Tag Archives: Lufthansa Heist

Howard Beach native sent to federal prison for loan-sharking plea

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

A reputed mob captain with Howard Beach roots will be spending the next 21 months in a federal jail cell for his role as a loan shark, prosecutors announced.

Jack Bonventre, 46, was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn after previously pleading guilty to a charge of collection of unlawful debt conspiracy. He was also ordered to serve three years’ probation and pay a $40,000 fine.

Bonventre and several other associates in the Bonanno crime family were arrested in January 2014 on an indictment charging them variously with crimes including murder, conspiracy to commit murder, racketeering, loansharking and illegal gambling.

The FBI identified Bonventre as an acting Bonanno captain under Vincent Asaro, who was identified in the indictment as a conspirator in the infamous 1978 heist at John F. Kennedy Airport’s Lufthansa cargo terminal. More than $6 million in untraceable American currency shipped in from West Germany was stolen in the caper, which was largely unsolved for 35 years.

According to a Daily News report, Bonventre claimed he left organized crime years ago and had declined Asaro’s offer to be promoted as consigliere (adviser). He had spent a year under house arrest prior to Wednesday’s sentencing.


Alleged mobster busted in Ozone Park in connection to Lufthansa heist

| mhayes@queenscourier.com

It’s bad news for this Goodfella.

Vincent Asaro, alleged mobster, was busted Thursday morning at his home in connection with the notorious Lufthansa heist as well as over 40 years of crime.

Neighbors of his Tudor Village home in Ozone Park were “shocked” at news of the arrest.

“He’s a really nice guy, that’s all I can say about him,” said Gina D., Asaro’s next-door neighbor.

She said the accused mobster helped her shovel snow and would frequently assist a woman who lived across the street.

Asaro, 78, was apprehended by the FBI in a series of predawn raids on Jan. 23 that nabbed four other suspected mob men.

Several neighbors refused to comment on the incident.

On Dec. 11, 1978, Asaro and others lifted about $5 million in cash and $1 million in jewelry from a Lufthansa Airlines cargo building, according to court papers. The loot amounts to about $20 million today.

The heist, the biggest committed in the United States at the time, was portrayed in the 1990 film, “Goodfellas.”

Asaro, a supposed ranking member of the Bonnano crime family, was reportedly in charge of mob activities at John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport where robberies were common.

He’s charged with 13 counts of racketeering, including various counts of extortion, credit conspiracy and theft, according to the indictment.

Asaro is also said to have been involved in the 1980s murder of Paul Katz, who vanished after king pins suspected him of being a rat. Katz’s remains were found when federal agents searched the Ozone Park home of the late mobster, James “Jimmy the Gent” Burke in June.

Jerome Asaro was also taken in and charged for involvement in Katz’s murder.

The pair is additionally accused of burning down a Rockaway Boulevard building and robbing an armored car business for $1 million.

Also arrested was Jack Bonventre, Thomas “Tommy D” DiFiore and John “Bazoo” Ragano, according to the indictment.