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Superseding Indictment Charges Genovese Organized Crime Associates and Union Officials with Additional Extortions of International Longshoremen's Association Members

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 15, 2011

Three New Defendants Arrested, Charged with Extortion and Conspiracy

NEWARK, N.J. – Three additional defendants were arrested today and charged in a superseding indictment that adds dozens of counts to a previous indictment charging multiple defendants – including an alleged member and associates of the Genovese organized crime family – with racketeering and related offenses, New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman and Eastern District of New York U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch announced.

A 103-count superseding indictment was unsealed this morning in Newark federal court in which previously-charged defendants Stephen Depiro, a soldier in the Genovese organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra (the “Genovese family”), and three Genovese family associates – Albert Cernadas, former President of International Longshoremen’s Association (“ILA”) Local 1235 and former ILA Executive Vice President; Nunzio LaGrasso, the Vice President of ILA Local 1478 and ILA Representative; and Richard Dehmer – are charged with racketeering conspiracy, including predicate acts of conspiring to extort Christmastime tributes from ILA members on the New Jersey piers. The superseding indictment includes, as part of the racketeering conspiracy charge, 61 additional predicate acts of extortion of various ILA members by Cernadas and 12 additional predicate acts of extortion of ILA members by Nunzio LaGrasso. In addition to the Christmastime extortion scheme, LaGrasso is charged with the extortion of an ILA dock worker so that the worker could retain a supervisory job at the port.

The superseding indictment also charges newly added defendants Michael Nicolosi, Julio Porrao and Rocco Ferrandino – all current or former ILA supervisors – with extortion conspiracy and extortion. Nunzio LaGrasso and five other defendants, including Thomas Leonardis, the President of ILA Local 1235 and ILA Representative; Robert Ruiz, the Delegate of ILA Local 1235 and ILA Representative; and Vincent Aulisi, former President of ILA Local 1235, are charged with additional counts of extortion of ILA members. Ruiz is also charged with obstructing justice by impeding a grand jury investigation. In total, the superseding indictment contains allegations regarding the extortion of 28 victims.

A separate related superseding indictment was unsealed today in Brooklyn federal court, charging Rocco Ferrandino with impeding a proceeding before a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of New York by making false statements to law enforcement agents.

Nicolosi, Porrao and Ferrandino were arrested this morning in a coordinated law enforcement effort. Nicolosi, a resident of Staten Island, New York, and Ferrandino, a resident of New Jersey, will have an initial appearance this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael A. Shipp in Newark federal court. Porrao, who lives in Palm Coast, Fla., will appear on the superseding indictment at a later date. The other defendants will be arraigned on the superseding indictment before U.S. District Judge Dennis M. Cavanaugh on Monday, Dec. 19, 2011, in Newark federal court. Ferrandino will also appear on the Brooklyn superseding indictment tomorrow before U.S. Magistrate Judge Roanne L. Mann in Brooklyn federal court.

The government’s cases are being prosecuted jointly by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices for the District of New Jersey, in Newark, and the Eastern District of New York, in Brooklyn. The charges arise from a long-term investigation initiated in the Eastern District of New York which was later joined by the District of New Jersey.

“Those working hard for a living should not have to worry that their bosses and union officers have an allegiance to the mafia,” said U.S. Attorney Fishman. “It is an unacceptable risk to this region’s security and economy for organized crime to hold sway over New Jersey’s waterfront.”

“As detailed in the indictment and other government filings in this case, the Genovese crime family allegedly preyed upon ILA members for years through a pattern of racketeering activity relying on the systematic use of actual and threatened force, violence and fear, to coerce dockworkers to make ‘tribute’ payments – up to thousands of dollars each year – to the Genovese crime family at Christmastime. That the defendants went so far as to shake down the individuals they worked alongside of each day speaks volumes about the lengths they would go to carry out their illegal activities. One defendant’s arrogance was such that he thought he could actually lie his way out of the scheme,” stated U.S. Lynch. “If there is tribute that should be paid today, it is to the men and women in law enforcement whose determination and hard work have helped to rid the piers of New York and New Jersey from the grip of organized crime.” Ms. Lynch added that the government’s investigation is continuing.

Janice K. Fedarcyk, Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Division of the FBI, stated: “Today’s charges highlight the ongoing influence of organized crime on the waterfront. The corrupting influence of the Genovese family in the ILA deprived rank and file members of honest leadership. The FBI is committed to vigorous policing of organized crime, to eliminate labor racketeering and the victimization of legitimate union members.”

“The superseding indictment illustrates the efforts of law enforcement to leave no stone unturned,” said Michael B. Ward, Special Agent In Charge of the FBI’s Newark Division. “We will not cease our efforts against organized crime until it is eradicated as a threat to our community.”

“Today’s superseding indictment and arrests reflect our commitment toward ending organized crime’s stronghold over the ports of New Jersey and New York. The defendants allegedly engaged in a decades-long conspiracy to extort tribute payments from ILA union members on behalf of the Genovese LCN organized crime family. We will continue to work proactively with our law enforcement partners to investigate these types of crimes,” stated Robert L. Panella, Special Agent in Charge for the New York Region of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations.

