Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Business Is Booming for the Italian Mafia during COVID

 "MX" for Borderland Beat; VICE Magazine
NAPLES, Italy – The infamous mafioso Franco Cataldo was so brutal that he once sought revenge on one of his associates by kidnapping his 12-year-old son; he abused and tortured the boy for two years until he finally strangled him and dissolved his body in acid. Franco was sentenced to life in prison for that murder.

But 24 years later, the coronavirus — and the fear it would spread through Italy’s notoriously overcrowded prisons — forced the system to release him on house arrest, along with at least 200 other mafia members and high security inmates.

Political opposition groups have called the decision to send mafia members back to the communities they traumatized the “biggest victory over the state since the 1970s” for organized crime syndicates. Since the pandemic took hold in the country, they’ve also seized the opportunity to hand out loans, sell fake PPE, and extort money from vulnerable Italians.
“This period provides the best possible conditions for the mafias to restart their activities. That's because people don't have money and there's a lack of liquidity, so they need help,” Catello Maresca, Naples’ top prosecutor, told VICE News.


Almost three-quarters of Italian businesses have been impacted by COVID-19, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Between 50,000 and 100,000 Italian companies are expected to need direct financial support due to the economic crisis. Mafia groups have stepped in to offer loans and buy up struggling businesses.

“People turn to the mafia more than they turn to the government. The mafia is much more direct. It is much faster to help.” Maresca said. “People must understand that this is a fatal embrace. Because later, this debt will be settled with life.” VICE News spoke to one small business owner who borrowed $55,000 from a loan shark and has now accrued an additional $170,000 in interest. The man asked VICE News to withhold his name to protect him and his family.

“I can't see a future at the moment that can guarantee the resolution of the problems!” he said. “I turned to credit institutions to get financial support, but I was denied it. Unfortunately, you have to go to where the situation leads you.” “They could beat me, they could harm me in some way,” he said of the threats he was under. “Or they would threaten my family — ‘I know where your daughter is’ or my wife, brother or sister, my father, my mother.”

Although there’s no data yet on how many businesses have been bought by the mafia since the pandemic hit, call centers set up for victims of extortion have experienced a 100 percent increase in outreach, according to Italian news outlets.

The biggest spike came from small businesses struggling through Italy’s national lockdown. The judicial system is still processing the legal cases of those who have reported extortion, and the number of reports has increased. The Italian government launched a $435 billion relief program in response to the economic crash caused by COVID-19 in early April. And mafia-associated shell companies have already been busted for exploiting the fund.

The fund also failed to help around 3.5 million Italians who previously worked off the books and were ineligible for the benefits.

“Criminal organizations can adapt themselves to whatever the needs of the moment are,” said Lt. Luigi Vessicchio, the leader of a motorcycle unit of the Neapolitan police department known as the Falchi.

Vessicchio’s team recently confiscated more than 3,000 ineffective face masks that the Camorra, one of Italy’s four largest organized crime syndicates, had illegally produced. “They are completely useless.” Vessicchio told VICE News. He said that medical authorities inspected the masks and ordered them to be destroyed after the seizure.

“The use of these masks can probably cause the actual transmission of coronavirus.” During the national lockdown, Vessicchio and the Falchi police saw street crime drop to almost none, but now they’re back on the streets making arrests.

“Now that the lockdown has been lifted, the Camorra will resume the activities that they were involved with before the Coronavirus started.” Vessicchio said. While Italy is only now starting to assess the toll the pandemic has taken on human life and the economy, it will take time to see how much progress the mafia was able to make during this crisis.

30 comments:

  1. Hate to say; but those getting loans from scrupulous individuals with high interest rates should have known better. Consequences for displaying such humanity to those incarcerated will have an impact good & bad.

    E42

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  2. Super interest rate. In the United States we "so call llegal" Payday Loans, or Car Title loans. Those loan companies are so crooked.

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  3. So thats your mafia codes that yall been bragging about cjng not having?

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    1. 6:52 I would much rather live under the mafia than some dirtbag cartel

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    2. Simple, the Mafia follows a strict code of honor based on secrecy, respect for civilians and duty to community. Rarely are women killed. Only for being in the loop or ripping them off. Cartels are nothing but ignorant mugrosos bajados de la Sierra terrorizing, victimizing and destroying communities. You will never see disturbing videos posted online from The Mob because that is beneath them. Man of honor of the people for the people like Joaquin.

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    3. 7:45 cartels live under mafias, and it is you or them.
      You do not always get to decide.

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    4. I 2nd and 3rd that.

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    5. @6.52 shows how weak you are. I would live under neither or die fighting them.

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    6. 1:34 lookout we got a Rambo here. Just a quick question; when’s the last time you saw a mafia execution on camera? They are not exactly known for tearing open a chest and eating pieces of heart that is still beating. Bandits vs men of honor. Long live La Cosa Nostra

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    7. Did yall guys even read what this mofo did to rhe 12 yr old boy? Or you are just writing nonecense? 1:34 how is that weak? I just asked a question, i also wouldnt want to live under neither of those 2 as a matter of fact i wouldnt want under any mafia

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    8. @ 8:24
      This generosity u speak of is false. The Italian mafia in America is no different than the cartels. Cities like Harlem were devastated by the heroin epidemic the mafia pushed. Killing their victims in horrific manners.

