Gambino Crime Family Leadership, Members And Associates Indicted On Numerous Charges Following Investigation Led By Attorney General Cuomo’s Organized Crime Task Force
NEW YORK, N.Y. (February 7, 2008) – Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo announced that a multi-agency investigation led by his Organized Crime Task Force culminated today in the indictment of 62 members and associates of the Gambino, Genovese and Bonanno crime families — including the Gambino family’s boss, underboss, and consigliere.
The eighty-count federal indictment unsealed today in Brooklyn includes charges of racketeering and racketeering conspiracy, encompassing acts of murder, attempted murder, robbery, extortion, loan-sharking, illegal gambling, distribution of cocaine and marijuana, money laundering, mail fraud, bribery of labor officials, embezzlement of union funds, and theft of union benefits.
“This case is noteworthy not only because of its breadth but also because it includes charges against the entire administration of the Gambino family of La Cosa Nostra,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “These charges are the result of the extraordinary work of the law-enforcement agencies that partnered together to take down a legacy of crime and violence that spanned decades.”
The Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force (OCTF) and its law enforcement partners developed an informant and successfully ran that informant deep inside the Gambino family. Equipped with sophisticated recording devices supplied by OCTF, the informant recorded hundreds of conversations with members and associates of the Gambino family and others, which demonstrated the families’ methods for gaining control over and extorting businesses in New York, as well as their control of illegal gambling and loan-sharking in New York City. These recordings, along with the informant’s testimony and other conversations recorded on wiretaps conducted by OCTF and its partners, are central to the charges in today’s indictment.
Attorney General Cuomo continued, “Having successfully partnered with other agencies to investigate the illegal activities of the Gambino family, we have now joined forces with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York to bring the most efficient and effective prosecution based on the evidence available to both offices. In this way, we are sending a clear message that State, federal, and local authorities are united in our efforts to protect New Yorkers from organized crime.”
The charged crimes span more than three decades and reflect the Gambino family’s corrosive influence on the construction industry in New York City and beyond and its willingness to resort to violence, even murder, to resolve disputes in dozens of crimes of violence dating from the 1970s to the present, including eight acts of murder, murder conspiracy, and attempted murder. Twenty-five of the defendants are members or associates of the Gambino family. Notably, the evidence relating to many of the charged crimes consists of hundreds of hours of recorded conversations secured by the informant working with the Attorney General’s OCTF who penetrated the Gambino family.
The defendants arrested in New York today are scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Kiyo A. Matsumoto at the U.S. Courthouse, 271 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, NY.
As noted, the indictment charges each currently active member of the Gambino family “administration,” or executive leadership – acting boss John D’Amico, acting underboss Domenico Cefalu, and consigliere Joseph Corozzo – as well as three Gambino family captains, three acting captains, sixteen soldiers, and numerous associates. Each member of the administration is charged with racketeering conspiracy and multiple crimes of violence, namely extortions and extortion conspiracies relating to the construction industry, which carry sentences of up to twenty years’ imprisonment on each count.
According to the indictment and the detention memorandum filed today, the Gambino family profited from extortion related rackets at construction sites in the New York City metropolitan area, including the proposed NASCAR construction site located in Staten Island and the Liberty View Harbor construction site located in Jersey City, among others. The NASCAR extortion involved the planned construction of a racetrack in Staten Island that required large quantities of dirt fill, thus requiring trucking contracts which were controlled by the Gambino family. These crimes were part of a longstanding effort by the Gambino family to control and coordinate the extortion of dozens of private construction companies.
The charged criminal activity resulted not only in the extortion of business owners, but also the theft of union benefits from, among others, Local 282 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. The indictment also documents the Gambino family’s routine use of brazen violence. In particular, four members of the Gambino family are charged with eight crimes involving murder, murder conspiracy, and/or attempted murder. Each of these crimes – charged as racketeering acts – are detailed below:
The Murder of Albert Gelb: Gambino family soldier Charles Carneglia is charged with the 1976 murder of Albert Gelb as a racketeering act. On March 11, 1976, Gelb’s body was discovered in the front seat of a car in Queens, New York, with multiple gunshot wounds to his face and body. Gelb was a Brooklyn Criminal Court Officer who, several years earlier, had approached Carneglia in a Queens diner after Gelb determined that Carneglia was carrying a firearm. Carneglia resisted, and after a struggle with Gelb, he was arrested. Gelb was killed on March 11, 1976, four days before he was expected to testify at Carneglia’s trial.
The Murder of Michael Cotillo: Carneglia is charged with the murder of Gambino family associate Michael Cotillo as a racketeering act. Cotillo died from a stabbing inflicted by Carneglia on November 6, 1977, in Queens, New York, following a fight between the two men.
The Murder of Salvatore Puma: Carneglia is charged with the murder of Gambino family associate Salvatore Puma as a racketeering act. Puma died as a result of a stabbing allegedly inflicted by Carneglia on July 29, 1983. At the time of the stabbing, the two men were arguing over a money dispute.
