- Associated Press - Friday, December 19, 2014

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - A Genovese mob family soldier and two mob associates pleaded guilty Friday in a conspiracy to extort members of the longshoremen’s union on the New Jersey waterfront.

Stephen Depiro, 59, of Kenilworth, and the two members of the longshoremen union and mob associates extorted workers for their Christmas bonuses, federal prosecutors said.

Albert Cernadas, 79, of Union, and Nunzio LaGrosso, 64, of Florham Park, also pleaded guilty in the scheme. Cernadas is the former president of the union; LaGrasso is the former vice president.

The former union president, Thomas Leonardis, was sentenced to 22 months in prison this month for taking part in the conspiracy.

Leonardis and others admitted they used violence and threats to extort payments from union workers at the end of the year when they received “Container Royalty Fund” checks, similar to bonuses.

Depiro has managed the mob’s control over the waterfront since at least 2005, prosecutors said. They said he was also involved with illegal sports betting.

At the time of the arrests in 2011, the U.S. attorney’s office said the extortion plot began in the early 1980s.

The racketeering charges carry a maximum potential jail sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Cernadas is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 16, LaGrasso on March 9, and Depiro on March 10.

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