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

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Gotti family members charged with assault after high school basketball game


 

This is the kind of thing that could leave someone wearing a pair of cement Air Jordans.

The daughter-in-law and granddaughter of one of America’s most notorious mob bosses got involved in an ugly scene at a Long Island youth basketball game that could have been pulled right from “The Sopranos” — when they allegedly brawled with another woman over some rude words to her teen son Thursday night.

Kimberly and Gianna Gotti allegedly attacked the victim at Locust Valley High School for shouting insults at her son Joe, who was playing for the visiting Oyster Bay High School team, according to sources and court records.

Both Kimberly, 55, and Gianna, 23, allegedly lunged at the victim, pummeled her and pulled her hair, and at one point called the other team’s players “fa—ts and pussies,” sources said.

The victim suffered “substantial pain to her scalp and bruises to both sides of her face,” according to a complaint filed in Nassau County First District Court.

The judge in the case charged the mother-daughter crew with third-degree assault and let them go on their recognizance during their Friday morning arraignment.

The judge also issued an order of protection meant to keep the infamous mob family members away from the victim in the case, who has not been named.

The Gottis’ attorney, Gerard Michael Mattone, blamed the blowup on the other parent, telling the Post that the woman threw the first punch and had been “badgering” Kimberly’s youngest son. He also denied his client used the homophobic slur.  

“They were making fun as he was playing, and then there was a little bit of a verbal thing that went back and forth between the fans – both sets of parents,” Mattone said. “And this ‘victim’ actually punched Mrs. Gotti. She threw the first punch.”

Mattone insisted that Kimberly is “the nicest lady” and never called the players any names.

“This is supposedly all on video,” Mattone argued. “This lady just went wild. She was uncontrollable. Security could not throw her out and then when she was finally thrown out, she kept coming back into the gymnasium to start more trouble with the Gotti family.”

Once Kimberly took a blow to the face, Gianna – herself a professional basketball player who previously played for Brooklyn College before signing with a team in Portugal – stepped in to break up the fight and help her mom, Mattone said. 

When police responded, they asked the Gotti pair if they would like to press charges – but they declined, Mattone said. 

“The Gottis don’t press charges,” he said. “And that’s why Mrs. Gotti was arrested and the daughter was arrested.”

Their next court date is set for March 6.

“It’s just unfortunate that, you know, you run into a person that’s a little bit of a maniac that has just zero respect for children and punches my client in the face,” Mattone said. “Because the Gottis don’t press charges, my client and her daughter wound up getting arrested. And that’s OK. Because we’ll find it [out] in court.”

Kimberly Gotti is the daughter-in-law of the late mafia boss “Dapper Don” John Gotti — who infamously took control of the Gambino crime family by ordering the killing of boss Paul Castellano at Sparks Steak House in 1985.

He died of throat cancer in federal prison.

John “Junior” Gotti, meanwhile, served six years and five months behind bars for racketeering.

The hulking Queens-bred mafia scion was the target of four federal trials between 2004 and 2009 — all of which ended in mistrials. Federal prosecutors said they would no longer seek cases against him.

https://nypost.com/2024/02/09/metro/kimberly-and-gianna-gotti-charged-with-assault-in-wild-hs-basketball-game-brawl-prosecutors/

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.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/crime/bonanno-mobster-accused-of-extortion-while-awaiting-sentencing-in-earlier-nyc-case/ar-BB1hVObB

Sunday, February 4, 2024

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Monday, January 29, 2024

Ex-husband of Real Housewives of NJ star looks to throw out charges he hired Lucchese Soldier for beating



He’s asking the court to fuggedaboutit.

The ex-husband of “Real Housewives of New Jersey” star Dina Manzo is looking to throw out a years-old racketeering case that accused him of hiring a Mafioso to rough up Manzo’s new beau.

Attorneys for Garden State restaurateur Tommy Manzo have asked a federal judge to dismiss the case against him because they say he’s been denied the “speedy trial” afforded to him by law.

The case centers on a 2020 indictment that says Manzo cut a deal with a Lucchese crime family soldier to rough up his ex-wife’s then-boyfriend, David Cantin, in a North Jersey parking lot five years earlier.

His alleged accomplice — reputed mafioso John Perna of Cedar Grove, New Jersey — has already served time behind bars for the “Sopranos”-style beatdown, Manzo’s attorneys say their client should be cleared because the court’s glacial pace has violated the federal Speedy Trial Act of 1974.

“The last day that Mr. Manzo could have been brought to trial on the Indictment in compliance with the [law] was December 10, 2022,” attorneys Marc Agnifilo and Zach Intrater wrote in a Jan. 19 federal court filing.

“But no effective continuance was signed until nearly eleven months later,” they continued. “There is no question that there has been a violation of the [Speedy Trial Act] in this case … the indictment against Mr. Manzo must be dismissed.”

In a Friday afternoon statement, Intrater added that Manzo is “a respected businessman who looks forward to these charges being dismissed so that he can get back to his family and the work that he loves.”

The US Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey declined to comment Friday.

Manzo’s request is the latest salvo in a lengthy court battle that’s thrust one of New Jersey’s most infamous families into the spotlight yet again — for all the wrong reasons.

Slapjacks and dirty deals

Manzo, 58, of Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, married Dina in an over-the-top 2005 wedding chronicled on the VH1 reality series “My Big Fabulous Wedding.

But the couple split in 2012 over his alleged infidelity, “Real Housewives of New Jersey” star Kim DePaola told The Post in 2020 — though they wouldn’t officially divorce until 2016.

Federal prosecutors say Manzo got angry when Dina began seeing Cantin, an entrepreneur.

He allegedly hired Perna, reputedly a made man with the Lucchese crime family, to bust him up with a slapjack in front of a Passaic County strip mall, according to federal court documents.

In return, Manzo allegedly promised Perna a deeply-discounted wedding reception at The Brownstone, the well-known catering hall in Paterson, New Jersey, that his family had owned for decades.

At first, everything went according to plan, prosecutors claimed.

Perna grabbed a member of his crew and worked Cantin over on July 18, 2015, court documents said.

About a month later, The Brownstone hosted an opulent, 330-guest wedding for Perna’s family that was attended by a number of other crime family capos.

But of course, the feds eventually ruined it.

They arrested and indicted both men in the summer of 2020. A year later, Perna pleaded guilty to a charge of committing a violent crime in aid of racketeering activity and was sent to the slammer for nearly three years.

And Manzo, although free on bail, has languished with a federal albatross around his neck even as he runs his restaurant, which has long been a hangout for North Jersey politicos and bigwigs of all stripes.

The family business

Manzo’s father, Albert “Tiny” Manzo, bought The Brownstone from its original owners, the Clune family, back in the late 1970s, according to a history written by Rita Clune.

The Clunes had bought the “desolate, burned out” building just after World War II, she wrote. They turned it into a bar, then a banquet hall before selling to the 400-pound Tiny — whose nickname was steeped in irony — in the late 1970s.

An alleged mob enforcer, he’d once run for city mayor on a law-and-order platform whose main plank was bringing back public hangings at Passaic County Jail.

But the mobster’s fortunes eventually turned sour, and authorities found his naked body tied up in the trunk of his Lincoln Continental outside a Hillside, New Jersey supermarket in August 1983, with four bullet wounds cutting through his torso.

He and Gambino family soldier Peter A. Campisi had reportedly skimmed money from a mobbed-up casino on Staten Island — although rumors abound to this day about what actually led to his gangland execution.

His sons, Tommy and his brother Albert, have run the restaurant in the years since his death.

Other legal troubles

Of course, even if Manzo were to beat the federal rap, that doesn’t mean his problems are over.

He’s also embroiled in another court case involving his “Real Housewives of New Jersey” ex — this one stemming from charges that he and another man busted into Dina and Dave Cantin’s home in Holmdel, New Jersey, and beat them in 2017.

The Cantins — who married in June of that year — told cops that two men broke into their townhouse and attacked them as they walked in around 11 p.m. on May 13, according to NJ.com.

They hit Cantin with a bat and punched Dina several times, tied them up with zip ties and made off with cash and jewelry — including a new engagement ring.

During the attack, “an Italian guy with a North Jersey accent” told the pair: “This is what happens when you f–k with people from Paterson,” according to the affidavit.

Manzo and another man, James Mainello of Bayonne, were charged with robbery, burglary and aggravated assault for the crime.

But little information is available about the case, which has moved at a similarly slow pace and remains frozen until Manzo’s federal charges are resolved.

Christopher Adams, Manzo’s attorney for the state charges, did not respond to multiple inquiries requesting comment.

The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office said the next hearing is April 29, but declined to comment further.

