The ailing, aging reputed boss of the Genovese crime family pleaded guilty Thursday to helping try to infiltrate a union and thwart a federal grand jury probe.
The 86-year-old Matthew “Matty the Horse” Ianniello, his wooden cane hanging on a chair beside him, entered the plea before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald L. Ellis in Manhattan.
A plea agreement signed with the government called for Ianniello to be sentenced to 1½ to two years in prison on the single racketeering charge. Without the deal, Ianniello would have faced up to 20 years in prison. Sentencing was set for Dec. 14.
He also agreed to forfeit up to $1 million to the government.
Ianniello was reputedly a longtime capo in the crime family and allegedly became one of its acting bosses after the 1997 racketeering conviction of Vincent “The Chin” Gigante, who died in prison last December.
Ianniello, who lives on Long Island, is free on bail.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Treanor told the judge that Ianniello participated in a conspiracy in which union officers lied to federal investigators about the involvement of organized crime in union business, among other things.
In court, Ianniello was difficult to understand as he read a statement admitting a role in efforts to corrupt a union and to prevent the union’s leaders and employees from being honest with the government during a federal grand jury probe of mob activities. Ianniello’s lawyer said his client’s voice was affected by a stroke.
In his plea, Ianniello admitted receiving unlawful payments from a labor union and that he conspired to obstruct justice between 1990 and 2005.
Gigante had long been dubbed the “Oddfather” for bizarre behavior that included wandering the streets of Greenwich Village in nightclothes, muttering incoherently.