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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, December 5, 2019

10 Bronx and Westchester-Based Members and Associates of the Gambino Crime Family Indicted in Brooklyn Federal Court for Crimes, Including Racketeering Conspiracy, Loansharking, Obstruction of Justice and Bribery

Two Additional Defendants Charged With Related Offenses

Two indictments and one complaint were unsealed today in federal court in Brooklyn variously charging 12 defendants with racketeering conspiracy, bribery, loansharking, fraud, obstruction of justice and related offenses.  Those charged with racketeering conspiracy were Andrew Campos, an alleged captain in the Gambino organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra; James Ciaccia, George Campos, Vincent Fiore and Richard Martino, alleged Gambino family soldiers; and Renato Barca, Jr., Benito DiZenzo, Mark Kocaj, Frank Tarul and Michael Tarul, alleged Gambino family associates.  The charges relate to the defendants’ criminal activities throughout the New York metropolitan area since February 2013.

Eleven defendants were arrested this morning and are scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Ramon E. Reyes, Jr.  One defendant is a fugitive.

Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI); Jonathan D. Larsen, Special Agent-in-Charge, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI); and Dermot F. Shea, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), announced the charges.

“The outstanding investigative work by this Office’s prosecutors and our law enforcement partners uncovered a litany of crimes allegedly committed by members and associates of the Gambino organized crime family, who still don’t get it – handcuffs and a jail cell are waiting for criminals who threaten violence and commit fraud, money laundering and bribery in furtherance of their enterprise,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue.  Mr. Donoghue thanked the Queens County District Attorney’s Office, the United States Probation Departments for the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York and the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor for their assistance during the investigation.

“The Gambino members arrested in this case ran the gamut of criminal activity.  Everything from the usual thuggish behavior of beating people up, forcing people to take the fall for their crimes, all the way to defrauding the federal government,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney.  “Several suspects even went to prison, were released, and allegedly went right back to breaking the law.  At some point, these crime families should realize we see what they're doing, and their actions are going to lead them right back to the same prison cells.”

“Financial gain is the primary motivation of any criminal enterprise and these allegations are no different,” stated IRS-CI Special Agent-in-Charge Larsen.  “The criminal investigators of IRS-Criminal Investigation specialize in unraveling such serious charges where multiple financial frauds and extreme measures are utilized for personal enrichment.”

“The NYPD and its law enforcement partners remain committed to eradicating organized crime in New York City,” stated NYPD Commissioner Shea.  “Associates of the Gambino Crime Family – or any other enterprise that seeks to enrich its members through racketeering, bribery, loansharking and fraud – should know that investigators will build strong cases against them, and they will be prosecuted.  I commend the members of the NYPD, the FBI, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their work on this case.”

As alleged in the government’s court filings and summarized below, Andrew Campos and members of his crew used bribery, fraud and extortion schemes to infiltrate the construction industry and earn millions of dollars in criminal proceeds.

Honest Services Wire Fraud Bribery Schemes

Andrew Campos, Fiore, Kocaj and DiZenzo operated a carpentry company, CWC Contracting Corp. (“CWC”), and are charged with paying bribes and kickbacks to employees of numerous construction companies and real estate developers.  In exchange, these employees took steps to benefit CWC, including awarding contracts and approving change orders to add or delete from the original scope of a contract.  Specifically, between approximately June 2018 and June 2019, CWC paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and kickbacks to multiple employees of a real estate development company (described in the indictment as “Construction Company #1”), including John Simonlacaj, the company’s current Managing Director of Development.  CWC paid the bribes in the form of hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of free labor and materials used for renovations on Simonlacaj’s residence that was paid for by a fraudulently approved change order.  As Kocaj stated, although the work was paid for by a change order, “it should have been pro bono” because Construction Company #1 “do[es] 50 million a year in business”, and it was “worth it to do some of the paperwork.”  In another intercepted conversation, Fiore described the benefits provided by Simonlacaj, “This director, John.  There’s a beautiful in there.  There’s things we can do with [Kocaj] there, he whispers what he needs to whisper and we get things done.”

