WASHINGTON – Four alleged members and associates of the New England La Cosa Nostra (LCN), including an alleged former boss, were charged with crimes involving racketeering, extortion and related crimes in a superseding indictment unsealed today in Providence, R.I.
The charges and arrests were announced today by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the 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 Brendan P. DohertySuperintendent of the Rhode Island State Police; Steven M. Pare, Providence Public Safety Commissioner; and William P. Offord, Special Agent in Charge of the Boston office of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations (IRS-CI.)
The superseding indictment charges alleged longtime New England LCN boss Luigi Manocchio, 83, aka “Louie,” aka “Baby Shacks,” aka “the Professor,” and aka “the Old Man;” and associates Thomas Iafrate, 61; Richard Bonafiglia, 57; and Theodore Cardillo, 67, with racketeering conspiracy and extortion conspiracy. Manocchio and Iafrate, who were charged previously in an indictment unsealed on Jan. 20, 2011, also face extortion charges.
The department announced charges against 127 individuals, including 91 alleged leaders, members and associates – including Manocchio and Iafrate - of LCN families in four districts on Jan. 20, 2011, as part of a coordinated enforcement action against the LCN.
“Today’s arrests and charges are among a series of recent blows to organized crime across the country, including in Rhode Island,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer. “This indictment comes on the heels of last month’s takedown of over 100 defendants associated with Armenian Power and other transnational organized crime groups, and of our historic enforcement action in January against nearly 100 La Cosa Nostra members and associates. If the mafia thought they could operate in the shadows and get away with it, they now know better. Our recent and sustained efforts leave no doubt that we are pursuing La Cosa Nostra and other violent organized crime groups aggressively.”
“As Attorney General Holder stated in New York earlier this year, battling organized crime remains a priority for the Department of Justice. Unchecked, it extends its tentacles into our citizens’ everyday lives. This office will continue to work closely with the investigative team and our colleagues in the department’s Criminal Division to deal with this threat,” said U.S. Neronha. “This indictment is the result of a multi-year investigation in which my office has worked closely with the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime and Racketeering Section in Washington. I also want to acknowledge the excellent work of investigators in this case, from the FBI, the Rhode Island State Police and the Providence Police Department. I have seen no better example of federal, state and local law enforcement cooperation.”
“The investigation that led to today’s indictment is an example of the cooperative efforts of the Providence Organized Crime Task Force,” said Special Agent in Charge DesLauriers of the FBI’s Boston Field Office. “The combined decades of investigative experience and knowledge of La Cosa Nostra of the Rhode Island State Police, Providence Police Department, IRS, FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office resulted in this extraordinary investigation. In Rhode Island, and throughout New England, organized crime will continue to be a top criminal priority of the FBI. Our joint efforts will continue to disrupt and dismantle national and transnational criminal syndicates. Through our task force and intelligence based model, we will use every capability and tool we have at our disposal to target the NELCN and other similar organized crime groups.”
The superseding indictment alleges that for more than two decades, the defendants and others extorted local adult bookstores and nightclubs for monthly “protection” payments by promoting a climate of fear through threats of force and violence, among other illegal activity.
Bonafiglia and Cardillo were arrested this morning and made initial appearances in U.S. District Court in Providence today. The court entered not guilty pleas on Bonafiglia and Cardillo’s behalf. Cardillo was released on a $50,000 unsecured bond and was ordered to have no contact with the business, employees or owners of any adult entertainment establishment. Bonafiglia was detained, pending a bail hearing on March 10, 2011. Manocchio was arrested in Miami on Jan. 19, 2011, and was removed to Rhode Island, where he continues to be detained pending a bail hearing on March 8, 2011. Iafrate was arrested in Providence on Jan. 20, 2011, and released on bail.
According to the indictment, the New England LCN family operates in Providence, among other places, and routinely engages in violence and threatens violence to promote a climate of fear, preserve its power, and enrich its members and associates through extortion. The New England LCN has a hierarchical structure, with an administration comprised of a boss, underboss and capos at the top overseeing crews of criminals, including members and associates who commit crimes and serve as insulation from criminal exposure for the leadership of the enterprise.
The superseding indictment alleges that Manocchio received monthly protection payments, paid in cash by the owners and operators of certain adult entertainment businesses in Providence, including the Satin Doll and the Cadillac Lounge. Iafrate served as the bookkeeper for these and other businesses. Iafrate was responsible for setting aside, collecting and delivering the protection payments to Manocchio on behalf of these businesses. According to the superseding indictment, the monthly payments ranged from $4,000 to $6,000 per month. Finally, Bonafiglia and Cardillo allegedly were hired as a bouncer and manager, respectively, at the Cadillac Lounge upon direction from Manocchio to the owner. The indictment alleges that Bonafiglia and Cardillo provided information to Manocchio about the ongoing business affairs of the lounge in order for Manocchio to maintain control over the club.
Each charge of racketeering conspiracy, extortion conspiracy and extortion carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The charges announced today are merely allegations, and defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.
The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Scott Lawson of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Racketeering Section, Trial Attorney Sam Nazzaro of the Criminal Division’s Gang Unit and by Assistant U.S. Attorney William Ferland for the District of Rhode Island. The case is being investigated by the FBI, IRS-CI, the Rhode Island State Police and the Providence Police Department.