NEW YORK -- An 85-year-old reputed mob boss was arrested yesterday along with 19 other alleged Genovese crime family members and associates on extortion, loan-sharking, and other charges.
Matthew ''Matty the Horse" Ianniello, who allegedly became one of the family's acting bosses following the conviction of Vincent ''The Chin" Gigante, was arrested at daybreak at his Long Island home.
Authorities said the defendant recently turned 85.
''Don't let age fool you," FBI Agent Matt Heron said. ''He's still an influential player in the Genovese family."
Ianniello's brother, Bobby, was the owner of Umberto's Clam House, a restaurant in Little Italy where a hit man gunned down flashy mobster ''Crazy Joey" Gallo in 1972.
The slaying made Umberto's a must-see spot for tourists who scanned its woodwork and kitchen door for leftover bullet holes. Its lure remained unabated, even when Matthew Ianniello was jailed in 1986 for skimming its proceeds, or when a federal monitor ran the place in the early 1990s.
''No matter how long you're in business, we're not going to let up on you," said another investigator, New York Police Department Captain Christopher Monahan. ''Age isn't a factor."
Matthew Ianniello and his co-defendants were awaiting arraignment in Manhattan federal court on charges of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, extortion, and influencing a union official.
His attorney, Jay Goldberg, denied the accusations, and predicted he would be cleared.
An indictment alleges that under Ianniello's leadership, the mob family infiltrated a bus driver's union.
In 1997, the defendants allegedly extorted $100,000 in cash from a medical center that rented office space from the union, and have collected regular cash payments from the center ever since.
Three top officials with the Queens-based local, including its president, were among those indicted. A call to the union office was not immediately returned.
The indictment also alleges that the defendants operated an illegal gambling operation that staged high-stakes card games.