Obstruction of Justice – Martino’s Concealment of Financial Assets  

In 2005, Andrew Campos and Martino were convicted in the Eastern District of New York for their role in a massive scheme to defraud users of adult entertainment services.  Martino was ultimately sentenced to 108 months’ imprisonment and ordered by the court to pay $9.1 million in forfeiture.  After his release from prison, Martino, together with Frank Tarul and others, concealed Martino’s substantial wealth and income, falsely reporting that Martino had limited assets and worked for Tarul’s flooring company.  In reality, as revealed by court-authorized wiretaps, Martino operated multiple companies that earned millions of dollars, including construction work, investments in pizzerias and other business ventures.

Loansharking and Extortion

As detailed in the government’s court filings, various defendants used extortionate means to collect money.  For example, Andrew Campos and Fiore used threats of violence to collect at least $100,000 from one victim.  In a lawfully wiretapped phone conversation on March 13, 2019, Fiore warned the victim, “When you get punched in the face and your teeth get knocked out . . .  you’re not going to laugh no more, okay? . . .  At the end of the day, when you’re upside down [i.e., unable to make certain payments], you deal with him,” referring to Campos. 

Kocaj and Lopez, a former professional boxer, are charged with loansharking, including Kocaj’s recovery of tens of thousands of dollars of a gambling debt on behalf of an Albanian organized crime figure.  Kocaj bragged about his ability to violently collect money, stating that he could send “a couple of my Albanian guys” and have somebody “grab [a potential victim] by the f-----g neck.”   Kocaj helped collect over $30,000, threatening that if the victim did not pay, “[h]e’s going to get his head split open. . . .  These are not the guys to f--- around with. . . .  These Albanians, you know what they’ll do.”  Earlier this morning, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Lopez’s home and seized $25,000 in cash, brass knuckles and several large knives.

Retaliation Against Grand Jury Witness – Obstruction of Justice

Andrew Campos allegedly directed that a CWC worker believed to have testified before the grand jury be fired.  Subsequently, during a lawfully recorded conversation on November 22, 2019, Fiore directed that the CWC worker be fired as “a personal favor to Andrew,” because the worker “could’ve pled the Fifth.”  

Additional Charged Schemes

The indictments and complaint include additional alleged criminal schemes, including (1) laundering money by cashing checks made out to others, purportedly for work performed in connection with CWC construction projects; (2) fraudulently procuring cards from the United States Department of Labor indicating completion of certain Occupational Safety and Health Administration training courses when, in fact, the courses were never completed; (3) defrauding the U.S. government by paying CWC employees millions of dollars in cash without making the required payroll tax withholdings and payments; (4) overbilling CWC clients by causing them to pay for fraudulent or inflated work orders; and (5) evading taxes and money laundering, including by having CWC construct Andrew Campos’s residence.

The charges in the indictments and complaint are allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Organized Crime & Gangs Section.  Assistant United States Attorneys Keith D. Edelman and Kayla C. Bensing are in charge of the prosecution, assisted by EDNY Special Agent Erik Nesbitt.  Assistant United States Attorney Claire S. Kedeshian is handling forfeiture matters.

The Defendants:

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 19-CR-575 (FB)

RENATO BARCA, JR. (also known as “Ronny”)
Age: 32
Bronx, New York

ANDREW CAMPOS
Age: 50
Scarsdale, New York

GEORGE CAMPOS
Age: 72
Peekskill, New York

JAMES CIACCIA
Age: 51
Bronx, New York

BENITO DIZENZO (also known as “Benny”)
Age: 53
New Rochelle, New York

VINCENT FIORE
Age: 57
Briarcliff, New York

MARK KOCAJ (also known as “Chippy”)
Age: 49
Tuckahoe, New York

RICHARD MARTINO
Age: 60
Rye, New York

JOHN SIMONLACAJ (also known as “John Si” and “Smiley”)
Age: 50
Scarsdale, New York

FRANK TARUL (also known as “Bones”)
Age: 45
Bronx, New York

MICHAEL TARUL (also known as “Perkins”)
Age: 43
Bronx, New York

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 19-CR-577 (FB)

MARK KOCAJ (also known as “Chippy”)
Age: 49
Tuckahoe, New York

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 19-MJ-1126

ADRIAL LOPEZ (also known as “Adriel Lopez” and “Andrew Lopeck”)
Age:  56
Bronx, New York

 

 

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Labor & Employment
Tax
Violent Crime
Contact: 
John Marzulli United States Attorney’s Office (718) 254-6323
Updated December 5, 2019