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

Friday, July 12, 2024

Tuesday, July 9, 2024

NYC orders Gotti family business to clean up chemicals and pay hefty fine

It was an offer they couldn’t refuse.

Family businesses run by the Gottis have agreed to pay at least $210,000 in fines and clean up toxic chemicals that spewed from a Queens scrap yard they operate, according to a settlement announced Tuesday by state Attorney General Letitia James.

LSM Auto Parts & Recycling (LSM), BGN Real Estate and two related companies agreed to a remediation plan to clean up the dangerous ooze that seeped off their property.

Carmine Gotti Agnello Jr., the grandson of infamous late Gambino crime-family mob boss John Gotti, is one of the owners of the Jamaica-based LSM Auto Parts & Recycling at 155-11 Liberty Ave. in Jamaica.

BGN Real Estate and Three Sons Real Estate Group, which owns the property of the scrap yard, belongs to Victoria Gotti, John Gotti’s daughter and Carmine’s mother.

LSM and its affiliates will be required to clean up the property under the watchful eye of the state Department of Environmental Conservation and pay a penalty of $210,000, according to the settlement.

The companies could pay additional penalties of $287,000 if they fail to meet clean-up requirements — bringing total potential fines to $497,000.

“LSM made an environmental mess, and now they are responsible for cleaning it up,” AG James said in a statement.

A lawsuit filed by James in 2022 alleged that LSM ignored rules governing the proper disposal of toxic automobile waste.

The suit said the lack of care was responsible for significant amounts of oil and antifreeze seeping off the site, contaminating the groundwater and soil in an area near the surrounding low-income neighborhood.

“For too long, LSM ignored basic laws and regulations about handling dangerous chemicals and exposed neighbors to toxic pollutants,” the AG said. “Now, LSM will finally clean up their years of pollution and we’re going to make sure they do it right.”

DEC interim Commissioner Sean Mahar, whose agency is responsible for enforcing the agreement, said in a statement, “This settlement sends a message to other companies — New York State aggressively prosecutes polluters who flout environmental laws and regulations.”

Victoria Gotti signed the settlement “Victoria Agnello,” using the last name of her ex-husband, Carmine Agnello.

A lawyer for the Gotti clan and their firms did not respond to a Post request for comment.

Carmine Gotti Agnello Jr. — who along with his two brothers starred in the reality show “Growing Up Gotti’’ 16 years ago — was busted in 2018 on charges of crushing cars without a license and falsifying business records.

Like his grandfather, he had a touch of Teflon.

Carmine copped a plea to reduced misdemeanor charges — dodging prison time — in exchange for a $1,000 fine and a forfeiture of $4,605 in ill-gotten gains.

Mafioso John Gotti, 61, died of throat cancer in prison in 2002 while serving a life sentence without parole for a string of murders.


Friday, June 21, 2024

Former Genovese Acting Captain decapitated by truck while crossing Brooklyn street

It was La Crossing Nostra.

The 86-year-old man who was decapitated by a truck that plowed into him at a Brooklyn crosswalk is a former acting captain for the Genovese crime family, The Post can exclusively reveal.

Anthony Conigliaro — a one-time mafioso known as “Tony Cakes,” “Tony the Dessert Man,” among other dessert-themed sobriquets — died June 12 in an accidental hit by a city Department of Transportation truck, his lawyers and law-enforcement sources said.

“He spent his life looking over his shoulder but he forgot to look both ways before crossing the street,” one police source said.

Before Conigliaro’s gruesome death, he apparently lived a quiet life by himself in a small Bay Ridge apartment building on Dahlgren Place.

A neighbor told The Post that Conigliaro, a dad of two, always looked out for others.

“We miss him. Everybody misses him,” he said.

But the neighbor didn’t know about Conigliaro’s past — which not only included a connection to the mafia, but also a nearly two-decade-old racketeering case.

Brooklyn federal prosecutors in 2005 accused Conigliaro — who toiled for years in the wholesale cake business, selling sweets across the New York City area and running an Italian ice and gelato stand in Little Italy, according to court documents — of being a soldier in the Genovese crime family.

Conigliaro worked as a loan shark for the Genovese, the feds said in a four-count indictment. 

He eventually copped a guilty plea to a racketeering conspiracy charge, for which he received a 13-month sentence, court records state.

