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Two Mafia associates admit to charges of shaking down Springfield businesses, feds say

By Globe Staff 

Two mob associates on Wednesday admitted to federal charges alleging they shook down businesses in Springfield with threats of violence, authorities said.

Francesco Depergola, 61, of Springfield, and Gerald Daniele, 52, of Longmeadow, both associates of the Genovese La Cosa Nostra crime family, entered their pleas in US District Court in Worcester, according to Acting US Attorney William D. Weinreb’s office.

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The men and their co-defendants “engaged in various criminal activities in Springfield, Mass., including loansharking and extortion from legitimate and illegitimate businesses, such as illegal gambling businesses and the collection of unlawful debts,” Weinreb’s office said in a statement.

Some threats were downright chilling.

Depergola, for instance, admitted that he and three other co-defendants targeted a Springfield businessman in 2013, with one conspirator assaulting the victim and threatening “to cut off his head and bury his body” if he didn’t pay up, the release said.

The victim forked over $20,000 over a four-month period, according to prosecutors.

Daniele told the court that he extended “two extortionate and usurious loans to an individual” and, along with other mob associates, threatened that victim if he failed to pay back the debt, according to authorities.

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Depergola and Daniele are both scheduled to be sentenced in January.

Daniele pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of using extortionate means to collect an extension of credit, and Depergola admitted to one count of conspiracy to interfere with commerce by threats or violence and one count of interference with commerce by threats or violence, the release said.

Each charge carries a maximum prison term of 20 years.


Travis Andersen can be reached at tandersen@globe.com
Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.