Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Four Members And Two Associates Of The Genovese Organized Crime Family Charged With Racketeering

The U.S. Justice Department released the below information:

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Letitia James, New York State Attorney General, and Eric Gonzalez, Brooklyn District Attorney, announced today the unsealing of a Superseding Indictment charging four members and two associates of the Genovese Organized Crime Family with racketeering. 

The Superseding Indictment charges NICHOLAS CALISI and RALPH BALSAMO, alleged Captains in the Family, MICHAEL MESSINA and JOHN CAMPANELLA, alleged Soldiers in the Family, and MICHAEL POLI and THOMAS POLI, alleged associates of the Family, with racketeering conspiracy involving illegal gambling and extortion.

MESSINA was previously arrested and presented before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ona T. Wang on April 12, 2022.  BALSAMO, CAMPANELLA, MICHAEL POLI, and THOMAS POLI were arrested today and will be presented in Manhattan federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert W. Lehrburger this afternoon.  CALISI was arrested in Boca Raton, Florida and presented before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in the Southern District of Florida.  The case is assigned to United States District Judge John G. Koeltl.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said:  “From extortion to illegal gambling, the Mafia continues to find ways to prey on others to fill its coffers.  Our office and our law enforcement partners remain committed to putting organized crime out of business.”

New York State Attorney General Letitia James said:  “For years, members of the Genovese crime family have terrorized New York communities with violence and illegal businesses. These individuals allegedly made their money through illegal gambling and loan sharking — saddling victims with incredible debt that they cannot repay. Today’s indictment makes clear that we will continue to root out organized crime wherever it exists, and I thank U.S. Attorney Damian Williams and Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez for their partnership in taking down these criminal enterprises.”

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said:  “Organized crime, and the illegal conduct that flows from its activities, remain a problem in Brooklyn and beyond. My Office is committed to continue working together with our law enforcement partners to investigate these criminal organizations, as we’ve done in this case. I thank the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York and the New York State Office of the Attorney General for their partnership and cooperation.”

According to the allegations in the Superseding Indictment, which was unsealed today[1]:

The Genovese Organized Crime Family is part of a nationwide criminal organization known by various names, including La Cosa Nostra (“LCN”) and the “Mafia,” which operates through entities known as “Families.” 

Like other LCN Families, the Genovese Organized Crime Family operates through groups of individuals known as “crews”.  Each “crew” has as its leader a person known as a “Captain” and consists of “made” members, known as “Soldiers.”  Soldiers are aided in their criminal endeavors by other trusted individuals, known as “associates,” who sometimes are referred to as “connected” or identified as “with” a Soldier or other member of the Family.  Associates participate in the various activities of the crew and its members.  In order for an associate to become a made member of the Family, the associate typically needs to demonstrate the ability to generate income for the Family, and/or that the associate is capable of committing acts of violence.

A Captain is responsible for supervising the criminal activities of his crew, resolving disputes between and among members of the Family, resolving disputes between members of the Family and members of other Families and other criminal organizations, and providing Soldiers and associates with support and protection.  In return, the Captain typically receives a share of the illegal earnings of each of his crew’s Soldiers and associates.

At times relevant to the charges in the Superseding Indictment, NICHOLAS CALISI and RALPH BALSAMO were Captains in the Genovese Family, MICHAEL MESSINA and JOHN CAMPANELLA were Soldiers in the Genovese Family, and MICHAEL POLI and THOMAS POLI were associates of the Genovese Family.

Members of the Genovese Family, including CALISI, BALSAMO, MESSINA, CAMPANELLA, MICHAEL POLLI, and THOMAS POLLI, engaged in or agreed that others would engage in certain crimes, including making extortionate extensions of credit, financing extortionate extensions of credit, collecting extensions of credit by extortion, extortion, operating illegal gambling businesses, and transmission of gambling information.

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A chart containing the ages, residency information, and charges against the defendants, as well as the maximum penalties they face is attached.  The maximum penalties are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.

Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of the Office of the New York Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force and the Kings County District Attorney’s Office and thanked the Federal Bureau of Investigation for its assistance in this investigation.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Celia V. Cohen, Rushmi Bhaskaran, and Justin Rodriguez, as well as Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Pamela Murray, are in charge of the prosecution.  The case is being handled by the Office’s Violent and Organized Crime Unit.

The charges contained in the Superseding Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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