Conigliaro also was arrested in 1999 for criminal usury and in 2006 in a grand larceny case, which has since been sealed, sources said.

The Post’s attempts to contact Conigliaro’s family were unsuccessful.

Mathew Mari, a longtime mob lawyer who counted Conigliaro as a friend and client, said the man he knew as “Tony Cheesecake” successfully delved into the dessert business after his time behind bars.

“Later on in life he became known as Tony the Dessert Man,” Mari said.

“He was a kind gentle soft spoken very quiet guy. Always trying to help people.”

A small memorial for the apparent former goodfella — four bouquets of flowers and two candles — was set up Friday at 92nd Street and Dahlgren Place, where he was fatally struck.

Grisly footage from the crash showed Conigliaro’s head severed several yards from his crumbled body — and a DOT driver, who was behind the wheel of a city truck when the elderly man walked against a traffic light to cross the street, looking teary-eyed and devastated.

“Now we know why that DOT guy was crying… he’s probably asking for witness protection,” one source said.


Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Sunday, June 9, 2024

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Staten Island Gambino crew busted in over 80 count indictment

New York Attorney General Letitia James today announced the arrests and indictments of 17 individuals on charges stemming from the operation of lucrative loansharking and illegal gambling operations on Staten Island controlled by members of the Gambino organized crime family. The individuals were charged in an 84-count indictment for their roles in an illegal sports gambling operation that handled more than $22.7 million in illegal bets and an illegal loansharking operation that brought in weekly loan payments on approximately $500,000 in usurious loans. In addition, four individuals were charged in a separate indictment for an illegal mortgage fraud scheme to purchase a $600,000 home in New Jersey. 

Among those arrested today are alleged Gambino soldiers John J. LaForte, Anthony J. Cinque, Jr., and John Matera, alleged Gambino associates Edward A. LaForte, Frederick P. Falcone, Sr., Giulio Pomponio, Daniel F. Bogan, and alleged Colombo associate Charles Fusco.

“Illegal gambling and loan sharking schemes are some of the oldest rackets in the mob’s playbook,” said Attorney General James. “While organized crime may still be active in New York, today we are putting several Gambino family members out of business. These criminal enterprises took tens of millions of dollars from New Yorkers and trapped many in dangerous amounts of debt. I thank all of our partners in law enforcement for their collaboration in this investigation to bring these individuals to justice and keep New Yorkers safe.” 

The investigation, conducted with the New York City Police Department (NYPD), the New York Waterfront Commission, and the United States Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, utilized court-authorized wiretaps and bugs, covert video surveillance cameras, search warrants on an offshore illegal gambling website, and search warrants of the residences of some of the defendants. 

Much of the enterprise’s loansharking and bookmaking business, including the collection of illicit revenue from loansharking victims, was conducted during meetings at the Eltingville Shopping Center and the Greenridge Shopping Center on Staten Island.

The investigation uncovered that Frederick P. Falcone, Sr., a former member of the NYPD, and Edward A. LaForte acted as loan sharks who maintained detailed ledgers with the names of victims and their respective usurious loan amounts. At times, Falcone, Sr. and LaForte needed authorization and funding from LaForte’s brother John J. LaForte and Anthony J. Cinque, Jr. to make the usurious loans. Evidence amassed during the investigation, including intercepted communications, showed that both John J. LaForte and Anthony J. Cinque, Jr. are soldiers in the Gambino Crime Family and utilized this role to oversee the illegal operations.

Additionally, the investigation uncovered that Edward LaForte had a managerial role within an illegal sports gambling operation utilizing an offshore illegal gambling website that is not legally sanctioned in New York state. From September 2022 to March 2023, the operation involved over 70 bettors who wagered approximately $22,753,964. The operation was also run with Amy McLaughlin, who allegedly assisted in maintaining and organizing the gambling ring, keeping records of the weekly gambling figures, and collecting and distributing proceeds. In addition to receiving illegal gambling proceeds, John LaForte operated and acted in a supervisory role over the operation. John LaForte and Anthony Cinque, Jr. also funded a portion of the illegal gambling activities to assist with the payment of winning bettors.  

