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

Friday, May 7, 2021

Judge denies early release request from Staten Island mobster who has made life long commitment to Lucchese family


In early 2020, reputed Staten Island mobster Eugene "Boobsie" Castelle was granted bail from federal prison due to pandemic-related health concerns, pending the outcome of an appeal filed against a 2019 conviction.

That appeal ultimately was denied.

So instead, Castelle’s legal team asked for a reduced sentence, citing extenuating circumstances involving his fiancee and children on the outside, in addition to a past bout with the coronavirus and ongoing health risks exacerbated by the conditions of his confinement.

A federal judge isn’t budging.


Castelle— a reputed member of the Lucchese crime family who in public records is tied to an Annadale residence— was convicted in 2019 for racketeering conspiracy and running an illegal gambling business,

He was sentenced to 77 months in a federal penitentiary, a three-year supervised release, $100,000 fine and forfeiture of $188,955 in criminal proceeds.

In 2008, he had completed an 88-month sentence for racketeering conspiracy, according to court records.


In a recent letter to the courts, Castelle’s fiancee described a “truly amazing man with a heart of gold.”

“Throughout his adulthood, Eugene ever holiday would buy thousands of stuffed animals to give to the children in the pediatric hospitals,” she wrote.

Prior to his most recent incarceration they were parenting four children together.

She also described him as a self-taught, intelligent man who ran successful businesses despite a challenging home-life growing up and lack of formal education.

But in addition to that success, she wrote, he was “drawn to another life, filled with greed and poor decision making.”

“Basically he wants [his children] to learn the right lessons in life now, so they don’t make the same mistakes he made.”


Since early 2020, Castelle has contended with serious illness and respiratory issues that are putting his life at risk amid an ongoing pandemic, his lawyers argued.

But according to a recent ruling by Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein of the U.S. Southern District of New York, the prisoner in this case did not meet the necessary requirements for an early medical release, based on legal precedent.

Diagnoses that qualify include, but are not limited to: Terminal cancer; end stage organ disease; advanced dementia and serious functional or cognitive impairment.


In a letter to the court opposing the sentence-reduction request, federal prosecutors argued that Castelle “like so many made members of organized crime, views his membership in La Cosa Nostra as a life-long commitment” and thus would be a “substantial danger to the community” if set free.

Reduced sentences have been allowed in the past when, in part “the defendant is not a danger to the safety of any other person or to the community,” court records indicate.

In his denial of Castelle’s latest request, Hellerstein noted the 2019 sentencing when the defendant “refused to acknowledge any responsibility for his conduct, denied his guilt and expressed no remorse for his crimes.”

The judge also cited Castelle’s longterm involvement with the Lucchese crime family: “Extracting hundreds of thousands of dollars from vulnerable businesses and individuals around him, through explicit and implicit threats of violence and economic harm.”

(Both the indictment and officials from the U.S. attorney’s office spell the family name as “Luchese.” Many outlets spell the family name as “Lucchese.”)


Thursday, May 6, 2021

Jimmy Hoffa is buried on a Georgia golf course acording to former mob lawyer


Could Jimmy Hoffa have ended up in a Georgia golf course?

A former defense attorney claims his onetime mob client helped bury the famous Teamsters boss under a hole at a Savannah golf course once popular with Mafia bosses, according to a new report.

“It was so out of the way, it was ridiculous that he would be brought him here to Savannah, Georgia,” Reginald Haupt Jr. told Fox News.

“It made this the perfect place.”

Hoffa’s mysterious disappearance in 1975 has long been presumed to be part of a mob hit — though his body has yet to turn up.

Stories over the years have ranged from it being buried under the field at the old Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, to a Jersey City landfill co-owned by late mob associate Paul Cappola and late Genovese crime family partner Phil “Brother” Moscato.

But Haupt, a one-time criminal defense lawyer known as “Bubba,” told Fox that Hoffa wouldn’t have ended up in the Garden State.