That’s about two weeks after the April 16 jury selection for his federal case, meaning the North Jersey legend’s legal battles could soon be coming to a close — for better or worse.

https://nypost.com/2024/01/28/metro/real-housewives-star-dina-manzos-ex-husband-looks-to-throw-out-charges-he-hired-mobster-to-beat-up-her-boyfriend/

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Monday, January 22, 2024

Judge gives elderly Colombo Underboss a break and sentences him to 15 months



A reputed Colombo Crime Family Underboss caught a break from a Brooklyn federal judge Monday — after his attorneys argued that he’s too old and sick to receive a lengthy prison sentence.

Benjamin “The Claw” Castellazzo, 86, got hit with 15 months in the slammer by Judge Hector Gonzalez on a guilty plea to money laundering conspiracy, despite prosecutors seeking a little over two years.

A longer prison sentence would “jeopardize” Castellazzo’s wellbeing, his attorneys argued, telling the judge his health issues — including a decade-long battle with cardiac problems — have him on so many medications, that he wouldn’t receive the proper care in federal prison.

Being placed in the wrong detention center, could “effectively turn into a death sentence” for the reputed mobster, attorney Ilana Haramati said.

“He goes to the doctor often. He gets checkups. He’s on a whole battery of medications,” Haramati told the court.

But prosecutors weren’t too interested in hearing about Castellazzo’s ailments and advanced age — which they argued haven’t steered him away from his alleged mafioso lifestyle.

For instance, Castellazzo swore to a judge that the courts would never see him again when he was sentenced to 63 months in prison in 2013 after pleading guilty to mob extortion stemming from a dispute over a stolen red sauce recipe from famed pizza joint L&B Spumoni Gardens in Gravesend.

His health issues seem to pop up each time Castellazzo is in hot water for his alleged crime family dealings, prosecutors said.

“The defendant has referred to his health each time he has been before a court in his district,” Brooklyn Assistant US Attorney Andrew Reich told the judge.

Beyond his health issues, Castellazzo’s attorneys argued that the accused wiseguy could lose his subsidized apartment due to the new conviction — which would leave him “homeless,” Haramati wrote in a Jan. 3 pre-sentencing letter to the court.

Castellazzo was indicted in 2021 with 13 other defendants — among them nine reputed Colombo family members — on a slew of charges including labor racketeering, extortion and money laundering.

He spent time in lockup before posting a $1.6 million bond in March 2022.

“He didn’t lose it when he was in for six months, but he was kind of on the brink,” his attorney, Michael Marinaccio, said, referring to his client’s subsidized apartment.

Among the co-defendants was alleged Colombo crime family mobster Ralph DiMatteo, 68, who infamously posed shirtless in a poolside snapshot while on the lam.

DiMatteo said he had no regrets about the photo when he was sentenced to three years behind bars last year.


Castellazzo pleaded guilty on July 7.

Prosecutors were seeking a sentence between 21 and 27 months in prison.

Castellazzo’s woeful health also includes blockages in his arteries and a bout with prostate cancer between 2011 and 2015, according to his attorney.

At the end of his sentencing, the judge told Castellazzo that he hoped he would grow out of alleged crime family dealings — but didn’t sound too hopeful.

“Hopefully this will be the end but only time will tell,” Gonzalez said, ordering Castellazzo to surrender to begin his sentence on March 22.

Asked at the end of the proceedings why his nickname is “The Claw,” Castellazzo laughed along with his son.

“I was a carpenter,” he quipped.

https://nypost.com/2024/01/22/metro/colombo-underboss-the-claw-catches-break-after-attorneys-ague-hes-too-old-and-sick-for-long-jail-sentence/

Monday, January 15, 2024

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Colombo Underboss says his net worth is $5K and is almost homeless on the eve of sentencing



Crime really didn’t pay for a reputed Colombo family underboss — who once again is claiming poverty as he asks for leniency when he’s sentenced for a union shakedown scheme.

Benjamin “The Claw” Castellazzo, 86, is so short on cash that he might become homeless if he loses his federally subsidized senior housing while he’s in the can, his lawyer wrote to a federal judge this month. His net worth is just $5,092, according to his lawyer.

Castellazzo is slated to be sentenced for money laundering conspiracy on Jan. 22.

“While Mr. Castellazzo was not evicted during his approximately six-month period of pretrial detention earlier in this case, a sentence that exposes him to far more time in custody would risk his eviction,” his lawyer, Ilana Haramati, wrote in a Jan. 3 sentencing letter to Brooklyn Federal Court Judge Hector Gonzalez.

“In his late 80s, he would be homeless. Without access to subsidized senior housing, he is unlikely to be able to afford another apartment.”

Castellazzo also cast himself as a brokefella with a laundry list of medical conditions at a 2013 extortion sentencing in Brooklyn Federal Court.

His lawyer at the time said Castellazzo and his wife were living in a modest mobile home in New Jersey, getting by on Social Security payments and food stamps.

In a 2021 feature story about Castellazzo’s life, NJ.com reported that he and his wife reported a combined monthly income of $1,115 when she filed for bankruptcy in 2011, and they paid $450 a month to live in the mobile home.

Hard times or not, he still got hard time — Judge Kiyo Matsumoto still sentenced him to more than five years behind bars, pointing out his decades-spanning criminal career, and noting that he brought up his medical condition in a 2002 sentencing.

Castellazzo and his wife moved into a HUD-subsidized rental apartment complex, Stafford by the Bay, in Manahawkin, N.J., in 2018. He’s lived alone there since her death, Haramati wrote.

Castellazzo could face between 24 to 30 months behind bars after pleading guilty in his most recent case, which stems from a takedown of the entire leadership of the Colombo crime family.

The crime family’s labor union shakedown started in 2001, and by 2019, the Colombos were trying to turn the Queens union, which represented construction workers in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, into a mob-run operation.

All of the 14 defendants busted in the case have taken a plea, except for the Colombo boss, Andrew “Mush” Russo, who died in April 2022 at age 87.

Haramati also argued that Castellazzo’s failing health should factor into his sentence, pointing to how a recent detainee at Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center was not sent to a medical facility for several weeks despite a highly contagious MRSA infection.

“Mr. Castellazzo’s long term care cannot be entrusted to the (Bureau of Prisons) — the BOP’s recent track record caring for sick and elderly inmates is nothing short of appalling,” she wrote.

https://www.nydailynews.com/2024/01/08/colombo-underboss-the-claw-cries-poverty-says-he-could-wind-up-homeless/

Italian mobster earns degree after writing 170 pg thesis confessing to three unsolved murders



He graduated magnum cum laude.

An incarcerated Italian mobster is being hailed as a “brilliant” honor student after writing a 170-page thesis paper based on his life of crime — in which he confessed to three unsolved murders.

Catello Romano, 33, earned a sociology degree with the dissertation while serving a life sentence at the Calabrian prison of Catanzaro.

He was convicted in the 2009 murder of a Naples councilman and other crimes, according to El PaĆ­s, a Spanish newspaper.

“My name is Catello Romano. I am 33 years old, and I have been in prison for almost half my life, 14 consecutive years,” the thesis began, according to the outlet. 

“I have committed horrendous crimes and have been convicted of several Camorra murders. What follows is my criminal history.”

The gangster-turned-undergraduate said his first murder victims were rising rival mobster Carmine D’Antuono, and Federico Donnarumma — a man who was only rubbed out because he was conversing with D’Antuono at the time of the assassination.

The 2008 double murder was “the most violent, traumatic and irreparable event” of Romano’s life and left a “hole” in his “soul,” the honor student mafioso wrote.

He also copped to the previously unsolved slaying of rival mafioso Nunzio Mascolo the same year.

“Although I cannot prove it, I am sure that he did nothing wrong to deserve death,” the repentant killer lamented.

The thesis recounts Romano’s non-criminal family history as the prisoner reflected on what made him gravitate to “the allure of crime.”

“I have intimately known misery, and the negative influence it can have, since my childhood,” he wrote, arguing that the mafia is an attractive family “institution” for people who grew up on the margins of society.

“With them, I built my new alternative identity as a tough guy, as a mask with which to hide my inability to accept my fragility as a teenager and as a way of surviving in a violent and extreme world,” he wrote.

For Romano, violence became “a language and a way of claiming respect and social recognition” — something, he admitted, he was not proud of.

The paper ultimately sought to understand “the criminal phenomenon” and contribute “to its possible prevention.”

“I am convinced that words are important and this autoethnographic text aims to change the world around us,” he wrote, according to El Pais.

Romano’s admission to three unprosecuted killings, however, has now drawn the attention of prosecutors — who are weighing reopening the cases and led to him being transferred to a maximum-security prison in Padua, the outler reported.

Meanwhile, Catanzaro University professor and sociologist Charlie Barnao, who was Romano’s thesis advisor described the mobster as a “brilliant student, who has gotten very good grades throughout his course of study.”

“He has recounted in detail circumstances that will have consequences; he was very determined to expose that in his thesis,” the professor, who has taught Sociology of Survival to the imprisoned for five years, said.

