U.S. attorney announces indictments of alleged Gambino members
NEW YORK (CNN) -- Federal and New York state prosecutors brought charges against 17 alleged members and associates of the Gambino crime family Tuesday, including acting boss Peter Gotti, officials announced.
The corruption charges focus on the organization's alleged efforts to control the shipping industry and the unions that represent the workers on the New York waterfront.
Alan Vinegrad, U.S. Attorney for New York's eastern district, said that Peter Gotti, the alleged acting boss of the mob family and brother of jailed boss John "Teflon Don" Gotti, is one of the members facing charges that include racketeering, extortion, loan sharking, wire fraud, money laundering and witness tampering.
The 68-count indictment detailed allegations of the Gambino family's stranglehold on the International Longshoremen's Association (ILA), representing 65,000 maritime workers in North America, and its alleged illegal influence on businesses on the Brooklyn and Staten Island waterfronts.
Vinegrad said the Gambino crime family exerted its control over the union by putting hand-picked ILA nominees in high-ranking positions, and "through mob muscle," forced the union's health benefits fund to award a prescription drug contract to a company which kicked back $400,000 to the family.
The family also extorted tens of thousands of dollars from the owners of local businesses and from laborers themselves, Vinegrad said.
"What all of this shows is that when it comes to the waterfront, the greedy grip of organized crime knows no bounds," Vinegrad said. "These charges reflect our determination that these Gottis, like those who had preceded them at the Gambino family, be held to account for their life of crime."
The indictment also names Richard V. Gotti, an alleged mob captain and brother of John Gotti, and Richard G. Gotti, an alleged mob soldier and nephew of John Gotti.
According to the state Attorney General's office, the Gambino family and the Genovese family have historically divided control of the New York and New Jersey waterfront, with Brooklyn and Staten Island falling in the Gambino's domain.
Law enforcement officials made numerous references to similarities between this case and the 1954 movie "On the Waterfront," which features Marlon Brando as a longshoreman who stood up to his corrupt union bosses.
But Vinegrad sought to dispel any hints of Hollywood in this latest mafia drama, reminding reporters that this case "is real, it shouldn't be glamorized."
In June 1992, John Gotti was sentenced to life in prison without parole for racketeering, conspiracy to racketeer, defraud and obstruct justice, murder in the aid of racketeering, operating an illegal gambling business and witness tampering.
His victims included "Big Paul" Castellano, who was shot dead in 1985 as he sat in his limousine outside a steak house in midtown Manhattan. Gotti then assumed leadership of New York's Gambino crime family.
His son, John A. Gotti, became a federal inmate in 1999 when he began serving a six-year sentence for racketeering, bribery, and tax evasion in an upstate New York prison.
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