“They can’t go to New Jersey on Mafia property and keep an eye on anybody,” he said. “They did not want to let Hoffa go and they did not want anybody to find him.”

Instead, Haupt claims the corrupt union boss wound up under the Savannah Inn and Golf Country Club, an exclusive resort on Wilmington Island, where members of the Chicago Outfit would vacation.

Haupt’s former client, Lou Rosanova — identified by the feds as a top member of the Chicago mob — once ran the hotel at the resort.

Known as “Lou the Tailor,” Rosanova, who died in 2003, was allegedly trusted to hide Hoffa’s remains because of his Windy City ties.

The FBI reportedly believed that Rosanova was involved in the Hoffa case and interviewed him about the claim, Haupt said.

According to Haupt, Hoffa’s remains were flown to the private dirt landing strip on the island shorty after he vanished in Detroit on July 30, 1975.

When mobsters and Teamsters would play golf at the resort, Haupt said, they would urinate on the green where Hoffa is supposedly buried.

“At one particular spot on that golf course, they would urinate,” he said. “They would laugh about it, and when you see somebody do that, it sort of rings a bell. That is not ordinary golf etiquette.”

Haupt said he once saw Rosanova urinate on the hole — and once asked his associates about the behavior.

“That’s when he told me, he said, ‘I never had this conversation with you, but you are looking where Jimmy Hoffa is buried.’ I never said another word. I did not ask anybody. The subject was dropped and I never approached it.”

Haupt said the feds have interviewed him several times about his claim. Locals also recalled seeing FBI agents on the course examining the location of the suspected hole, according to Fox. 

“They would probably locate him where no one would ever suspect,” he told Fox. “And you don’t go around digging up a golf course.”

The bureau wouldn’t comment to the outlet — but its Hoffa investigation remains open.

“Throughout the nearly 46 years since Mr. Hoffa’s disappearance, people have come forward with tips and information,” the FBI said in a statement. “When we are able to develop credible leads from those tips, we pursue them, and will continue to do so until the case is solved.”


Friday, April 30, 2021

Colombo family consigliere busted in Florida in $65 million nationwide health care fraud case


The developer of the Banyan Cay Resort and Golf was charged by the federal government last week with conspiracy to commit health care fraud, raising questions about whether the charge will affect construction of the long-delayed resort in West Palm Beach.

Domenic Gatto, a 46-year old Palm Beach Gardens resident, is one of five men charged in what the U.S. Department of Justice described as a $65 million "nationwide kickback and bribery scheme" to order medically unnecessary orthotic braces for Medicare beneficiaries.

Also charged was Thomas Farese, a 78-year old Delray Beach man once described as the consigliere of the Colombo crime family in a 2012 affidavit from an FBI agent filed in a New York court. 

Last week, Gatto surrendered and, via video conference at the federal courthouse in West Palm Beach, appeared before a U.S. magistrate in New Jersey, the Justice Department said.

He has not entered a plea and has not been formally indicted, though the federal government could take that step in the next few weeks.

Banyan Cay will be largest West Palm development since Rosemary Square

Gatto is the developer behind the $100 million Banyan Cay complex just east of Interstate 95, off Congress Avenue and north of Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard, near the Palm Beach Outlets shopping mall. When complete, Banyan Cay will be the largest redevelopment in West Palm Beach since Rosemary Square, formerly known as CityPlace, the popular downtown mixed-use dining and shopping center.

The 250-acre Banyan Cay property used to be the site of the President Country Club, but the club fell into financial trouble and was sold to an investor group for $11 million in 2011. That investor group then flipped the property to Banyan Cay Dev LLC, led by Gatto, for $26 million in 2015.

The hotel was expected to be completed by 2018, but construction on the the resort has suffered stops and starts, as well as a change in hotel brand. Originally a Noble House hotel property, Banyan Cay now is slated to be part of Hyatt's Destination Hotels portfolio, a boutique luxury brand making its first foray into Florida with this property. A Hyatt spokeswoman did not respond to an email seeking comment.

