The Chicago Syndicate: Luigi Manocchio
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Showing posts with label Luigi Manocchio. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Luigi Manocchio. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

The Doctor Broad: A Mafia Love Story

There are people in the know who say that Barbara Roberts caused the downfall of the New England Mafia. She did this, not by killing someone, or sending someone to jail, but by keeping someone alive, and out of prison, for about a year too long.

The Doctor Broad: A Mafia Love Story, is the true story of a devout Catholic schoolgirl who grows up to be a physician, an atheist, feminist, anti-war activist – as well as a Mob doctor and Mob mistress. The man she keeps alive and out of prison is Raymond L. S. Patriarca, the long-time head of the New England Mafia.

Now in his early seventies, Patriarca is in poor health, although he tries to hide this. A long-time diabetic, he has known heart disease and has recently undergone a toe amputation when he is arrested on capital charges relating to an old murder, and taken to the Rhode Island State Police Barracks in Scituate. Barbara Roberts takes him on as a patient that night, and her world is forever changed.

Her testimony in various courts that he is too sick to stand trial earns her the enmity of police, FBI agents, the Providence Journal newspaper, and some of her fellow physicians. But the care of Raymond is not the only stressor in her life. The father of her youngest child is suing her in Family Court for common law divorce, palimony, and custody of their young daughter on the grounds that she is an unfit mother. Her oldest daughter suffers a nervous breakdown. She is fighting a trumped-up felony charge of breaking and entering. And less than a year after becoming Raymond’s physician and protector, she begins a clandestine affair with the alleged #3 man in the New England Mafia, Louis “Baby Shanks” Manocchio. Two years later he is convicted of accessory and conspiracy to murder and sentenced to two consecutive life years in prison, plus ten years.

This is not just a Mafia story. This memoir traces Barbara Roberts’ life story from a now vanished world almost to the present. Her commitment to feminism and medicine leads her into unexpected byways. She travels a path she never foresaw into moral dilemmas she never envisioned. It is the story of a woman born into one world who comes of age in another; who expects to live one life but finds herself ad-libbing something very different; who faces challenges undreamt of by her mother, while providing a new paradigm for her daughters.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Anthony DiNunzio, Head of New England Mafia, Pleads Guilty to Racketeering

The head of the New England Mafia pleaded guilty to racketeering in federal court in Rhode Island, in yet another blow to organized crime in the region.

Anthony DiNunzio, 53, of East Boston, could serve to 63 to 78 months in prison through an agreement he reached with federal prosecutors. He pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to commit racketeering and is slated to be sentenced Nov. 14.

Outside the courthouse in Providence this morning, Rhode Island US Attorney Peter Neronha said the case was the product of a strong investigation that has already led to convictions of DiNunzio’s underlings in Rhode Island. “We have driven a stake through the heart of organized crime in Rhode Island and we have cut off its head in Boston,” Neronha said.

During a brief hearing this morning, Assistant US Attorney William Ferland told the court that DiNunzio assumed control of the area’s faction of La Cosa Nostra, which oversees eastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island, after former boss Luigi Manocchio stepped down in 2009.

DiNunzio quickly sought to continue Manocchio’s operations in Rhode Island, including the extortion of protection payments from area strip clubs. “He ultimately assumed a leadership role in the enterprise,” Ferland said

DiNunzio, wearing olive green prison garb and glasses, looked to his lawyer for answers as the proceedings continued. He answered loudly “guilty” when asked how he would plead.

Outside the courtroom, Neronha promised that the investigation into organized crime and the New England Mafia will continue, targeting anyone looking to assume DiNunzio‘s position. “When there’s money to be made, the criminal element will step up to take their place,” he said.

Thanks to Milton J. Valencia.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Current New England Mob is Not Your Father's Mafia

Anthony DiNunzio, the alleged don of the New England Mafia, sat in a federal courthouse in Rhode Island last week, draped in tan prison garb, nodding as a federal judge said he faces a lengthy prison term if convicted of racketeering and extortion.

The New England Mafia. Illustrated.: With testimoney from Frank Salemme and a US Government time line.Boston Mob: The Rise and Fall of the New England Mob and Its Most Notorious Killer

Luigi Manocchio, DiNunzio’s 84-year-old predecessor, will go before a judge in Rhode Island on Friday to be sentenced for extorting protection payments from strip clubs. And Mark Rossetti, one of the most feared captains in the New England mob, is being held in Massachusetts on state charges of extortion and bookmaking. He has been cooperating with the FBI as an informant. Meanwhile, Robert DeLuca, a notorious captain from Rhode Island, has disappeared from the area and is widely reported to be cooperating with authorities against his fellow made members.

This is the leadership of the New England Mafia, a skeleton of the organization glorified in novels and in Hollywood. No more than 30 made, or sworn-in, members make up an organization that in its heyday was more than 100 strong, law enforcement officials say.

