Tag Archives: Genovese family

United States Indicts 10 Mafia Suspects

Acting Boss of Bonanno organized crime family and 9 other members of La Cosa Nostra indicted for racketeering and related charges


NEW YORK — Following an investigation led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) New York working jointly with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service, the New York City Police Department (NYPD), and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York (SDNY), 10 individuals are being charges with racketeering and other offenses in connection with the activities of the organized crime families of La Cosa Nostra.

The indictment charges eight members of the Bonanno Family: Acting Boss Joseph Cammarano, Jr., Consigliere John Zancocchio, Joseph Sabella, George Tropiano, Albert Armetta, Domenick Miniero, Joseph Santapaolo, and Simone Esposito, all with with racketeering conspiracy involving a wide range of crimes, including extortion, loansharking, wire and mail fraud, narcotics distribution, and conspiracy to commit murder. Genovese Family member Ernest Montevecchi is charged with participating in that conspiracy as well. Several of the defendants and Luchese Family member Eugene Castelle are charged with conspiracy to commit extortion. Armetta is additionally charged with assault resulting in serious bodily injury in aid of racketeering, and aiding and abetting the same.

“The members of this criminal organization have pending charges from drug dealing and fraud to loansharking and conspiracy to commit murder,” said Angel M. Melendez, special agent in charge of HSI New York. “HSI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate and dismantle criminal organization like La Cosa Nostra and the Bonanno family.”

Of the 10 defendants charged in the indictment, nine were taken into federal custody Friday. Santapaolo was presented this morning before a United States Magistrate Judge in the Middle District of Pennsylvania. The rest of the defendants will be presented before United States Magistrate Judge Barbara Moses later today. The case has been assigned to United States District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein.

As alleged in the indictment unsealed today in Manhattan federal court, La Cosa Nostra (“LCN”), also known as the “Mob” or the “Mafia,” operates through entities known as “Families.” In the New York City area, there are five LCN Families, namely, the Bonanno Family, the Genovese Family, the Luchese Family, the Colombo Family, and the Gambino Family. Members and associates of one La Cosa Nostra family at times work together with other La Cosa Nostra families in jointly undertaken criminal ventures.

The Bonanno Family, like other LCN Families, operates through a group of individuals known as “crews,” each of which are led by a “capo” or “captain.” The crews are composed of “made” members, called “soldiers,” and trusted non-members called “associates.” Above the Capos are the highest-ranking members – the Boss or Acting Boss, the Underboss, and the Consigliere, or counselor – who oversee the Family.

At times relevant to the indictment, the defendants held the following positions with their respective LCN Families: Cammarano was a captain and the Acting Boss of the Bonanno Family; Zancocchio was a captain and the Consigliere of the Bonanno Family; Sabella was a captain of the Bonanno Family; Tropiano was a soldier and an acting captain of the Bonanno Family; Esposito was the Consigliere of the Bonanno Family; Miniero, Santapaolo, and Armetta were soldiers in the Bonanno Family; Montevecchi was a soldier in the Genovese Family; and Castelle was a soldier in the Luchese Family.

Count One of the indictment charges Cammarano, Zancocchio, Sabella, Tropiano, Armetta, Miniero, Santapaolo, Esposito, and Montevecchi with participating in a racketeering conspiracy. Count Two charges Armetta with assault resulting in serious bodily injury in aid of racketeering, and aiding and abetting the same. Count Three charges Cammarano, Zancocchio, Sabella, Tropiano, Miniero, and Castelle with extortion conspiracy.

Below is a chart containing the names, ages, residences, charges, and maximum penalties for the defendants. The maximum potential sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge. The charges contained in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


New York mafia family hit by wave of arrests

Ten members of a New York mafia family were arrested Tuesday on charges including attempted murder and extortion, prosecutors said, the latest blow against the area’s organized crime syndicates.

All of the suspects are believed to belong to the Bonanno family, one of five major Italian-American mob organizations in the northeastern United States – along with the Colombo, Gambino, Genovese and Lucchese families.

