WASHINGTON – Louis Fazzini, 45, of Caldwell, N.J., pleaded guilty today to participating in a racketeering conspiracy involving illegal gambling and theft from an employee benefit plan, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and George C. Venizelos, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division.
At the plea hearing before U.S. District Judge Eduardo C. Robreno of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Fazzini pleaded guilty to conspiring to conduct and participate in the affairs of the Philadelphia La Cosa Nostra (LCN) Family through a pattern of racketeering activity. He admitted that, as a made member of the North Jersey crew of the Philadelphia LCN Family, he operated a sports bookmaking business and devised a fraudulent scheme to obtain health benefits through a “no-show” job controlled by the LCN in furtherance of the racketeering conspiracy. As a no-show employee, he performed no work or productive services and still received health benefits.
Fazzini’s sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 17, 2013.
Fazzini was among 14 members and associates of the Philadelphia LCN Family charged with crimes involving racketeering conspiracy, extortion, loan sharking, illegal gambling, witness tampering and theft from an employee benefit plan in a third superseding indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Philadelphia on July 25, 2012. The other defendants charged in the 52-count third superseding indictment included Philadelphia LCN Family Boss Joseph Ligambi, Philadelphia LCN Family Underboss Joseph Massimino, George Borgesi, Martin Angelina, Anthony Staino, Gaeton Lucibello, Damion Canalichio, Louis Barretta, Gary Battaglini, Robert Verrecchia, Eric Esposito, Robert Ranieri and Joseph Licata.
Lucibello pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy charges on Aug. 2, 2012, and was sentenced to 51 months in prison. Angelina pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy charges on Aug. 8, 2012, and was sentenced to 57 months in prison. Barretta also pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy charges on Sep. 5, 2012, and was sentenced to 33 months in prison.
The trial for Ligambi, Massimino, Borgesi, Staino, Canalichio, Battaglini and Licata is scheduled for Oct. 9, 2012. The trial for Verrecchia, Esposito and Ranieri has not yet been scheduled. Ligambi, Massimino, Borgesi, Canalichio and Fazzini are detained while awaiting trial. Staino, Battaglini, Verrecchia, Esposito and Ranieri are free on bond while awaiting trial.
The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney John S. Han of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Frank A. Labor III and Suzanne B. Ercole of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Valuable prosecutorial assistance was provided by the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General.
The case is being investigated by the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, the Pennsylvania State Police, the New Jersey State Police, the Philadelphia Police Department, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration. Additional assistance was provided by the New Jersey Department of Corrections.