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

Monday, October 7, 2013

Gambino soldier says he is a harmless animal lover in plea for leniency

A creative mobster claims he’s exchanged La Cosa Nostra for kibble.

In a bid for leniency at his upcoming sentencing, veteran Gambino soldier Joseph Lombardi, 73, claims he has softened into a harmless animal lover who cares for stray cats and dogs, according to a Brooklyn federal court filing.

Lombardi pleaded guilty to extortion raps and was caught on tape profanely threatening a debtor who was running behind on payments.

But the mafioso claims that he has left loan sharking behind and has instead turned to animal care.

“After a two-year failure of a dog training school, Mr. Lombardi continued his fondness for animals by rescuing stray dogs and cats and transporting them to an animal shelter where he volunteered,” his attorney writes in the letter. “At one point, he bought a trailer to shelter the strays, but he was fined when neighbors complained.”

Lombardi is persisting with the animal lover routine despite being denied visits to the purported Old Bridge, New Jersey shelter in 2011.

Prosecutors cast doubt on the existence of the shelter after finding nothing more than a recycling center at the site with a few trailers.

The fading gangster also cited a litany of medical problems in lobbying for leniency. “I confidently can state that in my 48 years of practice in this Honorable Court, never have I encountered a client who has exhibited such a history,” his attorney claims in court papers.



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