August 8, 2015
CLEVELAND (AP) — Ohio prosecutors "picked a dirty fight" when they sought grand jury indictments against a reputed member of New York's Gambino crime family in an alleged $4.2 million scam involving stolen cars and scrap metal in Cleveland, the man's attorney said Friday.
The announced indictment Friday of Carmine "The Bull" Agnello, the former son-in-law of New York crime boss John Gotti, followed his arrest last month on charges related to a 30-month investigation into the alleged scam.
The 55-year-old Agnello, his wife and a scrap yard employee were named in 19-count indictment charging them with crimes ranging from racketeering, grand theft and money laundering to illegal dumping.
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty said since 2012, Agnello, of Bentleyville, has systemically defrauded a regional scrap metal processing facility by artificially weighing down vehicles with dirt and other debris and by bribing employees of the scrap facility to look the other way or adjust his weight values to include the debris.
Attorney Ian Friedman said in a statement that Agnello had been engaged in a legitimate business in Cleveland to support his family and that prosecutors are being driven in this case by Agnello's previous criminal associations.
"The government is dead wrong here to keep harping on his past," Friedman said. Prosecutors, he said, seek "to only draw upon ancient history to tarnish the man he is today. They picked a dirty fight and we are prepared to wage a war on behalf of Carmine and his family as they deserve."
Two guns and $60,000 in cash were seized during searches of Agnello's upscale home and his three scrap yards in southeast Cleveland, prosecutors said. As a convicted felon, Agnello is not allowed to possess firearms. Friedman said the weapons were a shotgun and .22-caliber rifle.
Agnello moved to Cleveland after his release from a federal prison in Youngstown in 2008. He married the daughter of a suspected Armenian-American terrorist with whom he served prison time. Agnello was married 17 years to Victoria Gotti, the daughter of the late Gambino crime boss. They divorced in 2002. Victoria Gotti starred in a short-lived reality show with her and Agnello's three sons called "Growing Up Gotti."
Agnello received nine years in prison and was ordered to pay $11 million in restitution in 2001 after pleading guilty to federal charges of racketeering and conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service. Authorities said Agnello was involved in a scheme to take control of scrap yards in Queens, New York.