FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 18, 2011
NEWARK, N.J. – Two brothers pleaded guilty today to an extortion conspiracy stemming from a scheme to extort payments from a Hawthorne, N.J., businessman, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Peter Ventricelli, 33, and his brother Mark Ventricelli, 27, of Parlin, N.J., each pleaded guilty mid-trial to Count One of a superseding Indictment. The count charged the defendants with conspiracy to commit extortion against a victim identified in court documents as “M.H.,” the owner of a Hawthorne landscaping business. The Ventricellis pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler, who was presiding over the trial in Newark federal court.
In pleading guilty, Peter and Mark Ventricelli admitted that they had conspired to obtain money and property from the victim through the use of threats of force and violence. Another co-conspirator, Michael C. Sciarra, 75, of Pompton Plains, N.J., pleaded guilty before Judge Chesler on April 29, 2011, to one count of committing extortion against M.H. with respect to a specific debt.
At sentencing, Peter and Mark Ventricelli each face a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the pecuniary gain or loss from the offense. Sentencing for the Ventricellis is currently scheduled for August 23, 2011. Sciarra is scheduled to be sentenced on July 27, 2011.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward in Newark, with the investigation leading to the guilty pleas.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys V. Grady O’Malley of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Organized Crime/Gangs Unit, and Joseph Mack of the Office’s Criminal Division in Newark.
Peter Ventricelli: Arthur Abrams Esq., Jersey City, N.J.
Mark Ventricelli: Gerald Miller Esq., Jersey City, N.J.