Carmine Agnello Indicted For Racketeering In Cleveland

Carmine Agnello.

His legendary former father-in-law, John Gotti, may have been unfair when he said those famous words about him ("Does he get in the backseat of the car and think someone has stolen the steering wheel?") but one thing is perfectly clear.

Carmine Agnello likes to steal (at least according to Cleveland's Cuyahoga County Prosecutor).

A source formerly active in the Gambino crime family told us that Agnello is actually a pretty intelligent businessman, only he's beset with certain flaws, the chief one being he has the mindset of a dime-store thug. By this we refer to his predilection for sparking street fights with uniformed police officers over parking tickets....

"The [NYPD] set up shop across the street from him with a rival business" as part of an investigation. "So what does he do? He threatens them, sets fires and breaks their windows."

Agnello was indicted and sentenced to years in prison for his scrap metal scheme but it appears when he hauled up stakes to head west he wasn't exactly rehabilitated.

Anyway, Cleveland's Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty announced the indictment of Agnello, on racketeering and related charges.

Also indicted: his wife, Danielle Agnello, along with Eagle Auto Parts Inc.; Charity Towing LLC; and Alfred McClairn .

The investigation, 30 months long, is ongoing --and so far has revealed that since 2012, Agnello has "systemically defrauded a regional scrap metal processing facility for more than $4.2 million."

Agnello, 55, artificially weighed down scrap automobiles with dirt and other debris, in addition to bribing employees of the scrap facility.

The indictment seeks forfeiture of the property that Agnello used to commit the offenses, as well as equipment and contraband that police seized when they searched his scrap operations on July 14, 2015.

Ian Friedman, an attorney for Agnello, said in a statement that Agnello was engaged in a legitimate business and the government is "dead wrong here to keep harping on his past." He said prosecutors have "picked a dirty fight."

In 2002, Agnello pleaded guilty in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York to Racketeering and Conspiracy to Defraud the IRS.

That case established Agnello's status as "made man" in the Gambino crime family, holding the rank of "soldier."

Agnello was indicted for extorting rivals in the New York scrap metal business, orchestrating the firebombing of an undercover police scrap metal operation, and failing to pay taxes on the millions he stole via his rackets.

As part of his guilty plea in that case, Agnello agreed to forfeit $10 million, pay $1 million in restitution, and agreed to never again go into the scrap industry.

Agnello served around six years in prison, and settled in Northeast Ohio after his release.

Apparently, he immediately got back into the racketeering business once he moved and remarried. His current wife, Danielle Agnello, owns the companies in which her husband committed the indicted offenses.

In 1979, Gotti did more than insult Agnello -- he decreed that Agnello be baseball batted and shot in the ass for the crime of assaulting Gotti's daughter, Victoria Gotti. 

Nevertheless, in 1984, Agnello married Victoria. The couple had three sons and lived in Westbury, New York, in the same mansion that served as the location for the 2004 reality show "Growing up Gotti." (We remember the show primarily for its use of close captioning so viewers could understand what the young Long Islanders were saying.) Agnello and Victoria have since divorced.

On February 5, 1994, Agnello was charged with criminal mischief for damaging a police scooter.  The officer was ticketing cars parked outside of Agnello's scrapyard. Agnello, watching from the office, went out and argued with the officer, then climbed into his Ford Bronco and rammed the police vehicle about 15 feet down the street.

In June 1994, Agnello and several Gambino members fought with police outside the same location.

Again, the brawl was caused by parking tickets. Again Agnello was arrested. 

On June 6, 1997, Agnello was arrested on assault charges for beating a former employee with a telephone (didn't Russell Crowe do that?) Nothing came of this however because the employee failed to press charges.

On January 20, 2000, Agnello was charged with racketeering and arson. This resulted most likely from the fact that the police understood they were dealing with a guy beholden to severe anger issues.

Undercover NYPD officers set up a phony scrap metal business in Willets Point, Queens, near Agnello's scrap metal business. 

Agnello firebombed their property and eventually prompted them to sell their scrap metal to him at a below-market price. Agnello had promised to pay an informant $2,000 to "buy glass bottles (and) fill them up (with gasoline) and throw them all around the truck" of a competitor. 

Defense documents claimed that Agnello was on medication for bipolar disorder, which led him to bad judgement. On August 16, 2001, Agnello accepted a plea bargain in return for a reduced sentence.

Stephen Newell

We also wrote how in 1995, Agnello attempted to plot the murder of John Alite with the help of one of his employees, Stephen Newell, who'd been shot by Alite previously.

The hit never got beyond the planning stages.