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Press Release

Five Boston-Area Men Charged with Extortion and Gambling

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts

BOSTON – Five men were arrested and charged today in the U.S. District Court in Boston with conducting an illegal gambling business, making extortionate loans and collecting loans by extortionate means. 

Joseph Yerardi, 62, of Newton; Anthony Corso, 51 of Cambridge; Michael Burke, 45, of Winthrop; Robert Conway, 27, of, Lynnfield; and Michael Habicht, 59 of Boston, were indicted on one count of operating an illegal gambling business from March 2015 through April 2016. Yerardi and Corso were also indicted on three counts of conspiracy to make and making extortionate extensions of credit.  In addition, Yerardi, Corso, Burke and Conway were indicted on various counts of conspiring to collect and collecting extensions of credit by extortionate means from six debtors.  The defendants will appear before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Jennifer C. Boal at 11:30 a.m.

The charge of operating an illegal gambling business provides a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000.  The extortion charges each provide a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000.  Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties.  Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. 

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; and Colonel Richard D. McKeon, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police, made the announcement today.  Assistance with the investigation was also provided by the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation, the Massachusetts Department of Correction, and the Boston, Medford, and Quincy Police Departments.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy E. Moran of Ortiz’s Organized Crime and Gang Unit. 

The details contained in the charging document are allegations.  The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Updated April 14, 2016