Feds Bust Genovese Wiseguys For Scheming, Including In Florida

Four members and two associates of the Genovese crime family, including a Boca Raton, Florida-based capo, were recently named in one of the vaguest indictments we've ever laid eyes upon.

Reputed Genovese capo Ralph Balsamo was among the indicted.
Reputed Genovese capo Ralph Balsamo was among the indicted. 

The Superseding Indictment charges reputed capos Nicholas Calisi (who is in Boca Raton) and Ralph Balsamo, soldiers Michael Messina and John Campanella, and associates Michael Poli and Thomas Poli with racketeering conspiracy involving illegal gambling and extortion. The crimes were allegedly committed between 2011 and 2022. Everyone faces up to 20 years in prison.

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Letitia James, New York State Attorney General, and Eric Gonzalez, Brooklyn District Attorney, announced the unsealing of the Superseding Indictment containing the charges.

MESSINA was arrested and presented before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ona T. Wang on April 12, 2022. BALSAMO, CAMPANELLA, MICHAEL POLI, and THOMAS POLI were arrested April 26 and were to be presented in Manhattan federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert W. Lehrburger the same day. CALISI was arrested in Boca Raton, Florida and presented before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in the Southern District of Florida. The case is assigned to United States District Judge John G. Koeltl.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “From extortion to illegal gambling, the Mafia continues to find ways to prey on others to fill its coffers. Our office and our law enforcement partners remain committed to putting organized crime out of business.”

Attorney General Letitia James said: “For years, members of the Genovese crime family have terrorized New York communities with violence and illegal businesses. These individuals allegedly made their money through illegal gambling and loan sharking — saddling victims with incredible debt that they cannot repay. Today’s indictment makes clear that we will continue to root out organized crime wherever it exists, and I thank U.S. Attorney Damian Williams and Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez for their partnership in taking down these criminal enterprises.”

District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said: “Organized crime, and the illegal conduct that flows from its activities, remain a problem in Brooklyn and beyond. My Office is committed to continue working together with our law enforcement partners to investigate these criminal organizations, as we’ve done in this case. I thank the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York and the New York State Office of the Attorney General for their partnership and cooperation.”

According to the allegations in the Superseding Indictment:

The Genovese Organized Crime Family is part of a nationwide criminal organization known by various names, including La Cosa Nostra (“LCN”) and the “Mafia,” which operates through entities known as “Families.”

Like other LCN Families, the Genovese Organized Crime Family operates through groups of individuals known as “crews”. Each “crew” has as its leader a person known as a “Captain” and consists of “made” members, known as “Soldiers.” Soldiers are aided in their criminal endeavors by other trusted individuals, known as “associates,” who sometimes are referred to as “connected” or identified as “with” a Soldier or other member of the Family. Associates participate in the various activities of the crew and its members. In order for an associate to become a made member of the Family, the associate typically needs to demonstrate the ability to generate income for the Family, and/or that the associate is capable of committing acts of violence.

A Captain is responsible for supervising the criminal activities of his crew, resolving disputes between and among members of the Family, resolving disputes between members of the Family and members of other Families and other criminal organizations, and providing Soldiers and associates with support and protection. In return, the Captain typically receives a share of the illegal earnings of each of his crew’s Soldiers and associates.

At times relevant to the charges in the Superseding Indictment, NICHOLAS CALISI and RALPH BALSAMO were Captains in the Genovese Family, MICHAEL MESSINA and JOHN CAMPANELLA were Soldiers in the Genovese Family, and MICHAEL POLI and THOMAS POLI were associates of the Genovese Family.

Members of the Genovese Family, including CALISI, BALSAMO, MESSINA, CAMPANELLA, MICHAEL POLLI, and THOMAS POLLI, engaged in or agreed that others would engage in certain crimes, including making extortionate extensions of credit, financing extortionate extensions of credit, collecting extensions of credit by extortion, extortion, operating illegal gambling businesses, and transmission of gambling information.

Previously, in the summer of 2006, six members of the reputed South Florida arm of the Genovese family were busted on charges of extortion, robbery, money laundering and other acts of racketeering spanning more than a decade.

Reputed Genovese capo Renaldi (Ray) Ruggiero, 73 at the time of the arrests, ran the crew and was arrested alongside soldier Albert (Chinky) Facchiano and associates Joseph Dennis Colasacco, Mitchell Weissman, Francis J. O'Donnell, Clement Santoro, and Charles Steinberg.

Men like Ruggiero “may not be the muscle,” Miami U.S. Attorney Alex Acosta said, but “they’re just as liable.”

NOTE: We wanted to get word out about a couple of new true-crime books that we recently received. Check out the Last of the Old-Time Mafia Bosses: John Sonny Franzese by S.J. Peddie and Gangsters vs. Nazis: How Jewish Mobsters Battled Nazis in WW2 Era America by Michael Benson. We're planning to publish reviews soon.

United States v. Michael Messina, et al., S1 22 Cr. 212 (JGK)







Messina, Michael


New Fairfield, CT

18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

20 years

Calisi, Nicholas


Boca Raton, FL

18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

20 years

Balsamo, Ralph


Tuckahoe, NY

18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

20 years

Campanella, John


Bronx, NY

18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

20 years

Poli, Michael


Hawthorne, NY

18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

20 years

Poli, Thomas


Bronx, NY

18 U.S.C. § 1962(d)

20 years