Leo (see Daily News drawing at right) pleaded not guilty to the charges in Manhattan federal court.
Also charged with extortion was Joseph Tricario, who allegedly set up meetings between Leo right-hand-man Charles "Fat Charlie" Salzano and a shakedown victim. Tricario was released on $5 million bail. Salzano reportedly pleaded guilty to related charges last month.
Prosecutors say Salzano was caught on tape threatening a taxi company owner in order to extract a payment. They say Leo also extorted money from an East Harlem gambling operation.
U.S. Attorney Eric Snyder said, "At trial, the government would prove [Leo] is the current boss of the Genovese Crime Family, perhaps the largest and most violent crime family that exists. Two hundred or so members of this violent, ruthless criminal organization can only commit acts of violence with the approval of the acting boss, and that's the type of power he holds."
Leo resides in a $2 million home in Rockleigh NJ, a Bergen County suburb.
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