The Heap

Nabbed by the Feds

The trash industry has long battled a public perception that it is controlled by gangsters. The federal investigation into mob influence among hauling firms in Connecticut and New York state doesn't help that image.

Earlier this week, James Galante, owner of 25 trash and recycling companies in the area, pleaded guilty to three charges. According to a detailed report in the Hartford Courant, Galante pleaded guilty to racketeering, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and defrauding the Internal Revenue Service; he faces up to 87 months in prison.

According to the Courant, Galante also has agreed to do the following:

* Give up his ownership stakes in his waste companies and not work in the solid waste industry again.

* Pay more than $1.5 million in back taxes to the IRS.

* Forfeit his six racing cars, nearly $450,000 in cash seized two years ago by the feds and a horse farm that he purchased for a former girlfriend.

Federal authorities originally alleged that Galante made quarterly payments to "reputed Genovese crime family boss Matthew 'Matty the Horse' Ianniello in exchange for mob muscle to help stifle competition." However, his plea agreement did not mention the alleged payments, the Courant says.