In federal court in Brooklyn yesterday, two indictments were unsealed charging nine defendants with racketeering, illegal gambling, money laundering conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and related offenses. As alleged, charged with racketeering are Anthony Pipitone, a captain and soldier in the Bonanno organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra; Vito Pipitone, a Bonanno soldier; Agostino Gabriele, Bonanno associate; Carmelo Polito, acting captain in the Genovese organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra; Joseph Macario, Genovese soldier; and Genovese associates Salvatore Rubino and Joseph Rutigliano.
Eight defendants were arrested this morning. Seven are scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge James R. Cho. Vito Pipitone was arrested in Wellington, Florida, and will make his initial appearance this afternoon in federal court in Miami. Joseph Rutigliano remains at large.
Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Michael J. Driscoll, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), and Anne T. Donnelly, District Attorney, Nassau County District Attorney’s Office, announced the charges.
“Today’s arrests of members from two La Cosa Nostra crime families demonstrate that the Mafia continues to pollute our communities with illegal gambling, extortion, and violence while using our financial system in service to their criminal schemes,” stated United States Attorney Peace. “The defendants tried to hide their criminal activity by operating from behind the cover of a coffee bar, a soccer club, and a shoe repair shop, but our Office and our law enforcement partners exposed their illegal operations. Even more disturbing is the shameful conduct of a detective who betrayed his oath of office and the honest men and women of the Nassau County Police Department when he allegedly aligned himself with criminals.”
Mr. Peace thanked the New York City Police Department, the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor, and the United States Department of Labor, Office of the Inspector General for their assistance in the investigation.
“Current members of the five families demonstrate every day they are not averse to working together to further their illicit schemes, using the same tired methods to squeeze money from their victims. Enlisting alleged assistance from a member of law enforcement also proves they are willing to do all they can to hide their illegal behavior. Our active investigations show the mafia refuses to learn from history, and accept that at some point they will face justice for their crimes,” stated Assistant Director-in-Charge Driscoll.
“This case is further proof that organized crime is alive and well in our communities,” stated District Attorney Donnelly. “These violent criminal organizations operated secret underground gambling parlors in local commercial establishments, generating substantial amounts of money in back rooms while families unknowingly shopped and ate mere feet away. These Mafia figures were assisted by a sworn member of law enforcement, who helped these gambling dens to thrive by offering police raids on competing clubs. The Mafia has brought untold violence and extortion into our neighborhoods for decades, even threatening the life of an individual as part of this case. This indictment sends a strong message that we are committed to rooting out corruption and organized crime. We thank the EDNY, the FBI, and the Nassau County Police Department DA Squad for their partnership in helping to keep our communities safe.”
As detailed in the indictments and court filings, members of the Genovese and Bonanno organized crime families operated several illegal gambling operations in the Eastern District of New York. Beginning in at least May 2012, the Genovese and Bonanno families jointly operated a lucrative illegal gambling operation in Lynbrook, New York called the Gran Caffe. The profits earned through this and other gambling locations generated substantial revenue, which was then laundered through cash transfers to the defendants and through “kicking up” to the crime families’ leaders. Rutigliano and Rubino collected the proceeds for the Genovese crime family and distributed them up to higher-ranking members, including Polito and Macario. At times, Gabriele collected the proceeds for the Bonanno crime family and distributed them up to higher-ranking members of that family, including Anthony Pipitone and Vito Pipitone.
In addition to the Gran Caffe, the Genovese crime family—through Polito, Macario, Rutigliano, Rubino, and others—operated illegal gambling parlors at establishments called Sal’s Shoe Repair and the Centro Calcio Italiano Club. The Bonanno crime family—through Anthony Pipitone, Vito Pipitone, Gabriele, and others—operated illegal gambling parlors at establishments called the Soccer Club, La Nazionale Soccer Club, and Glendale Sports Club.
Carmelo Polito, an alleged acting captain in the Genovese crime family, is also charged with operating an illegal online gambling scheme in which bets were placed on sporting events through a website called “PGWLines.” In connection with his operation of PGWLines, Polito is charged with attempting to extort an individual who lost several thousand dollars in bets he placed through the website. For example, in an October 2019 call concerning a delinquent debtor whose “face” Polito had previously threatened to “break,” Polito instructed another individual to relay a new message to the debtor: “Tell him I’m going to put him under the f——g bridge.”
As also detailed in the indictments and other court filings, Hector Rosario, a detective with the Nassau County Police Department, accepted money from the Bonanno crime family in exchange for offering to arrange police raids of competing gambling locations. Rosario is charged with obstructing a grand jury investigation by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York and lying to the FBI.
The illegal gambling locations include:
- La Nazionale Soccer Club, 80-13 Myrtle Avenue, Queens
- Glendale Sports Club, 74-03 Myrtle Avenue, Queens
- Gran Caffe, 31 Hempstead Avenue, Lynbrook
- Soccer Club, 129 Rockaway Avenue, Valley Stream
- Sal’s Shoe Repair, 41 Merrick Avenue, Merrick
- Centro Calcio Italiano Club, 1007 Little East Neck Road, West Babylon
The charges in the indictments are allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Organized Crime and Gangs Section. Assistant United States Attorneys Tanya Hajjar, Drew Rolle, Anna Karamigios, and Special Assistant United States Attorney Abigail Margulies are in charge of the prosecution.
JOSEPH MACARIO (also known as “Joe Fish”)
West Islip, New York
CARMELO POLITO (also known as “Carmine Polito”)
Whitestone, New York
SALVATORE RUBINO (also known as “Sal the Shoemaker”)
Bethpage, New York
JOSEPH RUTIGLIANO (also known as “Joe Box”)
Commack, New York
Oceanside, New York
Glendale, New York
ANTHONY PIPITONE (also known as “Little Anthony”)
Deer Park, New York
Mineola, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket Nos. 22-CR-355 (ENV); 22-CR-356 (ENV)