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12 Members of 3 Mob Families Charged with Garbage Industry Racketeering

Multi-year federal probe leads to charges against 32 people.

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, George C. Venizelos, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and George N. Longworth, the Commissioner of the Westchester County Police Department today announced the unsealing of charges against 32 individuals as part of a multi-year investigation into organized crime’s alleged continuing control of large aspects of the commercial waste-hauling industry in the greater New York City metropolitan area and in parts of New Jersey. 

The main Indictment charges 12 defendants under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”) for conspiring to participate in a racketeering enterprise that asserted illegal and extortionate control over commercial waste-hauling companies, and 17 other defendants with individual acts of extortion, loansharking, and other crimes associated with those activities. 

The charges are contained in three Indictments, United States v. Franco, et al., United States v. Giustra, et al., and United States v. Lopez. Thirty of the defendants were arrested this morning in connection with today’s charges, and will be presented and arraigned in Manhattan federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin N. Fox later this afternoon. 

Two defendants are expected to surrender this week.

The probe included Westchester and Rockland counties, along with Nassau County on Long Island and Bergen and Passaic counties in New Jersey.

“As alleged, organized crime still wraps its tentacles around industries it has fed off for decades, but law enforcement continues to pry loose its grip," Bharara said. "Here, as described in the indictments, organized crime insinuated itself into the waste disposal industry throughout a vast swath of counties in New York and New Jersey, and the tactics they used to exert and maintain their control come right out of the mafia playbook – extortion, intimidation, and threats of violence. And while these accused mobsters may have hidden themselves behind seemingly legitimate owners of waste disposal businesses, law enforcement was able to pierce that veil through its painstaking, multi-year investigation. Organized crime has many victims – in this case small business owners who pay for waste removal, potential competitors, and the communities infected by this corruption and its cost. Organized crime is in a losing battle and we and our law enforcement partners remain committed to its extinction.” 

In addition to the 12 defendants charged as members of the illegal waste disposal enterprise, 17 of the defendants are charged with carrying out various illegal activities in relation to the waste hauling industry. These illegal activities include: extortion, mail and wire fraud conspiracy, and interstate transportation of stolen property. 

“The indictments show the ongoing threat posed by mob families and their criminal associates," said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge George C. Venizelos. "In addition to the violence that often accompanies their schemes, the economic impact amounts to a mob tax on goods and services. The arrests – the culmination of a long and thorough investigation – also show the ongoing determination of the FBI to diminishing the influence of La Cosa Nostra.” 

Westchester County Police Department Commissioner George N. Longworth said, “The long-term partnership between the Westchester County Police and federal law enforcement is an important means of combating organized crime and ensuring that businesses in Westchester are free to operate without fear of extortion or undue influence.” 

The indictments contend that members of the racketeering effort avoided any official connection to the waste disposal businesses they controlled because they were either officially banned from the waste hauling industry, or unlikely to be granted the necessary licenses required to do business in the waste hauling industry because of their affiliations with organized crime. Leaders of the criminal operation concealed themselves behind waste disposal businesses that were officially owned and operated by others who were able to obtain the necessary licenses because they had no known affiliations with organized crime.

Ultimately, officials say mobsters exerted control over these waste disposal businesses by, among other things, dictating which trash pick-up stops that a particular hauling company could use and extorting payments in exchange for protection by individuals associated with organized crime. By asserting and enforcing purported “property rights” over the trash pick-up routes, the members of the racket excluded any competitor that might offer lower prices or better service, in effect imposing a criminal tax on businesses and communities.

Separately, some of involved operators were also committing crimes, including stealing property of competing waste disposal businesses and defrauding customers of their customers.

The operation of the racket was coordinated by and among factions of organized crime families through the use of “sit-downs” to determine which faction would control a particular waste disposal company and established the financial terms upon which control of that company could be transferred from one faction to another in return for payment.

COUNT

CHARGE

DEFENDANTS

MAXIMUM PENALTY

One

RICO Conspiracy

Carmine Franco Anthony Pucciarello Howard Ross Anthony Cardinalle Peter Leconte

Frank Oliver Charles Giustra Dominick Pietranico Joseph Sarcinella William Cali
Scott Fappiano Anthony Bazzini

