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

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Wealthy Colombo soldier made political donations to Brooklyn Democrats


 He really is “connected.”

The reputed wiseguy behind Brooklyn’s Plaza Auto Mall has been handing out campaign cash to local Democrats — including the borough’s district attorney and its party boss, The Post has learned.

John Rosatti’s Plaza Motors of Brooklyn donated $2,020 to DA Eric Gonzalez for his winning 2017 campaign and the next year gave $2,000 to Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte, who in January 2020 succeeded longtime leader Frank Seddio as head of the Brooklyn Democratic Party.

The following month, Plaza donated another $10,000 to the party, records show.

John Kaehny of the good-government group “Reinvent Albany” said pols “should be vetting contributions in order to make sure that there’s no attempt to influence them.”

“What did this guy expect for his contribution — that’s the question the campaigns should ask themselves,” he added.

Before amassing a reported $400 million fortune, Rosatti, 77, was identified by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement as an alleged soldier in the Colombo crime family, according to a 1993 decision by the state’s Casino Control Commission.

The ruling, which rejected a bid to bar Rosatti pal and reputed Colombo family member John Staluppi from the state’s casinos, cited testimony that confidential informants claimed Rosatti became a Colombo associate in 1980 and was sworn in as a “made member” in 1994.

Rosatti was convicted in the mid-1970s for attempted auto theft and again in 1994 on a federal charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm, for which he got probation and a $5,000 fine, the Village Voice reported in 1998.

FBI memos asserted that he pledged $50,000 to the insurgent mob faction led by Victor “Little Vic” Orena during the long, bloody war for control of the Colombo family but refused to provide vehicles so hit teams could search for supporters of the late boss Carmine “The Snake” Persico, the Voice said.

Rosatti also allegedly gave a no-show job to Orena’s son, also named Victor, with a gangster reportedly telling the younger Orena, “You’re the only salesman that never sells any cars and makes money.”

In recent years, Rosatti has made headlines by founding the BurgerFi fast-food franchise operation and for owning a series of superyachts.

One — a 162-foot, four-deck behemoth — is named the “Remember When,” which is also the title of a 2007 episode of The Sopranos and several cast members attended a party on board when Rosatti docked it at Battery Park City’s North Cove Marina for the 2011 Fourth of July celebration.

Rosatti now lives in Florida, where records show he owns a sprawling, six-bedroom waterfront mansion with a swimming pool and a private dock in West Palm Beach that’s on the market for $9.5 million.

His local New York political contributions are among more than $250,000 in total that Rosatti has doled out since 1985 at both the national and state levels, with most of the money given to Republicans last year, records show.

Plaza Auto Mall lawyer David Grandeau said, “Mr. Rosatti states that he is not now nor has he ever been a soldier of the Colombo crime family.”

“He made a political donation because he has business interests in Brooklyn, specifically Plaza Auto Mall, and he has donated to candidates of both the Republican and Democratic Parties, in and outside of Brooklyn,” added Grandeau, the former executive director of the Temporary State Commission on Lobbying.

The Gonzalez campaign said, “DA Gonzalez does not know Mr. Rosatti and has never received a personal contribution from him. However, four years ago there was a contribution from a car dealership affiliated with him.”

A spokesman for Bichotte and the Brooklyn Democratic Party said she was grieving the death of her mother and couldn’t be reached.

https://nypost.com/2021/04/05/bk-da-dem-party-leader-took-campaign-cash-from-reputed-mobster/

Monday, April 5, 2021

Monday, March 22, 2021

Colombo captain pleads guilty to racketeering and stalking and faces up to seven years in prison


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Like father, like son. 

A reputed organized-crime family capo and his son took a pair of plea deals Monday in a case that netted nearly a dozen other accused Colombo mobsters and associates.

Joseph Amato, 62, pleaded guilty to racketeering and stalking in Brooklyn federal court Monday morning — admitting to shaking down businesses and tracking his girlfriend with a GPS device on her car. 

Later that afternoon, his 28-year-old son, Joseph Amato Jr., copped to threatening an unnamed man with violence if he didn’t repay a loan in December of 2018. 

Amato’s extraordinary efforts to track his gal pal’s movements actually led the feds in 2019 to bust his son and 18 others — including 11 alleged members and associates of the mob family — on charges of racketeering, loansharking and extortion.

The girlfriend apparently found the gadget, and it wound up on an MTA bus, “likely to thwart Amato’s stalking efforts,” court papers said — where it was found by a mechanic.

The feds then started wiretapping the family and allegedly uncovered a range of criminal activities from their pals — including an attempt to fix an NCAA basketball game.

“I participated in at least two overt acts,” Amato Sr. said via videoconference Monday morning.

He admitted that he took partial control of the Staten Island business through extortion and took property from another through threats of force.

He also admitted to regularly removing a GPS device from his girlfriend’s car to charge it and replanting the tracker on her car Jan. 1, 2015, and Oct. 21, 2016, and repeatedly telling her he knew her location.

“I knew it would reasonable and emotion distress to her,” he said.

The elder Amato is expected to be sentenced to five to seven years as part of his  deal, allowing him to avoid a 20-year stint in the slammer. 

His son, who remains out on bond, is expected to be sentenced to 21 to 27 months in prison.  

Both Amatos are scheduled for sentencing on July 20. 

https://nypost.com/2021/03/22/reputed-colombo-mobster-takes-plea-deal-in-racketeering-case/ 

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Monday, March 15, 2021

Friday, March 12, 2021

Wagner College graduate linked to Colombo crime family gets one year probation from judge


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A Wagner College graduate who tried to fix an NCAA basketball game in a mob-linked scheme on Thursday received a slap on the wrist — and a tongue-lashing from the judge.

