Two associates of the Genovese La Cosa Nostra crime family plead guilty Thursday to extortion-related charges, according to officials.
Francesco Depergola, 61, of Springfield, Mass., and Gerald Daniele, 52, of Longmeadow, Mass., each pleaded guilty to federal charges related to extortion, officials said.
Depergola pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to interfere with commerce by threats or violence and one count of interference with commerce by threats or violence.
Depergola also pleaded guilty to charges brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York of making an extortionate extension of credit, according to authorities.
Daniele plead guilty to one count of using extortionate means to collect an extension of credit. U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman scheduled their sentencings for March 9, 2018.
U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman scheduled their sentencings for March 9, 2018.
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 LCN crime family and engaged in various criminal activities in Springfield, Massachusetts.
This included 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 LCN, and implied threats of murder and physical violence to instill fear in their victims.
In addition, Depergola also admitted that in 2013, Depergola, 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 for extortion-related crimes. Their sentencings are scheduled respectively for Jan. 29, 2018, and Jan. 30, 2018. Valentini pleaded not guilty. His trial is scheduled to start Dec. 11, 2017. Valentini is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.