In the alleged health care fraud scheme, in addition to Gatto and Farese, three other men were charged.

Pat Truglia, a 53-year old Parkland resident, faces one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and three counts of health care fraud.

Truglia was convicted of money laundering in 2012 in a case where Farese, a co-defendant, was acquitted. 

Also charged were two men from Toms River, N.J. – Christopher Cirri, 63, and Nicholas DeFonte, 72, face one count each of conspiracy to commit health care fraud "in connection with paying and receiving health care kickbacks and bribes," according to the Justice Department.

Seth L. Levine, an attorney representing Gatto, said: "The allegations against my client are meritless, and we will fight them aggressively in court."

A man answering a telephone number associated with Farese hung up when a reporter for The Palm Beach Post called to ask about the charges.

In 1998, Farese was convicted of hiding his interest in and laundering money through strip clubs and sentenced to 87 months in prison. One of those clubs was Club Diamonds, which Farese sold in 2012 to a holding company managed by John Staluppi, himself once described by the FBI as a member of the Colombo crime family.

Staluppi, who later bought the site of what was briefly known as the Double D strip club on Southern Boulevard, has denied any connection to organized crime, and he was not part of the fraud charges the federal government released last week.

Feds: Men conspired to defraud Medicare, got illegal kickbacks

The federal government's complaint "alleges that between October 2017 and April 2019, Farese, Truglia, Cirri, DeFonte, and Gatto participated in a nationwide conspiracy to defraud Medicare, TRICARE, Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA), and other federal and private health care benefit programs through the payment and receipt of illegal health care fraud kickbacks in exchange for orthotic brace orders that lacked medical necessity with a total loss of approximately $65 million."

The complaint also says Gatto "connected Cirri and DeFonte to other co-conspirators and arranged for Cirri and DeFonte to sell orthotic brace orders to orthotic brace suppliers in New Jersey and Florida in exchange for illegal health care kickbacks and bribes."

"Gatto and others paid Cirri and DeFonte kickbacks and bribes for each federal health care beneficiary for whom orthotic brace orders were sold to orthotic brace suppliers to be billed to Medicare, TRICARE, CHAMPVA, and other federal and private health care benefit programs," according to the Justice Department.

The Justice Department said that, "to conceal the kickbacks and bribes, Cirri and DeFonte created sham invoices labeling the payments as 'marketing' and 'business processing outsourcing' expenses."

Gatto, the government alleges, "used a nominee owner on forms submitted to Medicare and used shell corporations to transfer the funds he paid in connection with the purchase of the supplier."

Health care fraud and conspiracy to commit health care fraud are punishable by a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross profit or loss caused by the offense whichever is greater.

What the charges mean for the Banyan Cay development

It's not clear if the charge filed against Gatto will matter to Banyan Cay's lender, Calmwater Capital of Los Angeles, Calif.

The non-bank commercial real estate lender provided a $62 million loan to Banyan Cay in 2018.

Calmwater officials did not respond to emails seeking comment on the status of the loan.

A source close to the project, who requested anonymity to speak candidly about it and the federal government's charges, said: "Our lender and partners were informed of the situation, and there has been no change in funding as the project continues towards completion."

Real estate attorneys said it is unlikely a lender could, or would, halt extension of credit once a loan has been made to a project.

Loan documents often contain "bad boy" clauses that provide lenders with protection in the event of a borrower's bad act. These acts are defined and can include failure to pay taxes or the filing of a bankruptcy.

But if the borrower is an entity and not an individual, a bad boy clause might not apply, and therefore Gatto's conspiracy charge might not trigger any clause in the loan documents, two lawyers said.

The major concern for a non-bank lender such as Calmwater Capital is "having their name affiliated" with a project whose principal is facing a federal conspiracy charge, said Palm Beach attorney Guy Rabideau.

"It's public perception," he said.

Despite the charge filed against Gatto, construction of the Banyan Cay resort is moving along. The roof is even installed.

