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

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

FBI agents return to NY farm looking for bodies in Gambino family investigation


 

FBI agents were back at two upstate New York horse farms after searching the same properties for bodies last year in connection to federal investigations into the Gambino crime family.

The feds, along with members of the New York State Police and NYPD, descended on the two farms on Hampton Road in Goshen and on Hamptonburgh Road in Campbell Hall on Tuesday morning, witnesses told The Times Union.

Excavators, a police K9 unit and a New York City medical examiner were also on site, video from the scene shows. It’s not clear if anything was found.

The two farms, located about five miles apart, were raided by the FBI last November after a tipster said bodies were buried on the grounds, sources told The Post at the time.

An FBI spokesperson confirmed to The Post that agents from its New York office were at the two addresses on Tuesday, but could not provide additional information about the investigation.


Both farms were formerly owned by Giovanni DiLorenzo — who has the same surname as one of the 10 alleged mafiosi from the Gambino crime family indicted in November over accusations they used violent tactics to take over the Big Apple’s garbage hauling and demolition industry.

The Campbell Hall farm is currently owned by Viviane DiLorenzo, according to property records. The Goshen farm is currently owned by GDLI LLC.

Salvatore DiLorenzo was one of 10 alleged Gambino associates indicted on racketeering charges in November in federal court in Brooklyn. Much of the indictment centers on the group’s alleged attempts to extort money from an unidentified garbage company and an unidentified demolition company, starting in late 2017.

The defendants include Joseph Lanni, also known as “Joe Brooklyn” and “Mommino,” an alleged captain in the Gambino family; and three alleged Gambino soldiers: Diego “Danny” Tantillo; Angelo Gradilone, also known as “Fifi;” and James LaForte.

They allegedly hospitalized a man in a vicious hammer attack, threatened to saw a business owner in half and tried to burn down a restaurant that had thrown them out, among other crimes, according to the 16-count indictment.

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 alleged crimes.

https://nypost.com/2024/04/02/us-news/fbi-returns-to-ny-horse-farms-connected-to-gambino-crime-family-probes/

Saturday, March 30, 2024

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Monday, March 18, 2024

Sunday, March 17, 2024

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Son of infamous Irish mobster busted for slugging dog walker in Hells Kitchen



The son of notorious Manhattan mobster Mickey Spillane landed in court Monday for allegedly taking a whack at a dog-walker in Hell’s Kitchen — the same area his dad controlled in the 1970s.

Michael J. Spillane Jr., 60, got his Irish up and allegedly punched the stranger in the face outside Mediterranean wine bar Kashkaval Garden at around 7:37 p.m. on Feb. 21, according to a criminal complaint.

Spillane — who owns Mickey Spillane’s, a bar named after his dad about six blocks south on Ninth Avenue — pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor counts of assault and harassment and was released after his Manhattan Criminal Court arraignment.

His ties to the neighborhood date back decades to when his father ruled Hell’s Kitchen as the head of the Irish-American mob in the ’60s and ’70s.

Known as the last “Gentleman Ganger,” Mickey was a quick riser in the loan sharking scene who opposed dealing drugs and was adamant about not associating with the Italian mafia.

After he was pushed out of Hell’s Kitchen by the Westies, a more vicious rival Irish gang, Mickey was murdered outside his Woodside, Queens home in 1977 — shot five times in the head in what cops said was a gangland assassination.

He was married to Maureen McManus, a daughter of the famed local political dynasty who ran the city’s Tammany Hall Democratic party for decades — which Michael Jr. led as district leader, according to W42ndSt.com.

“My dad was a serious man. Back when he was in business, he worked with a lot of labor unions and they controlled most of the docks,” Spillane said in the 2016 interview with the website. “Then the Italian branch of the mob tried to dominate everything. And if it wasn’t for men like my dad, there would be no Irish unions.”

The Irish-American mob scion’s beef with the dog-walker is said to have started when the man encountered Spillane and a group of people standing outside the restaurant, creating a bottleneck.

