NEW YORK – The reputed head of the Gambino crime family pleaded guilty Thursday to federal racketeering and extortion charges after getting an assurance from a judge that he was not admitting he was a Gambino.
Arnold Squitieri, 70, would get seven years and three months to nine years in prison under the plea deal. Sentencing was scheduled for July 28. Without the deal, he could have faced twice as much time in prison.
Squitieri told U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael H. Dolinger that he was ready to plead guilty to four counts in an indictment, but only if he were assured it was "with the Gambino name out of it."
The judge told him he was admitting a role in an "enterprise" that engaged in racketeering.
Squitieri admitted "engaging in a pattern of racketeering activity" between 1999 and 2005 that included extorting a Mineola, N.Y., construction company, a New Jersey trucking company and a Westchester County construction company.
He said he knew that the companies were paying money to the enterprise because there were "implied threats of violence."
As part of his plea deal, Squitieri also agreed to surrender $100,000 in cash.
The indictment was brought last year, when prosecutors announced that they had built a case with the help of an undercover FBI agent who infiltrated the Gambino organization and became so well-trusted that he was offered membership.
The indictment charged 32 defendants, most of whom were reputed members or associates of the Gambino family, with engaging in racketeering crimes for more than a decade.