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

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Turncoat Lucchese family solder busted for fraud schemes in Arizona


A former Mafia soldier in Arizona who orchestrated the nationwide collapse of two star-powered country restaurant chains has been indicted on federal fraud charges.
Frank Capri, who was behind the financial failure of Toby Keith and Rascal Flatts-branded restaurants from Hawaii to Florida, was arrested Wednesday.
The Arizona U.S. Attorney's Office announced that Capri, 52, his mother, Debbie Corvo, 68, and an unnamed third person were indicted by a federal grand jury on Jan. 28 on 16 counts of fraud, conspiracy and money laundering.
Capri is the focus of an ongoing investigation by The Arizona Republic that began in 2015. The Republic exposed Capri as an ex-mobster who was given a new identity through the Federal Witness Protection Program and used it to bilk developers out of millions of dollars.
Capri, whose real name is Frank Gioia Jr., was a former soldier in New York's notorious Lucchese crime family. He flipped to become a government witness in the 1990s. He moved to Arizona in the early 2000s, where he made a name for himself as a real estate and restaurant developer. 
Capri could not be reached for comment on Wednesday. 

Toby Keith, Rascal Flatts eatery failures

The Republic documented how Capri's restaurant career was built on failures. He is known for the epic collapse of a nationwide chain of Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill restaurants, which went under in 2015 amid allegations of fraud and theft. 
Capri or his companies negotiated deals to build Toby Keith restaurants with mall owners and developers throughout the United States, then took tens of millions of dollars meant to pay for construction and walked away, The Republic reported.
Capri's company, Boomtown Entertainment, built 20 Toby Keith restaurants beginning in 2009 and announced plans to build 20 more that never opened. It closed 19 restaurants in about 18 months. Even as restaurants went under, Capri was announcing plans to open new ones that never got built.
By 2017, judges in cities across the country ordered him or his companies to pay at least $65 million in civil judgments. It is unclear how many judgments were paid or settled.
Capri's mother, Corvo, was involved in Boomtown.
A 2007 report prepared by private investigators in a Maricopa County case documented Capri's entry into the Federal Witness Protection Program along with his father, mother, sister and brother-in-law.
Capri also was behind the financial ruin of 19 Rascal Flatts restaurant projects. Capri's name does not appear on corporate documents tied to the Rascal Flatts restaurants. But working from behind the scenes, he oversaw hiring, firing, employee payments, permits, construction schedules and collection of development fees, The Republic found.
The restaurants were operated by Tawny Costa, Capri's longtime girlfriend and the mother of two of his children.

Girlfriend admits fronting businesses

Costa admitted in March to serving as Capri's front for the Rascal Flatts projects.
In a series of texts to The Republic, Costa said Capri and a business partner set up and secretly ran Rascal Flatts restaurant projects in her name. She said Capri manipulated her into putting her name on corporation and business records for restaurants.
Costa was one of two managers listed on corporation filings for RF Restaurants, the Las Vegas-based company that owned and operated the restaurant projects. 
Secretly recorded audiotapes of Capri's phone calls provided a vivid picture of his role. In the profanity-laced recordings obtained by The Republic, Capri threatens and intimidates developers in an attempt to squeeze cash out of the Rascal Flatts projects.
Money meant to pay for construction went directly to Capri and Costa, the audiotapes, text messages and interviews showed.
Developers paid millions to lure RF Restaurants to malls. They offered up-front cash to offset construction costs in exchange for signing long-term leases. They got vacant buildings, incomplete projects and lawsuits. 
Only one Rascal Flatts restaurant, in Stamford, Connecticut, opened in 2017. It closed a year later. 
Developers in Stamford accused RF Restaurants of failing to pay more than $1.1 million in rent. Lawsuits followed the shutdown of RF Restaurants' projects in Pittsburgh, Gainesville, Florida, and Hollywood, California. 
Projects in other cities fell behind schedule and collapsed.
Between them, Capri and Costa have orchestrated the failure of 63 restaurant projects since 2013 that either closed after opening, were left unfinished or never started; 39 under Capri and 24 under Costa's name, according to a Republic tally.
Their business strategy appeared to evolve in 2019 from nationwide chains of celebrity-themed eateries to individual restaurants and bars. The Republic in December documented Costa's plans for a new restaurant in the Arcadia area of Phoenix.

