Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Diego Rodriguez, Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), William J. Bratton, Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), and James A. McCarty, Acting District Attorney for Westchester County, announced today the unsealing of an Indictment charging 46 defendants for their alleged roles in a sprawling and long-running racketeering conspiracy composed of leaders, members, and associates of the Genovese, Gambino, Luchese, Bonanno, and Philadelphia Organized Crime Families of La Cosa Nostra (“LCN”), who worked together to engage in a multitude of criminal activities throughout the East Coast of the United States between Springfield, Massachusetts, and Southern Florida (the “East Coast LCN Enterprise” or the “Enterprise”). The defendants are charged with racketeering conspiracy, arson, illegal trafficking in firearms, and conspiracy to commit assault in aid of racketeering.
Thirty-nine of the defendants charged were taken into custody. During the arrests, law enforcement officers recovered, among other items, three handguns, a shotgun, gambling paraphernalia, and more than $30,000 in cash.
Two defendants, CONRAD IANNIELLO and PASQUALE MAIORINO, a/k/a “Patty Boy,” were already in federal custody on other charges. Another defendant, JOHN LEMBO, was already in custody on state charges and will be transferred to federal custody. Six defendants, JOSEPH MERLINO, a/k/a “Joey,” PASQUALE CAPOLONGO, a/k/a “Patsy,” a/k/a “Pat C.,” a/k/a “Mustache Pat,” a/k/a “Fish,” FRANK TRAPANI, a/k/a “Harpo,” CARMINE GALLO, CRAIG BAGON, BRADLEY SIRKIN, a/k/a “Brad,” were arrested this morning in Florida, and will be presented in federal court in West Palm Beach later today. Two defendants, FRANCESCO DEPERGOLA, a/k/a “Frank,” and RALPH SANTANIELLO were arrested this morning in Massachusetts, where they face additional federal charges, and will be presented in federal court in Springfield, Massachusetts later today. All other defendants arrested today will be presented in Manhattan federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judges Barbara Moses, Frank Maas, and Gabriel W. Gorenstein this afternoon. Two defendants, NICHOLAS DEVITO, a/k/a “Nicky,” and ANTHONY CIRILLO, surrendered today. One defendant, HAROLD THOMAS, a/k/a “Harry,” is expected to surrender in the next few days. Three defendants, ANTHONY CAMISA, a/k/a “Anthony the Kid,” LAURENCE KEITH ALLEN, a/k/a “Keith Allen,” and WAYNE KREISBERG remain at large. The case is assigned to United States District Judge Richard J. Sullivan.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “Today’s charges against 46 men, including powerful leaders, members and associates of five different La Cosa Nostra families, demonstrate that the mob remains a scourge on this city and around the country. From loansharking and illegal gambling, to credit card and health care fraud, and even firearms trafficking, today’s mafia is fully diversified in its boundless search for illegal profits. And as alleged, threatening to assault, maim and kill people who get in the way of their criminal schemes remains the go-to play in the mob’s playbook.”
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Diego Rodriguez said: “The indictment reads like an old school mafia novel, where extortion, illegal gambling, arson and threats to ‘whack’ someone are carried out along with some modern-day crimes of credit card skimming. But the 40-plus arrests of mob associates, soldiers, capos, and a boss this morning show this isn’t fiction. As alleged, Genovese, Gambino, Luchese, and Bonanno LCN crime families are still carrying out their criminal activities from Mulberry Street here in New York City to areas of Springfield, Massachusetts. The FBI, working with our task force partners from the New York Police Department, are just as steadfast investigating and rooting out organized crime as wise guys are to bringing it our streets. We thank all our partners on this multi-year investigation, including the FBI field offices from New Haven, Newark, Miami and Boston for their assistance with operations.”
NYPD Commissioner William J. Bratton said: “The charges applied today to these 46 individuals deal a significant blow to La Cosa Nostra, which the NYPD is committed to putting out of business. As alleged, in typical mob fashion, the rackets ran from Springfield to South Florida and left no scheme behind. These mobsters seemed to use every scheme known to us, from arson, to shake-downs, violence, health care fraud, and even untaxed cigarettes to keep the racket going. I want to thank my friends Preet Bharara and Diego Rodriguez for their work at the Justice Department and FBI for making today’s case possible and their collaborative efforts during my tenure as Commissioner of the NYPD.”
