The federal government has indicted Carmine Agnello, son-in-law of Gambino crime boss John Gotti, and six others in a 35-count racketeering case that stemmed in part from a police sting involving his scrap metal business in Willet's Point in January.
The U.S. Attorney for New York's Eastern District unsealed a 35-count federal racketeering indictment charged Agnello and six others Monday with arson, extortion and tax fraud. The indictment was handed up more than a month after Agnello was accused of enterprise corruption by the Queens district attorney for trying to take over a Queens scrapyard run by undercover police officers.
"This indictment represents the latest strike in our continuing effort to interdict organized crime members who build financial empires by employing force, violence and threats against competitors and other perceived rivals in the business community," U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said in a statement. "We will not allow legitimate businesses to be deprived of their right to do business free from extortionate interference."
Agnello, 38, a resident of Old Westbury, L.I., was arrested Jan. 25 following the elaborate, yearlong police operation in which four undercover cops set up a company called Stadium Scrap in Willets Point.
He was charged by Queens DA Richard Brown, along with Mark Lomonaco and Joseph Burger of Woodhaven and Steven Scala of Maspeth, with enterprise corruption under the state's Organized Crime Control Act, restraint of trade, coercion, grand larceny and arson.
The four, who own the Bronx-based New York Shredding Corporation and the Willets Point-based New York Scrap Inc., allegedly tried to shut down rival Stadium Scrap, operated by Brown's quartet of undercover auto crimes cops, using threats, break-ins and firebombing.
Each faces up to 25 years in prison for those charges. They are scheduled to appear in court on June 23.
According to Lynch's office, the federal indictment incorporates the charges brought by Brown and also charges one or more of the four defendants with a host of other criminal acts, including extortion of metal shredding businesses, a sanitation truck distributor and a stock brokerage firm; trafficking in motor vehicles with altered identification numbers; conspiring to defraud the Internal Revenue Service; and filing false income tax returns.
The indictment seeks the forfeiture of more than $21 million from Agnello, Lomonaco, Burger and Scala. The four also face 20 years in prison on each of the charges and maximum fines of $42 million.
As of press time Tuesday, all four were still in custody, according to Lynch's office.
Agnello's bookkeeper, Debra DeCarlo, whose address was not released, his brother Michael of Howard Beach, and John Sowulski of Woodhaven, whose relationship to Agnello was unknown as of press time, were also named in the indictment. Each faces maximum sentences of five years in prison and fines of $250,000.
"This indictment clearly demonstrates that cooperative efforts among federal and state law enforcement agencies can be highly successful at loosening the grip of organized crime and indicates the depth of our resolve to eradicate organized criminal activity in the metropolitan area," Brown said in a statement.
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