WORCESTER, Mass. (WWLP) – Two western Massachusetts men with ties to the Genovese La Cosa Nostra crime family pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to extortion-related charges.
According to a release sent to 22News by Acting United States Attorney William Weinreb, 61-year-old Francesco Depergola, of Springfield, and 52-year-old Gerald Daniele, of Longmeadow, admitted to having ties to the New York-based crime family and engaging in various criminal activities in Springfield such as loansharking and extortion of legitimate and illegitimate businesses.
Their associates, Ralph Santaniello and John Calabrese, pleaded guilty to extortion-related charges back in November. A third associate, Richard Valentini, pleaded not guilty to charges and has a trial start date scheduled for December 11.
Weinreb said in the release that Depergola admitted in his plea agreement that he and co-defendants Santaniello, Calabrese, and Valentini collected $20,000 from a Springfield businessman after Santaniello threatened to cut off his head and bury his body.
According to the news release, Daniele further admitted to extending two extortionate loans to an individual in 2015, and then, along with Santaniello and Calabrese, threatening the individual if he did not make payments on the loans.
Both Depergola and Daniele are scheduled to return to court for sentencing on March 9, 2018.
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