Friday, April 9, 2010
Hells Angel member refers to Winnipeg man as "the bank"
If you wanted to buy a car, Nello Chiapetta was the man who ironed out your financing.
Court documents made public yesterday allege the former Eastwood Truck and Toy Centre finance manager was also the go-to guy for city gangsters looking to launder their ill-gotten gains.
Chiapetta, 39, was among more than two dozen people arrested in Project Divide, a December 2009 police sting targeting the Hells Angels “puppet club” known as the Zig-Zag Crew. Chiapetta, who is not a member of either gang, has been charged with two counts of laundering the proceeds of crime and one count of conspiracy to launder the proceeds of crime.
The charges against him have not been proven in court and he remains innocent until proven guilty.
According to court documents at least one city gangster, Hells Angels member Sean Wolfe, referred to Chiapetta as “the bank.” As in previous similar stings, police enlisted the aid of a paid criminal agent, Zig-Zagger Michael Satsatin, to ensnare Chiapetta and other targets.
Satsatin told police Wolfe — then responsible for overseeing Zig-Zag operations — and Chiapetta met on “numerous occasions” and that he believed Chiapetta “controls” Wolfe’s money.
“The agent is aware that suspicion is raised if a business receives an amount of $10,000 or more in a cash transaction,” says a RCMP affidavit. “He further believes that Chiapetta would be able to ‘take care of the paperwork’ to make the transaction not appear suspicious.”
According to Manitoba Public Insurance records, Wolfe and Chiapetta’s relationship, as of last year, included joint ownership of a 2007 Harley Davidson motorcycle.
Police say criminals involved in drug trafficking often use “nominees” to conceal ownership of property and hide assets.
“I believe that without sufficient evidence of any criminality on Chiapetta’s part, it would be difficult for the authorities to seize Wolfe’s motorcycle and have it forfeited as proceeds of crime,” a police officer wrote in an affidavit.
Court documents allege Chiapetta helped Satsatin launder $25,000 in American currency, money Satsatin said came through the sale of marijuana. The transaction included the sale of a 2003 Pontiac Grand Am for $9,700 cash. Chiapetta and Satsatin allegedly brokered another deal to launder an additional $22,000.
Hundreds of pages of Project Divide documents have now been unsealed by the court. The documents reveal a wealth of insider revelations, including infighting among gangsters, the Zig-Zag Crew’s plans for expansion to B.C., and plots to intimidate trial witnesses.