Wiseguy defendant doubled as
At the same time New York mob associate Anthony Moscatiello was allegedly plotting the slaying of a Fort Lauderdale business tycoon, he was also spying on fellow gangsters and snitching to the FBI, The Miami Herald has learned.
Moscatiello -- a former advisor to the late Gambino family crime boss John Gotti -- is the star defendant in the mob-style hit on Konstantinos ''Gus'' Boulis, founder of SunCruz Casinos, a fleet of gambling ships.
Moscatiello's outing as an FBI informant might cause some embarrassment for federal authorities. But its impact won't be entirely clear until more evidence surfaces about what he told FBI agents about his involvement in the Boulis murder and previous criminal investigations.
Sensitivity over Moscatiello's 15-year career as an FBI informant prompted the Broward State Attorney's Office to hold a closed-door meeting with defense attorneys in Circuit Judge Michael Kaplan's chambers on Friday. Some of the lawyers asked the judge to keep Moscatiello's statements given to the FBI after Boulis' murder under wraps.
The Howard Beach, N.Y., wiseguy -- whose covers have ranged from food caterer to insurance consultant to real-estate broker -- was a longtime financial advisor to the Gambino crime-family.
When New York prosecutors bugged John Gotti's social club for a few months in 1981, they captured one of his notorious tirades -- this time against Moscatiello for not returning his phone calls.
''I called your f------ house five times yesterday,'' Gotti said in the taped call. ``Now, if you're going to disregard my mother f------ phone calls, I'll blow you and that f------ house up.''
GAMBINO FAMILY TRIAL
In 1983, Moscatiello was indicted with nine other Gambino family crew members -- including Gotti's brother Gene -- on racketeering and drug charges. The case, with voluminous wiretaps and other evidence, dragged on for years, ending in a mistrial in 1988 because of jury tampering.
Suddenly, the case against Moscatiello was dropped and the others were retried. Moscatiello then started working behind the scenes for the Feds, according to sources familiar with his history as an FBI informant.
Moscatiello gave no hint of this new identity when he gave an interview to FBI agents after Boulis' murder.
And an attorney who represented Gotti's brother, Gene, in that case, said it was always a mystery why Moscatiello was cut loose.
''I thought it was unusual that they dropped the charges against him, but I didn't think for a minute he was an informant,'' said New York lawyer Ronald Fischetti. ``He was involved with them because he was their financial guy. He did their tax returns and real-estate ventures.
``He wasn't in the gangland business. He was the most ungangster gangster.''
The revelation of Moscatiello's secret identity is likely to send shock waves through the underworld: Other imprisoned mobsters who had regular contact with him might seek to have their cases reopened, Fischetti and other lawyers said.
'A lot of these people are doing time and they are going to start saying, `Did he give information [to authorities] that influenced my trial at a time he was a paid informant?' '' said Jeffrey C. Hoffman, an attorney who represented one of the defendants in the racketeering case.
In the Boulis case, Moscatiello's FBI past could trigger more division among the defendants as their case proceeds to trial.
It's not such a twist of fate for any government informant to end up like Moscatiello. Snitches, especially those enlisted to spy on the underworld, often become criminal defendants again or go on the lam. Some enter the witness protection program; others get whacked.
In the Boulis case, Moscatiello, 67, is not the only defendant, but he is by far the most infamous. The other two charged in the case -- mob wannabes Anthony ''Little Tony'' Ferrari and James ''Pudgy'' Fiorillo -- don't come with the Gotti glitter.
What's more, Moscatiello is pals with Adam Kidan.
Moscatiello advised him on his Long Island bagel chain long before Kidan teamed up with powerful Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff to buy SunCruz in 2000.
Soon after the deal, Boulis was shot dead in his BMW on a Fort Lauderdale street as he was leaving his office in February 2001. Ferrari, Fiorillo and Moscatiello were arrested Sept. 26, 2005 -- more than four years after Boulis' death.
The three men pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and other charges.
Neither Kidan nor Abramoff has been charged in connection with his murder.
Moscatiello claimed that Ferrari told him it was Kidan who ordered the hit on Boulis. Kidan, who once had Moscatiello and Ferrari on SunCruz's payroll, had been publicly feuding with Boulis after the sale of his gambling-ship empire.
Authorities believe Ferrari and Moscatiello planned the murder, enlisting Fiorillo's help in the alleged plot.
Coincidentally, Moscatiello stopped snitching for the Feds shortly after the slaying.
Kidan and Abramoff were sentenced this week to almost six years in prison for lying to lenders when they bought SunCruz Casinos from Boulis for $147 million.