N.Y. Sup. Ct. Justice Jeffrey Atlas sentenced Luchese crime family underboss Steven Crea to only 2-6 yrs. in prison on March 8. Prosecutors from the ofc. of Manhattan D.A. Robert Morgenthau had asked for sentence of 6-18 yrs. for Crea, who admitted that he helped the Luchese organization fix prices at 3 NYC construction sites and collecting “mob taxes” from unions and contractors.
But Atlas, who had earlier dismissed 9 of the 14 original counts claiming lack of evidence, said that his sentence was appropriate for crimes in which violence never played an explicit role. Justice Atlas also ruled that Crea serve his sentence concurrent with the 34-mo. prison sentence he received last Jan. for similar charges brought by the U.S. Attny. This, Atlas said, would save the State the cost of incarcerating Crea.
In a tough letter delivered to Atlas when first informed of his likely sentence, Morgenthau’s chief of investigations, Daniel Castleman, criticized the proposed sentence as “illogical and unreasonable” and “a mere slap on the wrist.” Two of Crea’s underlings have already been sentenced to the same term, so it would have been logical, Castleman wrote, for the ringleader to get a tougher punishment. With Crea’s cases now concluded, Castleman noted, he “will serve less time in prison thatn it has taken to litigate” his case. [New York Post, 2/8/04, 3/9/04, 3/10/04: Village Voice, 3/17/04]