Alleged gangster pleads not guilty in charges related to ‘Goodfellas’ heist
Vincent Asaro, a purported boss in the Bonanno crime family, was arrested with four others Thursday on charges that included murder, robbery, extortion, arson and bookmaking. Asaro in particular is accused of participating in the 1978 Lufthansa heist at John F. Kennedy International Airport, which was dramatized in Scorsese’s film.
During the robbery, gunmen stole more than $5 million in U.S. currency and $1 million in jewelry. The cash was never recovered.
According to The Guardian, Asaro, 78, told a person cooperating with federal authorities about the heist in 2011. Asaro complained that he hadn’t been paid by Jimmy Burke, the late gangster who inspired Robert De Niro’s character in “Goodfellas.” “We never got our right money, what we were supposed to get … Jimmy Burke kept everything,” he said.
Asaro’s attorney, Gerald McMahon, said that the court papers read like a screenplay.
“‘Marty (Scorsese) needed a sequel and Loretta said she would help out,’ McMahon told reporters outside court, referring to the famed director and U.S. attorney Loretta Lynch.”
Both Asaro and his son Jerome, also arrested Thursday on various charges, pled not guilty through their attorneys.