“With today’s guilty plea, Tuccio has been convicted of an offense arising from his efforts to extort a local businessman by brazenly chasing him through the streets and then setting his car ablaze,” Acting Brooklyn U.S. Attorney DuCharme said last week.
By Forum Staff
Last week, in federal court in Brooklyn, Gambino Organized Crime Family Associate Peter Tuccio, 27, pleaded guilty to using fire to commit the felony crime of extortion, according to federal prosecutors.
When sentenced, Tuccio faces a mandatory sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment, as well as forfeiture, restitution and a fine of up to $250,000.
According to prosecutors, in 2015, a businessman who had been extorted by a captain in the Gambino
Family (referred to in court filings as “Co-Conspirator 1”) for many years, began avoiding Co-Conspirator 1 in an effort to stop making the $400 annual payment. On Dec. 3, 2015, Tuccio, and co-defendants Jonathan Gurino and Gino Gabrielli, who were charged in a separate indictment, observed the businessman leave a smoke shop in Howard Beach and drive away in his 2014 Mercedes Benz. The three men then followed the businessman at a high rate of speed through the streets of Queens and confronted him outside a pizzeria, where Tuccio mentioned Co-Conspirator 1 and commented on the businessman’s car. Tuccio and his co-defendants schemed to set the businessman’s car on fire, sending a message that he had to continue making the extortion payments to Co-Conspirator 1. Later that night, the businessman heard a loud noise and saw that his car was on fire outside of his residence. The businessman’s security video system recorded Gabrielli pouring a substance on the car, the car erupting in flames, and Gabrielli running away with his pant leg on fire. Shortly thereafter, Gabrielli and Tuccio were caught on surveillance video entering Jamaica Hospital Medical Center. After the arson, the businessman paid more than $5,000 to Co-Conspirator 1.
In August 2016, Gabrielli pleaded guilty to the arson. In June 2020, Gurino pleaded guilty to extortionate collection of credit and extortion. They are awaiting sentencing.
“With today’s guilty plea, Tuccio has been convicted of an offense arising from his efforts to extort a local businessman by brazenly chasing him through the streets and then setting his car ablaze,” said Acting Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Seth DuCharme.