Longshore Union Allegedly Infiltrated by Genovese

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Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn accused imprisoned Genovese crime family boss Vincent "Chin" Gigante and seven associates Jan. 23 of infiltrating the Int'l Longshoreman's Ass'n. The Genovese used their control of the union to extort money from firms operating on the piers in the N.Y.C. metro area and in Miami, according to a 40- page racketeering indictment announced by U.S. Atty. Alan Vinegrad. Convicted in 1997, Gigante is serving a twelve-year sentence for racketeering, murder conspiracy, and related crimes. Gigante, known for muttering as he walked around Manhattan's Greenwich Village in a bathrobe, has allegedly continued to run the Genovese family from prison.

Prosecutors allege Gigante obstructed justice during previous trials "by feigning diminished mental capacity." According to prosecutors, "video and audiotapes of Gigante in prison show that Gigante is a fully coherent, careful and intelligent man. In short, he appears to have ceased feigning mental illness in jail." Gigante is an inmate at the U.S. Bureau of Prisons Med. Ctr. in Ft. Worth, Tex. His arraignment  on the new charges is scheduled for about Feb. 6.

Other defendants in the case are Ernest Muscatella, the alleged Genovese acting boss; Charles Tuzzo, an alleged Genovese captain; Michael Ragusa, an alleged Genovese soldier; and Gigante's son, Andrew Gigante, an alleged Genovese associate. The four were arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge Steven Gold. If convicted, they face as much as 20 years in prison for each racketeering and extortion charge. Liborio Bellomo, Thomas Cafaro, and Pasquale Falcetti were indicted in the case in 2001 and are awaiting trial. The eight are charged with conspiring to control ILA Local 1804-1 in N. Bergen, N.J., and the Metro. Marine Maintenance Contractors Ass'n, which represents repair firms.

In one case, Vincent Gigante allegedly ordered Falcetti to pick up a $45,000 extortion payment from the owner of a shipping repair firm that operated in Fla. and N.J. Andrew Gigante allegedly delivered the order. Allegedly, Falcetti picked up the money on Feb. 6, 2001, and gave it to a Genovese associate. Some of the defendants also conspired to defraud pension funds of ILA, the Int'l Bhd. of Teamsters, and the United Bhd. of Carpenters by forcing the unions to use a Genovese associate as their investment adviser, the indictment said. Allegedly, the associate "then 'kicked back' a portion of the fee to the Genovese family."

Prosecutors also charged that Cafaro and Muscarella "participated in a classic 'pump and dump' stock fraud scheme" involving shares of Orex Gold Mines Corp. Investors paid $6.8 million for Orex shares, prosecutors charged. The shares then fell from a high of $7.50 to 15 cents. [Bloomberg News 1/23/02]