9 Associates of Genovese and Bonanno families charged with racketeering and illegal gambling

Defendants include a detective with the Nassau County police

August 16, 2022 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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On Tuesday, nine people were charged in Brooklyn federal court with racketeering, illegal gambling, money laundering conspiracy, obstruction of justice and other offenses in relation to criminal activity among the Genovese and Bonanno crime families. 

Anthony Pipitone, 49, a captain and soldier in the Bonanno organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra, Bonanno soldier Vito Pipitone, 40, Bonanno associate Agostino Gabriele, 34, Carmelo Polito, 63, acting captain in the Genovese organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra, Joseph Macario, 68, a Genovese family soldier and Genovese associates Salvatore Rubino, 58, and Joseph Rutigliano, 63, have all been indicted by federal prosecutors. 

La Cosa Nostra is headquartered in New York, and includes the Bonnano, Colombo, Gambino, Genovese and Lucchese families. Their activity is documented throughout New York and other locations in the U.S. and other countries. 

Eight of the men indicted were arrested on Tuesday and seven were arraigned the same day before U.S. Magistrate Judge James R. Cho. Pipitone was arrested in Wellington, Fla. and will made an initial court appearance in Miami on Tuesday. Rutigliano remains at-large. 

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

The Genovese and Bonnano families operated several illegal gambling operations on Long Island and in Queens. Beginning in May 2012, the Genovese and Bonanno families jointly operated an especially lucrative operation in Lynbrook, dubbed the “Gran Caffe.” The revenue obtained through the Gran Caffe and other schemes was laundered through cash transfers and kickups to the crime families’ leaders. 

U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of NY Breon Peace. AP Photo/John Minchillo

According to prosecutors, the Gran Caffe alone had generated over $10,000 per week. 

Rutigliano and Rubino oversaw collecting the profits from the various operations and distributing them to the higher-ranking members of the family, which included Polito and Macario. Gabriele also distributed the funds to the Bonanno crime family higherups: Anthony and Vito Pipitone. 

Polito and another co-conspirator, Mark Feuer, 59, were also charged with running an illegal gambling operation online called “PGWLines.” Polito threatened individuals with physical harm when he was owed money through the operation. In one instance, Polito had instructed an associate to tell a heavily indebted player that he would “put him under the f–ing bridge.”

Gambling parlors in the establishments “Sal’s Shoe Repair” and “Centro Calcio Italiano Club” were operated by the Genovese family through Polito, Macario, Rutigliano, Rubino and others. The Bonnano family had similar parlors with façades like “Soccer Club,” “La Nazionale Soccer Club” and “Glendale Sports Club.” 

The locations of the operations are as follows:

  • La Nazionale Soccer Club, 80-13 Myrtle Avenue, Queens
  • Glendale Sports Club, 74-03 Myrtle Avenue, Queens
  • Gran Caffe, 31 Hempstead Avenue, Lynbrook
  • Soccer Club, 129 Rockaway Avenue, Valley Stream
  • Sal’s Shoe Repair, 41 Merrick Avenue, Merrick
  • Centro Calcio Italiano Club, 1007 Little East Neck Road, West Babylon

Hector Rosario, a detective with the Nassau County police, accepted money from the Bonanno crime family for offering to arrange police raids of competing gambling locations. Rosario is charged with obstructing a grand jury investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York and lying to the FBI.

Breon Peace, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Michael J. Driscoll, Assistant Director-in-Charge of the FBI New York Field Office, and Anne T. Donnelly, District Attorney of Nassau County, announced the charges.

“Today’s arrests of members from two La Cosa Nostra crime families demonstrate that the mafia continues to pollute our communities with illegal gambling, extortion and violence while using our financial system in service to their criminal schemes,” Peace said.

“The defendants tried to hide their criminal activity by operating from behind the cover of a coffee bar, a soccer club and a shoe repair shop, but our office and our law enforcement partners exposed their illegal operations.”

Peace thanked the NYPD, the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor, and the Department of Labor and the Office of the Inspector General for their assistance in the investigation.

“Current members of the five families demonstrate every day they are not adverse to working together to further their illicit schemes, using the same tired methods to squeeze money from their victims. Enlisting alleged assistance from a member of law enforcement also proves they are willing to do all they can to hide their illegal behavior. Our active investigations show the mafia refuses to learn from history, and accept that at some point they will face justice for their crimes,” said Driscoll.

“This case is further proof that organized crime is alive and well in our communities,” said Donnelly. “These violent criminal organizations operated secret underground gambling parlors in local commercial establishments, generating substantial amounts of money in back rooms while families unknowingly shopped and ate mere feet away.

“These Mafia figures were assisted by a sworn member of law enforcement, who helped these gambling dens to thrive by offering police raids on competing clubs. The mafia has brought untold violence and extortion into our neighborhoods for decades, even threatening the life of an individual as part of this case. This indictment sends a strong message that we are committed to rooting out corruption and organized crime.”

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