He asked the group to make a path for him and his two dogs to get through, and most of them did — except for Spillane, who allegedly stuck his foot out and tried tripping the dog-walker, according to a source in the victim’s camp.

Spillane was allegedly aggressive and looked at the dog-walker “menacingly,” the source said.

The man went to grab Spillane — who then allegedly laid a closed-fist haymaker to his face, according to the source.

The dog-walker was also arrested and hit with the same charges. He suffered swelling and bruising from the punch and a laceration to the neck, according to the complaint against Spillane.

Spillane, who doesn’t have a rap sheet, was spotted flipping through a wad of $100 bills as he stood next to his attorney, Eugene Byrne, shortly after his arraignment. He’s due back in court April 29.

Spillane is the eldest of three children,

His actor brother, Bobby Spillane, who appeared in shows “Rescue Me” and “Law & Order,” tragically died when he leaned against his window screen and fell from his sixth-floor apartment on Eighth Avenue in 2010.

https://nypost.com/2024/03/11/us-news/son-of-notorious-irish-mobster-mickey-spillane-busted-for-slugging-dog-walker-in-same-nyc-neighborhood-his-dad-ruled/

Sunday, March 10, 2024

Notorious Lucchese Soldier paroled from life sentence



They’re getting the gang back together.

Notorious Lucchese crime family hitman Joey Testa will be out on the streets in April after 35 years behind bars, the Federal Bureau of Prisons announced — just weeks after The Post reported on the release of Testa’s partner Anthony Senter, the other half of the murderous duo known as the Gemini Twins.

Both Testa, 69, and Senter, 68, were paroled after serving a fraction of the life-plus-20-year sentences they were handed in 1989 for participating in at least 11 murders, the feds confirmed.

“Joey’s had serious medical problems for years, and he has done well in prison,” Testa’s attorney Linda Sheffield told The Post.

“Those are things that play into setting a release date.”

In the 1970s and 1980s, Testa and Senter belonged to a mob crew run by Gambino made man Roy DeMeo.

The crew used the Gemini Lounge at 4021 Flatlands Ave. in Flatlands, Brooklyn, as the launchpad for murders, car thefts, drug trafficking and other crimes.

“It was a regular blue-collar place,” a one-time Gemini Lounge regular recalled of the bar, which has since become a storefront church. 

“You didn’t know that there was a murderous maniac running around.”

The inseparable Testa and Senter, pals since childhood, spent so much time at their boss’s hangout that they were dubbed the Gemini Twins.

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

Witnesses for the prosecution in Testa’s 1989 trial revealed that those marked for death would be lured to an apartment-turned-slaughterhouse next to the Gemini Lounge.

“When the [victim] would walk in, somebody would shoot him in the head with a silencer,” former gang member Dominick 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 would haul their prey into the bathtub to let his blood drain away, then “take him apart and package him,” Mantigilio testified — dumping the body parts in a nearby landfill.

Many of the gang’s alleged targets were never found.

The gruesome murders were “so horrendous and so inhumane and so unbelievable,” US District Court Judge Vincent L. Broderick said at Testa’s 1989 sentencing, that “the only sane course” was to send him to prison for life.

But because his crimes were committed prior to 1987, when new federal sentencing guidelines kicked in, Testa became eligible for parole after serving just 10 years of his lifetime term, according to the US Parole Commission.

Nephew and godson Tony Testa, 44, said the family is thrilled to see the ex-mobster set free.

“The Lord is amazing,” said Testa, a real estate developer in Commack, Long Island. 

“Uncle Joey did his time, he never complained. And the parole board saw that he’s served his penance.”

Tony Testa – who bills his family as “The Kennedys of Cosa Nostra” on social media — has tried to spin his uncle’s infamy into pop-culture gold.

A self-proclaimed “mob rapper,” he has released two albums — complete with a grisly music video dramatizing the DeMeo crew’s bloody execution technique.

“Hey, that’s entertainment,” he said.

“I’m a law-abiding citizen, but I’ll use what I can, you know?”

