Originally created 10/07/04

Prosecutors: Mobster did crimes to boost 'retirement' fund



BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - An aging, cancer-stricken mobster planned to rob and kill a cocaine dealer and kidnap the son of a businessman to shore up his "retirement," prosecutors said.

Recovering from heart surgery and suffering from colon cancer, 71-year-old Victor Riccitelli went to court Tuesday seeking his release on bail while he awaits trial on racketeering charges.

However, U.S. Magistrate Judge Holly Fitzsimmons ordered him held without bail after prosecutors, who allege Riccitelli is a member of the New York-based Gambino crime family, played audio tapes they said showed him to be violent and too dangerous to release.

In one conversation with another man, prosecutors said, Riccitelli outlined a plan to kill a drug dealer and steal his cocaine stash. "That'll be our (expletive) retirement!" Riccitelli said on the recording.

In another conversation, Riccitelli said he planned to kidnap the son of an unidentified wealthy businessman and hold him for ransom. "As soon as I get better," Riccitelli said, "I'm going to snatch him."

The kidnapping never occurred. Riccitelli's attorney, Thomas P. Belsky, argued it was unclear whether the men on the tape intended to commit a crime or whether it was "two old guys bragging."

Riccitelli was indicted last month along with 17 other people, including Anthony "The Genius" Megale of Stamford, who prosecutors say is believed to be the highest-ranking Mafia member in Connecticut.