Former Dockworker Pleads Guilty to Extortion Conspiracy Involving Christmastime Tribute Payments
NEWARK, N.J. – A former International Longshoremen’s Association (“ILA”) member admitted today that he conspired to extort ILA Local 1235 longshoremen on the New Jersey piers for Christmastime tribute payments, New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman and Eastern District of New York U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch announced.
Edward Aulisi, of Flemington, N.J., pleaded guilty today to conspiring to extort Christmastime tributes from the ILA Local 1235 members – Count Three of the Second Superseding Indictment against him. Aulisi entered his guilty plea before U.S. District Judge Dennis M. Cavanaugh in Newark federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Edward Aulisi conspired with his father, Vincent Aulisi – the former President of ILA Local 1235 who succeeded another co-defendant, Albert Cernadas – and Michael Coppola, a Genovese organized crime family captain, in the scheme. Coppola was convicted in July 2009 following a trial in the Eastern District of New York of racketeering and racketeering conspiracy, based in part on acts relating to extortion and wire fraud concerning ILA Local 1235.
Edward Aulisi admitted he participated in telephone calls in furtherance of the extortion conspiracy in March 2007 with Coppola – who was then a fugitive from a New Jersey state murder after having been served with a summons to provide DNA in 1996. Edward Aulisi agreed that he passed information to Coppola on the calls – specifically that Cernadas had told Vincent Aulisi the Christmastime extortion scheme would cease once Cernadas left the presidency, and Vincent Aulisi stated it would continue. Edward Aulisi also admitted Vincent Aulisi had asked him to tell Coppola the Christmastime extortion collections had almost doubled.
It was Edward Aulisi admitted today that it had been his intention to deliver Christmastime tribute money extorted from ILA Local 1235 members to Coppola had Coppola not been arrested shortly after the phone calls.
The charge to which Aulisi pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is currently scheduled for Sept. 4, 2012.
Coppola is serving a 16-year prison term on his conviction. The charges and allegations contained in the second superseding Indictment charging Vincent Aulisi and Cernadas are merely accusations, and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.
U.S. Attorneys Fishman and Lynch credited the FBI in New Jersey and New York and the Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
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.
Defense counsel: Robert E. Lytle Esq., Lawrenceville, N.J.
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