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Four arrested in extortion plot July 28, 2010

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Grigoriy Shinder , of the Morganville section of Marlboro, and his son Albert Shinder of Manalapan, were arrested Monday by Bloomfield police.  Police have only said that: “It is an ongoing investigation into an extortion plot to extort money out of a company. We cannot comment further at this time”.  Also arrested was Thomas Bara  of South River, and Warren Flagg  of Tappan, N.Y.  All four men are charged with kidnapping, criminal coercion, and false imprisonment.

Story is here.

Four Indicted for Conspiring to Collect a Debt Using Extortion March 13, 2010

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Four individuals were indicted on charges relating to a conspiracy to collect a debt using extortionate means.  MICHAEL LEE, a/k/a “Josh Wingenheimer,” of Dorchester, MA; DAVID GEFKE, of South Boston, MA; BRANDON MILBY, of Dorchester, MA; and PATRICK DEHERTOGH, of South Boston, MA, with one count of conspiracy to collect a debt using extortionate means and one count of collecting a debt using extortionate means. LEE and GEFKE were each charged with an additional count of conspiracy to collect a debt using extortionate means and collecting a debt using extortionate means.

As charged in the indictment, from on or about January 1, 2010, through on or about February 9, 2010, the defendants engaged in a conspiracy to collect money owed to DAVID GEFKE.

If convicted, all four defendants face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on each count.

Colombo Family Administration Member and Seven Others Charged With Kickback and Extortion Scheme March 9, 2010

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An eight-count indictment was unsealed this morning in Brooklyn federal court charging eight defendants—Theodore Persico, Jr., Michael Persico, Thomas Petrizzo, Edward Garofalo, Jr., James Bombino, Louis Romeo, Alicia Dimichelle, and Mike LNU variously with racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, extortion, and embezzlement of union benefit funds. The defendants, who were arrested earlier today, are scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon.

As alleged in the indictment and the detention memorandum filed today by the government, Theodore Persico, Jr. is a member of the administration of the Colombo organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra; Petrizzo is a Colombo family soldier; and Michael Persico, Garofalo, and Bombino are Colombo family associates. The indictment is the product of a multi-year investigation in which the FBI used a cooperating witness to infiltrate the Colombo family and make hundreds of consensual recordings.  Clearly, the FBI has not forgotten about the mafia even with the focus on ponzi schemes and mortgage fraud.

The charges include the Colombo family’s use of a trucking company they controlled, All Around Trucking (All Around), to execute a kickback and extortion scheme for debris removal subcontracting from Testa Corporation, a demolition contractor headquartered near Boston (Testa). The Colombo family carried out the scheme at locations including the World Trade Center construction site, and the Newtown Creek wastewater treatment plant on the border between Brooklyn and Queens. Specifically, as detailed in the detention memorandum, Theodore Persico, Jr., Michael Persico, and others agreed that, in exchange for All Around obtaining debris removal subcontracting with Testa, All Around would kickback a portion of its profits as a commercial bribe to a Testa foreman. After All Around secured subcontracting work with Testa, Colombo family associates threatened Testa employees when Testa failed to pay All Around on the timetable set by the crime family. Consensual recordings captured defendant Michael Persico directing Bombino to threaten Testa employees, and captured Bombino reporting back to Michael Persico that, when Bombino made the threats, the Testa employees were “shakin’ in their boots over us.” Other charges in the indictment include an extortion of a furniture store owner, in which Michael Persico forced the furniture store owner to give Bombino control of the store until the owner repaid a loan owed to Colombo family associates.

The indictment also charges Colombo associate Garofalo and his wife, Alicia Dimichelle, with embezzlement from the welfare benefit plan and pension benefit plan funds operated on behalf of union laborers of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 282. As described in the detention memorandum, Garofalo and Dimichelle engaged in a double-breasting scheme in which they used Colombo-controlled non-union shell companies, including DM Equipment, Big R Trucking, T&E Leasing, and Roman Sand and Stone, to circumvent Local 282 collective bargaining agreement union benefit contribution requirements.

The Defendants:

JAMES C. BOMBINO
Age: 47

ALICIA DIMICHELE, also known as “Alicia Garofalo”
Age: 36

EDWARD GAROFALO, JR., also known as “Bobble” and “Tall Guy”
Age: 43

MIKE LNU

MICHAEL J. PERSICO
Age: 53

THEODORE N. PERSICO, JR., also known as “Skinny” and “Teddy”
Age: 46

THOMAS PETRIZZO
Age: 76

LOUIS ROMEO
Age: 44

Newark City Attorney Neil Braunstein Arrested on Extortion Charges May 26, 2009

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Detectives from the Newark Inspector General’s Office and the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office have arrested Newark municipal attorney Neil Braunstein on extortion charges.  The story is a little unclear right now as it indicates that Braunstein allegedly threatened to accuse Julian Neals, Newark’s corporation counsel, of some unknown offense unless he got $750,000 or a better job.  However, the story also indicates that he allegedly demanded both money and a better job. 

As an attorney, the first thing I want to know is, well, everything about the entire situation as I am sure there are many sides to this story.  I also want to know if any alleged conversation is on tape and/or if there is more than one witness to the conversation.  Witnesses need to be interviewed right now as in before the weekend before anyone else knows which end is up.  Otherwise, once things get moving, everyone is going to clam up.

Unless the evidence is overwhelming, this could be a really fun case to try. It could really turn Newark’s government upside down (yeah, I know, don’t say it).

Story is here.