Vincent Asaro

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Vincent Asaro
Born1935 (age 83–84)

Vincent "Vinny" Asaro (born 1935) is a New York City mobster and captain in the Bonanno crime family.[1][2]

Mob career[edit]

Asaro was initiated into the Bonnano crime family in August 1977, alongside Peter Monteleone and future Bonanno capo Gerard "Jerry" Chilli. According to Lucchese crime family associate turned informant Henry Hill, Asaro was a caporegime in the Bonanno crime family who oversaw the family's interests in JFK airport.[3] Asaro is the nephew of Michael Zaffarano and since the late 1970s, possibly in 1979 following the murder of Bonanno boss Carmine Galante, has been the capo of a crew in the Queens faction of the Bonanno family. With his father's help, Vinny's son Jerome Asaro also became a captain in the Bonanno family. However, father and son had a falling out in later years and did not speak with each other.[4]

Lufthansa heist accusations[edit]

On January 16, 2014 Asaro was indicted on federal racketeering charges stemming from the 1978 Lufthansa heist.[5][6] The charges also included the theft of $1.25 million of gold salts, involvement in the pornography industry, and for the ordering of the murder of a cousin who testified in court.[4] Arrested along with Asaro were his son Jerome, acting boss Thomas DiFiore, acting capo Giacomo Bonventre, and soldier John Ragano.[7][4]

Controversially, author Daniel Simone, Henry Hill's co-writer of their book, The Lufthansa Heist, published on August 1, 2015 by Lyons Press, claims that Henry Hill asserted to him that "Asaro had no involvement in the famous robbery."[8] In fact, Asaro does not appear nor is mentioned in Simone's book. Furthermore, in the Author's Notes and Sources page of The Lufthansa Heist, Simone lists numerous law enforcement agents who collaborated with him in the development of the book and, he attests, none of these subjects ever mentioned Asaro in connection with the Lufthansa robbery. More strangely, those investigators had not known about a Gaspar Valenti, the informant who testified against Asaro.[9]

In November 2015, Asaro was found not guilty of all charges related to the Lufthansa heist.[10]

Paul Katz murder suspect[edit]

Asaro was also a suspect in the 1969 death of Paul Katz. Katz owned a warehouse that Asaro and James Burke used to store stolen goods. When law enforcement raided the warehouse, Asaro and Burke immediately suspected Katz of being a government informant. The two men allegedly killed Katz with a dog chain and buried his remains under a vacant house. When the NYPD reopened the Katz case, Asaro and Burke allegedly moved the remains to the house of Burke's daughter and reburied them there. In 2013, a police search uncovered the remains.[4][7]

Asaro was arrested and tried but acquitted of all charges on November 12, 2015.

2017 car arson order / road rage case[edit]

In June 2017, Asaro pleaded guilty in a case of ordering car arson against a motorist who had cut him off in Howard Beach, Queens on April 1, 2012. Prosecutors allege that Asaro enlisted a Bonanno crime family associate to execute the crime however the associate engaged the grandson of former Gambino crime family boss John Gotti, John J. Gotti (who also pleaded guilty in the case) to instead perform the order. The next day after the incident, Asaro apparently contacted a Gambino crime family associate who had access to a local police department database. The database linked the car plate to the home address of the driver.[11] Prosecutors also alleged that Gotti was the getaway driver during a $6000 bank robbery in 2012; he and another man pleaded guilty.[12] Asaro was incarcerated at the Metropolitan Detention Center, Brooklyn while awaiting sentencing. He faced the possibility of up to twenty years in prison meanwhile prosecutors were seeking 15 years in prison.[13] The Brooklyn prosecutors said that although Asaro has "participated in racketeering, murder, robbery, extortion, loansharking, gambling and other illegal conduct, he has served less than eight years in jail."[14] In late December 2017, Asaro was sentenced to 8 years in prison.[15] He is scheduled to be released in 2024.


  1. ^ Norimitsu Onishi (March 19, 1995). "Your Car, the Sitting Duck". New York Times.
  2. ^ Clifford, Stephanie (9 November 2015). "Trial of Vincent Asaro Highlights Loss of Mafia's Code of Silence" – via
  3. ^ Allan May. "The Lufthansa Heist Revisited". Tru TV Crime Library. Archived from the original on 2003-07-14. Retrieved 2008-04-24.
  4. ^ a b c d Goldstein, Joseph. "As Seen in 'Goodfellas': Arrest Is Made in '78 Lufthansa Robbery". New York Times. Retrieved 11 April 2015.
  5. ^ Selim Algar; Jamie Schram, Larry Celona, Bruce Golding (2014-01-23). "Mobster charged in 'Goodfellas' JFK Lufthansa heist". New York Post.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ "Sealed Indictment" (PDF). PacerMonitor. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  7. ^ a b Larry McShane; John Marzulli (2014-01-24). "Feds charge mobster in $6 million Lufthansa heist at Kennedy Airport that was portrayed in 'Goodfellas'". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2014-01-23.
  8. ^ "Vincent Asaro found not guilty in JFK heist".
  9. ^ The Lufthansa Heist by Daniel Simone & Henry Hill
  10. ^ Clifford, Stephanie (12 November 2015). "Vincent Asaro, Accused in Lufthansa Heist, Is Found Not Guilty" – via
  11. ^ Vincent Asaro, John Gotti grandson plead guilty in car arson case New York Daily News(6/30/2017)
  12. ^ "Queens man confesses to robbing bank, fleeing in car driven by John Gotti's grandson". The New York Daily News. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Prosecutors seek 15-year sentence for aging 'Goodfellas' gangster over road rage hit". The New York Daily News. Nov 27, 2017. Retrieved 27 November 2017.
  15. ^ "Car-torching mobster, 82, hit with 8-year 'death sentence'". The New York Daily News. December 28, 2017. Retrieved 29 December 2017.