96-Year-Old Gangster Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy Charges

A 96-year-old gangster who oversaw robberies, money laundering, bank fraud and other crimes for one of the United States' largest Mafia families pleaded guilty Wednesday, but because of his age will likely be sentenced to house arrest.

Albert "The Old Man" Facchiano pleaded guilty to a Florida charge of racketeering conspiracy and a New York charge of conspiracy to tamper with a witness. From 1994 to 2006, Facchiano supervised associates of the Genovese crime family who committed robberies, money laundering, bank fraud and possessed stolen property, prosecutors said.

The charges carry a maximum sentence of 30-years in prison and $500,000 in fines. But in his plea agreement, prosecutors recommended Facchiano serve house arrest.

Facchiano, who used a cane and needed a special headset to hear the proceedings, answered a series of questions from U.S. District Judge James Cohn.

Prosecutors, defense lawyers and Mafia experts have said they cannot remember someone his age facing crimes committed so recently.

Facchiano, also called "Chinky," was indicted in Florida and New York last year. He was arrested in Florida along with six others, all of whom have entered guilty pleas. That includes Renaldi Ruggiero, 73, who acknowledged being a Genovese family "capo," or captain as part of his plea in early February. He has not yet been sentenced.

Facchiano, who will be 97 on March 10, also was named in a New York indictment accusing him of trying in to locate and intimidate a government witness in 2005. His guilty plea ends his involvement in the New York case, which accuses more than 30 other alleged Genovese members of a range of mob-related crimes.

Facchiano's lawyer in the Florida case, Brian McComb, said Facchiano goes to the doctor four times a week for back pain, arthritis and other health issues.

"He couldn't have stood trials in both Florida and New York on this," McComb said.

A "made member" of the United States' largest and most powerful Mafia family for decades, Facchiano was a low-level figure, according to the FBI. Born in 1910, his arrest record dates back to 1932. He served eight years of a 25-year sentence on federal racketeering charges after being arrested in 1979 and was 79 when he was released.

If Facchiano goes to prison in the most recent case, he will be among the oldest inmates in the U.S. According to U.S. Bureau of Prisons records, there were 30 inmates 80 and older as of the end of 2003, the last year complete records are available.

Sentencing was set for May 25.