Ex-Great Neck surgeon pleads guilty to gun felonies

Robert Pelaez
Great Neck plastic surgeon Matthew Bonanno pled guilty to felony charges in Nassau and Westchester County courts this month. (Photo courtesy of the Westchester district attorney's office)

Great Neck resident and plastic surgeon Matthew Bonanno pleaded guilty to a felony in the Nassau County Court District Wednesday after two county police departments seized a cache of guns, ammo, and other weapons from him in 2019, officials said.

The 49-year-old Bonanno pleaded guilty to possessing a 9mm pistol while Nassau County prosecutors dropped additional charges, including 11 counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the second and third degrees and two charges of criminal possession of a firearm, court records showed.

Bonanno faces five years of probation, handed down by Acting State Supreme Court Justice Terence Murphy of the county’s 10th Judicial District, according to Newsday. Officials also said he will lose his medical license due to the convictions.

Paul Gentile, Bonanno’s lawyer, contended that his client is “an esteemed plastic surgeon and an avid gun collector.” Gentile Wednesday told Murphy that Bonanno legally purchased the gun but failed to register it. Gentile also reportedly told the judge that Bonanno never fired the gun.

Bonanno was first indicted in Westchester, where he pleaded not guilty to 53 weapons charges- separate from the ones in Nassau County- in September 2019. Earlier this month, according to multiple reports, Bonanno pled guilty to attempted second-degree criminal possession of a weapon in Westchester. He faces an additional five years of probation in that case as well, according to reports.

Tuckahoe village police searched his vehicle after they were notified of threats being made by Bonanno against his estranged wife, according to the Westchester County district attorney’s office.

Bonanno’s arrest on the night of Aug. 12 led Tuckahoe village police to find five assault rifles, three handguns, over 1,600 rounds of ammunition, handcuffs, a stun gun, military-style knives, binoculars, and other paraphernalia. The search of Bonanno’s vehicle led to police discovering assault rifles, body armor, ammunition, magazines, smoke grenades, and handguns at his East Shore Road residence in Great Neck.

Gentile criticized the ways that police in Westchester and Nassau searched Bonanno’s property.

“They learned of the weapons being in his home by asking him. He was already in custody,” Gentile said in a 2019 interview. “He had invoked his right to counsel. That means that the search warrant is based upon a violation of his Fifth Amendment right, which then leads to a violation of his Sixth Amendment right.”

In October 2019, Gentile requested the Westchester trial be moved to the Bronx, where he served as district attorney in 1988.

“Dr. Matthew Bonanno cannot get a fair trial here in Westchester County,” Gentile said in an interview. “The jury pool has been tainted by the Westchester district attorney, with unlawful accusations of Mr. Bonanno being a domestic terrorist and a danger to himself, and others.”

Gentile also said Bonanno’s ex-wife, Marianna Soropulos, never asked for an order of protection from the plastic surgeon. Courtroom footage from News 12 Westchester showed Soropulos asking Westchester Judge George E. Fufidio in September 2019 to lift the order of protection.

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