Posted: February 23, 2007
Updated: May 28, 2007
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Florida has the highest percentage of senior citizens in the United States. 17% of Florida’s citizens are 65 or older. It is clear then that Florida attracts the elderly. Mobsters also like Florida for the sun and warm temperatures, and of course they always look for ways to make an extra dollar. On June 30, 2006 two aging Genovese mobsters were indicted on RICO charges. One, capo Renaldi “Ray” Ruggiero was still pretty young at age 72. The other, soldier Albert “Chinky” Facchiano, should definitely have been retired at age 96. Facchiano however wasn’t retired. He had already been indicted for obstruction of justice. Genovese capo John “Buster” Ardito was heard on a wire talking about a trip he and Facciano made to threaten another Genovese mobster not to cooperate. Ardito was 85 at the time. “Yeah, two hitmen, me and Chinkie, 95 years old.” “I tell you, if we pull the trigger, we woulda fell on the floor.”
When he announced the arrests FBI agent Jonathan I. Solomon stated: “The arrests of these seven individuals demonstrate the FBI’s continuous commitment to combating organized crime. The FBI has a long and successful history of investigating and bringing to justice members of organized criminal groups, such as La Cosa Nostra. Working with our law enforcement partners, we have dismantled a major organized criminal group based in South Florida.”
From his West Palm Beach restaurant called “Soprano's” Ruggiero ran his South Florida crew. He officialy became a capo in 2003, according to prosecutors. Ruggiero’s main enforcer was associate Clement Santoro. Santoro was ordered by Ruggiero to assault a man who was involved in a business dispute with a mob associate. Santoro lured the man to a Coral Springs office. Upon entering Santoro stuck a gun to his head, pushed him down on a couch and beat him. He then demanded $1.5 million and gave the man a Post-it note with a telephone number to call. The next day Santoro joked about the incident saying: "It should have been in the movies." Ruggiero had the following to say about the attack he ordered, saying his crew "broke [the victim's] fingers, messed up his other hand, beat him up, and told him if he did not pay him his money by next week, he'll know what to expect."
Albert Facchiano supervised a loansharking and bookmaking operation. Facchiano’s rap sheet goes back to the 1930s. He has been convicted several times, and served 11 years in prison. He had been out of prison since 1989. Facchiano made clear how he felt about his life in the mob in 2001 when he had dinner with several other Genovese mobsters. Facchiano offered to do a killing if it was needed. The other mobster said that at their age they should be retired, and let the younger guys handle the murders. Facchiano responded by saying that you’re never retired, and reiterated that he would kill for the Family.
On February 1, 2007 Renaldi Ruggiero pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy. He faces 20 years in prison when he is sentenced on April 27. Ruggiero’s lawyer Michael Salnick bristled at prosecutors' description of his client as a "capo," saying: "That's a TV movie term as far as I'm concerned." "He has admitted his involvement in certain criminal acts." Albert Facchiano pleaded guilty to a Florida charge of racketeering conspiracy and a New York charge of conspiracy to tamper with a witness. He will most likely serve his sentence at home under house arrest. If he is sentenced to prison, he will certainly be among the oldest inmates in the US. Sentencing was set for May 25.
The two men running this operation were both senior citizens. The Genovese Crime Family is described by law enforcement as the best lead, and most talented crime Family of the US. You would think they can replace these old men with some fresh talent. Whoever the replacements will be, the FBI will be ready, and waiting.
In May 2007 Renaldi "Ray" Ruggiero, 73, was sentenced to 14 years in prison. He was also ordered to serve two years of supervised release, pay a $25,000 fine and forfeit $10,000 previously seized by the government. Albert Facchiano was sentenced to 6 months of house arrest, and 18 months of probation. He announced he would retire, saying: "I'll never get mixed up any more. I'm just happy that it's over."