Gambino mobsters arrested in a mafia bust have exactly the kinds of nicknames you'd expect

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Gambino mobsters arrested in a mafia bust have exactly the kinds of nicknames you'd expect
Federal prosecutors allege Diego "Danny" Tantillo and James "Jimmy" LaForte were "made"— or formally inducted — into the Gambino crime family on October 17, 2019.United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York
  • Ten alleged Gambino crime family mobsters were federally charged on Wednesday.
  • Prosecutors said the wise guys face racketeering conspiracy and other charges.
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Ten alleged mobsters of the Gambino crime family — including men with the nicknames "Vinny Slick," "Uncle Ciccio" and "Joe Brooklyn" — are now facing racketeering conspiracy and other charges in a mafia takedown by the feds.

The alleged wise guys from New York's Staten Island, Manhattan, the Bronx, Long Island, and New Jersey were charged in a 16-count indictment revealed on Wednesday.

Prosecutors accused the men of violent extortion, including an attack with a hammer, setting the steps of a home on fire, and threatening someone with a baseball bat.

The feds say that the alleged Gambino members and associates used threats, fraud, theft, and embezzlement schemes to muscle in on New York City's carting and demolition industries to enrich themselves and the Gambino crime family.

"As alleged, for years, the defendants committed violent extortions, assaults, arson, witness retaliation, and other crimes in an attempt to dominate the New York carting and demolition industries," Breon Peace, the US attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said in a statement.

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Italian law enforcement on Wednesday also arrested six organized crime members and associates in a coordinated operation, according to officials.

The defendants charged in New York include:

  • Joseph Lanni, also known as "Joe Brooklyn" and "Mommino"

  • Diego "Danny" Tantillo

  • Angelo Gradilone, also known as "Fifi"

  • James "Jimmy" LaForte

  • Vincent Minsquero, also known as "Vinny Slick."

  • Francesco Vicari, also known as "Uncle Ciccio"

  • Kyle Johnson, also known as "Twin"

  • Vito "Vi" Rappa

  • Salvatore DiLorenzo

  • and Robert Brooke

Nine of the men — all but Laforte — pleaded not guilty on Wednesday, according to a spokesperson for the US attorney's office. Laforte was not arraigned because he is in jail in Pennsylvania and will be arraigned at a later date, the spokesperson said.

Lanni, Johnson, Tantillo, and Gradilone were all detained, while Dilorenzo was released on a $500,000 bond. Brooke, Rappa, Vicari, and Minsquero were granted release on a $1 million bond, but their releases were stayed for 24 hours so the government could appeal, the spokesperson added.

Lanni's lawyer, Frederick Sosinsky, told Insider in response to the allegations: "Joe Lanni did not commit any crime charged in this indictment nor any uncharged act to which the Government makes reference. Until now, he has never even been accused of any act of violence. We look forward to getting Joe released on a bond and to a vigorous challenge to the charges."

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Rappa's attorney, Wayne Gosnell, told Insider that his client "will hold the government to its burden and vigorously litigate this case in court."

Brooke's lawyer, Vincent Martinelli, told Insider that Brooke "was properly not charged in the overarching RICO conspiracy involving the carting and demolition industries in NYC."

"He was merely charged with a relatively isolated, tiny business dispute completely unrelated to the RICO conspiracy. And we intend to prove he is completely innocent of any alleged 'violent extortion' related to it. To claim he extorted anyone is utter nonsense," Martinelli continued.

Minsquero's attorney, Louis Gelormino, told Insider that his client "denies these allegations and looks forward to a complete investigation where we expect he will be fully vindicated."

Johnson's attorney declined comment to Insider and lawyers for DiLorenzo, Gradilone, Tantillo, and Vicari did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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November 9, 2023: This article was updated with responses from Rappa, Brooke, and Minsquero's attorneys received after it was published.

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