POSTED: Saturday, October 10, 2009

Suspected mobster returning home

A federal judge in New York released from custody yesterday a man in Honolulu accused of being an associate of a New York Mafia crime family and charged with racketeering crimes.

U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis ordered Vito Pipitone released on $400,000 bond yesterday so Pipitone could return to New York on his own to answer the charges.

Pipitone, 27, was scheduled to leave Hawaii yesterday and arrive in New York today.

He is facing various assault charges in connection with an Oct. 10, 2004, incident in Queens in which he and four other alleged members and associates of the Bonanno organized crime family allegedly beat and stabbed two men they believed broke the windows of a protected restaurant.

Pipitone participated in a hearing in federal court in Brooklyn yesterday through teleconference from U.S. District Court in Honolulu. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Pipitone turned himself in to federal authorities in Honolulu on Wednesday after learning that his older brother and other alleged leaders, members and associates of the Bonanno family had been arrested on racketeering charges detailed in a grand jury indictment that also names him as a defendant.

He was on his honeymoon at the time.

His bond required the signatures of his parents, his wife and her parents, and other family members who put up their home as surety.

Suspect enters a lesser plea in murder plot

A Maui man arrested in an alleged murder-for-hire plot has pleaded no contest to a lesser charge of conspiracy to commit murder.

Aniano Yabo had been accused of hiring two men in 2006 to kill a man involved with his wife.

The victim was beaten, but freed after agreeing to pay his attackers $100,000. But instead of a payoff, the men were arrested.

After entering his plea Thursday, the 44-year-old Yabo faces a 20-year prison sentence. But under a plea agreement, prosecutors will recommend that he serve a minimum term of five years before being eligible for parole.

Because he has been incarcerated since November 2006, Yabo would have to serve only another two years.

Yabo's two co-defendants remain in custody awaiting trial.