Carmine Avellino, a reputed captain in the Lucchese crime family who was once accused in the notorious murder of two Long Island carters in the 1980s, was sentenced to house arrest and probation in an extortion case in federal court in Brooklyn on Tuesday because of medical problems.
U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly said Avellino, 72, of Stony Brook, who pleaded guilty to conspiring with two cousins to use intimidation to collect a $100,000 debt and faced at least 27 months under federal sentencing guidelines, has had two heart attacks and is suffering from the onset of Parkinson’s disease.
The sentence came after Avellino’s lawyer said he had changed his ways, and Avellino asked the judge to allow him to keep receiving treatment and caring for his wife, who also has medical problems, and grandchildren.
“At this point in my life I know what is important to me — my family, and only my family,” Avellino said.
Avellino was accused in 1994 of taking part in the murders of Robert Kubecka and David Barstow, owners of an East Northport carting company, who had aided federal and state investigators looking into mob influence in Long Island’s carting industry. They were shot dead in their office in 1989.
He eventually pleaded guilty to charges that did not include the double murder, and was imprisoned from 1997 to 2004 on charges of conspiracy to commit extortion. His brother, a one-time driver for Lucchese boss Anthony Corallo, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit the murders.
Avellino was sentenced Tuesday on a 2014 case charging an extortion conspiracy in 2010. Defense lawyer Scott Leemon told the judge that since that time, Avellino has changed his ways, and he couldn’t possibly get the high level of care he needs for Parkinson’s in federal prison.
“The only family he takes care of now is his wife and his children,” Leemon said. “He has not done anything criminal since 2010.”
The government asked for a prison sentence of 27 to 33 months. Prosecutor Maria Melendez told Donnelly that whatever Avellino’s physical condition, his stature in the mob gave him the power to order others to do his bidding, and letting him go would send the wrong message.
“It creates a fear in society that the law does not apply to certain individuals,” she said.
Avellino was ordered to pay a $100,000 fine, and sentenced to 1 year of house arrest and 5 years probation. Contacts with individuals associated with organized crime is banned, but Leemon won permission for him to have contact with his brother, who he said is 80 and lives nearby.
Avellino, who was accompanied by his wife to the sentencing, declined to comment afterward.