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Alleged Palermo mafia man Domenico Palazzotto (right) created a Facebook page under a false name and posted photos of himself living the good

Alleged Palermo mafia man Domenico Palazzotto (right) created a Facebook page under a false name and posted photos of himself living the good life. Photo: Facebook

Rome: Just when police thought they had finally loosened the Mafia’s historical stranglehold over Sicily, a new generation of brash mobsters is reclaiming the streets of Palermo – and bragging about it on Facebook.

After years when Cosa Nostra luminaries communicated only by handwritten notes in code, their youthful successors are making increasingly unabashed online boasts about their wealth, power and contempt for the magistrates hunting them down.

One suspected Palermo mobster, Domenico Palazzotto, 28, who created a Facebook page under a false name, posted photos of himself cruising on motorboats and sitting down to sumptuous lobster dinners.

The rising boss, who was in charge of Mafia activities in the Arenella neighbourhood of Palermo, where he allegedly helped run extortion operations, listed his liking for the US singer Kenny Loggins and name-checked an Italian TV series about the Mafia.

Amid crude insults apparently aimed at the police, Mr Palazzotto also swapped messages with an aspiring mobster who asked to be enrolled in his clan.

“Do I need to send a CV?” asked the applicant. “Yes, brother,” replied Mr Palazzotto jokingly. “We need to consider your criminal record. We do not take on people with clean records.”

However, while the online postings, which were revealed by Italian magazine L’Espresso, are thought to be partly intended to spread fear among the Mafia’s host communities, such flagrant disregard for the criminal organisation’s traditional penchant for discretion could also be the mobsters’ undoing.

An investigative source in Palermo told The Sunday Telegraph, London, that officers were spending time checking through Facebook to seek out the bosses lurking behind false names.

Salvatore D’Alessandro, a rising mob henchman loyal to Mr Palazzotto, also posted on Facebook under a pseudonym and described his ambition to move up the organisation’s ranks.

“For the time being I am one of the small sharks hunting in the deep,” he wrote. “But the moment will come when I rise to the surface and will have no pity for anyone.”

The investigative source, who declined to be named, said the mob was “pushing to make a comeback in Palermo”, following years when the ranks of Mafiosi were decimated by arrests. But the new generation, the source added, could not be more different from its predecessors.

“Going online would have been unthinkable for the old guard,” the source said. “They lived in farmhouses and existed on bread and cheese, without using phones, relying on pizzini (handwritten notes) to get their orders out.

“The new generation are using Facebook, texts and WhatsApp to show that they are going to the best discos, beaches and restaurants, because they believe that is key to earning respect. The problem is that makes you traceable and they are getting arrested.”

Mr Palazzotto was among 95 suspected mobsters rounded up in June in Palermo in an operation dubbed “Operation Apocalypse”, aimed at decapitating the city’s new Mafia leadership. Police said they had put a temporary stop to vote rigging, extortion and drug-trafficking operations. More importantly, officers said they had halted a bid to pull together scrapping clans across the city into a more compact criminal empire, harking back to the leadership of Toto Riina, the “boss of bosses”, jailed in 1993.

Investigators alleged a key figure in the rebirth was Mr Palazzotto’s cousin Gregorio Palazzotto, 37, who was issuing orders despite being in jail.

A keen user of Facebook, Gregorio used the site to insult Mafia turncoats who gave evidence to get out of jail, writing: “I have no fear of handcuffs, but I am afraid of those who start singing to get out of them.”

As police get wind of Facebook bragging by Mafiosi, a more time-honoured means for the mobsters to show off their power, involving Cosa Nostra’s venerable links to the Catholic Church, resurfaced in Palermo last week.

During one of the religious processions that frequently wind their way through the city, volunteers carrying a statue of a Madonna briefly set it down outside a funeral parlour owned by the family of Alessandro D’Ambrogio, a jailed Mafia boss, in what was viewed as a sign of respect.

During the pause outside the shopfront, where D’Ambrogio held mob summits, local children were lifted up to kiss the statue.

The incident recalled a similarly suspicious pause in a procession in Calabria last month near the home of jailed boss Peppe Mazzagatti, which prompted outrage in the wake of Pope Francis’ call for mobsters to be excommunicated.

