A 16-count indictment was unsealed on Wednesday, Nov. 8 in federal court in Brooklyn detailing the alleged involvement of the 10 Americans -- eight New Yorkers and two New Jersey residents -- in an attempt to dominate the New York carting and demolition industries.
The 10 Americans have been charged with racketeering conspiracy, extortion, witness retaliation, and union-related crimes committed.
In connection with the arrests, federal authorities executed search warrants, one of which resulted in the seizure of multiple firearms from an associate of the Gambino crime family, the US Attorney's Office of the Eastern District of New York said.
In a coordinated operation, Italian law enforcement on Wednesday arrested six organized crime members and associates who are charged with, among other crimes, mafia association and connected criminal offenses. One individual remains at large.
The US defendants are:
- Joseph Lanni, age 52, of Staten Island, also known as “Joe Brooklyn” and “Mommino,” an alleged captain in the Gambino organized crime family;
- Angelo Gradilone, age 57, of Staten Island, also known as “Fifi,” an alleged Gambino soldier;
- Diego Tantillo, age 48, of Freehold, New Jersey, also known as “Danny” and “Daniel," an alleged Gambino soldier;
- James LaForte, age 46, of Manhattan, also known as “Jimmy," an alleged Gambino soldier;
- Vito Rappa, age 46, of East Brunswick, New Jersey, also known as “Vi,” alleged US-based Sicilian Mafia member and Gambino associate;
- Francesco Vicari, age 46, of Elmont on Long Island, also known as "Frank," and “Uncle Ciccio,” alleged US-based Sicilian Mafia associate and Gambino associate;
- Salvatore DiLorenzo, age 66, of Oceanside on Long Island, an alleged Gambino associate;
- Robert Brooke, age 55, of Manhattan, alleged Gambino associate;
- Kyle Johnson, age 46, of the Bronx, also known as “Twin,” an alleged Gambino associate;
- Vincent Minsquero, age 36, of Staten Island, also known as “Vinny Slick,” an alleged Gambino associate.
As alleged in the government’s court filings, in the midst of a financial dispute between Tantillo and the owners of Demolition Company 1, Tantillo and Johnson coordinated a violent hammer assault on the dispatcher for Demolition Company 1, which left the dispatcher bleeding and seriously injured.
Tantillo, Rappa, Vicari, and Johnson engaged in a violent extortion conspiracy relating to the demand and receipt of money from victim John Doe 1, who operated a carting business in the New York City area. The extortion scheme involved threatening John Doe 1 with a bat, setting fire to the steps of John Doe 1’s residence, attempting to damage John Doe 1’s carting trucks, and violently assaulting an associate of John Doe 1.
In addition, Tantillo and Vicari were captured on judicially-authorized wiretaps discussing threats they made to John Doe 1 and John Doe 1’s father-in-law.
On one call, Rappa stated that Vicari “acted like the ‘Last of the Samurai,” describing how Vicari picked up a knife and directed John Doe 1’s father-in-law to threaten to cut John Doe 1 in half in order to get John Doe 1 to make extortionate payments.
After John Doe 1 ultimately made a payment of $4,000 to Vicari, Vicari, and Rappa met and sent Tantillo a photo of Vicari raising a small champagne bottle, as in a toast.
The defendants also committed a series of crimes to steal and embezzle from unions and employee benefit plans and rigged bids in the demolition and carting industries.
As part of one such scheme, DiLorenzo provided Rappa with a “no-show” job at DiLorenzo’s demolition company so that Rappa could receive paychecks and union health benefits, among other benefits.
Similarly, Tantillo arranged for Gradilone to receive a “no-show” job at a construction company with which Tantillo was associated, which enabled Gradilone to receive paychecks and union health benefits to which he was not entitled. Tantillo and Johnson also conspired to secure a “no-show” job for Johnson, so that Johnson could similarly receive union health benefits.
The defendants also perpetrated a series of other crimes throughout the New York and New Jersey areas from 2017 through 2023.
For example, in September 2023, Lanni and Minsquero coordinated an assault on the proprietors of a restaurant in New Jersey, including physically assaulting a woman at knifepoint. In addition, LaForte, having previously been convicted of a felony, illegally possessed a firearm in or about May 2023.
US Attorney Breon Peace said federal investigators worked with the New York Waterfront Commission, the office’s law enforcement partners in Italy, including the prosecutor of Palermo, the Polizia di Stato, the Servizio Centrale Operativo, and the Squadra Mobile of Palermo in the course of the investigation.
The 10 were due to be arraigned Wednesday afternoon before a US magistrate judge.
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