Benjamin Bifalco, 27, was sentenced to one year probation after pleading guilty last year to attempted sports bribery involving a game between two Division I schools. He had faced up to six months in jail.

During the hour-long hearing in Brooklyn federal court, which was conducted virtually, Judge I. Leo Glasser scolded Bifalco for letting his ego get the better of him and for his evasive responses. “I haven’t been able to get a straight answer from you with respect to any question that I have asked,” the judge sniped.

But Bifalco expressed remorse for his conduct, admitting that he was driven by a desire to impress a mobbed-up pal — before expressing gratitude to the judge.

“Your Honor, you saved my life, I can’t thank you enough,” he said. “You’ll never have to see my face again, I promise you that.”

The contest in question was between the Wagner Seahawks and the heavily favored St. John’s University Red Storm Dec. 16, 2018, at the Carnesecca Arena in Queens.

Four days before the game, Bifalco was caught on a wiretap telling his childhood pal, Colombo mob family associate Joseph Amato Jr., that he had dreamed of fixing a basketball game since he was a college freshman.

The feds ended up hearing Bifulco’s absurd boasts while listening in on Amato, whose father, Joseph Amato, is a powerful captain in the Colombo crime family.

The father and son were charged in 2019 — along with 18 others — in an unrelated loansharking, racketeering and extortion case. They pleaded not guilty.

During the call with the younger Amato, Bifalco said he’d already paid $7,500 to three Seahawks starters who had promised to lose the game and would pay them more afterward.

The college student, who had majored in finance, said he planned to bet $50,000 on the game.

“St. John’s is home, so this is why it’s gonna work,” he said. “They’re gonna have the refs on their side already. Wagner’s team sucks. They honestly suck. So, if we can have three people that impact the game the most, miss free throws, bring the shot clock down to one [second] before every shot, control the pace of the game, so it’s not high scoring.”

But it turned out the student was all talk. He never paid the players or wagered any money on the game, which turned out to be a lucky stroke for him. St. John’s won 73-58.

The crime cost him his job. Out of college, Bifalco landed a gig working for then-Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, but was fired the day he was indicted. Malliotakis is now a congresswoman representing Staten Island.

“My potential future loss has been great but it still does not equal the harm my actions have caused others,” Bifalco said in court.

His lawyer, Vincent Martinelli, added that his client now plans to attend law school.

https://nypost.com/2021/03/11/wagner-student-who-tried-to-fix-ncaa-game-gets-probation/

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Former Luchese soldier opens up about his old life in the mafia


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It’s one of the most iconic scenes in movie history and it involves a made man.

In Francis Ford Coppola’s 1972 classic The Godfather, Michael Corleone, played by a young Al Paccino, tells his wife Kay, “Don’t ever ask me about my business.”

It’s a poignant scene to remind us that his line of work is so gruesome, he can’t even share the nature of it with his spouse.

The Godfather ushered in several decades of Cosa Nostra cinema. But from that very first film, if there was one thing the general public could take from these classics, it’s that the less you know about someone’s questionable dealings, the better.

Several seconds later, Corleone gives in to Kay.

“This one time,” he says, “This one time, I will let you ask me about my affairs.”

She does. And he lies to her face, but that’s not the point. The point is, we had an opportunity to talk with a real-life caporegime of one of New York’s infamous five families, a one-time pass to ask about his affairs…his life in the mob, a chance to sort gritty reality from the Hollywood fantasy.

NYC’s John Pennisi is a reformed criminal who speaks freely about his former life. He has a blog and recently hooked up with New Jersey media professional Tom La Vecchia. Together they do a podcast called The MBA and the Button Man all about “our thing.”

Putting together a podcast

Men’s Journal: So, a capo of the Lucchese Crime family has a podcast. How did that come about?
TOM LA VECCHIA: I started The New Theory Podcast about three years ago. I’d had a moderate level of success. Organized crime is sort of my personal interest. And I noticed that whenever I had anyone on from that world, it tended to do better than other guests. Then I read Cosa Nostra News one day, where John Pennisi was featured in a three-part series. I said, ‘I like this guy.’ We chatted, became fast friends and came up with the idea of recording a sit down with a made member of the mob. I was getting about 5,000 hits per podcast and this swelled up to like 15,000. So we recorded what turned into a nine-part series, and organically within a month, we had 100,000 streams. We put our heads together and formed The MBA and the Button Man Podcast.

John and I are two Italian-American guys. We took two totally different routes. But when we talk, we find a lot of commonality, comparing “the life” to my work in corporate America. We’re about five or six episodes deep. For a new podcasts, the numbers are off the charts.

Really the main thing we need to know here is, John, how you’re able to speak so freely about the things you know the things you’ve witnessed. One thing we all know is that secrecy is the key to that life. How are you able to talk about it?
JOHN PENNISI: Well, I’m no longer in the life.

Changing direction

Right, but how were you able to leave the life without repercussions from the mob or the law?
PENNISI: What had happened was, I was falsely accused of becoming a rat, or an informant, or whatever way you want to phrase it. And the mob will do their homework. And when they did their homework and realized it was a mistake, it was too late. I couldn’t trust anyone anymore. I walked away on my own. Usually there is no walking away. As far as legally, I don’t think I have said anything that probably hasn’t been said already or that the government doesn’t know about. As far as repercussions, I don’t know what’s on their mind. We’re living in a different world today. The mob is not what it once was.