Pietro Leta, the Carmelite prior who was responsible for the Palermo procession, denied his statue bearers were taking orders from mobsters, claiming the statue had stopped dozens of times, either to give the volunteers a rest, or to avoid the electrical cables strung across Palermo’s narrow streets.

Telegraph, UK




A photograph posted on social media sites by Jeane Lim-Napoles, the daughter of Manila businesswoman, Janet Lim-Napoles, show an extravagance that has attracted the eye of the tax man. Source: Supplied

A YOUNG Philippine woman who posted pictures online of her lavish life including one showing her bathing in money is to be charged with tax evasion.

Jeane Napoles, whose mother is currently being investigated over one of the country’s biggest corruption scandals, earned widespread derision for her social media posts featuring flashy cars and a swanky condominium in the US.

“We read the newspapers. We follow the Internet. That is where we heard about her,” said Bureau of Internal Revenue chief Kim Henares.

Government investigators allege Ms Napoles’ mother Janet, a businesswoman, helped members of the Philippine parliament embezzle 10 billion pesos ($230 million) in government funds.

Three opposition senators as well as former president Gloria Arroyo, who is in jail for election fraud and graft, are among those swept up in the investigation and could face criminal charges for misuse of funds.

The corruption scandal prompted thousands to march in the streets in massive rallies against graft.

Prior to the scandal, 23-year-old Jeane Napoles regularly took to Tumblr, Instagram and YouTube to document her high-flying lifestyle.

But after Filipino newspapers in June broke the news about her mother’s alleged links to corruption, her posts drew anger in the impoverished country where many believe a few families are enriching themselves unfairly.

Ms Napoles deactivated her social media accounts but her photos and videos had already become viral.

Ms Henares said the tax evasion complaint against Ms Napoles was not linked to the corruption allegations against her mother.

The bureau cited a Los Angeles condominium that the daughter allegedly acquired for 54.73 million pesos in 2011, and a Philippine property she bought in 2012.

A student studying fashion design, the young woman had not filed any income tax returns, itself evidence of tax evasion, according to Ms Henares.

“We have always said there is nothing wrong with being rich as long you pay the right taxes,” the official added.

Janet Napoles, her mother, was detained in August for allegedly detaining an aide who later blew the whistle on her alleged role in embezzling state funds.

Ms Henares denied any political motive in prosecuting the daughter and said she was merely enforcing tax laws.

“Whether it is her fault or her mother’s fault, someone will go to jail,” said Ms Henares.




Here’s a quick parenting tip: it’s not OK to offer to sell your children on Facebook, even if you really need the money.

Misty VanHorn, a 22-year old mother of two in Sallisaw, Oklahoma, found that out the hard way over the weekend.

VanHorn was arrested on Saturday for the alleged trafficking of minors on Facebook – offering her 10-month old and her 2 year-old for $US4000 ($3890).
Lullaby Babies- Baby Gifts

According to the police report, VanHorn offered her children several times on the social network – offering the 10-month old girl for $US1000 ($972), or both of them for $US4000. And she had a taker.

Police believe VanHorn wanted the $US1000 to bail her boyfriend out of jail.

VanHorn was dealing with a woman in Fort Smith, Arkansas, according to The Oklahoman. This means she could be charged with a federal crime because the act would have crossed state borders.

“Just come to Sallisaw, it’s only 30 minutes away and I’ll give you all of her stuff and let y’all have her forever for $1000,” read VanHorn’s Facebook message to the Fort Smith woman, as unearthed in the police report by the Daily Dot.

She is being held on a $US40,000 ($38,900) bond. The children are in the custody of the state’s department of human services, which alerted the police in the first place.

A word of caution for anyone rushing to Facebook to find the alleged perpetrator: there are multiple Misty VanHorns on the social network. Two of them live in Oklahoma. One looks similar to the mugshot released by the Sequoyah County Police Department, but does not appear to live in VanHorn’s town, Sallisaw.

Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan, one of two men jailed for four years over a Facebook post.Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan, one of two men jailed for four years over a Facebook post.

