Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Organized Crime: 14 Gambino crime family associates charged with racketeering, murder, sex trafficking

FBI agents heading to court outside the FBI New York Office.
Photo Credit: SSA Richard Kolko, FBI

PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and GEORGE VENIZELOS, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI"), announced today the arrest of 14 members and associates of the Gambino Organized Crime Family of La Cosa Nostra (the "Gambino Family") on charges including racketeering, murder, sex trafficking, sex trafficking of a minor, jury tampering, extortion, assault, narcotics trafficking, wire fraud, loansharking, and illegal gambling.

The 14 defendants charged today are:

DANIEL MARINO, (2) THOMAS OREFICE, (3) ONOFRIO MODICA, (4) DOMINICK DIFIORE, (5) ANTHONY MANZELLA, (6) MICHAEL SCOTTO, (7) MICHAEL SCARPACI, (8) THOMAS SCARPACI, (9) DAVID EISLER, (10) SALVATORE BORGIA, (11) STEVE MAIURRO, (12) KEITH DELLITALIA, (13) SUZANNE PORCELLI, and (14) ANTHONY VECCHIONE. MODICA was arrested on April 16, 2010. Twelve defendants were arrested early this morning by the FBI, and MAIURRO remains at large. The arrested defendants are expected to be presented in Manhattan federal court later today before United States Magistrate Judge MICHAEL H. DOLINGER. The case is assigned to United States District Judge LEWIS A. KAPLAN. The initial conference before Judge KAPLAN is scheduled for April 21, 2010, at 11 a.m.

As alleged in the indictment unsealed today in Manhattan federal court, as well as the government's Motion for Detention filed today:

DANIEL MARINO is a longtime member and is currently a Boss of the Gambino Family. In that capacity, MARINO has over 200 fully-inducted or "made" mafia members under his command, as well as hundreds of associates who commit crimes with and for the mafia. THOMAS OREFICE and ONOFRIO MODICA are currently Soldiers of the Gambino Family acting under MARINO's supervision. OREFICE and MODICA each supervise crews that include DOMINICK DIFIORE, ANTHONY MANZELLA, MICHAEL SCOTTO, MICHAEL SCARPACI, THOMAS SCARPACI, DAVID EISLER, and SALVATORE BORGIA, all of whom are charged with racketeering and racketeering conspiracy. The indictment also charges other individuals who committed crimes with and for the Gambino Family, including STEVE MAIURRO, KEITH DELLITALIA, SUZANNE PORCELLI, and ANTHONY VECCHIONE.

In addition to the racketeering charges, the defendants are charged with the following crimes:

Murder of Thomas Spinelli

MARINO is charged with the 1989 murder of THOMAS SPINELLI, a made member of the Gambino Family. In the months leading up to SPINELLI's death, concern arose in the Gambino Family about his testimony in a federal grand jury about many of the mafia's members and activities. As a result, MARINO, working with various co-conspirators, including JOHN J. GOTTI (who was then Boss of the Gambino Family) and SALVATORE GRAVANO (who was then Underboss) set out to kill SPINELLI to prevent him from further testifying. MARINO and his co-conspirators lured SPINELLI to a window company in Brooklyn, where he was shot in the head and killed. MARINO then helped to dispose of SPINELLI's body, which has never been found.

Murder of Frank Hydell

MARINO is also charged for the 1998 murder of FRANK HYDELL. In 1997, suspicion arose within the Gambino Family that FRANK HYDELL, MARINO's nephew, was cooperating with law enforcement which, in fact, was the case. Based on these suspicions, various Gambino Family members and associates plotted to kill HYDELL and sought MARINO's approval for the hit. Upon MARINO's authorization to kill HYDELL, the Gambino Family members and associates lured HYDELL to a strip club in Staten Island where he was shot three times in the face and back. He died in the strip club's parking lot.

Murders of James DiGuglielmo and Richard Sbarra

MODICA is charged with the double murder of JAMES DiGUGLIELMO and RICHARD SBARRA. MODICA and DiGUGLIELMO became involved in a drug-related dispute. As a result, on August 22, 1987, MODICA, drove his motorcycle with a shooter riding on the back to a crowded parking lot where the shooter opened fire at DiGUGLIELMO. DiGUGLIELMO and SBARRA, an innocent bystander, were killed in the drive-by shooting.
Sex Trafficking and Sex Trafficking of a Minor

OREFICE, DIFIORE, MANZELLA, SCOTTO, EISLER, MAIURRO, and PORCELLI are charged with sex trafficking and sex trafficking of a minor. From 2008 to 2009, the defendants operated a prostitution business where young women and girls—including an underage girl who was 15 years old at the time—were exploited and sold for sex. The defendants first recruited various young women and girls—ages 15 through 19—to work as prostitutes. The defendants then advertised the prostitution business on Craigslist and other websites. The defendants drove the women to appointments in Manhattan, Brooklyn, New Jersey, and Staten Island to have sex with clients. The defendants then took approximately 50 percent of the money paid to the young women. The defendants also made the women available for sex to gamblers at a weekly, high-stakes poker games that OREFICE and his crew ran.

