David N. Kelley, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Pasquale D’Amuro, the Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Office of the FBI, Robert Johnson, the District Attorney for Bronx County, and Gordon S. Heddell, the Inspector General of the United States Department of Labor, announced on March 9 the unsealing of a 53-count Indictment in Manhattan federal court captioned United States v. Arnold Squitieri, et al., 05 Cr. 228 (the Indictment”).
The Indictment charges 32 defendants, most of whom are members or associates of the Gambino Organized Crime Family of La Cosa Nostra (“LCN”), with wide-ranging racketeering crimes and other offenses spanning more than a decade, including violent assault, extortion of various individuals and businesses, loansharking, union embezzlement, illegal gambling, trafficking in stolen property
and counterfeit goods, and mail fraud.
The chief defendant is Arnold Squitieri, a/k/a “Zeke,” a/k/a “Bozey,” a/k/a “Sylvester,” who is alleged to be the Acting Boss and Official Underboss of the Gambino Family. Among the numerous other defendants are James Vetrano, who is the president of Retail and Wholesale Department Store Union-United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 305, and a trustee of the Local 305 benefit funds, and Joseph Moray, who are charged with union benefit embezzlement and related fraud charges.
In particular, the Indictment alleges that Squitieri was made Underboss of the Gambino Family by John J. Gotti, the former Boss of the Family, shortly after Squitieri was released from jail following a 1989 narcotics conviction. The Indictment further alleges that Squitieri was promoted to Acting Boss after Peter Gotti’s 2002 arrest on racketeering charges.
The charges in the Indictment are the result of an almost three-year long investigation by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, the Bronx District Attorney’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Department of Labor. The investigation included obtaining court authorization to intercept conversations among the various defendants at several locations in Westchester County, including at the United Hebrew Geriatrics Home (the “Home”), located in New Rochelle, New York.
Craig DePalma, the other son of Acting Capo Gregory DePalma, and himself a Gambino Soldier, who was previously convicted of racketeering charges in this District, is a convalescent patient at the Home. Authorization to intercept conversations at the Home was sought and obtained after law enforcement agents discovered that DePalma and the other members of his crew, as well as other members and associates of LCN, engaged in daily meetings and conversations about their ongoing criminal enterprise at the Home, in the mistaken belief that they could abuse the confines of the Home as a means to avoid law enforcement scrutiny.
The Government has alleged that the criminal activities of the defendants has resulted in their obtaining at least $30 million in illegal proceeds. The Government will seek forfeiture of that amount from the defendants. Assistant United States Attorneys Edward C. O’Callaghan and Christopher P. Conniffare in charge of the prosecutions. A complete record of the charges and defendants can be found on the U.S. Attny. website at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/nys/Press%20Releases/March05/Squitieri%20Indictment%20PR.pdf. [U.S.A.O., S.D.NY, 3/9/05]