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Financial Crimes
01/12/2018

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Acting Boss of Bonanno organized crime family and 9 other members of La Cosa Nostra indicted for racketeering and related charges

Acting Boss of Bonanno organized crime family and 9 other members of La Cosa Nostra indicted for racketeering and related charges

NEW YORK — Following an investigation led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) New York working jointly with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service, the New York City Police Department (NYPD), and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York (SDNY), 10 individuals are being charges with racketeering and other offenses in connection with the activities of the organized crime families of La Cosa Nostra.

The indictment charges eight members of the Bonanno Family: Acting Boss Joseph Cammarano, Jr., Consigliere John Zancocchio, Joseph Sabella, George Tropiano, Albert Armetta, Domenick Miniero, Joseph Santapaolo, and Simone Esposito, all with with racketeering conspiracy involving a wide range of crimes, including extortion, loansharking, wire and mail fraud, narcotics distribution, and conspiracy to commit murder. Genovese Family member Ernest Montevecchi is charged with participating in that conspiracy as well. Several of the defendants and Luchese Family member Eugene Castelle are charged with conspiracy to commit extortion. Armetta is additionally charged with assault resulting in serious bodily injury in aid of racketeering, and aiding and abetting the same.

“The members of this criminal organization have pending charges from drug dealing and fraud to loansharking and conspiracy to commit murder,” said Angel M. Melendez, special agent in charge of HSI New York. “HSI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate and dismantle criminal organization like La Cosa Nostra and the Bonanno family.”

Of the 10 defendants charged in the indictment, nine were taken into federal custody Friday. Santapaolo was presented this morning before a United States Magistrate Judge in the Middle District of Pennsylvania. The rest of the defendants will be presented before United States Magistrate Judge Barbara Moses later today. The case has been assigned to United States District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein.

As alleged in the indictment unsealed today in Manhattan federal court, La Cosa Nostra (“LCN”), also known as the “Mob” or the “Mafia,” operates through entities known as “Families.” In the New York City area, there are five LCN Families, namely, the Bonanno Family, the Genovese Family, the Luchese Family, the Colombo Family, and the Gambino Family. Members and associates of one La Cosa Nostra family at times work together with other La Cosa Nostra families in jointly undertaken criminal ventures.

The Bonanno Family, like other LCN Families, operates through a group of individuals known as “crews,” each of which are led by a “capo” or “captain.” The crews are composed of “made” members, called “soldiers,” and trusted non-members called “associates.” Above the Capos are the highest-ranking members – the Boss or Acting Boss, the Underboss, and the Consigliere, or counselor – who oversee the Family.

At times relevant to the indictment, the defendants held the following positions with their respective LCN Families: Cammarano was a captain and the Acting Boss of the Bonanno Family; Zancocchio was a captain and the Consigliere of the Bonanno Family; Sabella was a captain of the Bonanno Family; Tropiano was a soldier and an acting captain of the Bonanno Family; Esposito was the Consigliere of the Bonanno Family; Miniero, Santapaolo, and Armetta were soldiers in the Bonanno Family; Montevecchi was a soldier in the Genovese Family; and Castelle was a soldier in the Luchese Family.

Count One of the indictment charges Cammarano, Zancocchio, Sabella, Tropiano, Armetta, Miniero, Santapaolo, Esposito, and Montevecchi with participating in a racketeering conspiracy. Count Two charges Armetta with assault resulting in serious bodily injury in aid of racketeering, and aiding and abetting the same. Count Three charges Cammarano, Zancocchio, Sabella, Tropiano, Miniero, and Castelle with extortion conspiracy.

Below is a chart containing the names, ages, residences, charges, and maximum penalties for the defendants. The maximum potential sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge. The charges contained in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

United States v. Joseph Cammarano, Jr., et al., 18 Cr. 15 (AKH)

DefendantAgeChargesMaximum Penalty
JOSEPH CAMMARANO, JR., a/k/a “Joe C”58RICO Conspiracy;
Extortion Conspiracy
20 years in prison for each count
JOHN ZANCOCCHIO, a/k/a “Porky”60RICO Conspiracy;
Extortion Conspiracy
20 years in prison for each count
JOSEPH SABELLA, a/k/a “Joe Valet”52RICO Conspiracy;
Extortion Conspiracy
20 years in prison for each count
GEORGE TROPIANO, a/k/a “Grumpy”68RICO Conspiracy;
Extortion Conspiracy
20 years in prison for each count
ALBERT ARMETTA, a/k/a “Al Muscles”48RICO Conspiracy;
Assault in Aid of Racketeering
20 years in prison for each count
DOMINECK MINIERO85RICO Conspiracy;
Extortion Conspiracy
20 years in prison for each count
JOSEPH SANTAPAOLO, a/k/a “Joey Blue Eyes”66RICO Conspiracy20 years in prison
SIMONE ESPOSITO47RICO Conspiracy20 years in prison
ERNEST MONTEVECCHI, a/k/a “Butch”72RICO Conspiracy20 years in prison
EUGENE CASTELLE, a/k/a “Boobsie”57Extortion Conspiracy20 years in prison

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 01/16/2018