Genovese Soldier, Another Busted for Bid-Rigging Scheme in Brooklyn

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced the arrest and indictment of Christopher Chierchio, 49, a reputed Genovese crime family soldier of Staten Island, and Anthony Milohnic, 43, of Long Island.

Condo on Baltic Street in Brooklyn
613 Baltic Street in Brooklyn

The two have been charged with felony agreement, arrangement, or combination in restraint of trade or competition, the attorney general announced Thursday. Chierchio also is charged with criminal tax fraud for allegedly evading $94,094 in personal income tax, officials said.for their role in a bid-rigging scheme, a class E felony.

The two allegedly colluded to avoid competition on bids for plumbing, sprinkler, and heating and air conditioning at the new luxury condo building at 613 Baltic Street in Brooklyn.

“We have zero tolerance for crooks who try to game the system to line their pockets,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “We'll continue to work with our partners in law enforcement to crack down on bid-rigging, tax fraud, and all other forms of corruption.”

These arrests are the result of an investigation conducted by Attorney General Schneiderman’s Organized Crime Task Force (OCTF), in collaboration with the New York City Police Department’s Criminal Enterprise Investigations Section (NYPD-CEIS), the New York City Department of Investigations (DOI), the United States Department of Labor - Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations, and the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance.

The investigation included the scrutiny of intercepted communications from court-authorized wiretaps, the execution of search warrants, and the review of financial records.

These indictments are an offshoot of a previous joint OCTF/NYPD investigation, Operation Shark Bait, which resulted in the indictment and arrest of 13 defendants for Enterprise Corruption in Brooklyn in December 2016.

DOI Commissioner Mark Peters said, “Bid-rigging undercuts fairness and equality in the contracting process. DOI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to expose and stop this type of pernicious corruption.”

According to the indictments, which were unsealed today in New York County Supreme Court, Christopher Chierchio, 49, of Staten Island, is charged with Agreement, Arrangement, or Combination in Restraint of Trade or Competition, in violation of the New York State Donnelly Act, as well as Criminal Tax Fraud in the Second Degree. If convicted of both counts, he faces up to 19 years in prison.Chierchio is a reputed “soldier” in the Genovese organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra.Anthony Milohnic, 43, of North Merrick, was also charged with the Donnelly Act violation.

The tax indictment against Chierchio is a result of a joint investigation by OCTF and the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance’s Criminal Investigations Division.

The Attorney General thanked New York County District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. for his cooperation, and Kip Brailey, Tansey Brent, and John Yaros of the United States Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes and Enforcement Network (FinCEN) for their assistance throughout this investigation.

OCTF’s investigation was conducted by OCTF Investigator Derek Stevens, under the direction of Supervising Investigator Paul Grzegorski and Deputy Chief Christopher Vasta. The Investigations Bureau is led by Chief Dominick Zarrella. The NYPD portion of the investigation was directed by former NYPD Detective Vincent Imperato and Detectives Lori Aanonsen and Nicholas Lagano, working under the supervision of Lieutenant Edward Barry of CEIS, Captain John Dusanenko, Assistant Chief Brian McCarthy, and Deputy Inspector Dominick D'Orazio. The DOI portion of the investigation was directed by Special Investigator Dan Taylor, under the supervision of Chief Investigator James McElligot.

Salvatore “Sallie” DeMeo
Salvatore “Sallie” DeMeo after his 2016 arrest (Photo via NYPD)

“Operation Shark Bait” was a long-term investigation into the alleged loan sharking and bookmaking activities of alleged Genovese “made member” Salvatore DeMeo and alleged Genovese ‘associates,’ or ‘non-made’ members, Gennaro Geritano, Eugene Orefice and Anthony “Buckwheat” Giammarino, among others. A series of early morning arrests conducted by Attorney General Schneiderman’s Organized Crime Task Force (OCTF) and the New York City Police Department’s Criminal Enterprise Investigations Section (CEIS), capped the long-term investigation

Based on the evidence obtained throughout the course of that investigation, the Attorney General's Office secured two separate indictments from a Kings County grand jury, charging a total of thirteen individuals on felony charges. The investigation also uncovered a multi-state untaxed cigarette operation.