WASHINGTON – Dorothy St. Laurent, 71, of Johnston, R.I., and her son Anthony St. Laurent Jr., 44, of Cranston, R.I., pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Providence, R.I., to interstate extortion in violation of the Hobbs Act. The wife and son of Anthony St. Laurent Sr., a person identified by law enforcement as a member of organized crime, were charged in a federal complaint in February 2010 with extorting payments from bookmakers in the Taunton, Mass., area on behalf of Anthony St. Laurent Sr.
The guilty pleas were announced by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney for the District of Rhode Island Peter F. Neronha and Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Boston Field Office. The pleas were entered before U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith.
According to information presented at the plea hearing, beginning at least as early as 1988 and continuing through early February 2009, Dorothy St. Laurent and Anthony St. Laurent Jr. conspired with each other and others to extort "protection" payments from a group of illegal bookmakers operating in and around Taunton.
The government’s evidence includes a number of conversations recorded by the FBI in late 2008 and early 2009 that capture Dorothy St. Laurent and Anthony St. Laurent Jr. in conversation with a cooperating witness as they discuss efforts to maintain the extortion scheme, which, at that time, was generating $4,100 in cash collected by Dorothy St. Laurent every two weeks. The plea agreement stipulates that the defendants extorted in excess of $800,000 and less than $1.5 million.
Dorothy St. Laurent served as the primary collection agent of the cash payments provided by the bookmakers while Anthony St. Laurent Jr.’s role was to both threaten violence and on at least one occasion, to engage in actual violence to enforce continued payment.
Dorothy and Anthony St. Laurent Jr. are scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 10, 2010. Anthony St. Laurent Sr. is detained awaiting trial on a charge of solicitation to commit murder-for-hire and on this matter.
Trial Attorney Scott Lawson of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Racketeering Section is prosecuting the case, with assistance from Assistant U.S. Attorney William J. Ferland. The matter was investigated by the FBI, with the assistance of Rhode Island State Police and the Providence Police Department.