A 36-year-old Oceanside man was charged in a sweeping indictment along with nine other alleged members of the infamous La Cosa Nostra crime syndicate who stand accused of raking in millions as part of a racketeering and loan-sharking scheme.
Nicholas “Pudgie” Festa of Oceanside, an alleged La Cosa Nostra Bonanno family “soldier,” and nine other alleged mafia associates were arrested Tuesday, the climax of a years-long investigation into the organized crime family, federal authorities said.
Festa was charged in a loan-sharking scheme that contributed to the syndicate’s earning $26 million in illicit proceeds, authorities said. Other members of the gang were charged with murder conspiracy, illegal gambling, robbery and obstruction of justice, among other illegal acts over two decades. They were all expected to be arraigned at Brooklyn federal court on Tuesday.
Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Bridget Rohde said Tuesday’s arrests highlight the mafia’s “continued presence in the community.”
“The mafia hasn’t stopped operating and the crimes these members are charged with today proves that,” added FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney.
The indictment accuses various gang members of brutal acts of violence against victims for failing to pay back illegal loans or for retribution.
Ronald Giallanzo of Queens, an acting captain in the gang, beat a man so badly that he soiled himself as Giallanzo screamed, “Where’s the f—g money?,” according to the indictment.
Another member, Evan Greenberg of Queens, bragged about his ability to get people to pay up, the feds alleged.
“I get my sh—t. I blow up cars. I f—g knock on people’s doors. I pull them out of their f—g house,” he said, according to the indictment.
Investigators also accused Giallanzo of ordering a rival’s murder after he robbed his associates. Giallanzo allegedly traded gunshots with the victim on the streets of Howard Beach, Queens, on multiple occasions, the feds said.
The government’s investigation included the use of wiretaps, cooperating witnesses, and video surveillance. Most of the alleged crimes occurred in Howard Beach. “La Costra Nostra” is roughly translated from Italian to “our thing,” and representative of the five main mafioso crime families: Bonanno, Gambino, Genovese, Lucchese and Colombo.
Festa faces up to 20 years in prison for his alleged role in loan sharking. His Oceanside home is also subject to forfeiture, authorities said.
This is the second mob-related bust in six days. Last week, two reputed mobsters were indicted for allegedly robbing a Franklin Square jewelry store six years ago.