Former Long Island Tavern Owner Sentenced to 15 Years’ Imprisonment in Arson-for-hire Scheme
Defendant Was The Owner Of Copperfield’s Pub In New Hyde Park
Carmine Graziano, the former owner of Copperfield’s Pub (Copperfield’s) in New Hyde Park, New York, was sentenced today to 15 years’ imprisonment, five years of supervised release, and $216,924 in restitution for hiring a bar patron to set fire to a neighboring business, Roseanne’s Cards Galore (Roseanne’s). The resulting firebombing completely destroyed Roseanne’s and forced the evacuation of residents of several apartments located directly above the store, including a severely physically disabled man who suffered burns and smoke inhalation. The sentencing proceeding was held earlier today in Central Islip, New York, before United States District Court Judge Joseph F. Bianco.
The sentence was announced by Benton J. Campbell, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Ronald B. Turk, Special Agent-in-Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), and Lawrence W. Mulvey, Nassau County Police Commissioner.
In March 2008, Graziano was convicted on all counts in the indictment following a two-week jury trial. As established by the trial evidence, in August 2003, Graziano hired a heroin-addicted patron of Copperfield’s to set fire to Roseanne’s, a family-owned stationery store. Graziano was upset that the owners of Roseanne’s had repeatedly complained to law enforcement and state regulatory authorities about noise, violence, underage drinking, and other disruptive behavior at Copperfield’s. Those complaints resulted in extra police patrols and enforcement and sanctions from the New York State Liquor Authority and the Town of New Hyde Park that negatively impacted Copperfield’s profits. Graziano repeatedly threatened the owners of Roseanne’s in an unsuccessful effort to silence them before ordering the firebombing.
At 4:30 a.m. on August 11, 2003, the Copperfield’s patron hired by Graziano and an accomplice broke the front window of Roseanne’s and tossed a flaming can of gasoline inside, immediately engulfing the store in flames. The residents of the apartments above were evacuated with the assistance of emergency responders, but Roseanne’s was completely destroyed. Later that morning, Graziano paid the two men $1,000 in cash. Both men subsequently pleaded guilty to arson conspiracy charges and are awaiting sentencing. At the time Graziano ordered the arson, he was running an illegal gambling operation in Copperfield’s, which led to his conviction on state racketeering charges in Nassau County in 2007. He is awaiting sentencing in that case.
“In an effort to preserve profits, the defendant destroyed a neighboring business and endangered the lives of residents and emergency responders,” stated United States Attorney Campbell. “Those who employ such violence will be pursued, prosecuted, and punished.” Mr. Campbell thanked the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office for its assistance in the case.
ATF Special Agent-in-Charge Turk stated, “Hiring someone to firebomb a building in the early morning hours is reprehensible. Even more appalling is the blatant disregard for the lives of those living in the building. I congratulate the ATF agents and Nassau County Detectives who investigated this case and the Assistant United States Attorney who secured the guilty verdict in the two week jury trial. Arson affects a broad spectrum of victims, from building owners, to tenants, to responding emergency personnel, and ATF remains committed to investigating these types of criminal acts to keep our neighborhoods safe.”
“The successful prosecution of Carmine Graziano is another example of our law enforcement community working together to rid our neighborhoods of dangerous and violent criminals who compromise the safety of our business owners and residents, as well as our protectors,” stated Police Commissioner Mulvey. “The substantial sentence imposed by the court should serve as a strong deterrent to others who would engage in such acts of violence.”
The government’s case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Evan Williams.
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