The Vetting Process Hezitorial
Deficient or Conveniently Ignored!
Alleged Genovese Mobster Arrested in November 11, 1997 Yonker’s Murder of Alleged FBI Confidential Informant Richard Ortiz
YONKERS, NY — September 15, 2018 — Almost 21 years after John Tortora, Jr., a/k/a Johnny T, an alleged Genovese crime family mobster, was arrested August 2, 2018. The cold case involve the multiple stabbing death of supposed FBI Confidential Informant Richard Ortiz. It is further suggested that Federal Authorities intend to prove Johnny T. had been part of a plot to embellish the Genovese crime family’s power and influence.
Tortora was arrested on the morning of August 2, 2018 by FBI Agents assisted by Yonkers Police Department Detectives. It should however be stressed that this is the third case in recent months where the FBI did not inform the Yonkers Police Department of any pending cases it is involved. The case has been assigned to United States District Judge Sidney H. Stein.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman advised, “As alleged in the indictment, the defendant was responsible for the stabbing death of Richard Ortiz over 20 years ago. Today, thanks to the remarkable dedication and perseverance of the FBI and the Yonkers Police Department, the defendant faces charges for his crimes.”
FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said: “The arrest of John Tortora should remind everyone that justice delayed is not justice denied. Whether a crime was allegedly committed decades ago or just days ago, the FBI will maintain the same tenacity and we will be relentless toward ensuring those who commit violent crimes be held accountable for their actions. The FBI’s New York Office never does these investigations alone, and we want to thank the Yonkers Police Department for their help in successfully solving a case from more than 20 years ago.”
Yonkers Police Commissioner Charles Gardner said: “This arrest for the 1997 murder of Mr. Ortiz demonstrates the resolve and commitment of law enforcement to hold those accountable for their actions and serves as a warning to all members of La Cosa Nostra engaging in violent criminal activity in our communities. We will continue to work with our federal partners to aggressively target alleged criminals and criminal enterprises operating in our City.”
According to the allegations in the indictment and statements made in court: “From in or about 1997 up to and including in or about 2018, Tortora, an associate and later a member of the Genovese Crime Family, along with other members and associates of La Cosa Nostra, committed a wide range of crimes, including murder, extortion, gambling, and narcotics trafficking. In particular, Tortora hired others to kill Richard Ortiz in order to further the goals of the Genovese Family. As a result, on November 11, 1997, Ortiz was brutally stabbed multiple times, causing his death. Tortora hired several individuals to kill Richard Ortiz, court papers say.
“Tortora, 61, of Yonkers, New York, is charged with conspiracy to commit racketeering, murder in aid of racketeering, and murder for hire. A chart showing the charges and maximum penalties for each count of the Indictment is below. The statutory maximum penalties are prescribed by Congress.
Conspiracy to commit racketeering
Life in prison
Murder in aid of racketeering
Mandatory life in prison or the death penalty
Murder for hire
Mandatory life in prison or the death penalty
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jessica Lonergan, Jessica Fender, and Lauren Schorr are in charge of the prosecution. The case is being handled by the Office’s Violent and Organized Crime Unit.
Ortiz, was a landscaper, living in an apartment on Lockwood Avenue. Witnesses said he had been drinking in the Mill Tavern on Lockwood Avenue, in Yonkers, NY, when he got into an argument with men inside the bar. The argument moved outside, escalated and Ortiz was stabbed multiple times in the stomach and left for dead under a Saw Mill River Parkway underpass less than 100 feet away. Yonkers detectives believed at the time it was a mob hit, that Ortiz had been working for a gambling operation run by Tortora. That Tortora suspected Ortiz of both stealing from the operation and providing information about it to police. Ortiz’s family said that a few weeks before Richard Ortiz’s murder, family members had visited him and discovered he showed signs of having recently been beaten up. They said he told them he had instead slipped and fallen.
Four days after his killing, Yonkers Police arrested then-31-year-old former convict Abdill Saez, but the Westchester County District Attorney felt they needed more evidence to move forward with a case and the charges were eventually dropped. Tortora was among dozens connected to the Genovese crime family arrested by the FBI in 2001 after an undercover NYPD detective infiltrated the mob posing as a trucking company owner named Big Frankie.
On the night of his death Ortiz was found by a young woman who thought he was a pile of clothes or garbage on Lockwood Avenue near the Mill Tavern. He would be pronounced dead three-hours later at St. Joseph’s Medical Center after doctors attempted surgery for his numerous stab wounds. It seems a fight that originated at the Mill Tavern spilled outside where Ortiz was stabbed.
Murray Richman, Tortora’s lawyer, said his client has no knowledge of Ortiz’s death and had never been involved in gambling. Richman says he believes the arrest is probably a result of the FBI arresting someone recently and then offering them a deal. Somehow his client’s name came up. Tortora was arraigned in Federal court in Manhattan and ordered held without bond. If convicted of the charges the 61-year-old Tortora would spend the rest of his life in prison.
Johnny T’s brother, Anthony T, is employed by International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 456, in what may best be described as a “little need to show” job. Anthony T. is also afforded a union paid for car, and an expense account. While Lou Picani, is President of Local 456, the power still resides with Eddie Doyle, Sr., who remains the “boss”.
In the weeks working on verifying the facts, the Yonkers Tribune learned that Anthony T was chauffeuring New York State Senator Shelley Mayer about. He is not employed by her in any fashion. He approached her and asked if she could use a driver. It is evident she agreed since she uses his services in that capacity.
Yet it is incongruous, especially for long-time resident of Yonkers, that Senator Mayer had not previously heard of the Tortora Family and their being known to be members of the Genovese crime syndicate. Did Sen. Mayer properly vet Anthony T.? Does he have a valid driver’s license, did his alleged family ties to the Genovese Crime family not raise any concerns for Sen. Mayer? Does he have a criminal record?
Since Sen. Mayer must contend with many sensitive issues as a New York State Senator is she not concerned that her conversations with someone in the car or by telephone can be overheard by Anthony T as he chauffeurs her to and fro?
The Genovese organization is one of the ‘Five Families’ that dominate mafia activity in New York and New Jersey, although their influence has greatly declined in recent decades.
The Genovese organization are the largest of the five crime syndicates,p a position that has led to them being nicknamed the ‘Rolls Royce’ or ‘Ivy League’ of organized crime.
They were founded by Charles ‘Lucky’ Luciano in the 1930s and focused on the West Side of Manhattan.
Their boss, Vincent ‘the Chin’ Gigante, would feign insanity by walking around in a bathrobe and muttering to himself, a habit that earned him the nickname of ‘Oddfather’.
Recently the family has moved into Internet-based illegal gambling.
Eleven alleged members of the gang were indicted in 2016 for a ‘smorgasbord’ of offenses from loansharking to unlicensed check cashing and money laundering.
It is therefore illogical to infer that Sen. Shelley Mayer, representing the communities comprising Senate District 37, vetted Anthony Tortora Jr. thoroughly? If so, did she decide to overlook his family connections and alleged involvement with organized crime? Perhaps Sen. Mayer chose to overlook the obvious. Why?