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FOUR GAMBINO CRIME FAMILY MEMBERS AND ASSOCIATES PLEAD GUILTY IN MANHATTAN FEDERAL COURT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday February 17, 2012

11 Gambino Family Members and Associates Arrested Last Year in a National Crackdown on Organized Crime Have Now Pled Guilty

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that ALPHONSE TRUCCHIO, MICHAEL ROCCAFORTE, ANTHONY MOSCATIELLO, and CHRISTOPHER COLON, respectively, a Captain, two Soldiers, and an associate of the Gambino Organized Crime Family of La Cosa Nostra (the “Gambino Family”), pled guilty today to racketeering, narcotics trafficking, assault, extortion, and other crimes.  They were charged last year in U.S. v. Joseph Corozzo, et al., as part of a nationwide takedown of members and associates of organized crime.  TRUCCHIO and COLON also pled guilty to racketeering conspiracy charges related to their participation in a scheme to recruit illegal immigrants to work in adult entertainment clubs controlled by La Cosa Nostra.  They were charged in connection with the scheme in November 2011 in U.S. v. Alphonse Trucchio, et al.  TRUCCHIO and COLON pled guilty today before U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman.  MICHAEL ROCCAFORTE and MOSCATIELLO pled guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Gabriel W. Gorenstein.

Seven defendants previously pled guilty in connection with the Corozzo case: Gambino Family Associates SALVATORE TORTORICI, FRANK BELLANTONI, and MICHAEL KUHTENIA pled guilty earlier this week.  Gambino Family Captain LOUIS MASTRANGELO and Associates FRANK ROCCAFORTE, MICHAEL RUSSO, and ANTHINO RUSSO pled guilty last year. 

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said:  “For those who believe La Cosa Nostra’s criminal activities and influence are on the decline, the sweeping charges in this case and today’s guilty pleas should disabuse them of that notion.  They should also make clear that this Office is as committed as ever to rooting out the dangerous and deadly presence of organized crime.”

As alleged in the two Indictments, the defendants’ guilty pleas, and the public record of the case:

TRUCCHIO and MASTRANGELO were both Captains of the Gambino Family and responsible for supervising crews of street level members, also known as “Soldiers,” and associates.  Soldiers are members who have been formally initiated or “made,” and associates are non-initiated individuals who commit crimes with and for the Gambino Family. MOSCATIELLO, BELLANTONI, COLON, TORTORICI, KUHTENIA, MICHAEL ROCCAFORTE, MICHAEL RUSSO, ANTHINO RUSSO, and FRANK ROCCAFORTE were members of TRUCCHIO’s crew.

All of the named defendants pled guilty to racketeering charges.  Various defendants also pled guilty to narcotics trafficking, extortion, and other crimes.

Narcotics Trafficking

TRUCCHIO, MICHAEL ROCCAFORTE, COLON, TORTORICI, FRANK ROCCAFORTE, and KUHTENIA pled guilty to narcotics trafficking offenses.  From the late 1980s through 2010, TRUCCHIO and others oversaw the Gambino Family’s large-scale narcotics distribution operations, which were primarily located in Queens, New York.  Numerous drug suppliers, wholesalers, and street dealers operated under the authority and protection of the Gambino Family, in exchange for paying the Family a portion of their profits.  Over the years, TRUCCHIO, MICHAEL ROCCAFORTE, COLON, TORTORICI, FRANK ROCCAFORTE, KUHTENIA, and others distributed hundreds of kilograms of cocaine and marijuana, and thousands of ecstasy and vicodin pills, all of which generated millions of dollars in illegal proceeds for the Gambino Family.

Extortions

MASTRANGELO and MOSCATIELLO pled guilty to their roles in extorting payments from businesses owners and individuals based in New York City through the use of violence and threats.  TRUCCHIO and COLON pled guilty to participating in the Gambino Family’s systemic control and extortion of strip clubs in Queens and Long Island, New York. 

Assaults

TRUCCHIO pled guilty to ordering and participating in two assaults in 2008 and 2009.  COLON pled guilty to stabbing an individual during the 2008 assault, and also to intentionally hitting another individual with his car in an effort to collect a debt during a November 2010 assault.  MICHAEL ROCCAFORTE and FRANK ROCCAFORTE also pled guilty to committing assaults for the Gambino Family. 

Loansharking

TRUCCHIO, MASTRANGELO, MICHAEL ROCCAFORTE, MOSCATIELLO, COLON, BELLANTONI, TORTORICI, and KUHTENIA pled guilty to engaging in “loansharking” – making and collecting extortionate extensions of credit – on behalf of the Gambino Family.  When debtors became unable to keep up their repayment obligations, the defendants would threaten, and at times, assault them in order to collect on those debts.  BELLANTONI pled guilty to a particular instance in 2009 when he dispatched another Gambino Family associate to threaten and, if necessary, injure, an individual who owed a purported $82,000 debt to the Gambino Family.

Gambling

TRUCCHIO, MASTRANGELO, MICHAEL ROCCAFORTE, MOSCATIELLO, COLON, FRANK ROCCAFORTE, MICHAEL RUSSO, BELLANTONI, TORTORICI, and KUHTENIA pled guilty to various gambling offenses, including running internet-based sports betting, or “bookmaking,” operations, various regular, high-stakes card games, and operating video poker machines.

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The maximum penalties that each defendant faces are outlined in a chart attached to this release.

Charges are pending against the remaining 11 defendants charged in U.S. v. Joseph Corozzo, et al.   Associate John Brancaccio is scheduled for trial in April 2012.  Soldier Vincenzo Frogerio and Associates Todd LaBarca, Christopher Reynolds and Keith Croce are scheduled for trial in June 2012.  Family Captain and Ruling Panel member Bartolomeo Vernance and Associates Sean Dunn, Robert Napolitano, Robert Bucholz, and Salvatore Accardi are scheduled for trial in October 2012.  Family Consigliere Joseph Corozzo’s trial is stayed pending an interlocutory appeal.  The charges against these defendants are merely accusations, and they are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty

Five defendants who were associates of the Gambino Crime Family and charged as part of last year’s takedown in a separate Indictment, U.S. v. John Cipolla, et al., have also pled guilty.

Mr. Bharara praised the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service.  Mr. Bharara also noted that the investigation is continuing. 

The case is being handled by the Office’s Organized Crime Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Elie Honig, Daniel Chung, and Natalie Lamarque are in charge of the prosecution.

12-059

 

 

                                                                

 

 

 

 

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