The Murder of Louis DiBono: Carneglia is charged with the murder of Gambino family soldier Louis DiBono. Carneglia allegedly shot and killed DiBono on October 4, 1990, in the parking garage of the former World Trade Center in Manhattan, on the orders of then-Gambino family boss John J. Gotti. According to the indictment and the government’s detention memorandum, Gotti ordered DiBono’s execution because DiBono had repeatedly failed to meet with Gotti.
The Felony Murder of Jose Delgado Rivera: Carneglia is charged with the December 1990 armed robbery and felony murder of Jose Delgado Rivera as a racketeering act. Rivera, an armored truck guard, was shot and killed during a robbery while he and a co-worker were delivering money to the American Airlines building at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, New York.
The Murders of Robert Arena and Thomas Maranga: Gambino family captain Nicholas Corozzo is charged with the January 1996 double murder of Luchese family associate Robert Arena and Arena’s friend, Thomas Maranga. Corozzo ordered the murder of Arena in retaliation for Arena’s failure to return marijuana he had robbed from a narcotics dealer and for Arena’s suspected participation in the murder of a Corozzo crew member. Maranga was not a target of the murder but was killed because he was with Arena at the time of the attack.
Attempted Murder of John Doe: Gambino family soldiers Vincent Gotti, Richard G. Gotti, and Angelo Ruggiero, Jr. are charged with the May 2003 conspiracy to murder, and attempted murder, of John Doe as a racketeering act. John Doe was shot several times as he was leaving for work on May 4, 2003.
“The charges announced today are the result of a coordinated law enforcement initiative by federal, state, and local law enforcement officials,” stated United States Attorney Benton J. Campbell. “I want to thank our partners for their extraordinary efforts and commitment to this historic investigation and prosecution. Today, we serve notice that anyone who aspires to a position in organized crime will meet the same fate. We will not rest until we rid our communities and businesses of the scourge of organized crime.”
Inspector General Heddell, United States Department of Labor, stated, “Today’s RICO indictment represents a significant milestone toward eradicating a far-reaching and insidious conspiracy involving some of the largest construction companies in New York City that are owned, controlled, and/or influenced by the Gambino organized crime family. Many of these construction companies allegedly paid a ‘mob tax’ in return for ‘protection’ and permission to operate. Through their alleged control of these companies, the Gambino organized crime family caused the theft of Teamsters union dues, and of health and pension funds, directly impacting the welfare and future of many workers. My office stands firmly committed to working with our law enforcement partners to combat this type of labor racketeering and organized crime.”
New York City Department of Investigation Commissioner Rose Gil-Hearn said, “DOI will continue to work with its law enforcement partners and focus on this ongoing effort to drive out construction fraud in the City.”
Richmond County District Attorney Donovan stated, “This indictment is a prime example of the strong collaborative efforts of law enforcement agencies in this region, today striking a major blow against organized crime in our community.”
Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor Executive Director De Maria stated, “For 55 years the Commission has spearheaded and actively participated with various state, federal, and local law enforcement authorities in a multitude of successful investigations which have led to countless criminal prosecutions and administrative action against waterfront- related figures. The Gambino crime family has been a predator of the longshore and construction industries and unions as well as many other industries and their related unions for decades in New York City.”
New York City Business Integrity Commissioner Mansfield stated, “In addition to this indictment, and as a direct result of this long-term collaboration between the Commission and its law enforcement partners, effective immediately the Commission has terminated the authority of the carting companies controlled by these defendants to operate in New York City. The Commission remains committed to its mission of eliminating the influence of organized crime from the industries it regulates.”
The Attorney General thanked the United States Department of Labor Regional Inspector General Marge Franzman and her predecessor, John McGlynn, as well as Executive Director Thomas DeMaria of the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor, and his Chief of Police, Kevin McGowan, for providing substantial manpower to the investigation throughout, including to monitor wiretaps and conduct surveillance. The Attorney General also thanked Mark J. Mershon, the FBI’s Assistant Director in Charge of its New York Field Office, and Supervisory Special Agent Philip Scala; Richmond County District Attorney Daniel Donovan; New York City Business Integrity Commissioner Michael Mansfield and Director of Enforcement Ronald Cohen; and New York City Department of Investigation Commissioner Rose Gill-Hearn, all for their assistance in the investigation. The Attorney General also thanked Benton J. Campbell, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
The charges in the case are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The investigation was conducted under the direction and with the participation of OCTF Deputy Attorney General in Charge Christopher Prather. Amy Legow Cohn, an Assistant Deputy Attorney General and Counsel to OCTF, was the lead attorney on the investigation and is participating in the prosecution of the case as a Special Assistant United States Attorney. Former Assistant Deputy Attorney General Thomas Melanson assisted in the investigation. OCTF Supervising Investigator George Pagnotta was the lead investigator, under the supervision of Chief Investigator Tom Mullen and Assistant Chief Dominick Zarrella.