Former Gambino Capo Carmine Agnello Gets No Prison

Carmine "The Bull" Agnello accepted a plea deal on June 1 to avoid prison time, but he must pay the $180,000 tab for the investigation by law enforcement.

It was called originally enough "Operation Goodfella."

Agnello copped and will serve no prison time.

Agnello, a former member of the Gambino crime family, was arrested nearly two years ago during a raid of his Cleveland auto body shop. He faced more than a dozen charges, including racketeering and conspiracy. He was charged with running an illegal $4.2 million car-scrapping scheme.

Agnello pleaded guilty in a courtroom "with no spectators or cameras," according to reports.  Agnello admitted to three offenses -- polluting the environment, being a felon in possession of a weapon and defrauding a towing company.

Judge Steve Gall imposed a sentence of one year's probation. Gaul also imposed a $10,000 fine.
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Agnello also agreed to pay the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office, the Cleveland Division of Police and the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District a combined $170,000 for the cost of the years-long investigation that ended up netting no jail time.

In exchange for the plea, Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Matthew Meyer dismissed more than a dozen other charges, including racketeering and conspiracy charges that could have sent him to prison for decades. Meyer also dropped all charges against Agnello's wife, Danielle Agnello, and his business, Eagle Auto Parts, who were represented by defense attorney Angelo Lonardo.

Agnello can keep operating his scrap yard, and prosecutors agreed to return all of the heavy equipment seized during the probe plus two shotguns found during a search of his home near Bentleyville.

Defense attorney Ian Friedman said Agnello is pleased with the deal, grateful to Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O'Malley and his office for offering it and relieved to get back to work.

A spokesman for O'Malley's office declined to comment on the deal.

Agnello was accused of illegally weighing down cars with dirt and sand at his shop and then selling them for scrap metal. Police and prosecutors alleged that Agnello defrauded a scrap metal processing company, Ferrous Processing and Trading, of $4.2 million over the last three years using this technique, and bribed employees to look the other way.

Undercover officers infiltrated Agnello's business beginning in 2013, and investigators used wiretaps to monitor Agnello's communications with Mafia contacts back in New York, prosecutors said.

The case was meant to send a message, former Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty said in a statement at the time of his arrest.

In the end, Agnello pleaded guilty to violating an environmental protection statute by leaving a fire hose in a puddle of oil, and pleading no contest to being a felon in possession of a gun and stealing between $7,500 and $150,000 from Ferrous Processing and Trading.

Agnello's attorneys, Friedman and Roger Synenberg, argued from the beginning that the allegations that Agnello was seeking to set up his own wing of the criminal syndicate here were baseless and he was targeted solely for his previous ties.

Agnello's ex-wife, reality TV start Victoria Gotti, is the daughter of the late mobster John Gotti. Agnello spent seven years in a New York federal prison for racketeering and tax evasion stemming from a sting operation also involving a scrap yard.

In 2008, following his release from prison, he married Danielle Vanger, the daughter of convicted Armenian activist Mourad Topalian. The couple live in a secluded neighborhood near Bentleyville.

When asked Thursday after the plea if he felt this was a case of overcharging, Friedman agreed.

"I think the resolution of this case speaks to that," he said.