Three alleged mobsters from Long Island have pleaded guilty to an extortion conspiracy charge involving threats of violence to collect a $100,000 loan, federal officials said, and each faces up to 20 years in prison.
Carmine Avellino, 72, of Stony Brook, who authorities said is a member of the Luchese crime family, entered a guilty plea on Friday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Marilyn D. Go in Brooklyn.
Two alleged associates, Daniel Capra, 58 of Hauppauge, and Michael Capra, 52, of Smithtown, each pleaded guilty to the same charge earlier this year.
The three were charged with intimidating two victims between January and July 2010, according to a news release issued Tuesday by Robert L. Capers, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
“Avellino, relying on his reputation as a member of the Luchese crime family, and Luchese associates Michael Capra and Daniel Capra, used intimidation and threats of violence to obtain payment from victims on an outstanding debt,” Capers said. “These convictions make clear that we hold accountable members of La Cosa Nostra and their associates who use extortion as a tool of their trade.”
Authorities have said the Capra brothers carried out physical intimidation against the two victims. But they said Avellino, who had loaned one of the victims $100,000, was also involved because he was recorded on wiretaps and surveillance videos directing them on how to collect the debt.
The investigation into the case involved the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Suffolk police.Avellino’s attorney, Scott Leemon of Manhattan, said his client is ill and will be seeking a lesser sentence.
“Mr. Avellino [pleaded] guilty and one of the main reasons he did was because he is suffering from advanced stages of Parkinson’s disease and I advised him that I thought it was the appropriate thing,” Leemon said. “His plea agreement calls for a reduction because of his medical condition.”
Authorities have said that Avellino, who was arrested in May 2014, was once believed to have played a role in the murders of two Long Island carters in August 1989. He had pleaded guilty to racketeering offenses that didn’t include the double murder and served 10 years in prison.