Jury Tampering

In 1992, then-Boss JOHN J. GOTTI was on trial for federal racketeering and murder charges in the Eastern District of New York. MODICA, along with various other Gambino Family members, took part in a plot to locate the anonymous, sequestered jurors sitting on that trial. MODICA and the others eventually penetrated various security measures, and located the jury at the hotel where it was sequestered. The plan to tamper with the jury was called off, however, when GOTTI came to believe that the jury would not convict him, even without outside interference.

Extortions and Assaults

MARINO is charged with extorting broad swaths of the construction industry in and around New York City from at least the 1980s to the present. Through the use of violence and threats, MARINO and the Gambino Family have extorted millions of dollars annually from unions, contractors, developers, and suppliers.

OREFICE, DIFIORE, MANZELLA, SCOTTO, MICHAEL SCARPACI, THOMAS SCARPACI, DELLITALIA, EISLER, and VECCHIONE are charged with extorting payments from various businesses and individuals through the use of violence and threats. The defendants targeted businesses in the home heating oil industry and the financial services industry, as well as various individuals in and around New York City.

Several of the extortions resulted in serious beatings. For example:

* In December 2005, after an extortion victim failed to make a payment, OREFICE, DIFIORE, and DELLITALIA punched and used a baseball bat to beat the victim.
* In 2008, OREFICE and DIFIORE tracked down another extortion victim who failed to make a payment, beat him viciously, and left him on the street.
* In the summer of 2009, members of OREFICE's crew went to the office of a business owner in an attempt to shake him down, demanded to see their extortion victim, and, when refused, threatened the business owner's office staff.

Wire Fraud

OREFICE and MANZELLA are charged with defrauding various high-end restaurants in New York City by inflating invoices for meat orders placed with MANZELLA's company and paying kickbacks to the chefs responsible for ordering the meat. The invoices were sometimes inflated by as much as 40 percent of actual costs. To ensure that the chefs at the restaurants would continue ordering meat from MANZELLA's company, and to encourage them to turn a blind eye to the scam, OREFICE and MANZELLA kicked back about 5 percent of the proceeds back to them.

Narcotics Trafficking

OREFICE, DIFIORE, and BORGIA are charged with trafficking in narcotics —including cocaine, oxycontin, an marijuana—for and on behalf of the Gambino Family.


MARINO, OREFICE, DIFIORE, SCOTTO, MICHAEL SCARPACI, and THOMAS SCARPACI are charged with making and collecting extortionate extensions of credit—commonly known as "loansharking." When debtors became unable to keep up their repayment obligations, the defendants threatened them. In one series of consensually-recorded discussions about the loansharking operation, a loanshark victim was said to have been "roughed up" and put in the trunk of a car. The participants then agreed that, if necessary, firearms, including AK-47s and AR-14s, could be obtained to help ensure repayment from debtors.


MARINO, OREFICE, MODICA, DIFIORE, MANZELLA, MICHAEL SCARPACI, THOMAS SCARPACI, EISLER, BORGIA, and DELLITALIA are charged with running illegal gambling operations for the Gambino Family. These operations included an Internet-based sports betting, or "bookmaking," operation, and a regular, high-stakes card game.

* * *

The charges contained in the indictment against each defendant and the corresponding maximum potential penalties are contained in charts below. The indictment also seeks forfeiture of the proceeds of the alleged crimes, including of $20 million as to Counts One and Two.

U.S. Attorney PREET BHARARA stated: "As today's case demonstrates, the mafia is not dead. It is alive and kicking. Modern mobsters may be less colorful, less flamboyant, and less glamorous than some of their predecessors, but they are still terrorizing businesses, using baseball bats, and putting people in the hospital. Today, the Gambino Family has lost one of its leaders, and many of its rising stars have now fallen. We will continue to work with our partners at the FBI to eradicate the mafia, and to keep organized crime from victimizing the businesses, and the people, of this city."

FBI Special Agent-in-Charge GEORGE VENIZELOS stated: "In some ways, this is not the Gambino Family of John J. Gotti. But while the leadership may maintain a lower profile, this case shows that it's still about making money illegally, by whatever means. No crime seemed too depraved to be exploited if it was a money-maker, including the sexual exploitation of a 15-year-old. In truth, despite the popular fascination, it was never really about the thousand-dollar suits. It was—and is—about murder, mayhem, and money."

Mr. BHARARA praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI. Mr. BHARARA also noted that the investigation is continuing.

Assistant United States Attorneys ELIE HONIG, STEVE KWOK, and JASON HERNANDEZ are in charge of the prosecution. The case is being handled by the Office's Organized Crime Unit.

The charges contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Source: FBI

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