Organized crime groups are alive and well in several New York and New Jersey counties, using extortion and violence to keep raking in the profits in the waste-management industry. In January 2013, federal prosecutors sought to cut into the profits of the Genovese, Gambino and Lucchese crime families by indicting several of their members and associates on a litany of criminal charges.The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan alleges that 32 individuals were involved in a conspiracy to illegally control the commercial waste-disposal industry in New York and New Jersey. Twelve of them were charged with running a racketeering scheme while 17 others were indicted on extortion and loan sharking, as well as mail and wire fraud charges. An additional three allegedly transported stolen property between states. These defendants concealed their identities and illegal activities behind legitimate waste-management companies.There’s Big Money in TrashThe overarching conspiracy was to control which waste-disposal companies could use specific trash collection points and cut out the competition. In addition to dictating the trash routes businesses could use, the defendants extorted a fee for protection by the criminal organization. This scheme stifled legitimate competition throughout the New York City metropolitan area and New Jersey and kept legally operating trash collection companies in fear of retaliation for trying to expand their businesses.In an official statement, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said, “Organized crime has many victims — in this case small business owners who pay for waste removal, potential competitors and the communities infected by this corruption and its cost.” The indictments are a stark reminder that though unseen, organized crime groups continue to assert their influence behind the scenes in the search for profit.”The indictments show the ongoing threat posed by mob families and their criminal associates,” said George Venizelos, who heads the FBI’s New York office. “In addition to the violence that often accompanies their schemes, the economic impact amounts to a mob tax on goods and services. The arrests — the culmination of a long and thorough investigation — also show the ongoing determination of the FBI to diminishing the influence of La Cosa Nostra.”Fighting Against the Deep Pockets Prosecution of the Federal Government
The charges against these defendants carry significant potential prison terms, provided the government can prove its case. The racketeering and extortion charges could result in up to 20 years behind bars, while mail and wire fraud convictions carry a possible prison sentence of up to 30 years. With their connections to known organized crime families, many of these defendants could be looking at many years of incarceration.
If you or a loved one has been arrested for similar offenses, or any other criminal charges, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss your situation and your options.