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  • OTRI.USA
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  • OTVI.USA
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  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
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  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
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American Shipper

Guilty pleas in longshoreman loansharking case

   Two men pleaded guilty last Friday in a probe of alleged extortion of money from dock workers at the Port of New York and New Jersey, said New Jersey Attorney General Paula T. Dow and Criminal Justice Director Stephen J. Taylor.
   Joseph Queli, 65, of Wall, N.J., and Nicholas Bergamotto, 64, of Newark, N.J., pleaded guilty Friday in New Jersey Superior Court.   The two men were charged in an Oct. 26, 2010 indictment that Walter Arsenault, executive director of the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor, said was the result of an on-going investigation into organized crime in the port.
   Queli pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree conspiracy to commit criminal usury and money laundering, and a second count of third-degree filing false tax returns. Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that he be sentenced to seven years in state prison. Queli must forfeit $24,260 seized in the investigation.
   In pleading guilty, Queli admitted that he made loans at usurious interest rates in excess of 50 percent per year. The investigation revealed that Queli made usurious loans, which are commonly known as loansharking, to members of the International Longshoremen’s Association, and that he or Bergamotto, acting on his behalf, would demand weekly payments from the union members.
   The state said Bergamotto pleaded guilty to a charge of third-degree money laundering. The state will recommend that he be sentenced to a term of probation. In pleading guilty, Bergamotto admitted that he collected payments on the usurious loans made by Queli and delivered the money to him. Queli’s wife, Regina Queli, 62, was indicted with him for allegedly handling criminal proceeds and failing to report them on tax returns. The state has agreed not to take a position regarding her application to the court for pre-trial intervention.
   Sentencing for the two men is scheduled for Jan. 27, 2012.

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