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“Feed you to the fuckin’ lions” – Profile of Lucchese family soldier Anthony Grado

By David Amoruso

Lucchese crime family soldier Anthony Grado knows how to earn. Whether it’s extortion, loansharking or selling prescription pills he’ll know how to make a buck. One thing he hasn’t learned, however, is staying out of prison for his crimes.

It’s not always Grado’s own fault, mind you. Like when Robert Molini, his cousin was busted by the DEA on September 9, 1992, for his role in a drug ring and decided to become an informant. A year earlier, Molini had come to Grado to borrow money so he could pay for a marijuana shipment.

Deadbeat

Grado introduced his cousin to fellow mobster Thomas Anzeulotto, who loaned him a total of $40,000. Molini was to pay back the principal and 20% interest, which amounted to $4,000 for each loan within ten days. When he was unable to even pay back $3,500 things began getting stressful. Even more so when he missed subsequent payments.

To get his cousin to honor his debts, Grado called Molini up and gave him an earful. He threatened him with what would happen if he didn’t pay back what he owed. His calls worked and pretty soon Molini came up with about $5,000.

Anzeulotto wasn’t satisfied of course. On June 8, 1992, Molini was ordered to come to Stella's pharmacy in Brooklyn. He gave Grado $1,000 after which Anzeulotto approached, who demanded the rest of the sum in one installment.

He also wanted to know Molini’s home address, but Molini refused to give it. Wrong move. Confronted with the refusal, Anzeulotto punched him in the face and neck and smashed two of the windows of the car he borrowed to get to Brooklyn. He then took Molini to an abandoned park, pointed his gun at him and asked him again for his address.

Still refusing to budge, but recognizing his predicament, Molini gave a false address.

Prison

By the time Molini began cooperating, the DEA was already hot on the crew’s tail. They had wiretapped the telephones of all those involved, intercepting multiple calls between the men. Prosecutors brought them to trial after which a jury convicted them on January 25, 1995.

Anzeulotto and Grado were found guilty of conspiring to make extortionate extensions of credit and to use extortionate means to collect extensions of credit. Anzeulotto was also convicted of the substantive loansharking offenses of making extortionate extensions of credit and using extortionate means to collect extensions of credit. Grado was acquitted of these loansharking charges.

Grado was sentenced to over 5 years in prison followed by 3 years of supervised release, while Anzeulotto got 8 years behind bars.

Opioid opportunities

After his release from prison, Grado went right back to work. These were new times offering new rackets. Prescription drugs were all the rage and Grado immediately seized on the opportunity.

He provided a Brooklyn doctor with the names of people for whom he should write prescriptions. The doctor would then write said prescriptions in those names for medications containing oxycodone, usually without conducting any examination. Grado and his associates then filled the prescriptions and sold the pills. 

Sometimes, Grado would hold the doctor’s prescription pads himself and either had the doctor write the fraudulent prescriptions at his direction or completed the prescriptions and later advised the doctor of the details. In total, the man wrote prescriptions for over 230,000 oxycodone pills.

“I’ll put a bullet right in your head” 

Before you curse at the doctor for his unprofessional behavior, keep in mind that he was facing Grado and his goons. In one conversation Grado told the doctor that he would make him write “a thousand scripts a day and fuckin’ feed you to the fuckin’ lions” if he wrote prescriptions without his approval. 

In that same conversation, Grado also told the doctor that if his newly ordered prescription pads “go in anybody’s hands” besides the Lucchese mobster’s, that “I’ll put a bullet right in your head.” 

These weren’t idle threats, either. Unsatisfied with the doctor, Grado ordered one of his associates to stab him.  

As happened with the loansharking scheme in the early 1990s, this opioid racket was crushed by authorities as well. On April 5, 2018, 54-year-old Grado pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute oxycodone. Upon sentencing, he faces up to 20 years in prison, as well as forfeiture and a fine of up to $1 million.

Lucchese family member Grado imperiled our community, threatening a doctor to force him to write prescriptions for oxycodone and then trafficking in the addictive drugs,” United States Attorney Richard Donoghue stated.

“Violent threats to a doctor by Mafia defendants, combined with their trafficking of oxycodone pills, posed an especially serious danger to our community,” he went on. “As demonstrated by today’s guilty pleas, this Office together with our law enforcement partners will be relentless in the prosecution of organized crime and those who contribute to the opioid epidemic.”

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