Westchester County Acting District Attorney James A. McCarty said: “I want to congratulate the prosecutors and investigators whose combined efforts resulted in today’s indictment. Those charged with these crimes believe they can commit them at will, undetected and without consequence. These dedicated members of law enforcement through their actions, have made it clear that those individuals who commit these crimes will be rooted out.”
According to the allegations in the Indictment, which was filed in Manhattan federal court, and other publicly filed documents:
The instant charges are the culmination of a multi-year joint investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), FBI-NYPD Organized Crime Task Force, the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office, the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), and this Office. The evidence includes thousands of hours of consensual recordings obtained by a cooperating witness (“CW-1”) and an FBI Special Agent working in an undercover capacity (“UC-1”). CW-1 worked under PASQUALE PARRELLO, a/k/a “Patsy,” believed to be a Genovese Capo in charge of a crew based out of a restaurant that bears his name in the Bronx, New York (Pasquale’s Rigoletto, hereinafter “Rigoletto”). At one point, with PARRELLO’S approval, CW-1 began working under JOSEPH MERLINO, a/k/a “Joey,” believed to be the Boss of the Philadelphia Crime Family, who resided in southern Florida for part of the year. UC-1 worked under EUGENE O’NOFRIO, a/k/a “Rooster,” a Genovese Acting Capo in charge of crews on Mulberry Street in New York, New York, and Springfield, Massachusetts. As evidenced by the consensual recordings made by CW-1 and UC-1, the myriad criminal schemes pursued by PARRELLO, MERLINO, O’NOFRIO, and their underlings were in many respects intertwined.
The Enterprise charged in the Indictment is composed of leaders, members, and associates of the Genovese, Gambino, Luchese, Bonanno, and Philadelphia Crime Families of LCN, who worked together and coordinated with each other to engage in a multitude of criminal activities throughout the East Coast of the United States, including in Springfield, Massachusetts, the Bronx and Manhattan, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Southern Florida. The members of the Enterprise have been involved in gambling, extortionate collection of loans, other extortion activities, arson, conspiracies to commit assaults in aid of racketeering, trafficking in unstamped and cigarettes, gun trafficking, access device fraud, and health care fraud. The members of the Enterprise include, but are not limited to, PASQUALE PARRELLO, a/k/a “Patsy,” a/k/a “Pat,” JOSEPH MERLINO, a/k/a “Joey,” EUGENE O’NOFRIO, a/k/a “Rooster,” CONRAD IANNIELLO, ISRAEL TORRES, a/k/a “Buddy,” ANTHONY ZINZI, a/k/a “Anthony Boy,” ANTHONY VAZZANO, a/k/a “Tony the Wig,” a/k/a “Muscles,” ALEX CONIGLIARO, FRANK BARBONE, RALPH BALSAMO, PASQUALE MAIORINO, a/k/a “Patty Boy,” JOHN SPIRITO, a/k/a “Johnny Joe,” VINCENT CASABLANCA, a/k/a “Vinny,” MARCO MINUTO, PAUL CASSANO, a/k/a “Paul Cassone,” DANIEL MARINO, JR., a/k/a “Danny,” JOHN LEMBO, a/k/a “Johnny,” MITCHELL FUSCO, a/k/a “Mitch,” REYNOLD ALBERTI, a/k/a “Randy,” VINCENT TERRACCIANO, a/k/a “Big Vinny,” JOSEPH TOMANELLI, a/k/a “Joe,” AGOSTINO CAMACHO, a/k/a “Augie,” NICHOLAS DEVITO, a/k/a “Nicky,” ANTHONY CASSETTA, a/k/a “Tony the Cripple,” NICHOLAS VUOLO, a/k/a “Nicky the Wig,” BRADFORD WEDRA, MICHAEL POLI, a/k/a “Mike Polio,” PASQUALE CAPOLONGO, a/k/a “Patsy,” a/k/a “Pat C.,” a/k/a “Mustache Pat,” a/k/a “Fish,” ANTHONY DEPALMA, a/k/a “Harpo,” a/k/a “Harp,” JOHN TOGNINO, a/k/a “Tugboat,” MARK MAIUZZO, a/k/a “Stymie,” JOSEPH DIMARCO, HAROLD THOMAS, a/k/a “Harry,” RICHARD LACAVA, a/k/a “Richie,” VINCENT THOMAS, a/k/a “Vinny,” ANTHONY CAMISA, a/k/a “Anthony the Kid,” FRANK TRAPANI, a/k/a “Harpo,” ANTHONY CIRILLO, CARMINE GALLO, JOSEPH FALCO, a/k/a “Joe Cub,” FRANCESCO DEPERGOLA, a/k/a “Frank,” RALPH SANTANIELLO, LAURENCE KEITH ALLEN, a/k/a “Keith Allen,” CRAIG BAGON, BRADLEY SIRKIN, a/k/a “Brad,” and WAYNE KREISBERG, the defendants.
