One-time mobster lied about role in murders

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A one-time mob associate pleaded guilty in Brooklyn federal court Monday to lying about his role in a two-decade-old double-murder in Nassau County at the time of a violent internal Colombo family war.

Anthony Colandra, 43, of Manhattan, faces a five-year prison term for lying to the FBI by claiming that he knew nothing about the shooting of John Minerva, who had allied with a dissident Colombo faction, and Michael Imbergamo, a friend of Minerva.

Prosecutors contend that Colandra was one of two shooters who gunned down the two men in a car outside the Broadway Café in North Massapequa in 1992, but they told U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan that the federal statute of limitations has expired on murder in aid of racketeering.

Colandra admitted he was lying when he told FBI agents that nothing eventful had occurred during a car ride to Long Island with other members of a hit team on March 25, 1992. "I did witness shots being fired," he told Cogan.

Before going ahead with the plea, Cogan asked prosecutors whether the sentence wasn't a little light for a double murder. "I have a question as to why the government . . . thinks that five years is appropriate," Cogan said.

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Prosecutor Elizabeth Geddes said that Colandra had moved from New York City -- to Pennsylvania -- for many years after the murders, and appeared to have completely severed his ties to the mob, even working as a DEA informant on a case in 1994.

She also said that, although Colandra can't be prosecuted for murder under federal law, his plea deal gives him no protection against a murder charge under state law, which has no statute of limitations.

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