WOBURN – Peter Limone -- the reputed organized crime figure who spent 33 years behind bars after being wrongly convicted of a 1965 murder -- admitted today in court that Middlesex prosecutors had enough evidence to convict him of 12 charges of loansharking and running a gambling ring.
Limone did not plead guilty to the charges in Superior Court. But his admission carried the same legal weight as a guilty plea or a conviction and prosecutors urged Superior Court Judge Leila Kern to send him back to state prison.
Instead, Kern sentenced the 76-year-old Medford resident to 2 1/2 years in county jail, but suspended it for five years. She also ordered him to wear a GPS tracking device and avoid certain people and certain greater Boston neighborhoods.
Middlesex prosecutors filed a 13 page memorandum seeking prison time for Limone, whom they said "stands at the pinnacle of a highly disciplined criminal organization ...commonly referred to as La Cosa Nostra (LCN).''
Limone is one of four alleged organized crime figures who won a $101 million federal verdict against the FBI in 2007 for deliberately withholding evidence that exonerated him for the 1965 murder of Edward "Teddy'' Deegan in Chelsea.
He was released in 2001. But Middlesex District Attorney Gerard T. Leone Jr.'s office says Limone restarted his lucrative organized crime businesses. About $178,000 was deposited into Limone's bank accounts between 2001 and 2008 -- even though Limone was technically unemployed during those years, prosecutors said today.
In court today, Limone's defense attorney, Juliane Balliro, told Kern that Limone will no longer participate in organized crime activities.
"There is another side to Mr. Limone,'' Balliro said in court. "I can assure you what the court will see this day forward is a complete change in lifestyle.''
Assistant District Attorney David Solet summarized for the court the results of an extensive investigation by state police assigned to Leone's office, and the State Police Special Services Section, which investigates organized crime.
Between 2001 and 2008, he said, Limone headed a "highly organized criminal syndicate,'' collecting 50 percent of the profits from bookmakers and charging interest rates of 2 percent a week in its loansharking business.
"At the top of the organization was the defendant before you, Peter Limone,'' he said. Solet said in court that Limone was called various names by his alleged co-conspirators like "Chief Crazy Horse'' and "the camera guy" and "Mr. P.''
Solet said the betting ring had connections to Florida and allowed people to place bets on horse racing and on all major sports.
He also said that Limone made it clear that he was the boss. "He indicated he wanted money collected and he wanted it collected immediately,'' Solet said.
Meanwhile, the Globe reported today that the son of Louis Greco, another man wrongly convicted in the Deegan case, has died before he could collect the family's share of the $101 million. Edward Greco, 53, died last week in New Orleans, his attorney said.
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