To protect and expand the Enterprise’s business and criminal operations, members and associates of the Enterprise assaulted, threatened to assault, and destroyed the property of people who engaged in activity that jeopardized: (i) the power and criminal activities of the Enterprise and the power and criminal activities of their respective LCN Families; (ii) the power of leaders of the Enterprise; and (iii) the flow of criminal proceeds to the leaders of the Enterprise. Members and associates of the Enterprise promoted a climate of fear in the community through threats of economic harm and violence, as well as actual violence, including assault and arson. Members and associates of the Enterprise generated or attempted to generate income for the Enterprise through firearms trafficking, extortion, operating illegal gambling businesses, health care fraud, credit card fraud, selling untaxed cigarettes, making extortionate extensions of credit, and other offenses. Members and associates of the Enterprise at times engaged in criminal conduct or coordinated their criminal activities with leaders, members, and associates of their respective LCN Families. At other times, members and associates of the Enterprise met with leaders, members, and associates of their respective LCN Families to resolve disputes over their criminal activities.
Enterprise members PASQUALE PARRELLO, a/k/a “Patsy,” a/k/a “Pat,” JOSEPH MERLINO, a/k/a “Joey,” and EUGENE O’NOFRIO, a/k/a “Rooster,” the defendants, supervised and controlled other members of the Enterprise engaged in illegal schemes, including those that were the objects of the conspiracy. At various times, members and associates of the Enterprise (including those who are leaders, members, and associates of different LCN families) met, coordinated, and worked together with PARRELLO, MERLINO, and O’NOFRIO, and each other, as well as other members and associates of their respective LCN Families, to engage in criminal activity.
To avoid law enforcement scrutiny, members and associates of the Enterprise conducted meetings surreptitiously, typically using coded language to make arrangements for meetings, and meeting at rest stops along highways and at restaurants.
Certain members and associates of the Enterprise engaged in and conspired to engage in the following violent crimes:
Arson of Vehicle Belonging to Victim-1
In early 2011, an individual (“Victim-1”) operated an illegal gambling establishment on Saw Mill River Road, Yonkers, New York, which was around the corner from a similar establishment (the “Yonkers Club”) run by ANTHONY ZINZI, a/k/a “Anthony Boy,” and other associates of the charged Enterprise. ZINZI and others paid PARRELLO tribute from the profits from the Yonkers Club.
While PARRELLO was on federal supervision stemming from a federal conviction in this Court, the Yonkers Club struggled. Indeed, Victim-1’s club was more successful than the Yonkers Club. ZINZI suggested to other members of the conspiracy that they light Victim-1’s vehicle on fire while it was outside of Victim-1’s club. Then, on or about March 7, 2011, co-defendant MARK MAIUZZO, a/k/a “Stymie,” and others not charged in the above-referenced Indictment located Victim-1’s vehicle, poured gasoline into the vehicle, and lit it on fire.
