Ten members and associates of the Gambino crime family were arrested on racketeering charges on Wednesday – after a years-long international operation to bring the alleged criminals to justice.
The defendants will be arraigned in Brooklyn Federal Court today – and a scathing 16-count federal indictment and detention documents have now laid bare what the alleged mobsters are accused of.
The men, from Manhattan, Staten Island, the Bronx, New Jersey, and Long Island, have allegedly been wreaking havoc in New York for the past 27 years.
The infamous Italian-American crime syndicate made up one of the ‘Five Families’ known for their racketeering, gambling and loansharking. The defendants now variously face maximum sentences between 20 and 180 years’ imprisonment.
Among the defendants charged today are alleged US-based Sicilian Mafia members Vito Rappa, 46, and Francesco Vicari, 46 – who is known as ‘Uncle Ciccio.’
The lengthy documents contain evidence that shows when the men were ‘made’ into the Gambino family. One image shows Tantillo being inducted into the family on October 17, 2019, standing with Gradilone (pictured). Both men were arrested on Wednesday
Francesco Vicari, 46 – who is known as ‘Uncle Ciccio’ – is pictured in a detention memo cheering with a bottle of champagne after he successfully got a victim to make a payment of $4,000 in one of the crime family’s alleged violent extortion plots. Vicari was arrested today
Vincent Minsquero, 36, known as ‘Vinny Slick,’ Kyle Johnson, 46, known as ‘Twin,’ and Angelo Gradilone, 57, known as ‘Fifi,’ have all been arrested.
The alleged captain of the Gambino crime ring – 52-year-old Joseph Lanni – was also charged with the slew of federal crimes.
He’s known by nicknames ‘Joe Brooklyn,’ and ‘Mommino.’
The four others, who will appear in Brooklyn court today, are Diego ‘Danny’ Tantillo, James LaForte, Salvatore DiLorenzo, and Robert Brooke.
James Smith, Assistant Director-in-Charge of the FBI, said today as the arrests were announced: ‘These defendants learned the hard way that the FBI is united with our law enforcement locally and internationally in our efforts to eradicate the insidious organized crime threat.
‘Those arrested are alleged to have taken part in a racketeering conspiracy in an attempt to control the carting and demolition industries in the city.
‘The FBI will continue to lead the fight against organized crime and ensure that individuals willing to cross the line face punishment in the criminal justice system.’
NYPD Commissioner Edward A. Caban also vowed to take down members of any organized crime group, wherever they operate.
He said Wednesday: ‘Today’s arrests should serve as a warning to others who believe they can operate in plain sight with apparent impunity – the NYPD and our law enforcement partners exist to shatter that notion.
‘And we will continue to take down members of traditional organized crime wherever they may operate.’
The stoop of John Doe 1’s home up in flames on September 22, 2020. The victim was allegedly threatened, extorted, and physically intimidated by members of the family
A metal bat discovered during a police raid, which was allegedly used to threaten John Doe 1. Tantillo allegedly told the victim that the bat was ‘for him’
Video footage from a gas station across the street from Roxy’s Bar and Grille shows Lanni and Minsquero —minutes after threatening to burn down a New Jersey restaurant— purchasing a red gas container
After one of the John Doe’s associates was attacked with a hammer and sent to hospital with serious injuries, Johnson texted Tantillo three thumbs up emojis for his ‘work today’
According to the federal indictment, Tantillo, Rappa, Vicari and Johnson ‘engaged in a violent extortion conspiracy relating to the demand and receipt of money from John Doe 1, who operated a carting business in the New York City area.’
John Doe 1 was threatened ‘with a bat, setting fire to the steps to John Doe 1’s residence, attempting to damage John Doe 1’s carting trucks, and violently assaulting an associate of John Doe 1.’
Images included in the document show the metal bat discovered during a police raid, and the stoop of the victim’s home up in flames on September 22, 2020.
One of John Doe 1’s business associates was then attacked with a hammer – sending him to the hospital on October 29, 2020. After he was assaulted, Kyle Johnson texted Tantillo three thumbs up emojis for his ‘work today.’
The indictment states that 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.’
Rappa stated that Vicari ‘acted like the ‘Last of the Samurai,’ when he 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 him to make extortionate payments, according to the documents.
When the victim finally made a payment of $4,000 to Vicari, he and Rappa met and sent Tantillo a photo of Vicari raising a small champagne bottle, cheering in a toast.
The image is included in the indictment pages.
The documents also contain evidence that shows when the men were ‘made’ into the Gambino family. One image shows Tantillo being inducted into the family on October 17, 2019, standing with Gradilone.
