Federal prosecutors on Tuesday indicted six suspected Genovese criminal family mobsters with racketeering conspiracy, which involved illegal gambling as well as extortion.
Ralph Balsamo, pictured in 2006, is a caporegime member of the Genovese crime family as per federal prosecutor (Image: New York Post)
The defendants, which include the capos Nicholas Calisi of Boca Raton, Fla., and Ralph Balsamo of Tuckahoe in Westchester County, were charged in a Manhattan Federal Court racketeering indictment with placing bets and offering clients the possibility of high interest “extensions of credit” authorities claimed.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Damian Williams told, “From extortion to illegal gambling, the Mafia continues to find ways to prey on others to fill its coffers. Our office and our law enforcement partners remain committed to putting organized crime out of business.”
Others were named as Michael Messina, 69, from New Fairfield, Conn., as well as John Campanella, 47, from the Bronx. Both are suspected family soldiers and well-known acquaintances Michael Poli, 37, from Hawthorne, N.Y. and Thomas Poli, 64, from the Bronx.
The gambling operation operated for 11 years before federal authorities seized the suspects in custody, according to court documents.
The case was developed with federal prosecutors the state Attorney General Letitia James, and Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, with each defendant facing a maximum penalty that is 20 years of prison should they be found guilty of racketeering.
Calisi, Calisi, 63 Calisi, 63, and Balsamo, 51, are accused of having joined with their co-defendants to employ violence to make money. The Gangsters “assaulted or threatened attack those involved in activities which threatened authority and criminal activity … (and) they also threatened to undermine the authority of the leadership of the company and the standing of its participants,” the 10-page indictment stated.
The federal government is seeking forfeiture of the six earnings generated by the gaming operation, as court papers indicate.
James said, “These individuals allegedly made their money through illegal gambling and loan-sharking, saddling victims with incredible debt that they cannot repay. The indictment makes clear that we will continue to root out organized crime wherever it exists.”
In 2007 Balsamo was sentenced to eight years in prison for narcotics trafficking, the trafficking of firearms, extortion and fraud involving unions.
The mobsters made money by launching a scheme of funding and obtaining betting credit via extortion. They threatened to do physical and financial damage to the debtors. They identified the victims of their crimes as “the Mafia,” the prosecution claimed.
Internally they were engaged in a violent power struggle to safeguard their operations from “persons who carried out activities which threatened the criminal and power operations of the company as well as the authority of the executives of the company as well as the status of its members as well as the transfer of proceeds from criminal activity to associates and members of the company.”
The Genovese are among five suspected New York Mafia families, alongside the Bonanno, Colombo, Gambino and Luchese.
Each family is divided into groups, referred to as “crews,” which contain their own hierarchy. Each crew is led by a “caporegime,” or “capo,” who presides over “made members,” also known as “soldiers.” Under them, there are “associates,” trusted individuals who assist the group in its criminal activities.
Capos oversee the activities of their teams. They manage disputes and protect their soldiers in exchange for a percentage of their pay. The Capos are accountable to a subordinate who is the head and family.
The present Genovese boss is believed as Liborio Salvatore Belomo. In the late 1990s, the boss was indicted by the US government for murder and exortion. He was able to avenge the murder conviction and spent ten years in federal prison for the second crime. He was released in the year 2008.