The federal case against two brothers convicted last year of brutally beating a fellow Shelby Township restaurant owner has taken an international turn as prosecutors now say the men have ties to an alleged mafia boss in the family’s native Sicily.
Giuseppe "Joe" D’Anna, 60, and Girolamo "Mimmo" D’Anna, 48, were indicted last week by a federal grand jury on three counts of extortion, each of which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice.
The indictment alleges that the brothers, "and other co-conspirators" who have not been named, attempted to extort Pietro Ventimiglia, the owner of Nonna’s Italian Kitchen, from 2009 until April 2011.
The D’Annas were later convicted in Macomb County Circuit Court of beating Ventimiglia with a baseball bat and sentenced to serve two months in jail and three months on house arrest. The brothers could have faced life in prison, but pleaded no contest to lesser charges.
Federal prosecutors attempted to keep the brothers in custody following the indictment by arguing that the D’Annas post a “clear danger to the community,” The Oakland Press reports.
More specifically, prosecutors cited the brothers’ connection to Salvatore D’Anna, a cousin and alleged mafia boss in the family’s hometown of Terrasini, Italy, according to the U.S. Justice Department.
“Through his own reputation as being associated with the Sicilian Mafia and a relative of the boss of a controlling crime family in the victim’s hometown, Girolamo D’Anna and his brother attempted and conspired to threaten the owners of a rival Italian restaurant that was directly competing with the D’Annas’ own neighborhood Italian restaurant,” read court documents obtained by The Oakland Press.
These same documents allege that at the time of Nonna’s opening in 2009, the D’Annas, who were then associated with Tirami Su Ristorante, threatened to employ their connections with the Sicilian Mafia against Ventimiglia if he continued to pursue his rival business, The Oakland Press reports.
Despite prosecutors’ arguments to hold the brothers, Giuseppe and Girolamo D’Anna were released on $10,000 unsecured bonds, but on the added conditions that they surrender their passports and any firearms, avoid all contact with the Ventimiglia family and remain in the state until further notice.
In other litigation, the brothers also face a personal liability lawsuit filed by Ventimiglia in Macomb County Circuit Court, according to court documents.