Brooklyn Boro

Crime family capo avoids jail time for extortion charges, gets probation instead

May 23, 2017 By Paul Frangipane Special to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Carmine Avellino (right) and his attorney Scott Leemon walk into the park across from Brooklyn Federal Court after Avellino was sentenced to five-years probation and one-year house arrest for extortionate collection of credit. Eagle photo by Paul Frangipane
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A 72-year-old gangster, faced up to two years in prison for extortion charges, but got away with just probation and house arrest when he appeared in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York on Tuesday.

Carmine Avellino, a capo for the Lucchese crime family, was sentenced to one-year house arrest and five-years probation on Tuesday by Judge Ann M. Donnelly for extortionate collection of credit conspiracy.

“I apologize for my actions to all the people they affected,” Avellino said. “At this point in my life, I know what is important to me: my family and only my family.”

Between Jan. 1 and July 31 2010, Avellino and his two cousins, Daniel and Michael Capra, threatened and forced a victim to pay up on a loan of $100,000 owed to Avellino. Avellino pled guilty before Magistrate Judge Marilyn D. Go on Aug. 12, 2016, about two years after he was arrested on May 12, 2014.

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Avellino’s attorney Scott Leemon suggested a probation sentence due to Avellino’s Parkinson’s disease and history of heart attacks, including one small stroke.

“We don’t need this man dying in jail,” Leemon said loudly. Leemon said he was concerned the prison system would not take proper care of Avellino and provide him with his medication that costs around $17,000 a year.

Avellino was convicted at the state level for gambling charges in the 1970s and had federal conviction charges for racketeering in 1997.

Avellino has two prior convictions, including racketeering charges.

Prosecutor Maria Cruz Melendez argued that Avellino would receive proper treatment in prison. “The crime is serious,” Melendez said. “He is a high-ranking member of an organized crime family.”

“It is a serious case and I’m treating it that way,” Donnelly said, adding that defendants should think of their actions before apologizing to their families at sentences. “I think it would be nice if occasionally people would think of things before.”

Avellino is also required to pay a fine of $100,000, of which Leemon said Avellino will pay within 30 days in full.

Daniel Capra, 58, was sentenced to one year in prison on Feb. 15 and his younger brother Michael, 52, got five years probation.

Leemon asked Donnelly if Avellino can communicate with his 82-year-old brother, who also has a history of organized crime. Melendez expressed concern that Avellino will continue communicating to his crime family through his brother, to which Donnelly said, “He does that at his peril.”

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