The FBI hit the Bonanno family with another big indictment this week. This time they took down ten guys with a 37 count indictment. The Bonannos just cannot seem to get a break from the FBI. Ronald Giallanzo aka Ronnie G has been a high roller for awhile, and the Feds were already moving to seize his home in Howard Beach, Queens.
Ronnie G was involved in pump and dump stock scams with my old buddy John Baudanza who is a Lucchese guy. He has made a lot of money from running sportsbooks and a large loan sharking book. The Feds want to take in excess of twenty six millions dollars he has made over the years with gambling and loan sharking.
They claim at one point he had over three million dollars in loans out on the street. They also had to make a big deal out the fact he kept running his loan sharking business while he was locked up in federal prison. I guess it is hard for some feds to fathom that a guy going away for a short time will not walk away from his business.
They are charging him with running a sportsbook way back in 2005. I still do not know how I feel about arresting people for loan sharking. I understand that it is against the law. But why do they only enforce certain federal laws and not others?
I have written about loan sharking before, and I still do not understand why they must protect people from their own bad decisions. Loan sharks never force a debtor to take their money and spend it. The debtor seeks them out and asks for the loan. In return, they agree to make certain payments.
It is like the so called “predatory lending banks” with home loans. No matter how a bank writes up the paper work and what it entails, the debtor is the one with the choice whether or not to agree and sign.
I do not gamble, but I used to be involved in sportsbooks. We never forced anyone to place a bet. The one thing I do understand is why the feds get involved when the bookie threatens his debtors.
Ronnie G and three other Bonanno soldiers are indicted in this case. They claim Ronnie G is an acting capo. Michael Padavona, Michael Palmaccio and Nicholas “Pudgie” Festa are soldiers in the family.
Ronnie G would give Michael Padavona, Michael Palmaccio and Nicholas “Pudgie” Festa cash at low interest rate to put out on the street. They would collect on the loans and pay him every week.
One time Ronnie G and another Bonanno associate grabbed a guy, threw him into a car and beat him over a two hundred and fifty thousand dollar loan. The guy was so afraid he pissed his pants.
Another time, Ronnie G and Michael Padavona wanted to deal with a guy who robbed their crew, so they had guys out looking to kill him. They even exchanged shots with the guy in 2006 on the streets of Howard Beach for a few months.
The indictment charges all the guys with a lot of racketeering acts, ranging from selling drugs to robbery.
Just last week they charged Vincent Asaro, Ronnie G’s uncle, with more crimes after he beat them in the decades old Lufthansa robbery case.
The FBI seems to have a lot of great informants placed in the Bonanno family. I am sure they have them in all the families right now and soon we will know. A Bonanno capo has flipped, so there should be more indictments in the pipeline.
This is their life, but does crime really pay?