Charges: Gambino Members Ran Violent Takeover Scheme

Defendants plead not guilty in attempt to control two industries
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 8, 2023 7:15 PM CST
Charges: Gambino Members Ran Violent Takeover Scheme
John Gotti, right, who led the Gambino crime family until his death, arrives in court in New York in 1990.   (AP Photo/David Cantor, File)

Federal prosecutors said Wednesday that 10 associates and soldiers of the Gambino crime family have been arrested and charged with operating a violent conspiracy in an attempt to gain control of two New York industries. The scheme involved carting and demolition businesses, the New York Times reports. "For years, the defendants committed violent extortions, assaults, arson, witness retaliation and other crimes in an attempt to dominate" those industries, said Breon Peace, the US attorney in Brooklyn. Nine of the defendants appeared Wednesday in Federal District Court in Brooklyn; the tenth is jailed in Pennsylvania in a separate case.

The nine pleaded not guilty to charges including racketeering conspiracy, extortion, embezzlement, and witness retaliation. Six other suspects were arrested in Palermo, Siciliy, by Italian authorities, per the BBC. US officials said one suspect is at large. In a court filing, prosecutors said they can prove the defendants are tied to the Gambino family through "wiretap intercepts, consensual recordings, text messages, bank records, witness testimony, surveillance evidence and physical evidence." One defendant told a restaurant owner that he was "a Gambino" and would "burn this place down with you in it," prosecutors said. Another is accused of displaying a metal baseball bat in an extortion threat, per CNN.

The indictment also says defendants schemed to rig bids on demolition contracts and steal from unions and employee benefit plans, per the Times. Several of them are accused of arranging no-show jobs for others, for which they received paychecks and health benefits. John Gotti led the Gambino family until he died in prison in 2002. A later boss, Frank Cali, was shot to death outside his home in Staten Island in 2019. (More Gambino crime family stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.