Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Trio of Staten Islanders in trouble with the law

Three Staten Islanders have ran afoul of federal authorities for very different reasons.
New Springville resident Pedro Cesar Barrera-Rojas allegedly tied to sneak $77,000 cash out of the country without declaring it. Barrera-Rojas said he wanted to buy land in Argentina, according to court papers.
Joseph "Cakes" Ida, a 36, a distributor of baked goods, sold more than just cakes and bread. He also peddled cocaine, allege Brooklyn federal prosecutors.
And Fort Wadsworth resident Carl Bravata Sr., 59, illegally obtained Social Security Administration disability benefits while working, court papers said. He also fraudulently used the Social Security numbers of two people, said authorities.
The three borough residents were recently charged in Brooklyn federal court.
According to court papers, Barrera-Rojas, 33, attempted to board a flight to Santiago, Chile, at Kennedy Airport on Feb. 26. The suspect is a U.S. citizen.
During a Customs inspection, Barrera-Rojas was told he must declare all currency he was transporting for himself or another person.
The suspect said he was carrying $5,000, said court records. However, when agents advised he'd be searched, he said he had lied, and produced about $9,700, court documents said. On searching his carry-on bags, agents found an additional $20,000, said court records.
The suspect was traveling with his fiancée and her father. Agents pulled the pair off the plane and found $20,000 inside the woman's carry-on bag and $27,000 in her father's carry-on.
Barrera-Rojas said the nearly $77,000 belonged to him and he intended to buy land in Argentina, said court records.
He said he hadn't declared the money because he believed he couldn't travel with more than $10,000.
Barrera-Rojas was charged with bulk-cash smuggling out of the United States. If convicted, he could face up to five years in prison.
His lawyer, Barry Deonarine of Manhattan, declined comment on the charges.
According to court papers, Ida distributed cocaine and was supplied, in part, by reputed mobster Joseph Sclafani of Prince's Bay.
Sclafani was busted in August and accused of running three marijuana grow houses and a cocaine distribution ring on Staten Island.
Sclafani, who in 1989 harbored a fugitive mobster who killed a federal Drug Enforcement Administration agent in Charleston, has not been charged in this scheme.
Court papers said Ida bought narcotics from Sclafani and a cooperating witnesses. The informant sold Ida between 100 and 250 grams of cocaine each week, those documents said.
In August of last year, authorities seized a ledger from Sclafani's home.
The book showed that a person, identified as "Cakes," owed more than $56,000 for about 1.5 kilograms (more than 3 pounds) of cocaine, said court records.
Ida is charged with conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute more than 5 kilograms (11 pounds) of cocaine. Court papers don't provide his street address.
But those records show he has a criminal record.
Ida pleaded guilty in July 1998 to attempted stolen-property possession and was sentenced to five years' probation, said those documents. In September 2007, he was sentenced to 90 days in jail in New Jersey after being arrested on charges including burglary.
His lawyer, Vincent J. Martinelli of Meiers Corners, declined comment on the latest allegations.
Bravata's alleged crimes occurred between March 1998 and January 2011.
During that time, he illegally used the Social Security numbers of a man and a woman to obtain benefits to which he wasn't entitled, allege prosecutors.
Bravata also illegally obtained Social Security disability benefits by claiming he was unable to work. However, he was employed full-time under a false name, said court papers. Those documents didn't say where Bravata worked.
Bravata was accused of Social Security fraud, aggravated identity theft and wire fraud.
His lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment.



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