Gambino leader pleads guilty

Reputed Gambino leader pleads guilty in NYC extortion case
June 7, 2008 3:14:09 PM PDT
The reputed consigliere of the Gambino crime family has pleaded guilty to extortion charges, part of a wide-ranging mob case involving dozens of people and a decades-long roster of crimes. Joseph "Jo Jo" Corozzo admitted shaking down a Staten Island cement company owner, taking part of the firm's profits and proceeds from its sale.

In exchange, "we would help him find business, protect him from competition and agree not to dissuade people from using his company," Corozzo told Brooklyn federal Magistrate Judge Viktor Pohorelsky on Friday.

Corozzo, 66, faces up to 63 months in prison under the terms of a plea bargain. Prosecutors dropped drug-trafficking charge that carried a possible life term.

"He never allowed anyone who did drugs, or knew about drugs, to be around him," said his son and former lawyer, Joseph Corozzo Jr. The younger Corozzo represented his father until a judge disqualified the son because he had once represented a witness in the sprawling case.

The elder Corozzo was one of 62 accused Gambino associates rounded up in February and charged with a crimes dating to the 1970s. Nearly 50 people have pleaded guilty in the case so far, most in exchange for fairly light prison sentences.

Authorities have called the case one of the largest Mafia takedowns in recent memory. On Wednesday, nine reputed Colombo crime family figures were arrested in a racketeering case.