Thursday, February 27, 2014

Mobster pleads not guilty in 1978 Lufthansa heist

NEW YORK -- An elderly reputed mobster pleaded not guilty on Thursday to participating in a $6 million airport heist dramatized in the Martin Scorsese movie "Goodfellas."
Seventy-eight-year-old Vincent Asaro was named along with his son and three other defendants in wide-ranging indictment Thursday. The allegations include murder, robbery, extortion, arson and other crimes from the late 1960s through last year. The indictment accuses Asaro of helping to direct the 1978 Lufthansa Airlines heist at Kennedy airport - one of the largest cash thefts in American history.
He and his son pleaded not guilty in Brooklyn federal court.

In addition to the heist, the elder Asaro is charged in the 1969 murder of Paul Katz. Prosecutors say Katz once owned a warehouse where mobsters stored stolen goods. All of the men arrested are alleged members of the Bonanno organized crime family.
Katz's remains were found last year during an FBI dig at a house once occupied by James "Jimmy the Gent" Burke, the suspected mastermind of the Lufthansa heist, who died in 1996.