“He has put his life in order once and for all and organized the episodes of his life to analyze them through a sociological research method, which has also had a kind of therapeutic function.”

Romano worked with the state after admitting to killing Castellammare di Stabia councilman councilman Luigi Tommasino for “meddling in too many things that did not concern him” in 2009.

His cooperation with the government was short-lived, however, after he escaped from custody, according to the outlet.

https://nypost.com/2024/01/09/news/mobster-catello-romano-earns-degree-in-prison-with-thesis-confessing-to-murder/

Sunday, January 7, 2024

Monday, January 1, 2024

Friday, December 29, 2023

Career criminal linked to Genovese family admits role in planning home invasion posing as NYPD detective


 

A career criminal from the Bronx with ties to the Genovese crime family admitted this month that he helped plan a home invasion in which his fellow crooks posed as NYPD detectives, then robbed a New Jersey family of cash and jewelry.

Dominick “Shakes” Memoli, 57, of Mace Avenue, pleaded guilty to first-degree armed robbery for the Nov. 17, 2022 raid on a house in the town of Fair Lawn, NJ, Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella said in a Wednesday press release.

Members of the criminal crew flashed NYPD-esque badges that morning to convince the residents to let them in their quiet suburban home, about 20 miles northwest of the Big Apple.

But once inside, they pulled a gun, bound the homeowner with zip-ties and made off with the family’s valuables, Musella said.

Memoli — who has a long history of robbery and home invasions — helped plan the sortie and acted as a lookout once it kicked off, authorities said. 

Detectives from the prosecutor’s office and special agents from an FBI task force caught up with the crew in May and arrested Memoli and five other New York men: Michael D’Angelo, Daniel Ruggiero, Bruno Simonetti, Erion Beshiri and Sian Stafford.

Authorities charged them with a litany of crimes, including kidnapping, robbery, armed burglary, conspiracy and weapons offenses.

Memoli pleaded guilty Dec. 18, Musella said. He will be sentenced Feb. 9, 2024.

But it wasn’t Memoli’s first brush with the law. 

In October 2007, the feds busted him alongside several reputed Genovese associates for a string of shakedown schemes and a pair of home invasions in New York and New Jersey.

The four-year crime spree netted at least $1 million for Memoli, John “Rocky” Melicharek, Michael Iuni and four other accomplices, authorities said.

The wannabe-mobsters were also blamed for breaking into the Montgomery, NY home of Paul Teutul, of Orange County Choppers fame, according to the Times Herald-Record.

Melicharek allegedly orchestrated the violent heists, which used an Albanian crew as hired muscle to target business owners who kept lots of cash, federal prosecutors said at the time. 

They were charged with extortion, conspiracy, robbery and weapons possession.

Melicharek later pleaded guilty to robbery, extortion and firearms charges, the outlet said.

Memoli had already been serving a sentence from an earlier conviction when the feds arrested him in 2007, Manhattan federal prosecutors said at the time.

For his crimes, Memoli was sentenced to 16 years in prison, according to federal court records, but was released early. 

https://nypost.com/2023/12/28/metro/bronx-career-criminal-admits-planning-new-jersey-robbery-where-crooks-posed-as-nypd-detectives/

Sunday, December 17, 2023

Likely future Boss of the Colombo family sentenced to 5 years in prison for racketeering


 

The reputed "heir apparent" to a New York City Mafia family doesn't want to be promoted to godfather, his lawyer said in court Friday.

Theodore "Skinny Teddy" Persico, a nephew of two late Colombo crime family bosses, plans to turn his back on the mob and go straight when he finishes his latest prison term, lawyer Joseph Corozzo said.

"He has no desire to be boss," he said.

Persico, 60, was sentenced Friday to five years in prison for racketeering in the Colombo family's 20-year-shakedown of a Queens-based construction union.

Before learning his punishment, Persico told U.S. District Judge Hector Gonzalez that he was "ready and willing to accept anything you feel I deserve."

"I want to go home and move my family and business to New Jersey, to get out of the New York City area," he said in federal court in Brooklyn. "I'm getting old. This is not how it should be. I need to change myself. I'm not looking to hurt anybody like I did in the past."

Persico's fiancee, Nicole Russo, owns a Staten Island auto-body shop that he ran before his most recent arrest, according to court papers.

Prosecutors have said Persico was named "heir apparent" of the Colombo family during a November 2020 meeting of high-level gangsters at a Brooklyn restaurant.

Persico — whose late uncle, Carmine "the Snake" Persico, was a Colombo boss — was allegedly slated to take over in May 2023, when he finished three years of supervised release from prison.

But he ended up being charged in a September 2021 indictment that targeted the Colombos' entire ruling hierarchy, known as the "administration."

Days after Persico pleaded guilty in July, the Gangland News website reported that the Colombos had picked Robert "Little Robert" Donofrio as their acting boss.

Persico's co-defendants included another uncle, then-Colombo boss Andrew "Mush" Russo, who died in April 2022 while awaiting trial.

Reputed Colombo consigliere Ralph DiMatteo, who on Tuesday was sentenced to three years in prison, avoided arrest by flying to Florida a day before everyone else was rounded up by the FBI.

DiMatteo made headlines when a photo that showed him looking more than a little like Tony Soprano as he lounged in a pool was posted on social media while he was briefly on the lam.

https://themessenger.com/news/mafia-mobster-new-york-boss-sentenced-prison-extortion-theodore-teddy-persico-carmine-snake

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Colombo Consigliere sentenced to 3 years for union extortion



An “old school” Colombo crime family consigliere who notoriously was photographed lounging shirtless in a swimming pool was sentenced to three years behind bars for a labor union extortion plot.

Ralph DiMatteo, 68, called “No. 3” by his fellow mafioso, was sentenced in Brooklyn Federal Court on Tuesday, after his 2021 indictment alongside the entire Colombo leadership for shaking down a Queens construction union.

“He’s old school,” DiMatteo’s lawyer, Gerald McMahon, told Brooklyn Federal Court Judge Hector Gonzalez. “Mr. DiMatteo did wrong. He accepted responsibility. He took a plea. He’s taking his medicine. He wants it to be on him.”

DiMatteo pleaded guilty to racketeering in July, admitting to extortion and money laundering. One of his underlings, Vincent “Vinny Unions” Ricciardo, pressured a high-ranking union official into paying a $2,600 monthly “pension” to the mob family for nearly 20 years — nearly $600,000 in total.

All 14 suspects in the case have pleaded guilty — except for family head Andrew “Mush” Russo, who died in April 2022 at age 87.

Other co-defendants include underboss Benjamin “The Claw” Castellazzo and Theodore “Skinny Teddy” Persico Jr. — the nephew of notorious Colombo boss Carmine “The Snake” Persico and the heir apparent to the crime family

The Colombos also pressured a health fund associated with the union into picking mob-friendly vendors and paying $10,000 a month in tribute. DiMatteo was directly responsible for overseeing Ricciardo, and the consigliere was caught on wiretapped conversations commanding Ricciardo to move faster with his extortion efforts.

“Part of the privilege of being towards the top is that you don’t have to get your hands dirty yourself. You have other people do that on your behalf,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Gibaldi said at DiMatteo’s sentencing.

When the judge asked DiMatteo if he wanted to make a statement, he replied, “I’m fine, thank you.”

DiMatteo was the only member of the 14 Colombos indicted in 2021 to initially evade arrest, after he traveled to Florida the day before. He surrendered three days later, after his son, Angelo DiMatteo, posted a picture on Twitter of his shirtless dad casually hanging poolside.

Angelo also posted a rat emoji on the social media site, suggesting someone in the Colombo family squealed to the feds.

DiMatteo, who’s set to surrender Jan. 15, told reporters Tuesday he had no regrets showing off his beach bod in the photo.

“Why?” he asked. “It was a great picture.”

https://www.nydailynews.com/2023/12/12/colombo-crime-family-consigliere-gets-3-years-for-union-extortion/

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Elderly Genovese Captain convicted in NYC extortion case


 

An 86-year-old reputed capo in the Genovese crime family was convicted of extortion charges by a Brooklyn federal jury Monday after hours of testimony surrounding a punch he landed to the jaw of a steakhouse owner.

The weeklong trial of Anthony “Rom” Romanello included shocking surveillance footage capturing the elderly alleged Mafioso socking restaurateur Shuqeri “Bruno” Selimaj with a right-handed jab at Selimaj’s since-shuttered eatery Lincoln Square Steak on May 11, 2017.

Prosecutors said the punch stemmed from $86,000 in unpaid failed bets accrued by Selimaj’s nephew, Tony, and another relative — a gambling debt Romanello had been sent to collect from the restauranteur.

“What am I gonna say? Nothing — I really did nothing,” a stunned Romanello insisted outside the courtroom Monday.

