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Yerardi pleads guilty to federal racketeering, loansharking and money-laundering.

BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 1, 1995--A Newton man pleaded guilty today in federal court to violations of federal racketeering, loansharking and money laundering laws.

United States Attorney Donald K. Stern announced that Joseph A. Yerardi Jr., age 40, of Chestnut Hill, Mass., pleaded guilty to all counts of a 71 count indictment before the Honorable Robert E. Keeton. Yerardi also agreed to the entry of a $916,000 forfeiture judgement against him. Yerardi is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Keeton on July 28, 1995. At the time of sentencing, Yerardi faces maximum sentences of 20 years incarceration and $250,000 fines on most of the charges to which he pleaded guilty.

Yerardi was charged with operating a large-scale loansharking and gambling organization that laundered its illegal proceeds through check cashing establishments in Chelsea and Brockton. At the plea hearing, a government attorney stated that the success of Yerardi's organization was due to its association with an organized crime group known as the Winter Hill Gang, which provided financing and "muscle" to Yerardi's operation.

Yerardi was originally charged in an indictment that named nine other individuals. Three of these men have also recently entered guilty pleas before Judge Keeton. On April 12, 1995, co-conspirator Joseph Mongiello pleaded guilty to Count One of the indictment, which charged him with racketeering. Mongiello's sentencing is scheduled for July 24, 1995. On April 28, 1995, co-conspirator William K. Maguire also pleaded guilty to Count One of the indictment. Maguire's sentencing is scheduled for July 26, 1995.

Also, on April 11, 1995, co-conspirator Vincent Vegnani pleaded guilty to Count Forty of the indictment, which charged him with participating in the unlawful, extortionate collection of a debt. Vegnani's sentencing is scheduled for July 21, 1995. Charges are still pending against co-conspirators Anthony Grabiec, Salvatore Deangelis, Stanton Shifman, Philip Cali, and John Kelley. Co-conspirator Rocco Botta is deceased.

The case resulted from a joint investigation conducted by the Special Services Unit of the Massachusetts State Police and Special Agents of the Internal Revenue Service. U.S. Attorney Stern also expressed his appreciation to Middlesex County District Attorney Thomas Reilly whose office participated in the investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Fred M. Wyshak, Jr., and Brian T. Kelly of the Strike Force Unit of the United States Attorney's Office.

CONTACT: Internal Revenue Service, Boston

Joy Fallon or Kathleen Griffin, 617/223-9445
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:May 1, 1995
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