The main indictment charges 12 people with racketeering and asserting illegal control over commercial waste hauling companies, and 17 others with individual acts of extortion, loansharking and other crimes.
Preet Bharara, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a news release, “As alleged, organized crime still wraps its tentacles around industries it has fed off for decades, but law enforcement continues to pry loose its grip. Here, as described in the indictments, organized crime insinuated itself into the waste disposal industry throughout a vast swath of counties in New York and New Jersey, and the
tactics they used to exert and maintain their control come right out of the mafia playbook – extortion, intimidation and threats of violence.”
Twelve of those charged were members and associates of three families – the Genovese, Gambino and Luchese organized crime families.
The Washington-based National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA) expressed support for efforts to rid the industry of organized crime.
“Anyone found guilty of such crimes is not representative of the solid waste and recycling industry." said Sharon Kneiss, NSWMA president and CEO, in a news release. "And government officials and media reporting on this story should take care to not unfairly impugn the reputations of the hundreds of thousands of law-abiding, hard-working solid waste and recycling professionals, who keep our communities healthy and clean by collecting and managing our garbage and recyclables.
"It is vital that we do what is necessary to maintain the integrity and professionalism of our industry. The government should use every tool at its disposal to act against these types of activities.”
The solid waste industry in New York and New Jersey has worked for decades with law enforcement officials to implement policies to help eliminate elements of organized crime from the business, the NSWMA added.
“Today’s announcement is a testament to the continuing need for vigilance and strong oversight over this industry, as it is clear that organized crime continues to have an influence,” said Shari Hyman, chairman of the New York City Business Integrity Commission.
The multiyear investigation was conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI and the Westchester County Police Department.