Jurors returned with a guilty verdict against Romanello on two counts of extortion after beginning deliberations at around 2:45 p.m. Thursday.

He faces up to 40 years behind bars at his sentencing at a later date prosecutors have said.

Prosecutors argued that both Romanello and co-defendant Joseph Celso, who was convicted of the top count, should be held behind bars until their sentencing hearings — leaving family members and supporters of the reputed mobsters shocked.

“He’s 86 years old!” whispered one court onlooker.

Romanello’s lawyer, Jerry McMahon, had tried to convince jurors that his client only punched Selimaj because he had insulted him.

“He didn’t punch Bruno to collect a gambling debt,” McMahon insisted during his opening statements. “Bruno told him that he was a washed-up Italian, that he had no balls, that he was nothing.

“He punched him, that 86-year-old guy sitting there, he punched him because Bruno insulted him to his face.”

Jurors were shown the 55-second recording during the trial when the accused aging alleged mobster delivered the jab to the restaurateur’s jaw.

In the clip, Romanello can be seen standing next to who Selimaj identified as Mike Regan, an Irish bookie, who allegedly grabbed Selimaj’s jacket threateningly after the punch is thrown.

McMahon has repeatedly downplayed Romanello’s haymaker throughout the trial, often saying that the old reputed wiseguy “punches like a girl” and that he had simply been the victim of Selimaj’s bullying antics.

“If he wasn’t Italian, there would be no issue,” McMahon said during closing arguments Thursday. “But because an Italian steps in, it’s Mafia.”

McMahon also proclaimed that Romanello’s right hook is “the most investigated one-punch in the history of one-punches.”

Following the verdict Monday, McMahon said Brooklyn Federal Court Judge Eric Komitee — whom he sparred with over evidence throughout the trial — had made it “virtually impossible” to defend Romanello by allowing the jury to hear that his client was Italian and in the Mafia.

“That should have never been allowed. That’s an invitation,” he said. “The jury is going to hear, ‘He’s Italian. He’s in the Mafia. He’s trying to collect a gambling debt. Oh, of course, it’s extortion!’ Allowing that evidence is a crucial thing.”

Prosecutors had argued that Romanello paid Selimaj three visits, including the day of the attack, threatening him so he would pay off his relatives’ debt.

Selimaj testified that on the night of the punch, he told the alleged mobster that he would only be willing to pay the part of the debt owed by his nephew — a $6,000 tab — and added he wouldn’t pay his nephew’s brother-in-law’s $80,000.

The restaurateur said an enraged Romanello kept telling him that he would “like to punch [me]” — before he was socked at his restaurant in front of staff and patrons.

Selimaj filed a police report that night – but he ended up retracting it within 24 hours after his brother relayed an allegedly veiled threatening message from Celso, a reputed Genovese soldier, saying that it would be a bad idea to go through with the complaint, the former eatery owner testified.

In a later written statement with the NYPD, Selimaj claimed Romanello had a “few drinks” and that the fight between the pair — who had been acquaintances for 30 years — had been a “misunderstanding between me and him.”

But Selimaj ended up testifying that what he wrote in the statement was “not true” — and that he only told cops that because he was afraid of the consequences from the alleged Queens mobster.

“I was afraid this Mafia guy was going to hurt me, [hurt] my nephew,” he told prosecutors.

His brother, Shemsi “Nino” Selimaj, also a restaurateur who appeared as himself in the 2019 movie “Uncut Gems” with Adam Sandler, testified later in the trial that he interpreted Celso’s threats to be real warnings.

Shemsi said Celso told him that if Romanello was arrested, “somebody is going to pay the price,” he testified.

Brooklyn federal prosecutor Rebecca Schuman described to the jury how Celso — who also faced an obstruction of justice count — allegedly sent the threat to Selimaj to get the police report dropped.

He eventually got Selimaj to fork over the $6,000 debt of his nephew and the remaining $80,000, which was sent to alleged Genovese associate and wannabe Albanian film star Luan Bexheti, prosecutors said.

Celso was convicted Monday of one of the extortion counts, but found not guilty of the second and of the obstruction charge.

Bexheti, who once appeared in a movie called “Albanian Gangster,” pleaded guilty in the case Oct. 4. 

Joseph Marrone, Celso’s lawyer, has maintained that Celso didn’t have a part in the extortion scheme — and even questioned whether the two alleged Genovese associates were even in the Mafia because had they been, the restaurant would have been “torn up” if it was the real Mafia.

“If the real Mafia was there, there wouldn’t have given a sh-t about a camera being there,” Marrone said in his closing arguments.

McMahon said that he plans to appeal Romanello’s conviction because he “didn’t get a fair trial.”

The judge will decide whether to remand the alleged wiseguy pair into custody at a hearing Tuesday morning.

https://nypost.com/2023/12/11/metro/reputed-mafioso-anthony-romanello-convicted-in-nyc-extort-case/

Monday, December 11, 2023

Sunday, December 10, 2023

Lucchese hitman linked to 11 murders set to be released after serving 35 years


 

A “stone cold” Mafia hitman tied to at least 11 bodies, some of them dismembered, will be sprung from federal prison next year after serving just 35 years of a life sentence — outraging the families of his victims.

Former Gambino crime family associate and Lucchese family made man Anthony Senter, 68, behind bars in Canaan, PA, was recently given the green light for release by the U.S. Parole Commission.

“The Commission determined that he had substantially observed the rules of the institution and that his release in June 2024 would not jeopardize the public welfare,” a Department of Justice spokeswoman told The Post.

But that’s a far cry from how federal authorities once viewed Senter, who was sentenced to life plus 20 years in 1989 after being convicted for participating in at least 11 murders.

Senter, along with six other mobsters, was also hit with racketeering charges, including narcotics trafficking, auto theft, loan sharking and extortion.

Senter was a member of a mob crew working under Roy DeMeo, a Gambino made man.

The crew operated out of the Gemini Lounge at 4021 Flatlands Ave. in Flatlands, Brooklyn, where many of their murders were committed during the 1970s and 1980s. 

Federal and city authorities traced at least 75 deaths and disappearances to DeMeo’s crew — and independent researchers put their brutal toll at more than 200.

Rudy Giuliani, the then-U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York who initially brought the case against Senter and 20 other Gambino family members and associates — including then-godfather “Big Paul” Castellano — was astonished by the parole decision.

Senter “should die in jail,” Giuliani declared. “He displayed, without exaggeration, wanton disregard for human life.

“He was a stone-cold killer who liked to kill,” the former prosecutor said. “And I believe he liked to participate in some ways in the dismemberment of the bodies that took place afterwards.”

The “Gemini Method

The Canarsie-born Senter was the son of Italian immigrants who had anglicized their original family name of Sente.

He and another crew member, longtime pal Joseph Testa, spent so much time in their boss DeMeo’s gin-mill hangout that they became known as the Gemini Twins.

“Gemini Lounge everybody knew was a house of horrors, don’t go in there, you might not come out,” recalled Curtis Sliwa, founder of the Guardian Angels, who grew up playing stickball with Senter in Canarsie.

The future killer was widely known around the neighborhood as a hothead.

“He truly could flip the script — he could be having a conversation with you, and then all of a sudden one little thing would set him off,” Sliwa said. “Oftentimes Joey Testa would have to calm him down.”

DeMeo, who worked as a butcher’s apprentice before launching his criminal career, used his early training to devise a grisly murder procedure — later dubbed “the Gemini Method” — that Senter and the others gleefully followed.

Former gang member Dominick Mantigilio testified in Senter’s trial that those targeted for death would first be lured to an apartment-turned-abbatoir next to the Gemini Lounge that had been rented by mobster Joseph “Dracula” Guglielmo.

“When the [victim] would walk in, somebody would shoot him in the head with a silencer,” Mantigilio told the court. “Somebody would wrap a towel around to stop the blood and somebody would stab him in the heart to stop the blood from pumping.”

Crew members — often clad only in their underwear, to avoid staining their clothes — would drag the corpse into the shower and let it bleed out, like a hog in a slaughterhouse.

Then they would “pull him out, put him on a pool liner in the living room, take him apart, and package him,” Mantigilio said matter-of-factly.

The bloodless body parts were placed in cardboard boxes and taken to Brooklyn’s Fountain Avenue landfill — now Shirley Chisholm State Park in Canarsie — where they were buried under mounds of trash and lost forever.

Senter and his gang “engaged in wholesale murder,” U.S. Assistant Attorney Walter Mack said during their 17-month trial in 1988 and 1989 — committing “the most violent” crimes ever tried in a New York federal court, the prosecutor claimed.

Golden Years

The DeMeo crew’s heyday, from 1975 to 1983, spanned the final decade of the New York Mafia’s “golden years,” said historian Selwyn Raab.

“The New York families ran the country, ran the Mafia in the U.S.,” said Raab, author of the definitive mob chronicle “Five Families.”

