Ernest Varacalli (born March 23, 1944), or "Junior", is a New York gangster who belongs to the Genovese crime family, one of the five New York crime families. Varacalli has used as many as nine different aliases during his criminal career.
Car theft ring
In May 2001, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), in conjunction with the Brooklyn District Attorney's office, arrested Varacalli for insurance fraud, extortion, and other charges. Varacalli was the alleged ring leader of the biggest stolen car empire in New York City. New York Police Commissioner Bernard B. Kerik said that Varacalli made more than $2.5 million a year stealing cars to order and dispatching thieves to steal air bags from specific cars, based on orders from auto parts shops around the city. Some of those cars were "stolen" with the consent of their owners who wanted to get out of lease payments. Varacalli's crew was responsible for the theft of about 600 auto airbags. Federico Giovanelli, a reputed Genovese Capo and Vacarelli's alleged silent partner in the operation, was also arrested and indicted.
In 2002, Varacalli was sentenced to 10 years in prison and received a $1 million fine. He was incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) in Otisville, New York. On December 21, 2009 Varacalli was released from prison.
Camille Colucci, Varacalli's third wife, was also accused of falsifying business documents in connection with the stolen car ring. She pleaded guilty and was fined $400,000.
During the 1970s, Colucci became the center of a messy Mafia "love triangle." Thomas Spero, the nephew of a colombo crime family Capo named Shorty Spero, was sleeping with Camille Colucci, but she was already married (not to Varacalli then), but to a mob associate named Joseph Colucci. According to Gambino crime family turncoat Salvatore Gravano, Spero's Capo uncle, Thomas "Shorty" Spero, hired him to kill Camille's husband Joseph. Gravano told the FBI this was his first murder. he said "As that Beatles song played, I became a killer. Joe Colucci was going to die. I was going to kill him because he was plotting to kill me. I felt the rage inside me.... Everything went in slow motion. I could almost feel the bullet leaving the gun and entering his skull. It was strange. I didn't hear the first shot. I didn't see any blood. His head didn't seem to move.... I felt like I was a million miles away, like this was all a dream." Once Colucci became a widow, she married the younger Thomas Spero (the nephew).