A Manhattan federal judge sentenced Pasquale “Patsy” Parrello to 7 years in prison for running a violent Genovese family extortion ring out of the popular Bronx Italian eatery on Arthur Avenue that bears his name, Pasquale’s Rigoletto.
Parrello, 73, of Yonkers, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan in a courtroom packed with more than 40 supporters, many of whom had written letters praising his kindness and generosity and describing him as a keystone of the close-knit Arthur Avenue neighborhood.
But Sullivan said he couldn’t ignore the violent allegations against the alleged Genovese capo — including ordering the kneecapping of a panhandler accused of bothering neighborhood women and other thuggery to collect gambling debts — or the fact that he resumed criminal activity after serving an 88 month racketeering sentence in 2003.
“This is a choice you made to return to a life of crime — a life that leads to jail, and in many cases leads to dying in prison,” Sullivan told Parrello. “That’s what happens to folks who go back to this kind of life.”
Parrello’s deal to plead to three counts of conspiracy to commit extortion had included estimated sentencing guidelines of 5-1/4 to 6-1/2 years, but Sullivan decided to go above that range, telling his supporters that their friend’s crimes were at odds with the man their letters described.
“These crimes are very serious,” he said. “These are crimes of violence is what they are.”
Parrello was one of 46 mobsters charged in August, 2016, in a sprawling racketeering indictment of members of five different mob families based on thousands of hours of recordings made by an informant and an undercover FBI agent.
In one conversation directing members of his crew on how to collect a debt, Parrello said, “You get Buddy and let Buddy go there and choke him . . . and tell him, ‘Listen to me . . . next time I’m not gonna stop choking . . . I’m gonna kill you.’”
In court, defense lawyer Mark DeMarco described Parrello as a “kind, generous, charitable family man” and devout Roman Catholic, prompting an interruption from Sullivan.
“Roman Catholicism doesn’t take an easy view toward extortion or threats of violence in collecting debts,” the judge said. “It’s hard to square some of the things you’re saying.”
Before the sentence, Parrello, muscular and imposing even at 73 and shackled at his ankles, told the judge he was remorseful. “I just want to apologize for everything that transpired,” he said. “ . . . I’m taking my responsibility and just trying to be a better person.”
As he was led from the courtroom, he looked at the rows filled with family and friends. “All right,” he said. “Thank you everybody.”
“We love you Patsy!” one of his backers responded.