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Mob Associates Violently Ruled Street Loan Biz in Queens, Feds Say

By Katie Honan | March 28, 2017 5:54pm
 The suspects in a 2006 surveillance photo.
The suspects in a 2006 surveillance photo.
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​HOWARD BEACH — A mafia boss and nine wise guys — including a prominent Broad Channel business owner — were arrested Tuesday in a massive federal bust stemming from nearly 20 years of botched murders and other violent crimes throughout Queens, federal prosecutors said.

Ronald "Ronnie G" Giallanzo, 44 — a "soldier" with the Bonanno crime family since at least 1998 — ran a loan shark business and illegal gambling operations, using violence to shake down people for repayments and accumulating more than $26 million, officials said. 

The 37-count indictment, released Tuesday by the Brooklyn federal prosecutor, named eight other associates affiliated with the crime family.

The suspects are Robert "Rob" Pisani —who owns the popular All-American Deli — Michael "Mike" Padavona, Michel "Mike" Palmaccio, Nicholas "Pudgie" Festa, Christopher "Bald Chris" Boothby, Evan "The Jew" Greenberg, Richard "Richie" Heck, Michael "Mike" Hintze, and Robert "Chippy" Tanico.

They all ran with Giallanzo, making their fortune on high-interest loans and physically attacking those who didn't pay up, feds said.

The feds say Giallanzo gained his fortune with a number of stock fraud schemes in the early 2000s, creating a loan shark business that loaned out more than $3 million "on the street." 

Giallanzo used defendants Festa, Palmaccio, Padavona, Hintze and Heck to go after those who didn't pay him back, officials said.

The attempts to collect on the loans often turned violent, officials said. During the summer of 2006, the crew set out to kill another man from Howard Beach and was responsible for at least four shootings over three months in the neighborhood, according to the indictment.

They also set a man's car on fire because a relative was cooperating with law enforcement on a case, prosecutors said.

Giallanzo spent more than seven years in prison on extortion charges, but he remained a part of the violent gang and got right back into the business after he was released in 2013, officials said. 

He worked for a few months at the All-American Deli on Cross Bay Boulevard, which Pisani owned, using it as a location for people to drop off their loan repayments, according to the charges.

The deli will be forfeited as part of the investigation, according to the release.

The pair's friendship goes beyond the deli, officials said. Pisani sold Giallanzo the home in New Howard Beach that the mafia boss turned into a "gargantuan" mansion that he used as "a daily visual reminder to those in his neighborhood of his wealth and power."

The before and after of the home in Howard Beach owned by Giallanzo, who feds say used millions to turn it into a "gargantuan" home. (Eastern District New York.)

All 10 suspects were charged with racketeering conspiracy.

Giallanzo, Pisani and Boothby were also charged with illegal gambling, and Padavona and Tanico were charged with obstruction of justice for giving false testimony to a grand jury in the case, officials said. Tanico was also charged with perjury.

They all face forfeiture penalties of more than $26 million and the loss of five properties.

If convicted, they face between two and 27 years in prison, with Giallanzo facing the most prison time.