A 96-year-old mobster accused of overseeing robberies, money laundering and bank fraud for the Genovese crime family pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy Wednesday, but because of his age, he was likely to face only house arrest.
Albert “The Old Man” Facchiano used a cane in court and needed a special headset to hear the questions from U.S. District Judge James Cohn. His attorney said he sees a doctor four times a week for back pain, arthritis and other ailments.
“He couldn’t have stood trials in both Florida and New York on this,” Lawyer Brian McComb said.
Facchiano pleaded guilty to a Florida charge of racketeering conspiracy and a New York charge of conspiracy to tamper with a witness.
According to prosecutors, from 1994 to 2006 Facchiano supervised associates who committed robberies, money laundering, bank fraud and possessed stolen property. The charges carry a maximum sentence of 30-years in prison and $500,000 in fines, but under the plea agreement, prosecutors recommended Facchiano serve house arrest.
Old age, new charges
Prosecutors, defense lawyers and Mafia experts have said they can’t remember anyone that age facing crimes committed so recently.
Facchiano, also called “Chinky,” was indicted in the two states last year.
He was arrested in Florida along with six others, all of whom have entered guilty pleas. They included Renaldi Ruggiero, 73, who acknowledged being a Genovese family “capo,” or captain, as part of his plea in early February. He has not yet been sentenced.
Facchiano, who will be 97 on March 10, was accused in a New York indictment of trying to locate and intimidate a government witness in 2005. His guilty plea ends his involvement in the New York case, which accuses more than 30 other alleged Genovese members of a range of mob-related crimes.
A “made member” of the nation’s largest and most powerful Mafia family for decades, Facchiano was a low-level figure, according to the FBI. He has an arrest record dating back to 1932 and served eight years of a 25-year sentence on federal racketeering charges after being arrested in 1979.
If Facchiano goes to prison in the most recent case, he will be among the oldest inmates in the country. According to U.S. Bureau of Prisons records, there were 30 inmates 80 and older as of the end of 2003, the last year complete records are available.
Sentencing was set for May 25.