News and Press Releases

Defense Attorney Larry Bronson and Gambino Crime Family Associate Steven Kaplan Charged with Racketeering Conspiracy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 30, 2005

ROSLYNN R. MAUSKOPF, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and MARK J. MERSHON, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office, today announced the unsealing of an indictment charging defense attorney LARRY BRONSON and Gambino family associate STEVEN KAPLAN with racketeering conspiracy, including acts of witness tampering, bribery, and obstruction of justice. BRONSON is also charged with contempt of court.1

The defendants were arrested this morning and are scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon at 3:00 p.m. before United States District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis, at the U.S. Courthouse, 225 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, New York.

According to the indictment and a detention memorandum filed today by the government, BRONSON used his status as an attorney to corruptly assist La Cosa Nostra in its criminal activities and to obstruct justice on its behalf. Specifically, BRONSON, together with KAPLAN, who is an alleged associate of the Gambino family, engaged in repeated acts of witness intimidation and efforts at bribery in connection with an investigation and prosecution of crimes -- including interstate prostitution, wire fraud, money laundering, loansharking, and extortion -- involving the Gold Club, a strip club owned and operated by KAPLAN in Atlanta, Georgia.2 As alleged in the indictment, BRONSON used his role as an attorney to help members of La Cosa Nostra use threats and intimidation to tamper with individuals subpoenaed to testify in the grand jury, and attempt to bribe witnesses to testify untruthfully to the grand jury and at trial, to include:

coaching Gold Club employees who had been subpoenaed to the grand jury to exculpate KAPLAN;

bribing a Gambino associate they suspected of cooperating to ensure his silence; and threatening

to reveal a witness's extra-marital activities to his wife if he was truthful in the grand jury.

These acts were initially designed to prevent KAPLAN from being indicted, and, after he was indicted and brought to trial on racketeering charges, to influence the outcome of the trial. Ultimately, KAPLAN pled guilty to racketeering.

BRONSON is also charged with hosting meetings in his Manhattan law office attended by members of organized crime who were on supervised release and under court order not to associate with each other. Finally, BRONSON is charged with disseminating to organized crime members information about individuals he believed were cooperating with the government in organized crime cases.

"Lawyers who choose threats and bribery over advocacy and legal skill to win cases become willing partners in the criminal activity of their clients," stated United States Attorney MAUSKOPF. "By crossing this line, Bronson violated the basic tenets of ethical lawyering and made a mockery of his oath as a member of the bar."

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge MERSHON stated, "The charges unsealed today reveal a sordid partnership between a mob associate and a member of the bar, both of whom were working to the detriment of the criminal justice system. The men and women of the FBI have zero tolerance for this type of behavior and will always seek to bring those who engage in it to justice."

If convicted of racketeering conspiracy, BRONSON and KAPLAN face a maximum sentence of 20 years' imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.

The government's case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Caren Myers.

The Defendants:

Name: LARRY BRONSON
DOB: 5/14/1945

Name: STEVEN KAPLAN
DOB: 4/2/1959

 

_____________________________

1 The charges announced today are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

2 United States v. Steven E. Kaplan et al., Northern District of Georgia, Docket No. 99 CR 609.


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