Home Courts Local men accused of racketeering for Genovese crime family

Local men accused of racketeering for Genovese crime family

Three men from Westchester and Fairfield counties who are alleged operatives in the Genovese organized crime family have been indicted on a federal racketeering charge.

Ralph Balsamo, 51, of Tuckahoe; Michael Poli, 37, of Hawthorne; and Michael Messina, 69, of New Fairfield, Connecticut were accused of racketeering conspiracy in a superseding indictment unsealed April 27, including loan sharking, extortion and operating an illegal gambling businesses.

Balsamo is a capo, or captain, one level below the head of the crime family and the leader of a criminal crew, according to the indictment. Messina is a soldier, or a “made member” or “wiseguy.” Poli is a lower level “associate” connected to the alleged enterprise through a “made member.”

The feds also indicted Nicholas Calisi, 63, a capo from Boca Raton, Florida, and Thomas Poli, 64, an associate from the Bronx.

The Genovese crime family is one of five, nationwide La Cosa Nostra crime organizations and is named after Vito Genovese, who died in prison in 1969. Historically it has engaged in criminal activities in Upstate New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Florida, Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

The men engaged in the criminal activities from 2011 to April 2022, according to the superseding indictment. Messina was arrested April 12 under the original indictment, alleging the same activities but beginning in 2007.

The indictments provide no details on places, specific criminal acts or victims.

“As I often tell juries in summations in La Cosa Nostra cases,” Balsamo’s attorney, Gerald J. McMahon said in an email, the “mafia” is mother’s milk for agents and prosecutors. Announce an indictment and you’re sure to get plenty of headlines. Acquittals and dismissals come much later, and to much less press fanfare. So it will be with Ralph Balsamo.”

Balsamo and Michael Poli pleaded not guilty in their initial appearances April 26 before a magistrate judge in Manhattan. They were released on personal recognizance bonds, $500,000 for Balsamo and $1 million for Poli.

The court docket does not say how Messina pleaded or whether he was released on bond.

The investigation was conducted by federal prosecutors in Manhattan and Brooklyn, the state Attorney General’s organized crime task force, the Brooklyn district attorney office and the FBI.

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