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Monday, February 6, 2023

Feds say Bonanno turncoat turned podcaster belongs behind bars for three years

He’s given up his mob life podcast, but not his life of crime, the feds say.

Bonanno crime family turncoat Gene Borrello, who recently co-hosted a podcast the feds say glorified his time as a mob enforcer, could find himself behind bars again for a string of new crimes in Florida.

Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn want a judge to toss Borrello, 38, in prison for three years, alleging he spent his time on probation fighting with a girlfriend, bragging about Mafia violence on YouTube videos and using a burner phone to talk about drugs and violence.

As a government witness, Borrello helped lock up more than a dozen members of the Bonanno crime family — and after he was jailed from 2014 to 2019, a judge sentenced him to time served and probation. His own crimes were particularly violent — multiple shootings, home invasions where victims were tied up, arson and beatings.

After his release, he’s been a blight on society, and his actions have been getting worse, federal prosecutors allege.

“He has shown no regard for the orders of this court or the law. He is a danger to the community. He has made no progress towards rehabilitation,” assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Galeotti wrote on Jan. 17, asking Judge Frederic Block to sentence him at a hearing this upcoming Wednesday.

“In fact, since the defendant was permitted to leave for Florida, his conduct has only become increasingly aggressive and dangerous. The defendant has breached this court’s trust over and over and over again.”

Those crimes include a January stalking arrest and a December burglary arrest in Pinellas County, Fla., a September stalking bust where he was accused of calling his girlfriend 58 times, and another September incident in which he allegedly threatened a Tampa Bay area bartender.

They’re the latest in a pattern of criminal activity and probation violations since his release in 2019.

Borrello first started smashing the rules of his release by associating with felons through his podcast, and by threatening an ex-girlfriend in 2021. He used to host “The Johnny and Gene Show” podcast with another former gangster who flipped, Johnny Alite. Another mob turncoat, John Rubeo, nearly landed back in prison after making an appearance on their show.

“In his podcast, Borrello glorified all aspects of organized criminal activities and described in detail various acts of violence in which he and his co-host, John Alite, had participated,” Galeotti wrote.

And in February 2021, Borrello was busted for threatening his ex in audio recordings over Instagram.

“The minute you call the cops on me … I’ll blow your husband’s head right off,” Borrello told his ex, prosecutors said. “Don’t forget about me. Remember what I used to do. I will grab your father right now and beat the dogs--t out of him.”

Borrello did end back in prison, but Block cut him a “break” in March 2021 and sentenced him to only 120 days behind bars, according to court filings.

But his bad behavior continued after he served those 120 days — starting with a YouTube video titled “Getting violated by probation and going back to jail” in which he disparaged his ex’s husband as “fat” and “goofy.” In another video titled “Ronnie do you smell that,” he described how he and Bonanno captain Ronald Giallanzo beat a man so badly the man soiled himself, prosecutors said.

Last May, he was accused of grabbing his girlfriend and smashing her phone during an unauthorized trip to Florida.

He avoided being sent back to prison at a hearing the following month, but immediately ran afoul of probation officers by ginning up two job offer letters with contact numbers that went back to one of his friends, prosecutors said.

His latest stalking and burglary arrests followed that.

When federal agents raided his home in September, they found a cell phone with text messages referring to tricking probation officials, to steroids and other drugs, and to a Sept. 3 confrontation with the Tampa Bay bartender.

“Bro I’m cracking him,” he texted a friend who had a problem with the bartender, according to court filings.

When the pal responded, “I wish you had a [GoPro] when all this went down omg,” Borrello texted back: “Bro he’s a herb he can’t talk tuff no more.”

In a letter filed on Sunday, Borrello’s lawyer, Nancy Ennis, asked the judge for leniency, contending that he “is making significant improvements in his life,” including getting a job as a car valet.

She also challenged federal prosecutors’ description of his September stalking arrest, and included a letter from his girlfriend in her filing.

“Following a heated argument, Gene perceived that his girlfriend was threatening to commit suicide, as she had previously threatened to do. This prompted Gene to pursue her frantically and call her repeatedly,” Ennis said. “In retaliation, she called the police, and Gene was arrested for stalking her. Thereafter, however, the charges were dismissed in court.”

Ennis didn’t return a message seeking comment, and attempts to reach Borrello were unsuccessful Monday.



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