A longtime mob veteran, the grandson of former mafia kingpin John Gotti and a friend of theirs all entered guilty pleas in federal court on Tuesday to their roles in two violent crimes in Queens, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Vincent Asaro, 82, of Ozone Park pleaded guilty to violating the federal Travel Act for ordering John J. Gotti, 23, of Howard Beach and Matthew Rullan, 27, to torch a Broad Channel man’s car over a minor traffic infraction. Asaro is a reputed member of the Bonanno crime family who was previously indicted for, but ultimately acquitted of, participating in the infamous 1978 robbery of the Lufthansa cargo terminal at John F. Kennedy Airport.
Gotti — the grandson of the late John Gotti, former head of the Gambino crime family — also pleaded guilty on June 27 to taking part in the arson and for participating in the April 18, 2012, robbery of the Maspeth Federal Savings bank on 69th Street in Maspeth. The younger Gotti is currently serving time in a state penitentiary after being convicted of illegally dealing prescription painkillers in his Howard Beach hometown and neighboring Ozone Park.
Rullan, meanwhile, also entered a guilty plea to a bank robbery charge for his role in the April 2012 Maspeth Federal Savings heist. He also admitted in court to participating in the vehicular arson.
All three wiseguys — who were indicted in March of this year with four other alleged associates — are scheduled to return to federal court on Oct. 24 for sentencing, according to a spokesperson for Acting U.S. Attorney Bridget Rhode.
According to the charges, Asaro was driving through Howard Beach in April of 2012 when a man switched lanes in his vehicle in front of Asaro at a traffic light. Prosecutors said the enraged Asaro then chased the victim’s car at a high rate of speed before it got away.
Reportedly, Asaro later got information about the man’s residence in Broad Channel and had Gott, Rullan and an unidentified associate find the man’s car, douse it with gasoline and set it on fire.
Authorities said Gotti, Rullan and one of the other indicted associates — Michael Guidici, 22 — robbed the Maspeth Federal Savings main branch at 5:45 p.m. on April 18, 2012. Guidici alleged entered the location and passed a demand note in which he claimed to have a bomb. The bank provided him with $5,491 in cash, and Guidici left the location, entering a vehicle were Gotti and Rullan were waiting.
Prosecutors said Guidici did not plead guilty and is awaiting a trial, which is scheduled to start in November.
Asaro faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine; Gotti is looking at up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine; and Rullan faces up to 20 years behind bars. He was also ordered to repay $5,941 to Maspeth Federal Savings, the amount of money stolen in the heist.
Both Asaro and Gotti are currently incarcerated, while Rullan is out on $1 million bail.