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US charges mobster over `Goodfellas` JFK heist

AFP | Last Updated: Thursday, January 23, 2014 - 23:29

New York: An elderly New York mobster was charged on Thursday over the spectacular 1978 cash and jewellery heist from JFK airport immortalised in Martin Scorsese`s movie "Goodfellas."

Vincent Asaro, reputedly a senior member of the notorious Bonanno crime family, is the first suspect charged in the daring robbery, at the time the largest heist on US soil.

A gang of armed mobsters stole USD 5 million in cash and nearly USD 1 million in jewels from Lufthansa Airlines at a vault at New York`s flagship airport on December 11, 1978.

The value of the booty today is estimated at around USD 20 million.

The robbery inspired Scorsese`s Oscar-winning 1990 movie "Goodfellas" long considered one of the best films of the iconic New York director and one of the best crime films of all time.
US prosecutors are now slapping Asaro, who is in his late 70s, and four other members of the Bonanno crime family with a litany of charges dating from January 1968 to June 2013.

The four others were named as Jerome Asaro, Jack Bonventre, Thomas Di Fiore, also known as Tommy D, and John Ragano.

The five defendants are to be appear before a US district court in Brooklyn at 2 pm (1900 GMT).

The US indictment listed the charges as robbery, extortion, racketeering, illegal gambling, loansharking, assault, murder and hindering police investigations.

The JFK heist was made even more notorious after the robbery when its gangster mastermind Jimmy Burke killed off members of the crew to avoid being shopped to the police.

First Published: Thursday, January 23, 2014 - 23:29

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