Eleven alleged members of the Gambino organized crime family were locked up Thursday on federal charges including threatening people who owed them money, telling one in a conversation captured by wiretap to pay $100,000 or else lose his teeth.
Court papers cite other recordings giving a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the internal fallout from the slaying of a Gambino leader, Francesco “Franky Boy” Cali, earlier this year outside his Staten Island home.
Federal authorities said the racketeering case against the legendary crime family once run by notorious mob boss John Gotti shows loansharking, obstruction of justice, bribery and other crimes are still business as usual.
Some defendants have already gone “to prison, were released and allegedly went right back to breaking the law,” said William Sweeney, head of the FBI’s New York office.
The defendants were to appear later Thursday in federal court in Brooklyn. The names of their defense attorneys were not yet listed in the court record.
The papers describe how Gambino captain Andrew Campos and soldier Vincent Fiore allegedly threatened violence over a $100,000 debt. They say Fiore told the victim, “When you get punched in the face and your teeth get knocked out … you’re not going to laugh no more, OK?”
Campos and Fiore also helped the Gambinos “investigate” Cali’s murder on March 13, 2019, amid speculation about how it would impact the family hierarchy, the papers say.
While under FBI surveillance, the men had clandestine meetings with other members of the crime family, with Fiore afterward confiding in a phone call that he had seen a security videotape from Cali’s home and “discussed a possible motive for the murder relating to a woman who had been at Cali’s home that day,” they say.
A Staten Island man has pleaded not guilty to the fatal shooting and is still undergoing a mental evaluation. There’s no allegation by prosecutors that the killing was related to organized crime.
Gotti, who was known as both the “Dapper Don” because of his expensive suits and silvery swept-back, and the “Teflon Don” after a series of acquittals on murder charges, was serving a life term for racketeering and murder when he died of cancer in 2002.
— Tom Hays