The US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York announced this week that five mobsters, both inducted members and associates of La Cosa Nostra, had been charged in a 32-count indictment that included extortion, money laundering, illegal gambling and more.
Covering criminal activity in Brooklyn, Staten Island and elsewhere, the indictment spans nearly a decade of lawbreaking—from 2010 to 2018.
“This investigation shows that members of La Cosa Nostra continue to prey on
members of our community, enriching themselves and their criminal network by making
extortionate loans and using threats of violence to collect,” stated United States Attorney
Donoghue. “Rooting out traditional organized crime’s dangerous and corrupting influence
continues to be a high priority for this Office and our law enforcement partners.”
All five of the men charged in the indictment hail from Brooklyn.
From the Colombo crime family, members Jerry “Fat Jerry” Ciauri, age 59, and Vito “The Mask” Difalco, age 63, were named in the indictment. Their associates, Salvatore “Sal Heaven” Disano, 48, and Anthony Licata, aka “Anthony Suits,” 49, were also charged.
According to the investigation, “Fat Jerry” Ciauri threatened
to shoot a loansharking partner behind on payments, later recruiting an associate to stalk the man. Ciauri also enlisted an associate to slash a victim’s tires in the middle of the night.
Among the crimes listed by the Attorney General, Difalco threatened a man who owed him money by invoking a history of setting cars on fire.
“Good things happen when I stay calm, see… Four years ago, I would have put [sic] the Benz on fire,” Difalco told him.
A lone member of the Gambino crime family was also swept up in the indictment. Joseph Maratea, 42, may not have a mobster nickname, but he was involved in extorting at least five victims while making collections on loans, keeping copies of driver’s licenses and contact info to keep tabs on his victims.
“The mob is certainly diminished, but it is not dead,” stated NYPD Police
Commissioner O’Neill. “These groups require our constant vigilance.”
The Commissioner promised continued collaboration with the FBI to “ensure public safety through aggressive investigation and the dismantling” of organized crime in New York.
Of course, the newly unsealed indictment is just an accusatory statement and the men named will have a trial to prove their guilt or innocence. If convicted, however, each faces up to 20 years imprisonment on the racketeering, money laundering and extortion offenses.
This is just the latest indictment as New York and national law enforcement continue to crack down on the aging organized crime figures in Brooklyn—last year, four members of the Gambino and Bonanno families were hit with drug trafficking, loansharking and firearms offenses.