20 years in prison

Two

Extortion

Carmine Franco

20 years in prison

Three

Mail and Wire Fraud Conspiracy

Carmine Franco Pasquale Carbone Sr. Gail Iorio
Dominick Rao

30 years in prison

Four

Interstate Transportation of Stolen Property

Carmine Franco Stephen Moscatello Robert Franco

Five years in prison

Five

Interstate Transportation of Stolen Property

Carmine Franco Robert Franco

Five years in prison

Six

Extortion Conspiracy

Anthony Pucciarello Howard Ross Anthony Cardinalle Peter Leconte

Frank Oliver

Five years in prison

Seven

Extortion Conspiracy

William Cali William Rivera

20 years in prison

Eight

Extortion Conspiracy

Scott Fappiano, Anthony Bazzini

20 years in prison

Nine

Conspiracy to Make Extortionate Extensions of Credit

Dominick Pietranico, Joseph Sarcinella

20 years in prison

Ten

Making Extortionate Extensions of Credit

Dominick Pietranico, Joseph Sarcinella

20 years in prison

Eleven

Conspiracy to Collect Extensions of Credit by Extortionate Means

Dominick Pietranico, Joseph Sarcinella

20 years in prison

Twelve

Collecting Extensions of Credit by Extortionate Means

Dominick Pietranico, Joseph Sarcinella

20 years in prison

Thirteen

Extortion Conspiracy

Mario Velez,
Pasquale P. Cartalemi Jr., Pasquale L. Cartalemi, Andrew McGuire

20 years in prison

Fourteen

Extortion

Mario Velez,
Pasquale P. Cartalemi Jr., Pasquale L. Cartalemi

20 years in prison

Fifteen

Interstate Transportation of Stolen Property

Joseph Bertolino, Brian Petroll, Robert Zarzuela, Jonathan Greene

Five years in prison

Sixteen

Interstate Transportation of Stolen Property

Thomas Giordano, Michael Russo, Louis Dontis

Five years in prison

COUNT

CHARGE

DEFENDANTS

MAXIMUM PENALTY

One

Trafficking in Contraband Cigarettes

Charles Giustra, Vincent Dimino, Joseph Antico

Five years in prison

Two

Narcotics Conspiracy

Charles Giustra

40 years in prison

Three

Interstate Transportation of Stolen Property

Charles Giustra

Five years in prison

COUNT

CHARGE

DEFENDANTS

MAXIMUM PENALTY

One

Felon-in-Possession of a Firearm

Kenneth Lopez

10 years in prison

NAME

AGE

RESIDENCE

Carmine Franco

77

Ramsey, NJ

Anthony Pucciarello

77

Bloomfield, NJ

Howard Ross

53

Brooklyn, NY

Anthony Cardinalle

60

Saddle River, NJ

Peter Leconte

42

Lodi, NJ

Frank Oliver

46

North Haledon, NJ

Charles Giustra

51

Staten Island, NY

Dominick Pietranico

82

Mahopac, NY

Joseph Sarcinella

78

Scarsdale, NY

William Cali

59

Queens, NY

Scott Fappiano

51

Staten Island, NY

Anthony Bazzini

53

Glen Head, NY

Pasquale Carbone, Sr.

70

White Plains, NY

Gail Iorio

49

Succasunna, NJ

Dominick Rao

76

Suffern, NY

Stephen Moscatello

52

Piermont, NY

Robert Franco

50

Hartsdale, NY

William Rivera

47

Queens Village, NY

Mario Velez

44

Peekskill, NY

Pasquale P. Cartalemi, Jr.

50

Cortlandt Manor, NY

Pasquale L. Cartalemi

27

Cortlandt Manor, NY

Andrew McGuire

29

Hawthorne, NY

Joseph Bertolino

46

Wantage, NJ

Brian Petroll

47

Columbia, NJ

Robert Zarzuela

38

North Bergen, NJ

Jonathan Greene

47

Teaneck, NJ

Thomas Giordano

42

North Arlington, NJ

Michael Russo

50

Staten Island, NY

Louis Dontis

58

Staten Island, NY

Vincent Dimino

50

Brooklyn, NY

Joseph Antico

65

Staten Island, NY

Kenneth Lopez

39

Bronx, NY

sayitsnotsojack January 18, 2013 at 05:36 PM
There are many types of extortion and the Banks charging 29% interest on credit cards is one that should be given as much attention.
stephany January 18, 2013 at 06:02 PM
" If you opened a Pizzaria and he would own it (take 75 percent) and you would work there for free. " So i guess there were no pizza parlors in howard beach. why would anyone open a pizza parlor there. if you had one already would he kill you if you closed it. what point is there to working for 0 dollars-how do you pay ANY bill..Thinking your math math does not add up. please advise as to how you pay for food,car,housing,clothes etc for your family if you have no money !! btw i think most people who own pizza parlors pay as little tax as they think the IRS will accept and pocket the rest including the sales tax they collect-can't have the sales tax adding up to more that the amount that would be collected on the pittance they report..red flag anyone. 75%-work for free. check your facts and get back with link
stephany January 18, 2013 at 06:03 PM
while paying you .01%
stephen moscatello February 14, 2013 at 11:27 PM
To all you people that have comments , you don't have a clue as to what your speaking about . Charges brought against innocent people who now have lost their jobs , not to mention 85,000 to defend themselves . And loosing the respect of your neighbors . Not to mention your children seeing you in handcuffs .
stephen moscatello February 15, 2013 at 11:18 AM
You shouldn't lump everyone together , especially since you don't know any of the facts

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