Help us to understand this… You were a made guy. From the pop culture standpoint, we assume that you’re basically upper management in an organized crime family. It’s elite and no one can give you a hard time without consequences.
PENNISI: Yeah. That’s pretty accurate. You have the boss of the family, one underboss and then the captains, made guys, who are the head of different crews. The family, as it’s known, is made up of smaller crews of “associates.” There’s a big gap between an associate and a made man.

And Tom, you are literally a Master’s of Business Administration?
LA VECCHIA: Yeah, I’m a Jersey guy, 20 years in corporate. Ten years ago, I decided to hang my own shingle as a multi-media digital marketing entrepreneur. I think I bring a neutral, real-world point of view to the conversation.

Fighting and embracing stereotypes

All races and ethnicities in this country have historically worked to separate themselves from certain stereotypes. But the mob thing doesn’t seem to hurt Italian-Americans as much. There are plenty of legit Italians who aren’t in a hurry to distance themselves from it all.
PENNISI: I would say that shows like Mob Wives and The Jersey Shore would hurt Italians more than anything. And no knock against either of them, but those type of stereotypes are not good. We were kind of a black eye to the hard-working civilian Italian-Americans.

LA VECCHIA: You have a group of Italian-Americans that wants nothing to do with it. My parents were off the boat. My mother hated the Mob. She hated seeing John Gotti on TV. I had an estranged cousin who married Sammy the Bull’s niece. We weren’t really allowed to go to the wedding. We distanced ourselves.

My experience has been that Italian-Americans that are kind of connected, hang out with other connected families. My mother made it a point to annex us away from that stuff. But for other people, there’s a sense of pride whether we like it or not. You watch The Godfather and you pump out your chest a little bit. My listeners have a bigger appetite for John than they do for people from the legitimate business world. I’m personally fascinated with it. Would I want that life for my friends and my family? No. The reason I like John a lot is because he is legitimately trying to change his life. He’s genuine in his message.

Made men named Sideburns, Frog Eyes, and Quack Quack

One thing we love when we read your blog or listen to the podcast is the nicknames.
LA VECCHIA: I like Johnny Sideburns.

PENNISI: Oh my God (laughs). There’s so many. There was Louie Bagels, the acting boss of the family. There was Johnny Sausage. Frog Eyes Grillo, Big Bird Guzzo, Frank “Chiclet Mouth” Radice, Tommy Sneakers, Allie Shades, and Angelo “Quack Quack” Ruggiero. There are so many guys called Meatballs. They called me Johnny. They called me Young Gun or Young John, nothing bad.

There’s this notion that the life is a thing of the past and there’s a different world now where the mafia doesn’t exist. Can you tell us if there is still organized crime happening among a hierarchy of Italian-American families?
PENNISI: Oh, absolutely. You’re always going to have organized crime. But there’s no comparison to years past. Believe it or not, they’ve moved into more legitimate business—restaurants, construction, and real estate. There will always be an undertone of organized crime, but it definitely has changed a lot from shakedowns and extortion

LA VECCHIA: One thing I would add, John maintained his job as a construction manager while he was an inducted member. I believe that was part of his strategy. When he did interact with the government, they didn’t even know who he was. He had a job. We joke about it. If someone were to surveil him, by Thursday they would go home because they’re just sitting in a parking lot, while he’s down in the mud, directing guys on a worksite.

The Mafia in media

I’m sure you guys have seen all the mafia movies and TV shows. There’s a lot of Hollywood element. But if you had to pick one, which is the most accurate portrayal?
PENNISI: It’s hard. TV and the movies are very different than that life. The Godfather was probably very close, but there were aspects of the Godfather that would have never taken place. The same with Goodfellas and A Bronx Tale. There are little bits and pieces of reality but it’s still Hollywood. I believe people from the life were advisors on some of those movies.

It would seem that subculture exists as the opposite of political correctness. Among broader cultures, there have been changes in the past few years of acceptable ways to talk and act. Has the organized crime life seen any changes to reflect that?
PENNISI: It’s funny that you say that. Years ago, they would refer to a person from “the other side,” meaning from Italy, and they would call them a zip or a greaseball, which is a derogatory name. And I’m sure that anyone who spoke that way wasn’t trying to knock them. It was just a learned behavior. Just like throughout history, they would call us WOPs. And I noticed that in like 2017, someone had said something along the lines of, “Yeah, that greaseball….” And someone else said, “Hey you know, you should watch what you’re saying because you’re going to insult them. You shouldn’t really talk like that.” Now years ago, you would never hear someone corrected like that. But that’s the only thing that I’ve seen. Nothing else. Organized criminals are not being politically correct. They don’t care.

Food culture

Food is a very specific part if this culture. What’s your favorite dish at your favorite restaurant?
PENNISI: I would have to say most of the food at Rao’s in Harlem. Everything is very good there, especially the seafood salad. Rao’s is a good spot.

LA VECCHIA: I didn’t eat out Italian food as a kid. It was kind of a bad thing to do, out of respect for your parents’ cooking. But now my mother has passed, I have more of an appetite for it. But for some old school Italian, the Belmont Tavern in Bloomfield is very good.

PENNISI: Oh, that’s a great spot. That was our spot, a Luchesse spot. The food is incredible at the Belmont Tavern.

LA VECCHIA: And I know it’s a standard, but Maruca’s Pizza in Seaside Heights. That Trenton tomato pie. I’m getting more into that flavor the last few years and Marucca’s got it down.

