New York mob suspects admit to vendetta arson, robbery

FILE PHOTO - Reputed Bonanno crime family leader Vincent Asaro departs Brooklyn Federal Court in New York

By Peter Szekely

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Three men, including the late mobster John Gotti’s grandson, admitted on Tuesday that they torched a car because its driver cut off a reputed Bonanno crime family associate in traffic in April 2012, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said Vincent Asaro, 82, who was cleared in November 2015 of involvement in the famed 1978 Lufthansa airport heist that helped inspire the movie “Goodfellas,” became enraged when a motorist moved in front of his car at a traffic light.

John J. Gotti, Matthew “Fat Matt” Rullan and Asaro, an alleged member of the Bonanno crime family, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn to charges related to the arson and robbery under an agreement with federal prosecutors, said John Marzulli, a spokesman for Acting U.S. Attorney Bridget Rohde. They are set to be sentenced on Oct. 24.

After chasing the car, Asaro tracked down its owner’s address and arranged for a fellow Bonanno crime family associate to set fire to the car, prosecutors had said. Gotti, 23, and Rullan, 26, were recruited and torched the car on April 4, 2012, they added.

Asaro pleaded guilty to violating the federal Travel Act, and admitted to his involvement in the vendetta arson, the spokesman said. He faces to up 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine and has agreed to repay the car’s owner.

Gotti pleaded guilty to arson, prosecutors said. He also admitted to taking part in the robbery of $5,941 from the Maspeth Federal Savings and Loan Association in which prosecutors said he and Rullan manned the getaway care on April 28, 2012.

Gotti faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. He is already serving an eight-year state prison sentence after pleading guilty on March 2 to selling oxycodone, an opioid prescription pain drug.

Gotti’s infamous grandfather, dubbed the “Teflon Don” for long escaping conviction, eventually went to prison and died behind bars in 2002.

Rullan, who remains free on $1 million bail, admitted taking part in the arson and pleaded guilty to the bank robbery, for which he faces up to 20 years in prison.

Gotti and Rullan also admitted to taking part in a bank heist in New York’s Queens borough, they said.

Another defendant in the Maspeth savings and loan robbery, Michael Guidici, 22, is scheduled to go to trial this fall. Prosecutors say he handed a teller a note saying “I HAVE A BOMB.”

(This version of the story was refiled to restore dropped first name and middle initial of John J. Gotti in 2nd paragraph)

(Reporting by Peter Szekely; Editing by Taylor Harris)