Conspiracy to Assault and Assault of Victim-2
On or about June 5 and 6, 2011, PARRELLO ordered ZINZI and Ronald “The Beast” Mastrovincenzo (now deceased) to assault a panhandler (“Victim-2”) in the area of Arthur Avenue and Fordham Road, Bronx, New York. ZINZI and Mastrovincenzo enlisted the help of ISRAEL TORRES, a/k/a “Buddy,” and others. Victim-2 had been bothering some female customers in the parking lot nearby Rigoletto, and these women complained to PARRELLO.
ZINZI, TORRES, Mastrovincenzo, and others, on PARRELLO’s orders to “break” Victim-2’s knees, went looking for Victim-2. Eventually, Victim-2 was beaten by Mastrovincenzo and CW-1 (prior to CW-1’s cooperation with the Government). A New York State wiretap revealed that after the beating, Mastrovincenzo told ZINZI, in sum and substance: “[r]emember the old days in the neighborhood when we used to play baseball? . . . A ball game like that was done.” After the beating, TORRES and ZINZI helped Mastrovincenzo and CW-1 in hiding and disposing of evidence.
Conspiracy to Extort Victim-1
PASQUALE CAPOLONGO, a/k/a “Patsy,” a/k/a “Pat C.,” a/k/a “Mustache Pat,” a/k/a “Fish,” a Luchese associate and longtime bookmaker, placed large bets on behalf of several “professional gamblers,” to help conceal their status as professionals. CAPOLONGO also placed bets himself as a gambler. In 2011, CW-1 gave CAPOLONGO access to gambling accounts controlled by individuals known as bookmakers so that CAPOLONGO could place bets on those accounts on behalf of professional gamblers. In turn, CW-1 received approximately 10 percent of the winnings and was also responsible to the bookmaker for the losses. As part of this arrangement, in late 2011, CAPOLONGO obtained betting accounts on Victim-1’s book through CW-1. In December 2011, CAPOLONGO, on behalf of his bettors, won approximately $30,000 from sports wagers CAPOLONGO placed in Victim-1’s book. Victim-1 refused to pay CAPOLONGO.
On or about December 12, 2011, CW-1 met with PARRELLO and explained that CAPOLONGO won approximately $30,000 on sports wagers and that CW-1 was unable to collect because Victim-1 was refusing to pay despite CW-1’s affiliation with PARRELLO. CW-1 asked PARRELLO to intervene on his behalf and sought assistance in collecting the approximately $30,000 debt from Victim-1. PARRELLO agreed to help collect the debt.
Between about December 2011 and March 2014, PARRELLO sent ZINZI, TORRES, VINCENT TERRACCIANO, a/k/a “Big Vinny,” and others to threaten and intimidate Victim-1, and collect the money for the debt. On one such occasion, PARRELLO told them: “You get Buddy [TORRES] and let Buddy go there and choke him [Victim-1], choke him. I want Buddy to choke him, choke him, actually choke the motherfucker…and tell him, ‘Listen to me…next time I’m not gonna stop choking… I’m gonna kill you.’”
Conspiracy to Extort Victim-3
Victim-3 was working as a bookmaker and had accounts with defendant JOHN TOGNINO, a/k/a “Tugboat,” who worked under by ALEX CONIGLIARO. CONIGLIARO suspected that Victim-3 had allowed professional bettors to place bets and, as a result of their winning bets, CONIGLIARO owed approximately $400,000 to the winning bettors.
On or about February 21, 2012, PARRELLO summoned Victim-3 to Rigoletto. There, CONIGLIARO, PARRELLO, and IANNIELLO confronted Victim-3 in a small room in the basement of the restaurant, threatening and intimidating him. Ultimately, CONIGLIARO refused to pay the money owed.
