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Mob associate gets 4 years for racketeering.
By JIM SMITH, Philadelphia Daily News
Anthony Accardo, a Philly mob associate, admits beating a contractor with a "clublike weapon" in 1999 in an effort to collect a $10,000 debt.
The victim, John McErlean, of Clarke Construction Inc., was too sore to walk for a week.
The year before, Accardo, formerly of Hartranft Street near 19th, South Philadelphia, admitted he was involved in mob thefts of truckloads of baby food and bicycles worth nearly $200,000.
"I'm sorry," said the short, stocky, wavy-haired, 41-year-old convicted goon and former beer distributor before being sentenced yesterday to four years in prison by U.S. District Judge Herbert J. Hutton for admitted racketeering.
The punishment was just two months more! than the minimum term required by sentencing guidelines of 46 to 57 months in prison.Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven D'Aguanno had recommended the maximum.
A city prosecutor on loan to the feds, D'Aguanno called Accardo "nothing more than a hired thug" and "a vicious person."
Accardo was one of a dozen local mobsters indicted by a federal grand jury last year on sweeping racketeering charges.
The prosecutor said that Accardo, who pleaded guilty but refused to testify against reputed local mob boss Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino and other mob members, is now viewed by area gangsters as "a stand-up guy."
"He will be in a perfect position to step right back into these criminal actions" when he gets out of prison, the prosecutor predicted.Cherry Hill, N.J., defense attorney Jaime Kaigh insisted his client is "trying to reform," and Accardo's mother, Mary, limping to the front of the courtroom, made a teary-eyed pitch for leniency.
"I love my son. He always helped me. I need him! . He was always there for me," she told the judge.
Accardo's three young children, who were in court, wrote letters on his behalf, as did retired Navy officer Robert C. Long Sr., of Bensalem, the last commanding officer of the brig at the Philadelphia Naval Base.
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