Gene Borrello, Ex-Bonanno Associate, Back In Slammer For Issuing Threats

Former Bonanno associate Gene Borrello⸺who flipped against the Bonanno family and helped put away dozens of violent criminals, and who gave us some interviews before launching a podcast about the mob with former Gambino associate John Alite⸺was arrested for threatening to kill his ex-girlfriend’s husband and hurt her father after she refused to grant him the rights to use a photo of her in a book.

Gene Borrello
Gene Borrello.

That must be some photo! 

Borrello, 36, helped Brooklyn federal prosecutors put away more than 21 mobsters, pleaded guilty in 2016, and was sentenced to three years of supervised release and time served. All in all, he spent about five years in prison for committing a range of crimes that otherwise would've earned him a life sentence.

The recent problems apparently arose for Gene, according to published reports, back on January 24 when his ex-girlfriend refused to give him permission to publish a picture of her in a book, to paraphrase Assistant US Attorney Lindsay Gerdes who spoke to a Brooklyn federal judge at a bail hearing in February.

“The threats he made are very, very serious,” said Gerdes.

“Threatening to basically kill the husband of his ex-girlfriend and brutally beat her father all because she refused to let him publish a picture of her in a book he’s working on.”

“He said, ‘The minute you call the cops on me and grow those balls, you watch, I’ll blow your husband’s head right off in the middle of the street,'” Gerdes told US Magistrate Judge Robert Levy.

“Remember what I used to do. I will grab your father right now and beat the dog sh— out of him. Be happy I don’t grab you and your fat, ugly husband by the neck and drag you down the street,” she said. (She is quoting Gene's actual words, which makes us wonder if someone was wearing a wire? Then how else...? Unless of course Gene posted those comments on social media? No, he wouldn't...)

The alleged threats against his ex's husband and father were only part of it. Borrello also is in trouble for doing a podcast with John Alite, the former Gambino associate who testified against John (Junior) Gotti (and who we've been covering for years). Borrello and Alite do the Johnny and Gene Show podcast, which the Feds say violates Borrello’s terms of release barring him from associating with convicted felons. Which Alite is.

Which reminds us of the other guy who got in trouble for appearing on the Johnny & Gene podcast.

Former Genovese crime family associate John (JR) Rubeo, 45, helped the Feds build what seemed like a massive case against nearly all the crime families in the Northeast. The indictment--which claimed there was an East Coast LCN Enterprise--involved the Manhattan US Attorney charging 46 leaders, members, and associates of several organized crime families, with wide-ranging racketeering charges. (Read all about it here, via the indictment.) The seemingly massive case, however, petered out pretty quickly, with most defendants copping plea deals and getting away with relatively light sentences.

Rubeo went on the podcast last year--and then found himself back in court in January of this year, where Manhattan Federal judge Richard Sullivan blasted him during his sentencing hearing, accusing Rubeo of somehow earning off the court and the FBI--apparently by talking on a podcast. (Earning notoriety?)

Rubeo, however, unlike Gene Borrello, wasn't sent back to prison. Rubeo, who admitted to destroying evidence and committing robberies while an informant during his appearance on the Johnny and Gene Show, faced five years in prison, but was spared prison owing to COVID-19.

“You can make a monkey out of the FBI, you can make a monkey out of the government — fine,” an angry Sullivan told Rubeo during the contentious sentencing hearing. “But you’re not going to make a monkey out of this court ... You gave a black eye to this court.”

Sullivan ripped the former Genovese family associate and federal law enforcers before citing the prison system’s COVID-19 crisis as the only reason that Rubeo wasn’t headed back to prison.

He instead imposed a term of six months home confinement and two additional years of supervised release.

 He also got quite a bit of angst off his chest....

“Mr. Rubeo and the FBI have managed to make the FBI not look very good,” said Sullivan, who signed off on Rubeo’s original plea agreement.

The judge cited a Daily News story about Rubeo’s podcast confessional, where the ex-mobster boasted about a lucrative life of crime while serving as a government witness. Rubeo received a sweetheart sentence of 15 months for his cooperation. Then he apparently got a text message from Gene about appearing on the podcast... During the podcast, Rubeo confessed to destroying the cell phone he used to correspond with alleged Philadelphia boss Joseph (Skinny Joey) Merlino and to earning a small fortune while cooperating.

“I was committing more crimes when I was working for them than when I was on the street,” Rubeo noted. “And they were paying me $15,000 a month.”