Leading a Reformed Life

John, you’ve mentioned that you’re a changed person, leading a new life. Why don’t you give me a little bit of that reformed worldview?
PENNISI: From when you’re inside that fishbowl, you see things differently. A lot of people look at it like it was such an honor. In the street, it was the highest achievement to be made a soldier. But when you’re on the outside looking in at my former life, to be completely honest with you, it’s now become an embarrassment to me. I look at things very differently. I always, even in that life, try to help people. Still do so today. I’ve apologized already to a few people who I’ve wronged. I wish I could apologize to everybody.

There came a time I was somewhere near a footbridge. And I kept saying to myself, “If I walk over that footbridge and go on to the other side, I’m leaving that life behind me.” And I couldn’t do it.

One day I had a lot of stress. I was jogging and I wound up right at that footbridge. I walked over. And when I walked over that footbridge, I left all that negativity of my former life behind me. I kept going positive ever since. Violence comes with that life. I never went back to my former life, thinking or acting that way. Changed my life for the better. I keep my head up and focus on what’s ahead of me. My former family has definitely wronged me. I forgave everyone who wronged me.

Every day is a blessing and so much good has come to me this way. I have two daughters; one is 25 and one is going to be 10. I love the both of them. I want them to learn from me now, not who I was. Especially with daughters. They want to meet a guy who’s like their father. I’d rather they meet a guy who’s like me now, than what I used to be.

https://www.mensjournal.com/features/a-once-made-man-opens-up-about-life-in-the-mafia-mens-journal/

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Monday, March 1, 2021

Feds bust strip club owning nephew of Buffalo mob boss in Florida as ongoing investigation heats up


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A top member of an alleged New York crime family was arrested Sunday by federal agents in Fort Lauderdale on drug-related conspiracy charges.

Peter G. Gerace Jr., 53, a nephew of reputed Buffalo mob boss Joseph A. Todaro Jr., was taken into custody by Homeland Security Investigations agents Sunday and is scheduled for his first appearance in federal court in Fort Lauderdale Monday morning before his expected transfer to New York.

Gerace is among six men targeted by federal prosecutors who have called the group the “Italian Organized Crime” family of Western New York.

Gerace Jr. owns a strip club in the Buffalo area, and his brother, Anthony, a former employee at the club, is awaiting sentencing on a weapons charge connected to drug trafficking. They are the nephews of Todaro Jr., who authorities say has headed the local mob, according to the Buffalo News.

Prosecutors identified the Gerace brothers as co-conspirators of Joseph Bongiovanni, a retired U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent who was arrested in 2019 on charges of accepting $250,000 in bribes to help drug dealers avoid arrest, including some the government says are connected to organized crime. He has pleaded not guilty.

The Buffalo News recently published a story on their case, spotlighting the return of the “Buffalo Mafia.”

Despite some successful prosecutions for murder, bookmaking, loan sharking, drug trafficking, theft and other crimes, the feds have never made a criminal racketeering case against leaders of the alleged Buffalo Mafia organization.

Federal prosecutors, working with Homeland Security and other federal agencies, are taking aim at the alleged crime family.

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/article249601538.html

Friday, February 26, 2021

Long Island home where deceased former Gambino boss Peter Gotti once lived sells for $651K


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The Long Island home where the late mobster Peter Gotti and his then-wife, Catherine, once resided was sold for $651,000, The Post has learned. 

New York property records reveal that the Gottis purchased the house in 1976 — during the height of his crime days. However, the pair sold the home 10 years later, for $185,000. 

The property, which has since undergone a series of modern renovations, sold again on Dec. 17.

The four-bedroom, three-bathroom home of the former Gambino crime boss — who died Thursday in prison — spans 1,702 square feet and sits on a 0.24-acre lot. 

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Peter Gotti (from left), his brother John Gotti and Bobby Boriello on May 19, 1986. 

The first floor has an open layout with a large island in the kitchen.

The property also features in-ground sprinklers and an expansive backyard with a large deck for barbecues and entertaining. 

It is situated three blocks from the Long Island Railroad for easy access to New York City.

Peter was sentenced to 25 years in prison after his 2003 conviction on racketeering and other charges, alleging he took control of the Gambino crime organization after his mob boss brother, John Gotti, was locked up.

One year following his prison sentence, Catherine, then separated from Peter, angrily accused him in a divorce hearing of cutting her off from his modest pension while hiding ill-gotten millions. 

“He’s defiant about everything that comes to my benefit,” she said during the Sept. 22, 2004, court appearance. 

In a scathing letter to the federal judge, she requested a share of the pension and at least partial ownership of the $600,000 Howard Beach home that had been in Peter’s name. Catherine still owns that home today. 

Their divorce was finalized in 2006. 

The onetime Gambino crime family boss died in prison on Thursday after losing two bids for early release, his lawyer confirmed in a statement. 

Peter, the successor to brother John “Dapper Don” Gotti, was 81 years old when he died at the Federal Medical Center prison in Butner, North Carolina. 

He had been suffering from thyroid problems and was blind in one eye, Lewis Kasman, a former mobster and John Gotti confidant, told the AP.

https://nypost.com/2021/02/26/long-island-home-of-mobster-peter-gotti-during-crime-days-sells/

Former Gambino family boss Peter Gotti dead at 81


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Mobster Peter Gotti, the one-time Gambino crime boss and successor to brother John “Dapper Don” Gotti, died in North Carolina where he was serving time in federal prison. He was 81.

Gotti, who had been sentenced to 25 years in jail after being convicted in 2003 on racketeering and other charges, died of natural causes at the Federal Medical Center in Butner, the Associated Press reported.

