NEW YORK (AP) — Ten alleged members and associates of the Gambino crime family were charged in a federal indictment unsealed Wednesday with using violence and extortion to try to dominate New York's garbage carting and demolition industries, authorities announced.
The racketeering indictment accuses the men of crimes such as assaulting a demolition company employee with a hammer and setting fire to the steps of a trash carting business owner's house.
Prosecutors with the U.S. attorney's office in Brooklyn say the men also embezzled from unions and rigged bids in the demolition and carting industries between 2017 and 2021.
Law enforcement agencies including the FBI, the New York Waterfront Commission and the prosecutor in Palermo, Italy, assisted in the multiyear investigation, authorities said.
“As alleged, for years, the defendants committed violent extortions, assaults, arson, witness retaliation and other crimes in an attempt to dominate the New York carting and demolition industries,” U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said in a news release.
The defendants include Joseph Lanni, who prosecutors said was also known as “Joe Brooklyn” and “Mommino,” an alleged captain in the Gambino family, and nine alleged Gambino soldiers and associates.
Lanni's attorney, Frederick Sosinsky, said his client was innocent and would mount a “vigorous challenge” to the charges.
“Joe Lanni did not commit any crime charged in this indictment nor any uncharged act to which the Government makes reference," he said in an email. “Until now, he has never even been accused of any act of violence.”
According to the indictment, one of the alleged mobsters, Diego “Danny” Tantillo, began demanding monthly extortion payments from a business owner identified by the pseudonym John Doe 1 starting in late 2017. On one occasion, prosecutors said, Tantillo showed John Doe 1 a metal baseball bat and said the bat was for him.
After John Doe 1 tried to stop making extortion payments in 2020, someone set fire to the steps of his home while his wife and children were inside, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said Tantillo and another man were “made,” or formally inducted into the Gambino family, on Oct. 17, 2019.
A mob associate who was not allowed to attend the ceremony because he was not a made man himself congratulated Tantillo in a text that used coded language, prosecutors said.
“Good morning Dani have a great day so happy for your new job and when you sign the contract even if I'm not there is like I am very proud good luck !!” the text read, according to prosecutors.
Tantillo responded, “Ty Vito I really wish you were there since you were one of the people help me get this contract. I hope we continue getting more work and everything gets better than before. Ty as always,” prosecutors said.
An email seeking comment was sent to Tantillo's attorney, Andrew Weinstein.