Son Of Gambino Wiseguy Who "Masterminded" Killings Of Mob Social Club-Robbing Couple Pleads Out In LIRR Overtime Scam

The son of a notorious Queens-based Gambino capo pleaded guilty earlier this month to participating in a years-long overtime fraud scheme that cost the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) a small fortune.

Frank Pizzonia after court hearing

Frank Pizzonia—son of Dominick (Skinny Dom) Pizzonia—is one of five LIRR workers who Federal prosecutors charged with conspiring to file for inflated overtime pay for work they didn't do.

Pizzonia initially pleaded not guilty and was to face trial later this year, but changed his plea.

Prosecutors reportedly are seeking a 12- to 18-month sentence for Pizzonia, more time than his co-defendants face, the Daily News reported.

Pizzonia, 54, was approved for 3,780 hours of overtime in 2018 on top of his regular 40-hour workweek. He earned $305,000 that year, making him the MTA's 29th highest-paid employee, according to the Daily News.

Pizzonia is scheduled to be sentenced on May 4.

John Nugent, another LIRR worker convicted in the same scheme, was sentenced to five months in prison last year for conspiracy to commit federal program fraud. Co-conspirator Joseph Balestra was sentenced to three months after pleading guilty to the same charge earlier this year. The two other co-defendants — Thomas Caputo and Joseph Ruzzo — have also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit Federal program fraud and await sentencing.

Pizzonia skipped his overtime shifts, according to prosecutors, who also charged that Pizzonia—who was hired by the LIRR in 1988—and the others repeatedly covered for one another’s absences from work.

The five defendants will pay restitution of more than $100,000 as part of their sentences for the scheme.

Frank Pizzonia's alleged crimes are nothing when stacked up against some of the alleged misdeeds of his reputed capo father, who was among the wiseguys who once operated out of the infamous Ozone Park-based Café Liberty social club, which Gambino soldiers Anthony (Fat Andy) Ruggiano Sr. and Anthony (Tony Lee) Guerrieri founded in the mid-1960s.

In 2007 in Federal District Court in Brooklyn, Judge Jack Weinstein slapped Skinny Dom with a 15-year sentence for masterminding the murders of the Uvas, the married couple who robbed Mafia social clubs, including Skinny Dom's—which they hit twice. The jury had cleared Pizzonia of pulling the trigger in the double homicide and also acquitted him of the 1988 killing of Frank (Geeky) Boccia. The hit—which had been sanctioned by Gambino don John Gotti—was a reprisal for Boccia physically shoving his mother-in-law— who was Fat Andy’s wife— after she didn't hand over cash for a baptism. Boccia's body has never been found.

Despite the acquittals, Judge Weinstein said that the government had proven the murders by a preponderance of evidence.

Dominick (Skinny Dom) Pizzonia, reputed Gambino capo.

Judge Weinstein, referring to what prosecutors described as a split in Skinny Dom's personality (a church-going family man on the hand hand, a cold-blooded homicidal murderer on the other), said, “If the defendant’s life were to be portrayed by a TV show or movie, it would require a split screen. On one screen they’d show a courtly, well dressed, polite and soft-spoken gentleman who is a fine neighbor, devoted to his family and generous to friends. On the other side of the screen would simply be shown a hardened criminal, a lifelong member of a vicious gang of bookies, loan sharks, extortionists, and coldblooded murderers.”

During the trial, Gambino turncoat/Boccia brother-in-law Anthony Ruggiano Jr. (with whom we've written a series of stories) told the jury that, in 1988, Pizzonia and others, including himself, lured Boccia to Café Liberty with promises of a get-rich-quick scheme. After he arrived at the club, Pizzonia called Boccia into a back room and shot him multiple times.

“He shot him first about five times and then he (Boccia) came running back into the front of the club,” Ruggiano testified. “He (Pizzonia) said, ‘This f------ guy don’t want to die,’ and he put more bullets in the gun and ran in the back and shot him.”

Another witness, Thomas Morea, said he helped Pizzonia dump the body in the Atlantic Ocean after gutting him to make sure he sank.

