Acting Captain and Two Soldiers in The Bonanno Crime Family Plead Guilty to Racketeering Conspiracy, Agree to Pay $2.25 Million in Forfeiture
Defendant Ronald Giallanzo Agrees to Sell His Mansion in Howard Beach, Queens, Which Was Constructed Using the Illicit Proceeds of Loansharking Business
Earlier today, in federal court in Brooklyn, Ronald Giallanzo, also known as “Ronnie G,” an acting captain in the Bonanno organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra (the “Bonanno family”), and Michael Palmaccio, also known as “Mike,” a soldier in the Bonanno family, pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy, admitting their involvement in multiple acts of loansharking over 10 years. On March 8, 2018, Nicholas Festa, also known as “Pudgie,” a soldier in the Bonanno family, also pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy and admitted to additional acts of loansharking. The proceedings were held before Chief United States District Judge Dora L. Irizarry.
Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Division (FBI), announced the guilty pleas.
“Through their acts of violence, Giallanzo, Palmaccio and Festa reaped substantial illicit profits at the expense of their loansharking victims,” said United States Attorney Donoghue. “With today’s guilty pleas, these defendants are being held responsible for their destructive role in perpetuating organized crime’s presence in the community.” Mr. Donoghue thanked the Queens County District Attorney’s Office, the New York City Police Department and the U.S. Probation Department of the Eastern District of New York for their assistance in the investigation.
“Mobsters are known for lending large amounts of money at exorbitant rates to individuals who they know lack the financial means of paying off their loans,” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney. “They intentionally extort their victims over extended periods of time using threats of violence as a means of collecting their weekly payments. It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book for these crime families, and they’ve shown no inclination to stop harassing and intimidating communities in our area. Today’s guilty pleas demonstrate that the FBI’s New York Joint Organized Crime Task Force continues to investigate these organized crime groups to hold them accountable and to protect the public.”
According to the indictment, court filings and facts presented during the plea proceeding, Giallanzo, Palmaccio and Festa were members of a Bonanno family “crew” that operated primarily in Howard Beach, Queens. Giallanzo operated a lucrative loansharking business in which he provided money to, among others, Palmaccio and Festa, to extend and collect extortionate loans to numerous individuals. Even while incarcerated for a prior federal conviction for racketeering and extortion conspiracy, Giallanzo kept watch over his illicit loansharking business, directing his associates to commit acts of violence to ensure that the customers paid the exorbitant weekly interest rate. At one point, Giallanzo had lent over $3 million in extortionate loans to customers. Giallanzo, Palmaccio and Festa were arrested by the FBI in March 2017.
At his guilty plea, Giallanzo admitted to participating in the affairs of the Bonanno family by extending and collecting extortionate loans to five different victims, and agreed to forfeit $1.25 million. As part of his agreement with the government, Giallanzo is also required to sell the Howard Beach mansion he constructed with loansharking proceeds while he was on supervised release stemming from his prior federal conviction. Palmaccio and Festa admitted to participating in the affairs of the Bonanno family by extending and collecting extortionate loans to five victims and two victims, respectively, and each agreed to forfeit $500,000.
When sentenced, Giallanzo, Palmaccio and Festa each face a statutory maximum of 20 years’ imprisonment. Seven co-defendants have previously pleaded guilty in this case.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Organized Crime & Gangs Section. Assistant United States Attorneys Nicole M. Argentieri, Lindsay K. Gerdes and Keith D. Edelman are in charge of the prosecution.
RONALD GIALLANZO (also known as “Ronnie G”)
Queens, New York
MICHAEL PALMACCIO (also known as “Mike”)
Queens, New York
NICHOLAS FESTA (also known as “Pudgie”)
Oceanside, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 17-CR-155 (S-1) (DLI)