Investigators, legal observers, and court records describe an organization that continues to erode, as made members and associates abandon the code of silence and cooperate with investigators. The younger crop is addicted to drugs, and the older, wiser members have either died or have gone to jail, officials said.

“This is not your father’s Mafia,’’ said Massachusetts State Police Detective Lieutenant Stephen P. Johnson, who oversees organized crime investigations as head of the Special Service Section.

He said the arrest of the 53-year-old DiNunzio by federal authorities from Rhode Island on April 25, about two years into his reign as boss, also shows that law enforcement has been able to suppress the workings of the Mafia to the point their crimes are minimal.

DiNunzio is the sixth consecutive head of the New England Mafia to be charged: His predecessors have all been convicted, and the area has not seen a don hold as much power as Raymond L.S. Patriarca, the longtime head of the Patriarca crime family, did until his death in 1984.

Patriarca, who died at the age of 76, controlled an empire in the 1960s that stretched from Rhode Island to Maine, specializing in loan sharking, illegal gambling, and profiting on stolen goods, according to FBI documents released after his death. "In this thing of ours,’’ Patriarca once told an associate while under electronic surveillance, “your love for your mother and father is one thing; your love for The Family is a different kind of love.’’

Johnson and other investigators still expect someone will take DiNunzio’s place, knowing that, for some, the thought of living the “Sopranos’’ lifestyle is too attractive to ignore. “If it wasn’t for the Sopranos, we’d be able to suppress it even more,’’ Johnson said. “You’ve got to continually prune at the mob, because if you don’t it will grow like a weed.’’

Anthony Cardinale - a Boston lawyer who has represented a Who’s Who of Mafia figures including former bosses Francis “Cadillac Frank’’ Salemme and the late Gennaro Angiulo - said that as long as there are criminals who need protection, there will be organized crime. “As long as there’s drugs going on, and bookmaking, there will always be a mob,’’ he said. “Even with all the risks involved, there will still be somebody policing the bad guys, and that’s what the mob guys do.’’

He added, however, “as far as I’m concerned, it’s a dying occupation, in a sense that anyone who’s out there should realize that if they look to the left or look to the right, they should realize someone is working with the FBI or wearing a wire . . . which is unheard of.’’

According to prosecutors, at least two Mafia figures have cooperated against DiNunzio: One of them is a senior member of the New York-based Gambino crime family who has reportedly committed suicide, and the other is said to be DeLuca.

DiNunzio can be heard in wire recordings saying, “You get no shot today, no shot at all.’’

DiNunzio is the younger brother of convicted mobster Carmen “The Cheeseman’’ DiNunzio, the former underboss who was jailed for trying to bribe an undercover agent posing as a state highway worker, and separately for extortion and gambling.

Both brothers started their careers in organized crime with the Chicago Mafia, and were convicted in 1993 of extorting gamblers in Las Vegas for a Chicago Mafia crew based in Southern California. They served several years in prison before making their way to Boston.

Anthony DiNunzio became acting boss of the Patriarca family in early 2010, following the arrests of his brother and predecessors Peter Limone, who is in his late 70s, and Manocchio.

Limone is serving probation for bookmaking. Manocchio and several members of his crew have pleaded guilty to extorting strip clubs in Rhode Island.

Soon after becoming boss, Anthony DiNunzio allegedly demanded 50 percent of the strip club payments that were going to Manocchio’s crew, a demand that would prove to be his downfall. He faces up to 20 years on some charges, and a judge has ordered that he be held without bail.

Longtime Mafia observers said the arrest of DiNunzio was disappointing, embarrassing even, given that the once-proud organization has resorted to shaking down strip clubs.

“It’s just not glamorous now,’’ said Arlene Violet, a former Rhode Island attorney general and radio personality who has written a musical about the mob lifestyle. She recalls the days when made members ran businesses and matched wits with Wall Street.

“When your scheme is shaking down strip clubs, oh brother,’’ she said. “It’s so sleazy. Their crimes aren’t as sexy anymore.’’

Even in Boston’s North End, where prosecutors said DiNunzio showed up regularly at the Gemini Club, a small, members-only social club on Endicott Street, locals said the Mafia’s working was virtually non-existent.

“I’ve never heard of anybody being pressured here,’’ said Joanne Prevost Anzalone, former president of the North End Chamber of Commerce. “I think it’s always been a little exaggerated here to begin with. . . . You don’t walk down the street here and see anything you don’t see in any other neighborhood in the city.’’

But according to prosecutors, DiNunzio wanted power, and he sought to define his reign as soon as he took the helm. He explored ways to extort new businesses, and used the threats of violence to keep his underlings in order. He had questioned whether any of his members were cooperating with the FBI, and he suspected Salemme, who is in a witness protection program, was talking. He sent someone to look for the former boss.

DiNunzio had also worked quickly to reestablish a crew in Rhode Island, following the arrest of Manocchio and the arrest of his crew in September 2011.

He named an existing made member captain, so that he could continue the extortion of strip clubs, according to prosecutors. But the new captain, prosecutors said in court last week, wanted to install his own crew, to replace everyone he knew to be under investigation.

