The feds racketeering case against the East Coast LCN Enterprise which included alleged mobsters from four of the five New York mafia families and Philadelphia mafia boss Joey Merlino has all but crumbled.
According to a recent report from the NY Post, sweet plea deals have now been offered to the more than four dozen suspected mobsters who were charged. As part of these plea agreements which have been approved by the Department of Justice the top charge of racketeering is being dismissed leaving only the lesser charges such as arson, illegal gambling and conspiracy in an effort to wind down the case. But according to the report, the only catch is that at least three dozen of the defendants have to agree to take the plea deals for it to go through.
The case against the alleged organized crime enterprise hit a major snag back in March when a sealed letter was sent to the judge about a probe into possible misdeeds by two FBI agents and a supervising agent. Manhattan federal prosecutors said in the letter that they were investigating possible failures by the agents in question to archive debriefings with key confidential informant John Rubio a Genovese associate who turned rat among other things. A large part of the case against Genovese family capo Pasquale (Pasty) Parrello and Joseph (Skinny Joey) Merlino both alleged leaders of the Cosa Nostra enterprise is tied to wiretap evidence collected by Rubio.
Parrello was facing two racketeering charges and as much as 40 years behind bars and could now see his maximum sentence cut in half and possibly more if the plea deals go through. Plenty of other including Merlino who were also facing extended prison sentences would also stand to benefit greatly from these plea deals. According to sources at least 10 of the defendants have already rejected the plea offer perhaps in an effort to try and negotiate an even better deal. With the case now clearly in disarray, it would seem that the defendants may have some negotiating leverage and some of them could even consider taking their chances in court if they don’t get an offer they can’t refuse.
What was originally considered to be blockbuster indictments against the mafia will seemingly end up as nothing more than another case of incompetence by the feds. It is still unclear just how sweet these plea agreements actually are but we should know soon enough.