Out of 127 reputed mobsters federal authorities rounded up on racketeering charges across the Northeast on Thursday, at least 16 have been accused of extorting businesses and running underground gambling clubs across Long Island—with the help of two former police officers.
The crackdown was the largest single-day Italian mafia bust in the FBI’s history. More than 800 federal agents, state and local police pinched so-called “made” members of all five New York organized crime families—Genovese, Gambino, Lucchese, Colombo and Bonanno—and related syndicates in New Jersey and Rhode Island. Alleged bosses and associates alike were caught with wiretap investigations and mob turncoats that disregarded the “omerta,” or vow of silence.
“Members and associates of La Cosa Nostra are among the most dangerous criminals in our country,” Attorney General Eric Holder told reporters at a Brooklyn news conference while detailing 16 indictments in four federal districts. Allegations outlined fraud schemes, controlling unions, imposing mob “taxes” at ports as well as murder—including a 30-year-old double homicide at a Queens bar in retaliation for a spilled drink.
In documents filed at federal court in Central Islip, alleged gangsters were accused of demanding kickbacks from unnamed businesses under threats of violence and running nine illegal card game clubs in Hauppauge, South Farmingdale, at a Westbury auto body shop, two Ronkonkoma locations and four spots in Bohemia.
Robert Dito, a former Suffolk County police officer who was a member of the department’s elite Emergency Services Section, reportedly pleaded not guilty to charges he tipped off the alleged mob associates to search warrants being executed at the gambling clubs.
The 57-year-old Manorville resident is also facing charges of official misconduct in Suffolk County court for allegedly being rewarded with discounted car repairs in exchange for the tips.
A former Nassau County police officer, 72-year-old Franklin Camarano of Franklin Square, also reportedly pleaded not guilty to charges he helped a mafia crew extort local businesses.
Court documents outlining the allegations include a colorful list of nicknames for the suspects, including Tony Bagels, Whiney, Little John, Mousey and Frankie Cap.
While splashy, the cases are not the first involving the mob on LI. Last week a federal judge sentenced a 93-year-old mob boss to eight years in prison for extorting Manhattan strip clubs and a pizzeria on LI.
The fourth federal racketeering trial against John “Junior” Gotti of Oyster Bay resulted in a mistrial in December 2009. Junior is the son of the late John Gotti, the stylish former head of the Gambino crime family.