Any New Yorker worth their salt can tell you that the real Little Italy isn’t on Mulberry Street in the heart of Manhattan; it’s actually on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx. There, great eateries abound, and the good food makes it easier to ignore the Mafioso types that are always walking in and out or quietly puffing a cigar in a back room.
However, that’ll be much harder to do now that Pasquale “Patsy” Parrello, owner of Arthur Avenue’s Pasquale’s Rigoletto, has been charged with committing arson, extortion, firearms trafficking, assault, operating illegal gambling businesses and more as a part of a Mafia group. He was indicted along with associates Anthony “Tony the Cripple” Cassetta, John “Tugboat” Tognino and Nicholas “Nicky the Wig” Vuolo. Forty-six people were charged in the case, with 39 being hauled into custody today.
New York Police Department Commissioner Bill Bratton said that the group “seemed to use every scheme known to us, from arson, to shake-downs, violence, health care fraud, and even untaxed cigarettes to keep the racked going.”
The Mafia all-star team, called the East Coast LCN Enterprise, was a motley crew comprising members of the Genovese, Gambino, Luchese, Bonanno, and Philadelphia families. The organization is being charged with a litany of crimes ranging from operating a Yonkers-based gambling club to obtaining $3 million of contraband cigarettes, stealing credit card information, and having doctors write unnecessary prescriptions.
Just because they diversified the array of crimes committed doesn’t mean that some of the Mafia stereotypes from movies aren’t true — I mean, just look at these nicknames! Not only that, but according to the US Attorney’s Office, Parello ordered associates to break the knees of someone harassing his customers, which they duly did—but only after Israel “Buddy” Torres started threatening the wrong person. Parello also allegedly masterminded a pipe beating of the man who stabbed Anthony “Tony the Wig” Vazzano in January 2013.
Meanwhile, associate Mark “Stymie” Maiuzzo and others have been booked by the feds for allegedly torching a car they thought belonged to a rival bookmaker as a means of intimidation and decreasing business.