In the real world, as opposed to the make believe world of Hollywood, most defendants facing charges never go to trial. 97% of federal defendants take plea deals. In state court, 94% take deals.
Considering these facts, it comes as no surprise that some of the Bonanno family defendants that have been held for four years with a deadlocked jury, facing retrial, chose to take a deal.
Anthony Santoro, Vito Badano and Ernest Aiello all plead guilty on April 7, 2017. They had been charged with enterprise corruption, loansharking, bookmaking and drug sales. They sold Viagra and Cialis to customers.
They are all in a crew that is overseen by Bonanno capo Nicky Santora, who did not plead guilty.
The NYPD had their phones tapped and had placed a bug in Nicky Santora’s car. Anthony Santoro was caught on tape threatening people and running the bookmaking operation. He would freeze customers accounts, set credit limits and handle the day to day business.
Anthony Santoro, also known as “Skinny,” took a gamble and went to trial. He is a funny, personable guy, and there ended up being a mistrial.
This time he decided to take a plea deal. He pleaded out to attempted enterprise corruption and will forfeit $45,900.00. He is facing a sentence of 4 to 8 years, according to the deal. He also still has an 8 month federal sentence to serve for another gambling case in Connecticut.
Vito Badano and Ernest Aiello also plead guilty to attempted enterprise corruption and face 3-7 and 2-4 years in prison.
In other mafia news, Gregorio Gigliotti, the owner of the Queens restaurant Cucino a Modo Mio, was sentenced to 18 years for his part in a smuggling group that brought 120 kilos of cocaine into the United States hidden in a food shipment. Gregorio had ties to the Ndrangheta in Italy and his son Angelo had ties to the Genovese family in New York.
Gregorio’s wife Eleonora has plead guilty to conspiracy for her role in the group, which included transporting cash to Central America for the cocaine. She is still awaiting sentencing.
Angelo will face a judge for his sentencing.
In yet more mafia news, Joey Merlino, also known as “Skinny Joey,” who was and may still be the boss of the Philadelphia crime family, has been offered a plea deal along with the other 45 men arrested in his case.
It has been said that they took the racketeering charges away from many of those charged and offered them a very good deal instead.
They had to do this because the FBI agents who handled informant John Rubio, a Genovese associate, did not debrief him correctly, or record him. Two of the agents and a supervisor are also being probed for leaking confidential information to Gangland News.
Who knows if Joey Merlino or Genovese capo Pasquale “Patsy” Parrello will take the deal or push for trial. Only time will tell.
Merlino had just been released from supervision for 2001 conviction in Philadelphia. He was released from prison in 2011 after which he moved to Florida, where he was going straight running a restaurant. Most of these new charges take place while he was serving his 3 years of supervised release.
These guys never seem to learn that crime does not pay.