THIEF! The Gutsy, True Story of an Ex-Con Artist

  • Stay tuned for THIEF! book signings, media interviews and other THIEF! events
  • Media Reviews posted periodically
  • Mobwriter comments on true crime events and books

THIEF! character, Vince Eli

Monday, June 6, 2011

NY Mobster gets life instead of death penalty

Thanks to the NY Daily News this item:   

Mob boss Vincent (Vinny Gorgeous) Basciano dodges death penalty, sentenced to life in prison

Originally Published:Wednesday, June 1st 2011, 6:00 PM
Updated: Wednesday, June 1st 2011, 7:39 PM

Murderous mob boss Vincent (Vinny Gorgeous) Basciano will live to preen again. The former Bronx  hair salon owner was spared the death penalty Wednesday by a federal jury that found his crimes less heinous than those of turncoat witness Joseph Massino - killer of a dozen people.

"There are other members of organized crime that have admitted to an equal or greater number of crimes that are not facing the death penalty," read a note from 10 of the jurors who gave Basciano life in prison.

The 51-year-old was outwardly confident when the jury began its deliberations at 3:50 p.m., blowing a kiss to his wife and sons insideBrooklyn Federal Court.

"Don't worry about me," the cocky gangster crowed. "I feel good, ya hear?"

When the verdict was read less than two hours later, a relieved Basciano poured a glass of water. He nodded and smiled at the dozen anonymous people who saved his life as they exited the jury box.
His bid to thank them personally was quickly rejected by Federal Judge Nicholas Garaufis. 

"There's no chance in the world," the judge declared.

The one-time Bonanno family boss was convicted last month of capital murder for ordering the November 2004 execution of mob associate Randolph Pizzolo.

The testimony of his Bonanno predecessor, mob boss turned mob rat Massino, and five other cooperating witnesses crushed Basciano's hopes of acquittal for racketeering, murder and conspiracy.

"Tell Joe Massino he's a b--- j--," said Basciano's son Stephen, delivering a hard to swallow insult outside the courthouse.

Massino became the highest-ranking Mafiosi to ever flip when he wore a wire to meetings with Basciano inside the Metropolitan Correctional Center. Once sentenced this summer, Basciano will head to the notorious Cell Block H of the supermaximum security federal penitentiary in Florence, Colo.

Basciano lived up to his nickname during the trial, keeping his hair meticulously groomed and wearing a suit to court each day.

He was already serving a life sentence for the 2001 murder of Bronx junkie Frank Santoro before his conviction for Pizzolo's slaying on a deserted Brooklyn street.

Basciano sanctioned the killing to deliver a "wakeup call" to his crime family, which was beset by defections in its upper echelon.

The jury reached its decision despite Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicole Argentieri's contention that the brutal Basciano deserved a lethal injection.

"Even though his body is in prison, his mind will be in the street with his power and his money," the prosecutor told the jury. "The defendant has earned the ultimate punishment."

The government spent nearly $5 million in taxpayer money for Basciano's court-appointed team of lawyers.

Defense lawyer Richard Jasper had implored the jurors to let Basciano die "in God's time, not man's."

Also in the news:

Sergeant Smack Garners
Several Book Awards 

Rock Hill, North Carolina—It is a book award season and Strategic Media Books’ Sergeant Smack: The Legendary Lives and Times of Ike Atkinson, Kingpin, and his Band of Brothers has won or been nominated for nine awards.  The categories include True Crime, African American and Non Fiction. The awards recognize excellence in writing and story telling. In winning the gold medal in the true crime category of the eLIt Awards. Sergeant Smack was lauded for “illuminating digital publishing excellence.”

Other book awards include:
  • Next Generation Indie Book Awards, Winner, 2010, African American category, 2010 Book of the Year
  • International Books Awards, 2011, True Crime Book of the Year
  • New England Book Festival—Finalist, 2010 True Crime Book of the Year
  • Books and Authors Net—Winner, 2010 True Crime Book of the Year
  • Independent Book Publishers Awards (IPPY awards), Bronze Medal, 2010 True Crime Book of the Year
  • USA Book News “National Best Books Awards”, Finalist, 2010 True Crime Book of the Year
  • The National Indie Excellence Awards, 2011 True Crime Book of the Year
  • Crime Magazine’s Choice of True Crime Books, 2010
  • Foreword Magazine, Finalist, 2010 True Crime Book of the Year (Winner to be announced on June 25, 2011)

“We are delighted that several awards committees deemed Sergeant Smack worthy of recognition,” Chepesiuk said. “It reflects the positive feedback we have been receiving from reading public.
” Chepesiuk revealed that Sergeant Smack has been optioned for a film, which is currently in development.

"Sergeant Smack: The Legendary Lives and Times of Ike Atkinson, Kingpin, and his Band of Brothers, which hit the bookshelves in June 2010, details the true legend of Ike Atkinson, the biggest African America drug traffickers in U.S. history. Atkinson's notorious enterprise was so complex and profitable; it easily rivaled that of popular modern day hoodlums, the Black Mafia Family.

Atkinson, who operated in the 1970s, never carried a gun, never committed murder and never bowed down to the infamous Italian La Cosa Nostra. As a U.S. Army Master Sergeant, he utilized his intellect and charm to, by conservative estimates, smuggle more than 1000 pounds of heroin worth $400 million annually from Bangkok, Thailand, through U.S. military bases into the United States.  Atkinson pioneered some of the most innovative methods used in international drug smuggling. They ranged from duffle and AWOL bags, to the U.S. Army Postal System to the use of unsuspecting crew chiefs who operated military aircraft to teakwood furniture.

Now 85-years old, Atkinson was released from federal prison in April 2007 after serving a 32-year prison term. ”We worked hard on putting the book together” Ike Atkinson said. “It’s gratifying to get some recognition for our effort.”

Chepesiuk has penned some 28 books, including "Gangsters of Miami," "Drug Lords, the Rise and  Fall of the Cali Cartel," "Gangsters of Harlem" and "Gangsters of Chicago," and more than 4000 articles. In all, Chepesiuk’s books have won more than twenty awards.

Join Ike Atkinson on Facebook.  See and hear from Ike Atkinson himself at and read about him at For more information about Ron Chepesiuk, go to Information about the publisher, Strategic Media Books, can be found at

And pick up the "Sergeant Smack: The Legendary Lives and Times of Ike Atkinson, Kingpin, and his Band of Brothers" online or at a bookstore near you! 

For further information: 
For interviews or to request copy of the book e-mail: or phone: 803-366-5440

No comments: