Alleged Gambino Associate, Westies Member, and Demon Knights Motorcycle Gang Member Charged with Violent Extortion
James Ferrara, Daniel Hanley, and Peter Kanakis were arrested today on a federal indictment charging them with extortionate extension of credit, extortionate collection of credit, and conspiracy to do the same.1 The defendants will have their initial appearances and arraignments this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Viktor V. Pohorelsky, at the United States Courthouse in Brooklyn, New York.
The charges and arrests were announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Mary E. Galligan, Acting Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office, and Raymond W. Kelly, Commissioner, New York City Police Department.
As alleged in the indictment and set forth in a detention memorandum filed by the government, Ferrara is an associate of the Gambino organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra, Hanley is a member of The Westies street gang, and Kanakis is a member of the Demon Knights, a subchapter of the Hells Angels motorcycle gang. The defendants are charged with conspiring to collect and attempting to collect loansharking debts from at least two victims, using threats of violence and displaying firearms to their victims. In one instance, when a victim could not make repayments on the loan, the defendants threatened him with brass knuckles and a baseball bat. As detailed in the government’s detention memorandum, the extortionate means used by the defendants to collect the loansharking debts included a shooting in December 2011 in which a gunman driving a car of the same color, make, and model as a car registered to Kanakis shot at the victim one morning as the victim was getting into his car to leave for work, narrowly missing him.
If convicted, the defendants each face a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment on each count in which they are named in the indictment.
“Allegedly members of three different organized crime enterprises, these defendants nevertheless banded together and spoke the same language of violence, threats, and intimidation to their victims. Such tactics will always be met with the full force of the law,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “We will not rest until organized crime is eradicated from our communities.” Ms. Lynch added that the government’s investigation is continuing.
FBI Acting Assistant Director in Charge Galligan stated, “If you default on a loan from a financial institution, you may lose property pledged as collateral. If you borrowed from these alleged gangsters, you risked losing life and limb. The FBI continues to target loansharking and associated criminal activity that remain lucrative for organized crime.”
Police Commissioner Kelly stated, “With alleged involvement of the Gambinos, Westies, and Hell’s Angels, this case hit the trifecta of loansharking and extortion. I want to commend the NYPD detectives and federal agents and prosecutors who brought the suspects to justice.”
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Vamshi Reddy.
Brooklyn, New York
Cliffside Park, New Jersey
West Islip, New York
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