Howard Beach businessman among five wiseguys who pleaded guilty in federal mafia case

A prominent Howard Beach businessman arrested earlier this year in a major organized crime sweep has pleaded guilty to participating in a racketeering ring.

Federal prosecutors said that Robert Pisani, 44, admitted to charges that he worked together with known associates of the Bonanno crime family in an “unlawful debt racketeering conspiracy.” He’s scheduled to be sentenced on April 10, 2018; as part of his guilty plea, he will forfeit $50,000 to the government, and will likely serve between 15 and 21 months in prison.

Pisani is also facing a January date in Queens Supreme Court as a result of his May arrest for allegedly groping a female employee at one of his businesses, the All-American Bagel and Barista Company in Howard Beach. The incident also led to the arrest of Patricia Adams, publisher of The Forum Newsgroup, who allegedly tried on Pisani’s behalf to coerce the victim’s father into having the charges dropped.

According to acting U.S. Attorney Bridget Rohde, Pisani was among a group of 10 reputed Bonanno crime family members accused of participating in various crimes over the last two decades ranging from racketeering to loan sharking and murder attempts.

Leading the March indictment was Howard Beach’s Ronald (aka Ronnie G) Giallanzo, 46, a reputed acting captain in the Bonanno family who allegedly oversaw a criminal enterprises that netted $26 million in earnings since 1998, federal prosecutors said. The case against Giallanzo remains pending.

Four other alleged wiseguys from Queens arrested in March have also pleaded guilty in the case: Christopher Boothby, 37; Evan Greenberg, 45; Richard Heck, 45; and Robert Tanico, 49. They are all scheduled to be sentenced next spring.

The arrests were the result of an extensive federal 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.

Following his March arrest, Pisani was released on $500,000 bail. Then in April, law enforcement sources said, he allegedly groped and exposed himself to a woman working for him at the All-American Bagel and Barista Company. She reported the incident to police, and Pisani was arrested on May 4.

After learning of his arrest, federal prosecutors moved to have Pisani’s bail revoked. Soon after a hearing on the matter was scheduled, law enforcement sources said, he allegedly contacted Adams and asked her to get involved.

Authorities said that Adams, a known Bonanno associate who had accumulated a massive gambling debt, reached out to the groping victim’s father and met with him on May 13 at a neighborhood Starbucks. During a two-hour conversation, which the victim’s father taped, Adams allegedly told him that she was close with Pisani and that she was “in a position … to have to expose the whole situation if we get to that point.”

Federal agents arrested Adams in August on charges of witness tampering; she was released on $150,000 bail and is now awaiting trial on an ensuing indictment.

More from Around New York