News and Press Releases

Bonanno Organized Crime Family Acting Captains, Soldier, and Associate Indicted for Racketeering and Other Offenses

August 28, 2008

An indictment was unsealed this morning in Brooklyn federal court charging JOHN CONTELLO, VINCENT DISARIO, and MICHAEL CARUCCI with multiple crimes, including racketeering and racketeering conspiracy relating to their involvement in the Bonanno organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra, GERALD CHILLI with extortion, and GEORGE MILLER and others for their participation in a racketeering enterprise through the collection of unlawful debts.1 RICHARD CENDALI and ANTHONY ZENI, and others, were charged for their participation in illegal gambling operations. CONTELLO, DISARIO, CARUCCI, and CENDALI were arrested earlier today in the New York City metropolitan area and are scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge James Orenstein, at the U.S. Courthouse, 225 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, New York. The case has been assigned to United States District Judge Charles P. Sifton.

The charges were announced by Benton J. Campbell, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Richard A. Brown, District Attorney, Queens County, New York, Mark J. Mershon, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Division, and Raymond W. Kelly, Commissioner, New York City Police Department.

As alleged in the indictment, CONTELLO, also known as “Big John,” and CHILLI, also known as “Gerry Chilli,” are acting captains in the Bonanno organized crime family; DISARIO, also known as “Vinny Bionics,” is a soldier; and MILLER is an associate. The racketeering charges include predicate acts of extortion conspiracy, illegal gambling, and structuring of financial transactions to evade federal reporting requirements. In addition, the indictment alleges nine substantive charges, including illegal gambling, extortionate collections of credit, and conspiracy to distribute controlled substances.

United States Attorney Campbell expressed his grateful appreciation to the Queens County District Attorney’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the New York City Police Department for their assistance in the case. “These law enforcement partners have played a crucial role in our ongoing initiative to end any and all influence of the Bonanno organized crime family – a cooperative effort that has led to the arrest of more than a hundred members and associates of the Bonanno family.”

If convicted, defendants CARUCCI, CHILLI, CONTELLO, DISARIO, and MILLER each face a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment, and CENDALI and ZENI each face a maximum of five years’ imprisonment.

The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Nicole M. Argentieri, and James D. Gatta, and Special Assistant United States Attorney Doug Leff.

The Defendants:

Age: 55

Age: 74

Age: 47

Age: 38

Age: 40

Age: 68

Age: 46





1 The charges contained in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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