Genovese Mobster Convicted of Murder Conspiracies, Other Racketeering Crimes

Salvatore (Fat Sal) Delligatti was convicted for racketeering conspiracy, conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder in aid of racketeering, murder-for-hire conspiracy, participation in an illegal gambling operation, and a firearms offense.

 Salvatore (Fat Sal) Delligatti
Fat Sal  Delligatti

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, reported the verdict, which a Manhattan federal jury reached on Thursday (March 29).

The target of Dellgatti's animosity was Joseph Bonelli, another wiseguy in the Genovese crime family. (Bonelli had problems. Before his own crime family's attempts, the Bonannos had also wanted him clipped.)

Dellgatti was convicted following a three-week trial before U.S. District Judge Katherine B. Forrest.

Delligatti faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. He will be sentenced this summer, on August 16.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said: “Salvatore Delligatti, in order to increase his standing in the Genovese Family, recruited a group of hitmen to murder an individual. But Delligatti’s hitmen were caught red-handed by the Nassau County Police Department and the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office before they could carry out their hit. Delligatti now stands convicted of this foiled murder plot and other crimes he committed with the Genovese Family. We thank our partners in Nassau County and at the FBI.”

The Genovese plot to kill Bonelli began over a barroom slight that nearly led to a brawl between Delligatti and Bonelli. Fat Sal and others also believed that Bonelli was informing on Mafia-related bookmaking ventures in Queens.

The attempted June 2014 hit--actually the third attempt--was more Keystone Cops than The Godfather, as the big bad hitmen, members of the Crips street gang, were armed to the teeth when Nassau County detectives rolled up on them and pulled them over blocks away from Bonelli's home. The detectives had been surveilling Bonelli's home at the time.

"It was the kind of bozo operation that would make the late Vincent (Chin) Gigante and prior bosses of the once sophisticated Genovese gang go spinning in their graves," as Gang Land News reported.

That was actually attempt number three. 

The first one, they forgot the gun. 

The second time, they called it off because Bonelli was with his girlfriend. All the same, Fat Sal expressed regrets, noting they should've just whacked the woman too. Cooperator Kelvin Duke, who had been the go-between between the gangsters and gangstas, testified that Delligatti told him that he should have just killed Bonelli and his girlfriend, Virginia Alvarez.

Cosa Nostra News reported that, before the dispute with Fat Sal, Bonanno boss Vinny Basciano had ordered current-Bonanno acting boss Joseph Cammarano, then a Bonanno associate, to clip Bonelli.

Bonanno boss Vinny Basciano
Vinny Gorgeous

"Vinny gave the order to whack Joseph Bonelli, and Cammarano never followed through," a Queens-based source said.

Court documents claim Basciano wanted Bonelli gone because Bonelli tried over-zealously to collect a debt from a mobster’s son in 2004. Bonelli "went berserk."

Wiretaps of the alleged hit order were included in paperwork filed in February 2007 as part of a then-ongoing federal case against several Bonnano crime members. Basciano was heard detailing the story of how Bonelli violently attacked someone at the Villa Sonoma, a restaurant then run by Paul “Fat Paulie” Spina.

(Bonelli had supposedly shot up the restaurant, as well as the car and the home of an associate whose son owed a $7,800 debt to the Genovese family.)

Bonelli survived Basciano's tenure on the street but was arrested in 2006 on drug and weapons charges, wreaking all manner of havoc on veteran Queens Assistant District Attorney Barbara Wilkanowski.

He was sentenced to five years. Then sometime following his release, he apparently raised the ire of members of his own crime family outside a Whitestone bar (and a drug offense). That's where Delligatti enters the picture.

According to Delligatti's indictment, other court filings, and evidence presented during the trial:

From at least in or about 2008 through in or about May 2016, Delligatti was an associate of the Genovese crime faily of Cosa Nostra.

During this period, he conspired with others to participate in and conduct the affairs of the Genovese crime family through a pattern of racketeering activity that included a murder conspiracy, an extortion conspiracy, and the operation of an illegal sports betting business.

From in or about May 2014 through in or about June 2014, Delligatti conspired with Robert DeBello, a “made” soldier, and Ryan Ellis, a Genovese associate, to murder a neighborhood “tough guy” from the Whitestone section of Queens (Bonelli).

Delligatti sought and obtained permission from DeBello to murder the intended victim. However, instead of carrying out the murder himself, as DeBello had authorized him to do, Delligatti hired a crew of hitmen from the Bronx to ambush and kill the intended victim at his residence.

Delligatti provided the hitmen with a loaded .38 revolver and a get-away vehicle, and offered to pay them several thousand dollars for the murder. As a result of wiretap surveillance by the Nassau County Police Department and the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office, the crew of hitmen was apprehended in the get-away vehicle just a few blocks from the intended victim’s residence on June 8, 2014.

In their vehicle, law enforcement recovered the loaded revolver, a spray bottle containing a bleach solution, and other materials.

From in or about April 2014 through in or about May 2014, Delligatti and others in the Genovese crime family, including DeBello and Ellis, participated in a conspiracy to use threats of violence and economic harm to extort the owners and promoter of a night club located on the rooftop of a hotel in Queens.

From at least in or about 2013 through in or about 2015, Delligatti participated with others in the Genovese crime family, including DeBello and Ellis, in a large-scale bookmaking and sports betting operation that took bets from bettors in Manhattan and Queens, among other locations, and made use of an offshore wireroom. Delligatti and Ellis brought envelopes filled with cash to DeBello.

Delligatti’s co-defendants, Robert DeBello and Ryan Ellis, previously pled guilty before Judge Forrest to racketeering conspiracy offenses for their roles in the murder conspiracy, the extortion conspiracy, and the illegal gambling operation.

The case was prosecuted by the Office’s Violent and Organized Crime Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Samson Enzer, Jordan Estes, and Jason Swergold ran the prosecution.