Friday, February 9, 2007

19 alleged Bonanno racketeers indicted

The federal assault on the Bonanno Crime Family continues. This week, the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York unsealed an indictment against 19 alleged Bonanno members, including reputed acting underboss Nicholas Santora, according to a press release dated Feb. 6.

The New York Daily News reported in November that Salvatore Montagna, 35, is the new boss of the Bonanno Crime Family.

The superseding indictment alleged crimes including racketeering, conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering, illegal gambling, extortion, loansharking, securities fraud and narcotics distribution against:
  • acting underboss "Nicky Mouth" Santora, 64;
  • reputed acting consigliere Anthony "Fat Anthony" Rabito, 73;

  • reputed family captains and former captains Jerome "Jerry" Asaro, 48; Joseph "Joe C" Cammarano Jr., 47; and Louis "Louie Electric" DeCicco, 60;

  • alleged Bonanno soldiers Giacomo "Jack" Bonventre; Michael Cassese; Paul "Fat Paulie" Spina; and Michael Virtuoso;

  • and alleged Bonanno associates Tracey "T-Bone" Badgett; John Compono; Anthony DeFilippo; Anthony "Nino" DiGiovanna; Christopher Merz; Joseph Rossetti; Robert "Cash Deals" Schwichrath; Patrick "Patty Boy" Tarsio; and Anthony "the Bookmaker" Vivelo.
The indictment press release also mentioned an extortion charge against Agostino Accardo.

According to prosecutors, Asaro, Cammarano, Cassese, DeCicco, DeFilippo, Merz, Rabito, Santora, Spina, Tarsio, Vituoso and Vivelo face maximum terms of 20 years in prison if convicted of racketeering or racketeering conspiracy. Rossetti and Schwichrath face up to 20 years if conviced of securities fraud. Accardo, Compono and DiGiovanna face up to 20 years if convicted of extortion. Badgett and Bonventre face maximum terms of five years if convicted of illegal gambling.

Cassese and Virtuoso were already in custody, charged with extortion from Howard Beach housewife Yvonne Rossetti (left), according to Newsday. The latest charges are believed to be the result of cooperation by Rossetti's husband Vincent. Rossetti is accused of conning racketeers through a phoney real estate deal.

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Mark J. Mershon said, "The results of the FBI's assault on La Cosa Nostra have been nowhere more visible than with the Bonanno family. But the need for continued pressure and continued vigilance is also nowhere more evident. As each administration is swept up and sent away to long prison terms, a new hierarchy assumes the reigns of leadership in the family. Our efforts have the mob reeling, but our objective is to deliver the knockout punch."

Law enforcement has won convictions against 13 reputed Bonanno family administrators and against more than 70 accused members and associates of the family in recent years. Since March 2002, three reputed bosses of the family - Joseph Massino, Anthony Urso and Vincent Basciano - have been convicted on racketeering-related charges. A fourth alleged acting boss, Michael Mancuso, is awaiting trial.

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Writer, editor, researcher, web publisher, specializing in organized crime history. (I am available to assist with your historical/genealogical research, as well as your writing and editing chores. Email me at
I am editor/publisher of crime history journal, Informer; publisher of American Mafia history website; moderator of Mafia-related online forums; author of Wrongly Executed?; coauthor of Deep Water: Joseph P. Macheca and the Birth of the American Mafia and DiCarlo: Buffalo's First Family of Crime; contributor of American Mafia history to Australian-published Mafia: The Necessary Reference to Organized Crime; writer/co-writer of crime history articles for Informer, On the Spot Journal, Cigar City Magazine, Tampa Mafia Magazine.