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

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Staten Island caterer Frank DiMattina sentenced on extortion and gun charges

A federal judge today slapped a six-year prison sentence on a reputed mobster who threatened to beat a rival over a bid for the lucrative cafeteria contract at a Staten Island Catholic high school.
But Frank DiMattina, 44, isn't heading to prison just yet.
District Judge Jack B. Weinstein is allowing the former owner of Ariana's Catering Hall in New Dorp to remain free on bond, in home confinement, pending appeal, said a spokesman for Brooklyn federal prosecutors.
During the recent trial, Walter Bowers, the victim, testified that DiMattina produced a gun and threatened violence, if he didn't withdraw his offer to cater the school lunch program at St. Joseph by-the-Sea High School.
DiMattina, who prosecutors said is a Genovese organized crime family associate, was convicted Jan. 6 of extortion and a firearms charge. He was acquitted of catering-hall extortion.
DiMattina in court papers "adamantly denies" the mob allegations or menacing Bowers.
"At no time did Mr. DiMattina ever threaten or extort [Bowers]," wrote DiMattina's lawyer, Lawrence H. Schoenbach in a pre-sentencing memorandum.
DiMattina was convicted during a four-day trial in Brooklyn federal court, which featured testimony by the Rev. Michael Reilly, Sea's principal.
Bowers, 52, bought Ariana's from DiMattina in early 2010, but their relationship quickly soured.
Months later, DiMattina, who's also known as "Frankie D" and "Frankie Ariana," muscled him off his attempt to win the cafeteria contract from the Huguenot school, Bowers testified.
Bowers said he submitted a bid only after DiMattina said he was moving to Florida.
Shortly afterward, DiMattina and an associate confronted him in Ariana's and told him to back off, Bowers testified. As part of the threat, DiMattina told Bowers to warn his business partner that DiMattina would "burn down his bagel stores" if the lunch bid wasn't withdrawn.
A shaken Bowers complied.
Another caterer ultimately got the contract for $165,000.
During the trial, John C. Meringolo, another lawyer for DiMattina, challenged Bowers' version of the gun incident. He pointed out that Bowers didn't save surveillance video and couldn't recall the color of DiMattina's shirt or shorts.
DiMattina and Bowers have had other problems, resulting in civil countersuits.
Bowers alleges that DiMattina, who runs a catering hall in Woodbridge, N.J., withheld access to Ariana's website and saddled him with tens of thousand of dollars in unpaid violations. He also contends DiMattina violated a non-competition agreement.
DiMattina's lawyers maintain Bowers still owes him $250,000 for the Ariana's sale and hasn't changed the business' name, despite agreeing to do so after a year.
DiMattina faced a minimum of five years behind bars to a maximum of 20 years.
Weinstein sentenced him to five years on the gun conviction and a year and a day on the extortion conviction, said a spokesman for Loretta E. Lynch, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York. The sentences will run consecutively.
In his pre-sentencing brief, Schoenbach, DiMattina's lawyer, asked for the minimum.
He cited numerous good-character references submitted on his client's behalf. Two were from Woodbridge, N.J., police officers, whose department recently feted DiMattina for his civic efforts.
Schoenbach also said his client had donated food for underprivileged children and money to several charitable causes.
"His actions over the course of his adult lifetime demonstrate an innate goodness and decency rarely seen in most people," wrote the lawyer.
Reached by phone after the sentencing, Schoenbach declined further comment.


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