“They’re all in trouble up there, they ain’t coming home,’’ the new captain reportedly said.

Thanks to Milton J. Valencia

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

Monday, January 31, 2011

Why Does It Cost $2 Million to Build a $1 Million Building in New York City?

Until last week, not many people in America had ever heard of Vincenzo Frogiero. But thanks to an FBI indictment, Mr Frogiero has now been immortalised across America by his mobster moniker, 'Vinny Carwash'.

An alleged member of the New York City Gambino crime family, Vinny Carwash was just one of 124 suspected Mafia members rounded up across the north-east US in the biggest one-day mob bust in American history.

Now awaiting trial on racketeering charges, Frogiero is incarcerated in Brooklyn with fellow wise guys whose nicknames seem straight out of a Hollywood casting call for The Sopranos: Johnny Bandana, Junior Lollipops, Johnny Pizza, Jack the Whack and Tony Bagels.

In a pre-dawn raid last week, federal agents in New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island swooped on the homes of over 100 alleged mobsters and arrested them on charges that include murder, loan sharking, extortion and labour racketeering.

Among those rounded up were leading members of the five Italian-American families affiliated with 'La Cosa Nostra' -- the Colombo, Gambino, Genovese, Bonnano and Lucchese families. Those arrested included family bosses, underbosses, consiglieri, hit men, soldiers and associates.

By far the biggest coup for the Feds was the arrest of 83-year-old Luigi 'Baby Shacks' Manocchio, the former boss of New England's Patriarca crime family and a 60-year-old Mafia veteran.

"It is a reminder that the Mafia is alive and well and that we ignore organised crime at our own peril," Professor Jay Albanese, a criminologist at Virginia Commonwealth University, told the Weekend Review.

The details contained in the FBI indictments read like plots straight from The Godfather or Goodfellas but federal authorities were quick to point out that, amusing nicknames aside, the Mafia in America today still poses a deadly and persistent threat.

"The notion that today's mob families are more genteel and less violent than in the past is put to lie by the charges contained in the indictments," said Janice Fedarcyk of the FBI's New York field office. "Even more of a myth is the notion that the mob is a thing of the past, that La Cosa Nostra is a shadow of its former self."

Ever since the birth of the American Mafia in the early 1930s, the north-east corridor between New York and Boston has remained the beating heart of the mob enterprise.

Despite a federal crackdown since the 1980s that has weakened the Mafia through mass arrests and stiffer sentences, La Cosa Nostra -- or 'our thing' -- has continued to prosper in the past decade. This is partly due to the terrorist attacks of 9/11 which saw the FBI divert resources and manpower away from the Mafia for the fight against al-Qa'ida and other terrorist threats.

Membership of the mob is still exclusively reserved for those of Italian extraction. Loyal members who meet the approval of their bosses have the opportunity to become 'made men' -- the highest honour that allows captains to shield themselves from direct criminal activity by having their legions of loyal soldiers do all the dirty work.

The lifestyle is fraught, dangerous and at times boring. "They are street people. They live on the street. They work on the street," said Jay Albanese. "They don't get up until late and they hang out at the restaurant all day just thinking of scams to make money."

"There is paranoia. There is distrust," he said. "You have bad guys killing each other because they don't trust each other. They say they have this blood loyalty and yet they turn each other in. It is really a cut-throat sort of an existence."

Just like Mafia bosses of old -- 'Scarface' Al Capone and his successor, Tony Arrcado aka 'Joe Batters' -- today's Mafioso are quick to dole out nicknames, but these aliases serve an important purpose when trying to confuse federal authorities who are inevitably tracking their movements by electronic surveillance.

"The nicknames serve a very utilitarian purpose," Professor Howard Abadinsky of St John's University told the Irish Independent. "It does confuse law enforcement and it does make it -- from a legal point of view -- very hard to specifically identify these individuals for prosecution purposes."

In recent years, federal authorities have boasted that the Mafia's grasp over New York institutions including labour unions, the waterfront, the Fulton fish market and the garment district has waned.

Experts point out that the organisation has been severely weakened through aggressive public prosecutions, a lack of recruitment opportunities and a declining sense of loyalty among the new guard. The FBI has also been successful at recruiting mob turncoats who are brave enough to disregard the Mafia's ancient vow of silence -- the omerta.

"In the old days you might be much more willing to do time for the group," said Prof Albanese. "People are more individual focused and out for their own profit now, and they're just not as willing to sacrifice for their group."

But despite these setbacks, the Mafia's unique ability to infiltrate business in America and to claim a piece of the action remains unrivalled among other organised crime groups, experts say.

Mobsters in New Jersey, New England and Rhode Island continue to profit from the "bread and butter" staples of Mafia enterprises: operating sports bookmakers, strip clubs, loan-sharking, and gambling operations.