“The Gambinos and the Genovese were the two largest and most powerful families,” Raab explained. The Gambino family, headed by Castellano, had about 100 official members, or “made men,” like DeMeo.

But “each made man had probably 10 people who worked for him,” Raab said — “associates” like Senter and Testa.

The sprawling structure made it possible for Castellano to maintain plausible deniability of the blood-drenched activities of the family’s associates, even while scoring $20,000 a week in cash from the lucrative luxury car-theft ring run by DeMeo and crew.

In January 1983, shortly after DeMeo was served with a grand-jury subpoena to testify in a federal racketeering case, his bullet-riddled body was found frozen in the trunk of his own Cadillac — rubbed out, investigators later learned, by members of his own crew.

DeMeo’s death did not halt the case.

In March 1984, Giuliani indicted Castellano, along with Senter and others, on a raft of racketeering charges, including drug trafficking, extortion and murder.

Eighteen months later, as the trial dragged on, Castellano himself was slain in a notorious public hit on the sidewalk outside Sparks Steak House in Midtown Manhattan, ordered by the man who would succeed him as Gambino family boss: John Gotti Jr.

Senter, then 30, emulated the style of the rising “Dapper Don” during his trial.

The “devilishly handsome” defendant, a Post fashion reporter wrote at the time, took care to display his “cool elegance” in Giorgio Armani suits and ties and “impeccable white shirts” whenever he appeared in court.

“You want to look good,” Senter smirked.

Scores of Victims

Most of the DeMeo crew’s scores of confirmed and suspected victims were rival gangsters, but not all.

Two of the murders that sent Senter to prison were those of Charles Mongitore and Daniel Scutaro, workers at a Brooklyn auto body shop.

Mongitore, 30, was pressing charges after being stabbed by the son of a Gambino family soldier in a personal dispute. On June 5, 1980, the DeMeo crew attacked Mongitore at his workplace, shooting him 14 times at close range and slitting his throat.

Soon after, Scutaro, 25, arrived at the body shop to start his workday — only to find the gangsters cleaning up the scene of the crime.

He too was gunned down.

Both victims were later discovered in the trunk of a car, Newsday reported.

In 1977, Senter and Testa shot and killed Cherie Golden after her boyfriend became a federal informant.

While Golden and Testa were chatting outside the lounge, Senter shot the woman twice in the back of the head, and once again in the face as her body whiplashed on the way to the ground, according to “Murder Machine,” a 1993 book about the DeMeo crew by Gene Mustaine and Jerry Capeci.

Jerome Hofaker was just 23 when he was killed outside his girlfriend’s home in 1977 by Testa and Senter after getting into a fight with one of Testa’s brothers, Mustaine and Capeci wrote.

Senter was never charged in Golden’s or Hofaker’s murders.

“We knew it was mob related,” cousin Denise Hofaker, 69, told The Post. “What I remember is being at the funeral and my aunt turning to me with fear in her eyes and saying, ‘Oh my God, what are we doing here?’ She was nervous that somebody would come after us.”

Hofaker was appalled by news of Senter’s impending release.

“That would be horrible,” she said. “From what I understood he had gotten a life sentence. He is 68. That’s not a life. He has an awful lot of life to live, and that’s not right.”

https://nypost.com/2023/12/09/news/gambino-mob-hitman-anthony-senter-paroled-set-for-2024-release/

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Daughter of deceased Gambino Boss John Gotti is selling nearly $40M in properties


 

Victoria Gotti, daughter of the notorious mobster John Gotti, has put nine of her New York City properties up for sale, The Post has learned.

However, despite sales listings being active for them, Gotti asserts that she isn’t particularly keen on selling the commercial properties unless there’s an offer she simply can’t refuse.

“I have 17 properties, a $36 million portfolio, and nothing is for sale,” Gotti, 61, told The Post. “I receive offers every single week, almost every other day. I had a tiny offer yesterday. This is an everyday thing.”

The genesis of these holdings — comprising retail and automotive structures — dates back to her 2002 divorce from ex-husband Carmine Agnello.

She inherited them from him during their contentious separation. 

“This listing has been active for 2 years, I get calls on these properties every week, from brokers, buyers, but none of my properties are for sale,” Gotti added.

“I get offers all the time. If one catches my eye, I might consider it,” she said.

Yet, the upkeep costs for these properties, scattered throughout Queens, are far from chump change. As of October, Gotti currently faces more than $635,000 in property taxes that she still owes, records obtained by The Post show.

One notable offering is a three-lot assemblage on Liberty Avenue, boasting 80-plus feet of frontage, which recently re-listed last month. Additionally, a three-property assemblage with more than 200 feet of frontage, previously utilized for automobile-related businesses, is also up for grabs.

Another property, at 120-01 Sutphin Blvd., has lingered on the market since 2022. This “rare” block-front site, ideal for various developments, comes with approximately 40,000 buildable square feet.

Asking prices aren’t present on the listing pages, as tends to be typical for local commercial property. Instead, interested parties are encouraged to “request your own specific terms when submitting a non-binding offer.”

Richard Libbey of Atlantic Beach Associates, the broker repping these listings, revealed to The Post the influx of offers, including a recent $5 million bid.

However, the road to selling these pieces of real estate hasn’t been without its challenges.

Libbey highlighted the difficulties faced by landlords, especially during the pandemic, citing an instance when tenants failed to pay rent even after a property was sold on behalf of Gotti in 2020, leading to legal battles for eviction.

With these properties, some sitting on the market for more than 550 days, Libbey insists that any serious offers must come with proof of financing. 

Referring to them as “legacy listings,” he stressed the necessity for substantial financial backing for any potential deal to materialize.

The backdrop to these sales hints at a legacy intertwined with the infamous John Gotti, known as the “Teflon Don,” who orchestrated Agnello’s induction into the Gambino family upon marrying his daughter.

The former couple share three children, sons Carmine Gotti Agnello, John Gotti Agnello and Frank Gotti Agnello. 

https://nypost.com/2023/12/05/real-estate/john-gottis-daughter-unloading-nyc-properties-worth-36m/

Monday, December 4, 2023

Aging Genovese mobster punched NYC steakhouse owner after being called a washed up Italian



An aging reputed Genovese mobster accused of socking a Manhattan steakhouse owner as part of an extortion plot didn’t do it to collect a gambling debt — but because the victim called him a “washed-up Italian” with “no balls,” his lawyer claimed at the start of his trial Wednesday.

Anthony “Rom” Romanello, 86, an alleged capo in the Genovese crime family, was merely defending his honor after restaurateur Shuqeri “Bruno” Selimaj insulted him — and he “punches like a girl” anyway, defense attorney Jerry McMahon told jurors in Brooklyn federal court.

“He didn’t punch Bruno to collect a gambling debt,” McMahon said during his opening statements. “Bruno told him that he was a washed-up Italian, that he had no balls, that he was nothing.”

“He punched him, that 86-year-old guy sitting there, he punched him because Bruno insulted him to his face.”

The elderly wiseguy and an alleged accomplice, reputed Genovese soldier Joseph Celso, are on trial on two counts of extortion after allegedly being enlisted by a Queens bookie and wannabe actor to collect an $86,000 gambling debt owed by two of Selimaj’s relatives.

Taking the stand later Wednesday, Selimaj described how Romanello paid him a visit at his since-shuttered Lincoln Square Steak on May 11, 2017 — and flew into a rage after Selimaj told him he was only willing to pay the part of the debt owed by his nephew, and not his nephew’s brother-in-law.

“Rom kept saying, ‘I’d like to punch you’ … I said, ‘You have no guts to punch me,'” Selimaj recounted for the jury.

“A few seconds later, he punched me.”

Prosecutors played video of the right-handed jab that connected with Selimaj’s jaw for the jurors during the testimony.

After getting slugged, Selimaj told Romanello there were security cameras in the establishment, prompting the alleged longtime mafioso to hightail it out of there with his crew.

Selimaj filed a police report that night — but he ended up retracting it within 24 hours because his brother had relayed a threatening message from Celso that it would be a bad idea to go through with the complaint, he testified.

In a written statement with the NYPD, Selimaj recanted, claiming Romanello had a “few drinks” during the confrontation and that the two of them had been acquaintances for 30 years.

“So it was a misunderstanding between me and him. I think he didn’t want to do that,” Selimaj wrote.

But on the stand, Selimaj said that the retraction was “not true.”

“I was afraid this Mafia guy was going to hurt me, [hurt] my nephew,” he testified.

During cross-examination by McMahon, jurors were read a transcript of a voicemail that Selimaj left Romanello after getting hit — in which he taunted and swore at the mobster.

“Why don’t you come suck my d–k, you motherf–ker. This is Bruno,” Selimaj allegedly said.

Selimaj told jurors he didn’t remember leaving the message.

