Former New York mobster who turned on mafia gets less prison

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 30, 2012 7:38 PM
Former New York mobster who turned on mafia gets less prison

By Jonathan Allen

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A former New York mobster who turned against the mafia and helped convict Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano, then acting boss of the Bonanno crime family, was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Monday despite being involved in multiple murders.

Prosecutors said Dominick Cicale, 44, was convicted of racketeering and involvement in two murders and assaults in aid of racketeering. He avoided a maximum life sentence by agreeing to turn against his former crime-world associates, according to a motion filed in court on Monday by the U.S. Attorney's office for the Eastern District of New York.

He was sentenced to 10 years prison and was given credit for about seven years already served.

Prosecutors said that Cicale, who grew up in the Bronx in New York City, ascended the ranks of the Bonanno family from 1999 until his arrest in January 2005, during which time he took part in two "brutal" murders and other violence on the crime family's behalf.

He began cooperating with the government in January, 2006, the prosecution's motion said, giving information and testimony that helped convict Basciano and a dozen other reputed Bonanno family members.

Basciano, known by his nickname Vinny Gorgeous, was sentenced to life imprisonment in June 2011.

The prosecution's motion argued for a lenient sentence for Cicale based on his help to the government.

In February, 2001, during his tenure with the Bonanno family, Cicale took part in the fatal shooting of Frank Santoro, who was out walking his dog near his home in the Bronx, the motion said. Basciano, the acting boss, had ordered the killing on suspicion that Santoro was planning to kidnap his son, prosecutors said.

In December, 2004, Cicale orchestrated the murder of Randolph Pizzolo, an associate of the mob family that Basciano had ordered killed as a "wake-up call", the motion said.

The prosecution's motion said Cicale had since proved an "important and effective" government witness.

"While he has engaged in a multitude of crimes, including three murders, he has nonetheless provided information and testimony that has put dangerous criminals behind bars," the prosecutor's motion said.

Russell Neufeld, Cicale's lawyer, declined to comment on Monday.

(Editing By Barbara Goldberg and Greg McCune)