“Joe Brooklyn,” “Uncle Ciccio,” “Vinny Slick” - Gambino family mobsters busted in New York and Italy

By Gangsters Inc. Editors

Ten members and associates of New York’s Gambino crime family and the Sicilian Mafia were indicted in Brooklyn federal court this week. They are charged with racketeering conspiracy, extortion, witness retaliation, and union-related crimes committed in an attempt to dominate the New York carting and demolition industries.

In connection with the arrests, federal authorities executed search warrants, one of which resulted in the seizure of multiple firearms from an associate of the Gambino crime Family.

In a coordinated operation on Wednesday, Italian law enforcement arrested six organized crime members and associates who are charged with, among other crimes, Mafia association and connected criminal offenses. One individual remains at large.

“Joe Brooklyn,” “Fifi,” “Uncle Ciccio,” “Vinny Slick”

The defendants are 52-year-old Joseph Lanni, also known as “Joe Brooklyn” and “Mommino,” an alleged captain in the Gambino organized crime family, 48-yewar-old Diego “Danny” Tantillo, 57-year-old Angelo Gradilone, also known as “Fifi,” and 46-year-old James LaForte, alleged Gambino soldiers, 46-year-old Vito Rappa, alleged U.S.-based Sicilian Mafia member and Gambino associate, 46-year-old Francesco Vicari, also known as “Uncle Ciccio,” alleged U.S.-based Sicilian Mafia associate and Gambino associate, and 66-year-old Salvatore DiLorenzo, 55-year-old Robert Brooke, 46-year-old Kyle Johnson, also known as “Twin,” and 36-year-old Vincent Minsquero, also known as “Vinny Slick,” alleged Gambino associates.

12290231656?profile=RESIZE_710xPhoto: Joseph Lanni

Hammer attack and setting steps on fire

According to prosecutors, members and associates of the Gambino crime family used violent extortions, fraud, theft and embezzlement schemes to infiltrate the carting and demolition industries to enrich themselves and the Gambino crime family, including by laundering criminal proceeds.

In the midst of a financial dispute between Tantillo and the owners of Demolition Company 1, Tantillo and Johnson allegedly coordinated a violent hammer assault on the dispatcher for Demolition Company 1, which left the dispatcher bleeding and seriously injured.  

Tantillo, Rappa, Vicari and Johnson allegedly engaged in a violent extortion conspiracy relating to the demand and receipt of money from John Doe 1, who operated a carting business in the New York City area. The extortion scheme involved threatening John Doe 1 with a bat, setting fire to the steps to John Doe 1’s residence, attempting to damage John Doe 1’s carting trucks, and violently assaulting an associate of John Doe 1.  

Caught on wiretaps

Tantillo and Vicari were captured on judicially-authorized wiretaps discussing threats they made to John Doe 1 and John Doe 1’s father-in-law. On one call, Rappa stated that Vicari “acted like the ‘Last of the Samurai,” describing how Vicari picked up a knife and directed John Doe 1’s father-in-law to threaten to cut John Doe 1 in half in order to get John Doe 1 to make extortionate payments. After John Doe 1 ultimately made a payment of $4,000 to Vicari, Vicari and Rappa met and sent Tantillo a photo of Vicari raising a small champagne bottle, as in a toast.

In addition, Tantillo, Brooke and Johnson allegedly engaged in two separate violent extortion schemes of Demolition Company 1 and its owners over purported debts owed to Tantillo and a company operated by Tantillo and Brooke. Brooke violently assaulted one of the owners on a street corner in midtown Manhattan. In another instance, as mentioned, Tantillo and Johnson coordinated a violent hammer assault on a dispatcher at Demolition Company 1, which left the dispatcher bleeding and seriously injured. Pictures of the victim dispatcher were then circulated to various people in the carting and demolition industries.

Union racketeering

The defendants also committed a series of crimes to steal and embezzle from unions and employee benefit plans and rigged bids in the demolition and carting industries. As part of one such scheme, DiLorenzo provided Rappa with a “no-show” job at DiLorenzo’s demolition company so that Rappa could receive paychecks and union health benefits, among other benefits. Similarly, Tantillo arranged for Gradilone to receive a “no-show” job at a construction company with which Tantillo was associated, which enabled Gradilone to receive paychecks and union health benefits to which he was not entitled. Tantillo and Johnson also conspired to secure a “no-show” job for Johnson, so that Johnson could similarly receive union health benefits.

Tantillo also embezzled from employee benefit plans by using laborers from a non-union company, Gane Services, Inc., to perform work for union companies operated by Tantillo, and failing to make contributions for such work as required by collective bargaining agreements.

In addition, Tantillo, DiLorenzo and their co-conspirators conspired to rig bids for lucrative demolition contracts in New York City. Among other things, Tantillo and DiLorenzo coordinated that their companies exchange bidding information to secure a project on Fifth Avenue.

Assaulting a woman

12290231674?profile=RESIZE_400xThe defendants also perpetrated a series of other crimes throughout the New York and New Jersey areas from 2017 through 2023. Their pattern of racketeering activity included additional extortions, retaliating against a federal witness, and money laundering, among other crimes, as detailed in court documents.

For example, in September 2023, Lanni (right) and Minsquero coordinated an assault on proprietors of a restaurant in New Jersey, including physically assaulting a woman at knifepoint. In addition, LaForte, having previously been convicted of a felony, illegally possessed a firearm in or about May 2023.

The defendants variously face maximum sentences between 20 and 180 years’ imprisonment.

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