(WASHINGTON) — The Justice Department on Wednesday charged 10 men suspected to be members of the Gambino crime family with allegedly shaking down business owners, assaulting members of the public, arson and embezzling from unions.
Federal prosecutors allege the men began extorting a carting and hauling company in the New York City area as early as 2017 and a separate demolition company.
The defendants are Joseph Lanni, also known as “Joe Brooklyn” and “Mommino,” an alleged captain in the Gambino organized crime family, Diego “Danny” Tantillo, Angelo Gradilone, also known as “Fifi,” James LaForte, alleged Gambino soldiers, Vito Rappa, alleged U.S.-based Sicilian Mafia member and Gambino associate, Francesco Vicari, also known as “Uncle Ciccio,” alleged U.S.-based Sicilian Mafia associate and Gambino associate, Salvatore DiLorenzo, Robert Brooke, Kyle Johnson, also known as “Twin,” and Vincent Minsquero, also known as “Vinny Slick,” an alleged Gambino associate.
The Gambino crime family, is, according to the Justice Department, a member of Italian organized crime, known as “La Costa Nostra.”
“These extortions involved lighting the steps of John Doe 1’s home on fire, attempts to damage John Doe 1’s carting trucks, the violent assault—with a hammer—of an employee at Demolition Company 1, and the violent assault of one of the owners of Demolition Company 1,” a detention memo filed on Wednesday read.
In one instance, Tantillo, a captain in the Gambino crime family, showed up to the carting and hauling company’s office with a baseball bat and demanded $1,000, according to court documents.
“Tantillo showed John Doe 1 a metal baseball bat and told John Doe 1 the baseball bat was for him,” according to the court documents.
“After John Doe 1 attempted to stop making extortionate payments, the defendants took increasingly violent action, and enlisted defendant Kyle Johnson, a close associate of Tantillo and other Gambino crime family members, to assist them in those efforts,” according to the court documents.
That included setting ablaze John Doe 1’s home while his wife and kids were inside, according to DOJ.
After the alleged arson was committed, two other alleged Gambino associates, Vito Rappa and Franceso Vacari, threatened his associate to make payments to the family, according to the DOJ.
Vacari allegedly acted like “the Last Samurai” while they were shaking down the associate, according to a wiretapped phone call.
“Rappa described how Vicari picked up a knife and directed John Doe 1’s associate to threaten to cut John Doe 1 in half in order to get John Doe 1 to make extortionate payments. ‘Get this axe and you make him – two,"” the court documents allege.
After the alleged incident, John Doe 1′ s company resumed making payments and Vacari took a photo toasting the payments, according to the DOJ.
In another instance, the men allegedly demanded $40,000 from a demolition company. When they didn’t get the money, Robert Brooke was enlisted to beat up the owner on the corner of a Brooklyn street, the documents allege.
The men are also charged with witness intimidation.
“In February 2021, LaForte and Minsquero assaulted a person (John Doe 6), who they believed had previously provided information to law enforcement about members and associates of organized crime, while Lanni sat nearby,” according to the documents. “LaForte called John Doe 6 a “rat” and hit John Doe 6 in the face with a bottle. LaForte and Minsquero also flipped John Doe 6’s table, sending drinks and shattered glass everywhere. John Doe 6 suffered a bloody nose from being hit with the bottle by LaForte.”
While they are not charged for it, Lanni and Minsquero also allegedly caused a disturbance at a bar in Tom’s River, New Jersey on Sept. 1, 2023.
“While being escorted out of the restaurant, both Lanni and Minsquero became belligerent,” according to the documents. “Minsquero damaged a painting and punched a wall, and Lanni told the owner, in substance, that he would ‘burn this place down with you in it."”
Lanni referred to himself as a “Gambino” around this time.”
Nearby surveillance footage allegedly shows Lanni buying a gas container and attempting to fill it at gas station, and while he did not go through with it, the Justice Department says they returned later.
Lanni allegedly called the bar 39 times and told the owner he was going to make him “beg for forgiveness.”
As the owner of the bar got into his car with his wife, “a man got into the front passenger door of the Owner’s car, punched the Owner in the head, put a knife to the Owner’s neck, and threatened to kill the Owner,” according to the documents.
“The Spouse ran to help the Owner and was punched and knocked to the ground by a second man. Both perpetrators then beat the Spouse while the Spouse was on the ground. The man with the knife slashed the Owner’s tires with the knife and pointed the knife at the Spouse before leaving on foot,” the documents say.
Lawyers for the men weren’t immediately available to comment.
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