Feature Articles

July 24, 2000

July 24, 2000
A Round Up Of The Usual Suspects

By John William Tuohy

John William Tuohy is a writer who lives in Washingon, D.C.

compiled by John William Tuohy and Ed Becker

ENGLAND: Interpol, an international Police organization consisting of 178 national police forces, is planning to provide intelligence to the business community on a private Web site. The cops hope the site will help businesses defend themselves against global cyber-crime.

     The site will be made available for free to any bona fide company.

     Atomic Tangerine, an independent US venture consulting firm, said the organization that groups had agreed to pass on relevant information about hacking, stolen goods, fraud and other dangers to corporate health.

PHILADELPHIA: The son of Jailed Philadelphia mob boss Nicky Scarfo wants to return to work at his credit-card-processing company, based in Belleville, NJ while he waits for his federal trial to begin on charges of running an illegal gambling and loan sharking business.

     Frank Paolercio, who is Scarfo's partner in the business, called Merchant Services, was also arrested with Scarfo on the loan sharking and gambling charges.

     Assistant US Attorney Ronald Wigler of the U.S. Organized Crime Strike Force has objected to the move, saying that while Merchant Services may be involved in some legitimate business, it is, overall, little more then a front for illegal gambling and loan-sharking business.

PHILADELPHIA: Police officer Margo Grady was transporting police evidence from one station house to the another station house three miles away when she became lost and accidentally drove onto the Jersey turnpike. Seventy-five miles later, just outside Newark, officer Grady turned on her flashing lights and pulled over a passing motorist to ask direction back to Philly.

NEW YORK: The off-Broadway comedy play "The Crumple Zone" at the Rattlestick Theater is set in Staten Island where and out-of-work actor is a waiter in a Mafia-owned diner. The play has received good reviews to date.

OHIO: Andrew Polovischak Jr., 48, a former Youngstown municipal court judge caught in an FBI investigation of corruption, was sentenced to the maximum 2 � years in prison for taking bribes to fix criminal cases.

     In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge Kathleen M. O'Malley ordered him to undergo alcohol abuse treatment. Polovischak acknowledged conspiring with three lawyers from 1989 to 1997 to fix cases in his court, which handles misdemeanors. The attorneys also pleaded guilty.

     Polovischak is one conviction in a long line since the FBI opened the case in 1994 More 60 convictions have resulted including a sheriff and a prosecutor.

     US Federal Congressman James Traficant, a Democrat who represents the Youngstown area, has said he expects to be indicted but denies wrongdoing.

IOWA: Pam Oliver was arrested and charged with assault for talking three men into beating up her husband. The men were complete strangers who she had met on the streets. Oliver feels that her arrest is wrong since she had no idea that what she was doing was illegal.

MINNESOTA: A District Court Judge ordered Teamsters Local 120 to pay $29,873.33 in damages to Overnite Transportation Company in connection with violence and misconduct against the company by the union.

     The President of Local 120 is C. Thomas Keegel. Keegel also serves as the General Secretary-Treasurer of the International, the No. 2 position to Teamster big shot James P. Hoffa, the unions President.

     Hoffa's father is widely considered to have been murdered by his gangster associates after he tried to return to power. Hoffa senior was a convicted felon.

WASHINGTON: Teamsters officials are desperate to limit the severe damage done to their leadership from major setbacks in the union's drive to break free of ten years of government anti-corruption supervision.

     This month a federal judge rejected the union's proposed rules for its 2001 national leadership election, because he feels that the union has the potential for "bringing grief, strife, controversy and corruption into the forum."

     Teamsters big shot Jimmy Hoffa claims his goal is to root out corruption to return the union to independent operation. It is widely believed that Hoffa's father was murdered by his friends in the Mafia when he tried to return to power against their wishes. Hoffa senior was a convicted felon.

     The federally appointed oversight board has filed embezzlement charges against Lawrence Brennan, the union's Michigan head and a former employer of Teamsters President James P. Hoffa.

     The board implicated Brennan and five other Michigan Teamster officials in a scheme to pad Christmas bonuses in order to reimburse union leaders for contributions to Brennan's 1995 campaign for re-election as president of Detroit Local 337.

     Brennan also serves as president of the Teamsters council overseeing all of Michigan's locals.

