The Chicago Syndicate: La Cosa Nostra Associates Plead Guilty in New York
The Mission Impossible Backpack

Saturday, January 02, 2010

La Cosa Nostra Associates Plead Guilty in New York

Federal law enforcement officials in New York City ended 2009 by taking a big bite out of organized crime in two separate cases: one involving Gambino Crime Family associates, the other involving a captain with the Genevese Crime Family. There are five families running La Cosa Nostra ('our thing") organized crime in New York.

Two associates of the Gambino Organized Crime Family, Letterio DeCarlo and Thomas Dono, pleaded guilty on Wednesday in Manhattan federal court to participating in a conspiracy that resulted in the murder Frank Hydell on April 28, 1998. The defendants also admitted to their participation in a conspiracy to operate an illegal gambling business in the late 1990s, according to documents examined by the National Association of Chiefs of Police's Organized Crime Committee.

According to the Indictment, other court filings, and statements made during today's guilty plea proceeding before United States District Judge Colleen McMahom: One of the goals of the Gambino Organized Crime Family was to protect its members and associates from detection and prosecution by law enforcement, by intimidating and seeking reprisal against individuals who provided testimony or other information to law enforcement. As associates of the Gambino Organized Crime Family, the defendants committed various crimes, including murder, assault, robbery, burglary, witness tampering, and obstruction of justice.

DeCarlo and Dono agreed with others to murder Hydell in order to maintain and increase their standing as associates of the Gambino Organized Crime Family. Hydell was murdered to prevent him from providing information to law enforcement about ongoing criminal activities of the defendants and other Gambino Organized Crime Family members and associates, including the January 1997 beating and murder of Frank Parasole.

DeCarlo, 47, and Dono, 34, each pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, and conspiracy to operate an illegal gambling business, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. Each count also carries a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. The defendants are scheduled to be sentenced on March 22, 2010, by Judge McMahon.

Co-defendant Edmund Boyle is scheduled to go to trial beginning on January 19, 2010, on related charges of racketeering conspiracy and murder in aid of racketeering.

In a separate organized crime case, Michael Coppola, a captain in the Genovese organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra, was sentenced to 16 years of imprisonment by United States District Judge John Gleeson following his conviction by a jury on racketeering and racketeering conspiracy charges.

The jury heard evidence of Coppola’s participation in a three-decade-long conspiracy to extort the leadership, and defraud the members, of International Longshoremen’s Association Local 1235, a union that represents port workers in New Jersey.

The trial evidence established that Coppola and others in the Genovese family controlled a succession of presidents at the union since the 1970s and extorted substantial tribute payments to the detriment of union members. The evidence included wiretap intercepts of calls in 2005 between Coppola and the son of Local 1235’s then-president in which Coppola was informed that tribute payments to the Genovese family had recently “almost doubled.”

In 1996, after being served with an investigative summons to provide a DNA sample to the state of New Jersey in connection with a murder investigation, Coppola fled and remained a fugitive for the next 11 years, using identification in numerous assumed names and traveling between residences in California and New York. The FBI captured Coppola on March 9, 2007, when a team of agents spotted him walking on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

Thanks to Jim Kouri

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