Bonanno Family Members Are Accused of Branching Out Online and Into Erectile Dysfunction Pills

Jul 10, 2013
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An organized crime indictment unsealed in Manhattan on Tuesday had its share of well-worn mob enterprises: extortion, loan-sharking and union control, to name a few.



It even had an old-school defendant: Nicholas Santora, known as Nicky Mouth, whose exploits were depicted by the actor Bruno Kirby in the 1997 film “Donnie Brasco.” In the movie, Nicky Mouth was killed.

In real life, Mr. Santora is very much alive, and prosecutors say he and a crew of eight other Bonanno crime family members and associates have come up with new ways of generating cash that take less arm twisting.

Prosecutors said the crew ran a multimillion-dollar online sports betting operation in Costa Rica. And some of them were recorded making plans to sell hundreds of thousands of pills to treat erectile dysfunction, for at least $5 each.

The charges in the case come just two weeks after the New York office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation reduced the number of its agents working mob cases. That reduction, combined with two previous cutbacks over the last five years, left the bureau with roughly three dozen investigators working mob cases in the city, 60 percent fewer than in 2008.

Cyrus R. Vance Jr., the Manhattan district attorney, said at a news conference that the F.B.I. had been so successful at breaking up organized crime families “that many mistakenly believe that the mob has disappeared entirely.”

He added, “Times have changed since Jimmy Hoffa disappeared, but organized crime still exerts a corrupting influence in our city.”

Seven of the accused men were arraigned at State Supreme Court in Manhattan. As police officers led them into a courtroom in handcuffs, several made profane remarks about the wives and mothers of news photographers. Sitting in the front row with large, tattooed arms protruding from T-shirts, they laughed out loud, elbowed each other and smiled at family members in court.

The indictment accuses two of the defendants of helping another defendant, Nicholas Bernhard, win a 2010 election to become president of Local 917 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, a 1,900-member union on Long Island.

Members of the union local, which represents truck drivers and parking lot and gas station workers, borrowed money and placed bets in the crew’s loan-sharking and gambling operations, the indictment says.

The indictment charges that the two defendants, Vito Badamo, 50, and Anthony Santoro, 49, identified, respectively, as an acting captain and soldier, “explicitly promoted” Mr. Bernhard’s election, and that Mr. Bernhard then “deployed” another defendant, Scott O’Neill, the union’s assistant shop steward, in the crew’s loan-sharking and gambling activities.

Mr. Bernhard, 51, resigned from his position with the union in summer 2012 after an investigation accused him of involvement with the crime family and after he was questioned under oath by a court-appointed monitor that oversees the Teamsters union.

Officials at Local 917 did not respond to phone messages.

The indictment charges a total of nine men — the eight crime family members and associates, as well as another man — and seven were arrested early Tuesday morning, officials said.

Mr. Santora, 71, pleaded guilty to a federal extortion charge in Brooklyn last year and was sentenced to 20 months in prison. He is serving his sentence in the Federal Correctional Institution in Loretto, Pa., and did not appear in court on Tuesday.

The ninth man was expected to be apprehended soon.

Like all defendants in the case, Mr. Santora was charged with enterprise corruption, the state version of the federal crime of racketeering. The charge carries a maximum prison sentence of 25 years.

Mr. Santora and several other defendants were also charged with second-degree grand larceny and usury. Other accusations in the 158-page indictment include the sale of drugs and weapons.

Each of the seven men who were arraigned on Tuesday pleaded not guilty. Justice Melissa C. Jackson ordered three defendants — Ernest Aiello, 34, of the Bronx; Mr. Badamo, of Brooklyn; and Mr. Santoro, of Staten Island — to be held without bail.

Justice Jackson set bail for the others, the highest being a $500,000 bond for Mr. Bernhard.

Prosecutors said search warrants executed last year found nearly 10 pounds of marijuana and 7 firearms at Mr. Santoro’s home, and 20 handguns from Mr. Bernhard’s home.

In arguing for low bail amounts, several defense lawyers said that their clients worked in construction, and that one owned an ice-cream parlor in Yonkers with his family.

Lawyers for many of the defendants also said that their clients had been aware of the investigation since their homes were searched last year. Joseph J. Donatelli, a lawyer for Mr. Badamo, told the judge that his client “was sitting there waiting” for detectives.

“Mr. Badamo is not going nowhere, Your Honor,” he said.


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10 years ago

This is a load of horseshit. This “mafia” or “mob” is just a figment of Hollywood writers imagination to sell books and movie tickets. It makes me sick to see hard working Italian Americans be persecuted because of their vowel by grandstanding prosecutors who bought into the myth.

That’s right MYTH. Just like squirt aint pee, whores have souls, and Rob Black has a clue.

P.S. Fuck Rudy Giuliani. - Buy & Sell Adult Traffic
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