he has learned that members of organized crime often keep safe deposit boxes, frequently in fictitious or other family members' names, to hoard the proceeds of their criminal activities.
Casso contends the affidavit was insufficient to establish probable cause because it contained mere speculation that the boxes had in them money received by Casso rather than by his wife or daughter and that the proceeds were illegally obtained.
It is hardly a secret that organized crime is organized for a purpose, namely, to make money through crime and to distribute it to the members. Common sense suggests and the affidavit confirms that the top leaders of an organized crime family are the most lavishly rewarded. Here there is no doubt that Casso amassed considerable wealth in that manner over his criminal career. He continued to direct the Luchese Crime Family even after he became a fugitive.
There is no reason to suppose that the two former high ranking Luchese Family made members, who took their lives in their hands by cooperating with the government, fabricated the statement that Casso received large sums from Luchese Family criminal activities. Indeed, it would be astonishing if he had not.
That Casso would secrete at least some of that wealth in safe deposit boxes is hardly surprising. Nor is the proposition that he would trust his wife and daughter to have that wealth in boxes in their names. Who better could remove him at least one step from discovery and yet leave him in control of his funds.
The warrant for the Casso safe deposit boxes was validly issued.
The Warrants to Search Avellino's and Lastorino's Residences
The application for the warrants to search Avellino's and Lastorino's residences was also made by Agent Rudolph. It attaches a copy of the present indictment and copies of various documents and states in substance, the following.
Alphonse D'Arco and Peter Chiodo, formerly Captains in the Luchese Family, both now cooperating with the government, testified at several trials. D'Arco had served as the acting Boss. Both witnesses described the hierarchy of the Luchese Family and identified Vittorio Amuso as the Boss, Casso as the Underboss, and Avellino and Lastorino as Captains.
When Amuso and Casso became fugitives they created a "panel" consisting of D'Arco, Avellino, Lastorino and Anthony Baratta to oversee the business of the Luchese Family. Amuso was thereafter caught, prosecuted, and on June 15, 1992 convicted of 54 counts of racketeering, murder, extortion, and labor racketeering. D'Arco testified in the prosecution that while Amuso and Casso were in hiding Avellino and Lastorino collected money from various Luchese Family criminal operations, paid its obligations, including the legal fees for Luchese members who had been indicted, and passed on cash to D'Arco for remission to Amuso and Casso.
D'Arco testified that they demanded a strict accounting of monies received and paid, and that he therefore made records, which he sent to them, keeping copies for himself. When he decided to cooperate D'Arco turned over these copies to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The affidavit incorporates by reference D'Arco's testimony as to many of these records. He testified that when delivering to him cash Avellino sent records of its sources.
After Casso was caught in New Jersey on January 19, 1993, the search of his hiding place revealed $ 340,000 and many incriminating documents, including records of cash from the Luchese Family operations, lists of proposed members in the Luchese and Gambino Crime Families, an undated handwritten letter believed to be written by Amuso to Casso, and lists of Luchese Family "crews" and their Captains.
Among the records found was a package marked "rat," containing records in the handwriting of D'Arco. Also recovered were records recently identified by D'Arco as being in Avellino's handwriting.
These records show that, even after D'Arco's cooperation, the Luchese Family continued to conduct business as usual. Among the records were found slips of paper in Avellino's writing listing proceeds from the very same criminal operations as those which D'Arco had testified were referred to in documents received from Avellino.
The affidavit says that the Lastorino and Casso wiretaps discussed above demonstrate that both Lastorino and Avellino continued to coordinate the collection and distribution of cash and to supervise the operations of the Luchese Family. In particular the affidavit quotes from two conversations between Casso and Lastorino.
In one those conversations they discussed on January 7, 1993 money collected by "Sidney," believed to be Sidney Lieberman, the person identified by D'Arco and Chiodo as the person who handled the Luchese Family's interests in the garment center. D'Arco had testified that as of 1991, Avellino was in charge of collecting monies from Lieberman and the garment center. An excerpt from the January 7, 1993 conversation shows that business continued as usual:
Casso: Sidney spoke to him, he said, you better give him a good envelope for Christmas.
Lastorino: Uh Huh