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    9. Because the Italian mafia is glamourized in movies like the Godfather, Casino, The Untouchables and such idiots like at 7:45 think Italians are not scum like any other mob in the world.
      They are stupiditly WRONG!
      Id much rather live under NO mob Italian or Mexican.
      FYI the only reason the Italians are glamourized more in the movies today is that their mob in the country are no longer as powerful as they once were. Cartels along with prison gangs have pretty much taken over the drug trade here in the states although remnants of the Italian mafias still work with these side by side still making some money.

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    10. Hey Dr. Sarcasm @4:31. It’s called the ‘ndrangheta. They make more money off of perico sales worldwide than any cartel or Sicilian mafia. Give your head a shake fool

      Frank from Canada

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  4. Animo Sicarios.
    La Cosa Nostra los empleados del CDS

    New People 006

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    1. La cosa nostra ( siciliano),los duenos de CDs.

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    2. La Cosa Nostra has been replaced by the Red Mafiya whose biggest Godfather Simeon Mogilevich even got the FBI to remove him, his name and his mug from their famous 10 most wanted posters, all others need to die or get arrested to achieve that.
      You are welcome

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    3. Puro Juárez puto

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    4. 9:24: ‘ndrangheta is the most powerful and lucrative organized crime group in the world, not the Russians. Also, Mogilevich was removed because the FBI realized his fat Russian ass would never be extradited from Russia or the other former Soviet countries he travels to. Russian constitution bares extradition so his spot on the most wanted was simply taking up space

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    5. 5:00 you think so?

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    6. Yes that's so. I agree with 5:00. While fat ass in Russia and all the high profile video making idiots in Mexico get the attention, the Calabrian N'drangheta have quietly built a World wide syndicate.

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    7. Los chinos mugrosos, los russios, y especial mente esos catolicos da la cosa nostro meh pueden pelar la mera punta de la riata. Todo esa bola y la tierra de onde son la voltiamos y ahorra es tierra de la cadena America. Desde ariba asta bajo. Do you know what collectively 1st the Italian's, 2nd the Chinese, and 3rd the Russians have thought they've done to your and my land? Never mind what happened with the first settlers we on one with them. Them others though are lacras of the worst kind. Their countries are worse and further behind than any country that falls dead last on the GDP list to the United States in all the Americas. Get a hold on your land people. Agaransen de la tierra. Es el momento para suvir toda la jente. Aprovechesen porque estamos amero ariba. Aque ensusiar todo europo, asta acavar con china. Ya andan mu vajos y aque pisarlos mas. No se detangan. Los gabachos de esa isla UK son como dise Chalino. Massisos para trabajar juntos ah un lado. Los Alemanes tambien. Esos putos Alemanes son de la calidad mas buena. Y mas importante de todo es ahorra en 100 porciento triamos el sueno del mero chingon de todo el mundo. Jesus Christ himself people. Bare down Jesus for us.

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    8. 5:00 you don't know shit if you think that this italian family grandpa's can mess with the cartels! They are easy work for the cartels! Europe runs by Arabs Russians,Albanians and Turks,never see Italians runs shit beside Italy..not anymore..maybe in some movies!

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    9. @5:00 Try Canada where they are as big as Italy with 9 locali in Toronto alone, with the Siderno group holding the most clout. Also Germany, and the Turks arabs and Russians they broker to in Eastern Europe. You got it bass ackwards Willis. Costa Nostra still in play but worldwide ‘ndrangheta makes more money off of cocaine than any other organized crime group. It’s a f$#@king google click away.... not an opinion

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    10. 10:45 try reading next time. I think you would see the comment I posted directly said all of that. Open your eyes it’s pretty easy.

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  5. “ The infamous mafioso Franco Cataldo was so brutal that he once sought revenge on one of his associates by kidnapping his 12-year-old son; he abused and tortured the boy for two years until he finally strangled him and dissolved his body in acid. Franco was sentenced to life in prison for that murder.”

    Save yourselves a lot money. There’s no need to house, clothe, much less feed individuals such as these. These humanitarian erasure jobs can be done for FREE.

    - Sol Prendido

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    1. The murderer of that child was Giovanni Brusca, pentito. In addition to the murder of the child Giuseppe Di Matteo, he confessed to the murders of 100-200 people. Captured in ‘96 he will be released in 2022 due to his cooperation.

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  6. Another failed country behind Mexico! Let out all the violent criminals and murderers and keep the petty criminals locked up.

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    Replies
    1. Guess cave-dwelling has its benefits after all. Pretty sure your kingdom is ruled by the same injustices as many.

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    2. Italy is a failed country? Do some reading before you comment

      Delete

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