Conspiracy to Extort Victim-4
An unindicted co-conspirator (“CC-1”) operated a gambling club in the Bronx, New York. CC-1 was affiliated with PARRELLO, and, from in or about 2012 to in or about 2013, CC-1 paid PARRELLO approximately $500 per week in tribute in connection with the Bronx gambling club. Another individual, Victim-4, owed tens of thousands of dollars to CC-1. PARRELLO directed CW-1 to find Victim-4 to collect the money. TORRES and co-defendant JOHN SPIRITO, a/k/a “Johnny Joe,” a made member of the Bonanno family, tried to get a picture of Victim-4. The plan was to identify Victim-4, bring Victim-4 to an isolated area, and confront Victim-4 about the debt.
Conspiracy to Extort Victim-5
Victim-5 was a gambler who gave CW-1 access to gambling accounts. As a result, Victim-5 incurred a debt that he did not pay. At the same time, Victim-5 separately owed money to defendants VINCENT CASABLANCA, a/k/a “Vinny,” and PASQUALE MAIORINO, a/k/a “Patty Boy,” members of the Luchese and Bonanno crime families, respectively. PARRELLO worked with others, including members of the Genovese and Bonanno crime families, to ensure that Victim-5 paid the debt. Among other things, PARRELLO stated, in a recorded conversation, that members of PARRELLO’s crew should:
[C]ut his [Victim-5’s] fuckin’ tire. That way he has to change the tire. So then you know you can catch up with him. Give him a flat. Take the air out of the tire, whatever the fuck you got to do. Then you catch up with him because then he’s there, ya know, he’s got to get it fixed, he can’t go nowhere, and then you surround the mother fucker. That’s how yous do it.
PARRELLO further stated, “go ahead, get this motherfucker. Don’t make a mistake. Get your fuckin’ money.” Co-defendant ZINZI provided an icepick to use to slash the tire of Victim-5’s car in order to carry out PARRELLO’s order. Eventually, Victim-5 agreed to make weekly payments on Victim-5’s outstanding debt.
Conspiracy to Assault Victim-6
On or about January 22, 2013, Genovese associate and defendant ANTHONY VAZZANO, a/k/a “Tony the Wig,” a/k/a “Muscles,” was stabbed in the neck by Victim-6 during an altercation at a bar in the Bronx, New York (the “Bar”). VAZZANO was at the Bar with Mastrovincenzo and others when the stabbing occurred. After that, associates of PARRELLO’s crew, including Mastrovincenzo and TORRES, among others, at PARRELLO’s direction, agreed to assault Victim-6 in retaliation for the stabbing. During one such conversation, TORRES stated that they would “whack” and “maim this mother fucker [Victim-6].” PARRELLO instructed Mastrovincenzo to “keep the pipes handy and pipe him, pipe him, over here [gesturing to the knees], not on his head.”
Between about January and March 2012, MITCHELL FUSCO, a/k/a “Mitch,” sold eleven firearms on three separate dates to CW-1. Mastrovincenzo also sold guns to CW-1 and the Enterprise, including six firearms on five separate occasions between 2012 and 2013. During a June 27, 2012 consensually recorded conversation, PARRELLO asked CW-1 if the guns were “clean” and directed CW-1 to “get some nines.”
On or about August 20, 2012, CW-1 met with Mastrovincenzo and ZINZI. During this recorded meeting, Mastrovincenzo asked CW-1 and ZINZI how many guns he should get, and ZINZI told Mastrovincenzo, “at least a hundred.”
Additional Criminal Activity
In addition to the violent crimes described above, members and associates also conspired to, and in some cases did, work together and coordinate with each other to perpetrate a number of other crimes.
a. Loansharking. Members of the East Coast LCN Enterprise, including, but not limited to, PARRELLO, O’NOFRIO, HAROLD THOMAS, VINCENT THOMAS, a/k/a “Vinny,” FRANCESCO DEPERGOLA, a/k/a “Frank,” and RALPH SANTANIELLO, the defendants regularly made and took extortionate loans (“loansharking”) as part of the business of the East Coast LCN Enterprise. In connection with one such loan, HAROLD THOMAS said to AGOSTINO CAMACHO, a/k/a “Augie,” who owed an outstanding debt to HAROLD THOMAS: “If you don’t have my money the first of the month you will never hear another sound I give you [my] word on that. . . . If you miss don’t call me. You’ve had enough breaks. I’ve just given you the biggest break in your life. . . . [I]n about a minute I’m going to go over to the car and take the fucking pistol and I’m going to kill you.”
