NEW YORK (AP) — Ten alleged members and accomplices of the Gambino crime family were charged in a federal indictment unsealed Wednesday with using violence and racketeering to dominate New York’s trash hauling and demolition industries, authorities announced.
The racketeering indictment accuses the men of crimes including attacking a demolition company employee with a hammer and setting fire to the steps of a garbage truck contractor’s home.
Prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn say the men also embezzled unions and manipulated bids in the demolition and transportation industries between 2017 and 2021.
Law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, the New York Waterfront Commission and prosecutors in Palermo, Italy, assisted in the multiyear investigation, authorities said.
“As alleged, the defendants committed years of violent extortion, assault, arson, witness retaliation and other crimes to dominate New York’s transportation and demolition industries,” U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said in a news release.
The defendants include Joseph Lanni, who prosecutors say was also known as “Joe Brooklyn” and “Mommino,” an alleged captain in the Gambino crime family, and nine suspected Gambino soldiers and associates.
Lanni’s attorney, Frederick Sosinsky, said his client is innocent and will “vigorously contest” the charges.
“Joe Lanni did not commit any crime charged in this indictment or any uncharged act referred to by the government,” he said in an email. “To date he has never been accused of any violent act.”
According to the indictment, starting in late 2017, one of the alleged gangsters, Diego “Danny” Tantillo, demanded monthly extortion payments from a business owner identified by the alias John Doe 1. On one occasion, prosecutors said, Tantillo showed John Doe 1 a metal baseball bat and said the bat was for him.
In 2020, after John Doe 1 tried to stop paying extortion payments, someone set fire to the steps of his home while his wife and children were inside, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said Tantillo and another man were “created,” or officially inducted, into the Gambino family on Oct. 17, 2019.
A Mob associate, who was not allowed to attend the ceremony because he was not a made man himself, congratulated Tantillo in a text that used coded language, prosecutors said.
“Good morning Dani, I’m having a great day, I’m very happy about your new job and if you sign the contract, even if I’m not there, I’ll be very proud, good luck!!” The text read, according to the public prosecutor’s office.
Tantillo responded, “Ty Vito, I really wish you were there because you were one of the people who helped me get that contract.” I hope we continue to get more work and everything gets better than before. Ty as always,” prosecutors said.
An email seeking comment was sent to Tantillo’s attorney, Andrew Weinstein.
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