WASHINGTON—Louis Barretta, 48, of Philadelphia, pleaded guilty today to participating in a racketeering conspiracy involving loan sharking and illegal gambling, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania; and George C. Venizelos, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division.
At the plea hearing before U.S. District Judge Eduardo C. Robreno of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Barretta pleaded guilty to conspiring to conduct and participate in the affairs of the Philadelphia La Cosa Nostra (LCN) family through a pattern of racketeering activity. He admitted to the court that he made usurious loans and collected payments on these loans by using extortionate means, and he conducted a sports bookmaking business in furtherance of the racketeering conspiracy. His sentencing is scheduled for November 26, 2012.
Barretta was among 14 members and associates of the Philadelphia LCN family charged with crimes involving racketeering conspiracy, extortion, loan sharking, illegal gambling, witness tampering, and theft from an employee benefit plan in a third superseding indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Philadelphia on July 25, 2012. The other defendants charged in the 52-count third superseding indictment included Philadelphia LCN family boss Joseph Ligambi, Philadelphia LCN Family underboss Joseph Massimino, George Borgesi, Martin Angelina, Anthony Staino, Jr., Gaeton Lucibello, Damion Canalichio, Gary Battaglini, Robert Verrecchia, Eric Esposito, Robert Ranieri, Joseph Licata, and Louis Fazzini.
Lucibello pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy charges on August 2, 2012, and is awaiting sentencing on September 14, 2012. Angelina also pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy charges on August 8, 2012, and is awaiting sentencing on September 17, 2012.
The trial for Ligambi, Massimino, Borgesi, Staino, Canalichio, Battaglini, Licata, and Fazzini is scheduled for October 9, 2012. The trial for Verrecchia, Esposito, and Ranieri has not yet been scheduled. Ligambi, Massimino, Borgesi, Canalichio, Licata, and Fazzini are detained while awaiting trial. Staino, Battaglini, Verrecchia, Esposito, and Ranieri are free on bond while awaiting trial.
The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney John S. Han of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Frank A. Labor, III and Suzanne B. Ercole of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Valuable prosecutorial assistance was provided by the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General.
The case is being investigated by the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, the Pennsylvania State Police, the New Jersey State Police, the Philadelphia Police Department, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations, and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration. Additional assistance was provided by the New Jersey Department of Corrections.