Ten people associated with the Gambino crime family were arrested on racketeering charges Wednesday morning, law enforcement sources say. Pictured is Paul (left), a high-ranking member of the Gambino crime family, who was previously arrested with eight other men on charges of loansharking
The unsealed document also claimed that Tantillo, Brooke and Johnson engaged in two separate violent extortion schemes of a demolition company and its owners, known as John Does 2–4.
Their motivation was over purported debts owed to Tantillo, and to a company operated by Tantillo and Brooke, called Specialized Concrete Cutting Corp. They demanded $40,000 from the owners – who did not cough up.
In response, Brooke then violently attacked John Doe 2 on a street corner in Midtown Manhattan, leaving him bloodied with a black eye.
Alongside these charges, some of the men are also accused of thieving and embezzling employee benefit plans, including health insurance and pay checks, when they did little or no work for the companies.
Tantillo is accused of obtaining no-show and low-show jobs for Rappa, Gradilone and Johnson. The document alleges: ‘Through the no-show jobs, Gradilone and Rappa received health care benefits, paid for by unions, to which they were not entitled, in addition to receiving paychecks for work they did not perform.’
The alleged mobsters also intimidated people they believed ‘ratted’ on them to police, which resulted in physical altercations inside swanky New York City restaurants.
In a dramatic scene from February 2021 described in the indictment, LaForte and Minsquero assaulted John Doe 6 while Lanni sat nearby.
That evening, John Doe 6, his girlfriend, and their friends went to Asian restaurant Sei Less, on West 38th Street in Manhattan, where specialty cocktails cost $20 .
As the group was waiting to pay their bill, LaForte and Minsquero approached their table, called John Doe 6 a ‘rat,’ and hit him in the face with a bottle – before flipping their table over.
Drinks were sent flying and glass was shattered everywhere, witnesses said.
In another incident on September 1, 2023, Lanni and Minsquero caused a disturbance at Roxy’s Bar and Grille, a restaurant in Toms River, New Jersey – and physically assaulted the owner and his spouse.
The duo got into an argument with another patron, that led the restaurant’s staff to ask them to leave – and as they were escorted out, Minsquero damaged a painting and punched a wall, and Lanni told the owner he would ‘burn this place down with you in it.’
Less than 20 minutes later, video footage from a gas station across the street showed Lanni and Minsquero purchasing a red gas container, walking to a pump, and trying briefly to fill the container with gas.
Lanni was eventually dissuaded by Minsquero and a gas station attendant.
Police were called to the restaurant, and four hours after the scene, the owner and his wife went to get in their car to go home for the night, around midnight.
The owner got into the driver’s seat of a car, while his spouse stood outside the vehicle talking with the owner through the open driver’s side window.
As they were chatting, a man got into the front passenger door of the car, punched the owner in the head, put a knife to his neck, and threatened to kill him.
The spouse ran to help, but was punched and knocked to the ground by a second man.
Both perpetrators then beat the spouse while she was on the ground. The man with the knife slashed the owner’s tires wand pointed the knife at the spouse, before leaving on foot, the documents allege.
The Gambino 10: Full list of charges
- Joseph Lanni – Racketeering Conspiracy (Count One)
- Diego Tantillo – Racketeering Conspiracy (Count One), Hobbs Act Extortion and Conspiracy (Counts Two and Three), Hobbs Act Extortion and Conspiracy (Counts Four and Five), Theft from Employee Benefit Plan (Count Six), Hobbs Act extortion and conspiracy (Counts Seven and Eight) , Embezzlement from Employee Benefit Plans (Count Nine) Wire Fraud Conspiracy (Count Twelve) Theft from Employee Benefit Plan (Count Thirteen) Conspiracy to Commit Theft from Employee Benefit Plan (Count Fourteen)
- Robert Brooke – Hobbs Act extortion and conspiracy (Counts Seven and Eight)
- Salvatore DiLorenzo – Racketeering Conspiracy (Count One) Wire Fraud Conspiracy (Count Twelve) Theft from Employee Benefit Plan (Count Thirteen)
- Angelo Gradilone – Racketeering Conspiracy (Count One) Theft from Employee Benefit Plan (Count Six)
- Kyle Johnson – Racketeering Conspiracy (Count One) Hobbs Act Extortion and Conspiracy (Counts Two and Three) Hobbs Act Extortion and Conspiracy (Counts Four and Five) Conspiracy to Commit Theft from Employee Benefit (Count Fourteen)
- James LaForte – Racketeering Conspiracy (Count One) Hobbs Act Extortion and Conspiracy (Counts Ten and Eleven) Witness Retaliation (Count Fifteen) Felon in Possession of a Firearm (Count Sixteen)
- Vincent Minsquero – Racketeering Conspiracy (Count One) Witness Retaliation (Count Fifteen)
- Vito Rappa – Racketeering Conspiracy (Count One) Hobbs Act Extortion and Conspiracy (Counts Two and Three) Theft from Employee Benefit Plan (Count Thirteen)
- Frank Vicari – Racketeering Conspiracy (Count One) Hobbs Act Extortion and Conspiracy (Counts Two and Three)
The family, led by Salvatore D’Aquila in the early 1900s, made millions of dollars by carrying out extortion, money laundering and fraud.
