Genovese Capo Got in Bed with Wrong Crooks

Genovese crime family mobster Joseph Denti Jr. was arrested and charged with several others for stealing $350,000 from investors who believed they were funding medical ventures.
From left, Ralph Perricelli Jr., Heidi Francavilla and Joseph Denti Jr.

It'd be interesting to know how they met one another.....

Genovese crime family mobster Joseph Denti Jr. was arrested and charged with several others for stealing $350,000 from investors who believed they were funding medical ventures.

The money, however, only filled the defendants’ pockets, prosecutors allege. Now all four face charges of conspiracy, theft by deception and money laundering, which could lend them five to 10 years in prison and some hefty fines.

This case is linked to an earlier investment scam also in the medical sector. It is quite possible that New Jersey detectives had no clue at first that a Genovese capo was part of this crew of financial fraudsters.

Of the four arrested and charged, three are Bergen County residents, Denti Jr., 56, of Wyckoff; Heidi Francavilla, 58, of Park Ridge; and Ralph Perricelli Jr., 55, of Ridgewood. The fourth is a New York man, Joseph Giardina, 55, of Waccabuc, N.Y.

Something tells me there's more to this story, and that it involves Francavilla, who was charged in that other related case that still hasn't been resolved. Seems so obvious, actually.....

Joseph Giardina of New York.

Acting New Jersey attorney general Robert Lougy detailed the group'scams, which were basically highly profitable cases of getting  investors to pony up vast sums under false premises. 

Denti, Giardina and Francavilla successfully convinced a doctor to invest $250,000 into a surgical center that didn't exist, then pocketed the doctor's money. In another scheme, Perricelli and Denti falsely claimed to jointly own a blood-testing laboratory and convinced a married couple to invest $100,000, which was allegedly funneled to Denti, Perricelli and Francavilla.

The investigation grew out of an earlier one. George Bussanich Sr., 58, of Park Ridge, and his son, George Bussanich Jr., were accused of defrauding 15 investors out of about $3 million via fake investments in medical offices.

That case, in which Francavilla also was charged, is pending.

“Beginning with a lead from our prior case against Francavilla, we followed the trail of stolen money and broken promises that these defendants allegedly left in their wake,” Elie Honig, director of the state's criminal justice division, said in a statement.

Francavilla's lawyer Jeffrey Simms said she was innocent of “each and every allegation” in the current case and the Bussanich case.

“I am absolutely convinced that in the end, my client is going to be vindicated,” Simms said. “I honestly believe she was an innocent pawn.”

Denti’s lawyer declined to comment.

The alleged offenses are second-degree crimes, which carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $150,000. The second-degree money laundering charge carries a maximum fine of $500,000 and an anti-money laundering profiteering penalty of up to $250,000.

Denti was in the Bergen County Jail on $100,000 bail. Giardina was in the Westchester County Jail pending extradition to New Jersey. Francavilla and Perricelli were charged by summons.

One of Genovese crime family's "most colorful" figures
Joseph Denti Senior is considered one of the Genovese crime family’s most colorful figures.

He worked as a Bronx loan shark in the 1970s. He's known to have befriended struggling actors, including Joe Pesci, with whom he forged an especially tight-knit friendship.

In the early 1990s, Denti moved to Beverly Hills, rented a $9,000-a-month mansion from Charo and financed a movie-production company. He made business arrangements with United Artists (described as "murky" in nature) that netted $17.5 million. He also produced a movie, Opposite Corners, that "sank faster than a chocolate soufflé" as the New York Post noted. I did notice that while VHS versions of the film are available, there's no DVD....

Denti died of a heart attack in 1996. Reportedly, Pesci, Cher, Robert De Niro and Cathy Moriarty were among the Hollywood figures seen attending his Bronx funeral.

Bit Actor with Indirect Mob Ties
Denti Senior was mentioned in a story about John Cenatiempo, a bit actor who appeared in The Sopranos and who may have aided an international con man accused of stealing $1 million from wealthy victims in the Hamptons by passing himself off as a Rockefeller. John's brother has been historically associated with the West Side.

Recently, John Cenatiempo played one of the heavies in a pretty decent mob flick I have been meaning to write about. 

John Cenatiempo 

The characters discuss guys like Gambino killer Roy DeMeo and The Westies' chief enforcer Mickey Featherstone in the film, Run All Night.

Click image to purchase

The Post story noted of John's relationship with the phony Rockefeller, whose been linked to additional crimes, including murder: "It’s just one strand of a network of bizarre connections between the Emmy-winning HBO series and the criminal underworld." 

Other such strands:

  • Mob busters have a 1990 surveillance photo of David Proval, who plays Richie Aprile on the HBO hit, with reputed Gambino soldier Vinnie Artuso on Arthur Avenue in The Bronx.
  • Tony Sirico, who played Paulie Walnuts, has admitted having a rap sheet.
  • Thomas Bifalco, who played small roles on the show, was sentenced to up to six years behind bars for ripping off investors for $300,000 in a stock scam.

An HBO spokeswoman insisted the show’s gritty realism comes only from the imagination of creator David Chase. But mob insiders say some of the characters and incidents seem taken straight from little-known mob lore. (Some of these mob insiders are full of shit too as you'll see).

The story claims, for example, that Junior Soprano, played by Dominic Chianese, Tony Soprano's uncle, was based on another Junior, formerly of the Gambino crime family.

Insiders say that (Junior Soprano is) a reference to John Gotti’s son, John A. “Junior” Gotti, (who at the time the article was published was) serving five years for racketeering.

If you watched the Sopranos you know this can't be true...Even if you didn't, below is a photo of Junior Soprano.....

Junior Soprano.

Need I say another word?

Federal investigators consider John's brother, Chris Cenatiempo, a Genovese crime family associate.

In particular, he’s an associate of Joseph G. Denti Jr., the story noted.

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