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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, January 15, 2021

Captain and 10 Members and Associates of Gambino Crime Family Plead Guilty to Crimes Including Racketeering Conspiracy, Wire Fraud, Money Laundering and Obstruction of Justice

Defendants Agree to Pay Over $1.6 Million in Penalties

Earlier today, and throughout the past week in federal court in Brooklyn, 11 members and associates of the Gambino organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra pleaded guilty to multiple crimes, including racketeering conspiracy, fraud, obstruction of justice and related offenses for criminal activities throughout the New York metropolitan area committed as part of the illicit activities of the Gambino family.  One additional defendant pleaded guilty to filing a false tax return.  The proceedings were held before United States Magistrate Judge Roanne L. Mann.

Today, Andrew Campos, a captain in the Gambino organized crime family, and Vincent Fiore, a Gambino family soldier, pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy, variously admitting their participation in predicate acts of wire fraud, money laundering and obstruction of justice offenses. 

Previously, Richard Martino, a Gambino family soldier, and Frank Tarul, a Gambino crime family associate, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to obstruction justice;  Mark Kocaj, Benito DiZenzo and Carlos Cobos, Sr., Gambino family associates, pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy;  James Ciaccia and George Campos, Gambino family soldiers, and Renato Barca, Jr. and Michael Tarul, Gambino family associates, pleaded guilty to making false statements in connection with their fraudulently obtaining safety cards from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”).  John Simonlacaj, a former managing director of a construction company, pleaded guilty to submitting a false tax return. 

Seth D. DuCharme, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, announced the guilty pleas.

“With these guilty pleas, a dozen members and associates of the Gambino crime family are held accountable for committing a litany of crimes in the construction industry that enriched the Mafia at the expense of the American taxpayer, construction companies harmed by their pernicious presence and the U.S. government,” stated Acting United States Attorney DuCharme.  “The defendants will now have to pay the consequences for their corrupt activities.”  Mr. DuCharme expressed his grateful appreciation to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office, the Internal Revenue Service- Criminal Investigation, the New York City Police Department and the Department of Labor for their exemplary work on the case.  Mr. DuCharme also 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.

According to court filings and facts presented during the guilty plea proceedings, Andrew Campos and members of his crew carried out fraudulent schemes to infiltrate the construction industry and earn millions of dollars in criminal proceeds, in part through their operation of a carpentry company, CWC Contracting Corp. (“CWC”).  Campos, Fiore and Cobos, among others, defrauded the U.S. government by paying CWC employees millions of dollars in cash without making the required payroll tax withholdings and payments.  Further, Campos, Fiore and others laundered money, causing checks to be made from CWC, purportedly for work performed in connection with CWC construction projects where, in fact, no services were performed.  The proceeds of these scheme were used to, among other things, construct Andrew Campos’s residence.  Further, when Fiore became aware of the government’s investigation, he tried to obstruct it by asking another person to lie about his and Campos’s misconduct.

Between June 2018 and June 2019, CWC paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes and kickbacks to employees of a real estate development company (described in the indictment as “Construction Company #1”), including John Simonlacaj, the company’s former 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, which Simonlacaj failed to report as taxable income and which Kocaj had fraudulently paid for by billing them to a CWC project for Construction Company #1.  Kocaj was recorded stating the work “should have been pro bono” because Construction Company #1 “do[es] 50 million a year in business.”  DiZenzo and Fiore performed tens of thousands of dollars of work at a gym for the benefit of an employee of another real estate development company (described in the indictment as “Construction Company #2”), which they agreed would be fraudulently paid for by billing the work to an unrelated project for Construction Company #2. 

In addition to these schemes, Martino was convicted in the Eastern District of New York in 2005 for his role in a scheme to defraud users of adult entertainment services.  Martino was 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 income in order to avoid him paying the more than $300,000 forfeiture balance owed by falsely reporting that Martino had limited assets and worked for Tarul’s flooring company.  In reality, Martino operated companies that earned millions of dollars.

Finally, Barca, George Campos, Ciaccia and Michael Tarul, along with others, fraudulently procured safety cards from the United States Department of Labor indicating the completion of certain OSHA training courses when, in fact, the courses were not completed.

When sentenced, Andrew Campos, Cobos, DiZenzo, Fiore, Kocaj, Martino and Frank Tarul each face up to 20 years in prison.  Barca, George Campos, Ciaccia and Michael Tarul each face up to 5 years in prison.  Simonlacaj faces up to 3 years in prison

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 of the Office’s Civil Division is handling forfeiture matters. 

The Defendants:

RENATO BARCA, JR. (also known as “Ronny”)
Age: 33
Bronx, New York

ANDREW CAMPOS
Age: 51
Scarsdale, New York

GEORGE CAMPOS
Age: 73
Peekskill, New York

JAMES CIACCIA
Age: 52
Bronx, New York

CARLOS COBOS, SR.
Age: 57
Brentwood, New York

BENITO DIZENZO (also known as “Benny”)
Age: 54
New Rochelle, New York

VINCENT FIORE
Age: 58
Briarcliff, New York

MARK KOCAJ (also known as “Chippy”)
Age: 50
Tuckahoe, New York

RICHARD MARTINO
Age: 61
Rye, New York

JOHN SIMONLACAJ (also known as “John Si” and “Smiley”)
Age: 51
Scarsdale, New York

FRANK TARUL (also known as “Bones”)
Age: 46
Bronx, New York

MICHAEL TARUL (also known as “Perkins”)
Age: 44
Bronx, New York

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

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Contact: 
John Marzulli United States Attorney’s Office (718) 254-6323
Updated January 15, 2021