This past Friday a Lucchese crime family capo plead guilty inside a Brooklyn courtroom. That capo was Carmine Avellino, and this would end a case that started with a $100k loan back in 2010.
The case is troubling on a number of fronts for a few reasons. I understand that shylocking, also known as loan sharking, is against the law. It’s called usury. On the other hand is the borrower. They are not forced to get a loan from a shylock. They gladly take the money to use for whatever they wish. They agree to the terms and give their word that they will pay it back. It comes down to personal responsibility, but they get off by running to the FBI. Maybe in the future when they charge shylocks with usury, they should also charge the borrowers with tax evasion and make them pay back the principle as a fine. While loansharking is illegal, the government allows these payday loan places, pawn shops and credit card companies to basically do the same thing.
The two borrowers in this case made most of the payments on the loan, but towards the end they fell behind. So Avellino asked Michael and Daniel Capra to collect it. He instructed them to use violence or whatever means necessary to get the money. The FBI was watching and had both video and audio recordings of the three men conspiring together.
The Capra brothers went to court in June and July, where they both plead guilty and now all three of them face up to 20 years.
Carmine Avellino’s problem is much more than the shylock charge, and it goes back to August 10, 1989.
The story begins long before the trade group Private Sanitation Industry Inc. was formed in Long Island, New York. This is a good place to introduce Salvatore Avellino Jr., who ran the trade group which was a front for the Lucchese and Gambino family. The families used the group to control prices and routes for carting companies on Long Island. It brought in massive amounts of cash to both families. Salvatore Avellino Jr. not only ran the group but also was driver to the man who put it all together, Tony “Ducks” Corallo, who was the boss of the Lucchese family.
The trade group was having a lot of problems with two men who ran a garbage hauling service on Long Island known as Kubecka Inc. Robert Kubecka and his brother in law Donald Barstow had taken over Robert’s father Jerry’s garbage hauling service when he retired. There were over 200 private garbage hauling companies on Long Island at the time, and 180 of them belonged to the trade group. The routes and the rates were set by the group, which was really just the Lucchese and Gambino family.
Then Kubecka refused to have anything to do with the group, so they started having problems. Their trucks were vandalized, they were threatened and trash containers were burned.
They decided to cooperate with the state and federal task force investigating the trade group. They wore wires and gave intel to the investigators. They provided enough information to take down Salvatore Avellino Jr. and 9 others. They also were able to bug Sal Avellino’s Jaguar, where they caught Tony Ducks discussing mafia business. Tony Ducks would get 100 years, but Sal Avellino caught a break. Soon Vic Amuso and Gaspipe Casso were running the family and they did not like people who worked with the Feds. They called a meeting in a Canarsie Brooklyn social club. Sal Avellino Jr, and a capo from the Bronx Bowatt Baratta showed up to meet with Amuso and Casso. They wanted to use Bowett because he was removed from Long Island and the carting business. Bowatt was big into heroin and had done many years for it.
They had law enforcement sources that were on the Lucchese family payroll so they knew that they could murder the two men at the Kubecka office. The task force had left the two men completely exposed with no protection.
On August 10, 1989, Bowat was there with Carmine Avellino and they dropped off the two killers. Rocco Vitulli and Frankie Federico made their way into the garbage services office where they encountered Donald Barstow in the hallway. They blasted him right away and then ran into the main office. Robert Kubecka, having heard the shots, fought the men with his bare hands. They tore up the small office and fired a number of missed shots until they finally mortally wounded Kubecka. The shooters took off but Kubecka was able to call 911 before he died.
Years later they would all be arrested for racketeering and the murders, but they would all plead out to lesser charges except for Federico, who was missing. The FBI caught up with Federico in the Bronx and his DNA was at the scene, so he was giving 15 years for the murders. The Kubecka family won a large settlement from the state but what good does that really do the family?
Carmine Avellino will keep paying for his crimes.