Reputed Mob Boss Pleads in Trash Probe

The Associated Press
Wednesday, December 20, 2006; 3:23 PM

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- The aging reputed boss of the Genovese organized crime family pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal charges filed in an investigation of organized crime influence over the trash industry in Connecticut and New York.

Matthew "Matty the Horse" Ianniello, 86, 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. He was one of 29 people charged over the summer in the scheme, which prosecutors said forced customers to pay more for trash pickup.

Under federal sentencing guidelines, he faces 24 to 30 months in prison for the charges of racketeering conspiracy and tax evasion. Sentencing was set for March 9; he remains free on $1 million bail.

Companies owned by James Galante of Danbury allegedly paid a quarterly "mob tax" to Ianniello, prosecutors said. In exchange, Ianniello provided mob muscle to stifle competition. Trash haulers who tried to challenge the system faced physical and economic threats.

Ianniello, who has a home on New York's Long Island, admitted sending representatives to Connecticut to pick up payments from other defendants but did not admit being in the mafia.

Authorities have said Ianniello was a longtime capo in the Genovese mob and became one of its acting bosses after the 1997 racketeering conviction of Vincent "The Chin" Gigante, who died in prison last December.

Galante's attorney, Hugh Keefe, said Ianniello's plea would not pressure his client to reach an agreement. "Every one of these people have to decide what is in their best interest," Keefe said.

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 faces up to two years in prison in that case.

© 2006 The Associated Press