WASHINGTON – Thomas Iafrate, 70, of Johnston, R.I., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Providence, R.I., today to participating in an extortion and racketeering conspiracy that shook down several Rhode Island businesses for “protection” payments, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha for the District of Rhode Island. Iafrate admitted to the court that he was an associate of the New England La Cosa Nostra (NELCN).
Iafrate pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise. He faces maximum penalties of 20 years in prison, a fine of $250,000 and three years of supervised release when he is sentenced on Oct. 21, 2011, by U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith.
According to court records and information presented in court, Iafrate was an associate of the NELCN enterprise while working as a longtime bookkeeper for various Providence adult entertainment businesses, including the Satin Doll, Cadillac Lounge and Northeast Sales. Iafrate participated in the racketeering conspiracy by setting aside and by delivering extortion payments to members of the NELCN, including co-defendant Luigi Manocchio, on behalf of the owners. All three businesses were owned by the same people.
Four alleged members and associates of the NELCN, including an alleged former boss, were charged with crimes involving racketeering, extortion and related crimes in a superseding indictment unsealed in Providence on March 1, 2011. Iafrate was initially charged in an indictment unsealed in January 2011 as part of a coordinated nationwide takedown of organized crime figures. At that time, 91 leaders, members and associates of seven organized crime families of La Cosa Nostra were charged with federal crimes in four judicial districts, including Rhode Island.
The superseding indictment charges longtime NELCN boss Luigi Manocchio, 83, aka “Louie,” “Baby Shacks,” “the Professor” and “the Old Man,” and associate Thomas Iafrate with racketeering conspiracy, extortion conspiracy and extortion. Richard Bonafiglia, 57, and Theodore Cardillo, 67, are charged with racketeering conspiracy and extortion conspiracy. An indictment is merely an allegation and defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Manocchio and Bonafiglia are detained while awaiting trial. Cardillo is free on bond while awaiting trial.
The cases against the four defendants are being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Sam Nazzaro of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney William J. Ferland of the District of Rhode Island.
The matter was investigated by the District of Rhode Island’s Organized Crime Task Force, which includes law enforcement agents from the FBI, Rhode Island State Police, the Providence Police Department and the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations Division.