Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Feds: Age didn’t deter mobster suspect Daniel Cilenti, 83

When most of his octogenarian compatriots might have long retired, 83-year-old Daniel Cilenti was still hard at work.

Too hard, federal prosecutors say.
Cilenti, prosecutors say, has been a Genovese family soldier since the Truman administration, and was accused of shaking down a construction industry figure, forcing him to pony up if he wanted any work in the metro area.
The Yonkers man was among the oldest of the 127 reputed mob members and associates charged last week in a historic crackdown by federal authorities.
Cilenti told a man who turned out to be a mob informant that he was formally inducted into the Genovese family in 1947 — the same year Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball and Perry Como's "Chi-Baba, Chi-Baba" topped the Billboard charts.
"Now that's real old, old school," said Jack Garcia, the retired FBI agent who infiltrated the Gambino crime family in Westchester County several years ago and helped bring down the entire hierarchy of that organization. "Guys like that never want to hear the word 'retirement.' "
Cilenti's arrest record goes back to 1961, the year Roger Maris broke Babe Ruth's single-season home run record and President John F. Kennedy took office.
Cilenti, whose nickname according to federal authorities is "Uncle Danny," pleaded not guilty to racketeering and extortion charges in federal court in Brooklyn. He was released on $1 million bond.
His lawyer, Joel Cohen, did not return calls.
"Cilenti has thus, by his own account, been a member of this notoriously violent and dangerous criminal enterprise for more than six decades," Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen E. Frank wrote in court papers that revealed Cilenti's alleged mob membership.
His first conviction was in 1961 in the Bronx for possessing bookmaking records. He was arrested two more times in the next four years for the same crime, but both cases were dismissed.
He was charged again in 1975, this time in a gambling conspiracy case filed by federal prosecutors. But they dropped the prosecution.
In 1988, he pleaded guilty in federal court in New Jersey in a racketeering case that authorities said was a plot to extort $450,000 from a victim.
He received probation but was eventually jailed after twice violating that probation — including once for associating with known criminals, prosecutors said.
His next arrest came in 1994. That time he pleaded guilty to loansharking charges and was sentenced in 1998 to 30 months in prison.
He was released early from prison in 2000 at the age of 73 by the Federal Bureau of Prisons due, in part, to failing health caused by diabetes and heart disease.
"These guys know how to work the system," said Garcia, who worked his way into the inner circle of Gregory DePalma, another aging mobster who lightened his prison load due to poor health. "They're healthy as can be until it's time to appear in court. Then they look like death warmed over."
Five years later, Cilenti was charged in another major Genovese case, this time along with reputed one-time acting boss of the family Mathew "Matty the Horse" Ianniello.
Those charges stemmed from a plot to derail a federal probe into the family, including its alleged hooks into a school bus drivers' union.
Cilenti pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiracy and in 2007 received a sentence of probation that included electronic monitoring.
But just two hours after receiving the electronic ankle bracelet Nov. 15, 2007, in his Yonkers home, Cilenti was on the phone to his probation officer, complaining of pain and swelling in his legs.
A probation officer noted in court papers that Cilenti had stents in both legs and the bracelet was causing protrusions.
A federal judge ordered the ankle bracelet removed Dec. 17, 2007.
That same day Cilenti met with the construction industry executive he was extorting and discussed how he and another defendant, Peter Pace of Patterson, would arrange for trucking work for the victim if he paid them a kickback, prosecutors said.
Cilenti told the victim the job would go to him rather than a competitor, according to a partial transcript of a recording.
"I don't care, even if his prices are lower than yours. Understand?" Cilenti said, according to the transcript. "But we gotta know what we're doing."
Cilenti faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
But prison terms don't faze hard-core old-time mobsters, Garcia said.
"It's part of the life. Prison's like a spa to them," he said. "They're in it for life."



Post a Comment