Anthony Palumbo, a former member of the Genovese organized-crime family in New York, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for agreeing to murder a Russian professional killer.
Palumbo, 62, pleaded guilty in August to charges of conspiracy to commit murder in aid of a racketeering enterprise. U.S. District Judge Richard Holwell in New York sentenced him today to the statutory maximum for the crime, rejecting arguments by defense attorney Steven K. Frankel that his client deserved less time because the conspiracy took place almost 20 years ago and didn’t culminate in a murder.
“There is strong evidence that Mr. Palumbo is a long-term member of an organized-crime family,” Holwell said.
Prosecutors said Palumbo was a soldier and acting capo, or crew leader, in the Genovese family who operated in New York and New Jersey, overseeing gambling, loan-sharking and extortion.
Palumbo was in charge of the family’s interests in a mob cartel that extorted money from petroleum companies affiliated with Russian organized crime as part of a bootlegging scheme, prosecutors said.
In late 1992 or early 1993, a Russian mobster asked Palumbo and others to kill a murderer who worked for him, the government said. Palumbo the others agreed to commit the murder, although higher-ranked members of the Genovese family wouldn’t authorize it and the man wasn’t killed, prosecutors said.
Palumbo, who served 46 months in federal prison after pleading guilty in 1998 in a gasoline-tax scheme, apologized to his family and others in the courtroom before Holwell imposed his sentence.
“I was involved in a gasoline scheme,” he said. “I pled to it and I thought it was behind me. This thing came back and it just never finished.”
The case is U.S. vs. Masullo, 1:08-cr-00874, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan.)
To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Dolmetsch in New York at
An ex-Bonanno capo testified Monday he carried out ex-boss Vincent (Vinny Gorgeous) Basciano's order to whack a mob associate.
Dominick Cicale put the plan to kill Randolph Pizzolo into action after the feds arrested Basciano in 2004.
"Randolph Pizzolo was killed on the orders of Vincent Basciano," Cicale told Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicole Argentieri in Brooklyn Federal Court.
The testimony is particularly damaging because Cicale was Basciano's right-hand made man on the street.
"I was basically his protégé," he said.
Cicale's statement also bolsters a tape secretly recorded by ex-Bonanno boss Joseph Massino in which Basciano admits that he gave the order to kill Pizzolo.
Cicale, 44, previously testified against Basciano in 2006, helping the feds convict the mob boss for the murder of Frank Santoro, a Bronx junkie who had threatened to kidnap Basciano's son.
Still, federal prosecutors had wavered on calling Cicale for a return engagement on the witness stand.
When he entered the courtroom, his appearance was dramatically changed - the once- muscular thug looked hollow-cheeked and gaunt, with his blue double-breasted suit hanging loose.
Cicale sounded like he was talking about another person's body when he described his tattoos, which included an executioner, a grim reaper, a devil wielding an axe, a panther and a dragon.
He said he earned his cred with Basciano by passing bizarre tests while socializing with his mob mentor.
While hanging out in Bartinis club in Forest Hills, Basciano instructed his mistress Deborah (Shorty) Kalb to rub Cicale's leg and flirt with him to see the mob wanna-be's reaction.
Later Basciano told Cicale he was impressed by how Cicale handled his booze and Kalb's amorous advances.
Another time, Basciano summoned Cicale to meet him at a Mexican restaurant in Manhattan, only to time how quickly he got there from the Bronx, Cicale said.