Eight men allegedly connected to the Colombo crime family in New York are under indictment for alleged extortion and kickback schemes at the World Trade Center.
The indictment unsealed in a Brooklyn court Tues. morning included charges against Theodore Persico, Jr., Michael Persico, Thomas Petrizzo, Edward Garofalo, Jr., James Bombino, Louis Romeo, Alicia Dimichelle, and Mike Lnu.
They are charged with racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, extortion, and embezzlement of union benefit funds.
The defendants, who were arrested early Tues., were arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge James M. Orenstein, at the U.S. Courthouse.
The charges were announced by Benton J. Campbell, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Joseph M. Demarest, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, FBI, New York Field Office, and Marjorie Franzman, Special Agent- in-Charge, New York Regional Office, Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General.
As alleged in the indictment and the detention memorandum filed today by the government, Theodore Persico, Jr. is a member of the administration of the Colombo organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra; Petrizzo is a Colombo family soldier; and Michael Persico, Garofalo, and Bombino are Colombo family associates. The indictment is the product of a multi-year investigation in which the FBI used a cooperating witness to infiltrate the Colombo family and make hundreds of consensual recordings.
The charges include the Colombo family’s use of a trucking company they controlled, All Around Trucking to execute a kickback and extortion scheme for debris removal subcontracting from Testa Corporation, a demolition contractor headquartered near Boston. The Colombo family carried out the scheme at locations including the World Trade Center construction site, and the Newtown Creek wastewater treatment plant on the border between Brooklyn and Queens. Specifically, as detailed in the detention memorandum, Theodore Persico, Jr., Michael Persico, and others agreed that, in exchange for All Around obtaining debris removal subcontracting with Testa, All Around would kickback a portion of its profits as a commercial bribe to a Testa foreman. After All Around secured subcontracting work with Testa, Colombo family associates threatened Testa employees when Testa failed to pay All Around on the timetable set by the crime family. Consensual recordings captured defendant Michael Persico directing Bombino to threaten Testa employees, and captured Bombino reporting back to Michael Persico that, when Bombino made the threats, the Testa employees were “shakin’ in their boots over us.” Other charges in the indictment include an extortion of a furniture store owner, in which Michael Persico forced the furniture store owner to give Bombino control of the store until the owner repaid a loan owed to Colombo family associates.
The indictment also charges Colombo associate Garofalo and his wife, Alicia Dimichelle, with embezzlement from the welfare benefit plan and pension benefit plan funds operated on behalf of union laborers of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 282. As described in the detention memorandum, Garofalo and Dimichelle engaged in a double-breasting scheme in which they used Colombo-controlled non-union shell companies, including DM Equipment, Big R Trucking, T&E Leasing, and Roman Sand and Stone, to circumvent Local 282 collective bargaining agreement union benefit contribution requirements.
The indictment is the latest in the U.S. Attorney Office’s ongoing efforts to dismantle the Colombo family. Those efforts have led in recent years to indictments and convictions of numerous members of the highest echelons of the crime family, including the 2007 conviction of former Colombo acting boss Alphonse Persico, Jr. and former Colombo administration member John DeRoss on murder in-aid-of racketeering and witness tampering charges; the 2008 conviction of Colombo captain Joseph Baudanza and others on stock fraud charges; and the 2009 indictment of former Colombo street boss Thomas Gioeli and other Colombo captains, soldiers, and associates on numerous racketeering-related murder charges and other crimes of violence.
“La Cosa Nostra continues to profit illegally in numerous sectors of our economy, allegedly including the World Trade Center construction site,” stated U.S. Attorney Campbell. “Our office is dedicated to eliminating these crime families, which take a significant economic toll.” U.S. Attorney Campbell praised the outstanding investigative efforts by special agents of the FBI and DOL/OIG.
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Demarest stated, “This case illustrates yet again that the mob’s aim is to make money, and the means is almost always violence or the threat of violence. Historically, the FBI referred to the economic impact of mob schemes as ‘the mob tax.’ Our goal continues to be elimination of the mob tax.”
Special Agent-in-Charge Franzman stated, “Today’s RICO indictment represents a significant milestone in our efforts to eliminate the far reaching extortionate control of demolition trucking companies in New York City by the Colombo organized crime family. Through their actions, two of the defendants allegedly caused the theft of International Brotherhood of Teamsters LU 282 employee benefit plan assets, directly impacting the welfare and retirement benefits of many union members. We are committed to working with our law enforcement partners to combat this type of labor racketeering.”
If convicted of the most serious offenses, seven of the eight defendants face a maximum of 20 years in prison. Defendant Alicia Dimichele faces a maximum of five years in prison.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Amy Busa, Michael Tremonte and Duncan Levin.