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05.06.2006 Crime & Punishment

'Mafia cops' facing life in prison

By NEW YORK (AP)
'Mafia cops' facing life in prison

Michal Greenwald Weinstein grew up
pretending her father died of cancer, or maybe in a freak
accident. The truth remained a secret to her family for
nearly two decades.
Israel Greenwald, an unassuming diamond dealer, went to work
in 1986 and never came home. It wasn't until April that his
killers were finally brought to justice: retired police
detectives Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa.

The pair was also convicted of seven other murders, all at
the behest of a mob underboss, in one of the most
sensational police corruption cases in the city's history.
The former detectives, who once worked as partners, were
scheduled to return to U.S. District Court in Brooklyn on
Monday to face sentences of life behind bars on their
racketeering convictions.

In statements filed with the court, Weinstein, her sister,
Yael, and their mother, Leah, detailed how their lives were
torn apart by the murder of the family patriarch inside a
Brooklyn parking garage. Greenwald was killed because of
fears that he might become an informant.

His body, buried in a 5-foot deep hole and then covered by
concrete, was undiscovered for 19 years.

"Losing a father at a young age is hard enough, but to lose
a father in such a violent and mysterious way is nothing
short of horrific," Weinstein wrote. "I don't know which
crime was more monstrous, the actual murder or the
concealment of his body."

A witness testified that Eppolito stood guard while a man
resembling Caracappa brought Greenwald into the garage and
executed him.

Eppolito, 57, whose father was a member of the Gambino crime
family, and Caracappa, 64, were respected detectives who
worked for Luchese family underboss Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso
between 1986 and 1990.

The eight murders were committed while the pair was
simultaneously on the payrolls of both the police department
and Casso. Eppolito and Caracappa — dubbed the "Mafia
Cops" — received $4,000 a month from Casso, who also
used them to get information from inside law enforcement.
Their pay went up for the murders: They earned $65,000 for
one killing.

Federal prosecutor Daniel Wenner described the case as "the
bloodiest, most violent betrayal of the badge this city has
ever seen."

Caracappa, who retired in 1992, helped establish the city
police department's unit for Mafia murder investigations.
Eppolito was a much-praised street cop despite whispers that
some of his arrests came via tips from mobsters.

Eppolito also played a bit part in the mob movie
"GoodFellas." After retiring in 1990, he unsuccessfully
tried his hand at Hollywood scriptwriting. In his
autobiography, "Mafia Cop," he portrayed himself as an
honest cop from a crooked family.

The pair, both highly decorated, spent a combined 44 years
on the force and eventually retired to homes on the same
block in Las Vegas.

The sentencings won't end the explosive case. Later this
month, Eppolito will press forward with his request for a
new trial based on his claim that his previous defense
attorney failed to put on a competent defense.

Eppolito has asked for Casso to appear at that hearing.
Casso, who was reportedly involved in 36 murders himself,
claimed he had exculpatory evidence against the two
ex-detectives.

The defense opted not to put him on the stand, and did not
call either defendant as a witness.

Caracappa's attorney has also left the defense team.

The racketeering convictions could be overturned because of
the statute of limitations. The defense argues there was no
ongoing criminal enterprise while the detectives were living
in Las Vegas, making a racketeering charge legally
untenable.

U.S. District Court Judge Jack B. Weinstein, while declining
to throw out the verdicts himself, suggested the statute of
limitation claim could work.

"It was not a strong case, and the government was warned
that from day one," Weinstein said at a May hearing. "There
is a sound basis for appeal."
'Mafia cops' facing life in prison
Posted 6/5/2006 5:05 AM ET E-mail | Save | Print | Subscribe
to stories like this

NEW YORK (AP) — Michal Greenwald Weinstein grew up
pretending her father died of cancer, or maybe in a freak
accident. The truth remained a secret to her family for
nearly two decades.
Israel Greenwald, an unassuming diamond dealer, went to work
in 1986 and never came home. It wasn't until April that his
killers were finally brought to justice: retired police
detectives Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa.

The pair was also convicted of seven other murders, all at
the behest of a mob underboss, in one of the most
sensational police corruption cases in the city's history.
The former detectives, who once worked as partners, were
scheduled to return to U.S. District Court in Brooklyn on
Monday to face sentences of life behind bars on their
racketeering convictions.

In statements filed with the court, Weinstein, her sister,
Yael, and their mother, Leah, detailed how their lives were
torn apart by the murder of the family patriarch inside a
Brooklyn parking garage. Greenwald was killed because of
fears that he might become an informant.

His body, buried in a 5-foot deep hole and then covered by
concrete, was undiscovered for 19 years.

"Losing a father at a young age is hard enough, but to lose
a father in such a violent and mysterious way is nothing
short of horrific," Weinstein wrote. "I don't know which
crime was more monstrous, the actual murder or the
concealment of his body."

A witness testified that Eppolito stood guard while a man
resembling Caracappa brought Greenwald into the garage and
executed him.

Eppolito, 57, whose father was a member of the Gambino crime
family, and Caracappa, 64, were respected detectives who
worked for Luchese family underboss Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso
between 1986 and 1990.

The eight murders were committed while the pair was
simultaneously on the payrolls of both the police department
and Casso. Eppolito and Caracappa — dubbed the "Mafia
Cops" — received $4,000 a month from Casso, who also
used them to get information from inside law enforcement.
Their pay went up for the murders: They earned $65,000 for
one killing.

Federal prosecutor Daniel Wenner described the case as "the
bloodiest, most violent betrayal of the badge this city has
ever seen."

Caracappa, who retired in 1992, helped establish the city
police department's unit for Mafia murder investigations.
Eppolito was a much-praised street cop despite whispers that
some of his arrests came via tips from mobsters.

Eppolito also played a bit part in the mob movie
"GoodFellas." After retiring in 1990, he unsuccessfully
tried his hand at Hollywood scriptwriting. In his
autobiography, "Mafia Cop," he portrayed himself as an
honest cop from a crooked family.

The pair, both highly decorated, spent a combined 44 years
on the force and eventually retired to homes on the same
block in Las Vegas.

The sentencings won't end the explosive case. Later this
month, Eppolito will press forward with his request for a
new trial based on his claim that his previous defense
attorney failed to put on a competent defense.

Eppolito has asked for Casso to appear at that hearing.
Casso, who was reportedly involved in 36 murders himself,
claimed he had exculpatory evidence against the two
ex-detectives.

The defense opted not to put him on the stand, and did not
call either defendant as a witness.

Caracappa's attorney has also left the defense team.

The racketeering convictions could be overturned because of
the statute of limitations. The defense argues there was no
ongoing criminal enterprise while the detectives were living
in Las Vegas, making a racketeering charge legally
untenable.

U.S. District Court Judge Jack B. Weinstein, while declining
to throw out the verdicts himself, suggested the statute of
limitation claim could work.

"It was not a strong case, and the government was warned
that from day one," Weinstein said at a May hearing. "There
is a sound basis for appeal."

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