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

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Gambino and Lucchese Mobters Busted

Twenty-two suspects have been arrested pursuant to five indictments coming out of Staten Island, NY resulting from two separate investigations alleging schemes tied to the Gambino and Lucchese crime families involving bid rigging, bribery, loan sharking and bookmaking.
Murray Weiss for the New York Post reports:
The feds busted 22 captains and a Sanitation Department official who was caught on tape calling his relative, Michael Murdrucco, tipping him that the city agency was seeking new concrete barriers, a multi-million dollar contract, that he should try to get, sources told The Post. Also arrested was reputed Gambino capo Carmine Sciandra, who owns the store Top Tomato in the Travis section of Staten Island.
Arrested was Sanitation Department Deputy Chief Frederick Grimaldi, a 19-year veteran who was months from getting his pension. * * * Also arrested was a corrections officer assigned to Brooklyn State Supreme Court.
The press release issued by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and New York Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly states that the arrests "capped long-term investigations dubbed 'Operation Pure Luck' and 'Operation Night Gallery.'"
Operation Pure Luck:
"Operation Pure Luck" was a long-term investigation into the alleged loan sharking and bookmaking activities of alleged Gambino capo Carmine Sciandra, alleged Gambino soldier Michael Murdocco, and alleged Gambino associates Vinnie LaFace and Benedetto Casale, among others. Sciandra owns a chain of popular supermarkets on Staten Island called "Top Tomato." Sciandra and Murdocco are alleged to be "made men" in the Gambino crime family. * * *  In "Operation Pure Luck," conversations among high-level Gambino members – which were heard through bugs placed in Murdocco's car and in a Staten Island tile store owned by Casale ("Casale Tile") – revealed the hierarchy and alleged criminal activities of the Sciandra crew. According to the charges, Gambino members lent money to their victims at interest rates averaging 156% per year and collected from reluctant payers through extortion and threats of violence. The Sciandra crew also allegedly ran an illegal sports gambling operation through an off-shore wire room that handled wagers on college and professional sports and horse races. According to the charges, the gambling operation generated millions of dollars worth of wagers. The charges also assert that Murdocco and his son-in-law, New York City Department of Sanitation Deputy Chief Frederick Grimaldi, engaged in bribery and bid-rigging to steer Department of Sanitation contracts. In exchange for kickbacks, Grimaldi allegedly leaked city contract bids to Murdocco to ensure that New Jersey-based Duramix Concrete Corporation and its President Vincent Alessi, a longtime acquaintance of Murdocco, would receive the contracts. Duramix Concrete Corporation and Alessi are also charged in this scheme. Based on "Operation Pure Luck," New York State Court Officer Scott Weissman, who is assigned to the New York State Supreme Court in Brooklyn, is charged as a sheet holder for Gambino associate Vinnie LaFace. "Operation Pure Luck" resulted in four of the indictments being unsealed in Richmond County today, charging a total of seventeen defendants. In the first, 89-count indictment, thirteen defendants are charged with Enterprise Corruption based on a pattern of loan sharking and illegal gambling activities. The Enterprise Corruption charge alone carries a maximum penalty of 8 1/3 to 25 years in prison. Four of the Enterprise Corruption defendants, including Sciandra and Murdocco, were also charged in the second indictment, which alleges the use of extortion to collect gambling debts. Murdocco, Grimaldi, Duramix Concrete Corporation, and Alessi are charged in the third indictment with bribery, bid-rigging, and receiving kickbacks on a Department of Sanitation contract. The fourth indictment charges Christopher Cipriano, a loan sharking victim, with Workers’ Compensation fraud and grand larceny.
Operation Night Gallery:
"Operation Night Gallery" was a long-term investigation into the alleged loan sharking and bookmaking of alleged Luchese capo Anthony Croce, alleged Luchese soldier Joseph Datello, and Joseph Datello's brother, Frank Datello, among others. According to the charges, the Datellos would collect from reluctant payers by using threats of violence, and Joseph Datello and Croce based their operation out of a Staten Island bar called the "Night Gallery." Croce and Joseph Datello are alleged to be "made men" in the Luchese crime family. Five defendants, including Croce, Joseph Datello, and Frank Datello, are charged in a Richmond County indictment with loan sharking and bookmaking charges. This is separate from the four indictments arising out of "Operation Pure Luck."


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