The Bronx native served more than 17 years behind bars and had been recently seeking an early release because of his poor health.

He had been suffering from thyroid problems and was blind in one eye, Lewis Kasman, a former mobster and John Gotti confidant, told the AP.

Peter Gotti’s lawyers for years had sought to get him sprung from prison early on compassionate release.

“We are truly afraid he is dying now, he feels he is,” attorney James Craven wrote in court papers in December 2019. “As his lawyer, I am afraid this will all become moot soon if nothing is done.”

In another bid to have Gotti released, Craven remarked that even “Stevie Wonder could see” the former crime boss was not dangerous.

Kasman recalled Gotti, a former sanitation worker, as a “regular knockaround guy who didn’t let his title go to his head.”

But his kindness made him ill-suited to lead the Gambino crime family, Kasman said.

“He was trying to do his brother’s bidding, and he had a tough task,” Kasman said. “A lot of the captains were very upset with him because he wasn’t a strong boss. The Lucchese family walked all over him.”

Peter Gotti served as the acting boss of the Gambinos from 1999 to 2002 after his younger brother, John, was sent to prison for murder and racketeering.

John Gotti died of cancer in 2002 at age 61.

Peter Gotti spent an estimated $70,000 on failed attempts to hunt down Salvatore “Sammy the Bull” Gravano after the turncoat ratted out his brother to the feds, court papers say.Gravano helped authorities bring John Gotti down in exchange for a 1991 plea deal. 

https://nypost.com/2021/02/25/peter-gotti-former-gambino-crime-boss-dead-at-81/

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Former Bonanno enforcer turned podcast star denied bail after being busted for violent threats


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A Bonanno wiseguy-turned-government snitch was busted Sunday — after threatening to kill his ex-girlfriend’s husband and “beat the dog sh—” out of her father.

Gene Borrello, 36, had been on supervised release after helping Brooklyn federal prosecutors convict more than 21 mobsters — including Bonanno captain Vincent Asaro for arson after his stunning acquittal in the $6 million Lufthansa heist.

But his temper — and mouth — got away from him on Jan. 24 after his ex-girlfriend refused to give him permission to publish a picture of her in a book he’s working on, Assistant US Attorney Lindsay Gerdes told a Brooklyn federal judge Monday at a bail hearing.

“He said, ‘The minute you call the cops on me and grow those balls, you watch, I’ll blow your husband’s head right off in the middle of the street,'” Gerdes told US Magistrate Judge Robert Levy.

“Remember what I used to do. I will grab your father right now and beat the dog sh— out of him. Be happy I don’t grab you and your fat, ugly husband by the neck and drag you down the street,” she recounted of the disturbing exchange.

Borrello was arrested Sunday night for violating his supervised release by threatening his ex —and for associating with convicted felon John Alite, a former Gambino-hitman-turned-cooperator who testified against John “Junior” Gotti.

Borrello has hosted several episodes of a podcast with Alite called “The Johnny & Gene Show” — which Gerdes said “effectively glorifies crime and that type of activity committed by the La Cosa Nostra.”

She added that the former Howard Beach gangster has been “posting videos of himself on social media holding thousands of dollars, wearing expensive Rolex watches, driving around in a high-end Porsche and wearing thousands of dollars in designer apparel.”

The prosecutor urged the judge to hold Borrello without bail, citing his inability to control his temper and his expansive criminal history.

He pleaded guilty in 2016 to racketeering conspiracy and was sentenced to three years’ supervised release and time served, which amounted to about five years in prison, for more than two dozen crimes that could have put him in jail for life, Gerdes said.

The offenses included multiple shootings, “home invasions, where people were tied up, brazen daylight burglaries” arsons and beatings, the prosecutor added.

An aggrieved Borello — and his mom — repeatedly interjected during Gerdes’ statement.

“I don’t know why you’re doing this to me, Lindsay,” Borrello pleaded. “I made one mistake with my ex-girlfriend, why are you burying me like this?”

Borello’s mom also weighed in, begging the judge to keep her son out of jail. “Gene is a very good-hearted person,” she said. “He’s doing nothing but the right thing. Yes, he did speak a little bit. He does have a mouth, but he is bipolar…he didn’t hurt nobody and he’s not going to hurt nobody.”

She added that his relationship with his ex is over and now, “He has a nice girlfriend, Joanna — she’s from Staten Island.”

The judge was unpersuaded and ordered Borrello locked up without bail on the new charges.

His mom chimed in “he’ll probably get his throat slit” by one of the mobsters he helped put away.

https://nypost.com/2021/02/22/bonanno-rat-busted-for-threatening-to-kill-ex-gal-pals-hubby/

Monday, February 8, 2021

Friday, February 5, 2021

Former turncoat mobster turned celebrity club owner buys Miami Beach mansion


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He made her an offer that was tough to refuse.

Zaki Amin, the widower-husband of the late celebrity hair stylist Oribe, has sold their Miami Beach mansion to Brooklyn-born Chris Paciello — an ex-mobster turned club owning FBI informant who also hobnobbed with celebrities.

The Mediterranean-style villa at 5645 North Bay Road was last asking $3.8 million. 

Charged in the murder of a woman shot in the head during a Staten Island home invasion, Paciello served six years on racketeering charges and became an owner of South Beach nightspots including Club Liquid, with Madonna pal Ingrid Casares as a partner.

In 2012, he opened Bianca, a restaurant, at the Delano South Beach hotel.

At 5,128 square feet, his new home features five bedrooms, five bathrooms, two half baths and sits on 0.42 acres. 