As for Borrello, Gerdes also said that Gene had been “posting videos of himself on social media holding thousands of dollars, wearing expensive Rolex watches, driving around in a high-end Porsche and wearing thousands of dollars in designer apparel.” None of which is illegal, we might add. 

She urged the judge to hold Borrello without bail, citing his inability to control his temper and his expansive criminal history. 

At the conclusion of the hour-long hearing, Judge Levy rejected a bail package and ordered detainment for Borrello.

“It’s hard for me to see clear and convincing evidence that you would be able to restrain yourself in the future,” he said. “I’m going to deny the bond.”

According to Gang Land News, Borrello’s ex-girlfriend said that she does not feel threatened by the former associate. “This is a petty situation,” she said.

“I think my husband wants to see him in jail,” she continued. “Gene’s my ex-boyfriend and he obviously doesn’t like him. He may have threatened him, but I don’t feel threatened, and I don’t think my husband feels threatened. I think he just wants to see him go back to jail.”

As per reports, Borrello’s mother claimed that he has bipolar disorder but says he is no longer a violent mobster.

“Gene had a very violent past, yes he did. He is no longer in that. He is a changed person totally,” she said.

We first interviewed Gene in 2019, when he told us that residents of Howard Beach were mistakenly blaming him for terrorizing the neighborhood when the two gangsters who were really behind it were reputed Bonanno capo Vinny Asaro and alleged acting capo Ronnie Giallanzo, who is at Butner Medium FCI and will be until he is released on May 21, 2029.

"I took orders from Ronnie G and Vinny Asaro," Gene said, "I was a shooter for the Bonanno family."

Gene was perturbed to learn that Gang Land News had described him as an "animal" who "forced himself into the homes of law-abiding citizens, tied them up, placed a gun to their head and stole their life savings and personal belongings."

Borrello, as per Gang Land, is a lowlife thug, as well as a one-man crime wave who ran a crew that pulled off terrifying break-ins -- and who also pulled the wool over the eyes of the Feds while helping them put away 20-plus Bonanno bad guys including Giallanzo and Asaro.

Gene Borrello, John Alite
Gene Borrello, left, John Alite. They did the Johnny & Gene Show.

"I wasn't the boss, Ronnie was -- he was the one who lived in the $3 million house in the corner, not me."

Borrello also said that he shot people, but not because he wanted to, he was ordered to, as he told us in late 2019. Ronnie sent him with a gun after people: a rival drug dealer in 2005 and someone who owed Giallanzo money in 2011.

For cooperating, Borrello was sentenced to a time-served prison term of five years. His release supposedly outraged residents of Howard Beach even though, as Gang Land acknowledges, the neighborhood "boasts more than a few wiseguy residents and usually has a high tolerance for mob antics." Borrello, who apparently isn't among the connected hoods tolerated by the locals, took deep issue with how Gang Land has portrayed him, telling Cosa Nostra News that those home invasions he was behind were done expressly on the orders of the Bonanno family -- specifically, alleged acting capo Ronnie G and longtime capo Vinny Asaro (among other Bonanno wiseguys, including alleged soldier John (Bazoo) Ragano).

Borrello only robbed houses after he was given the key and intelligence about the homeowner's mob-linked financial situation. In one specific case, the Bonannos told him that the homeowner had been given a large cash payment from the Gambino family.

Gang Land "said I robbed civilians, but they were all loan sharks and drug dealers," Borrello tells us.

"People are lying" to Gang Land, Borrello says. "It was all crime figures we targeted."

Borrello isn't claiming he's an angel. Nothing of the sort. In fact he readily discussed his life of crime with us in detail. He also tells us, very sincerely in our humble opinion, that he's no longer in the life and that he has retired from the street and is no longer a lawbreaker.

Borrello said that all the crimes he's committed since 19 (his age at the time of his first arrest) were in service to Cosa Nostra.

"I was doing it for the mob," he says. "I wasn't out there terrorizing people. I only hurt the people Vinny and Ronny had me hurt. I made sure they both stayed multi-millionaires." Gang Land's sources, he says, "are exaggerating all this robbery stuff."

"I was on the street doing all their dirty work, and now they make me look like I was just a dirt bag. Jerry Capeci made me look like a home invasion guy."

Borrello had known Giallanzo and Asaro since he was young, noting, "I did a lot of violence for them."

We seriously doubt that Gene would kill or hurt anyone these days. And he certainly wouldn't do anything like that over a photograph... The bottom line as we see it is: Anger management issues are no laughing matter -- especially if you have a past linked to La Cosa Nostra ....