Crime families such as the Genovese exert a tight control over New York's ports, using threats and violence to extort money from shippers and obstruct the flow of commerce. They control several key shipping and construction unions, charging kickbacks to unload ships and paying associates for "no show" jobs.

"If you didn't pay, your fish would sit there on the dock and rot," said Albanese. "It wouldn't be moved. If you didn't pay, you would be excluded from the [fish] market."

In a throwback to the kind of extortion and racketeering portrayed in On the Waterfront with Marlon Brando, the FBI indictments allege that members of the Genovese even tried to extort Christmastime payments from port workers in New York.

"To be shaking down waterfront workers in the 21st century really seems a throwback to the 1940s or 1950s," said Abadinsky. "You don't make a lot of money by shaking down longshoreman."

And the mob's ability to control key unions has also had a dramatic effect on New York's construction industry and property development.

"People have asked, 'Why does it cost $2m to build a $1m building in New York?'" said Albanese. "Well ... if you were going to pour cement in NYC you had to get union people to do it and you have the mob controlling the unions, so kickbacks had to be paid."

Mafia experts have praised last week's operation but point out that the impact may be short-lived. Exactly two years ago a similar mass arrest of mobsters took place across the northeast but many of them received light prison sentences and soon returned to the streets.

Experts predict that with the top leadership gone, the remaining families will face immediate and perhaps brutal leadership contests. In addition, other organised crime groups -- Russians, Albanians, Asians and Mexicans -- are waiting in the wings, eager to turn a profit on abandoned Mafioso turf.

"For the day to day operations of a crime family, you don't require the boss and the shop management to be there," said Abadinsky. "The people have their assignments and they will carry them out. In the meantime, these people will be replaced."

In time, Vinny Carwash -- and his pals, Meatball, Mush, Hootie and Johnny Bandana -- may well be back on the streets. But if not, there will always be a new crop of eager soldiers to take their places.

"The removal of the current crop of Mafia barons will probably engender a new generation of mobsters," wrote Selwyn Raab in the New York Times. "There have always been, and always will be, ambitious, greedy, wise guys who are willing to risk long prison sentences for the power and riches glittering before them.

"The Mafia is wounded, but not fatally," he said.

Thanks to Caitriona Palmer

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Largest Coordinated Mafia Arrest Takedown in FBI History

Early on morning of January 20th, FBI agents and partner law enforcement officers began arresting nearly 130 members of the Mafia in New York City and other East Coast cities charged in the largest nationally coordinated organized crime takedown in the Bureau’s history.

Members of New York’s infamous Five Families—the Bonanno, Colombo, Gambino, Genovese, and Luchese crime organizations—were rounded up along with members of the New Jersery-based DeCavalcante family and New England Mafia to face charges including murder, drug trafficking, arson, loan sharking, illegal gambling, witness tampering, labor racketeering, and extortion. In one case involving the International Longshoremen's Association (ILA) at the Ports of New York and New Jersey, the alleged extortion has been going on for years.

More than 30 of the subjects indicted were “made” members of the Mafia, including several high-ranking family members. The arrests, predominantly in New York, are expected to seriously disrupt some of the crime families’ operations.

"The notion that today's mob families are more genteel and less violent than in the past is put to lie by the charges contained in the indictments unsealed today,” said Janice Fedarcyk, assistant director in charge of the FBI's New York Field Office. “Even more of a myth is the notion that the mob is a thing of the past; that La Cosa Nostra is a shadow of its former self.”

The Mafia—also known as La Cosa Nostra (LCN)—may have taken on a diminished criminal role in some areas of the country, but in New York, the Five Families are still “extremely strong and viable,” said Dave Shafer, an assistant special agent in charge who supervises FBI organized crime investigations in New York.

The operation began before dawn. Some 500 FBI personnel—along with about 200 local, state, and other federal law enforcement officers—took part, including key agencies such as the New York Police Department and the Department of Labor Office of Inspector General. By 11 a.m., more than 110 of the 127 subjects charged had been taken into custody.

The idea for a nationally coordinated LCN takedown originated at the Department of Justice last summer, said Shafer, a veteran organized crime investigator. “We have done big LCN takedowns before, but never one this big.”

Among those charged:

  • Luigi Manocchio, 83, the former boss of the New England LCN;
  • Andrew Russo, 76, street boss of the Colombo family;
  • Benjamin Castellazzo, 73, acting underboss of the Colombo family;
  • Richard Fusco, 74, consigliere of the Colombo family;
  • Joseph Corozzo, 69, consigliere of the Gambino family; and
  • Bartolomeo Vernace, 61, a member of the Gambino family administration.

The LCN operates in many U.S. cities and routinely engages in threats and violence to extort victims, eliminate rivals, and obstruct justice. In the union case involving the ILA, court documents allege that the Genovese family has engaged in a multi-decade conspiracy to influence and control the unions and businesses on the New York-area piers.