The home was built in 1931 and features cathedral-beamed ceilings, a stone fireplace, a family room with vaulted ceilings, a formal dining room and an eat-in chef’s kitchen.

There’s also a pool and outdoor kitchen on the property.

The listing brokers were Laura Cresto and Bill Hernandez, of Douglas Elliman.

https://nypost.com/2021/02/04/chris-paciello-ex-mobster-turned-celebrity-club-owner-buys-orbies-miami-spread/

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Reporter questions Gambino captain after son is busted in Long Island Rail Road overtime scam


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A murderous mobster’s son was busted Thursday in the Long Island Rail Road overtime scam — leading the older man to tell The Post, “Fuggedaboutit!”

Frank Pizzonia is accused of scheming with alleged “overtime king” Thomas Caputo and three others “by repeatedly covering for one another’s absences from work,” according to an indictment unsealed in Manhattan federal court.

Pizzonia, 53, of Howard Beach, Queens, is the son of Dominick “Skinny Dom” Pizzonia, his defense lawyer confirmed.

Lawyer Joseph Corozzo Jr. — who the feds have identified as “house counsel” to the Gambino crime family — declined to comment further.

The elder Pizzonia is a reputed Gambino crime family captain who was convicted in 2007 for plotting the murders of Bonnie-and-Clyde couple Thomas and Rosemarie Uva for robbing his social club, Cafe Liberty in Ozone Park.

Skinny Dom, 79, served a 15-year prison sentence before getting sprung in December 2019, according to the federal Bureau of Prisons website.

On Thursday afternoon, he appeared to be hard of hearing when he answered the door at his son’s home, which has an American flag flying from a pole over the garage and Valentine’s Day decorations in its picture window.

“What is it you’re looking for? Who?” he shouted.

When told that The Post was looking for his son, he responded in classic gangster fashion.

“Fuggedaboutit!” he barked before slamming the door.

Frank Pizzonia was hauled into Manhattan federal court following his arrest and released on a $100,000 bond pending arraignment Wednesday with his co-defendants, courthouse sources said.

Pizzonia was hired by the MTA in 1988 and is employed as a track worker, the agency said.

He was suspended without pay following his arrest, the MTA said.

Payroll records posted online by the Empire Center for Public Policy show Pizzonia earns $35 an hour and made $271,913 during 2019, the most recent year for which information is available.

That haul included $189,297 in overtime pay, according to the Empire Center.

In 2018, Pizzonia raked in a total of $305,477, while Caputo was paid $461,000, making him the top earner at the MTA — including even the agency’s chairman.

All five defendants were charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States and federal program fraud.

If convicted, they would each face a maximum of 15 years in prison.

https://nypost.com/2021/02/04/mobsters-son-busted-in-lirr-overtime-scam/

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Turncoat nephew of former Genovese family boss gets no jail time for cooperating


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The turncoat nephew of Vincent “Chin” Gigante was sentenced Tuesday to time served thanks to his cooperation with the government against his half-uncle and other Genovese gangsters.

Manhattan Federal Judge Jed Rakoff credited Vincent Fyfe with a “lengthy period of cooperation” that helped the feds win five mob-related convictions. Among those convictions is Vincent Esposito — the Chin’s love child and Fyfe’s half-uncle. Esposito is serving two years in prison for extorting a union official.

“I just want to say I totally understand the seriousness of the actions I took, the decisions I made and the consequences as a result of them,” Fyfe said, adding he wanted to “right the wrongs I committed.”

Fyfe pleaded guilty to embezzling $15,000 in union funds between 2005-08 in connection with his cooperation agreement. He must serve one year of probation.

His namesake grandfather, who died in 2005, ran the Genovese crime family for nearly two decades before his 1997 racketeering conviction and a subsequent guilty plea in 2003.

Dubbed the “Oddfather,” the Chin dodged conviction for years because of a “crazy act” in which he walked the streets outside a Greenwich Village headquarters in a ratty robe, slippers and a floppy cap.

https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/ny-vinny-chin-gigante-nephew-cooperator-sentenced-20210202-n3f4szljljgkjkrcc2ikoefebq-story.html

 

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Daughter of legendary late Genovese boss requests leniency for turncoat nephew ahead of sentencing


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The fruit of late Genovese crime family boss Vincent "Chin" Gigante’s twisted family tree is back for one last court date.

The Chin’s turncoat grandson, Vincent Fyfe, will return to Manhattan Federal Court for a Tuesday sentencing after cooperating with federal prosecutors against his half-uncle Vincent Esposito, who pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy in April 2019.

Fyfe’s testimony at a subsequent mob trial was attended by two of Esposito’s sisters, who denounced their nephew as a “piece of s--t” and glared at him with the “malocchio” — Italian for evil eye.

But his aunt Rita Gigante, a spiritual healing masseuse with her own New Jersey business, offered her support for Fyfe, 47, in a presentencing letter asking Manhattan Federal Court Judge Jed Rakoff for leniency.

Rita Gigante — one of the Chin’s six kids with his wife — praised the mob informant for his unflinching honesty despite a family history with generational ties to organized crime.

“Vincent has empowered himself by finding his Truth, having the courage to speak his truth and has learned that his truth has set him free,” she wrote. “This realization has changed the course of his life forever and for the better as well as helped change the family lineage of the Gigantes.”

Rita Gigante and Fyfe come from same side of the infamous bathrobe-wearing don’s complicated non-Mafia family life. Gigante and wife Olympia welcomed six children, with Rita the youngest, before the mob boss took up with mistress Olympia Esposito and fathered two daughters and son Vincent.

