Organized Crime Member Pleads Guilty To Attempted Murder Of Witness
September 24, 2018
Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that JOSEPH DATELLO pled guilty today before United States District Judge Cathy Seibel to numerous acts of racketeering, including attempting to kill a witness against him. In May 2017, DATELLO and 18 other members and associates of the Luchese Family of La Cosa Nostra were arrested and charged in a nine-count Indictment. Since the unsealing of the Indictment, DATELLO and 12 other defendants have pled guilty, and have been or will be sentenced by Judge Seibel.
U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said: “Witness safety is paramount to ensuring the prosecution of criminal organizations. Thanks to the FBI’s Joint Organized Crime Task Force, who uncovered Datello’s crimes without risking the security of the witness, Datello now faces life in prison for threatening a federal witness.”
According to the plea agreement DATELLO signed as part of his guilty plea, his statements when pleading guilty, the allegations in the Indictment, and statements made in related court filings and proceedings:
In 2002, an individual (the “Witness”) who had been working with DATELLO and Steven L. Crea, a leader in the Luchese Family, provided information to state and federal authorities concerning DATELLO’s and Crea’s participation in racketeering activity. That information, and other evidence, led to the successful prosecution of DATELLO, Crea, and others. In October 2016, DATELLO learned information that he thought revealed the Witness’s current whereabouts. DATELLO travelled to what he believed was the Witness’s address and waited there, trying to find the Witness. Had DATELLO found the Witness, he intended, with the blessing of Crea, to kill the Witness.
Crea is also charged with attempting to have the Witness killed, and other crimes, and is scheduled to begin trial before Judge Seibel in 2019.
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DATELLO, 67, of Staten Island, New York, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit racketeering, and as part of that plea admitted racketeering acts including the attempted murder of the Witness, narcotics trafficking, and collecting debts through the threat of violence. These crimes carry a maximum sentence of life in prison. DATELLO will be sentenced before Judge Seibel.
The allegations contained in the Indictment as to Crea and the other defendants who have not pled guilty are merely accusations, and these defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Mr. Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI’s Joint Organized Crime Task Force, which comprises agents and detectives of the FBI, NYPD, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor.
The case is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division. Assistant United States Attorneys Scott Hartman, Hagan Scotten, and Jacqueline Kelly are in charge of the prosecution.