Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Providence Strip Clubs Reputedly Pay $2 Million to New England Mafia

Federal prosecutors yesterday charged three alleged members of the New England Mafia and three associates with extorting money from Rhode Island’s adult entertainment industry since the 1980s, a racketeering scheme that netted its members some $2 million.

In a seven-count indictment unsealed in Providence today, federal authorities also indicate that the leadership of the Mafia in New England has shifted back to Boston after being under the control of Providence-based mobsters for the past several years.

In one portion of the 22-page document, alleged Mafia capo Edward (Eddie) Lato is quoted as saying that every time he meets with an unidentified Mafia figure in Boston, it is clear that the man is under surveillance by law enforcement.

“Every time I leave, there’s someone looking at me…there’s a guy on the corner every (expletive) time,’’ the 64-year-old Lato said, according to the indictment. “They’re following him…I mean…not that they’re not suppose (sic) to follow him, he’s the (expletive) boss.’’

Rhode Island US Attorney Peter Neronha said in a telephone interview yesterday that he would not identify the current leaders of the New England La Cosa Nostra. “The government views this is as a major step forward in eradicating the NELCN,’’ Neronha said of the Rhode Island crackdown in a telephone interview. “There is no question when charges are brought against seven individuals that are among the leaders of the NELCN – that’s a significant step.’’

In the indictment, prosecutors said that Rhode Island mobster Luigi (Baby Shacks) Manocchio, who is 84 years old, was the leader of the New England Mafia until he stepped down in 2009.

Last year, Carmen (The Cheese Man) DiNunzio, who led the Boston Mafia, was imprisoned after he pleaded guilty to delivering a $10,000 bribe to an undercover FBI agent. DiNunzio operated a cheese store in Boston’s North End on Endicott Street.

Lato, according to the new charges against him, allegedly met with a “high ranking’’ Mafia member on May 5, 2011, at the intersection of Endicott and Thatcher streets in Boston. The FBI searched the Boston Mafia associate after the meeting ended and seized $5,000 in cash.

According to the document, Lato told an associate a week later that the $5,000 included money he had extorted from Rhode Island nightclubs.

No one from Massachusetts was named in yesterday’s indictment.

In addition to the charges against Lato, also indicted yesterday was Manocchio, and alleged Mafia member 70-year-old Alfred (Chippy) Scivola, who has already pleaded guilty to earlier racketeering charges.

Manocchio is accused of masterminding the scheme that relied on the threat of force to extort as much as $6,000 a month from each club, payments made by the owners for years, authorities allege. The clubs were identified in court papers as the Satin Doll, the Cadillac Lounge and the Foxy Lady.

Manocchio’s illegal control over the Cadillac Lounge included forcing the owners to hire his hand-picked allies to manage the books or to work as bouncers, authorities allege.

Also charged were alleged Mafia associates Thomas (Tommy) Iafrate, Richard Bonafiglia, Theodore (Teddy) Cardillo and 47-year-old Raymond (Scarface) Jenkins.

Lato is charged with racketeering conspiracy, two counts of extortion conspiracy and two counts of travel in aid of racketeering. Scivola is charged with racketeering conspiracy and extortion conspiracy. Jenkins is charged with extortion conspiracy and extortion.

A seventh man, alleged Mob associate 53-year-old Albino (Albi) Folcarelli, allegedly joined Jenkins and Lato in a separate conspiracy to extort $25,000 in cash from a man known only as “Person A.’’

All seven are in federal custody.

Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer of the Department of Justice said the prosecution in Rhode Island, and the prosecution of organized crime figures around the country, offer a clear sign that the federal government is on the move. “We are just not going away,’’ he said in a telephone interview.

The investigation was conducted by a task force composed of federal and state law enforcement agencies and the Providence police, officials said.

Thanks to John R. Ellement

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