Two men who posted messages on Facebook inciting other people to riot in their home towns during the recent English outbreaks of violence have each been sentenced to four years in prison by a judge at Chester Crown Court.

Jordan Blackshaw, 20, set up an “event” called Smash Down in Northwich Town for the night of August 8 on the social networking site but no one apart from the police, who were monitoring the page, turned up at the prearranged meeting point outside a McDonald’s restaurant. Blackshaw was promptly arrested.

Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan, 22, of Latchford, Warrington, used his Facebook account in the early hours of August 9 to design a web page entitled The Warrington Riots.

The court was told it caused a wave of panic in the town. When he woke up the following morning with a hangover, he removed the page and apologised, saying it had been a joke. His message was distributed to 400 Facebook contacts, but no rioting broke out as a result.

Sentencing Blackshaw to four years in a young offenders’ institution, Judge Elgan Edwards, QC, said he had committed an “evil act”.

He said: “This happened at a time when collective insanity gripped the nation. Your conduct was quite disgraceful and the title of the message you posted on Facebook chills the blood.

“You sought to take advantage of crime elsewhere and transpose it to the peaceful streets of Northwich. The idea revolted many right thinking members of society. No one actually turned up due to the prompt and efficient actions of police in using modern policing.”

The judge said that Sutcliffe-Keenan “caused a very real panic” and “put a very considerable strain on police resources in Warrington”. He praised Cheshire police for their “modern and clever policy” of infiltrating the website.

The heavy sentences came as defence lawyers and civil rights groups have criticised the “disproportionate” sentences imposed on some convicted rioters as the latest official figures show nearly 1300 suspects have been brought before the courts.

The revelation that magistrates were advised by justices’ clerks to disregard normal sentencing guidelines when dealing with riot-related cases alarmed a number of lawyers who warned it would trigger a spate of appeals.

Also yesterday, a looter was warned he could be jailed for helping himself to an ice-cream cone during disturbances.

Anderson Fernandes, 22, appeared before magistrates in Manchester charged with burglary after he took two scoops of coffee ice-cream and a cone from Patisserie Valerie in the city centre. He gave the cone away because he did not like the flavour.

Fernandes admitted burglary in relation to the ice-cream and an unconnected charge of handling stolen goods after a vacuum cleaner was recovered from his home. District judge Jonathan Taaffe said: “I have a public duty to deal swiftly and harshly with matters of this nature.” Fernandes will be sentenced next week.

In sentencing four other convicted Manchester rioters, a Crown Court judge, Andrew Gilbert, QC, made clear why he was disregarding sentencing guidelines when he said “the offences of the night of 9 August … takes them completely outside the usual context of criminality”.

He added: “The principal purpose is that the courts should show that outbursts of criminal behaviour like this will be and must be met with sentences longer than they would be if the offences had been committed in isolation.”

The Ministry of Justice’s latest estimate, at midday yesterday, shows the courts have dealt with 1277 alleged offenders of whom more than 700 have been remanded in custody. Two-thirds of the cases were in London.

About 21 per cent of those appearing before the courts have been juveniles. The proportion of alleged youth offenders was higher in Nottingham, Birmingham and Manchester.

But Sally Ireland, policy director of the law-reform organisation Justice, said: “The circumstances of public disorder should be treated as an aggravating factor and one would expect that to push up sentences by a degree, but not by as far as some of the cases we have seen.

“Some instances are completely out of all proportion. There will be a flurry of appeals. There’s a question about this advice [from justices’ clerks] and whether it should have been issued at all.”

Rakesh Bhasin, a solicitor partner at the law firm Steel & Shamash, which represents some of those charged following the riots, said some reported sentences seemed to be “disproportionate”.

Paul Mendelle, QC, a former chairman of the Criminal Bar Association, said: “The idea that the rulebook goes out the window strikes me as inherently unjust. It sets all manner of alarm bells ringing. Guidelines are not tramlines. There are guidelines and they take account of aggravating and mitigating circumstances.

“There have been rulings following the Bradford riots and Israeli embassy demonstrations that said which sort of guidelines should be followed. I don’t see why [magistrates] should be told to disregard these.”

