Who Is Making Your Child’s School Lunch?

It is amusing in some ways, yet deadly serious in others. One always tends to think of organized crime as involving illegal booze, gambling, and unfortunately these days the Drug business. Drugs have been a recent addition, the classic mobster of yesteryear would not have touched that trade with a very long pole. I am not by any stretch of the imagination suggesting that being a mobster is a great career choice, merely that the old time guys had a few rules. Sure they ‘whacked’ a few people, but that was always people in the same business.

Todays mobster is a different critter. Have you ever considered shaking down a School Lunch program? Obviously the answer is no. Not even todays Mob has reached the stage of shaking down Third Graders for their lunch money. That is still firmly in the hands of the school bully.

Frank DiMattina from the Genovese crime family saw the problem. Shaking down a 1000 kids a day for $2 is a lot of work. He had a more cunning plan. I will let the FBI explain:

Following a three-day trial, a federal jury in Brooklyn today returned a verdict convicting Genovese Organized Crime Family associate Frank DiMattina, also known as “Frankie D” and “Frankie Ariana,” of Hobbs Act extortion and a related firearms charge.

The conviction was announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Janice K. Fedarcyk, Assistant Director in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office.

The counts of conviction included the 2010 extortion of a Staten Island caterer who was forced to withdraw his bid on a lucrative Staten Island Catholic school lunch program contract, which was in competition with a bid submitted by the defendant. At trial, the victim caterer testified that the defendant threatened him by displaying a gun and by threatening to have a co-conspirator assault the victim if he did not withdraw his bid. As part of the threat, DiMattina also told the victim to warn his business partner, a bagel store owner, that DiMattina would “burn down his bagel stores” if the victim and his partner did not withdraw their bid. The government presented the testimony of several witnesses at trial, including the extortion victim and a priest who was responsible for overseeing the bid process for the school lunch program.

“This case demonstrates organized crime still conducts its business in its traditional way—by relying on threats and violence to intimidate hardworking individuals trying to make a legitimate living. Here, the defendant sought to use fear and intimidation to obtain business, rather than honest competition. Such efforts will always be met with the full force of the law,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “We will not rest until organized crime is eradicated from our communities.”

FBI Assistant Director in Charge Fedarcyk stated, “New York’s organized crime families are the embodiment of the saying, ‘The more things change, the more they stay the same.’ Whatever the money-making scheme, violence or the threat of violence is always looming as the means to the criminal end. The FBI remains committed to stopping it.”

When sentenced by United States District Judge Jack B. Weinstein, the defendant faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years of imprisonment.

The government’s case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jack Dennehy.

It is harder to even think of a lower place to go.

Simon Barrett

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