Career investigators shed light on organized crime

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Waynesburg University’s Criminal Justice and Social Sciences Department recently welcomed two guests who brought legends of the Pittsburgh Mob to life. 

Ed Reiser and Bruce Teitelbaum, longtime experts in the field of criminal justice, visited Waynesburg University to share insight into the world of organized crime, or mob activity, with criminal justice administration students. They began by debunking the myths that organized crime exists only in cities like Chicago and New York.

“Pittsburgh also had a very active organized crime family that dates back to the turn of the 19th century at least,” said Reiser, a retired special agent for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Criminal Investigation Division.

As members of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), Reiser and Teitelbaum spent years unraveling cases involving the Pittsburgh Mob. 

According to Reiser, the investigations leading to the successful prosecution of members of the Genovese organized crime family in Pittsburgh spanned seven years, from 1984 through 1990, and resulted in the indictments of more than 60 individuals for 182 separate violations of federal laws.

After decades of investigating organized crime, both men agree on the secret to ending mob violence.

“When you are conducting an investigation of organized crime, you have to have an insider,” Reiser said. “If you try to use outsiders to testify, fear is always there to keep people from cooperating with the government.”

Reiser graduated from Robert Morris College in 1975 and immediately began working in the Examination Division of the IRS. He worked in the Criminal Investigation Division of the IRS from 1977 until his retirement in 2010. He has received eight awards for superior performance at the IRS and has been awarded numerous other honors from the OCDETF and other organizations.

Teitelbaum, who graduated from Duquesne Law School in 1980, worked as a United States Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania until his retirement in 2012. In this position, he served as the lead attorney and section chief for the Organized Crime and Narcotics sections. Teitelbaum was also the lead attorney for the OCDETF, and he now practices law at a private firm.

Ashley Wise, Senior Writer/Editor

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