Two Alleged Associates of Gambino Organized Crime Family Indicted for Arson and Extortion
Defendants Charged with Setting Fire to Victim’s Car to Induce Protection Payment
An indictment was unsealed today in federal court in Brooklyn charging Peter Tuccio and Jonathan Gurino with arson and arson conspiracy, extortion and extortion conspiracy and using fire to commit a felony. The defendants were arrested today and are scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Steven L. Tiscione.
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 Office (FBI), announced the charges.
“As alleged in the indictment, the defendants delivered a frightening message in the form of fire to force a businessman to pay protection money to a high-ranking gangster,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue. “Today’s charges against two alleged crime family associates demonstrate that whether you are a made member or a young associate looking to advance in a crime family, the end result is the same – prosecution and prison.” Mr. Donoghue thanked the New York City Police Department and the New York City Fire Department’s Bureau of Fire Investigation for their assistance in the investigation.
“Organized crime families have long relied on extortion and threats of violence in exchange for so-called ‘protection,’” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney. “As alleged, the defendants set a man's car on fire to send a message, but now they are the ones feeling the heat as they face justice for their crimes. As long as organized crime families and their associates continue to act outside the law, the FBI and our partners will investigate and bring charges against them.”
As alleged in court filings, a captain in the Gambino Organized Crime Family (referred to herein as Co-Conspirator-1), had been extorting a local businessman $400 per year. During 2015, the businessman began dodging Co-Conspirator-1 to avoid making payments. On December 3, 2015, Tuccio, Gurino and Gino Gabrielli observed the businessman leave a smoke shop in Howard Beach and drive away. The three men followed at a high rate of speed and confronted him outside a pizzeria. Tuccio asked, “how’s Co-Conspirator-1?” and commented on the business owner’s car, a 2014 Mercedes Benz. The businessman fled into the pizzeria. Later that night, the businessman heard a loud noise and saw that his car was on fire. Shortly thereafter, the businessman paid Co-Conspirator-1. As detailed in court filings, the businessman’s home security video system had recorded Gabrielli pouring a substance on the Mercedes, the car erupting in flames, and Gabrielli running away with his pant leg on fire. Shortly thereafter, Gabrielli and Tuccio were caught on surveillance video entering Jamaica Hospital.
Gabrielli pleaded guilty to arson in August 2016.
The charges in the indictment are allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, the defendants each face a 15-year mandatory minimum sentence.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Organized Crime & Gangs Section. Assistant United States Attorney Nadia E. Moore is in charge of the prosecution.
Queens, New York
Queens, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 18-CR-610 (LDH)