In his role managing the gambling operation, Edward LaForte supervised several sheetholders – individuals who manage the bets and collections for individual bettors – and other individuals who participated in the illegal sports gambling operation. These individuals have been identified as Charles Fusco, Robert W. Carter, Giulio Pomponio, Arthur Geller, Daniel M. Scarabaggio, Daniel H. Shah, Vincent J. Ricciardi, Frederick Falcone, Sr., Frederick Falcone, Jr., Louis A. Palombo, Daniel F. Bogan, and John Matera. Often, the gamblers who were wagering illegally through these sheetholders would fall into debt and the members of this criminal enterprise would exploit this opportunity by providing a usurious loan and charging and collecting illegally high interest on these loans, making a profit off of a gambler who had fallen into debt.

In addition, a separate mortgage fraud investigation originating from wiretap communications of the gambling and loan shark operations revealed that John LaForte and his wife Tracy Alfano recruited his nephew Joseph W. LaForte, Jr. to fraudulently apply for and accept a mortgage loan to purchase a $600,000 home in Monmouth County, New Jersey. Joseph W. LaForte, Jr. acted as a straw purchaser of the property where John LaForte and Tracy Alfano currently reside. John Palladino, acting as a mortgage broker, assisted the others in obtaining the mortgage by guiding them through the process. Palladino coached them through the transfer of money to show mortgage eligibility as well as closing on the loan and the property.

The 84 count indictment related to the loan sharking and gambling operations – unsealed today before Richmond County Supreme Court Judge Lisa Grey – charged 17 individuals with multiple crimes, including Enterprise Corruption, Criminal Usury in the First Degree and Second Degree, and Promoting Gambling in the First Degree. If convicted of Enterprise Corruption, a Class B felony, the defendants face a maximum of 25 years in prison. 

Those charged in today’s indictment include: 

  1. John J. LaForte, 56, of Monmouth County, New Jersey 
  2. Anthony J. Cinque, Jr., 39, Richmond County, New York
  3. John Matera, 53, Monmouth County, New Jersey
  4. Edward A. LaForte, 58, Richmond County, New York
  5. Frederick Falcone, Sr., 66, Richmond County, New York
  6. Giulio Pomponio, 61, Richmond County, New York
  7. Charles Fusco, 49, Richmond County, New York 
  8. Daniel F. Bogan, 41, Richmond County, New York
  9. Robert W. Carter, 56, Richmond County, New York
  10. Louis A. Palombo, 61, Richmond County, New York
  11. Arthur Geller, 62, Ocean County, New Jersey 
  12. Daniel M. Scarabaggio, 62, Ocean County, New Jersey 
  13. Daniel H. Shah, 38, Hudson County, New Jersey 
  14. Vincent J. Ricciardi, 59, Ocean County, New Jersey 
  15. Amy L. McLaughlin, 44, Richmond County, New York
  16. James Miranda, 23, Richmond County, New York
  17. Frederick Falcone, Jr., 41, Richmond County, New York

Another four-count indictment was unsealed before Richmond County Supreme Court Judge Lisa Grey charging four individuals, including Gambino soldier John LaForte, with Residential Mortgage Fraud in the Second and Third Degree, and Falsifying a Business Record in the First Degree. If convicted of Residential Mortgage Fraud in the Second Degree, a Class C Felony, the defendants face a maximum of 15 years in prison. 

Those charged in this indictment include: 

  1. John J. LaForte 56, Monmouth County, New Jersey 
  2. Tracy Alfano, 38, Monmouth County, New Jersey
  3. Joseph W. LaForte, Jr., 34, Richmond County, New York 
  4. John Palladino, 54, Monmouth County, New Jersey

The charges against the defendants are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. 

“This case is a stark reminder that organized crime continues to thrive in the New York metropolitan area,” said Commissioner Paul Weinstein of the New York Waterfront Commission. “The Gambino Crime Family has historically exerted its influence on the Port of New York. Disruption of its profits from gambling and loansharking weaken that family’s grip. We will continue to work together with our law enforcement partners to combat corruption and racketeering and to keep the public safe.”

“As we have seen for over a century and once again here, illegal bookmaking is often intertwined with organized crime,” said New York State Gaming Commission Chairman Brian O’Dwyer. “This is why we have regulated gaming with strong safeguards, player protections, and revenue to make our communities better. With the numerous legal gambling opportunities available in our state, there is no legitimate reason to wager with offshore operations and blindly line the pockets of alleged gangsters. I applaud Attorney General James and our partners in government for working together to bring this important case.”

