NEW YORK — The FBI arrested more than 40 alleged members of New York City mobs Thursday on suspicion of arson, health care fraud and illegal gambling, among other charges, officials said.
Those arrested include members of four of the five major Italian mafia families that allegedly dominate organized crime in the New York City area: the Genovese, Gambino, Luchese and Bonanno families. Also arrested were suspected members of the Philadelphia Organized Crime Family.
Most of the criminal activities were based in New York City, federal officials said. Arrests were carried out in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Florida.
The 46 defendants are suspected of being part of the East Coast LCN Enterprise, defined in a federal indictment as an "organized criminal enterprise."
They're accused of committing a slew of crimes dating back to at least 2011, including racketeering, extortion, arson, making extortionate extensions of credit, operating illegal gambling businesses, health care fraud, credit card fraud, selling untaxed cigarettes, firearms trafficking and assault, according to the indictment.
Assault charges in the indictment tell a story of intimidation and threats against those who owe the families money or who crossed them.
In one case, a panhandler was attacked with glass jars, sharp objects and steel-tipped boots after he allegedly harassed customers outside a Bronx restaurant owned by Pasqualle Parrello, the FBI said. Parrello is accused of ordering his crew to “break (the panhandler’s) legs” for bothering the customers.
In another instance, Parrello and Israel Torres are accused of conspiring to retaliate against a man who allegedly stabbed Anthony Vazzano in the neck.
Mark Maiuzzo is accused of setting fire to a car parked outside a gambling club near the Yonkers Club, federal officials said. He was allegedly ordered to do so by Anthony Zinzi in a move to intimate the gambling club’s booker, whose business was in direct competition with the Yonkers Club, the FBI said.
Also among the charges is health care fraud.
Investigators said the defendants convinced doctors to write “unnecessary and excessive” prescriptions for expensive compound cream then bill the suspects’ insurance companies to receive a reimbursement for the medication in addition to kickbacks from the suspects, the FBI said.
The suspects are expected to appear in Manhattan court Thursday.