NEW YORK, N.Y. (April 13, 2010) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the guilty pleas of New York City Department of Sanitation Deputy Chief Frederick Grimaldi on bribery charges related to a bid rigging scheme, and William “Billy” Cosidente, Jr. on extortion charges for his role as the “muscle” for a financially lucrative sports betting operation closely controlled by organized crime operating in Richmond County and elsewhere in New York City.

Grimaldi, 44, of Marlboro, New Jersey and Cosidente, 45, of Staten Island, New York, pleaded guilty today before Richmond County Supreme Court Justice Leonard Rienzi. They were indicted in November on charges resulting from a long-term joint investigation dubbed "Operation Pure Luck" by the Attorney General's Organized Crime Task Force and the New York City Police Department's Vice Enforcement Bureau.

“From top to bottom, we have successfully dismantled a criminal sports betting and loansharking operation headquartered in Richmond County while exposing a corrupt public employee who abused his position in government to line his pockets and steer taxpayer dollars to a family member,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “My office will continue to work closely with our colleagues at all levels of law enforcement in our ongoing efforts to combat organized crime in our neighborhoods and corruption in our government.”

New York City Department of Investigation Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn said, “This corrupt Sanitation manager betrayed the public and the City agency where he held a coveted, well-paid position. Fittingly, he stands convicted of a felony, his fate sealed by his own greed, incriminating words and conduct. DOI congratulates Attorney General Cuomo, Commissioner Kelly, District Attorney Donovan and all the law enforcement officers who brought this successful case, and we were pleased to assist in the investigation.”

Grimaldi pleaded guilty to Bribe Receiving in the Third Degree (class D felony) for receiving kickbacks on a Department of Sanitation contract for cement blocks intended for a structure to house road salt. The deal was orchestrated by reputed Gambino soldier Michael Murdocco, who is Grimaldi's father-in-law. Murdocco previously pleaded guilty to Enterprise Corruption (class B felony), Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree (Larceny by Extortion - class E felony), and Bribe Receiving in the Third Degree (class D felony). Murdocco will be sentenced on June 22. Grimaldi faces up to 2 1/3 to 7 years when sentenced on July 14.

William Cosidente pleaded guilty to Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree (Larceny by Extortion - class E felony). At the behest of Murdocco, Cosidente used intimidation to collect outstanding gambling debts. Cosidente faces up to 1 1/3 to 4 years when sentenced on May 27.

Reputed Gambino crime family Captain Carmine Sciandra previously pleaded guilty to several charges for his role in the criminal network including Enterprise Corruption (class B felony), and Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree (Larceny by Extortion - class E felony). As a condition of his plea, he will forfeit $1.2 million and faces 1 ½ - 4 ½ years in prison when he is sentenced on June 22nd. In addition to his supervision over loan sharking and illegal gambling businesses, Sciandra owns the Staten Island-based Top Tomato chain of specialty grocery stores.

The investigation utilized wiretaps coupled with traditional investigative techniques to gather evidence on the multi-county operations. According to court records, these members and associates of the Gambino Crime Family lent money to their victims at interest rates averaging 156% per year, and ran and protected an illegal sports gambling operation generating hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of wagers through an off-shore wireroom handling wagers on college and professional basketball, football, baseball and hockey games, as well as horse races. They collected from reluctant payers by using implicit threats of violence.

The case is being prosecuted by OCTF Assistant Deputy Attorney General Dana Roth under the supervision of Deputy Attorney General Peri Kadanoff. The Attorney General thanked the New York City Police Department’s Vice Enforcement Bureau, the New York City Department of Investigation and the office of Richmond County District Attorney Daniel Donovan for their assistance and cooperation, and the OCTF investigators for their continued work and participation in the underlying investigation.