I couldn't ignore this one -
Officers did Mafia hits
April 08, 2006
NEW YORK: Two highly decorated former detectives were yesterday convicted of moonlighting as hitmen for the mob in one of the most sensational cases of police corruption in New York history.
Louis Eppolito, 57, and Steven Caracappa, 64, could get life in prison for their roles in eight murders between 1986 and 1990, a time when they were on the payroll of both the New York police department and Luchese crime family underboss Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso.
Federal prosecutor Daniel Wenner described the case as "the bloodiest, most violent betrayal of the badge this city has ever seen".
Prosecutors said the two men carried out two hits themselves – after pulling the victims over in traffic stops – and delivered up some of the other victims to the Mafia to be killed.
Neither defendant showed any emotion during the 10 minutes it took the jury forewoman to reply "proven" 70 times to the racketeering acts of which they were accused. The verdict was reached after two days of deliberations.
Their $US5 million ($6.86 million) bail was revoked and they were led off to jail to await sentencing on May 22.
The men's lawyers said they would appeal. "It's an appearance of justice but it's not justice," said Bruce Cutler, who once represented John Gotti and put on a thundering defence for Eppolito, claiming the Government's mob witnesses were lying to save their necks.
Prosecutors said the two used their law enforcement positions to help the Mafia at a price of $US4000 per month – more if they personally handled a killing. They earned $US65,000 for one of those slayings, prosecutors said.
The officers also supplied Casso with inside information on law enforcement interest in the mob, prosecutors said.
Casso was said to have referred to the two men as his "crystal ball".
They were convicted of charges that included racketeering conspiracy, witness tampering, witness retaliation and obstruction of justice.
"There has never been, in the history of the NYPD, an officer convicted of being a hitman for the mob," said Tom Reppetto, co-author of American Mafia and NYPD, histories of the Mafia and the police department.
"There's cases of police misconduct, but going to work for organised crime? Wow."
Caracappa, who retired in 1992, helped establish the city police department's unit for Mafia murder investigations.
Eppolito, the son of a Gambino crime family member, was a much-praised street cop, although there were suggestions some of his arrests resulted from tips from mobsters.
In his autobiography Mafia Cop, he portrayed himself as an honest cop from a crooked family and also played a bit part in mob movie GoodFellas.
After retiring in 1990, he unsuccessfully tried his hand at Hollywood scriptwriting.
The former detectives insisted on their innocence from the time of their arrests in March 2005 but neither took the stand at their trial.
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