Case Study: New York Mafia Dumping Toxic Waste into Illegal Landfill
Intro: In 1988, George Eleftheriou, the founder of G.E. Investigations, then a senior investigator for the now defunct APB Investigations, Inc, of Staten Island, New York, was the secret star witness in a massive RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) case which had all the trimmings of a blockbuster thriller: Mafia hits, a John Gotti connection, toxic dumping of body parts, a secret witness testimony, and more.
The Case: Prove that organized crime families were dumping toxic waste into an illegal landfill.
Analysis: This case shows the power of perseverance and skilled undercover physical surveillance. The case was “cracked” thanks to the covert work of private investigator George Eleftheriou, which revealed dozens of license plate numbers of trucks and photographs. The evidence showed that they were dumping clean waste to cover up previous toxic waste and red bag (hospital medical waste) dumping done by the New York mafia.
The evidence stood up in court against the scrutiny of high paid mob defense attorneys. During this time, government and police agencies were placed on investigative “hold” by the judge of the on-going court case due to the mob lawyers motions. This hold caused CSX Railways to hire private help, which lead to George Eleftheriou being assigned the case. Looking, and smelling the part, Eleftheriou staked out as a homeless person near the Arlington Yard station of the Staten Island Railway. By becoming “part of the scenery” he was able to get evidence which would be otherwise unattainable while being at great personal risk. Since official law enforcement were banned from pursuing the investigation, Eleftheriou was the only person to witness and document the toxic waste coverup. Federal prosecutors won the case with Eleftheriou’s testimony as a secret witness along with the thousands of hours of investigative work performed by local and federal agencies. Because of the high risk of a mob hit to prevent his testimony, the prosecutor required Eleftheriou stay in secret locations. Always under assumed names, being bussed in and out of court in an unmarked vehicle, with their only advice to him being “stay away from the windows“.
The crime families involved with this case have become legendary thanks to television and movies. After the suspects were convicted with Eleftheriou’s testimony, a series of mob hits took place including at least one done as a “gift” for Gambino crime family boss, John Gotti. That particular hit was done by a DeCavalcante crime family hitman, the family which the popular HBO series “The Sorpranos” was based on. As with any investigation, the facts are connected by a web of information, but sometimes, all it takes to find truth is some old fashioned detective work.
Additional articles which detail the case and aftermath: (External sites)
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Tags: RICO, Organized Crime, Toxic Waste, Illegal Dumping, Mafia, Mob, Gambino, Surveillance, Private Investigator, New York, Staten Island, Landfill