Federal agents cuffed an alleged mafia captain from Howard Beach and nine of his associates on Tuesday for engaging in racketeering, murder attempts, shootings, loansharking and other violent crimes over a nearly two-decade period.
Ronald (aka Ronnie G) Giallanzo, 46, is a reputed acting captain in the Bonnano crime family who allegedly led a criminal enterprise that reaped more than $26 million in earnings since 1998, federal prosecutors said.
The operation was so lucrative, agents said, that it enabled Giallanzo to transform his ranch home into a multimillion-dollar McMansion resembling something out of “The Sopranos.”
According to Acting U.S. Attorney Bridget M. Rohde, Giallanzo and his partners earned their fortune through a massive loansharking scheme, racketeering, robbery, extortion and illegal gambling. They allegedly shook down borrowers for high interest and, when borrowers missed payments, responded with brutal acts of violence.
The other defendants charged with Giallanzo were Queens residents Michael Padavona, 48, Michael Palmaccio, 45, Christopher Boothby, 37, Evan Greenberg, 45, Richard Heck, 45, Michael Hintze, 45, Robert Pisani, 44 and Robert Tanico, 49; and Nicholas Festa, 36, of Oceanside, NY. Boothby was arrested last week on a similar indictment that included a senior member of the Bonnano family and the grandson of the late John Gotti.
“With these arrests, the defendants will be held accountable for their wide-ranging and destructive content,” Rohde said on March 28. She thanked the Queens District Attorney’s office, the NYPD, the FBI and other state and federal agencies for their cooperation in breaking the case.
The latest, 37-count indictment was the result of an extensive investigation that included evidence gathering through court-authorized wiretaps, reviews of government and public records, electronic and video surveillance and the help of several cooperating witnesses. Most of the crimes took place in the Howard Beach area.
According to prosecutors, Giallanzo allegedly lent more than $3 million in loans to customers, with the assistance of Festa, Palmaccio, Padavona, Hintze and Heck. This operation took place even while Giallanzo was incarcerated for a time on an unrelated matter, as he allegedly directed his associates to take violent actions against those who missed their weekly interest payments.
In one example, prosecutors said, Giallanzo and an unidentified associate brutally assaulted a loanshark customer who had borrowed $250,000 but failed to make his weekly payments until the customer had soiled himself. Giallanzo allegedly screamed at the customer, “Where’s the f—ing money?” as he attacked him.
Padavona is additionally accused of operating his own loansharking business with the help of Greenberg and Tanico. Greenberg allegedly told a customer in 2014 that he committed similar acts of violence against those who missed their payments.
Giallanzo and Padavona are additionally accused of plotting in the summer of 2006 to kill a man who robbed members of Giallanzo’s crew. Prosecutors said the dispute “lasted several months” and, on several occasions, Giallanzo’s associates exchanged gunshots with the intended target on the streets of Howard Beach.
Padavona and Tanico were also indicted for attempting to obstruct a federal grand jury proceeding into their criminal activities. Federal agents said that Tanico, after he was subpoenaed to testify, contacted Padavona, who agreed to help pay his legal fees. The day after that meeting, authorities said, Tanico perjured himself before the grand jury and falsely told the jury that he did not speak with Padavona prior to his appearance.
Giallanzo could face between 21 and 27 years in prison if convicted of the charges; the others could spend anywhere between four and 24 years behind bars if they’re found guilty.