I know we arent suppose to post gangland in the forum but this was an interesting piece and I only posted this, not the other two stories as well
By Jerry Capeci
Multi-Tasking G-Man Stings Mob & South Jersey Wiseguy
David Sebastiani is one multi-tasking FBI agent.
Last week, the Certified Public Accountant addressed the American Apparel & Footwear Association about brand labels and intellectual property rights. The talk took place at the New York offices of Calvin Klein. To hear Sebastiani talk, you wouldn’t think he knew the difference between a mobster and a Ferragamo shoe salesman – even if one kicked him in the shins.
If that’s what you thought, you would be wrong. This is tough news for reputed Philadelphia wiseguy Anthony (Ant) Staino Jr. Gang Land has learned that the alleged loanshark victim Staino knew as “Dino,” was none other than agent Sebastiani doing one of the many things he does well – playing the role of a shady character in an FBI sting operation.
Sources tell Gang Land that Sebastiani, currently a supervisor with the Cyber Crimes Unit in the agency’s New York office, was posing as a short-on-cash financial wizard. The elaborate sting snared Staino, 53, and associate Robert Ranieri in tape-recorded threats that the feds disclosed last month. And as detailed below, the gangsters are not the first to be stung by the smooth-talking undercover agent over the last two decades.
But first, Sebastiano’s Philly caper.
Staino’s alleged threats were leveled in August of 2004, when he and Ranieri warned the man they knew as Dino “not to ‘fuck with’ Staino in connection with repaying the debt,” according to the 50-count racketeering indictment that includes family boss Joseph (Uncle Joe) Ligambi, 72, among its 13 defendants.
“Please, on my life. I like you. I don’t want to fucking have to hurt you,” said Staino, who also instructed Sebastiani to fork over an IRS “1099 form” to Staino so the gangster could then claim the “payment was legitimate income,” the indictment said.
The conversation came near the end of a year-long stretch that Sebastiani, who is about 50, began when he set himself up as financial planner for sophisticated investors in an office in Mount Laurel, N.J. a South Jersey town that proclaims itself a “home for businesses and families” on its website.
In another caught-on-tape conversation, Staino boasted of his “high rank” in the Philly mob under Ligambi. In that March 17, 2004 talk, according to prosecutors David Troyer and Frank Labor, the gangster used “cryptic language” to give Sebastiani a brief genteel history of a 1990s mob war between factions headed by Skinny Joey Merlino and former boss John Stanfa.
“Staino compared the two factions to IBM and GE,” the prosecutors wrote, with Merlino being IBM. “I’m IBM and IBM took over GE. Two different companies. Here’s our company; there’s the bad company. The bad company gets taken over. I’m with the good company. I’m on the Board of Directors … I’m like the CFO. CFO. Not the Chairman of the Board. I’m the CFO.”
As a result of the takeover, Staino told Sebastiani, the mob situation for a muscular gangster named Vince who was dining in the same restaurant as they were at the time had changed. “He was with GE,” said Staino. But now, he added, “he’s with me. He’s with me.”
Following a detention hearing, U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy Rice heeded the arguments of lawyer Gregory Pagano that his client had no prior arrests, that the taped threats were seven years old and that there was no violence in the case. Staino, who lives in South Jersey and serves as Ligambi's right-hand-man there, was released on $1 million bail.
Attorney Pagano says that once the government turns over the tapes and other materials related to the undercover work by the agent, it won’t add up to very much. “Based on what I know and some documents I have, I don’t think the portrayal of Dino in the indictment is going to mirror what is revealed,” Pagano told Gang Land. “I don’t think that Dino was victimized by my client at all,” the lawyer added. “The only thing he did with this person was have an arms-length transaction. He did nothing illegal with him.”
Whatever the disposition of the Staino case, Sebastiani’s acting gets loud applause from those who have worked with him, including celebrated FBI undercover agent Joaquin (Big Jack) Garcia.
Garcia was not involved in the Philadelphia case, but beginning in the mid-1990s, he teamed up several times with Sebastiani. The most recent sting ended in 2007 with the arrests of four corrupt Hollywood, Florida cops.
“Dave was one of those guys who you could always count on in an undercover operation,” Garcia told Gang Land. “He would always do the job. He wouldn’t say anything stupid; he wouldn’t DO anything stupid. The FBI could always count on him, whether it was for a cameo appearance or a regular long-term role.”
Sebastiani was “not a hot dog,” the burly Cuban-born Garcia continued. “He was a team player who knew the objective was always to catch the bad guys. And he’s done really good work over the years.”
In “Making Jack Falcone,” his best-selling book about a 27-month sting that took down the leadership of the Gambino family in 2005, Garcia wrote that Sebastiani, whom he identified only as “FBI agent Dave,” played a key role in a lengthy investigation in which four dirty cops were nailed on drug dealing and other charges in 2007.
Court records show that Sebastiani managed to balance two separate undercover operations at the same time, both times posing as a guy named Dino in a wiseguy caper. Sebastiani, who speaks fluent Italian, began playing his Florida role as a mob soldier named Dino under a New York capo named Big Jack in the Hollywood sting. At the same time, he was play-acting as a financial planner named Dino in the Philly caper.
“It was like on the job training,” laughed Garcia. “In Philadelphia and South Jersey, Dave was picking up the mannerisms of real life wiseguys and using them in Florida as he catered to me in my role as a New York capo” who paid the cops to deliver “stolen” jewelry and loads of “drugs” from the Sunshine State to New York and New Jersey.
In 2004 and 2005, according to a complaint against the cops, Sebastiani took part in an “illegal gambling payoff of $20,000,” was involved in the delivery of a load of “stolen diamonds” to Atlantic City, and helped stage a “crooked card game” on a rented yacht in South Florida while playing the role of a mobster named Dino.
These days, however, Sebastiani’s undercover days are over.
FBI honchos have tapped his undercover experience with traditional as well as Russian organized crime groups and moved him into the FBI’s primary area of economic concern, “high-tech crimes, including cyber-terrorism, online sexual exploitation and major cyber frauds.”
Cyber Crime is the number three priority of the 2011 FBI, said FBI spokesman Tim Flannelly, who declined to discuss any cases that Sebastiani has worked. “He is an excellent supervisor in the New York Office’s Cyber/Special Operations Division,” said Flannelly. (For the record, Terrorism is #1, Counterintelligence is #2, and Organized Crime is #6.)
Sebastiani did not respond to phone messages Gang Land left at his office. Officials of the AAFA declined to comment about the agent’s participation in a “dynamic” panel discussion about “rogue websites” last week. “It was an off-the-record session,” said AAFA spokesman Kurt Courtney. Which is exactly what Anthony (Ant) Staino thought back in 2004 when he was yapping to a knock-around guy named “Dino.”
Edited by Dapper_Don (07/08/11 11:44 PM)
Tommy Shots: They want me running the family, don’t they know I have a young wife?
Sal Vitale: (laughs) Tommy, jump in, the water’s fine.