On June 3, federal and N.Y. authorities announced the arrests and indictments of seventeen members and associates of the Gambino Organized Crime Family of La Cosa Nostra for racketeering, extortion, wire-fraud, loan sharking, operating illegal gambling businesses, money laundering, witness tampering and other related crimes. The 68-count indictment outlines the Gambino family’s influence, through extortion and wire fraud, over the Int’l Longshoremen’s Ass’n Locals 1 and 1814, as well as firms on the Brooklyn and Staten Island waterfronts. Allegedly, waterfront employees and their relatives, several business owners, and an individual in the film industry were extorted.
Among the defendants are two of John J. Gotti’s brothers and his nephew. According to prosecutors, the defendants are: Gambino boss Peter Gotti; captains Anthony Ciccone and Richard V. Gotti; soldiers Richard G. Gotti, Primo Cassarino, Jerome Brancato, and Peter Piacenti; associates, Frank Scollo (who is also ILA Local 1814 president and ILA int’l vice-president), Vincent Nasso, Julius Nasso, Richard Bondi, Salvatore Cannata, Thomas Lisi, Carmine Malara, Anna Eylenkrig, Anthony Pansini, and Jerome Orsino, Jr.
Allegedly, after John A. Gotti was convicted in 1999 of rackets charges, his uncle, Peter Gotti became the acting boss of the Gambino crime family. Historically, the Gambino family and the Genovese crime family allegedly divided up control of the N.Y. and N.J. waterfronts, with Brooklyn and Staten Island falling under the Gambino family’s control.
The families allegedly coordinated efforts to select ILA bosses at the highest levels. Ciccone, Cassarino, Vincent Nasso and Scollo, together with members of the Genovese family, intimidated trustees of MILA, the ILA’s health plan, to award prescription pharmaceutical service contracts to a company partly owned by Vincent Nasso. The families then allegedly split a kick-back of some $400,000 for the contract award.
Further, Ciccone and several defendants allegedly extorted owners of waterfront firms, including Howland Hook Container Terminal and a trucking company, both in Staten Island as well as firms in Brooklyn. As part of this criminal activity, Scollo is charged with personally collecting thousands of dollars in extortion money from the owner of Howland Hook on a monthly basis between Apr. 2000 and Aug. 2001. Ciccone is charged with personally collecting thousands of dollars in extortion money from the trucking firm owner on a bimonthly basis, from 1999 to May 2002.
At least two of the defendants, Cassarino and Scollo, are also charged with extorting thousands of dollars from a relative of an individual seeking employment on the waterfront, in exchange for a waterfront job. In another count, the indictment charges that during the summer of 2001, an employee of the Howland Hook company was heavily pressured to step down from his job so that a relative of Anastasio could be installed to take his place. In a third count, the indictment alleges that Ciccone and Cassarino demanded that an injured longshoreman pay them a portion of the monetary settlement he received as a result a work-related injury.
The indictment also charges that from Sept. 2000 through May 2002, Ciccone, Cassarino, and both Nassos attempted to extort a well-known movie star and film director. Allegedly, the four attempted to use Ciccone’s position as a captain in the Gambino family to pressure the victim either to pay them money or to include Julius Nasso in the victim’s next film project. In one incident, the victim was directed to pay Ciccone $150,000 for each film he made.
Also, in Feb. 2002, Ciccone and Cassarino allegedly directed a witness who had been subpoenaed to testify in this case before a federal grand jury to refuse to answer questions because it would open a “Pandora’s box” for Ciccone and his crew.
“This case is a major step in our efforts to clean up the wide-spread corruption of a vital segment of New York’s economy — our waterfronts, and as important, to dismantle the Gambino crime family’s influence,” N.Y. Atty. Gen. Elliott Spitzer said. [N.Y. Atty. Gen. Office 6/3/02; N.Y. Times 6/5/02]