“These arrests reflect the commitment of the NYPD and our law enforcement partners, at all levels of government, to keep our communities safe by dismantling organized crime and protecting the public from its insidious effects,” said NYPD Commissioner Edward A. Caban. “I commend all of our investigators and everyone at the state Attorney General’s office for their dedication to this long-term case and their ongoing commitment to our shared public safety mission.” 

“While sports betting may be legal in the state of New York, operating an off-the-books multi-million dollar gambling enterprise, engaging in blatant usury and intimidation, and sinking countless New Yorkers into crippling debt is not,” said Richmond County District Attorney Michael E. McMahon. “Illegal gambling is by no means a victimless crime and these 17 defendants, including nearly a dozen Staten Islanders, stand accused of raking in tens of millions of dollars from our neighbors while engaging in brazen loansharking and mortgage fraud. I commend our partners in the New York State Attorney General’s Office, NYPD, Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor, and U.S. Department of Labor, Office of the Inspector General for their incredible investigatory efforts and commitment to holding these individuals accountable in the courtroom.”

The investigation was led by NYPD Sergeant Jack Dagnese, formerly of the Criminal Enterprise Investigations Section, under the supervision of NYPD Sergeant Joseph Rivera, Lieutenant Jason Forgione, Inspector Osvaldo Nunez and Assistant Chief Jason Savino of the Criminal Enterprise Investigations Section, and under the overall supervision of Chief of Detectives Joseph Kenny. 

For the Office of the Attorney General (OAG), the investigation was led by Organized Crime Task Force (OCTF) Detectives Shavaun Clawson and Ramon Almodovar, under the supervision of OCTF Supervising Detective Paul Grzegorski, Assistant Chief Ismael Hernandez, and Deputy Chief Andrew Boss, with special assistance from the detective specialists from the OAG Special Operations Unit, led by Deputy Chief Sean Donovan. The Attorney General’s Investigations Division is led by Chief Oliver Pu-Folkes.

For the New York Waterfront Commission, the investigation was conducted by Detective Joseph Curran and Detective William McCabe, under the supervision of Sergeant Andrew Varga and under the overall supervision of Executive Director Phoebe Sorial. 

The case is being prosecuted by OCTF Assistant Deputy Attorney General Joseph Marciano, under the supervision of Downstate OCTF Deputy Chief Lauren Abinanti with the assistance of OCTF Legal Analyst Christine Cintron. Nicole Keary is the Deputy Attorney General in Charge of OCTF. The Criminal Justice Division is led by Chief Deputy Attorney General José Maldonado. Both the Investigations Division and the Division for Criminal Justice are overseen by First Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Levy.


Mob connected construction executive convicted of posing as woman owned business to win contracts

A repeatedly convicted Manhattan contractor with mob ties was sentenced to two to six years in prison on Tuesday for a litany of crimes including endangering his workers and pocketing millions while disguising his firm as woman-owned in order to draw lucrative carpentry contracts.

A smiling Larry Wecker, 83, wearing a burgundy shirt, gray pants and handcuffs, appeared calm at his brief Manhattan Supreme Court sentencing, with nothing to say before Judge Althea Drysdale handed down the term.

He agreed to the stint in an upstate New York prison in a deal with Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office before pleading guilty to enterprise corruption in January for several schemes. Those included covering up undocumented workers’ injuries and stiffing them on wages and benefits, stealing thousands from his clients through phony bills and pretending that a woman owned his company, JM3.

Wecker also copped to attempted weapons possession for packing a  .38-caliber revolver at his Sutton Place, Manhattan, apartment. His company pleaded guilty to scheme to defraud.

Over the decades, Wecker has racked up multiple state and federal convictions for involvement in organized crime and corrupt construction work, including in 2001 for bribing a labor official in a case brought by former DA Bob Morgenthau that identified Wecker as an associate of the Lucchese and Genovese crime families. He served 16 months for those crimes. The same year, he pleaded guilty in Brooklyn federal court to conspiracy to commit tax crimes stemming from the mob’s reign over New York’s concrete industry, getting a 41-month term.

