Another Wave of Indictments Cripple the Bellantonios, or Do They?
The La Cosa Nostra (LCN) environment of Los Santos can be summed up with one word; turbulent. The Bellantonios arguably never reached the heights of their predecessors, but nevertheless they were a force to be reckoned with in the Los Santos underworld. With the testimony of Michael Aquino, a known Michael Sarino affiliate, the authorities made considerable ground to dismantle the organization. After the public Senate hearing on LCN in San Andreas, spearheaded by Senator Jep Appelo, a wave of indictments came down on the crime network that included infamous mobsters Louis Persico, Victor "Vic" Fara, Joe "Joe Bells" Bellantonio, Joseph Fara, Carmine Navarra, the late George Neri, Robert "Bobby Locs" Locatelli and Anthony Navarra.
The case formed by prosecutors was relatively strong, but during the proceedings two main concerns were brought to light and their attempts at dismantling the organization were halted. The validity of Michael Aquino's testimony was going to be a problem from day one. Aquino was a self-confessed gangster and a known drug user that was cast out by the organization. The defense argued that Aquino's testimony was engineered by a prosecutors without regard for facts but hearsay.Senate Committee on Public Safety and State Security (Oct. 2017) wrote:M. AQUINO: I never had the pleasure of meeting with Joey [Bellantonio]. I was supposed to though.
SENATOR J. APPELO: He’s the boss?
M. AQUINO: Yes.
SENATOR J. APPELO: And underneath him, was there a number two or three?
M. AQUINO: It was like a council, really. Victor Fara, Louis Persico and Carmine Navarra.
SENATOR J. APPELO: This sounds like corporate America. Councils, boards.
SENATOR J. APPELO: What are the responsibilities of each, or were they all equal?
M. Aquino: Carmine always had the upper hand. Him and his nephew, Anthony.
M. Aquino: People liked Louis more though.
The second concern was the illegal wiretapping of Victor Fara's phone in 2012. V.Fara and J.Fara were Detroit based members of the organization and the government alleged they served as a liaison between Detroit and Los Santos organized crime. Victor Fara came to the authorities' attention after a visit to Los Santos in 2010, and without a warrant they illegally wiretapped his phone and recorded calls between him and his brother. Most of which were personal calls that had little to do with proving a criminal conspiracy. This invasion of privacy and the government’s mismanagement of the investigation caused for certain evidence to become inadmissible. The defense had won.
Alleged Los Santos Based Detroit Captain Released Without Charge
Los Santos crime family captain Victor Fara has been moved to a halfway house in West Los Santos, authorities say. A budding mobster through-and-through, Victor Fara was born to second generation working class Italian immigrants in Detroit, Michigan. Lawrence Fara, Victor's father, was a rising star in the Detroit Partnership. Lawrence, also known as “Larry the Lance,” gained considerable standing in the underworld when he coordinated the murder of Pete "Petey Scars" Scavo who was believed to be a government witness at the time. The murder proved to be the catalyst to cement Lawrence's rise to captain in the Detroit crime family. It is unknown how Victor came to be one of the driving forces in the Los Santos underworld, but most experts agree that it had something to do with his brother Joseph Fara, who was a high ranking member in Richard Lopiano's Detroit sponsored land grab.
After Lopiano's demise at the hands of Los Santos' New York faction, Joseph assimilated with the locals and sometime in early 2015 Victor Fara made the transition over. Fara rose through the ranks of his brother's crew and ascended to the throne after Joe Fara's 2016 arrest. Victor operated with relative obscurity until Senator Appelo’s organized crime hearings in 2017, where he was mentioned by name by former protege Michael Aquino, which was followed by indictments.
The release doesn't come to a surprise. The botched case by prosecutors was under intense scrutiny after the government was found to have mishandled the investigation and illegally wiretapped conversations between Victor and Joseph Fara. With Victor Fara released and his former counterparts still behind bars, one can speculate that he will be the highest ranking member of the organization on the outside.
Feds Close the Curtain on Victor Fara
Reputed underworld figure, Victor Fara, has dodged prosecutors for the better part of five years, clearing his more serious charges of racketeering and conspiracy to commit murder. Fara, 50, has had multiple charges levelled against him since his tenure in the Los Santos mob scene. The reclusive figure is known for breaking the flamboyant stereotype of gangsters with his toned down approach and honest exterior. Fara has been cited as Joseph "Skinny" Merlino's complete opposite in every sense of the phrase.
Prosecutors have doubled down on their efforts to make up for their previous blunder on the highly publicized RICO trial levied against Victor Fara three months ago. The case was thrown out of the window when the detectives were proven to have mishandled evidence. Victor was subsequently sentenced to one year in prison for conspiracy to commit money laundering after a new cased was presented.
It was heard today that Victor Fara was caught on tape explaining to three associates how to clean "dirty" cash through the process of falsifying invoices and other records. The evidence was concrete and Fara's fate was sealed after the jury reached a unanimous verdict.
The Detroit native will serve his time in the San Andreas Correctional Facility (SACF) if convicted.
Chicago Mafiosos Eye Los Santos
A group of Los Santos men, once described by prosecutors as fraudsters affiliated with the Chicago Outfit, were released this year after completing a 180-month sentence for extortion and fraud. The group was convicted for their involvement in the embezzlement of the ILWU's state pension program. The 2003 arrests included Derrick Grayson, 62, a former consultant to the San Andreas ILWU Pension Fund, who was implicated in the transferring of funds in the form of loans to organized crime figures. In addition, the gang was implicated in a $2 million Medicaid scam that involved fraudulent physical therapy (PT) claims and illegal billing at clinics in Vinewood, Market and Palomino Creek.
“They controlled patients through kickbacks and subjugated them to medically unnecessary services covered by federally subsidized Medicaid programs in San Andreas,” said a DOJ spokesperson. The ringleader of the Medicaid operation, Francis D. Sacora, 73, was most recently released from custody on Mar. 29, according to the San Andreas Department of Corrections website.
In the months following Sacora's release, reports suggest that the Chicago faction is now a junior partner of the Los Santos crime family. The mob veteran has several links to businesses based in Commerce, and his Chicagoan associates regularly frequent mob hangouts run by the Detroit-backed Los Santos Crime family. Their influence in the wider criminal sphere is unknown.
The Princeton Effect
2018 is looking to be quite a year for the Los Santos crime family, given a string of high profile releases and the absorption of mobsters from the Chicago Outfit. With the family now led by Midwest gangster Victor Fara, one of the last remnants of the Michael Sarino era, the faction has received the backing of the Commission. Henry Pasquetti, a New York native and Colombo crime family solider, has settled into Los Santos for a number of months and is likely operating as an emissary of the Commission.
The Commission's denouncement of Los Santos LCN began after the imprisonment of Santino "The Butcher" Valenti and subsequent internal power struggles of the early 2010s. The board of the most influential crime families repeatedly failed to gain a foothold in Los Santos. With much of Lino D'Aquila’s camp ending up behind bars, the hostilities seem to be over.