“If there’s money to be made,” said Diego Rodriguez, special agent in charge of the FBI’s New York criminal division, “LCN will do it.” He noted that today’s Mafia has adapted to the times. “They are still involved in gambling and loan sharking, for example, but in the old days the local shoemaker took the betting slips. Now it’s offshore online gambling and money laundering. If you investigate LCN in New York,” Rodriguez added, “it’s a target-rich environment.”

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Historic Mafia Crackdown Today

Federal authorities orchestrated one of the biggest Mafia takedowns in FBI history Thursday, charging 127 suspected mobsters and associates in the Northeast with murders, extortion and other crimes spanning decades.
Past investigations have resulted in strategic strikes aimed at crippling individual crime families. This time, authorities used a shotgun approach, with some 800 federal agents and police officers making scores of simultaneous arrests stemming from different mob investigations in New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island.
They also used fanfare: Attorney General Eric Holder made a trip to New York to announce the operation at a news conference with the city's top law enforcement officials.
Holder called the arrests "an important and encouraging step forward in disrupting La Cosa Nostra's operations." But he and others also cautioned that the mob, while having lost some of the swagger of the John Gotti era, is known for adapting to adversity and finding new ways of making money and spreading violence.
"Members and associates of La Cosa Nostra are among the most dangerous criminals in our country," Holder said. "The very oath of allegiance sworn by these Mafia members during their initiation ceremony binds them to a life of crime."
In the past, the FBI has aggressively pursued and imprisoned the leadership of the city's five Italian mob families, only to see ambitious underlings fill the vacancies, said Janice Fedarcyk, head of the FBI's New York office. "We deal in reality, and the reality is that the mob, like nature, abhors a vacuum," she said.
However, the FBI has gained a recent advantage by cultivating a crop of mob figures willing to wear wires and testify against gangsters in exchange for leniency in their own cases. "The vow of silence that is part of the oath of omerta is more myth than reality today," she said.
In the latest cases, authorities say turncoats recorded thousands of conversations of suspected mobsters. Investigators also tapped their phones.
In sheer numbers, the takedown eclipsed those from a highly publicized assault on the Gambino Crime Family in 2008, when authorities rounded up 62 suspects. All but one of the arrests resulted in guilty pleas.
Among those arrested Thursday were union officials, two former police officers and a suspect in Italy. High-ranking members of the Gambino and Colombo crime families and the reputed former boss of organized crime in New England also were named in 16 federal indictments unsealed Thursday.
The indictments listed colorful nicknames — Bobby Glasses, Vinny Carwash, Jack the Whack, Johnny Cash, Junior Lollipops — and catalogued murders, extortion, arson and other crimes dating back 30 years.
One of the indictments charges a reputed Gambino boss, Bartolomeo Vernace, in a double murder in the Shamrock Bar in Queens in a dispute over a spilled drink. Another charges an alleged Colombo captain, Anthony Russo, in the 1993 hit on an underboss during the family's bloody civil war.
Luigi Manocchio, 83, the reputed former head of New England's Patriarca crime family, was arrested in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He has long denied having mob ties. An indictment accuses him of collecting protection payments from strip-club owners. lso arrested was Thomas Iafrate, who worked as a bookkeeper for strip clubs and set aside money for Manocchio, prosecutors said. Iafrate pleaded not guilty Thursday in federal court in Providence, R.I.
Other charges include corruption among dockworkers in New York and New Jersey who were forced to kick back a portion of their holiday bonuses to the crime families. Members of the Colombo family also were charged with extortion and fraud in connection with their control of a cement and concrete workers union.
Most of the defendant were awaiting arraignment on Thursday in federal court in Brooklyn. If convicted, they face a wide range of maximum sentences, including life in prison.
Thanks to Tom Hays

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Video Conference Court Hearing Held for Reputed Mob Captain Called "The Saint"

Reputed mob captain Anthony "the saint" St. Laurent faces charges of trying to pull off a gangland slaying in downtown Providence.

On Monday, St. Laurent participated in a U.S. District Court in Providence by video conference from the federal prison in Massachusetts. St. Laurent is currently serving a sentence for extortion.

St. Laurent, identified by law enforcement as Capo Regime in the Patriarca crime family, tried to hire two men to kill rival Capo, Robert "Bobby" Deluca in 2006, and again from behind bars in 2007.

In a criminal complaint obtained by Target 12, FBI case agent Joseph Degnan wired up an informant ,who recorded a 2006 conversation in St. Laurent’s house. According to the recording, St. Laurent not only told two men he wanted Deluca dead, but he said he had the permission of "the boss."

The boss, according to court documents, is Luigi "Baby Shacks" Manocchio, who runs the New England crime family from Providence's Federal Hill. St. Laurent even drove one of the men to Deluca's workplace, Sidebar Bar and Grille in Providence.

Shortly after that, St. Laurent was scooped up in a separate extortion plot. But apparently, still raging from behind bars at Fort Devens Federal Prison in Massachusetts, investigators said St. Laurent tried to solicit a hit through fellow inmates.

