The Justice Department on Wednesday indicted 10 men suspected of being members of the Gambino crime family for allegedly shaking down business owners, assaulting members of the public, arson and union embezzlement.
Federal prosecutors say the men began extorting a trucking and hauling company in the New York area back in 2017 and a separate demolition company.
The defendants are Joseph Lanni, Diego “Danny” Tantillo, Angelo Gradillone and James LaForte, alleged Gambino soldiers, Vito Rappa, an alleged US-based Sicilian Mafia member and Gambino associate, Francesco Vicari, also known as “Uncle Ciccio”, Salvatore DiLorenzo, Robert Brook, Kyle Johnson Twin” and Vincent Minsquero, also known as “Vinnie Slick”, an alleged Gambino associate.
The Gambino crime family, according to the Justice Department, is a member of the Italian organized crime group known as La Costa Nostra.
“These extortions included setting fire to the steps of John Doe 1’s home, attempting to damage John Doe 1’s trucks, violently assaulting – with a hammer – an employee of Demolition Company 1, and violently assaulting one of the owners of Demolition Company 1,” it said. says in a detention memo filed Wednesday.
In one instance, Tantillo, a Gambino crime family captain, showed up at the office of a carung and trucking company with a baseball bat and demanded $1,000, according to court documents.
“Tantillo showed John Doe 1 a metal baseball bat and told John Doe 1 that the baseball bat was for him,” according to court documents.
“After John Doe 1 attempted to stop making extortion payments, the defendants engaged in increasingly violent actions and enlisted defendant Kyle Johnson, a close associate of Tantillo and other members of the Gambino crime family, to assist them in these efforts,” according to court documents. documents. That included setting fire to John Doe 1’s home while his wife and children were inside, according to the DOJ.
After the alleged arson was committed, two other alleged associates of Gambino, Vito Rappa and Francesco Vaccari, threatened his associate to make payments to the family, according to the DOJ.
Vaccari allegedly acted like “the last samurai” as they shook the associate, according to a wiretapped phone call.
“Rappa described how Vicari picked up a knife and ordered John Doe 1’s associate to threaten to cut John Doe 1 in half to get John Doe 1 to make extortion payments. “Take that ax and you’ll do two to him,” court documents state.
After the alleged incident, John Doe 1’s company resumed making payments, and Vaccari took a photo making the payments, according to the DOJ.
In another case, the men allegedly demanded $40,000 from a demolition company. When they didn’t get the money, Robert Brook was brought in to beat up the owner on a Brooklyn street corner, the documents allege.
The men are also accused of witness intimidation.
“In February 2021, LaForte and Minsquero assaulted an individual (John Doe 6) who they believed had previously provided information to law enforcement about members and associates of organized crime while Lanni sat nearby,” according to the documents. “LaForte called John Doe 6 a ‘rat’ and hit John Doe 6 in the face with a bottle. LaForte and Minsquero also turned the tables on John Doe 6, sending drinks and broken glass everywhere. John Doe 6 suffered a bloody nose from being hit with the bottle by LaForte.”
Although not charged, Lanni and Minsquero also caused a disturbance at a bar in Tom’s River, New Jersey on September 1, 2023.
“While being escorted out of the restaurant, both Lani and Minskero became belligerent,” according to the documents. “Minskero damaged a painting and hit a wall, and Lanny told the owner, essentially, that he was going to ‘burn this place down with you in it.'” Lanny called himself ‘Gambino’ at the time.”
Nearby surveillance footage allegedly shows Lani buying a gas container and trying to fill it up at a gas station, and even though he didn’t, the Justice Department says they returned later.
Lanny called the bar 39 times and told the owner he was going to make him “beg for forgiveness.”
As the bar owner was getting into his car with his wife, “a male entered the front passenger door of the owner’s car, punched the owner in the head, held a knife to the owner’s neck and threatened to kill the owner,” according to the documents.
“The husband ran to help the owner and was punched and knocked to the ground by a second man. Both perpetrators then assaulted the husband while the husband was on the ground. The man with the knife slashed the owner’s tires with the knife and pointed a knife at the husband. before walking.”
Attorneys for the men could not be reached for comment.