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Press Release

Genovese Organized Crime Family Soldier Sentenced To 41 Months In Prison For Racketeering Conspiracy

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of New York

NEWARK, N.J. – A Kenilworth, New Jersey, man was sentenced today to 41 months in prison for his role in the affairs of the Genovese organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra (the “Genovese family”), including engaging in a pattern of racketeering activity by extorting Christmastime tribute payments from members of the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA), New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman and Eastern District of New York U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch announced.

Stephen Depiro, 59, a Genovese family soldier, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Claire C. Cecchi to Count One of the second superseding indictment charging him with racketeering conspiracy. Depiro admitted to predicate acts involving conspiracy to commit extortion and bookmaking. Judge Cecchi imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Since at least 2005, Depiro has managed the Genovese family’s control over the New Jersey waterfront – including the nearly three-decades-long extortion of port workers in ILA Local 1, ILA Local 1235 and ILA Local 1478. Members of the Genovese family, including Depiro, are charged with conspiring to collect tribute payments from New Jersey port workers at Christmastime each year through their corrupt influence over union officials, including the last three presidents of Local 1235 and vice president of ILA Local 1478.

During their guilty plea proceedings, Depiro and two other Genovese family associates – Albert Cernadas, 79, of Union, New Jersey, former president of ILA Local 1235 and former ILA executive vice president; and Nunzio LaGrasso, 64, of Florham Park, New Jersey, former vice president of ILA Local 1478 and ILA representative – admitted their involvement in the Genovese family, including conspiring to compel tribute payments from ILA union members, who made the payments based on actual and threatened force, violence and fear. Cernadas and LaGrasso admitted to carrying out multiple extortions of dockworkers. The timing of the extortions typically coincided with the receipt by certain ILA members of “Container Royalty Fund” checks, a form of year-end compensation. Depiro also admitted to managing an illegal sports betting business.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Cecchi sentenced Depiro to serve three years of supervised release. Cernadas was previously sentenced to probation and LaGrasso was sentenced to 28 months in prison.

U.S. Attorneys Fishman and Lynch credited the FBI in New Jersey, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Richard M. Frankel, and in New York, under the direction of Assistant Director in Charge George Venizelos, as well as the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Cheryl Garcia, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing. They also thanked the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor for its cooperation and assistance in the investigation.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacquelyn M. Kasulis 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.

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Defense counsel: Alyssa Cimino Esq., Fairfield, New Jersey

Updated July 6, 2015