By Alexander Dworkowitz
Carmine Agnello, the estranged son-in-law of jailed Gambino family mob boss John Gotti, was sentenced to nine years for racketeering, extortion and arson Friday in his scrap metal business in Willets Point in Flushing.
Federal Judge Nina Gershon also ordered Agnello, 41, of Old Westbury, L.I., to forfeit $10 million to pay $950,000 in restitution to his crime victims and $150,000 in back taxes.
Agnello had pleaded guilty to the charges in August, reducing his sentence to nine years. He faced as many as 25 years in prison.
“The government is thrilled with the result,” said Bridget Rhode, Agnello’s chief prosecutor and deputy chief of organized crime and racketeering for the U.S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District in Brooklyn. “Carmine Agnello received a large sentence, and he’s barred for life from the scrap metal industry.”
Agnello is married to Victoria Gotti, the novelist daughter of John Gotti, who is seriously ill with cancer in a Colorado prison. In September 2000 it was revealed that the couple was seeking a divorce after reports surfaced that Agnello was involved with another woman.
Before being arrested, Agnello owned a majority interest in the Willets Point-based New York Scrap Inc. and the Bronx-based New York Shredding Corporation. According to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, New York Scrap Inc. handled 80 percent of the Willets Point crushing business. Brown said Agnello sold glass and scrap metal from illicitly obtained vehicles.
According to court papers, New York Scrap Inc. made more than $30 million a year.
Brown called Agnello “one of the most elusive figures in organized crime.”
In April 1999, four undercover police officers, Michael Dorto, James Halley, Joseph Wedge and Nicholas Ferraro, opened up Stadium Scrap, a mock business at 126-49 35th Ave. According to the DA, Agnello and his partner Joseph Burger of Woodhaven told the officers at Stadium Scrap to sell them their crushed vehicles or risk “being run out of business.”
The officers refused. A month later Agnello and Burger along with Mark Lomonaco of Woodhaven and Steven Scala of Maspeth broke into Stadium’s property its office trailer and flatbed truck on two different occasions. The officers then made a deal with Agnello and his associates, waiting until January 2000 to arrest the four men.
Agnello was jailed on $18 million bail. The officers, on the other hand, were promoted in a ceremony with then Police Commissioner Howard Safir. Dorto and Halley were promoted to detective second grade and Wedge and Ferraro to detective.
Brown also was pleased with the sentence.
“[Agnello’s] sentence represents a resounding victory for the entire law enforcement community,” he said. “Carmine Agnello and his associates will no longer be able to victimize those who refuse to do business with them.”
Burger, Lomonaco and Scala, who also pleaded guilty, await sentencing on Nov. 30. They face a maximum of 20 years in prison.
Reach Reporter Alexander Dworkowitz by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 141.