Dozens of Gambino, Genovese and Bonanno Crime Family Members Indicted in NYC
by Jim Kouri, CPP
In a dramatic blow to traditional organized crime families operating in the New York City metropolitan area, an 80 indictment charging 62 defendants associated with the Gambino, Genovese, and Bonanno organized crime families of La Cosa Nostra, the construction industry, or its supporting unions -- including each member of the Gambino family administration currently at liberty -- was unsealed Thursday in federal court in Brooklyn, New York.
The indictment charges racketeering conspiracy, extortion, theft of union benefits, mail fraud, false statements, loansharking, embezzlement of union funds, money laundering, and illegal gambling.
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 defendants, all members and associates of the Gambino family, are charged with racketeering conspiracy, which includes acts involving murder, attempted murder, murder conspiracy, felony murder, robbery, extortion, conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana, securities fraud, mail fraud, loansharking, theft of union benefits, illegal gambling, and bribery. Notably, the evidence relating to many of the charged crimes consists of hundreds of hours of recorded conversations secured by a cooperating witness who penetrated the Gambino family over a three-year period.
The defendants arrested in New York on Thursday were arraigned before United States Magistrate Judge Kiyo A. Matsumoto at the U.S. Courthouse, 271 in Brooklyn, NY. The case has been assigned to United States District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis.
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 on Thursday, the Gambino family profited from extortion related rackets at construction sites in the New York City metropolitan area, including the 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 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.
For example, 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.
In the murder of Michael Cotillo. Carneglia is charged with killing 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.
Carneglia is also 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.
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.
In addition, 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.
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.
These arrests are the latest in a series of prosecutions in this district targeting the highest
echelons of each of the five New York-based families of the LCN.
“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 Walter 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.”
“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 Andrew 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 arrests were the result of a coordinated law enforcement effort involving a multitude of agencies at all levels of government, according to officials.
Officials believe that this 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.”
The arrests are being heralded as a major setback for the Gambino crime family, but it is a fallacy to suggest that La Cosa Nostra is no longer a threat to public safety.
“Organized crime in New York is not dead. As a consequence of acts charged in the indictment, however, seven people are dead. It’s also a fallacy that mob murder victims are just other mobsters. Three of the murder victims had no affiliation with organized crime,” stated one law enforcement official.
“This investigation demonstrates the long-term commitment by NYPD detectives, FBI agents, and prosecutors in making sure the accused are brought to justice. The Gambino organization spilled a lot of blood in New York, and it is being held accountable – no matter how long it takes,” Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.
“This history of violence has been abetted, often unwittingly, by people who see nothing wrong with placing a bet with a mobbed-up bookie,” Commissioner Kelly added. “I commend detectives from our Vice Enforcement Division, who in a related case with 26 arrests, today smashed one of the Gambino crime ring’s most profitable, illegal enterprises – namely, sports gambling.”
“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,” declared one police commander involved in the arrests.
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for a number of organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores. Kouri holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice and master of arts in public administration and he's a board certified protection professional.