Monday, April 03, 2006

A Case of the Real Mafia punishing the Pretend Mafia

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CONNECTICUT NEWS
Megale Sentenced To More Than Seven Years In Mafia Case
2:00 PM EDT, April 3, 2006 Associated Press, The Hartford Courant

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- Anthony Megale, the Stamford sanitation worker who prosecutors said became the highest-ranking mobster in Connecticut history, was sentenced today to more than seven years in federal prison.Prosecutors said Megale was the underboss, or second-in-command, of the Gambino crime family, the New York mob syndicate once run by John Gotti.

Megale pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy in October but did not acknowledge Mafia membership.

U.S. District Court Judge Janet Bond Arterton sentenced Megale to 86 months in prison.

"I simply have no sense that prison is more than a time-out and thus the cost of doing business or an occupational hazard," she told Megale.

"It is clear that you are a family man and that you have two families."

Investigators said Megale's case, which landed a number of reputed mob figures in prison, represented the broadest assault on the region's Italian Mafia in more than a decade.

In pleading guilty, Megale, 52, admitted that between 2002 and 2004, he and others extorted $2,000 monthly payments from a Stamford strip club owner.

Megale was caught on FBI recordings setting up the payments and predicting dire consequences if the club owner could not pay.

"They'll come in and wreck the joint," Megale was recorded saying.

"We do that downtown."

The Gambino family, one of the five New York families, has traditionally made Fairfield County its Connecticut turf. In 1989, Megale admitted being Gotti's top man in Connecticut, an admission Megale's lawyers now say he never meant to make.

Arterton had wide discretion in her sentencing range and defense attorneys asked ask for leniency. They submitted several letters written on his behalf, including one from former Stamford Mayor Stanley Esposito.

Megale is the last person in the case to be sentenced. Faced with a trial that would allow hours of secretly recorded FBI tapes into evidence, one defendant after another pleaded guilty.

Some of the tapes were played during preliminary court hearings. One defendant was recorded describing his Mafia induction ceremony and detailing the Gambino hierarchy. Megale was also recorded describing himself as the underboss, "so I'm over everybody."

Prosecutors said Megale met regularly with the upper Mafia echelon, including a sit-down at a Manhattan restaurant with one-time family boss Peter Gotti.

Megale also faces mob charges in New York as part of a separate investigation.

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