A mobster whose relationship with disgraced Bronx County Clerk Luis Diaz led to the pol’s conviction earlier this year pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court Thursday to an unrelated racketeering conspiracy.
Genovese associate Thomas Poli admitted to Judge John Koeltl that he threatened people who didn’t pay their gambling debts as part of a Bronx-based bookkeeping operation run by the crime family.
“I just yelled at people and threatened them,” the wiseguy told the judge.
Poli, who was previously convicted and sentenced in 2019 on a separate criminal charge, got some help from Diaz — a former state assemblyman — in his attempt to prove he’d satisfied the conditions of his plea in that case.
He asked Diaz, who had deep ties to the Bronx Democratic Party establishment, to submit a letter to the court falsely claiming that he’d performed volunteer work for a now-defunct homeless services provider.
Diaz, 69, in July pleaded guilty to defrauding the Bronx state court by telling a judge that Poli had fulfilled a community service requirement in exchange for cash.
Poli was arrested in August with five other Genovese mobsters – including his own son and two caporegimes – for the scheme, which included extortion and illegal gambling, according to the indictment against them.
If the case went to trial, prosecutors would show Poli’s son, Michael, headed the illegal gambling operation and used his father to collect debts, Assistant US Attorney Celia Cohen said at Thursday’s plea hearing.
Poli, who was represented by attorney John Meringolo, told the judge that on one occasion he went to Pennsylvania to threaten someone who hadn’t paid their debt to the operation.
Diaz was suspended in October 2020 from his $200,000-a-year job as the county clerk amid an investigation by Attorney General Letitia James into the bribery.
The disgraced pol pleaded guilty to one count of offering a false instrument and is now barred from ever holding public office in New York. He was also ordered to complete 100 hours of community service.