Guardian News & Media

‘Bout 2 kill ma kid’:

guilty father’s chilling

Facebook updates

Ramazan Acar being transported to court last year.

Adrian Lowe

May 4, 2011 – 3:42PM

A man who murdered his two-year-old daughter last year posted Facebook updates about his crime, a Melbourne court has learnt.

Ramazan Acar this morning pleaded guilty to the murder of his daughter Yazmina in November last year.

Acar, 24, of Meadow Heights, did not apply for bail and magistrate Peter Reardon remanded him to reappear in the Supreme Court later this month.

Yazmina Acar was stabbed more than once.Yazmina Acar was stabbed more than once.

Yazmina’s body was found in grassland near Greenvale Reservoir, near Broadmeadows in Melbourne’s north, in the early hours of November 18.

Court documents reveal she had been stabbed more than once by her father before she was dumped.

Police, in their summary of the case, said Acar accessed his Facebook page via his mobile phone to post updates.

One, at 7.23pm, read: “Bout 2 kill ma kid”. Later, at 7.34pm, he posted: “Pay bk u slut”.

Earlier, Yazmina’s mother, Rachelle D’Argent, had received text messages from Acar. One read: “U wanted to convert ma kid do it u wanted to lock me up I did it u wanted 2 b indapendant do it u take full custdy do it u wana kill me il do it wat eva makes u happy nw tel me” (sic).

Another, sent at 7.32pm, read: “It’s ova I did it.”

Later, Acar sent Ms D’Argent more text messages: “I h8t you” and “She’s in heaven I feel lyk shit”.

At 11.20pm, Acar updated his Facebook status to read: “I lv u mimi”. (Mimi was a pet name for Yazmina used by her family.)

Outside court today, Ms D’Argent said the guilty plea had come as a relief.

She said being at court today meant “the world” to her and she now felt her daughter had received justice.

She said she would continue to attend court hearings until Acar was sentenced.

“I wanted him to look me in the eye and he did,” Ms D’Argent said. “It was a quick glimpse but enough for him to say he was guilty.

“I’m getting happier, I can say.”

Asked what she would say to her daughter, Ms D’Argent said: “Mummy’s always going to be there for you.”

As Acar was led from court, a relative of Yazmina shouted “rot in hell” as Ms D’Argent wept and flicked her hand at him.

The police summary said of Yazmina: “The deceased was described as an active, intelligent an engaging child who was deeply loved. She enjoyed Dora the Explorer and riding her pink bicycle.”

Deleted tweets critical in gay

webcam sex suicide arrest

April 25, 2011 – 10:38AM
Jumped ... Tyler Clementi, 18, pictured on his Facebook page.
Jumped … Tyler Clementi, 18, pictured on his Facebook page.


Accused of a hate crime for allegedly using a webcam to spy on his college roommate’s same-sex encounter, the roommate of Tyler Clementi is now also finding that it’s not just what you tweet, but also what you delete, that can get you in trouble.

Dharun Ravi, accused of using Twitter to invite people to watch Clementi’s most private moments, was charged last week with several counts of bias intimidation and invasion of privacy. But perhaps just as surprising were the charges of evidence tampering that an indictment said stemmed from Ravi’s attempts to delete text messages and a Twitter post.

“It’s really novel way to take old-school evidence-tampering” charges into the newer spheres of social media and cyberspace, said Bradley S. Shear, an attorney who counsels clients and blogs about social media and the law.

Dharun Ravi.Dharun Ravi. Photo: AP 

“It can help demonstrate that your virtual behavior, online activities, are just as important, if not more so, than everything you do in your everyday life,” he said.

Ravi, 19, and another student, Molly Wei, were both charged with invasion of privacy for events that happened in the days leading up to Clementi’s public suicide in September in which he jumped off the George Washington bridge.

Authorities said Ravi used Wei’s computer in her room to activate his computer in his room using Skype, and viewed Clementi and another man’s intimate moments. Ravi is accused of trying to do the same thing days later and inviting others to view the webcast.