The convicted octogenarian was arrested in May 2023 along with seven other players in construction following a large-scale probe by the DA that was prompted by suspicious cash checking. Indicted beside Wecker for falsifying business records was his longtime associate, contractor Shamsuddin Riza, who’s since pleaded guilty in a separate case to orchestrating a straw donor scheme to pump illegal donations into Eric Adams’ 2021 campaign for mayor. Adams has not been accused of wrongdoing in that case.

Starting in 2015, Wecker’s latest schemes included creating a bogus firm called LNR Construction in co-defendant Lisa Rossi’s name and getting it certified as minority- or women-owned to obtain contracts as a pass-through, prosecutors said.

He also falsified records and laundered millions to make it appear as though his firm, which specializes in drywall and carpentry in government-subsidized affordable housing, was subcontracting with women- or minority-owned firms, according to court docs. Wecker bribed legitimately deserving business owners to bid on multimillion-dollar city and state contracts, prosecutors said.

The contracts were for at least seven projects in Brooklyn, Manhattan, the Bronx and New Rochelle, N.Y., and required a portion of the work to be done by women or minority workers. They were instead handled by Wecker’s more than 60 employees and subcontractor companies that mainly enlisted undocumented laborers without insurance to work for cash.

In court papers filed when Wecker was indicted, prosecutors said he often sought to cover up injuries suffered by off-the-books workers. In a call intercepted in January 2021, Wecker said one of his laborers who had just broken his arm on the job “don’t need no f–king doctor” and told the foreman in charge to make the injured worker come back to work the next day and then pretend the person fell on the street.

Asked for comment Tuesday, Bragg’s office pointed to a previous statement that described Wecker’s scams as having robbed legitimate minority and women-owned businesses of the chance to do business. Wecker’s Palm Beach, Fla.-board attorney, Robert Franklin, did not immediately return the Daily News’ call seeking comment.


Ex-husband of Real Housewives of New Jersey star convicted of hiring mobster to attack new lover


The ex-husband of “Real Housewives of New Jersey” star Dina Manzo was convicted Tuesday of hiring a mobster to beat up his former beau’s new lover — and now he’s facing more than four decades in prison.

Federal prosecutors said Tommy Manzo, a prominent New Jersey restaurateur who lives in the ritzy suburb of Franklin Lakes, planned the 2015 attack on David Cantin, Dina’s now-husband, then recruited an alleged mafioso from the Lucchese crime family to pull it off.

In return, the feds said, the 59-year-old Manzo promised his hired gun a free wedding at his catering hall, The Brownstone in Paterson, New Jersey. 

After a two-week trial in Newark federal court, Manzo was found guilty of committing a violent crime in aid of racketeering, conspiracy to commit a violent crime in aid of racketeering resulting in serious bodily injury and concealing documents related to a federal investigation, the feds said in a press release.  

“The facts and circumstances in this case read like something from a bad TV crime drama, but the evidence and testimony presented in court prove it was reality,” James E. Dennehy, head of FBI’s Newark field office, said in a statement.

“We truly hope the victims in this investigation are able to move on with their lives and forget about Manzo and his criminal mafia bedfellows.”

Besides the jail time, Manzo faces fines of up to $500,000, the feds said.

He will be sentenced Oct. 15.

Manzo’s attorney, Zach Intrater, declined to comment Tuesday afternoon. 

The conviction slams the door on Manzo’s marathon case, which began when the feds indicted him in 2020 for an assault they said happened about five years earlier.

That’s when Manzo — whose family has owned The Brownstone since the 1970s — offered a deeply discounted wedding to mob capo John Perna of Cedar Grove, New Jersey, in return for Perna roughing up Cantin.

“Manzo was outraged that his former wife became romantically involved with another man,” prosecutors said in court documents. “Rather than accept that, as law-abiding individuals do, Manzo wanted to extract physical revenge. Unwilling or incapable of doing so directly, he leveraged his catering hall.”

Perna and a guy from his crew caught up with Cantin in the parking lot of a Passaic County strip mall in July 2015, then worked him over with a slapjack, the feds said.

The savage attack left Cantin battered and scarred, according to court documents.

Perna — the son of former mob capo Ralph Perna — later pleaded guilty to committing a violent crime in aid of racketeering activity and was sentenced to nearly three years in prison.

He was released last August, according to jail records.

