Former Bonanno crime family captain Richard “Shellackhead” Cantarella along with his wife Castelli and son Paul are set to be sentenced on a host of crimes but are likely to get a free pass in return for their cooperation. The trio decided to become turncoats and help the feds to dismantle the Bonanno family after they were arrested in 2002. Richard Cantarella was a known killer for the Bonanno family according to the feds and had resisted offers to cooperate until his wife was charged with money laundering and his son became unhinged in prison. Richard had his son Paul inducted as a made man into the crime family in 1995 and he was the first to flip but the feds needed Richard’s cooperation because of his knowledge of the Bonanno family business and close relationship with then boss Joseph Massino.
Richard Cantarella not only testified against Massino but also his successor Vincent “Vinny Gorgeous” Basciano. Along with his son Paul they also ratted out over three dozen other mobsters from all of the five New York mafia families and the DeCavalcante family in New Jersey that produced more then two dozen convictions. Prosecutors added that Richards wife Castelli did not have the wealth of information that her husband and son did but assisted the government in any way she could and her cooperation was key to securing the cooperation of the others. Amy Busa assistant U.S. Attorney stated in court papers that the cooperation of the Cantarella family was by any measure extraordinary and substantial in getting convictions of members of the Bonanno family.
The whole Cantarella family will be sentenced together in an unprecedented family affair next month in Brooklyn Federal Court. Richard Cantarella could face a life sentence and son Paul Cantarella up to 20 years from Judge Nicholas Garaufis. But sources close to the case believe that they will both get a free pass and never see a day in jail as payment for their cooperation against the mafia.