McMahon, in his opening statement, warned jurors that prosecutors would attempt to paint Romanello as delivering the hit to Selimaj’s face like 1950s American boxing legend Rocky Marciano — adding, “people who have viewed the video will say my client punches like a girl.”

The encounter took place while Romanello was a weekly guest at Selimaj’s food joint, where the accused wiseguy would spend upward of $1,000 on each dinner, McMahon said.

But Brooklyn federal prosecutor Rebecca Schuman told the jury that Selimaj was aware that getting on his patron’s bad side wouldn’t end well.

“Bruno knew that crossing Romanello could have real consequences — violent consequences,” she said.

The prosecutor described for jurors how Celso, who also faces an obstruction of justice count, allegedly sent a threat to Selimaj to get him to drop the police report, saying “things may get even uglier” if he didn’t comply.

Selimaj caved, retracting the police report and paying off the $6,000 debt of his nephew, and the $80,000 owed by his nephew’s brother-in-law, to apparent Genovese associate and wannabe Albanian film star Luan Bexheti, Schuman said.

Celso’s lawyer, Gerrard Marrone, told the jury his client wasn’t involved in any extortion scheme.

“He didn’t menace anyone, certainly didn’t punch anyone,” Marrone said. “My client is not involved in the drama.”

Selimaj, who was the first witness called by prosecutors, told jurors that he’d gotten a visit in March 2017 from an Irish bookie, Mike Regan, informing him of his relatives’ debts and name-dropping Romanello and Anthony “Tough Tony” Federici.

He took it to mean that Regan “was going to use his muscles against me” if the debt wasn’t settled, Selimaj, the owner of Club A Steakhouse, testified.

Then a few weeks later, Celso, Romanello and others came to the restaurant again and Romanello yelled at Selimaj, demanding the money.

“I was afraid because nobody jokes with the Mafia,” Selimaj testified. “It was no joke.”

“I was hoping they’d pay the debt because if they didn’t pay the debt, they would be killed,” Selimaj said of his nephew and nephew’s relative.

“Rom told me Tony [Federici] said hello and he was going to come visit you,” Selimaj recounted of the thinly veiled threat. 

Romanello has beaten an extortion case before — he was acquitted over a decade ago in the same courthouse where he currently faces trial.

Celso, meanwhile, was acquitted in a murder trial in 1993 after the main witness left the country. 

He was accused in the 1991 killing of Manuel Mayi, 19, a Queens College student from the Dominican Republic.

Mayi was chased for 16 blocks and fatally beaten by a mob of almost a dozen people after they saw him spraying graffiti in Corona.

Bexheti, who once acted in a movie called “Albanian Gangster,” pleaded guilty in the ongoing case on Oct. 4.

https://nypost.com/2023/11/29/metro/genovese-mobster-goes-on-trial-for-punching-nyc-restaurateur/

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Judge releases two Gambino mobsters on bail for Thanksgiving holiday



A US federal judge will release two men accused of being part of the Gambino crime family ahead of Thanksgiving because the 'younger generation of mafiosos aren't killing anyone'.

Diego Tantillo, 48, and Angelo Gradilone, 57,  appeared in Brooklyn Federal Court on Tuesday dressed in khaki prison clothing for their bail appeal.

The two men were arraigned on racketeering charges on November 8 and were denied bond over fears they could flee the country, threaten witnesses and use facilities of the crime syndicate to help with intimidation.

But Judge Frederic Block said he would release Tantillo, from Freehold, New Jersey, and Gradilone, from Staten Island, on Wednesday, in time for the Thanksgiving holiday.

He did not agree they posed a flight risk and said this generation of mafia members are not as violent as those in the past.

Tantillo and Gradilone were among 10 alleged mafia operatives arrested earlier this month, in a coordinated US-Italian operation. Six suspected mafia members were arrested in Italy

At the time of their arrest, Breon Peace, the US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said they were ruthless and violent.

'As alleged, for years, the defendants committed violent extortions, assaults, arson, witness retaliation and other crimes in an attempt to dominate the New York carting and demolition industries,' said Peace. 

'Today's arrests reflect the commitment of this Office and our law enforcement partners, both here and abroad, to keep our communities safe by the complete dismantling of organized crime.' 

Yet on Tuesday, Judge Block questioned prosecutor Andrew Roddin on why Tantillo and Gradilone should not be released on bail like the five other men accused of being part of the Gambino crime family.

'This thing doesn't ring a bell with me,' he said. 'Posing significant conditions, they are not going anywhere.

'I don't see a risk of flight certainly that can't be cured by bail conditions.' He pointed to the fact that those accused of murder are sometimes granted bail.

'In the past we have let murderers go with bail,' Judge Block said. 'In this case there were no murders. The younger generation of mafiosos aren't killing anyone.'

Roddin, the prosecutor, argued that they should be kept in jail. 'I think the violence is to consider and the nature of the charges,' he said.

'It is a serious culmination of criminal history and a possession of weapons. 'There are numerous violent extortion attempts included in the indictment.'

But the judge said: 'Even if you have a very heavy case, it doesn't mean it's lights out.'

Gradilone's defense attorney Michael Schneider said: 'What this boils down to is when the government throws mafia around that's the end of the argument.

'We're not here to provide trial arguments. We haven't been handed discovery.' Judge Block questioned the prosecution as to why stringent bail conditions were not enough.

'What do you want to do - short of shoot them?' he asked. 'I am not giving them gold stars but they are presumed to be at liberty.

'They're going to be a lot of things, a couple of million dollars at risk.' The judge ruled that he would release the pair on bail in time for Thanksgiving.

'I will let them out but I have to make sure we have stringent bail conditions,' said Block.

'We all have human aspects. I am very direct and I don't see any risk of flight and a proper bail package can ease concern about wealth.'

Tantillo's defense attorney Andrew Weinstein asked for bail to be set at $1 million for the defendants.

The defense attorneys and prosecution are set to agree on a list of bail conditions on Wednesday, before Tantillo and Gradilone are released.

Tantillo and Gradilone's families were both in court for the appeal and remained calm when the judge said he would release them ahead of Thanksgiving.

They gathered outside the courtroom and celebrated the ruling with hugs and warm embraces.

The Gambino men, from Manhattan, Staten Island, the Bronx, New Jersey, and Long Island, have allegedly been wreaking havoc in New York for the past 27 years. 

The infamous Italian-American crime syndicate made up one of the 'Five Families' known for their racketeering, gambling and loansharking. The 10 defendants now variously face maximum sentences between 20 and 180 years' imprisonment.

Among the defendants charged on November 8 were alleged US-based Sicilian Mafia members Vito Rappa, 46, and Francesco Vicari, 46 - who is known as 'Uncle Ciccio.'

Vincent Minsquero, 36, known as 'Vinny Slick'; Kyle Johnson, 46, known as 'Twin'; and the alleged captain of the Gambino crime ring - 52-year-old Joseph Lanni - were also charged with the slew of federal crimes. 

Lanni is known by nicknames 'Joe Brooklyn' and 'Mommino.' The four others were Tantillo, James LaForte, Salvatore DiLorenzo, and Robert Brooke. 

James Smith, Assistant Director-in-Charge of the FBI, said on November 8 as the arrests were announced: 'These defendants learned the hard way that the FBI is united with our law enforcement locally and internationally in our efforts to eradicate the insidious organized crime threat. 

'Those arrested are alleged to have taken part in a racketeering conspiracy in an attempt to control the carting and demolition industries in the city. 

'The FBI will continue to lead the fight against organized crime and ensure that individuals willing to cross the line face punishment in the criminal justice system.' 

NYPD Commissioner Edward A. Caban also vowed to take down members of any organized crime group, wherever they operate.

He said: 'Today's arrests should serve as a warning to others who believe they can operate in plain sight with apparent impunity – the NYPD and our law enforcement partners exist to shatter that notion.

'And we will continue to take down members of traditional organized crime wherever they may operate.' 

According to the federal indictment, Tantillo, Rappa, Vicari and Johnson 'engaged in a violent extortion conspiracy relating to the demand and receipt of money from John Doe 1, who operated a carting business in the New York City area.' 

John Doe 1 was threatened 'with a bat, setting fire to the steps to John Doe 1's residence, attempting to damage John Doe 1's carting trucks, and violently assaulting an associate of John Doe 1.'

Images included in the document show the metal bat discovered during a police raid - and the stoop of the victim's home up in flames on September 22, 2020. 

One of John Doe 1's business associates was then attacked with a hammer - sending him to the hospital on October 29, 2020. After he was assaulted, Kyle Johnson texted Tantillo three thumbs up emojis for his 'work today.'

The indictment states that Tantillo and Vicari were captured on 'judicially-authorized wiretaps discussing threats they made to John Doe 1 and John Doe 1's father- in-law.'