U.S. Attorneys Fishman and Lynch credited the FBI in New York and New Jersey and the Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General with the investigation leading to the charges. They also thanked the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor for their cooperation and assistance.

The charges and allegations contained in the indictments are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jacquelyn M. Kasulis and Jack Dennehy of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of New York, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Mahajan, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of New Jersey.

The defendants and charges in the Newark indictment are outlined in the following chart, along with the maximum potential penalty per count, if convicted. Each count also carries a maximum $250,000 fine. In the Brooklyn indictment, Ferrandino faces a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and $250,000 fine for the obstruction of justice charge.

Defendant

Count/Charges

            Maximum Potential Penalty

Stephen Depiro, 56, of Kenilworth, N.J.

Count 1: RICO Conspiracy

20 years in prison

Count 2: “CUD” RICO Conspiracy

20 years in prison

Count 3: Hobbs Act Extortion Conspiracy

20 years in prison

Count 91: Illegal Gambling Conspiracy - Bookmaking

Five years in prison

Count 92: Illegal Gambling - Bookmaking

Five years in prison

Count 93: Extortionate Collection of Credit Conspiracy

20 years in prison

Albert Cernadas, 76, of Union, N.J.

Count 1: RICO Conspiracy

20 years in prison

Count 3: Hobbs Act Extortion Conspiracy

20 years in prison

Count 4: Hobbs Act Extortion

20 years in prison

Count 9: Hobbs Act Extortion        

20 years in prison

Nunzio LaGrasso, 61, of Florham Park, N.J.
                                   

Count 1: RICO Conspiracy

20 years in prison

Count 3: Hobbs Act Extortion Conspiracy

20 years in prison

Counts 27-43: Hobbs Act Extortion

20 years in prison

Richard Dehmer, 76, of Springfield, N.J.

Count 1: RICO Conspiracy

20 years in prison

Count 2: “CUD” RICO Conspiracy

20 years in prison

Count 91: Illegal Gambling Conspiracy - Bookmaking

Five years in prison

Count 92: Illegal Gambling - Bookmaking

Five years in prison

Count 93: Extortionate Collection of Credit Conspiracy

20 years in prison

Count 94: Extortionate Collection of Credit

 

20 years in prison

Counts 95-101: Transmission of Wagering Information

Two years in prison

Count 102: Illegal Gambling Conspiracy - Poker

Five years in prison

Count 103: Illegal Gambling - Poker

Five years in prison

Edward Aulisi, 52, of Flemington, N.J.

Count 3: Hobbs Act Extortion Conspiracy

20 years in prison

Vincent Aulisi, 79, of West Orange, N.J.

Count 3: Hobbs Act Extortion Conspiracy

20 years in prison

Counts 5, 6, 10, 11, 15, 16, 19, 56, 69, 84 & 87: Hobbs Act Extortion

20 years in prison

Thomas Leonardis, 54, of Glen Gardner, N.J.

Count 3: Hobbs Act Extortion Conspiracy

20 years in prison           

Counts 17, 18, 20-26, 49, 50, 57, 59, 66, 85, 86 & 89: Hobbs Act Extortion

20 years in prison

Robert Ruiz, 53, of Watchung, N.J.

Count 3: Hobbs Act Extortion Conspiracy

20 years in prison

Counts 7, 8, 12-14, 44, 46, 47, 58, 67, 68, 70, 71, 76 & 88: Hobbs Act Extortion

20 years in prison

Count 90: Obstruction of Justice

20 years in prison
           

Michael Trueba, 75, of Kearny, N.J.

Count 3: Hobbs Act Extortion Conspiracy

20 years in prison

Counts 48, 49, 51-55, 60-63, 72-75 & 77-80: Hobbs Act Extortion

20 years in prison

Salvatore LaGrasso, 55, of Edison, N.J.

Count 3: Hobbs Act Extortion Conspiracy

20 years in prison

Count 45 & 81-83: Hobbs Act Extortion

20 years in prison

Michael Nicolosi, 43, of Staten Island, N.Y.

 

Count 3: Hobbs Act Extortion Conspiracy

20 years in prison

Count 45 & 81-83: Hobbs Act Extortion

20 years in prison

Julio Porrao, 69, of Palm Coast, Fla.

Count 3: Hobbs Act Extortion Conspiracy

20 years in prison

Counts 18, 20-26, : Hobbs Act Extortion

20 years in prison

Rocco Ferrandino, 68, of Lakewood, N.J.                     

Count 3: Hobbs Act Extortion Conspiracy

20 years in prison

Count 29: Hobbs Act Extortion

20 years in prison

John Hartmann, 42, Kenilworth, N.J.

Count 91: Illegal Gambling Conspiracy - Bookmaking

Five years in prison

Count 92: Illegal Gambling - Bookmaking

Five years in prison

 


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