In a criminal complaint, unsealed on Friday, St. Laurent was charged with solicitation of murder. The FBI released a statement Friday afternoon touting cooperation between Rhode Island State Police, Massachusetts State Police, Providence Police and Boston Police.

Target 12 Investigator Tim White spoke with Deluca's attorney Artin Coloian late Friday and said his client was informed of the attempted hit and that Deluca is not concerned for his safety.

Thanks to Melissa Sardelli

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Feds Keeping an Eye on Luigi "Baby Shacks" Manocchio

Ever since Luigi "Baby Shacks" Manocchio, reputed mob boss of the Patriarca Crime Family, took the reigns from Boston's Francis "Cadillac Frank" Salemme in 1996, he's been able to avoid significant legal troubles from law enforcement. But, that stretch may be coming to an end.

Manocchio, 80, is not charged with any crime at this time. However, the Target 12 Investigators have learned within the last several months, FBI agents served a search warrant on Manocchio. Investigators reportedly found a small amount of cash in Manocchio's possession. Cash, investigators said, they could trace as tribute money; which is money paid up to a mob boss.

According to Target 12 sources, Manocchio immediately began shopping around for an attorney. However, it is unclear who, if anyone, he's retained.

Sources on Federal Hill - the Providence neighborhood out of which Manocchio runs the crime family - said they haven't seen Manocchio since the feds moved in, leaving many to wonder if he went on the run. However, law enforcement sources said Manocchio often travels during the winter, and they are not concerned about his absence at this point in time.

Although the FBI won't comment if Manocchio is part of an ongoing criminal investigation, it's no secret agents are keeping an eye on him.

In fact, shortly after arriving in Providence to head up the FBI's Organized Crime Unit for New England, FBI Supervisory Special Agent Jeffrey Sallet approached Manocchio on Federal Hill in 2007, introduced himself and let him know he was watching.

Thanks to Target 12

Monday, November 24, 2008

"Made" Mob Members Dwindle in Ranks

The ranks of the traditional "La Cosa Nostra" have been dwindling here in Rhode Island over the years. So much so, the face of the modern mob bust, like we saw last week, is a diverse cross-section of society.

The "Operation Mobbed Up" sweep netted two dozen people and crushed an alleged criminal syndicate run out of the Valley Street Flea Market. Among those arrested were several with ties to the Patriarca Crime Family.

In organized crime's heyday in Rhode Island, when Raymond L.S. Patriarca ran the show, investigators kept tabs on at least 22 "made" members of the New England crime family.

Rhode Island State Police Col. Brendan Doherty, a veteran mob investigator, tells Target 12 that right now, "There are about eight or nine people we allege are inducted members." Of those, some are what he calls "retired."

In fact, in the "Mobbed Up" bust from November 17, not a single defendant is a member of the Patriarca crime family. State Police say several -- including infamous mob muscleman, Gerald Tillinghast, and aging, wheelchair-bound Nicholas "Nicky" Pari -- are mob associates.

"The fact that a large group of associates was arrested and a made member was not arrested is not a reflection on the New England LCN," says Jeffrey Sallet, a supervisory special agent with the FBI's Organized Crime Unit in New England. He told Target 12 the LCN -- La Cosa Nostra, "our thing" -- has not "made" a lot of people, and many are mere associates.

The boss of a crime family approves letting in new members. Law enforcement sources tell Target 12 the head of the New England crime family is 80-year-old Luigi "Babyshanks" Manocchio. Sources say Manocchio keeps his inner circle small. Those men who've been identified by law enforcement sources as capo regime under Manocchio include:

* Robert "Bobby" Deluca, whom sources say is keeping a low profile after serving ten years on gambling charges. His parole is set to expire in 2009.
* Edward Lato, who recently escaped gambling charges after a State Police sting in 2006. Lato was released from federal prison earlier this year after a probation violation.
* Joseph Achille, who two years ago served a year at the ACI on a conspiracy charge.

Two longtime reputed mobsters are currently in prison: Capo regime Matthew "Matty" Gugliemetti -- serving time at Ft. Dix for drug violations -- and the infamous 67-year-old mobster, Anthony "The Saint" St. Laurent. He is serving five years for an attempted shakedown of two men over gambling debts.

So far the inner circle has come up clean in this latest round of organized crime-related busts. Col. Doherty says it may just be a new face to old crimes: "It's not quite as organized anymore. We have a lot of renegade factions out there."

Sallet tells Target 12 New England has the distinction of having the only crime family in the country with an active boss still on the street and not behind bars.

Thanks to Target 12

Friday, August 29, 2008

The New England Mafia is Not What It Used to Be

The New England Mafia just is not what it used to be.

In what would be an unusual move for a man of his rank, the family's reputed underboss, Carmen "The Cheese Man" DiNunzio, is accused of personally delivering a $10,000 bribe to a near stranger, a man who turned out to be an undercover FBI agent.

Some of his underlings have supplemented their incomes by shoplifting, and one aging soldier was spotted peddling electric toothbrushes on a street in the North End, State Police said.