Fyfe’s mother is Rita Gigante’s sister, Yolanda, and Rita offered fond recollections of her nephew.

“I have had the honor of watching Vincent grow from a little boy into the man he is,” she wrote in a five-paragraph letter. “My deep connection with him comes from having the privilege of mentoring him over the years and helping him through his struggles by introducing spirituality to him.”

Fyfe, who was hired as a union executive in 1995 with a recommendation from his grandfather, is hopeful of avoiding prison time for his cooperation against Esposito and four other defendants.

The 53-year-old Esposito, currently housed at a Brooklyn federal facility, is due for release on Valentine’s Day. The April 2019 guilty plea spared Fyfe from taking the stand against his relative.

Fyfe pleaded guilty to embezzling $15,000 in union funds between 2005-08.

His namesake grandfather, who died in 2005, ruled atop the might Genovese family for nearly two decades before his 1997 racketeering conviction and a subsequent federal guilty plea in 2003.

The “Oddfather” dodged conviction for years with his unprecedented “crazy act,” where Gigante walked the streets outside his Greenwich Village headquarters in the garb of a mental patient — a ratty robe, slippers and a floppy cap.

 https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/ny-vincent-chin-gigante-grandson-sentencing-20210130-sh5mb5iagjhx7owaa6k7sd5qnu-story.html

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Genovese informant dodges additional jail time after boasting of destroying evidence and appearing on podcast with other mob associates


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A mob informant who appeared on a podcast with two other Mafia members where he boasted about destroying evidence in the prosecution of Philadelphia mob boss 'Skinny Joey' Merlino, has avoided additional jail time.

John Rubeo, 45, was blasted during a sentencing hearing on Tuesday by Manhattan federal judge Richard Sullivan – who accused the former mob associate of 'making a monkey' out of the court and the FBI, the New York Daily News reported.

'You can make a monkey out of the FBI, you can make a monkey out of the government — fine,' Sullivan said.

'But you're not going to make a monkey out of this court ... You gave a black eye to this court.'

Sullivan added that the only reason Rubeo would not be returning to court was because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the New York Daily News.

Rubeo served as a star witness during the 2016 racketeering case against Merlino – who later took a plea deal after his case was ruled a mistrial.

The former informant later admitted he 'mangled' the case against Merlino and 'committed robberies while I was cooperating' with the feds, during a podcast hosted by two other former mob associates.

'I almost felt like I could be a better criminal because I worked for them, because I knew they weren't watching me.

'I was committing more crimes when I was working for them than when I was on the street, and they were paying me $15,000 a month,' Rubeo said.

Rubeo was charged with communication with convicted felons without permission after appearing in the podcast with former Gambino associate John Alite and former Bonanno associate Gene Borrello.

Sullivan also ripped the FBI after it was revealed that Rubeo had discussed appearing on The Johnny and Gene Show with his former handler, the Daily News reported.

'You covered your a** a little bit, went to the FBI. But the fact is this was premeditated, Sullivan said.

'I don't think you appreciate the harm that you caused. You made the FBI look foolish. I'm not going to have you making the court look foolish.'

Rubeo also received charges of lying to his probation officer and association with convicted felons for the purpose of participating in an audio-visual podcast, records show.

The former informant pled guilty to all three violations last month and faced up to five years behind bars on Tuesday.

The former informant previously spent about five years wearing a wire and two years in jail, he said on the podcast.

'I was pretty confident I wouldn't be seeing Mr. Rubeo again,' Sullivan said.

'This is a person who was given an opportunity and squandered it. I'm really troubled by it.'

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9165397/Mob-informant-boasted-podcast-destroying-evidence-avoids-additional-jail-time.html

Monday, January 18, 2021

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Nearly a dozen Gambino family members and associates plead guilty to numerous crimes


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A slew of admitted mobsters will now be trading their tony Westchester County digs for the bing.

A Gambino captain and 10 members and associates of the organized crime family pleaded guilty to a laundry list of crimes in Brooklyn federal court this week.

The defendants – seven of whom live in suburbs north of the Bronx – copped to charges ranging from racketeering conspiracy, fraud, obstruction of justice, tax evasion and offenses related to organized criminal activities throughout the area, prosecutors said.

Andrew Campos, a purported Gambino captain, and soldier Vincent Fiore plead guilty Friday to racketeering conspiracy, participation in predicate acts of wire fraud, money laundering and obstruction of justice offenses.

Campos and members of his crew skimmed millions of dollars off the top of their carpentry company, CWC Contracting Corp, by paying employees in cash and avoiding payroll tax withholdings and payments, feds say.

The mobsters then laundered money by cutting checks from CWC for non-existing construction contracts, when in fact the money was spent on building Campos’ Scarsdale home, according to court documents.

CWC also shelled out hundreds of thousands of dollars of payoffs in the form of free labor and materials on real estate honcho John “Smiley” Simonlacaj’s Scarsdale home.

Mark “Skippy” Kocaj, of Tuckahoe executed the scheme by fraudulently billing another company for the work, feds say.

Benito “Benny” Dizenzo of New Rochelle and Fiore concocted a second fraudulent billing scheme to work on an employee of another real estate development company’s gym, while submitting false bills.

Richard Martino and Frank “Bones” Tarul, a Gambino associate, plead guilty to hiding Martino’s income to avoid paying users of adult entertainment services that he was convicted of defrauding in 2005.

The wise guys reported that Martino worked for Tarul’s flooring company when in reality he operated multi-million dollar companies, prosecutors say.