If the resort is finished as planned, that's good news for buyers at the Residences at Banyan Cay. 

Boca Raton-based SobelCo. built 94 homes next to Banyan Cay. The project sold out earlier this year when the pandemic triggered big demand for new single-family homes.

Prices range from the low $600,000s to the mid-$800,000s for the three- and four-bedroom homes.

The purchase of a Banyan Cay home entitles a buyer to a three-year social membership at Banyan Cay and use of the resort's amenities, including a golf course designed by golfing great Jack Nicklaus. 

However, with the property's construction still ongoing, owners have been able to use the Banyan Cay golf facility and clubhouse until the resort is ready, said Angela Ippolito, SobelCo's director of sales and marketing.

Once the resort is complete, homeowners will switch to a three-year social membership, she said.

John Stilley, a real estate agent with Keller Williams Realty, last year represented a buyer who was considering a home purchase at the Residences of Banyan Cay.

Although there were concerns about construction delays at the resort, the buyer went forward with the purchase and couldn't be happier. 

"My client fell in love with the golf course," Stilley said.


Ailing former Colombo family acting boss who caused civil war seeks prison release durig upcoming resentencing


A murderous former gangland boss is wheelchair-bound and suffering from serious dementia — but he has a new shot at release, his lawyer said Thursday.

Victor Orena, the 86-year-old ex-acting boss of New York’s Colombo crime family, can no longer take care of himself in the federal prison he is being held at in Massachusetts, requiring a wheelchair and a full-time aide. But a tossed lower firearms charge in a 1992 case could get him one last shot at freedom because he has to be resentenced completely.

He was convicted of ordering a hit on mobster Thomas Ocera, who was suspected of skimming money off assorted capers. Orena was also convicted of conspiring to murder rivals in a warring faction of the Colombo family.

“An overriding factor here is Mr. Orena’s age and medical conditions,” said David Schoen, Orena’s lawyer, at a Monday hearing in front of Eastern District Judge Eric Komitee.

When Orena is resentenced, his lawyers will argue for his release saying he is rehabilitated and that newly discovered evidence in the case points toward the mobster’s innocence.

Prosecutors, meanwhile, asked in court papers for the judge to simply resentence Orena to life in prison.

Schoen told the Daily News that new evidence in the case includes previously unreported government misconduct related to the Ocera murder that a top-echelon confidential informant said permeated Orena’s case.

Schoen called the information “unbelievably shocking” and potentially dangerous if revealed publicly.

“It’s stuff we never knew about that happened back then,” he told The News.

Victor “Little Vic” Orena was the acting boss of the Colombo family in the 1980s and tried to take over as permanent boss in the early 1990s, leading to a bloody civil war between his faction and that of boss Carmine Persico, who was serving a life sentence at the time.

Orena’s son, Andrew Orena, pleaded for compassion for his father.

“His heart is weak. But his spirit is strong. We’re praying we can get some time with him. He has grandchildren that really don’t know him,” Orena told The News. “He’ll never be the man he was but he’s still our father and we love him.”


Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Feds say recently sentenced Staten Island plumber is a violence prone Colombo family soldier


A plumber by trade, borough resident Thomas Scorcia also was an inducted member of the Colombo organized crime family who ran a “lucrative loansharking business,” federal prosecutors said.

In fact, to ensure he could locate his debtors and make it clear he knew where they lived, Scorcia required copies of their driver’s licenses and contact information, said prosecutors.

Scorcia, 54, also let it be known he would resort to violence, if need be, to advance his business, as well as to enhance his reputation within the mob, prosecutors allege.

In one instance in January 2019, Scorcia and another man planned to confront a fellow loanshark operator at the Woodrow Diner in Rossville over a business dispute, feds say.

However, the eatery was too crowded, and they backed off.

“I’m sick to my f------ stomach, I was just gonna walk right in there, but there’s f------ people coming out with f------ families,” Scorcia said afterward, according to an intercepted phone conversation.

