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Genovese-linked mobster, 84, charged with punching restaurateur over debt he owed an Albanian actor


Genovese capo, 84, is charged with punching New York City restaurateur in the face over gambling debt he owed to Albanian actor

  • An 84-year-old mobster and three others have been indicted for punching a New York City restauranteur in the face over an unpaid debt
  • Anthony ‘Rom’ Romanello, Joseph Celso, and Luan Bexheti, were all indicted with extortion in Brooklyn Federal Court on Tuesday
  • Romanello and Celso are purported to be members of the Genovese crime family in New York City
  • Bexheti, an actor, comedian, and bookie, allegedly went to Romanello and Celso for help when the restauranteur did not pay up a gambling debt in 2017

An 84-year-old mobster allegedly linked to the Genovese family has been indicted for punching an Italian-restaurant owner over an unpaid gambling debt.

Anthony ‘Rom’ Romanello, who is said to be a capo in the notorious organization, allegedly smacked the unnamed victim in the face in Manhattan.

The octogenarian was allegedly joined by mob soldier Joseph Celso, 49, during the brutal attack in 2017.

The pair are accused of acting on behalf of Luan Bexheti, 49, an Albanian comedian, actor, and bookie with close ties to the Genovese family.

He is said to have come to the pair for help when the restaurateur failed to pay him a gambling debt.

All three were indicted for extortion in Brooklyn Federal Court on Tuesday and released on bond.

But Celso was also charged with obstruction of justice for tampering with a grandy jury proceeding.  

Joseph Celso, 49, (left) and Anthony Romanello, 82, (right) are both purported to be members of the Genovese crime family. They were indicted for the 2017 attack on an NYC restauranteur

Luan Bexheti, 49, a bookie, comedian, and actor, was also charged with extortion. He allegedly went to Romanello and Celso for help when the restauranteur failed to pay a debt

Luan Bexheti, 49, a bookie, comedian, and actor, was also charged with extortion. He allegedly went to Romanello and Celso for help when the restauranteur failed to pay a debt

Assistant U.S. Attorney James McDonald said Celso tried to ‘influence witness testimony,’ leading to the obstruction of justice charge.

Celso was released on $1 million bond, Romanello on $500,000 bond, and Bexheti on $100,000 bond.

In 1993 Celso was acquitted for the murder of Manuel Maya, 18, a Dominican student who was chased for 17 blocks by a group of white men before being beaten to death with a baseball bat and a fire extinguisher, after the teen had been spotted spraying graffiti in a park.

Celso was acquitted in the 1993 murder of a teen who was chased 17 blocks before being beaten to death by a group of men. He was acquitted when the witness testifying against him left the country and refused to return

Celso was acquitted in the 1993 murder of a teen who was chased 17 blocks before being beaten to death by a group of men. He was acquitted when the witness testifying against him left the country and refused to return

Celso was identified as a member of the group, but he was acquitted after the witness testifying against him left the country and refused to return.

Romanello dodged a firearms charge in 2012 when the witness testifying against him suffered a heart attack before the trial.

Celso has appeared in numerous small-time films, including one called ‘Albanian Gangster,’ and also voicing an Albanian gangster in the video game ‘Grand Theft Auto IV.’

In a 2009 stand-up routine at the New York Comedy Club, he joked ‘when somebody calls me a white boy, I rob him, take his money, and get away with it.’

Meanwhile prosecutors say Bexheti is ‘closely associated’ with the Genovese crime family.

Celso is an Albanian born actor, comedian, and bookie. He is alleged to have ties to the Genovese crime family

Celso is an Albanian born actor, comedian, and bookie. He is alleged to have ties to the Genovese crime family

In a 2009 bit at New York Comedy Club, Celso joked about robbing people and getting away with it, along with numerous gags involving violence and selling or using narcotics

In a 2009 bit at New York Comedy Club, Celso joked about robbing people and getting away with it, along with numerous gags involving violence and selling or using narcotics

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