The prosecution claimed that Pizzonia had sought approval for the Uva hit from Gambino acting boss John (Junior) Gotti, who provided it, supposedly after getting confirmation for the deed from his father, Gambino boss John Gotti, who at the time was imprisoned at Marion. Gotti died in 2002.

John Junior and Bonanno boss Joseph Massino met to settle the dispute over which crime family actually carried out the killings after the Bonannos tried to take credit. Junior argued that Skinny Dom had done the work, not Bonanno wiseguys Anthony Donato and Vincent (Vinny Gorgeous) Basciano, who became Bonanno acting boss after Massino’s last arrest.

Turncoat Bonanno underboss Salvatore (Good Looking Sal) Vitale told jurors that Gotti told Massino: “That was our work. We took care of that. Our Little Dom did it.”

No less than two films debuted on the big screen in recent years to tell the true-life story of Thomas Uva and his wife Rose Marie, who together robbed Mafia social clubs in Little Italy, Queens and Brooklyn, a crime spree that ran from the summer of 1992 to Christmas Eve 1992, when the two were killed.

In nearly every robbery, 21-year-old getaway driver Rose Marie waited in the car while Tommy, hefting an Uzi, walked into the clubs, the doors of which were unlocked. Tommy, 28, would tell the men inside to put their cash and assorted jewelry into the bag he provided. Sometimes, he reportedly told the wiseguys to drop their pants just before he sprinted to the car. 

One night as the couple made their escape, the victimized wiseguys couldn't help but express their admiration for Rose Marie's skills as a wheelman.

During another Uva heist, an angry mobster in the process of placing his cash into Tommy's bag told the young stick up artist that he'd eventually get what was coming to him: death.

To which Tommy replied, "Everybody dies."

In all, the couple knocked over at least five social clubs, some of them more than once, including Gambino capo Joseph (Joe Butch) Corrao's Hawaiian Moonlighters (aka the Andrea Dorea) in Little Italy, as well as Jimmy Brown Failla's Veterans and Friends club in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.

The couple also hit no-name joints on Bath Avenue, including one owned by then-Bonanno consigliere Anthony Spero.

The Uvas weren't naive kids who dreamed about being outlaws. They'd both been around the block (more than once). Both Uvas were ex-cons, and one or both had a drug habit during the spree, some reports claimed. (Drug addiction would explain lots.)

The duo had seen the film Goodfellas, a mob cautionary tale if ever there was one, and doubtlessly knew that getting lung cancer would be healthier than robbing Mafia-run social clubs.

Tommy supposedly had been a mob buff who attended the trials of some mob figures, including John Gotti.

The end came abruptly for "Bonnie and Clyde" in broad daylight on a busy street in Ozone Park on the morning of Christmas Eve 1992. Two shooters opened fire on each side of the Uva's Mercury Topaz as the couple sat at a red light at the intersection of 103rd Ave. and 91st Street.

Thomas and Rose Marie Uva
Thomas and Rose Marie Uva, who robbed the mob and suffered the consequences.

Rose Marie was found with more than $1,000 on her, and cops suspected the couple likely were on their way to do some last-minute Christmas shopping.

Tommy was found with a list of wiseguy’s names and phone numbers.

Law enforcement knew about the duo and their high-risk shenanigans and suspected the Gambinos and/or Bonannos were behind the murders. Still, no one was charged in the case until years later, in September 2005.

The robberies were such a sore spot among the mobsters involved, according to FBI reports and law enforcement officials, that the Gambino, Bonanno and Colombo crime families had argued over which borgata should have the right to whack the married couple.

After the Uvas were slain, the Gambinos and Bonannos argued over who should get the credit.

Gambino wiseguy Ronald (Ronnie One-Arm) Trucchio was also believed to have been involved in the hit. He is serving life in prison for racketeering and associated crimes.

“Why would they do that? Why would anybody? I mean, you know?” one juror appropriately said of the Uvas during Pizzonia's 2007 trial.