Mafia turncoat to businessman

Gioia was a third-generation mobster. Mafia historians call him one of the most important government witnesses ever to testify against the mob.
The Republic in 2017 documented Gioia's transition to Capri, from gangster to witness to businessman.
His cooperation with law enforcement led to the conviction of more than 70 Mafia figures in the 1990s and 2000s. He helped clear several unsolved murders, including the shooting of an off-duty police officer.
Gioia became a "made man" in 1991 and has testified about his past as a murderer, drug dealer, gun runner, arsonist, loan shark, stickup artist and enforcer.
Gioia was arrested in 1993 on federal drug charges. He was facing 30 years to life in prison when he got word the mob was plotting to kill his father. He contacted the FBI, told agents he was willing to talk and signed a deal to cooperate with the government.
Capri maintains stories about his past are "false and defamatory" but has offered no proof to support his claims. In a 2017 letter, he denied pocketing development money and described the Toby Keith closures as nothing "other than the product of a business failure."

Feds mum on mob ties 

The FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice for years have declined to answer questions about Capri or the trail of financial destruction that followed him out of the Witness Protection Program. 
But the Arizona U.S. Attorney's Office in 2019 launched a criminal case against Capri's former lawyer at Boomtown. 
Gregory McClure took a plea deal after being indicted on charges he stole $1.3 million from the company.
As part of a cooperative agreement, McClure was charged with a single count of money laundering, and authorities agreed not to prosecute him for any other offenses related to Boomtown.
His sentencing date was repeatedly pushed back last year and is now scheduled for sometime in March, court documents show. 
The U.S. Attorney's Office did not name McClure or Costa in its announcement on Wednesday.
A copy of the indictment was not immediately available.
Capri's trial is currently scheduled for April 7.

https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona-investigations/2020/02/05/ex-mobster-frank-capri-arrested-fraud-charges-tied-toby-keith-rascal-flatts-restaurants-tawny-costa/4674958002/


16 comments:

  1. Good Fat Rat Scum Bag finally got arrested now they should make an example out of this Rat and give him 20 years he deserves it he ruined a lot of people's lives. So Fuck Him!

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    1. Fuck him is right the damage this Cocksucker did to be people is unimaginable he should live everyday in misery in prison.

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  2. Believe me when I tell you a lot of people around the country are celebrating this Piece of Shit got arrested.

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  3. I would never wish anybody to go to prison but this Rat Mother Fucker should Rot in prison. He is the worst they should make an example of him and give him a lot of time and send him to a prison where he will have a tough time.

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  4. Evil Rat should get his hole opened up in prison

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  5. Karma is a mother fucker this Rat has nobody to rat on so he's got no choice to do Life in prison I could tell you one thing there is not one person I know fells sorry for this Scum Bag. Rot in Hell!

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    1. Rat used his new identity to swindle people, now he's facing Life he squeezed all the lemon juice out of the lemon he can't Rat out nobody so now he should Rot in Prison! Swindling Rat!

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  6. I read the article on Gangland this Rat still makes people do his dirty work because he's no a Man he's a Punk Rat and a fucking Liar and a Windbag who should do Life.

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  7. Fucking Greedy Bum couldn't go out and earn a living instead he took the shortcut and robbed people. Well good now he's going to prison for a long time. Piece of Shit.

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  8. This rat thought he wouldn't get arrested because he helped the government send a lot of people to prison. Well he took up the ass because now he preyed on regular society and is going to prison for a long time.

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  9. This Rat thought the law didn't apply to him because of his cooperation well now he's got to prison and there isn't No get out of Jail Free Card. Piece of Shit.

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  10. Fucking Rat still thought he was in the mob the way he was bullying people. He's a Big Piece of Shit that picks his spots. I hope he's getting punked in jail but he's probably in protective custody.

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  11. Maybe he's conducting seminars on how to be a Rat in prison. Scumbag.

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    1. Well that's how Comey got his name because he made low life pieces of shit that wanted to get out of jail and took their word and for it but in the end the truth always rises to the top look at Comey today and look where this POS is now

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    2. I hate this Mother Fucker

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