Meanwhile, Manzo remained free on bail as the case against him proceeded at a nearly glacial pace. 

Earlier this year, a federal judge dismissed the first set of charges because prosecutors had taken too long to bring them to trial.

But authorities quickly re-indicted him, and the long-dormant case finally began picking up steam. His trial finally began May 20. 

“As a unanimous jury found, Manzo committed multiple offenses by providing a free wedding in exchange for the assault and then concealing documents relating to that wedding,” US Attorney Philip Sellinger said in the statement.

“He will now face just punishment for his crimes.”

Manzo 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 the couple didn’t officially divorce until 2016.


Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Genovese associate appeals gun charge to the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court agreed on Monday to decide whether an associate of an infamous crime family should face additional prison time for attempted murder. Salvatore Delligatti helped run an illegal  sports-gambling operation in Queens for Robert DeBello, a “made” member of the Genovese crime family, part of the La Cosa Nostra criminal network in New York. 

The justices took up Delligatti’s appeal to knock five years off his prison sentence because his murder plot failed — and he argues it therefore can't be considered a crime of violence. The court will decide whether an act of omission can disqualify an attempted murder from being considered part of that category. 

In 2014, DeBello and Delligatti plotted to murder Joseph Bonelli, a local “bully” suspected of threatening the family’s gambling business. Bonelli was also causing issues for a gas station owner who paid Delligatti to orchestrate the murder. 

Delligatti gave an accomplice $5,000 and a .38 revolver to murder Bonelli with the help of several members of the Crips gang. The crew planned to kill Bonelli when he arrived home but abandoned their initial attempt when Bonelli showed up with another person. 

Delligatti ordered the crew to return and kill both Bonelli and his companion. By the time the group went back the next day, the police had been tipped off to the plot and intercepted the crew. 

A grand jury indicted Delligatti on six charges, including conspiring to commit murder for hire, operating an illegal gambling business, racketeering and attempted murder. 

Delligati was also charged with using a gun during a crime of violence, which carries a mandatory consecutive sentence. The government names the crime of violence in Delligati’s case as the attempted murder charge. 

A jury in New York federal court found Delligatti guilty of all charges and he was sentenced to 25 years in prison. Delligatti appealed, arguing that his firearm charge wasn’t constitutional because his second-degree murder charge did not meet the elements of a crime of violence. 

Delligatti claims that his crime was committed through inaction and therefore cannot be considered a crime of violence. Under this reading, Delligati could not be charged with using a gun during a crime of violence, which added five years to his sentence to be served consecutively to his concurrent 240-month sentence. 

“A use-of-force clause applies only where a crime ‘has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force,” Allon Kedem, an attorney with Arnold & Porter representing Delligatti wrote. ”But where an offense can be committed by ‘total inaction,’ the defendant may ‘exert no physical force at all on the victim.’ Even an offense resulting in serious bodily injury or death, therefore, does not necessarily involve the use of physical force.”

The Second Circuit rejected Delligatti’s argument, finding no question that intentionally causing the death of another person involved the use of force.  

Delligatti urged the justices to review his case, arguing that the lower courts were split on the conflict. 

“Mr. Delligatti’s predicate offense of second-degree murder under N.Y. Penal Law § 125.25(1) is a good example because, like other New York homicide offenses, it can be committed by ‘failure to perform a legally imposed duty’” Kedem wrote.

The government agreed with Delligatti, telling the court that his case would be a good opportunity to resolve the circuit split. 


Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Friday, May 10, 2024

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Monday, April 29, 2024

Elderly Genovese Captain sentenced to two years in prison for punching steakhouse owner

An elderly mafia capo got two years in prison for socking a Manhattan steakhouse owner to collect a gambling debt, and his lawyer said he had no regrets about the fateful punch.

Federal prosecutors were asking Anthony “Rom” Romanello get a much more serious sentence, nearly seven years, to account for the 86-year-old  Genovese member’s long, mostly unpunished life of crime.

But Romanello’s lawyer, Gerald McMahon, called the charges a “meatball case” that prosecutors sat on for years in the hopes Romanello would do something more serious so they could try and flip him against now-deceased Genovese big Anthony “Tough Tony” Federici.

