Alleged Bonanno crime family captain Anthony Pipitone is a relatively fresh face. Inducted into the Mafia in 2004, he became an acting capo of the crew once headed by Louis DeCicco and Anthony Urso just three years later.
As far as mob careers go, there are better families to be involved with than the Bonannos. Ever since the departure of Joseph Bonanno, the family’s namesake, the group has hit one rough patch after the other. From the Donnie Brasco fiasco in the 1980s to boss Joseph Massino becoming a government witness in 2004 and a bunch of rats in between, the mob family unraveled into chaos.
An incident involving Pipitone captures this perfectly. In 2004 a restaurant owner in Queens complained to his connection in the Bonanno family about how someone had busted his windows. The Bonannos treated this as an insult and five wiseguys, including Anthony Pipitone and his younger brother Vito, went looking for the culprits.
They spotted a car with two men inside who they thought were responsible and went in for some good ol’ retribution. The five gangsters beat and stabbed the two men straight into the hospital. As far as the Bonannos were concerned, they had defended their mob honor and earned their protection money.
Except that they attacked the wrong men. And the men were actually teenagers.
In 2009, authorities had enough dirt on Pipitone and fourteen other Bonanno mobster and hit them with a 33-count indictment charging them with racketeering and other crimes. Pipitone was charged with the stabbing of the two teenagers to which he - and the four other masterminds - pleaded guilty in the summer of 2010. He was released from prison after serving 46 months.
Once out, it was business as usual. So when December came around it was only normal that Pipitone attended the Bonanno family’s annual Christmas party. Agents of the FBI and NYPD were watching as Pipitone and a bunch of other Bonanno mobsters got together at Bocelli's restaurant on Staten Island to hand their bosses envelopes filled with cash.
Though it didn’t seem like much of a crime to get together with friends, Pipitone violated his supervised release by attending the Christmas party – and two other Bonanno meetings as well.
A New York judge was not amused with Pipitone’s behavior and hit him with a two year prison sentence on March 30, 2016. The sentence amazed 43-year-old Pipitone whose lawyer told the judge two other Bonanno wiseguys received just one-year sentences for the same offense. The judge then agreed to reschedule Pipitone’s sentencing for April 18.
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