As it turns out, Scorcia will be out of business for a while.

He was recently sentenced to 42 months behind bars and two years’ post-release supervision for racketeering.

In addition, the defendant was hit with a $20,000 fine and forfeited $75,000, which includes over $34,000 seized during a search.

Authorities said they also found an adjustable steel baton, a ski mask, binoculars and a book on the mob in a covered compartment of his vehicle’s trunk, said prosecutors.

Public records indicated Scorcia is from Annadale.

2019 BUST

In October 2019, Scorcia was among 20 suspects busted, including a purported Colombo crime family capo and other alleged mobsters, and indicted on wide-ranging charges of racketeering, extortion, loansharking and stalking.

Seventeen of the defendants were Staten Islanders, including one who was accused of attempting to fix a NCAA college basketball game in December 2018, authorities said.

Officials said 11 of the suspects were members or associates of the Colombos.

Besides Scorcia, they included Joseph Amato of Colts Neck, N.J., the alleged captain; and family members Daniel Capaldo and Vincent Scura, both of Staten Island, said authorities.

Many of the defendants have accepted plea agreements.

Scorcia pleaded guilty last November in Brooklyn federal court to one count of racketeering.

He admitted to extorting two individuals with “an implied threat of economic harm to (their) reputation,” if they failed to repay loans to him, said a sentencing memorandum submitted by defense lawyers Vincent J. Romano and Anthony DiPietro.

Prosecutors said Scorcia was heard on a wiretap speaking about an instance in which he and two other men, one a former mixed martial arts fighter, had confronted one of the victims over a delinquent payment.

“… I told the guy, ‘Sit in the car,’ and the kid had the tears, like between me and you, like … ‘No, please, T. [i.e., Scorcia]. No.’ Boom! But we’ll talk about that in person. I got this kid good right now,” Scorcia said, according to prosecutors’ sentencing memorandum.

The victim denied to law enforcement that Scorcia had hit him, although the defendant allegedly told another Colombo associate that he had, said prosecutors.

Prosecutors recommended Scorcia be sentenced to within the guideline range of 37 to 46 months in prison.

“In this case, specific deterrence and incapacitation are critical,” Brooklyn federal prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memorandum. “When the defendant became a member of the Colombo crime family, he took an oath, swearing to remain loyal to this violent criminal organization for the remainder of his life. … Few, if any, members of the mafia give up their connections to the mafia even after serving significant terms of imprisonment.”

Romano and DiPietro, the defense lawyers, contended a sentence of 27 months behind bars, together with three years of supervised release and a forfeiture of $75,000, would be “sufficient” to accomplish sentencing goals.

Scorcia, who has been incarcerated since his arrest, has been a model inmate, they said.

“He has utilized this time while imprisoned to strive towards self-betterment,” wrote the lawyers.

Scorcia has completed “numerous” programs while incarcerated and “performed numerous acts of goodwill to the benefit of both staff and inmates,” the attorneys said.

The defendant has no prior criminal record and “is prepared to return to his community as a positive contributor,” wrote the attorneys.

“It cannot be overstated that the public will be best served by allowing Mr. Scorcia the opportunity to rebuild his life with his family at this time, not by requiring his further imprisonment and the corresponding diminution in his ability to find lawful work and to productively reenter his community at a significantly later date,” the defense lawyers maintained.


Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Philly mob associate refuses to cooperate with feds and is sentenced to over 4 years in prison for real estate fraud scheme


Acting United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that Stephen Sharkey, 51, of Swedesboro, NJ, was sentenced to four years and one month in prison, three years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay $296,000 restitution, and to forfeit the same amount of money by United States District Court Judge John R. Padova for wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and money laundering.

