61-year-old Francesco Depergola and 52-year-old Gerald Daniele, two associates of the Genovese crime family’s crew in Springfield, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court in Worcester to extortion-related charges.
According to admissions in their plea agreements, Depergola, Daniele and co-defendants Ralph Santaniello, John Calabrese, and Richard Valentini were associates of the New York-based Genovese mob family and engaged in various criminal activities in Springfield, Massachusetts, including loansharking and extortion from legitimate and illegitimate businesses, such as illegal gambling businesses and the collection of unlawful debts. Depergola and Daniele admitted that they used violence, exploited their relationship with the New York Mafia, and implied threats of murder and physical violence to instill fear in their victims.
In addition, Depergola admitted that in 2013, he, Santaniello, Calabrese, and Valentini attempted to extort money from a Springfield businessman. Santaniello assaulted the businessman and threatened to cut off his head and bury his body if he did not comply. Over a period of four months, the businessman paid $20,000 to Santaniello, Calabrese, Depergola and Valentini to protect himself and his business.
Daniele further admitted that during a six-month period in 2015, he extended two extortionate and usurious loans to an individual, and then, along with Santaniello and Calabrese, threatened the individual if he did not make payments on the loans.
Santaniello and Calabrese previously pleaded guilty to extortion-related crimes. They are scheduled to be sentenced on January 29, 2018, and January 30, 2018, respectively. Valentini pleaded not guilty. His trial is scheduled to start December 11, 2017.
Each charge provides for a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, five years of supervised release, a fine of $250,000 and forfeiture.
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