Bay Ridge crime boss sentenced in loansharking scheme

Bay Ridge crime boss sentenced in loansharking scheme
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A Bay Ridge crime boss was sentenced to more than two years in prison for leading a loansharking scheme, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced last week.

A federal judge sentenced Paul Semplice — a member of the Gambino organized crime family — to 28 months in prison for administering loans with unreasonably high interest rates of up to 54 percent, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

“Semplice targeted victims desperate for loans and used his status as a Mafia soldier to make sure they paid the exorbitant interest rates,” said Richard Donoghue.

Semplice admitted to his crime, calling it a “a beautiful thing” in a recorded conversation with a cooperating witness, according to information provided by the attorney’s office. Semplice also bragged in that discussion about pocketing 40 percent in interest per month — about $8,000 — from a borrower of a $200,000 loan, prosecutors said.

The loan shark also used physical force to carry out his aims, and bragged about smacking a second victim in a lawfully intercepted November 2016 conversation, according to information from the attorney’s office.

“I started abusing him, right… Once, I – I had to smack him,” Semplice said.

Extortion allegedly runs in the Gambino family: Bensonhurst resident Anthony Licata, an inducted member of the family, faces up to 20 years in prison after being indicted last July for allegedly working with Ridgite Salvatore Disano — a member of the Colombo crime family — to collect two extortions of credit.

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at jmcshane@schnepsmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.