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Justice News

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

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Cheektowaga Man Pleads Guilty To Extortion

CONTACT:      Barbara Burns
PHONE:         (716) 843-5817
FAX:            (716) 551-3051
BUFFALO, N.Y.-U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. announced today that Eric Battistoni, 72, of Cheektowaga, NY, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara to conspiring to use and using extortionate means to collect an extension of credit. The charges each carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony M. Bruce, who is handling the case, stated that Battistoni was hired by his co-defendant, Thi Nguyen, to help Nguyen collect a $24,000 bookmaking debt. The debt belonged to an individual who placed bets with Nguyen during the 2012 NFL season. During the course of several meetings with Nguyen’s bookmaking customer in April and May of 2013, Battistoni threatened to harm the customer if the customer failed to make timely payments on the $24,000 debt.

Nguyen has been convicted and will be sentenced on December 4, 2015.

The plea is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Adam S. Cohen and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Delano A. Reid.

Sentencing is scheduled for February 16, 2106 at 1:00 pm before Judge Arcara

Updated November 2, 2015