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April 4, 2006

Not quite a scene from The Sopranos

Yesterday, while two corrupt former executives were getting 18 and 15 years in Kansas (details here), a purported mob boss in Connecticut received a federal sentence of 7½ years.  Here are some interesting details from this local account of the sentencing:

Anthony "The Genius" Megale, the Stamford man alleged to be second-in-command of the Gambino crime family, was sentenced to more than seven years in federal prison yesterday for his role in extorting thousands of dollars from two Fairfield County businessmen.

U.S. District Court Judge Janet Bond Arterton said Megale, 52, had made organized crime a career despite two previous prison terms. Megale pleaded guilty to a racketeering conspiracy charge in October, in what authorities have described as one of the state's most significant organized crime rackets. "You simply have no understanding that prison's more than a time out," Arterton said yesterday in a New Haven courtroom before sentencing Megale to 86 months in prison.

More than a dozen family members and friends, including Megale's wife, Rhonda, and their three children, filled the courtroom's seats, several weeping quietly as Arterton handed down the sentence. 

Arterton decided against the original sentencing terms set under Megale's plea agreement and imposed a higher sentence on Megale, who initially faced up to 6½ years. "It makes a mockery of the court if the sentence doesn't have some significant increase over last time," Arterton said, referencing Megale's six-year prison term starting in 1990 for racketeering.  Megale was returned to prison in 1998 for 10 months after violating parole.

Under his plea agreement, Megale admitted to extorting money from a Stamford strip club owner and another unidentified Fairfield County businessman, and profiting from several illegal gambling operations involving video gaming machines, sports bookmaking and "numbers."  Prosecutors said Megale extorted about $60,000 from the two businesses and made thousands more from the illegal machines and bookmaking operations.

Megale's lead attorney, Stephan Seeger said the case was "not an extraordinary" one and repeatedly argued Megale's actions were not substantial enough to define a criminal livelihood. Megale has never been involved in any violence in the racketeering charge, Seeger said. "This case would not make a great episode of the 'The Sopranos' because it's not that interesting," he said.

Additional interesting coverage of Megale's sentencing is available from The Connecticut Post and the Hartford Courent and the AP.

April 4, 2006 at 08:01 AM | Permalink

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