The local Mafia, which traditionally denounced drugs, now tolerates addicts in its ranks. And some members of the old guard have turned down promotions or become inactive because they fear going back to prison or have lost faith after seeing Mafiosi around the country break omerta, the code of silence, and turn informant or government witness, police said.

"They don't have the strength and the power they once did because of the line people," said State Police Detective Lieutenant Stephen P. Johnson, who oversees organized crime investigations as head of the Special Service Section. "The crews they have out there is where they are lacking. . . . It's a different generation. They're not as smart about how they involve themselves in supporting the family."

Jeffrey S. Sallet, supervisory special agent in charge of the FBI's Providence office and coordinator of the New England division's organized crime program, agreed, saying that La Cosa Nostra, commonly known as the Mafia, "has less of a talent pool to pull from because of ethnic neighborhoods disappearing."

The New England Mafia does not wield as much power or make as much money as it did in the 1980s, before its ranks were depleted by waves of convictions, law enforcement officials said. There are about 30 made members of the Mafia in Greater Boston, compared with at least double that in the 1980s, Johnson said.

"They are a shell of what the organization was years ago," said Major Steven O'Donnell, deputy superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police.

Still, officials said the local Mafia remains a substantial threat and continues to rake in significant profits from illegal gambling and bookmaking. In Greater Boston, the mob has lost its grip on pornography and prostitution, but has been expanding its video poker business, State Police said.

"Are they making money hand over fist? No," said Johnson. "Do they get as much respect? No. But everybody is surviving."

The family's reputed boss of a dozen years is 81-year-old Luigi "Louie" Manocchio, who works out of Addie's Laundromat on Federal Hill in Providence and lives in an apartment upstairs, according to court affidavits.

Manocchio could not be reached for comment for this report. But in 1999, when he was given probation by a Rhode Island judge after admitting he had given his elderly mother a stolen dishwasher and refrigerator, his lawyer, John Cicilline, said he knew nothing about his client's alleged mob ties and said, "The only time I've ever heard that is in the papers," according to the Associated Press.

An FBI affidavit filed in federal court identifies DiNunzio, 51, of East Boston as the family's underboss, or second in command, since 2004. The 400-pound owner of the Fresh Cheese shop on Endicott Street in the North End is under house arrest awaiting two trials, one in Essex County on state extortion and illegal gambling charges and the other in federal court on the bribery charge.

A federal indictment returned in May alleges that DiNunzio paid $10,000 to an undercover FBI agent posing as a state highway inspector in December 2006, part of a conspiracy to secure a $6 million contract to provide loam for the Big Dig.

"I'm the Cheese Man," DiNunzio told the undercover agent on recordings later played in court, as he promised to make the deal go through. "You ask anybody about me. . . . We straighten out a lot of beefs, a lot of things."

DiNunzio's failure to insulate himself by dispatching an underling has raised speculation about a dumbing down in the mob.

"None of them are rocket scientists," said Johnson, noting that many of DiNunzio's predecessors were convicted, partly based on recordings of them saying foolish and incriminating things.

Sallet declined to comment on DiNunzio's motivation, but said: "The mob is all about opportunity. Any chance to make money, they are going to take it."

DiNunzio's lawyer, Anthony Cardinale, described DiNunzio as "a nice, nice guy" who was lured into what he believed was a legitimate deal by a longtime friend who was cooperating with the FBI and introduced him to the agent. "Carmen's downfall is he was a good friend of this guy, and he never suspected this guy would do this to him," Cardinale said.

Despite DiNunzio's legal predicament, law enforcement officials said he has a reputation as a fairly smart, low-key leader. "The leadership isn't stupid," Johnson said. "They don't attract the quality line people."

O'Donnell said the family has suffered from a lack of midlevel managers as some experienced mobsters have refused to take those jobs because they do not want the law enforcement scrutiny or the headaches they bring.

Today, the family is a mix of old soldiers who have recently returned to the streets after years in prison and young members who grew up in middle-class suburban households, law enforcement officials said.

Unlike the old guard, who grew up in poor, ethnic neighborhoods and were groomed by elder mobsters, the new generation tends to be less street-smart and is attracted by the glitz and glamour of shows such as HBO's "The Sopranos," State Police said.

"The guys now want to appear to be Tony Soprano," Johnson said. "They're flashy."

A couple of reputed Boston mobsters were secretly recorded in 2000 complaining that rivals had mimicked the Sopranos crew by leaving dead fish in doorways and on cars in an effort to intimidate them.

The reality is, "it's not a glamorous lifestyle," Sallet said. "You spend your life wondering about whether your friend wants to kill you or hurt you or whether some law enforcement officer wants to put you in jail."

And, he added, for every mobster who is making big money, there are others who are broke. "They call them brokesters," Sallet said. "A lot of them have gambling problems and are low-end scam guys."