In September 2020, the defendant pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, eight counts of wire fraud, one count of aggravated identity theft and, one count of money laundering in connection with three brazen and predatory frauds which greatly harmed innocent victims and netted the defendant more than $385,000. Sharkey engaged in two mortgage-closing schemes to defraud potential home buyers – stealing money that the victims had intended to use to purchase residences for themselves and their families. In the third scheme, the defendant stole all of the proceeds of the sale of a house by secretly going to closing without telling the seller.

Sharkey and his associate, Antonio Ambrosio, convinced their victims to provide Sharkey with the down payment funds in advance of the dates set for the real estate closings, with the promise that Sharkey would provide full financing for the purchases. Rather than finance the deals, Sharkey and Ambrosio simply stole the down payment money supplied by the victims and made excuses when the deals did not close. As part of the scam, Sharkey and Ambrosio even defrauded Ambrosio’s own brother-in-law out of $208,000. After receiving this money, Sharkey immediately cut checks to ARMM Investments, LLC, a company owned by George Borgesi. Borgesi and Sharkey were both convicted in United States v. Merlino, et al., 99 CR 363, an early 2000s RICO case in which the Philadelphia La Cosa Nostra was named as the enterprise. Borgesi was named as a capo of the Philadelphia LCN in that Indictment, and Sharkey was identified as a bookmaker for the mob. 

After Sharkey and Ambrosio stole the down payment from Ambrosio’s brother-in-law, they proceeded to lure a second victim to use Sharkey to finance his mortgage, and the victim wired Sharkey $100,000, which Sharkey promptly converted to his own use. The deal for this property fell through, but Sharkey and Ambrosio induced the victim to send the seller an extra $25,000 to hold the deal open, claiming Sharkey would get the deal done. The victim sent the seller the $25,000, but Sharkey had already disposed of the earlier $100,000 and the deal never closed.

Finally, in the real estate fraud perpetrated on the seller victim, Sharkey promised the victim that Sharkey would sell the house belonging to the estate of the victim’s deceased parents and, after going to a closing the victim knew nothing about, Sharkey deposited all of the proceeds of the sale into his own bank account, stealing over $52,000 from the victim in the process.

“Sharkey’s greed impacted the lives and security of multiple families, and his shameful actions had severe consequences for these innocent people,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Williams. “Not only did he and his associate steal mortgage down payments, but he also sold a different family’s house right out from underneath them and pocketed all of the cash. For his actions, he will now spend years in prison.”

“Real estate fraud was just the latest racket for Stephen Sharkey,” said Michael J. Driscoll, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “He blatantly preyed on innocent victims here, destroying two families’ plans of buying homes and stealing a third person’s inherited property. A chunk of these fraudulent proceeds was diverted to a longtime Philadelphia mob figure, underscoring Sharkey’s continued association with organized crime. The FBI and our partners are going to keep investigating and locking up those committed to making money through illicit means.”     

“This investigation once again reveals how members and associates of the Philadelphia La Cosa Nostra Organized Crime Family are constantly looking to make illicit financial gains by infiltrating legitimate business or exploiting regulatory rules as well as federal and state laws,” said Brandon Corby, Eastern Organized Crime Task Force Commander, Pennsylvania State Police. “The Pennsylvania State Police with our FBI partners are committed to eradicating this type of criminal behavior and hold those engaged in such activities accountable. “          

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Organized Crime Task Force and the Pennsylvania State Police, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael T. Donovan.


Monday, April 12, 2021

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.


Monday, March 22, 2021

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


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. 


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


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.


Thursday, March 11, 2021

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


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.


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


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.


Friday, February 26, 2021

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


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. 


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.


Former Gambino family boss Peter Gotti dead at 81


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. 


Tuesday, February 23, 2021

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


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.


Monday, February 8, 2021

Friday, February 5, 2021

Former turncoat mobster turned celebrity club owner buys Miami Beach mansion


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.


Thursday, February 4, 2021

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


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.


Tuesday, February 2, 2021

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


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.



Saturday, January 30, 2021

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


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.


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


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.'


Monday, January 18, 2021

Saturday, January 16, 2021

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


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.


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.