Clementi’s death came on the heels of a spate of gay teenagers nationwide killing themselves after being taunted, and it quickly galvanised national efforts by celebrities and activists to fight suicide and the bullying of gay teenagers.

Last week – nearly seven months after the 18-year-old Clementi, a talented violinist, took his life – a grand jury indicted Ravi on additional counts, which included bias intimidation and evidence tampering.

Several messages left with Ravi’s attorney, Steven Altman, were not returned.

Prosecutors in at least one other U.S. case have argued that a defendant’s efforts to delete his social media postings essentially amounted to evidence tampering.

A former Air Force airman accused of killing his girlfriend’s 3-year-old daughter in Great Falls, Mont., was charged with solicitation to tamper evidence after authorities said he told his father to erase his Facebook, MySpace and email accounts to try to conceal potential evidence.

Prosecutors ultimately dropped the charge against Jerimie Hicks, saying they didn’t believe it could be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

Hicks was convicted in November of deliberate homicide and a different evidence-tampering solicitation charge involving a bloody uniform. He was sentenced to 100 years in prison.

Online or off, evidence-tampering charges entail proving someone didn’t just get rid of something but did it to destroy evidence, lawyers say.

“It’s fairly routine that until they become suspects, people are deleting electronic files,” said Orin Kerr, a George Washington University Law School professor. “It’s an understandable impulse to take it down.”

But Kerr said the key to the crime is intent.

“If someone deletes information because they don’t want it to be a news story, that’s different than trying to keep police from arresting them,” Kerr said.

The alleged harassment of Clementi and the case against his roommate will be made using many of the young men’s own words from their postings on Twitter, Facebook and in chat rooms.

For Clementi, those words also offer insight into his mindset before he killed himself only weeks into his freshman year. For Ravi, his words will be used against him, as well as the posts he tried to erase.

The intimidation of Clementi went back to Aug. 6 – the day Ravi “learned the name of his roommate,” according to prosecutors.

In an Aug. 22 post on Twitter, according to, Ravi said: “Found out my roommate is gay,” and linked to a thread that Clementi is believed to have posted on a gay community chat room.

Less than a month later on Sept. 19, a cached copy of Ravi’s account shows he tweeted: “Roommate asked for the room till midnight. I went into molly’s room and turned on my webcam. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay.”

In a gay-themed chat room, a poster who appears to have been Clementi later described finding a webcam trained on him, reading his roommate’s Twitter feed and pondering what he should do, according to a report first published on the Gawker gossip website.

The poster wrote: “don’t wanna report him and then end up with nothing happening except him getting pissed at me.”

Two days later, Ravi tweeted: “Anyone with iChat, I dare you to video chat me between the hours of 9:30 and 12. Yes it’s happening again.”

In the chat room, Clementi posted that he unplugged Ravi’s computer and searched for hidden cameras before a liaison that night.

He also mentioned that he emailed his resident adviser to ask for a room change, adding that the adviser “seemed to take it seriously.”

Later that day, Clementi posted on his Facebook account: “Jumping off the gw bridge sorry.”


Mother who was playing

Facebook game

while son drowned in bath

jailed for 10 years

April 18, 2011 – 8:29AM
Shannon Johnson was playing a game on Facebook while her 13-month-old baby drowned in a full bathtubShannon Johnson was playing a game on Facebook while her 13-month-old baby drowned in a full bathtub Photo: AP Photo/The Weld County (Colo.)

A US woman who was playing a game on Facebook while her 13-month-old son drowned in a bathtub has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Shannon Johnson, 34, of Fort Lupton, northern Colorado, cried as District Judge Thomas Quammen told her he didn’t think she was a bad person or that she killed her son on purpose, the Greeley Tribune reported. But, he added, that doesn’t mean her action wasn’t criminal.

“You left this little boy in a bathtub so you could entertain yourself on the computer by playing games,” Quammen said. “And you left that 13-month-old human being, little Joseph, incredibly for those reasons.”

Johnson pleaded guilty in March to negligently causing the death of her child. The charge carried a sentencing range of four to 12 years, but it also left open the possibility of alternative sentencing, which means she might have avoided spending time behind bars. Authorities rejected that option, saying they didn’t want to play down the seriousness of her crime.

