Reputed Pa. mobster wins sentence reduction of nearly 2 years for cooperating with government

A reputed mob boss from northeastern Pennsylvania has gotten nearly two years knocked off his federal prison sentence after the government said he provided "substantial assistance" in the investigations of a casino owner and a businessman.

William D'Elia pleaded guilty in 2008 to witness tampering and conspiracy to launder drug money.

On Wednesday, Judge Thomas Vanaskie reduced D'Elia's sentence by 21 months, to 87 months. He could be eligible for release in 2012.

Mount Airy Casino Resort owner Louis DeNaples was charged with lying about his relationship with D'Elia to state gaming regulators. DeNaples agreed to transfer ownership of the casino to his daughter as part of a deal with a county prosecutor to drop the case.

Federal prosecutors recommended the sentence reduction for D'Elia, saying he "provided tangible evidence of his longstanding relationship with DeNaples." They also cited his help in the prosecution of businessman Robert Kulick, who pleaded guilty to a federal weapons charge.

Vanaskie, however, only gave D'Elia credit for his cooperation in the Kulick case — not the DeNaples case. He wrote that "it is difficult to assess the significance and usefulness of Mr. D'Elia's cooperation" because it did not result in a conviction.

The judge noted that Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico said DeNaples' withdrawal from the gaming business was "directly attributable" to D'Elia's cooperation, but wrote that a sentence reduction must be based on information regarding the criminal acts of another person.

"In the matter involving Mr. DeNaples, it cannot be said that he committed any offense," he wrote.

(This version CORRECTS in long headline that sentence reduction is for nearly two years.)