“When the government asks for 71 months, and the judge gave 24, thank God justice was done in Brooklyn,” an ebullient McMahon said after the sentencing in Brooklyn Federal Court Monday. “His lawyer thinks, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that Rom has no regrets.”

Romanello was convicted in December of extortion-related charges after he punched steakhouse owner Shuqeri “Bruno” Selimaj on May 11, 2017 to collect an $86,000 gambling debt owed by the restaurateur’s kin. The punch, inside Selimaj’s now-closed swanky Lincoln Square Steak, was caught on video.

McMahon argued that his elderly client punched Selimaj because the restaurateur called him a “washed-up Italian.”

“What would Gerry McMahon do? I would have knocked him flat out,” the defense lawyer told reporters Monday.

The confrontation happened after Selimaj’s nephew, Toni, and the nephew’s brother-in-law, Eddie, lost big gambling with a Queens ring run by bookie Michael Regan, according to prosecutors.

Romanello, a regular at Selimaj’s restaurants, knew all the parties involved, and was brought in to resolve the debt — which he did in three menacing visits over two months, prosecutors allege.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Dana Rehnquist characterized Romanello as a lifelong career criminal who hasn’t held legitimate work since the 1960s. In a letter to Judge Eric Komitte, she argued that Romanello was convicted of 23 crimes over his life, but only sentenced to 36 months.

He got no jail time for bribing cops in the 1970s, three years for a $900,000 armed robbery in the 1980s, and probation in 2007 and 2012 for obstruction of justice and racketeering conspiracy.

In a one-sentence response letter, McMahon referred to Rehnquist’s arguments as “unhinged screeching” — a description Rehnquist took issue with Monday.

“This is about a defendant who lived his whole life as someone who commits crimes,” Rehnquist told the judge on Monday. “What this defendant did was illegal … and the defendant has never understood that, because he’s never been held accountable for his crimes.”

She also suggested that a longer sentence would put other aging La Cosa Nostra members on notice. “He can’t use old age as a shield to not be punished,” she said.

Two members of Romanello’s family booed the prosecutors as they left the courtroom after the sentencing.

McMahon also blasted the victim’s family as degenerate gamblers who collected $300,000 from Regan when their bets paid off, but refused to pay $86,000 when they lost.

“On the street, street justice would say that those guys deserve a far bigger beating than what was administered to Bruno,” he said. “They know it’s a meatball case. It’s a nothing case.”

He said prosecutors waited on the charges for more than four years, but Romanello never committed any new crimes. Romanello even skipped last year’s big Genovese crime family Christmas party while he was out on bail, McMahon said.

“He’s pretty much been out of the life. He certainly intends to stay out of the life,” McMahon said.

Romanello’s been in jail since December, which means he’ll likely be released in 15 months with good time.

Komitte said he hoped Romanello manages to uphold the law for the rest of his golden years. “We all know people are living well into their 90s these days, sometimes their hundreds,” he said. “I have every confidence as I sit here today that the meaning of this sentence, as reduced as it is, has come through clearly.

Romanello’s co-defendant, Joseph Celso, had his sentencing adjourned until next month.


Thursday, April 18, 2024

New York set to establish new waterfront commission to combat mob influence

Gov. Kathy Hochul won support from state lawmakers to create a waterfront commission to fight the kind of mob corruption made famous in Marlon Brando’s 1954 flick “On the Waterfront.”

Hochul beat back objections from the dock workers’ union to push through a new unit to replace the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor — a joint venture with New Jersey that Garden State Gov. Phil Murphy pulled out of last year.

Murphy knocked the bi-state agency, founded in 1953, saying it was a relic that was weighed down by bureacracy and impeding port business. Jersey state police now oversee the port business on the other side of the river.

The International Longshoremen’s Association opposed Hochul’s plan for a new group, saying they should follow Murphy’s lead.

But Hochul prevailed with the legislature in the $237 billion budget deal, saying she did not want to return to the bad old days when the violent Mafia terrorized the New York docks.

“Governor Hochul is fighting crime wherever it occurs: on our streets, in our subways, and even on the waterfront. She promised to crack down on criminal activity by reinstating the Waterfront Commission — and she got it done,” said John Lindsay, the governor’s spokesman.

The new commission will be led by one commissioner appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the Senate.

Like the prior comission, it will continue to conduct critical investigations into organized crime in the Port of New York, as well as ensure fair hiring practices that bar discrimination.

