Hells Angels Cronies, Gambinos Join Forces in Thuggery
Here's some free advice: If you need some quick cash, a loan from a Gambino crime family associate is one of the worst ways to go about getting it. And if being indebted to the Mafia isn't enough to scare you off, this might: In at least two cases, a Gambino gangster has teamed up with a Hells Angels crony to get someone to pay up. And when Hells Angels and mobsters ask you to pay up, it's rarely a polite suggestion -- in this case, it involved brass knuckles, a gun, and a baseball bat.
Three men -- each with ties to violent gangs, including the Hells Angels and the Gambino crime family -- have been indicted on extortion charges for allegedly threatening a Queens man on multiple occasions after he didn't pay back a $50,000 loan to the gangsters' satisfaction.
According to court documents obtained by the Voice, James Ferrara, a Gambino associate; Daniel Hanley, a member of the Westies street gang; and Peter Kanakis, a member of the Demon Knights -- a sub-chapter of the Hells Angels -- have been hit with an eight-count indictment charging them with multiple counts of extortion.
In August, 2011, the victim was on his way to work when he received a call from a co-worker at his business alerting him that a man with brass knuckles was at his store and was looking for him. Rather than face the man -- and the brass knuckles -- the victim drove past the store, where he saw the man with the knuckles standing out front.
Shortly after, the victim noticed a black truck following him.
While stopped at a traffic light, the driver of the truck -- which later was identified as belonging to Kanakis's wife -- approached the driver's side window of the victim's vehicle. He was carrying a bat.
According to the indictment, the thug -- presumably Kanakis -- tapped on the window and told the victim, "This is your last chance to pay, Jimmy," presumably referring to Ferrara.
A few months later, in December, the same victim was trying to back out of the driveway of his Queens home when a man wearing a hooded sweatshirt fired a gun at his car. Luckily, the bullet missed the victim.
A vehicle witnessed at the scene -- a silver BMW -- was registered to Kanakis.
A few days later, the victim met with Kanakis and Ferrara at a diner in Brooklyn, where they explained to him -- during a recorded conversation -- that he now owed them $60,000 and an additional $1,000 for every week it wasn't repaid.
The victim protested, claiming that he'd already repaid the initial $50,000. Ferrara responded by telling him: "I don't care what you paid in the past. I want my money now. If you want to make a deal, we'll make a deal. If not, whatever happens happens."
The victim, apparently, went to authorities rather than waiting to find out what happens.
"With alleged involvement of the Gambinos, Westies, and Hells Angels, this case hit the trifecta of loansharking and extortion," NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly says.
Moral of the story: Don't take loans from gangsters.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.
- 'Convicting Peter Liang Is Not a Conviction of the NYPD,' Prosecutor Concludes
Tue., Feb. 16, 7:00pm
Wed., Feb. 17, 7:00pm
Wed., Feb. 17, 8:00pm
Wed., Feb. 17, 8:00pm
- Group for Homeless LGBT Youth Moves a Step Closer to Buying Terrible Anti-Gay Church...
- Voice Letters: Readers Share Their Energy Service Company Horror Stories