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Friday, June 14, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

20 Rounded up in Strip Club Conspiracy

MANHATTAN (CN) - Federal prosecutors on Wednesday charged 20 people with conspiring to bring women from Russia and Eastern Europe to work in Queens and Long Island strip clubs controlled by the Gambino and Bonnanno Mafia families. Charges include extortion, visa fraud, marriage fraud and racketeering conspiracy.

Seven alleged Mob members are accused along with 13 others in the 42-page racketeering indictment.

"Defendants Alphonse Trucchio, William Pazienza Sr., Christopher Colon and Richard Gutkowski, who are members or associates of the Gambino Organized Crime Family, and Anthony Frascone, Paul Casella and Lawrence Zaino, who are members or associates of the Bonnano Organized Crime Family, are charged with racketeering and extortion crimes related to their control of several strip clubs located in Queens and Long Island, New York, at which the women worked," the U.S. Attorney's Office said in announcing the arrests and indictment.

These seven defendants and 13 others - Aleksandr Kravets, Thomas Devitt III, Gerald Monfort, Yong Wang, Boris Yusupov, Vitaly Mindyuk, Zhanna Kuznetsova, Elena Turubanova, Natalia Ivanova, Christine Gunning, Jeffrey Rinchey, Oscar Zeledon and Alexander Beleson - are also charged with several other crimes related to the scheme, including visa fraud, marriage fraud, and transporting, harboring, and inducing the entry of illegal aliens."

All 20 were arrested Wednesday, prosecutors said. A federal official involved in the enforcement said the defendants "controlled their business and protected their turf through intimidation and threats of physical and economic harm."

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