An 18-count indictment was unsealed in federal court in Brooklyn this morning charging 11 individuals, including several made members and associates of the Genovese organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra (the “Genovese family”), variously with racketeering conspiracy, extortion, illegal gambling, union embezzlement, and obstruction of justice. The defendants will make their initial appearance later today before United States Magistrate Judge Marilyn D. Go at the U.S. Courthouse at 225 Cadman Plaza East in Brooklyn, New York.
The case was announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Janice K. Fedarcyk, Assistant Director in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office; Robert Panella, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations, New York Region; Raymond W. Kelly, Commissioner, New York City Police Department; and Rose Gill Hearn, Commissioner, New York City Department of Investigation (DOI).
As alleged in the indictment and a detention memorandum filed by the government today, Conrad Ianniello is a captain in the Genovese family. James Bernardone, the Secretary Treasurer of Local 124 of the International Union of Journeymen and Allied Trades (IUJAT), and Salvester Zarzana, the former President of Local 926 of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners, are both soldiers in the Genovese family. Ryan Ellis, Paul Gasparrini, William Panzera, and Robert Scalza, the Secretary Treasurer of IUJAT Local 713, are associates of the Genovese family. Also named as defendants are Robert Fiorello, Rodney Johnson, Felice Masullo, and John Squitieri.
Ianniello is charged with, among other crimes, racketeering conspiracy, including predicate acts of illegal gambling; conspiring to extort vendors at the annual Feast of San Gennaro held in Little Italy, New York in 2008; and, along with Scalza and Ellis, conspiring to extort a labor union between April 2008 and May 2008 in order to induce the union to cease its efforts to organize workers at a company on Long Island. Based on their threats, the defendants allegedly hoped to pave the way for Scalza’s union, IUJAT Local 713, to unionize the company instead.
The indictment charges Bernardone and Gasparrini with racketeering conspiracy, including predicate acts of conspiring to extort a subcontractor related to work performed at construction sites in Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn from approximately 2006 to 2009, including work performed at a Hampton Inn located on Ditmars Boulevard in Queens. Zarzana is also charged with extortion related to one of those construction sites. In addition, the indictment alleges that in 2008, Squitieri embezzled money from employee pension and annuity funds of Local 7-Tile, Marble, and Terrazzo of the Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers union by providing non-union laborers to perform tile-related work during a renovation at the Paramount Hotel in Manhattan, thereby avoiding paying into Local 7’s employee pension benefit plans. Johnson, a project manager at the Paramount Hotel renovation, is charged with obstruction of justice in connection with his efforts to impede a federal grand jury investigation conducted in this district that ultimately resulted in the charges brought in the indictment unsealed today.
Finally, Panzera and Fiorello are charged with crimes related to their involvement in loansharking and the extortionate collection of money from a victim.
“This indictment is the most recent chapter in this office’s continued fight against organized crime’s efforts to infiltrate unions and businesses operating in New York City. Where others saw a city festival, urban renewal, and job growth, these defendants allegedly saw only a chance to line their pockets at the expense of hard working individuals. And when law enforcement began to probe their actions, one defendant allegedly went so far as to try to block that investigation,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “Organized crime figures and union officials who seek to earn money by corrupting legitimate industry will be investigated and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
FBI Assistant Director in Charge Fedarcyk stated, “Today’s charges highlight not only the ongoing vigilance of the FBI in policing the corrupt conduct of La Cosa Nostra, but also the necessity of such vigilance. Even as mob families seek and discover new ways to make money by illegitimate means, they continue to rely on tried-and-true schemes like extortion and gambling. The mob’s purpose is making money, and how is less important than how much.”
Special Agent in Charge Panella, U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, stated, “The RICO indictment and today’s arrests reflect our strong commitment to combat the infiltration of unions by organized crime members and associates for their personal enrichment. The defendants allegedly utilized their organized crime influence to corrupt businesses and advance various illegal schemes. The Office of Inspector General will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to vigorously investigate labor racketeering in the nation’s unions.”
NYPD Commissioner Kelly stated, “As alleged in the indictment, the defendants’ extortion knew no bounds—in fact, one of the defendants allegedly even used the feast of San Gennaro to extort money from vendors involved in the celebration of the saint’s life. I commend the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the federal agents and New York City detectives for this successful investigation.”
DOI Commissioner Gill Hearn stated, “The charges underscore the determination of federal and city investigators to curtail organized crime’s influence in New York City, including the Feast of San Gennaro in Little Italy. DOI was pleased to assist its federal partners on this significant indictment.”
The defendants face maximum sentences ranging from five to 20 years of imprisonment on each count of conviction.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Nicole Argentieri, Jacquelyn Kasulis, and Amanda Hector.
||Staten Island, New York
||Bronx, New York
||Queens, New York
||Jackson, New Jersey
||Yonkers, New York
||Edgewater, New Jersey
||Queens, New York
||North Haledon, New Jersey
||Long Island, New York
||Rockland County, New York
||Brooklyn, New York