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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, November 15, 2013

New Jersey Man Pleads Guilty In Manhattan Federal Court In Connection With Waste-Hauling Industry Extortion Scheme

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that PETER LECONTE pled guilty in Manhattan federal court to participating in a conspiracy to commit extortion in connection with his role in a scheme to exert control over the commercial waste-hauling industry in the greater New York City metropolitan area and in parts of New Jersey. LECONTE, who was among 32 defendants charged in the case in January 2013, pled guilty today before U.S. District Judge P. Kevin Castel.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “Today, Peter Leconte became the fourteenth defendant to be convicted in this scheme to control parts of the waste disposal industry that reached across the New York City metropolitan area and into New Jersey. We remain committed to ensuring that all those connected to this conspiracy are held to account.”

According to the Indictment against LECONTE, other documents filed in Manhattan federal court, and statements made at related court proceedings:

LECONTE who is a made member of the Genovese Crime Family, participated in a scheme, along with other members and associates of three different Organized Crime Families of La Cosa Nostra (“LCN”) – the Genovese, Gambino, and Luchese Crime Families – to control various waste disposal businesses in the New York City metropolitan area and multiple counties in New Jersey. Members of the scheme engaged in various crimes including extortion, loansharking, mail and wire fraud, and stolen property offenses. As part of his involvement in the scheme, LECONTE demanded that a waste disposal company owner turn over a percentage of his company to LECONTE and his associates by threatening that the waste hauling company would be economically harmed if the owner did not comply with LECONTE’s demands.

LECONTE, 43, of Lodi, New Jersey, pled guilty to one count of participating in a conspiracy to commit extortion, and he faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. LECONTE is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Castel on April 4, 2014, at 11:00 a.m.

Eight other defendants have also recently pled guilty before Judge Castel in connection with this case:

  • JONATHAN GREENE, 48, of Teaneck, New Jersey, pled guilty on September 19, 2013, to participation in a conspiracy to transport stolen waste hauling containers across state lines. He faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and is scheduled to be sentenced on March 7, 2014, at 2:00 p.m.
  • JOSEPH BERTOLINO, 47, of Wantage, New Jersey, pled guilty on September 26, 2013, to participation in a conspiracy to transport stolen waste hauling containers across state lines. He faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and is scheduled to be sentenced on March 28, 2014, at 2:30 p.m.
  • ROBERT ZARZUELA, 39, of North Bergen, New Jersey, pled guilty on September 26, 2013, to participation in a conspiracy to transport stolen waste hauling containers across state lines. He faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and is scheduled to be sentenced on March 28, 2014, at 11:30 a.m.
  • WILLIAM RIVERA, 48, of Queens Village, New York, pled guilty on October 18, 2013, to misprision of extortion. He faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison and is scheduled to be sentenced on March 14, 2014, at 11:00 a.m.
  • BRIAN PETROLL, 47, of Columbia, New Jersey, pled guilty on October 21, 2013, to participation in a conspiracy to transport stolen waste hauling containers across state lines. He faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and is scheduled to be sentenced on March 20, 2014, at 11:00 a.m.
  • ROBERT FRANCO, 51, of Hartsdale, New York, pled guilty on October 21, 2013, to one count of participating in a conspiracy to transport stolen waste hauling containers across state lines and one count of participating in a conspiracy to transport stolen cardboard across state lines. He faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison on each count and is scheduled to be sentenced on March 21, 2014, at 12:00 p.m.
  • STEPHEN MOSCATELLO, 53, of Piermont, New York, pled guilty on November 4, 2013, to participation in a conspiracy to transport stolen waste hauling containers across state lines. He faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and is scheduled to be sentenced on April 11, 2014, at 2:00 p.m.
  • HOWARD ROSS, 54, of Brooklyn, New York, pled guilty on November 5, 2013, to participation in a conspiracy to commit extortion. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and is scheduled to be sentenced on March 26, 2014, at 11:00 a.m.

The charges against the remaining defendants are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Westchester County Police Department.

The prosecution of this case is being handled by the Office’s Organized Crime Unit.

Assistant United States Attorneys Brian R. Blais, Natalie Lamarque, and Patrick Egan are in charge of the prosecution. Assistant United States Attorney Micah Smith of the Office’s Asset Forfeiture Unit is responsible for the forfeiture aspects of the case.

U.S. v. Carmine Franco et al. Indictment

Press Release Number: 
13-353
Updated May 18, 2015