WASHINGTON – Five Rhode Island men previously identified as leaders or associates of the New England organized crime family of the La Cosa Nostra (NELCN) have agreed to plead guilty to racketeering-related charges, according to documents filed today with the U.S. district court in Providence, R.I.
The announcement was made by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha for the District of Rhode Island; Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Boston Field Office; Colonel Steven G. O’Donnell, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police; and Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven M. Pare.
The defendants were charged in a second superseding indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Providence in September 2011, which alleges their participation in an extortion and racketeering conspiracy involving “protection” payments from several Rhode Island businesses. The defendants face sentences of up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000.
According to plea agreements signed by the defendants and filed with the court, Luigi “Baby Shacks” Manocchio; Edward “Eddy” Lato; Alfred “Chippy” Scivola; and Richard Bonafiglia will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise. Raymond R. Jenkins will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to participate in a Hobbs Act extortion.
According to the plea agreements, in addition to admitting to their criminal conduct, Manocchio, Lato and Scivola admit to their membership in the enterprise charged in the second superseding indictment, which is the NELCN. In addition, in their signed plea agreements, Manocchio and Lato admit to being organizers and leaders of the enterprise’s criminal activity. As alleged in the indictment, Manocchio was an underboss and boss of the NELCN and Lato was an NELCN capo, primarily responsible for Rhode Island. Lato also admitted in his plea agreement to related extortion activity charged in the indictment.
Theodore Cardillo and Albino “Albie” Folcarelli, also named in the second superseding indictment and identified as alleged associates of the NELCN, are scheduled for trial on April 23, 2012.
An indictment is merely an allegation and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
An eighth defendant named in a previous superseding indictment in this matter, Thomas Iafrate, of Johnston, R.I., pleaded guilty on July 21, 2011, to one count of conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise. He also admitted that he was an associate of the NELCN. Iafrate was sentenced in December 2011 to 30 months in federal prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release.
The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William J. Ferland for the District of Rhode Island and Trial Attorney Sam Nazzaro of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section. The matter was investigated by the FBI, Rhode Island State Police, Providence Police and Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation.