The FBI warned the nation's most powerful reputed mobster he was being hunted by Mafia hit men, officials said in announcing the indictments of 22 people in the restaurant rubout of a New York businessman.
Federal indictments unsealed Tuesday offer a glimpse into feuding between the Genovese and Gambino crime families. Authorities say the indictments could cripple the New Jersey faction of the Genovese group.The indictments name 22 people, including reputed Genovese figures, construction company executives and union officials.
Authorities had no specific information about a link between the plot to kill John Gotti, reputed boss of the Gambino family, and the slaying of businessman Irwin Schiff, said Newark FBI chief John C. McGinley.
After Schiff was gunned down Aug. 8 over dessert at a New York restaurant, law enforcement officials said they believed he had ties to the Gambino family and was killed in a dispute over money.
Federal authorities said Schiff was involved in up to $40 million in fraudulent loans and was the target of a criminal investigation. Seven people have been arrested in connection with his financial dealings.
At a news conference to announce the indictments, state police Superintendent Col. Clinton L. Pagano said the New Jersey Genovese faction was fighting efforts by Gambino operatives to move into northern New Jersey and therefore allegedly plotted to "eliminate" John Gotti and his brother, Gene, a reputed high-ranking member of the Gambino family.
In bugged conversations last year at a Hoboken restaurant, Louis A. "Bobby" Manna, 59, of Jersey City, alleged head of the New Jersey Genovese faction, and his lieutenants discussed killing the Gottis, McGinley said.
Also at the restaurant were Genovese associates Richard "Bocci" DeSciscio, 42, of Bayonne and restaurant-owner Martin "Motts" Casella, 71, of Secaucus, the indictment said.
The FBI warned the Gottis of the plot last fall, and they decided "to use their own devices to protect themselves," McGinley said.
The larger indictment contained the Gotti and Schiff charges, a labor payoff scheme, loan-sharking and a "large-scale horse and sports-betting operation," said U.S. Attorney Samuel A. Alito Jr.
A second indictment alleged that seven defendants carried out another illegal gambling business.
Authorities refused to discuss the details of the Gotti and Schiff allegations.
In raids early Tuesday, 130 state and federal law officers searched homes and businesses in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania and arrested 21 of the suspects, McGinley said.
One defendant was hospitalized with an undisclosed illness and was not immediately arrested.
An attorney for Manna, Joseph Castiglia, said his client "categorically denies the allegations." But Castiglia said he would not comment further until he could read the indictment more closely.
DeSciscio, a close associate of John DiGilio, a reputed Genovese soldier slain last month, was especially "entrusted with carrying out violent assignments for the enterprise," the indictment said.
DeSciscio's attorney, Larry Bronson, called the charges "nonsense."