b. Gambling. Illegal gambling was a significant part of the regular course of business of certain members of the East Coast LCN Enterprise. Dozens of members of the Enterprise engaged in two different types of illegal gambling activities as a way to generate money for the Enterprise: (1) casino-style club gambling and (2) sports gambling.
i. Casino-Style Club Gambling. At various times relevant to the Indictment, PARRELLO, TORRES, ZINZI, VAZZANO, CAMACHO, and MAIUZZO, a/k/a “Stymie,” the defendants operated the above-mentioned Yonkers Club. Several nights a week, the Yonkers Club held poker tournaments, dice tournaments, and took bets on horse races. The owners of the Yonkers Club (the “House”) took a percentage of the gambling proceeds. Additionally, the Yonkers Club generated profits through the installation of illegal poker machines.
ii. Sports Gambling. At various times relevant to the Indictment, multiple members of the East Coast LCN Enterprise operated several gambling operations as a way to enrich the Enterprise. Members of the Enterprise, playing different roles in the sports gambling operations, utilized gambling websites based in the United States and abroad to keep track of wagers and proceeds.
c. Cigarettes. Receiving, causing others to receive, and profiting from the purchase of contraband cigarettes was part of the regular business of certain members of the East Coast LCN Enterprise, including, but not limited to, PARRELLO, O’NOFRIO, TORRES, ZINZI, VAZZANO, SPIRITO, CASABLANCA, REYNOLD ALBERTI, a/k/a “Randy,” TERRACCIANO, JOSEPH TOMANELLI, a/k/a “Joe,” CAMACHO, NICHOLAS DEVITO, a/k/a “Nicky,” NICHOLAS VUOLO, a/k/a “Nicky the Wig,” BRADFORD WEDRA, HAROLD THOMAS, RICHARD LACAVA, a/k/a “Richie,” and VINCENT THOMAS, the defendants. At various times relevant to the Indictment, these defendants obtained, caused others to obtain, and profited from the obtaining of, hundreds of cases of contraband cigarettes, which did not bear a stamp evincing payment of applicable cigarette taxes, with a street value of more than approximately $3 million.
d. Credit Card Fraud Conspiracy. In or around 2012, PARRELLO, TORRES, PASQUALE MAIORINO, a/k/a “Patty Boy,” JOHN LEMBO, a/k/a “Johnny,” and ALBERTI, the defendants, and others known and unknown, conspired to obtain and use a credit card “skimmer” — a small device that captures and retains unwitting credit card owners’ personal identifying information — to steal credit card information and use the information to create new fraudulent credit cards which could, in turn, be used to make unauthorized purchases.
e. Health Care Fraud. At various times relevant to the Indictment, PARRELLO, MERLINO, RALPH BALSAMO, CAMACHO, DEVITO, MICHAEL POLI, a/k/a “Mike Polio,” CARMINE GALLO, BRAD SIRKIN, a/k/a “Brad,” and WAYNE KREISBERG, the defendants, were involved in a scheme targeting providers of health insurance (the “Victim Insurers”), by causing, and causing others to cause, corrupt doctors to issue unnecessary and excessive prescriptions for expensive compound cream (“Prescription Compound Cream”) that were then billed to the Victim Insurers. Had the Victim Insurers known the fraudulent nature of the scheme — that wrongful kickbacks were paid to doctors to write, and to patients to request and receive, unnecessary and excessive prescriptions for the Prescription Compound Cream — the Victim Insurers would not have issued reimbursements for the Prescription Compound Cream.
Mr. Bharara praised the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in this case. He thanked the NYPD for their assistance. Mr. Bharara also noted that the investigation is continuing.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Amanda Kramer, Abigail Kurland, Jessica Lonergan, and Jonathan Rebold, along with Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Lauren Abinanti of the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office, are in charge of the prosecution. The case is being handled by the Office’s Violent and Organized Crime Unit.
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