But law enforcement officials cautioned that the Mafia is still dangerous, especially because so many of the region's most feared mobsters have recently been freed from prison.

"It has a very big potential to change drastically in New England over the next several years, or it can stay the same course," O'Donnell said.

Thanks to Shelley Murphy

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Mob Still Thrives in New England Despite Lower Membership

Friends of ours: Carmen "The Big Chese" DiNunzio, Luigi "Baby Shanks" Manocchio, Francis "Cadillac Frank" Salemme, Peter J. Limone, Robert J. DeLuca

Forget about HBO's Tony Soprano. Today's mob leaders, at least in New England, are low-profile wiseguys with unglamorous jobs, and in Boston, membership is dwindling, according to the State Police.

The number of so-called made men who have taken a formal oath and pledged their souls to the Mafia is only about half of what it was in the Boston area in the early 1980s, according to Detective Lieutenant Stephen P. Johnson of the State Police.

The Boston faction has about 20 to 25 active soldiers who report to several capos, while another 10 inactive members are behind bars, said Johnson, who oversees organized crime investigations as head of the Special Service Section.

While waning membership reflects a mob weakened by several decades of federal prosecutions, the New England Mafia continues to thrive and uses a substantial number of associates to make money, officials said. "It is the only traditional organized crime group left in town, with the exception of Asian gangs who primarily stay within their neighborhoods," Johnson said. "What they've tried to do is keep a low profile while maintaining their traditional activities, which would include extortion, drug trafficking, bookmaking, loansharking, and even pornography."

State Police in Massachusetts and Rhode Island said illegal gambling, and sports-betting in particular, remain the life blood of the organization.

Alleged underboss Carmen "The Big Cheese" DiNunzio, 49, owner of Fresh Cheese shop in Boston's North End, drew little public attention until his arrest by State Police last week on charges of extortion and running an illegal sports-betting operation. He makes fabulous sandwiches, law enforcement officials said, but he captured their attention because he allegedly oversees all of the mob's activities in the Boston area.

His lawyer, Anthony Cardinale, said they have it wrong. "They are trying to create something that really isn't there," said Cardinale, who insisted that DiNunzio is no underboss, describing him as "a low-key, well-liked neighborhood guy who happens to be Italian." Though DiNunzio occasionally helps his sister by cooking at her East Boston restaurant, Carmen's Kitchen, he has no ownership interest in the business, Cardinale said.

The New England Mafia operates in Rhode Island and Eastern Massachusetts up to Worcester, while the western part of the state is allegedly controlled by New York families.

Leadership of the New England organization has shifted between Boston and Providence since the 1930s, reverting to Rhode Island in 1995, when the reputed current godfather, Luigi "Baby Shanks" Manocchio, took over. Manocchio, 79, has been described as a low-key boss who has pulled warring factions together after the bloody reign of Francis "Cadillac Frank" Salemme. Manocchio, who law enforcement officials say would rather make money than spend it, works out of Addie's laundromat on Federal Hill in Providence and lives in an apartment upstairs.

Rhode Island State Police have identified the mob's consigliere, who traditionally moderates internal disputes, as 72-year-old Peter J. Limone, who was exonerated of a 1965 gangland murder after spending 33 years in prison and is now suing the government for more than $100 million. His lawyer, Juliane Balliro, denied that Limone was a consigliere and added that with his civil trial underway in federal court in Boston, "we find the timing of these revelations very suspicious." But Major Steven O'Donnell, a longtime organized crime investigator who is in charge of field operations for the Rhode Island State Police , said informants and wiretap information indicate that Limone is consigliere to Manocchio.

O'Donnell also identified Robert J. DeLuca, who was paroled in March after serving 12 years in prison, as a capo in Rhode Island. DeLuca gained notoriety in 1989 after an FBI bug indicated he was among four new soldiers inducted into the Mafia in a blood-oath ceremony in Medford. Since his release from prison, DeLuca has been working at the upscale Sidebar & Grille restaurant in Providence, owned by his lawyer, Artin Coloian, who said DeLuca had a flawless record in prison and "there's no reason for anyone to doubt that his life would go the same way."

The number of mobsters in the Providence area, where there are about a dozen active members, has remained consistent over the years, O'Donnell said. But they generally are no longer raising their children in the old Federal Hill enclave and grooming them to follow in their footsteps, O'Donnell said.

It's the same in Boston, according to Johnson, who said there is no longer a so-called mob headquarters in the North End, though mobsters fraternize there at restaurants and social clubs. "The bad guys live in suburban towns now," said Johnson. As a result, he said, the mob's activities are more spread out, with members casting a wider net when it comes to shaking down bookmakers and drug dealers. "If you're a member and you live in Framingham and are aware of somebody who is a dope dealer in your area and you can extort them, you do." But even with dwindling ranks, it would be misguided for law enforcement to let up pressure on them, Johnson said.

"The key is to not let it grow, to keep pruning away at it, so it doesn't get a chance to take off again," he said.

Thanks to Shelley Murphy


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