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 Prosecutors Tell of Colombo Family Murder Plot

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little vic

little vic

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PostSubject: Prosecutors Tell of Colombo Family Murder Plot   Prosecutors Tell of Colombo Family Murder Plot Icon_minitimeSun Mar 01, 2009 10:02 am

Prosecutors Tell of Colombo Family Murder Plot

Published: September 1, 1991[/img]
Vic Orena

Victor Orena, reputedly the acting boss of the Colombo crime family, has narrowly escaped an assassination plot, according to a court document.

The plot stemmed from a power struggle between Mr. Orena and a group loyal to Carmine Persico, the convicted Colombo boss now serving a long prison sentence, the document said. It noted that the information about the alleged murder plot came from confidential informants.

Federal prosecutors submitted the document last week at a detention hearing for a defendant, Robert Zambardi, in a loansharking case in Federal District Court in Brooklyn. The document identified Mr. Zambardi as a Colombo crime family soldier who reports directly to Carmine Sessa, identified as the family's counselor. Aborted Plot

"Five confidential sources have informed agents of the F.B.I. that members of the Colombo family close to Persico and concerned that Orena wanted to take over complete control of the family, ordered Orena's murder," the document said.

"On June 20, 1991," it continued, "Carmine Sessa, Robert Zambardi and two other men went to Orena's residence intending to murder Orena. The plan failed because Orena arrived home prematurely before the conspirators were ready."

A prosecutor, Laura A. Ward, added at the hearing that Mr. Orena was alerted to trouble when he saw the four men near his home and that they quickly left, aborting the planned assassination.

Although no further incidents have been reported in the dispute, law-enforcement authorities said the danger of warfare within the Colombo organization persists.

The court document, which Ms. Ward submitted for United States Attorney Andrew J. Maloney, urged a Federal magistrate to detain Mr. Zambardi in jail pending his trial. They said he engaged in violent loansharking activities, as well as the alleged murder plot, and posed a "danger to the community."

A defense lawyer, Frank Lopez, argued that the Government was presenting stale information from anonymous sources and that Mr. Zambardi, who has been working as a car salesman, should be released on bail. Released on Bail

After hearing the arguments, Magistrate John L. Caden said the Government's contentention that Mr. Zambardi was a danger to the community "doesn't measure up to clear and convincing evidence." He then released Mr. Zambardi on $500,000 bail.

Mr. Zambardi, who is 51 years old and lives on Staten Island, was the only defendant the Government tried to detain without bail in the loansharking investigation. Five others, accused of links to the Gambino crime family, were indicted on separate loansharking charges and were released on $250,000 bail each.

The other defendants were Joseph Bilotti, 58, of Staten Island; Vincent D'Antoni, 48, of Staten Island; Joseph Seggio, 54, of Brooklyn; Peter Sgarlato, 56, of Edison, N.J., and Michael Murdocco, 48, of Staten Island.

Mr. Bilotti was identified as a brother of Thomas Bilotti, who was killed with Paul Castellano, who reputedly headed the Gambino family. They were shot to death on Dec. 16, 1985. Their murders are among the charges against John Gotti in a racketeering trial scheduled for early next year.

In the case of Mr. Zambardi, who was on probation for a bank burglary scheme, the prosecution said it was prepared to prove that he lent several thousand dollars to a businessman, Ernest Benfante, who was beaten up last year when he failed to make weekly interest payments.

"Following the beating, Benfante contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation," the court document said. "Wearing a tape-recording device, Benfante met with Zambardi on Nov. 11, 1990. During the course of the recorded conversation, Zambardi acknowledged the loan and authorizing the beating of Benfante."
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