Hulking gangster Frank "Frankie Steel" Pontillo complains to judge that he can't avoid mobsters on Staten Island
Poor Frankie. A whiny wiseguy told a federal judge that he wants to stay clear of the criminal life, but it's just too tough while living on Staten Island, what with all the mobsters everywhere. Frank "Frankie Steel" Pontillo made the statements at a sentencing in Brooklyn federal court -- before the same judge he asked leniency of because the FBI traumatized his Yorkie puppy during a January 2010 raid. The Daily News reported the Wednesday exchange between Pontillo and Judge I. Leo Glasser: "I didn't invite the Five Families to gather at the opening of a bar," said Pontillo said, referring to On The Rocks, where, the paper reports, he runs the grill. "Staten Island is very small. There's lots of felons on the island... Every time I go somewhere, I see someone from my past." Glasser responded, "That's a problem with people who grew up in Bensonhurst or Staten Island, spent a good part of their life in prison... People they've known actually their whole adult life [are] convicted felons and members of one organized crime family or another." Pontillo, 41, was arrested back in January 2010 as part of a 100-suspect takedown. His part was buying stolen TVs and electronics from an FBI informant in New Jersey. In a July letter to Glasser, Pontillo's lawyer, George A. Farkas, described the raid: "It was an otherwise tranquil winter morning at about 6 a.m.... when several black SUVs, 2 unmarked minivans and other similarly ominous vehicles converged upon Frank Pontillo's snow covered home." After a further description of the "elite forces" present, Farkas continues: "In an operation worthy of an honorable mention next to the recent and well-publicized Navy SEAL commando raid in Pakistan, the front door of the Pontillo home was blown off its hinges. Then, percussion grenades were tossed into the home, the resulting blast propelling a 4 pound puppy across the room into a wall... The little dog has not been the same since." Farkas pleaded that Glasser not subject his client to supervised release: Pontillo's "weakness" means he'd slip up sooner or later and violate the terms of that release. "It is not hyperbole to suggest that he will serve a life sentence on an installment plan," Farkas wrote. Nevertheless, Pontillo ended up getting six months house arrest and two years of probation. Pontillo was convicted on murder conspiracy in 1993 -- he and four others hatched a scheme to dress as Hasidic Jews in an aborted plan to gun down William (Wild Bill) Cutolo during the Colombo crime family's civil war.