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AGRICULTURE | BRIEFLY

2 Ex-Buyers Plead Guilty to Kickback Scheme

March 22, 1997|Thomas S. Mulligan

Two former senior buyers for Boston-based ITT Sheraton Corp. pleaded guilty to federal charges arising from a kickback scheme under which they collected hundreds of thousands of dollars from produce suppliers in exchange for steering business to New York-area Sheraton hotels and Madison Square Garden. Richard Nicoletti, 46, and Anthony Giano, 63, both of New York, face up to 10 years in prison plus fines of $500,000 or twice the gross proceeds of the crime, whichever is greater. U.S. Atty. Mary Jo White said that under the scheme, from 1987 to 1994, Nicoletti and Giano purchased millions of dollars of produce and other food, primarily from wholesaler Loi Industries, collecting 3% of gross sales as a kickback. The charges arose from an ongoing federal probe of corruption in New York produce markets.

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