WASHINGTON – Anthony L. Dinunzio, the acting leader of the New England La Cosa Nostra (NELCN) crime family, was sentenced today to serve 78 months in federal prison for his role in a racketeering conspiracy to extort protection payments from adult entertainment businesses in Rhode Island.
Dinunzio’s sentence was announced by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Peter F. Neronha, U.S. Attorney 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, R.I., Public Safety Commissioner Steven M. Paré.
“Today, the admitted leader of the New England La Cosa Nostra was sentenced to prison for the years of significant harm he caused to the people of Rhode Island,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer. “Anthony Dinunzio and his NELCN subordinates used threats of violence to extort protection payments from business owners throughout the state, and his sentence sends a powerful message about the department’s determination to hold mafia leaders and associates to account.”
“Prosecution of Mr. Dinunzio and his fellow LCN leaders, members and associates was a true team effort, in which attorneys from the Criminal Division and this office, the Rhode Island State Police, the Providence Police and the FBI all played a critical part,” said U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha. “As a result of their painstaking, excellent work, Mr. Dinunzio and his fellow career criminals are going to federal prison for long periods of time. Rhode Island, and New England as a whole, is a better and safer place today as a result of their work.”
“Over the last several years, the FBI and its federal, state and local law enforcement partners have undeniably shattered Omerta, the New England LCN’s code of silence,” said FBI Boston Special Agent in Charge DesLauriers. “Through persistent, methodical and unyielding investigations, Mr. Dinunzio and others in the LCN know they no longer are able to rely on their sworn bonds for protection from the FBI and our partners.”
Dinunzio, 53, of East Boston, Mass., was sentenced today by U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith in Providence, R.I. In addition to his prison term, Dinunzio was sentenced to serve three years of supervised release.
Dinunzio pleaded guilty on Sept. 13, 2012, to one count of conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise (RICO).
According to court documents, Dinunzio was a member and leader of the NELCN from at least 2002. At the time of his guilty plea, Dinunzio admitted to committing multiple acts of extortion and knowingly assisted in a criminal racketeering conspiracy through the oversight and receipt of $2,000 to $6,000 in monthly protection payments, paid in cash by the owners and operators of several adult entertainment businesses in Rhode Island. Dinunzio also admitted to obstructing or impeding the administration of justice by, among other methods, attempting to influence, delay or prevent witness testimony related to the investigation and prosecution of NELCN members.
Previously, seven leaders, underbosses, members and associates of the NELCN have pleaded guilty and been sentenced to federal prison for their involvement in the racketeering and extortion conspiracy to extort protection payments from adult entertainment businesses and individuals in Rhode Island during the past two decades. Admitted NELCN crime boss Luigi “Louie” Manocchio is serving a sentence of 66 months in prison. Edward “Eddy” Lato, an admitted capo, is serving a sentence of 108 months in prison. Alfred “Chippy” Scivola, an admitted NELCN member, is serving a sentence of 46 months in prison. Admitted NELCN associates Richard Bonifiglia and Albino “Albie” Folcarelli are both serving sentences of 84 months in prison. Raymond “Scarface” Jenkins is serving a sentence of 37 months in prison. And Thomas Iafrate is serving a sentence of 30 months in prison.
A ninth defendant, Theodore Cardillo, 69, has signed a plea agreement and agreed to plead guilty to a racketeering charge contained in a second superseding indictment in this matter. A change-of-plea and sentencing hearing has been scheduled for Dec. 11, 2012.
Colonel O’Donnell of the Rhode Island State Police said, “La Cosa Nostra historically prides itself on preying on the weak to exploit their ideology of greed and power. The factors that brought them “power”, has contributed to their demise.”
Providence Public Safety Commissioner Paré added, “The prosecution and sentencing of Anthony Dinunzio is an example of government from federal, state and local law enforcement aggressively investigating organized criminal behavior and incarcerating those who use fear, intimidation, violence and threats to extort money from businesses in Providence. We will continue to seek severe penalties with prison sentences for this type of criminal. We will not let up until we rid this criminal activity from our community.”
The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William J. Ferland of 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, the Rhode Island State Police and the Providence Police Department.