While Senter, scheduled to be released in June, is already living in a New York City halfway house, Testa will likely reside with his wife JoAnn, 71, in Nevada, Sheffield said. 

The couple has two grown daughters and two grandchildren.

“He is not well enough to go to a halfway house,” the attorney said.

“He’ll go home.”

But locals suspect the dual release signals new revelations to come.

“There’s a rumor going around that when those guys get out, they’ll spill the beans,” the former Gemini Lounge patron said.

“They know where a lot of bodies are buried. There is no reason for them to be let out unless they’ve been cooperating with someone.”

https://nypost.com/2024/03/10/us-news/second-gambino-gemini-twin-hitman-paroled-from-life-sentence/

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Junior Gotti's family rejects plea deals after basketball game brawl



It was an offer they could refuse.

John “Junior” Gotti’s wife and daughter shot down plea deals that would’ve put them in anger management to settle charges that they sparked a wild brawl at a Long Island youth basketball game.

Kimberly Gotti, 55, and 23-year-old Gianna Gotti refused an offer to plead guilty to assault charges in exchange for 12 weeks of anger management and an order of protection for the victim, the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office said Wednesday.

The pair were charged with attacking a woman at a Locust Valley High School game in Lattingtown on Feb. 8 after the victim shouted insults at Kimberly’s son, Joe, who was playing for visiting Oyster Bay High School, according to authorities and court records.

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 Gottis’ attorney blamed the blowup on the victim, telling The Post last month that she threw the first punch and was “badgering” Kimberly’s youngest son.

The lawyer, Gerard Michael Marrone, also denied his client used a homophobic slur.  

He said after the incident that Gianna, a professional basketball player who played for Brooklyn College before signing with a team in Portugal, stepped in to break up the brawl and help her mom after she was slugged in the face by the alleged victim.

But he said both Gottis declined to press charges against the woman when cops arrived.

“The Gottis don’t press charges,” Marrone said after the pair was arraigned last month.

Instead, they were arrested and charged.

Marrone did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.

Kimberly Gotti is the daughter-in-law of the late mafia boss “Dapper Don” John Gotti — who infamously took over the Gambino crime family by ordering the mob hit of boss Paul Castellano outside 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/2024/03/06/us-news/kimberly-gianna-gotti-shoot-down-plea-deals-that-would-place-them-in-anger-management-after-wild-li-youth-basketball-brawl/

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Elderly Colombo Captain sentenced to four years in prison for shaking down NYC union



A Mafia member was sentenced Wednesday to more than four years in federal prison for his role in a long-running scheme in which he and others extorted funds from a New York City labor union, federal prosecutors said.

Vincent Ricciardo, a captain in Colombo crime family, was also ordered to pay $350,000 in forfeiture and $280,890 in restitution by a Brooklyn court judge.

Ricciardo, who is also known as "Vinny Unions," pleaded guilty to racketeering last July for his participation in the labor union extortion as well as money laundering, loansharking, fraud and other mob schemes.

Lawyers for Ricciardo didn't immediately respond to messages seeking comment Wednesday.

Breon Peace, U.S. attorney for the eastern district of New York, said in a statement that the sentence holds Ricciardo "accountable" for his participation in a wide range of Mafia crimes.

"This prosecution represents our continued commitment to combatting organized crime and prosecuting the individuals who seek to enrich themselves at the expense of hardworking union members and their employers," he said.

The extortion scheme involved death threats, phony payments, and other hallmarks of Mafia-type shakedowns seen in movies.

Prosecutors say it started in 2001 when Ricciardo started squeezing a senior official with a Queens-based construction union to fork over a portion of his salary.

Russo and other Colombo leaders then concocted a plan to force the union to make decisions beneficial to the crime family, including driving contracts to vendors associated with the family, prosecutors said.

In one recorded conversation, Ricciardo even threatened to kill the union official in front of his family if he didn't comply.

"You laugh all you want pal, I’m not afraid to go to jail," he said, according to prosecutors.

Ricciardo is the tenth defendant sentenced in connection with the union scheme, according to Peace's office. Four others still await sentencing.

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/