Earlier this week, James Ciaccia and George Campos, Gambino family soldiers, and Renato Barca, Jr. and Michael Tarul, Gambino family associates, plead guilty for their role in fraudulently obtaining safety cards from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration

“With these guilty pleas, a dozen members and associates of the Gambino crime family are held accountable for committing a litany of crimes in the construction industry that enriched the Mafia at the expense of the American taxpayer, construction companies harmed by their pernicious presence and the U.S. government,” stated Acting United States Attorney Seth DuCharme.

Campos, Cobos, DiZenzo, Fiore, Kocaj, Martino and Frank Tarul each face 20 years in prison.

Barca, George Campos, Ciaccia and Michael Tarul each face up to 5 years in prison.  Simonlacaj faces up to 3 years in prison

A December 2019 round up of 13 Gambino members led feds to declare the family is “thriving” following the murder of family boss Francesco “Franky Boy” Cali earlier that year.

https://nypost.com/2021/01/15/11-gambino-family-associates-plead-guilty-to-crimes/

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Gambino associate pleads guilty to torching the Mercedes-Benz of a Queens businessman


 

(L to R) Joseph Merlino, Peter Tuccio from Exhibit B in the United States v. Peter Tuccio, et al.

(L to R) Joseph Merlino, Peter Tuccio from Exhibit B in the United States v. Peter Tuccio, et al. 

Mobster, mobster, pants on fire.

Gambino crime family associate Peter Tuccio, 27, pleaded guilty Wednesday to felony extortion for torching the Mercedes-Benz of a Queens businessman who stopped making his annual payoffs to an irate mob captain, federal authorities announced.

The arson didn’t go as planned: Co-conspirator Gino Gabrielli accidentally set himself afire in the December 2015 effort to make their target cough up the cash, authorities said. The victim’s home security video system caught Gabrielli, first seen dousing the year-old car with an accelerant, fleeing the scene with his pants ablaze.

Gabrielli, accompanied by Tuccio, later turned up at Jamaica Hospital for treatment of his burns, authorities said. Tuccio faces a mandatory 10-year prison term at his sentencing, along with a fine of up to $250,000 and restitution, prosecutors said.

“With today’s guilty plea, Tuccio has been convicted of an offense arising from his efforts to extort a local businessman by brazenly chasing him through the streets and then setting his car ablaze,” said Acting Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Seth DuCharme.

While awaiting his day in court for the extortion case, the baby-faced Tuccio was spotted with reputed Philadelphia boss Joseph “Skinny Joey” Merlino during the mob veteran’s recent Manhattan Federal Court prosecution. Merlino served two years after a 2018 plea deal, and was released last year.

The extortion target was reportedly a local pizzeria owner spotted by Tuccio, Gabrielli and a third man while leaving a Howard Beach smoke shop on Dec. 3, 2015. The trio confronted the man, with Tuccio commenting on the 2014 Mercedes before the suspects hatched their plan to burn the luxury car, authorities said.

US DOJ Exhibit A. photos of the burned 2014 Mercedes Benz. (US DOJ Exhibit)
US DOJ Exhibit A. photos of the burned 2014 Mercedes Benz.

The car’s owner paid more than $5,000 to the mob capo after the blaze.

Gabrielli pleaded guilty to the arson in August 2016, with co-defendant Jonathan Gurino pleading to an extortion count last year. Both are still awaiting sentencing.

https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/ny-gambino-mercedes-arson-20210113-vpnazf7mt5gavb3a5qijvmpjx4-story.html

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Monday, January 4, 2021

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Former Gambino boss loses second bid for compassionate release despite COVID-19 concerns


Peter Gotti, Gambino family member, in a file photo. 
Peter Gotti, Gambino family member, in a file photo.  

Ailing former Gambino mob boss Peter Gotti lost a second bid Tuesday to be released early from prison so he can spend his final days with family.

Judge Colleen McMahon rejected Gotti’s argument that he was extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 at FMC Butner in North Carolina, which has faced outbreaks like many other federal lockups around the country. Currently, there are three inmates and six staff at the prison specializing in medical treatment.

In January, the judge denied a similar request from Gotti, citing an array of ailments including heart problems, dementia, blindness and cancer.

“What I said a year ago remains true today. Nothing has changed since last January — not even the threat of COVID19 — to cause this Court to alter its earlier decision,” McMahon wrote.

In her previous ruling, the judge wrote that Gotti, 81, remained a threat to society.

“Gotti headed one of the most vicious and violent organized crime organizations in New York for a period of years,” the judge wrote.

Gotti took over the Gambino crime family from his famous brother, John Gotti, in 1999. He spent $70,000 on unsuccessful efforts to whack Salvatore “Sammy the Bull” Gravano, the mob rat who put John Gotti behind bars. Peter Gotti ordered two subordinates — who used aliases and changed their appearances — to travel to the West Coast and Arizona and look for Gravano.

The gangster was instrumental in extortion schemes of labor unions and the construction industry in the 1990s. He’s due to complete sentences out of both Manhattan and Brooklyn Federal Court in 2032.

Gotti’s attorney did not immediately respond to an inquiry.

“I only want to (be) home with my family and tell anyone who will listen that I am a changed man and that there is no benefit to unlawful activities,” Gotti wrote in a letter to the court last year. “I truly regret my choices that hurt so many, and in the little time I have left on this earth would hope to be able to share some of my (new-found) wisdom to help others not make the same kind of mistakes that I have made.”

https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/ny-gotti-covid-compassionate-release-20201229-n67uah4t2fhnnd4bplrbtgmi5m-story.html