New York Crime Family Dealt Second Blow in Two Weeks
Two New York mafia figures pleaded guilty to trafficking the addictive opioid Oxycodone and forcing a Brooklyn doctor to forge prescriptions, the New York Daily News reported on Friday.
The news came from the Federal Courthouse in Brooklyn, where prosecutors presented incriminating recordings of Luchese organized crime family member Anthony Grado, 54, and associate Lawrence Tranese, 55.
Grado works as a ‘soldier’ for the crime family and was heard threatening the doctor that he would make him write “a thousand scripts a day and f**king feed you to the f**king lions” if he wrote prescriptions without Grado’s permission.
Grado and Tranese gave the doctor names of people for whom prescriptions for medications containing the opioid had to be written. They then sold the pills together with other conspirators.
If the prescriptions “go in anybody’s hands” besides his, “I’ll put a bullet right in your head” Grado said in the recordings.
The doctor was made to write prescriptions for more than 230,000 pills containing Oxycodone.
“Organized crime groups and other criminal entities are seizing on the outbreak of addiction plaguing our country to make money,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge, William F.Sweeney. “It shouldn’t be a shock that members of the Luchese crime family used violence to force a member of the medical community to further their criminal enterprise.”
The statement by the Department of Justice says that Grado ordered another Luchese associate to stab the doctor, who survived the attack.
Later on, a higher-ranking member of the Luchese crime family was called upon by Grado to attend a “sit down,” or meeting, to resolve issues related to the scheme.
The defendants each face a sentence of up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to US$1 million.
Two weeks earlier, on March 27, a Luchese family made man and nine associates were indicted and arrested for a loan-sharking and gambling operation in the Bronx and Westchester County, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced.
The New York Attorney General press release states that it is the largest operation they have ever investigated.
The interest payouts monitored during the one-year investigation, using wiretaps, surveillance cameras, car bugs, undercover officers and hidden cameras, exceeded $1 million.
“As we allege, this brazen ring of criminals preyed on New Yorkers – using a gambling operation to funnel victims into their loan sharking operation, and then saddling them with usurious loan payments,” said Attorney General Schneiderman.
The exorbitant weekly loan rates averaged 200 percent per year, trapping the victims in a vicious circle of high-cost debt.
The victims, who were often involved with the outfit’s gambling ring, were made to pay the defendants directly or drop off cash payments at Mckiernan’s Lawton Street Tavern and smoke shop The Glass Room, two businesses in New Rochelle, Westchester County, New York.
Three of the defendants, Cappelli, Wagner and Frank McKiernan, are alleged to have run an illegal bookmaking operation by using gambling website bxbets.com. They allegedly made over half a million in annual wagers.
All 10 defendants were charged with enterprise corruption and the underlying crimes of usury and promoting gambling, according to the indictment.