Frank Cali was the last known leader of the group before he was killed in 2019, it remains unclear who leads the syndicate at this time.
After his murder in 1928, the leadership went to Frank Scalise, for the next three years closely followed by Vincent Mangano who ruled with an iron fist for almost two decades.
Under Mangano, the family became the World’s largest criminal organization in the 1950s.
In 1951, Albert Anastasia became its new leader. Anastasia was best known for starting Murder Incorporated – which carried out Mob-related assassinations.
John Hogan(left) Assistant Director of the FBI New York office, holds the arm of Joe Gallo, (center) who was identified as the consigliere of the Gambino family in a seventeen count indictment read in New York in June 1986
He was killed in 1957 by a plot carried out by his own people leading to Carlo Gambino taking control.
Carlo Gambino’s leadership, the Gambino Crime Family reached new heights of power and infamy.
After his death in 1976, Paul Castellano took over the family but he was usurped by John Gotti in 1985 until his arrest in 1992.
Officials gave him a life sentence and he died on June 10, 2002.
Domenico Cefalu took charge of the family in 2011 after he had served time for racketeering and extortion.
Cefalu alongside, Frank Cali, began handling business until 2015.
After Cali took over, he operated the syndicate until 2019 but was killed outside his home in Staten Island.
It remains unclear who the current head of the Gambino family is or who those arrested were connected to.
In October, the eldest son of crime boss Carlo, Thomas ‘Tommy’ Gambino, once known in New York City as the ‘Mafia Prince’ died aged 94.
While surviving one of the bloodiest crime eras in history, he reportedly earned more than $75 million in cash bonds and blue chip stock, according to the New York Times.
Joe DeCicco (left) and Jackie ‘Nose’ D’Amico (right) of the Gambino crime family, led by John Joseph ‘Johnny Boy’ Gotti, Jr. (center), were on trial for racketeering, murder, illegal gambling, obstruction of justice, tax fraud, and a list of other crimes
After Carlo Gambino’s death in 1976, Paul Castellano (left) took over the family but he was usurped by John Gotti (right) in 1985 until his arrest in 1992
Members of the Gambino family including Richard Gotti (right) and Vincent Gotti (left) are transported from Manhattan to Brooklyn Federal Court by FBI agents in 2008
In 1992, he and his brother took a plea deal after being charged with enterprise corruption, agreeing to pay $12 million in restitution and fines.
He had a younger brother, Joseph, who died in 2020, aged 83.
Together they ran a series trucking companies in Manhattan’s, dominating any competition who would reportedly find themselves with flat tires – or worse – if they ever parked vehicles on the West Side streets.
He survived one of the bloodiest crime eras in which he earned more than $75m
While Thomas followed his father into the Gambino crime organization and became a ‘made man’, Joseph kept running the business end after dropping out of New York University in the 1950s.
The empire came crashing down in October 1990, when state authorities charged the Gambino brothers with racketeering.
New York authorities used undercover police and surveillance technology to gather evidence in the investigation which yielded scores of criminal charges, including enterprise corruption, larceny, extortion, coercion, and restraint of trade.
During the trial, the prosecution presented evidence which included tapes of conversations secretly recorded with Mafia traitor Salvatore Gravano, the New York Post reports.
One of the prosecutors working the case was then-Assistant District Attorney Eliot Spitzer.
Spitzer devised a plan to set up a competing sweatshop in the Garment District that churned out shirts, pants, and sweaters.
The shop manager, who hired 30 employees to work in the factory, managed to get close enough to the Gambino brothers that he planted a hidden microphone in the ceiling of their office.
For decades, they intimidated competitors until New York State investigated
After the brothers were charged, they agreed to a plea deal in which they paid $12million in fines and agreed to leave the trucking business.
Spitzer who would go on to become attorney general and then governor of New York, though he eventually resigned when it was revealed he frequented prostitutes.
‘I send my condolences to his family,’ Spitzer told The Post.
Gambino was later convicted on racketeering charges in relation to loan sharking operations in Connecticut. He was sent to prison for four years in 1996 – 2000.
The Gambino crime family was named after their father, Carlo Gambino, who was the head of the organization in 1963, when crime syndicates began gaining national attention due to the federal government’s investigations.
During more than 50 years in organized crime, Carlo Gambino, who was known as ‘boss of bosses,’ served just 22 months in prison for tax evasion.