Two More Defendants Plead Guilty In Manhattan Federal Court In Connection With Scheme To Control Waste-Hauling Industry
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that CARMINE FRANCO and ANTHONY PUCCIARELLO pled guilty today in Manhattan federal court in connection with their roles in an illegal scheme to exert control over the commercial waste-hauling industry in the greater New York City metropolitan area and in parts of New Jersey. FRANCO and PUCCIARELLO, who were among 32 defendants charged in January 2013 in connection with the scheme, pled guilty today before U.S. District Judge P. Kevin Castel.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “With today’s guilty pleas, Carmine Franco and Anthony Pucciarello become the latest defendants to be held to account for their roles in a criminal racketeering enterprise that encircled the waste-hauling industry in the New York City area and parts of New Jersey. This Office will continue working with our law enforcement partners to pry loose the tentacles of organized crime from around the industries it tries to control.”
According to the Indictment against FRANCO and PUCCIARELLO, other documents filed in Manhattan federal court, and statements made at related court proceedings:
FRANCO, who is an associate of the Genovese Crime Family, participated in a criminal enterprise, 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 enterprise engaged in various crimes in furtherance of the enterprise’s aims, including extortion, loansharking, mail and wire fraud, and stolen property offenses. As part of his guilty plea, FRANCO, who had been barred by the State of New Jersey from participating in the waste hauling industry, acknowledged his membership in the criminal enterprise and his agreement with others to undertake at least two racketeering acts in furtherance of the enterprise. Specifically, FRANCO acknowledged that he committed mail and wire fraud by overbilling customers of a waste transfer station that he controlled in West Nyack, New York. He also acknowledged that he and his associates transported large volumes of stolen cardboard across state lines.
As part of his involvement in the scheme, PUCCIARELLO, an associate of the Genovese Crime Family, was aware that other members of the scheme were conspiring to use extortion to obtain an ownership percentage in a business owned by a cooperating Government witness (“CW-1”). PUCCIARELLO did not report this extortion to law enforcement authorities and agreed to conceal the percentage of CW-1’s business that PUCCIARELLO would own following the extortion.
FRANCO, 78, of Ramsey, New Jersey, pled guilty to one count of racketeering conspiracy, one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, and one count of conspiracy to transport stolen goods interstate, and faces a maximum sentence of 45 years in prison. As part of his plea agreement, FRANCO has agreed to forfeit $2,500,000 to the United States. He is the fifteenth defendant in this matter to plead guilty, and is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Castel on March 19, 2014, at 2:30 p.m.
PUCCIARELLO, 78, of Bloomfield, New Jersey, pled guilty to one count of misprision of extortion, and faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison. He is the sixteenth defendant in this matter to plead guilty, and is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Castel on March 21, 2014, at 2:00p.m.
The charges against the remaining defendants are merely accusations, and these 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.