According to court documents, Johnson put her son in the tub for his bath a little after 8.30am on September 20. She then left him unsupervised as she went to another room to share videos, check status updates and play Cafe World on Facebook.

When she returned to the bathroom, she found Joseph sideways and face-down in the water.

Johnson called 911 to say Joseph wasn’t breathing. Paramedics were able to revive the toddler but he was pronounced dead at a Denver hospital.

According to the affidavit, Johnson told police the boy “wanted to be left alone” and was a very “independent baby”.

She also told police she knew what it was like to be told “no”, and she did not want her baby to be told “no”.

The affidavit says she also did not want him to be known as a “mama’s boy”.

Johnson told police she gave the boy a bath every day – sometimes twice a day. She said that on the day Joseph died, the water level might have been higher than usual.

Johnson told police she had been leaving Joseph in the bathtub alone for weeks.

Johnson also told authorities that her son had a seizure at his grandmother’s house a month earlier and had been given anti-seizure medication in case it happened again. Doctors didn’t diagnose the cause of the seizure and there were no other occurrences, Johnson said.

The investigation into the boy’s death was delayed while investigators waited for the final autopsy report. That report came back on January 3. It said the baby died of anoxic brain injury, cardiac arrest and drowning, according to the arrest affidavit. Johnson was arrested days later.

She was also sentenced to five years of mandatory parole following her incarceration.

Weld County Undersheriff Margie Martinez told KMGH-TV in Denver that Johnson’s mother said she had warned her daughter of the danger of leaving the toddler unattended in water just days before he drowned.

“She told her she wouldn’t do it anymore,” Martinez said.


Policeman resigns

over probe

into Facebook postings

of drunk Aboriginals

Aja Styles

February 18, 2011

Prison photos published on Facebook

A WA police officer is under investigation after posting photographs of drunk Aboriginal men detained at his station’s lock-up as his Facebook profile pictures.

A West Australian police officer who allegedly used his Facebook profile to post photographs of drunk Aboriginal men detained at his station’s lock-up has resigned.

The photographs – obtained exclusively by – show the men, bleary-eyed and barely conscious, inside a police cell in the remote town of Wiluna in the state’s Goldfields.

Underneath one of the photographs was written the caption: “I wonder if anyone will notice my spray-on tan?”

One of the men whose image was posted as a profile picture on Constable John Trenouth's Facebook page. <I>Original image pixellated to protect the victim's identity.</i>One of the men whose image was posted as a profile picture on Constable John Trenouth’s Facebook page. Original image pixellated to protect the victim’s identity.

The photographs were contained in Senior Constable John Trenouth’s profile pictures folder on his Facebook page, while a friend and fellow officer indicated she “likes this” – a popular Facebook feature.

A police internal inquiry was launched after investigating the matter back in December last year.

The photos were wiped from Senior Constable Trenouth’s Facebook page – which has restricted access – just hours began investigating the claims.

Constable Trenouth was transferred from Wiluna before the internal investigation began.Constable Trenouth was transferred from Wiluna before the internal investigation began. Photo: Facebook

However, investigators have obtained screenshots of his Facebook profile when the images were displayed and also traced his computer activity.

Senior Constable Trenouth was stood down from duty on full pay after brought to the attention of Police Commissioner, Karl O’Callaghan, the racial connotations of his Facebook page, months into the inquiry.

This week Senior Constable Trenouth handed in his resignation which has been accepted by Mr O’Callaghan and will become effective mid-April.

One of the images posted as a profile photo on Constable Trenouth's Facebook page. <I>Original image pixellated to protect the victim's identity.</i>One of the images posted as a profile photo on Constable Trenouth’s Facebook page. Original image pixellated to protect the victim’s identity.

The internal inquiry into Senior Constable Trenouth’s conduct will continue to examine whether any criminal charges can be brought against the officer, who has served a minimum of nine years on the force.

The matter has angered Aboriginal rights advocates and came just months after horrifying vision of Aboriginal man, Kevin Spratt, being Tasered 14 times by police in the East Perth lock-up became public.

For legal reasons comments cannot be opened on this story


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