     Carlow Scalf, a former Brennan assistant and Hoffa's personal assistant was cited in the boards report as having managed Brennan's campaign fund and distributed bonus checks.

LAND OF THE STUPID: A 17-year-old boy who allegedly wanted to imitate an infamous rooftop robber was caught after he crashed through the ceilings of not one but two stores.

     Police said that after the boy fell into through the roof of one store, he couldn't get out because the store had bars on the doors and windows. He then went onto the ceiling of the next store and fell 20 feet to the floor.

     The youth, who was not named because of his age, was arrested on suspicion of burglary.

TURKEY: Alaattin Cakici, a crime boss accused of drug smuggling, extortion and ordering dozens of murders, was sentenced to five years in prison for forming and leading an organized crime ring in Istanbul.

     Cakici will spend only six more months in jail because of standard sentence reductions and the time he's already served.

MISSOURI: Doug Holmes sat in his trial for robbery watching the evidence mount against him and decided to make a run for it rather then wait around for the trials conclusion. Holmes stole cash off of the courts exhibits table before disappearing. He was arrested shortly afterwards and sentenced to 55 years in prison.

SOUTH CAROLINA: After fourteen years, video gambling has once again been outlawed by the state even though it produced billions in revenues.

     Video poker became legal in South Carolina after a lawmaker slipped a provision into a bill in 1986 despite a hard fought battle by anti-gambling forces.

     Video gambling operators poured big money into the campaign of Democrat Jim Hodges, who won the governor's race with a promise to call for a referendum on video gambling's future.

NEW JERSEY: police arrested a 16 year old high school student on extortion charges. The boy, who was convicted and is serving 60 days in reform school, was collecting $3 a day in lunch money from weaker students.

CALIFORNIA: Ony Barger, a member of the Hells Angels motorcycle gang who has admitted to beating people up, doing drugs, breaking laws and serving time in prison, has written and autobiography entitled "Hell's Angel: The Life and Times of Sonny Barger and the Hell's Angels Motorcycle Club,"

     Barger says the group is a motorcycle club and is not an international organized crime group but rather a road warrior's fraternity and at its core, a fun and friendly group.

AUSTRALIA: A doctor has announced plans to open an "assisted- suicide clinic" off the Australian coast in international waters to avoid national laws.

TEXAS: A car dealer named Bud Hardcastle financed a grave digging operation in a failed effort to prove through DNA testing that a man named J. Frank Dalton, was actually the outlaw Jesse James.

     The Hardcastle group accidentally dug up the wrong grave.

     Dalton, who died in 1951, said that he was actually James and had survived an assassination attempt on his life in 1882. If that were true, Dalton would have been 104 years old when he died.

     Dalton supporters placed a granite marker with James' name on Dalton's grave in 1984. However, most historians agree that the real Jesse James was shot in the back by a member of his own outlaw gang while straightening a picture on the wall of his Missouri home.

     Dalton supporters claimed that James faked his death, changed his name and settled in Granbury, near Fort Worth in about 1885.

     Under court order, Dalton's grave was dug up to take a DNA sample from the remains and compared with the DNA of a known James descendant. However, when the grave was dug up, it was found to contain the body of a man with one arm. Dalton had two arms when he died.

     The searches believe that due to a mix up in grave markers that they accidentally dug up the remains of Henry Holland, who lost an arm to amputation after a childhood accident. Officials blamed the marker mix-up on long-ago souvenir hunters who removed a series of earlier temporary grave markers.

WASHINGTON DC: Teamster union big shot James Hoffa waddled before the microphones to claim that the unions strike against the Overnite Transport Company "is one of the most peaceful strikes in our history,"

     However, authorities in a dozen cities have documented 52 shootings against nonstriking employees since the strike began last fall. Other acts of violence, which is being investigated by a federal task force, include numerous assaults and vandalism aimed at Overnite and its employees.

     Hoffa, whose father, convicted felon Jimmy Hoffa, is widely believed to have been murdered by his associates in the Mafia, was named in a 225-page suit filed in United States District Court as a defendants in an orchestrated pattern of racketeering activities, including 57 predicate acts of attempted murder, aimed at extorting a labor contract with Overnite.

Mr. Tuohy can be reached at

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