An FBI press release published today announced the guilty pleas of the final two defendants in a trial that includes a total of fourteen members and associates of the Gambino crime family, one of New York’s notorious Five Families.
Pleading guilty to various counts of racketeering, conspiracy to commit murder, narcotics trafficking, sex trafficking, and gambling-related crimes, the 14 defendants received sentences ranging from 5 years for 70-year-old capo Daniel Marino (for a single count of conspiracy to commit murder) to 30 years for 34-year-old Gambino associate, Thomas Orefice who, yes, I’m sorry, it’s my duty to inform you that Mr. Orefice is the pimp.
Look, I’m not saying that there aren’t probably a lot of perfectly respectable, stand-up men and women out there named Orefice who do things like fix washing machines, teach college, pilot commercial airplanes and say mass. Hell, my last name isn’t exactly Lovejoy. I’m just saying. His name’s Orefice. He’s a pimp. It’s kind of creepy.
Anyway, according to the FBI press release, Mr. Orefice pled guiilty to “racketeering conspiracy, with objects including extortion, sex trafficking, loansharking, gambling.” Orefice is the one who hatched the scheme to recruit females from strip clubs to work as prostitutes for $200 a session. However, he also recruited a 15-year-old runaway, who is unnamed because of her age.
That led to the sex trafficking charge and a shitstorm of bad publicity for Craigslist, including a highly-publicized ambush raid by a news crew that accompanied the most delirious moral panic I’ve ever seen on television. (Some reporter got a cookie for that one).
Remember how Craigslist pulled all its adult services ads? Thank Orefice!
What’s more, if you want to see just how far John Q. Public’s moral outrage can go, feast your eyes on this lovely thread from the forums on the website of secret-society conspiracy theorist David Icke, where a user posts this little gem in response to the Marino-Orefice et al case:
And in case you’re wondering — no, there’s no conversation prior to that indicating Newmark is gay or Jewish. (I have no idea if he is either — though he does have a BEARD…). The poster’s got some complicated reason that has to do with magic. I think it’s about human sacrifice. Apparently the kidnapping and human sacrifice of blond-haired, blue-eyed girls is related to being gay and/or Jewish, which you can tell by whether someone has a beard and/or wears glasses.
Speaking of moral outrage, let’s get back to the criminals who actually, you know, committed crimes and stuff. All that explosive press coverage by reporters who had apparently never looked in the back of any of the six zillion alternative newsweeklies in the United States came right after the charges were filed in April, 2010, when the New York Daily News headlined its story on the matter “Mafia hits ‘new low,'” quoting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Barhara.
The rhetoric is right out of a J. Edgar Hoovers speech — good to see the Feds are keeping the Hoov’s legacy alive:
“No crime seems too depraved to be exploited if it was a moneymaker, including the sexual exploitation of a 15-year-old,” added FBI Special Agent in Charge George Venizelos
The scheme to recruit girls from strip clubs to work as hookers was hatched by Gambino soldier Thomas Orefice, the feds said.
He personally looked over the 15-year-old, a 10th-grade runaway, and consented for his goons to sell her for sex, prosecutors charge.
“[She] looked much younger,” a law enforcement source said. “Like she wasn’t old enough to be even a Girl Scout, like she still played with dolls.”
But speaking of reaching a new low, according to the April 2010 FBI press release:
The defendants also made the women available for sex to gamblers at a weekly, high-stakes poker games that OREFICE and his crew ran.
…and when that happened, the gamblers reportedly put the $200 into the pot, instead of giving half of it to the girl. Just like stiffing your cocktail waitress when you get a free Captain Morgan’s and Diet Coke for gambling your kids’ college fund away at Circus, Circus or Harrah’s Reno!
Wow, I’m just glad this thing couldn’t get any sleazier. But wait! It can!! In October Orefice’s lawyer, Seth Ginsberg, was banned from a Manhattan federal prison facility after he brought pot when coming to visit his client (Ginsberg swears he wasn’t smuggling the pot to Orefice).
But bizarrely, amid all this moral outrage the one thing Dan Marino, the Capo of this operation, pled guilty to was conspiracy to commit the murder of Frank Hydell, his own nephew, who was shot to death in a strip club because he was suspected of being an informant. For this, Marino got 5 years. He was originally accused of plotting the murder of suspected informant Thomas Spinelli, but those charges were dropped. Reportedly, Dan Marino “kept clear” of the sex trade, according to court records. For what it’s worth, you wanna know who got twice as much time as Marino? Suzanne Porcelli, whose job, according to the FBI itself, was to coordinate the appointments. She got 10 years.
In case you’re wondering, yes, the Gambino family is John Gotti’s old family. His real family, thankfully, is much classier.
The Gambino Family was one of the original Five Families set up in New York City by Lucky Luciano in the ’30s, when it was called the Mangano family. It was thereafter called the Anastasia family, for boss Albert Anastasia, who was murdered in 1957. Under the authority of boss Carlo Gambino in the 1960s and ’70s, the Gambino crime family rose in prominence in the 1960s and 1970s until it was widely considered the most powerful of NYC’s Five Families. Gambino gave the family its current moniker, because he was boss at the time mob informant Joseph Valachi testified before the U.S. Senate, so that was the name by which Valachi knew the family.
After John Gotti assassinated Gambino’s hand-picked successor Paul Castellano in a widely-publicized hit in front of Sparks’s Steak House in midtown Manhattan in 1985, the family briefly recovered its prominence, owing partly due to Gotti’s flamboyance — but lost it when Gotti went away for murder after the flipping of his underboss, Sammy “The Bull” Gravano. After Gotti’s incarceration, the family had a succession of bosses, none of whom has been able to stop the steady hail of law enforcement attention. Other families in the New York area have, reportedly, picked up the slack and muscled in on the Gambino territory.