Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Ianniello pleads guilty to trash racketeering

Matthew "Matty the Horse" Ianniello, 86, has admitted participation in a waste hauling "property rights" racket within Connecticut, according to a story by John Christoffersen of the Washington Post.

Ianniello, until recently considered by law enforcement to be the top man of the Genovese Crime Family, was one of 29 people charged in connection with the Connecticut racket over the summer. Prosecutors say regional trash czar James Galante of New Fairfield CT oversaw monopolistic cooperation among hauling firms and made regular tribute payments to Ianniello. Competition was suppressed by crime family backing of Galante, they say. (Click for original indictment.)

Ianniello pleaded guilty in New Haven CT federal court today and will be sentenced March 9. He faces between 24 and 30 months in prison for racketeering conspiracy and tax evasion. He faced a possible penalty of 20 years in prison if he went to trial and was convicted, according to a story by Kent Pierce of WTNH-TV. Ianniello admitted to sending representatives to Connecticut quarterly to pick up cash payments, but he did not admit to being a member of the Mafia.
It has been a difficult year for the reputed crime boss. In September he pleaded guilty to racketeering offenses in connection with an allegedly corrupt school bus drivers union. (Click for original indictment.) He admitted to obstructing justice by concealing payoffs he arranged between bus companies and union officials. He could be sentenced up to two years in prison in that case.

While Ianniello is technically "free" on $1 million bail in the trash property rights case, he is actually legally confined to his home (when not making court appearances) as a result of other legal matters.

Law enforcement officials believe that Ianniello became an acting boss of the Genovese family after Vincent "the Chin" Gigante was sentenced to 12 years in prison in 1997. Gigante died in prison last year. (Some authorities now say that Daniel Leo, 65, of Rockleigh NJ, is the top man in the Genovese family.)

According to Galante's defense attorney, Hugh Keefe, the Ianniello plea will not push Galante toward a plea deal. Galante insists that he is innocent of wrongdoing.

On Nov. 1, the former head coach of the Galante-owned Danbury CT Trashers minor league hockey team pleaded guilty to evading league salary cap rules by concealing no-show jobs given to players in waste hauling firms. J. Todd Stirling, 34, acknowledged filing fraudulent reports with the UHL league offices during the 2004-05 season. Prosecutors say the Trashers' actual payroll, including no-show job income and other improper benefits, was about $475,000 over the league salary cap of $275,000. The Trashers team was dissolved over the summer.

According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Connecticut, Danbury CT waste hauler Paul DiNardo, 48, pleaded guilty last Friday to participating in the property rights racket. DiNardo, employed by American Disposal Services of Connecticut and one of the 29 people indicted in June, admitted that he manipulated the bidding process to ensure that his employer would obtain contracts. DiNardo is to be sentenced March 5. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Another defendant in the case, former Waterbury CT mayor Joseph Santopietro is said to be working on a plea deal with federal prosecutors, according to a story in the Boston Globe. Santopietro's attorney Martin Minella said his client had no involvement with Ianniello and would not be affected by Ianniello's plea.

About a third of the defendants in the case have reached plea deals.

Related MobNews items:
School bus union boss charged with racketeering 11-21-2006
NYC schoolbus drivers want mob out of union 11-09-2006
Galante employee admits hockey-trash link 11-02-2006
CT mulls waste hauling regulation 09-24-06
'Matty the Horse' pleads guilty to racketeering 09-15-06
Feds: Galante diverted millions 08-10-06
Galante waste companies could be sold 07-17-06
Trash racket defendants want court delay 07-12-06
Indicted garbage co. tries to hold onto contracts 07-10-06
Strict conditions set for Galante release 07-01-06
Trash king Galante to stay in jail for now 06-28-06
Feds run CT waste biz 06-13-06
Indicted hauler's hockey team suspends operations 06-13-06
29 charged in CT-NY trash hauling rackets 06-10-06
Garbage 'property rights' 04-28-06
Guilty hauler 04-28-06

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Editor/publisher of crime history journal, Informer. Publisher of American Mafia history website mafiahistory.us. Moderator of Mafia-related Yahoo discussion group. Author of Wrongly Executed? Coauthor of Deep Water: Joseph P. Macheca and the Birth of the American Mafia and DiCarlo: Buffalo's First Family of Crime. Contributor of American Mafia history to Australian-published Mafia: The Necessary Reference to Organized Crime. Writer/co-writer of crime history articles for Informer, On the Spot Journal, Cigar City Magazine, Tampa Mafia Magazine.