In a criminal case reminiscent of the Mafia-based hit show “The Sopranos” as many as 50 gangsters may go free because someone couldn’t keep their mouth shut. Multiple news outlets in New York and New Jersey have been following the story of a 2016 racketeering bust that involved 4 of the 5 major Mafia crime families in New York. Those involved include members of the Genovese, Gambino, Lucchese and Bonanno crime families. Absent from the list is the Colombo family.
At some point during the investigation, it is reported that FBI agents familiar with the case acted as a confidential source to the popular mafia fan blog “Gangland News.” It involved a Genovese associate, John Rubio, who wore a wire for the feds. Somehow information from debriefings made it into the blog site and now two FBI agents and a supervising agent in the case are being investigated. In addition, lawyers for the accused Mafia members have been advised of the situation. As a result, the FBI lost three wiretap sources because informants were compromised. In one recording, a mob capo, Pasquale “Patsy” Parrello, orders his soldiers to beat a panhandler outside his restaurant, Pasquale’s Rigoletto Ristorante in the Bronx, New York. The men first attack the wrong person and then beat the panhandler, smashing jars on his body.
The case against the mobsters who have colorful nicknames such as Joseph Merlino, aka “Skinny Joey”; Anthony Zinzi, aka “Anthony Boy”; Anthony Camisa, aka “Anthony the Kid”; Anthony Cassetta, “Tony the Cripple”; Francesco Depergola, aka “Sammy Shark,” among others are part of what the feds are calling the East Coast La Cosa Nostra Enterprise. The defendants face charges of selling untaxed cigarettes — worth up to $3 million, gunrunning, healthcare fraud, arson, extortion and assault.