Rappa stated that Vicari 'acted like the 'Last of the Samurai,' when he picked up a knife and directed John Doe 1's father-in-law to threaten to cut John Doe 1 in half in order to get him to make extortionate payments, according to the documents. 

When the victim finally made a payment of $4,000 to Vicari, he and Rappa met and sent Tantillo a photo of Vicari raising a small champagne bottle, cheering in a toast.

The image is included in the indictment pages. 

The documents also contain evidence that shows when the men were 'made' into the Gambino family. 

One image shows Tantillo being inducted into the family on October 17, 2019, standing with Gradilone.

The unsealed document also claimed that Tantillo, Brooke and Johnson engaged in two separate violent extortion schemes of a demolition company and its owners, known as John Does 2–4.

Their motivation was over purported debts owed to Tantillo, and to a company operated by Tantillo and Brooke, called Specialized Concrete Cutting Corp. They demanded $40,000 from the owners - who did not cough up.

In response, Brooke then violently attacked John Doe 2 on a street corner in Midtown Manhattan, leaving him bloodied with a black eye, the document alleges. 

Alongside these charges, some of the men are also accused of thieving and embezzling employee benefit plans, including health insurance and pay checks, when they did little or no work for the companies.

Tantillo is accused of obtaining no-show and low-show jobs for Rappa, Gradilone and Johnson. The document alleges: 'Through the no-show jobs, Gradilone and Rappa received health care benefits, paid for by unions, to which they were not entitled, in addition to receiving paychecks for work they did not perform.' 

The alleged mobsters also intimidated people they believed 'ratted' on them to police, which resulted in physical altercations inside swanky New York City restaurants.

In a dramatic scene from February 2021 described in the indictment, LaForte and Minsquero assaulted John Doe 6 while Gambino captain Joseph Lanni sat nearby. 

That evening, John Doe 6, his girlfriend, and their friends went to Asian restaurant Sei Less, on West 38th Street in Manhattan, where specialty cocktails cost $20. 

As the group was waiting to pay their bill, LaForte and Minsquero approached their table, called John Doe 6 a 'rat,' and hit him in the face with a bottle - before flipping their table over. 

Drinks were sent flying and glass was shattered everywhere, witnesses said.

In another incident on September 1, 2023, Lanni and Minsquero caused a disturbance at Roxy's Bar and Grille, a restaurant in Toms River, New Jersey.

The duo got into an argument with another patron that led the restaurant's staff to ask them to leave - and as they were escorted out, Minsquero damaged a painting and punched a wall, and Lanni told the owner he would 'burn this place down with you in it.' 

Less than 20 minutes later, video footage from a gas station across the street showed Lanni and Minsquero purchasing a red gas container, walking to a pump, and trying briefly to fill the container with gas.

Lanni was eventually dissuaded by Minsquero and a gas station attendant.

Police were called to the restaurant, but four hours after the scene, the owner and his wife went to get in their car to go home for the night, around midnight.

The owner got into the driver's seat of a car, while his spouse stood outside the vehicle talking with the owner through the open driver's side window. 

As they were chatting, a man got into the front passenger door of the car, punched the owner in the head, put a knife to his neck, and threatened to kill him. 

The spouse ran to help, but was punched and knocked to the ground by a second man. 

Both perpetrators then beat the spouse while she was on the ground. The man with the knife slashed the owner's tires wand pointed the knife at the spouse, before leaving on foot, the documents allege. 

The family, led by Salvatore D'Aquila in the early 1900s, made millions of dollars by carrying out extortion, money laundering and fraud.

Frank Cali was the last known leader of the group, and was killed in 2019. It remains unclear who leads the syndicate at this time. 

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12777143/Gambino-family-associates-Thanksgiving-racketeering-bail.html

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

FBI digs up horse farms looking for bodies linked to the Gambino crime family


 

The FBI has been digging for bodies at two upstate New York horse farms in connection to ongoing federal investigations into the Gambino crime family, according to sources.

Federal authorities arrived at the properties on Hampton Road in Goshen and on Hamptonburgh Road in Campbell Hall on Tuesday and spent Wednesday searching the grounds, according to News 12 and an FBI spokesperson.

They descended upon the Orange County farms — located just five miles apart — after a tipster said bodies were buried on the properties, a law enforcement source confirmed.

“The activity is related to federal investigations into the Gambino crime family,” the source said.

Investigators were seen using heavy equipment, including a backhoe, and shovels, NBC 4 News reported.

No remains were found Wednesday, but the search will continue Thursday.

News 12 reported that both farms were formerly owned by Giovanni DiLorenzo — who has the same surname as one of the ten alleged mafiosos from the Gambino crime family who were indicted last week over accusations they used violent tactics to take over the Big Apple’s garbage hauling and demolition industry.

The 16-count indictment lists the defendants as Joseph “Joe Brooklyn” Lanni, 52, of Staten Island; Diego “Danny” Tantillo, 48, of Freehold, New Jersey; Robert Brooke, 55, of New York; Salvatore DiLorenzo, 66, of Oceanside, New York; Angelo “Fifi” Gradilone, 57, of Staten Island; Kyle “Twin” Johnson, 46, of the Bronx; James LaForte, 46, of New York; Vincent “Vinny Slick” Minsquero, 36, of Staten Island; Vito “Vi” Rappa, 46, of East Brunswick; and Franceso “Uncle Ciccio” Vicari, 46, of Elmont, New York.

Much of the indictment centers on the group’s alleged attempts to extort money from an unidentified garbage hauling company and an unidentified demolition company, starting in late 2017.

The defendants — who include made men and mob associates of the infamous Brooklyn crime syndicate — allegedly attacked one victim with a hammer so viciously he was sent to the hospital, threatened to cut a business owner in half with a knife and tried to burn down a restaurant they were thrown out from, among other brutal crimes.

The men were hit with charges including racketeering conspiracy, extortion, witness retaliation, fraud and embezzlement.

They each face between 20 and 180 years in prison for the laundry list of crimes they allegedly committed. 

https://nypost.com/2023/11/15/metro/fbi-digs-for-bodies-possibly-buried-by-gambino-crime-family-at-upstate-ny-farms-sources/

 

 

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Jailed for life Bonanno mobster wants sentence tossed saying he had bad attorney



A mobster convicted of murdering a potential homicide witness four decades ago was back on the stand Monday, arguing that his life sentence should be tossed because his attorney misled him — and others who committed more vile crimes got a slap on the wrist.

Stephen LoCurto — known in the Big Apple’s seedy underworld as “Stevie Blue” — told a federal judge in Brooklyn that he would have taken a plea deal during his 2006 trial if his attorney hadn’t misled him about the amount of jail time he faced.

“These guys all had two and three murders, and they were getting 10-year pleas!” the 62-year-old grinning killer told the judge, referencing other mobbed-up murderers who he claimed had more bodies on them than he did.

But his old trial attorney, Harry Batchelder, never told him that he was facing life in prison, LoCurto said in his erratic, meandering testimony.

The Bonanno crime family mobster said he thought he only faced 20 years in jail — or about the same as what the feds offered in their plea deal.

Batchelder should have grabbed him by the collar, shook him and said he was risking life in prison by rejecting the deal, LoCurto said.

Thinking the deal was no better than what he faced at trial, LoCurto said he told his lawyer to tell prosecutors what they could do with the deal. 

A mobster convicted of murdering a potential homicide witness four decades ago was back on the stand Monday, arguing that his life sentence should be tossed because his attorney misled him — and others who committed more vile crimes got a slap on the wrist.

Stephen LoCurto — known in the Big Apple’s seedy underworld as “Stevie Blue” — told a federal judge in Brooklyn that he would have taken a plea deal during his 2006 trial if his attorney hadn’t misled him about the amount of jail time he faced.

“These guys all had two and three murders, and they were getting 10-year pleas!” the 62-year-old grinning killer told the judge, referencing other mobbed-up murderers who he claimed had more bodies on them than he did.

But his old trial attorney, Harry Batchelder, never told him that he was facing life in prison, LoCurto said in his erratic, meandering testimony.

The Bonanno crime family mobster said he thought he only faced 20 years in jail — or about the same as what the feds offered in their plea deal.

Batchelder should have grabbed him by the collar, shook him and said he was risking life in prison by rejecting the deal, LoCurto said.

Thinking the deal was no better than what he faced at trial, LoCurto said he told his lawyer to tell prosecutors what they could do with the deal. 

Batchelder confirmed that Monday.

“I would call this a letter of proposal,“ he testified. “They had 25 defendants. It was a plea proposal.” 

https://nypost.com/2023/11/06/metro/convicted-mafia-killer-wants-life-sentence-chucked-over-claims-he-got-bad-attorney-advice-during-trial/

Feds bust 10 Gambino family members and associates with racketeering charges



Ten alleged mafiosos from the Gambino crime family were indicted by the feds for their alleged violent attempts to take over the Big Apple’s garbage hauling and demolition industry — which included a hammer attack that sent one worker to the hospital and a grim threat to cut a business owner in half with a knife.

