By David Amoruso
It was one of the most disgraceful busts in American La Cosa Nostra history when fourteen Gambino Family mobsters were charged with pimping out underage girls. Though they were also charged with other crimes such as murder and extortion, it was their prostitution ring that attracted widespread attention from the media and public.
For those of you who missed that story, the government says that a Gambino Crime Family crew operated a prostitution business where young women and girls (some under the age of 18) were exploited and sold for sex. They put various young women and girls to work as prostitutes and advertised the prostitution business on Craigslist and other websites. The women were driven to appointments in Manhattan, Brooklyn, New Jersey, and Staten Island to have sex with clients. They were also available at a weekly high-stakes poker game. Almost half of what the young women earned went into the pockets of the mob family.
If the American mob still had a vague respectability about it, it vanished with the above mentioned crimes. Especially when all defendants pleaded guilty to all charges against them.
Of course career criminals will sometimes plead to crimes they did not commit simply to avoid the risk of an extreme long stay in jail if they are found guilty by a jury at a trial, but to plead guilty to pimping out girls under the age of 18? Well, that is something no self respecting man can do. Even more so in the tough guy world of La Cosa Nostra where mobsters claim to hold themselves to higher standards than other criminals. As I wrote in an earlier article: that myth has been thoroughly busted.
The guilty pleas were announced on Monday by Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Janice K. Fedarcyk, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the FBI.
“The Gambino Family and their associates continue to use violence, threats, and intimidation to wield power and profit illegally off the backs of their many victims. But the convictions of all 14 individuals charged by this office just nine months ago has dealt the Gambinos a significant blow. As the result of our prosecution, one of the Mafia's preeminent leaders and many of its rising stars will now serve significant prison sentences. We are, however, far from finished with the Gambino Family and will continue working with our law enforcement partners to put their members and associates out of business and behind bars”, Bharara said in the press release.
The “preeminent leader” Bharara mentions, is Gambino boss Daniel Marino (70), who pleaded guilty to murder conspiracy. The man who was killed was his nephew, Frank Hydell, who the mob correctly suspected of being an informant. Marino’s colleagues came to him to seek permission for the hit. In his guilty plea “Marino (right) admitted that he gave his co-conspirators the "green light" for the murder to proceed.” Marino now faces five years in prison when is sentenced on January 25.
Two other Gambino gangsters waited a long time until they decided to admit guilt. Where twelve of the men had pleaded out in the past several months, Gambino soldier Thomas Orefice and associate Dominick Difiore did so on January 10. Difiore admitted to extortion and the distribution cocaine and oxycodone and faces ten years in prison. Orefice had a lot more on his plate and pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy, with objects including extortion, sex trafficking, loansharking, and gambling. The 34-year-old Gambino soldier can now look forward to becoming an old man in prison as he is facing a thirty year sentence.
Fellow Gambino soldier Onofrio Modica has a very similar outlook after pleading guilty to racketeering conspiracy, with objects including accessory to murder, jury tampering, extortion, and gambling. At age 47, he will spend the next twenty years behind bars.
Janice K. Fedarcyk, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the FBI, said the following about the case: “The guilty pleas by Orefice and Difiore effectively mark the successful end of the prosecution of this case against a portion of the Gambino Family. The fourteen defendants admitted their roles in crimes that include sex trafficking, extortion, violent assaults, and murders, putting to lie the notion that today's mob is somehow less violent or craven than in the past. While this case is effectively over, the FBI's commitment to policing the Gambino Family and La Cosa Nostra is far from over.”
As Fedarcyk indicates, the war against La Cosa Nostra has not been won and the fight will continue. Where the FBI and numerous newspapers have frequently labeled certain mob cases as an end of the American mob, they are now a lot more cautious in making such claims.
Mainly because the Mafia seems to be extremely resilient and deeply ingrained in the American (criminal) landscape. On January 9, an article in the New York Times showed how La Cosa Nostra still held control over the New York City District Council of Carpenters, despite the fact that it had been put under supervision after the district council’s leader, Michael J. Forde, and nine others, including union officials, contractors and the head of an industry association had been charged with racketeering and corruption.
Though things have changed since the days of Jimmy Hoffa, a lot, it seems, remains the same.
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