Eleven Palm Beach and Broward County residents were indicted Thursday after federal prosecutors outlined their alleged roles in an organized crime ring specializing in fraud, narcotics, gambling and mob-style shakedowns.
The crew operated out of South Florida, but regularly reported and paid tribute to the Bonanno family, a New York City-based mafia unit, according to the indictment from the U.S. attorney's office in Miami.
Boynton Beach resident Thomas Fiore, 46, is an associate of the Bonanno family and leads its South Florida operation, prosecutors said.
Each of the 11 were indicted on federal charges of Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations, or RICO, after a two-year undercover investigation.
The other defendants include Billie Robertson, 34, and Lee Klein, 39, both of Boynton Beach; Daniel Young, 57, and Guy Alessi, 81, both of Delray Beach; Kenneth Dunn, 44, and Nicholas Fiore, 49, both of Boca Raton; and Frank D'Amato, 48, of West Palm Beach.
The indictment also included Coral Springs residents Pasquale Rubbo, 43, Joseph Rubbo, 45, and Marc Broder, 42.
None of the defendants are ''made'' members of the Bonanno family.
According to prosecutors, an undercover FBI agent posing as a corrupt businessman infiltrated Thomas Fiore's group as part of a scam to convert fraudulent checks to cash.
With the agent in its midst, Fiore's crew laundered fake checks, acquired and planned to distribute illegal drugs and sold and purchased contraband cigarettes, stolen plasma televisions and identification documents to later be used in other scams, the indictment states. From September to January, authorities audiotaped conversations about alleged criminal activity using wiretaps on Fiore's and Pasquale Rubbo's phones.
Prosecutors also say Fiore set fire to his Royal Palm Beach gym to cash in on the insurance proceeds, then lied under oath about the fire and solicited the murder of someone to facilitate the fraud.
Prosecutors allege that members of the operation also:
• Submitted fraudulent claims to the Medicare program using illegally obtained patient records;
• Organized illegal high-stakes poker games for wealthy gamblers, although no players were named in the indictment;
• Manufactured fake checks using the names, addresses and account numbers of legitimate businesses and then cashed them at convenience stores or through foreign bank accounts and;
• Conspired to threaten business owners to extort illegal payments.
Other crimes include mail fraud, obstruction of justice and transporting stolen property across state lines, the indictment states.
Thomas and Nicholas Fiore and Pasquale and Joseph Rubbo were on either supervised release or probation after pleading guilty in recent years to engaging in criminal activities with leaders and associates of the Bonanno crime family.
At a hearing Thursday afternoon, U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Seltzer set bail at $250,000 for Robertson, Joseph Rubbo and Young.
Seltzer allowed Robertson, who pleaded not guilty, to continue working at the medical offices in Boynton Beach and Boca Raton where she is employed. He ordered Jospeh Rubbo to live at a halfway house in Dania Beach and Young to live in home confinement in Delray Beach with electronic monitoring.
Fiore and the remaining defendants were being held in the Broward County Main Jail awaiting their bond hearings. The defendants could face up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeffrey N. Kaplan and Paul F. Schwartz are prosecuting the case.
Thanks to Don Jordan
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
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