The U.S. attorney's office in Brooklyn, New York, charged Bonanno crime family mobster Vincent Asaro (photo above, right), John J. Gotti (photo above, left), and five other men yesterday with a variety of crimes including arson, robbery, and home invasion. Both Asaro and Gotti – as well as two other defendants - pleaded not guilty late Wednesday.
It’s the kind of indictment prosecutors love, with big names that will assure the media spotlight. 82-year-old Asaro stood trial two years ago, on charges related to the 1978 Lufthansa heist made famous by the movie Goodfellas. The elderly mobster was acquitted that time, but prosecutors are known to keep an eye out for a rematch.
Just ask the Gotti family. Its members have frequently faced justice in court, most cases lost, some cases won, but regardless of the outcome, prosecutors would never let up the pressure. As grandson of “The Teflon Don,” Gambino mob boss John Gotti himself, 23-year-old John J. Gotti knows this all too well. Unfortunately, the lure of easy money and the fast life proved too tempting. He pleaded guilty to selling oxycodone pills and was sentenced to 8 years behind bars earlier this month.
Besides the big names, the indictment also brings forth a charge so peculiar, it looks like it came straight out of a scene from The Sopranos.
In April 2012, Asaro was driving his car in Howard Beach, Queens, when another motorist cut him off at a traffic light. This pissed Asaro off so much, prosecutors allege, that he later got the home address of the owner and ordered a Mafia associate to set fire to the vehicle.
As is custom in the mob, the associate then passed the orders on down and recruited John J. Gotti and Matthew Rullan, both teenagers at the time, who set the car ablaze quickly thereafter, according to the indictment.
Both youngsters are also charged with their alleged involvement in the robbery of Maspeth Federal Savings and Loan Association weeks after the arson. They allegedly waited in a getaway car while Michael Guidice went inside and handed the teller a note saying: “I HAVE A BOMB.” They made off with $5,491
Other defendants named in the indictments are 26-year-old Christopher “Bald Chris” Boothby, 30-year-old Darren Elliott, and 26-year-old Matthew “Mack” Hattley. Boothby and Hattley are charged with a home invasion in Queens on March 12, 2014 in which they tied up a woman and stole over $50,000 in valuables. Hattley also participated in the robbery of $250,000 in merchandise at a Long Island jewelry store. He and Elliott stole the loot while pointing guns at the employees.
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