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

Thursday, February 8, 2024

Bonanno Soldier accused of extortion while awaiting sentencing


A Bonanno crime family wiseguy didn’t let his arrest in a union shakedown scheme prevent him from committing more extortion and witness tampering, according to federal prosecutors in Brooklyn.

John “Bazoo” Ragano, a Bonanno crime family soldier with a criminal history spanning more than two decades, was awaiting sentencing on federal fraud and extortion charges when he extorted a loansharking victim between November 2022 and last July, prosecutors allege.

The indictment against Ragano, filed Feb. 1 in Brooklyn Federal Court, offers scant details about the allegations against him, except to say he engaged in harassing witnesses and witness tampering as well as extortionate collection of credit.

Ragano, 61, also known as “Maniac,” is currently serving a nearly five-year sentence in a low-security federal prison in Loretto, Pa. — after he was busted in a sweeping 2021 mob takedown that netted the entire leadership of the Colombo crime family.

His part of the scheme involved operating two bogus workplace training schools, in Franklin Square, L.I., and Ozone Park, Queens, that sold Occupational Safety and Health Administration certification cards for $500 a pop.

He slashed the tires of a woman he thought might tell law enforcement officials what he was up to, then bragged in a recorded call about how “there’s nothing they can do to me,” according to court filings by prosecutors.

“If she calls the cops and tells them that? I’ll just tell them, ‘Hey, OK, put me in jail, what’s the problem?’ … What are they gonna give me, three years? I’ll do that with my c–k on the bars,” he boasted.

He also took part in a $100,000 loansharking scheme with several Colombo members, and conspired to traffic pot in New York and Florida, prosecutors said.

Ragano’s criminal history dates back to at least 1999, when he was sentenced to 10 years behind bars for kidnapping after he robbed an Ozone Park accounting firm and held several workers there hostage at gunpoint, according to court filings.

He was also sentenced to more than four years in prison after a 2014 racketeering conspiracy case involving the late Vincent Asaro, a Bonanno capo who gained notoriety after he was charged in the infamous 1978 Lufthansa heist at Kennedy Airport depicted in Martin Scorsese’s “Goodfellas.” In a bombshell 2015 verdict, Asaro was found not guilty of taking part in the $6 million robbery.

Asaro died at age 88 in October.

Ragano has yet to be arraigned in the latest extortion case. Defense lawyer Joel Stein, who represented him in the 2021 case, said he hadn’t heard about the new indictment.

“This is all news to me,” he said.



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