Thursday, December 21, 2006

Organized Crime has a free reign in Connecticut, these guys must have pissed somebody more important off:

CONNECTICUT NEWS
Crime Family Under Boss Pleads Guilty In Trash Probe
December 21, 2006
By LYNNE TUOHY, Hartford Courant Staff Writer

An aged under boss of New York's Genovese crime family pleaded guilty in New Haven federal court Wednesday to racketeering conspiracy and tax evasion counts in connection with a mob-enforced scheme to carve out trash-hauling turf in southwestern Connecticut and Westchester County, N.Y.

Matthew "Matty the Horse" Ianniello, 86, is the most prominent figure to plead guilty of the 29 indicted this year after a 2-year federal investigation. He faces a sentence in the range of two years or more, according to federal sentencing guidelines. He also has agreed to pay restitution of nearly $278,000 in taxes and penalties when sentenced in March. Ianniello did not report the fees, or "mob tax," paid to him by trash haulers to protect their turf as income on his 2001 and 2002 tax returns. He failed to file returns in 2003 and 2004.

In addition, Ianniello agreed to forfeit more than $130,000 in cash seized by FBI and IRS agents during a search of his home in July.

The leading Connecticut figure in the alleged scheme is James Galante, the Danbury-based trash magnate who owns nearly two dozen trash hauling companies. He used his profits in part to pad salaries of players on his minor league hockey team, the Danbury Trashers, in violation of league rules.

Galante is named in 72 counts of the 117-page indictment, facing charges that include racketeering, witness tampering, mail and wire fraud and interfering with interstate commerce.

His attorney, Hugh Keefe, said Ianniello's guilty pleas have no bearing on Galante's case.

"I don't think it means anything," Keefe said. "As long as there is no cooperation agreement, everyone has to do what's in his personal best interest. I'm sure Mr. Ianniello felt that, because of his age and with the New York case pending, pleading was in his best interest. I don't think it has any practical effect on Jimmy's case.

"Unless he's going to testify, [Ianniello's plea] will not be relevant to Jimmy's prosecution," Keefe said.

Ianniello's plea agreement contains no provision that he cooperate in the prosecutions of any co-defendants. He pleaded guilty three months ago to a racketeering count in New York and is awaiting sentence there. The ailing mob boss remains free on $1 million bail. His Connecticut sentencing is scheduled for March 9.

Galante, 53, is alleged to have paid Ianniello in excess of $800,000 in "mob tax" in 2001-2005. The payments ended when the FBI raided 60 businesses in Connecticut and New York in 2005.

Federal marshals took over operation of Galante's trash hauling companies after his arrest in June. Control of the companies and the freezing of other Galante assets has been the subject of extensive proceedings since his arrest.

Also indicted was former Waterbury mayor Joseph Santopietro, who was released from federal prison in 1999, after serving six years for taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from developers. He allegedly served as Galante's representative in the Waterbury area.

To date, eight of the 29 defendants named in the indictment have pleaded guilty. Two additional people not named in the indictment have pleaded guilty in connection with the scheme.

Keefe said no trial date has been set for Galante.

Contact Lynne Tuohy at ltuohy@courant.com.

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