The charges stem from alleged crimes committed over a nearly 20-year span, beginning in 1998. They centered in New York’s bayside Howard Beach neighborhood, close to the John F. Kennedy International Airport, and were the result of a long-term investigation that included wiretaps, cooperating witnesses and surveillance.

Ronald “Ronnie G.” Giallanzo, an acting captain in the Bonanno family, was the ringleader of a loansharking operation that, at one point, reached $3 million in “extortionate loans,” according to Bridget Rohde, acting federal prosecutor for the Eastern District of New York.

“Even while incarcerated, Giallanzo kept watch over his illicit loansharking book, directing his associates to commit acts of violence to ensure that the customers paid the exorbitant weekly interest rate,” a statement read.

Prosecutors gave an example of one customer who owed Giallanzo $250,000 and had been missing the required weekly interest payments. Giallanzo and an unnamed associated allegedly beat the man until he soiled himself, while screaming and demanding the money.

Another defendant, Evan “The Jew” Greenberg, had boasted about grabbing a delinquent customer by the ankles, and knocking the victim to the ground with his head hitting the concrete, prosecutors said.

The indictment unsealed Tuesday also accused Giallanzo of a plot to murder a person who had robbed his associates.

The dispute lasted months, and saw Giallanzo’s crew and their target trading gunfire on several occasions in the streets of Howard Beach.

The defendants were estimated to have earned more than $26 million from crimes including illegal gambling, robbery and extortion, prosecutors said.

Howard Beach is home to a large Italian-American community and is sometimes considered a stronghold of the New York mafia.

Last week, the 23-year-old namesake grandson of New York mobster John Gotti was arrested and charged with violent crimes, including a bank holdup. Six others were also indicted and arrested in the mafia crackdown.

And in August, authorities arrested 46 alleged mobsters up and down the US East Coast, accusing them of orchestrating a vast criminal enterprise that stretched from Massachusetts to Florida.

Mafia queen pleads guilty to smuggling cocaine through Queens restaurant

The wife of a mob-connected Queens restaurant owner who trafficked drugs admitted on Monday to pushing the narcotics through the eatery’s basement.

Eleonora Gigliotti pleaded guilty in Brooklyn Federal Court to the top charge of conspiracy to import cocaine.

She faces a minimum mandatory sentence of five years in prison and also agreed to pay a $1.625 million forfeiture judgement.

Judge Raymond Dearie could sentence Gigliotti to the maximum of 171/2 years behind bars.

Gigliotti, 56, was slated to go to trial at the end of March for smuggling more than 110 pounds of cocaine from Costa Rica in shipments of cassava to her family’s restaurant, Cucino a Modo Mio, in Corona.

If Gigliotti had been convicted at trial, she could have faced life in prison, authorities said.

The Gigliotti family allegedly has ties to the Genovese mob family and served as a connection to the ’Ndrangheta crime group in Italy.

Prosecutors said in 2014 that Gigliotti had traveled to Costa Rica with more than $360,000 in cash that she delivered to cocaine dealers.

Gigliotti also agreed to forfeit the property seized, including $124,874 in cash, seven handguns recovered from the business, ammunition, an automated money counter and brass knuckles, according to a law enforcement source.

Her husband, Gregorio, 60, and 36-year-old son, Angelo, were convicted on drug and guns charges after a jury trial last July.

They face mandatory minimums of 15 and 20 years behind bars, respectively.

At the trial, Dearie concluded that lawyers for Gregorio Gigliotti and his son had tried to stack the jury with women by using all their preemptory challenges to exclude men.

After a panel of 10 women and two men was selected, federal prosecutors Margaret Gandy and Keith Edelman complained that the defense had discriminated against men.

Dearie later ruled that after reviewing the transcript of jury selection, he found “a pattern of attempting to exclude men” and was going to restore two men back on the jury.

At the time, defense lawyers Elizabeth Macedonio and Alan Futerfas had insisted that there was no bias against men — explaining that some of the challenges were based on “gut” feelings.

It didn’t work — and jurors found both men guilty on July 22 after deliberating for just three hours.