A dozen members and associates of the Gambino organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra admitted 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 defendants also agreed to pay $1.6 million in penalties.
The pleas were entered throughout the past week at federal court in Brooklyn.
According to court filings and facts presented during the guilty plea proceedings, Andrew Campos, age 51, of Scarsdale, 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.
Campos, a captain in the Gambino family, and Vincent Fiore, age 58, of Briarcliff, 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, age 61, of Rye, a Gambino family soldier, and Frank Tarul, age 46, of the Bronx (also known as “Bones”), a Gambino crime family associate, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to obstruction justice.
Mark Kocaj, age 50, of Tuckahoe (also known as "Chippy), Benito DiZenzo, age 54, of New Rochelle (also known as “Benny”), and Carlos Cobos, Sr., age 57, of Brentwood, a Gambino family associates, pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy.
James Ciaccia, age 52, of the Bronx, and George Campos, age 73, of Peekskill, Gambino family soldiers, and Renato Barca, Jr., age 33, of the Bronx (also known as “Ronny”), and Michael Tarul, age 44, of the Bronx (also known as “Perkins”), a 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, age 51, of Scarsdale (also known as “John Si” and “Smiley”), a former managing director of a construction company, pleaded guilty to submitting a false tax return.
“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,” said Seth D. DuCharme, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. “The defendants will now have to pay the consequences for their corrupt activities.”
Campos, Fiore, and Cobos, among others, defrauded the U.S. government by paying CWC Contracting Corp employees millions of dollars in cash without making the required payroll tax withholdings and payments, DuCharme said.
Further, Campos, Fiore, and others laundered money, causing checks to be made from CWC Contracting Corp, purportedly for work performed in connection with CWC construction projects where, in fact, no services were performed, according to court filings.
The proceeds of the scheme were used to, among other things, construct Andrew Campos’ residence., said DuCharme
"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," said DuCharme.
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, the court filing said.
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, and was ordered by the Court to pay $9.1 million in forfeiture, said DuCharme.
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, DuCharme said.
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 five years in prison. Simonlacaj faces up to three years in prison
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