Saturday, 2:15 PM
Reputed mob associate's wife pleads guilty in federal court
By Shelley Murphy, Globe Staff
The wife of reputed Mafia associate Arthur Gianelli pleaded guilty today to federal racketeering, money laundering, and other charges just as she was about to stand trial with him and three other people.
Mary Ann Gianelli, a 52-year-old nurse from Lynnfield and the sister-in-law of convicted former FBI agent John J. Connolly Jr., admitted that she helped her husband run his illegal gambling business after he was indicted on federal racketeering charges in 2005 and placed under house arrest.
Assistant US Attorney Michael Tabak told the judge that Arthur Gianelli used to personally collect cash from various locations where his bookmaking and video poker businesses operate, but hired another man to do it after his arrest. When that man was called to a federal grand jury in 2006, he revealed that he collected more than $10,000 a month for Gianelli, according to Tabak.
The man told the grand jury he stuffed the cash in a shoebox, then drove to a North End garage at lunchtime on the 16th of each month and left the box inside an unattended silver Mercedes parked in a predetermined spot.
Tabak said investigators conducted surveillance at the garage on the 16th of one month and "in came a silver Mercedes and Mrs. Gianelli was driving it."
The prosecutor said that if Mary Ann Gianelli had gone to trial the government would have proved she collected illegal proceeds from her husband's business, filed IRS returns in 2002 and 2003 falsely claiming that she drew legitimate income from a trucking company, and was involved in other wrongdoing.
Mary Ann Gianelli pleaded guilty to 19 counts of racketeering, money laundering, filing false tax returns, and illegal structuring of cash transactions. Under a plea agreement, the government dropped an additional 141 money laundering counts against her.
US District Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton allowed her to remain free on bail and set sentencing for June 5. Prosecutors said they would recommend an 18-month jail term. Her lawyer said he would recommend probation with a period of house arrest.
"Mary Ann Gianelli played a minuscule role in the grand scheme of this case," said Boston attorney E. Peter Parker. "Her crimes consist solely of handling money in the wrong way. Her criminal conduct is out of character with the way she has lived her life."
He said she and her husband were high school sweathearts who have been married for 28 years and have two children.
Mary Ann Gianelli's sister, Elizabeth, is married to Connolly. Connolly is the once-decorated former FBI agent who was convicted of federal racketeering charges for protecting long-time informants James "Whitey" Bulger and Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi from prosecution. He was also convicted of murder in Florida in November for plotting with the two gangsters to orchestrate the 1982 slaying of a Boston businessman.
The Connolly and Gianelli families have had homes next to each other in Lynnfield for many years.
Jury selection is continuing today in the trial of her husband; Dennis Albertelli, 56, and his wife, Gisele, 54, of Stow; and Frank Iacoboni, 65, of Leominster. A dozen codefendants previously pleaded guilty. Opening statements in the trial are expected Thursday.