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Witness in organized crime probe sent to jail for six months for vehicular assault

Witness in organized crime probe sent to jail for six months for vehicular assault

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Katrina Nigro (copy)

Katrina Nigro is the ex-wife of Peter Gerace Jr., the owner of the Pharaoh's Gentlemen's Club in Cheektowaga. She said she has testified before a federal grand jury about Gerace and the Mafia in Buffalo. She posed for a photo at her home on Feb. 16, 2021. 

A woman who is a witness in an organized crime investigation was sentenced to six months in jail Thursday for an accident that injured two other people.

Katrina L. Gerace, also known as Katrina Nigro, 38, of East Aurora, was also sentenced by Erie County Court Judge Kenneth Case to probation for five years after her jail term for second-degree vehicular assault is complete. Her driver’s license was revoked.

Gerace was driving under the influence of alcohol on the night of Oct. 11, 2019, when her car crossed a double yellow line and struck an oncoming vehicle on Bowen Road in East Aurora, Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn said.

“Two people in the other vehicle were injured as a result,” Flynn said.

The Kenmore couple injured in the collision has sued Gerace in State Supreme Court. 

In July 2020, Gerace pleaded guilty to the felony before State Supreme Court Judge John L. Michalski, the district attorney said.

The Buffalo News has reported that Gerace has served as a witness for federal law enforcement authorities investigating alleged organized crime activities involving her ex-husband, Peter M. Gerace Jr., owner of a Cheektowaga strip club, and several other defendants. Peter Gerace has pleaded not guilty to several felony charges at federal court, including drug trafficking conspiracy, sex trafficking conspiracy and bribing a federal drug agent.

Katrina Gerace told The News she has been assisting prosecutors and agents as a witness in that case, and her participation was confirmed by several other sources close to the investigation. Steven M. Cohen, an attorney for Peter Gerace, has raised questions about her credibility in a lawsuit accusing her of libeling and slandering Peter Gerace.

Peter Gerace’s friendship with Judge Michalski – who conducted the wedding ceremony for Peter and Katrina Gerace – has come under scrutiny. 

The judge was seriously injured when he was struck by a freight train in Depew on Feb. 28. Federal agents contacted Michalski to question him about his relationship with Peter Gerace about a week before that, according to an attorney who was representing Michalski. Law enforcement sources have said Michalski either fell or lay on the tracks.

According to Flynn, Michalski recused himself from the Katrina Gerace accident case on July 21, 2020, “due to a personal conflict,” Flynn said.

Flynn said he “was unaware of the conflict until Justice Michalski brought the issue to the attention of our office.”

Michalski has been on medical leave from his judicial post since the train incident. 

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Federal prosecutors are looking for organized crime activities in a widespread investigation, just four years after the special agent in charge of the Buffalo FBI office said, “Some of the individuals who were leaders of the Mafia are still around. But their organized crime activities don’t exist anymore."

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