The defendants — who include made men and mob associates — were hit with charges including racketeering conspiracy, extortion, witness retaliation, fraud and embezzlement, according to the indictment unsealed Wednesday in Brooklyn federal court.

They each face between 20 and 180 years in prison for the laundry list of crimes they’re accused of — many so brutal they’d make Tony Soprano grin.

“As alleged, for years, the defendants committed violent extortions, assaults, arson, witness retaliation and other crimes in an attempt to dominate the New York carting and demolition industries,” Breon Peace, the US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said in a statement.

The 16-count indictment lists the defendants as Joseph “Joe Brooklyn” Lanni, 52, of Staten Island; Diego “Danny” Tantillo, 48, of Freehold, New Jersey; Robert Brooke, 55, of New York; Salvatore DiLorenzo, 66, of Oceanside, New York; Angelo “Fifi” Gradilone, 57, of Staten Island; Kyle “Twin” Johnson, 46, of the Bronx; James LaForte, 46, of New York; Vincent “Vinny Slick” Minsquero, 36, of Staten Island; Vito “Vi” Rappa, 46, of East Brunswick; and Franceso “Uncle Ciccio” Vicari, 46, of Elmont, New York.

Several of the accused kicked up hundreds of thousands of dollars to Lanni —a made man who was the crew’s “caporegime,” or captain — through an intricate web of payments made by companies they owned, according to federal prosecutors.

“The investigation has revealed that, since at least 2017, the defendants have profited from extorting individuals in the New York carting and demolition industries, including through actual and threatened violence, stealing and embezzling from union employee benefit plans and conspiring to rig bids for lucrative demolition jobs,” according to the US Attorney’s office.

Much of the indictment centers on the group’s attempts to extort money from an unidentified garbage hauling company and an unidentified demolition company, starting in late 2017.

That’s when prosecutors say Tantillo demanded monthly extortion payments from the garbage company’s owner — who was identified in court papers as “John Doe 1.”

To put a point on their friendly request, Tantillo, Johnson, Rappa and Vicari regularly threatened and intimidated their victim by lighting the steps of his home on fire, damaging his trucks and threatening to seriously hurt him, the papers said.

For instance, the man was paying Tantillo $1,000 one day when Tantillo broke out a metal baseball bat and told him it was for him, court documents said. Cops said they later found the bat in Tantillo’s car.

Another time, Rappa allegedly sent the victim a picture of his business late at night — just to let him know they’d been there.

It got worse when the man stopped making payments, the feds said.

On Sept. 22, 2020, someone lit his front steps on fire while his wife and kids were inside, the court papers said. About a month later, someone broke into his business and tried slashing the tires on his garbage trucks.

They somehow messed that up, though. So instead, they let the air out, according to the feds.

Two weeks later, on Oct. 29, 2020, someone allegedly attacked an employee of the unidentified demolition company with a hammer as a message to the garbage company owner — the two companies often shared business, and beating the man with a hammer intimidated both firms in one shot, the indictment states.

The attacker only quit when another employee broke up the attack, and the bloody victim was sent to the hospital.

Vicari also forced the man’s father-in-law to pick up a knife and threaten to cut his son-in-law in two if he didn’t keep making payments.

“Get this axe and you make him – two,” Vicari allegedly told the man, according to Rappa’s description caught on an intercepted phone call.

The money started flowing again, according to court papers. And when it did, Rappa sent the man a photo of Vicari toasting him with a small bottle of champagne.

Tantillo, Brooke and Johnson also tried to extort the demolition company and its unidentified owners, prosecutors said.

Tantillo and Brooke allegedly wanted a $40,000 payment — but when they didn’t pay, Brooke attacked one of them on a Midtown Manhattan street corner.

He beat the man until his face was bloody and his eye was blackened — which convinced them to pay Tantillo $50,000 and give $3.9 million worth of discounts for using a facility they owned.

The defendants also gave each other no-show jobs so they could get union benefits they didn’t deserve, tried to rig bids for lucrative demolition jobs and embezzled from benefits plans by breaking collective bargaining agreements, prosecutors said.

In February 2021, LaForte and Minsquero also allegedly beat a man identified as “John Doe 6” who they thought talked to the cops about the mob — right in a Midtown restaurant.

“That evening, John Doe 6, his girlfriend, and their friends went to Sei Less, a restaurant near West 38th Street and Broadway in Manhattan,” according to the indictment. “According to witnesses, while the group was waiting to pay their bill, LaForte and Minsquero approached their table.”

“LaForte called John Doe 6 a ‘rat,’ and hit [him] in the face with a bottle,” the indictment continued. “LaForte and Minsquero also flipped John Doe 6’s table, sending drinks and shattered glass everywhere.”

The indictment outlined other assaults — some charged and some not — including Lanni and Minsquero’s aborted attempt to burn down a restaurant in Toms River, New Jersey, after they were chucked out of it. 

All 10 alleged wise guys were taken into custody Wednesday — with Italian police arresting another six organized crime members in the multi-continent sting.

“Today’s arrests reflect the commitment of this Office and our law enforcement partners, both here and abroad, to keep our communities safe by the complete dismantling of organized crime,” Peace said.

Nine of the defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges on Tuesday, according to a US Attorney’s Office spokesperson.

Only one, Dilorenzo, was released on a $500,000 bond as of Wednesday night.

Lanni, Johnson,Tantillo and Gradilone were all being held without bond after prosecutors argued they were violent and could potentially intimidate witnesses. 

Brooke, Rappa, Vicari, and Minsquero were each granted release on a $1 million bond — but their releases are stayed for 24 hours so the government can appeal.

Louis Gelormino, Minsquaro’s defense attorney, told The Post his client “completely denies these allegations and looks forward to a complete investigation of the facts and looks forward to being fully exonerated.”

Laforte was not arraigned on Wednesday because he is currently in jail in Pennsylvania and will be arraigned on a later date.

https://nypost.com/2023/11/08/metro/feds-hit-10-alleged-mobsters-from-the-gambino-crime-family-with-racketeering-charges/

Sunday, November 5, 2023

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Sunday, October 22, 2023

Jailed New Jersey Lucchese wiseguy says his dental records were switched and he is innocent of murder



The tooth shall set him free!

A real-life Tony Soprano who has been cooling his heels in prison for decades in connection with the 1984 golf club beating death of a Toms River used car salesman is now reportedly claiming he was at the dentist at the time of the slaying — and his dental records were secretly changed to sink his alibi.

Martin Taccetta, 72, of Florham Park, insisted he was framed by prosecutors for any evil deeds related to the rub-out of Toms River auto dealer Vincent “Jimmy Sinatra” Craparotta, the Asbury Park Press reported.

Craparotta, 56, was beaten to death by men with golf clubs at his Route 9 car lot on June 12, 1984, reportedly to scare his nephews into paying tributes to the Lucchese crime family from earnings on their video poker machines, the report said.

Taccetta was a capo in the Lucchese crime family running the gang’s NJ operations. 

In a 2000 Post story about “Goodfellas Who Might Be Role Models,” mob experts — who formerly worked with New Jersey’s Organized Crime Task Force — said iconic TV mob boss Tony Soprano, played by the late James Gandolfini, closely resembled the charismatic Taccetta.

Taccetta and two other reputed members of the Lucchese crime family were charged with Craparotta’s murder.

They stood trial in Superior Court in Ocean County in 1993, along with two other alleged mob associates charged with racketeering and extortion offenses.

Taccetta beat the murder rap, but the jury found him guilty of racketeering, conspiracy, and extortion.

He received the harshest penalty of all the defendants — life plus 10 years.

The government presented testimony from former Mafia underbosses that Taccetta told them he and an associate “whacked” the victim “over some Joker Pokers” and used golf clubs rather than baseball bats to do the job because “bats break,” the Jersey media outlet reported.

Taccetta claims the assistant attorney general who prosecuted him in 1993 hid from him an FBI report that concluded his dental records — which he says proved he was at his dentist’s office an hour away when Craparotta was killed — were secretly altered, the report said.

Taccetta claimed he learned of the FBI report in recent years through a Freedom of Information Act request and he deserves a new trial, the published report said.

“The evidence at trial included testimony that co-defendant Thomas Ricciardi, another member of the Lucchese crime family, had beaten Craporatta to death with a golf club while yelling, “pay your debts,” according to NJ Appellate Division court papers.

Ricciardi, described as a high-ranking enforcer for the Lucchese crime family, was the only one of the three charged with Craparotta’s murder to be convicted of it, the Asbury Park Press reported.  

https://nypost.com/2023/10/21/mobster-jailed-in-connection-to-1984-murder-says-he-was-framed/