By JOHN MARZULLI June 7, 2012
HE BECAME a made man in the big house.
Federal prosecutors say mobsters didn’t let prison bars be an obstacle to Omerta when they carried out the Sicilian ceremony inducting a Colombo gangster into the family inside a Brooklyn federal lockup on Jan. 12, 2011. That was the day more than 100 gangsters were rounded up in the metropolitan area in what the feds called a historic takedown.
It turned out to be a big day for Ilario (Fat Larry) Sessa, 45, who got arrested – and got his button.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Geddes disclosed in appers filed Wednesday in Brooklyn Federal Court that then acting Colombo boss Andrew (Mush) Russo personally inducted Sessa in the prison ceremony.
Sources told the Daily News the secret ceremony took place in the intake room, or bullpen, of the Metropolitan Detention Center in Sunset Park on the night of Jan. 12, after the mobsters had been arraigned in court.
“It was his [Sessa’s] lifelong dream to become a wiseguy,” a law enforcement source told The News.
He was supposed to have become a soldier on Dec. 7, 2010, at the home of Colombo soldier Emanuel Favuzza, but the ceremony was scrapped after FBI surveillance was detected.
The feds learned of Sessa’s new status in gangland from capo Reynold Maragni, who was also nabbed in the roundup and began cooperating after he made bail.
It is not clear whether he witnessed the ceremony.
Sessa’s lawyer, VINCENT ROMANO, called the induction scenario far-fetched. He noted that the intake room ad the MDC is under video surveillance and staffed by guards.
“I DON’T THINK THAT THE PROPS THAT ARE TYPICALLY USED IN AN INDUCTION WOULD BE PRESENT IN THE INTAKE ROOM OF THE PRISON,” ROMANO said.
Over the years, mob turncoats have revealed the secrets of the ceremony: the inductee’s finger is pricked with a needle and his blood is dripped or smeared on a picture of a saint; the paper is lit with a candle and placed in his hand, as he holds the burning paper while reciting an oath of eternal fealty. A gun must also be present, to symbolize crime.
The prison bullpen is a holding area with benches seating about 20 new arrivals at a time. With everything but the clothes on their backs taken away – no saint picture, candle or weapons – the gangsters would have to do a lot of improvising.
It’s happened before. In 1998, Luchese underboss Anthony (Gaspipe) Casso inducted mobster Michael (Baldy Mike) Spinelli in the bathroom at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in lower Manhattan. The gangsters set toilet paper on fire in Spinelli’s hands to substitute for the saint picture.
Sessa, charged with racketeering and extortion, is still being held at the MDC.