columbia and among many Colombians living in Florida.. A contact or two with a drug cartel is valuable, the narco-corridas obey their leaders. Who is considered a friend, is a friend, until proven other wise..

     Brazil with its current chaotic and violent political conditions is an ideal place to hide. A few bribes to various officials in the current government would enable Tommy to hide safely under a new identity.

     South America, especially Brazil, is a shadowy place full of heavily armed drug cartels. Who rule their neighborhoods, usually the extensive slums ringing each major urban centers, like the American Mafia ruled their urban neighborhoods. These drug cartels have their own footmen who enforce the rules and collect tribute. They have built parallel governments throughout South America. In some countries, like Brazil, they are the government. Drug bosses in the cartels decide who goes and who stays protected. A few bribes to these drug bosses, is better than the protection of an army.

     Tommy broke the unwritten rule lawyers follow about having your clients as friends. Unfortunately made Lester "Skip" Williams a friend, a bad decision on his part. Breaking this rule cost Tommy everything. Williams became the instrument of Tommy�s downfall, a disastrous event changing his life from successful respected attorney and prosecutor to losing everything; his career, his freedom and his family.

     Maybe this odd couple relationship with Williams fulfilled a subconscious psychological     need. One even Tommy didn�t know existed. Williams might sensed this and manipulated Tommy�s emotions and finally ruined him.

     Lester "Skip" Williams, who according to various police and court records, ran a very lucrative cocaine and marijuana mob financed business.. Williams, as an FBI informant, accused Tommy of being involved since the 1980s in negotiating and financing various large cocaine deals. There are no records of any investigative agency, local or federal, alleging Tommy Longo ever dealed drugs. He too had served on various drug task forces, there are no records showing any concern about him being there. Most of those who dealt, professionally or personally, with Tommy knew he wasn�t a drug dealer, or arranged massive drug deals. By the nature of the drug game itself, you can�t fly under the radar for long before some low level associate flips on you. Despite Skip Williams allegations, Tommy�s name never turned up during any drug investigations, not even as a suspect., before Williams accused him of being a big time drug dealer.

     Tommy left another psychological clue too. The name Colpa, it�s doubtful Tommy Longo left behind clues pointing to his so called new identities and businesses. These were decoys to lead those tracking him astray.

     None have mentioned the meaning of colpa, colpa is Italian for "it�s my fault." While this name is listed on America�s Most Wanted website as a probable alias, no one�s examined the psychological meaning of the choice of the word colpa.

     Colpa as defined in the 1997 paperback edition of The Oxford Italian Dictionary means fault or blame. When used in the Italian phrase per colpa di, it means; because of(my actions) I�m at fault. It�s obvious by choosing this last name for an alias Tommy knew what the consequences of his actions were. He took the full blame for them.

     This is another token to add to the fuzzy logic in hunting for Tommy Longo. He�s fully aware of what he�s done, he left a subtle psychological clue to his mental state before he fled. A penance perhaps?

     Colpa is a small psychological peek into Tommy Longo�s mind , before he fled into his self imposed exile. He told the world, or those perceptive enough to see it, he considers himself to be at fault

     Game theory can be used to pull together all of the clues and the psychological pointers Tommy left before he fled. Investigators can use it to find where Tommy Longo is.


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