It will conduct background checks and license companies and people working in the cargo business at the port.

The commission will have the power to oust employees from the workforce who are found to have engaged in serious criminality and other violations.

“In 1953, the conditions under which waterfront labor was employed within the port of New York district were depressing and degrading…..resulting from the lack of any systematic method of hiring, the lack of adequate information as to the availability of employment corrupt and discriminatory hiring practices, criminal practices, and coercion of employees or employers,” the budget bill being voted on by the legislature states.

“Now, it continues to be in the best interest of the state to regulate activities within the port of New York district in this state to prevent such conditions and to prevent circumstances that result in waterfront laborers suffering from irregularity of employment, fear and insecurity, inadequate earnings, an unduly high accident rate, subjection to borrowing at usurious rates of interest, exploitation and extortion as the price of securing employment, a loss.”

Strict licensing and oversight of port workers will eliminate “oppressive, unlawful, discriminatory, and corrupt hiring practices,” the bill says.

The dock workers’ union, ILA 1814, said the legislature made changes that made the commission’s oversight more palatable.

“The breakup of the former bi state Waterfront Commission of N.Y. Harbor was an event that was avoidable.  But because of the former Commission’s lack of transparency, ineffective oversight, and dictatorial powers over the method and manner of hiring new longshoreman workers, the old paradigm could not be sustained,” said ILA lobbyist James “Cadillac” McMahon.

“Both the Senate and Assembly ought to be commended for their leadership and commitment to our waterfront and we are grateful for their help.”

Under the revised law, the waterfront commission must conduct a review of its regulation and recommend changes within 180 days of its existence, after consultation with employers and unions.

The commission will be barred from suspending port workers who “without unlawful purpose” consult with known criminals, according to the ILA.   


Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Genovese gangster pleads guilty to operating gambling ring out of shoe store on Long Island

A Long Island cobbler known as “Sal the Shoemaker” has admitted running an illegal gambling ring raising money for the Mafia out of his now-shuttered store.

Salvatore Rubino pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to a slew of charges related to the illegal gambling business and using the proceeds to bolster the coffers of the notorious Genovese crime family, federal prosecutors have announced.

He told a judge in Brooklyn federal court that there were gambling machines installed in the back of Sal’s Shoe Repair in Merrick, where he also operated poker games three nights each week, Newsday reported.

Rubino, 60, and Joseph Rutigliano, 65 — known as “Joe Box” — would collect the profits for the Genoveses and distribute the funds to high-ranking members.

Their operation was active from May 2012 through 2021, when Sal’s Shoe Repair had to shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, other mobsters operated out of seemingly innocuous business fronts across Long Island, including a gelato shop in Lynbrook called the Gran Caffe Gelateria and Centro Calcio Italiano Club in West Babylon, prosecutors said.

The businesses secretly operated poker-type gambling machines and poker games, and would bring in more than $2,000 in a single day, the feds said.

Four others involved in the massive operation pleaded guilty earlier this month, including Rutigliano and Carmelo “Carmine” Polito, 64, the alleged acting captain of the Genovese crime family, who also faced charges for running an illegal online sports betting operation through a website called PGW Lines.

He once threatened to “break” a debtor’s “face” before instructing an underling in 2019 to relay the message, “Tell him I’m going to put him under the f–king bridge,” according to prosecutors.

Joseph Macario, 69 — aka “Joe Fish” — also pleaded guilty to racketeering charges, and Mark Feuer, 61, pleaded guilty to felony charges relating to the operation of other illegal gambling businesses.

“With their guilty pleas, these five members and associates of the Genovese crime family have admitted they committed crimes to benefit a criminal enterprise notorious for inflicting harm on our communities for generations,” US Attorney Breon Peace said in a statement.

“As long as the Mafia doesn’t get it that illegal gambling is a losing proposition, they can bet on this office and our partners vigorously enforcing the law and flushing them out of the shadows,” he added.

Rubino is expected to be sentenced to between four and 10 months in prison as part of a plea deal — though he could face up to five years behind bars and have to pay $250,000 in fines, Newsday reported.


Wednesday, April 3, 2024

FBI agents return to New York 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.


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.


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.”


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.


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.


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.


Sunday, February 4, 2024