Reputed Mob Boss Sentenced in Trash Case

The Associated Press
Wednesday, May 9, 2007; 3:11 PM

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- An elderly reputed mob boss snared by a federal probe of the trash hauling industry in Connecticut and New York was sentenced Wednesday to two years in prison.

Matthew "Matty the Horse" Ianniello, 86, pleaded guilty in December to racketeering conspiracy and tax evasion.

He acknowledged that he participated in a so-called property rights scheme in which trash haulers carved out routes for each other and agreed not to poach customers. Ianniello was one of 29 people charged last year in the scheme, which prosecutors said forced customers to pay more for trash pickup. He faced 24 to 30 months in prison under federal sentencing guidelines.

Ianniello's attorneys argued for the lowest possible sentence, citing his age, his poor health and his history as a decorated World War II veteran. They also said his plea agreement provided no basis for prosecutors' assertion that he was an acting mob boss of the Genovese crime family.

In addition to prison time, Ianniello was ordered to pay a $6,000 fine and nearly $278,000 in back taxes. He has also forfeited $130,680 seized from his home in July 2005.

Prosecutors said the tax scheme involved companies paying a quarterly "mob tax" to Ianniello in exchange for him providing mob muscle to stifle competition. Trash haulers who tried to challenge the system faced physical and economic threats, authorities said.

Ianniello, who walked into the courtroom with a cane, is in such poor health, suffering from cancer and other ailments, that a prison term beyond two years would likely mean death in prison, his attorneys said.

"Age is not a license to break the law," U.S. District Court Judge Ellen Bree Burns said in passing sentence.

In September, Ianniello pleaded guilty to racketeering in New York, where authorities said he helped to try to infiltrate a union and thwart a federal grand jury probe. He is to serve his Connecticut sentence at the same time as an 18-month sentence he received in New York.

© 2007 The Associated Press