News and Press Releases

News Release
U.S. Department of Justice
Peter F. Neronha
United States Attorney
District of Rhode Island

February 23, 2011

Note: Plea agreements may be viewed by clicking defendant's highlighted name.


Zambarano to Plead Guilty in Insurance Fraud Scheme;
Douglas to Plead Guilty to Use of Extortion to Collect Gambling Debts

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha announced today that three former North Providence town councilmen and a North Providence businessman have agreed to plead guilty as charged for their roles in four extortion and bribery schemes. In addition, the defendants are jointly liable to forfeit $46,000, which represents the total amount of bribe money received.

According to documents filed with the U.S. District Court in Providence, former town councilmen Joseph S. Burchfield, Raymond L. Douglas III and John A. Zambarano, and North Providence businessman Edward Imondi will plead guilty for their roles and participation in a conspiracy which included four extortion and bribery schemes, including a $25,000 bribe in exchange for a supermarket development zoning change; a $75,000 bribe in exchange for a zoning change which would permit residential development at a mill in the Lymansville section of North Providence (of which $21,000 in cash was delivered); the attempted extortion of $3,000 from a bar owner seeking a liquor license (the bribe was not paid); and the attempted extortion of $5,000 from a restaurant owner seeking an extended hours permit (the bribe was not paid). 

In addition to pleading guilty for his role in the corruption cases, Douglas will plead guilty as charged to using extortion as a means to collect gambling debts owed him as charged in a federal indictment returned by a federal grand jury on September 2, 2010. The indictment alleges that Douglas operated an illegal gambling business in North Providence, which accepted illegal sports wagers over the telephone on various college and professional sports including football, basketball and baseball, and that he used extortion to collect gambling debts owed his business. Douglas will also forfeit an amount to be determined, representing gambling debts he collected.

In addition to pleading guilty for his role in the bribery conspiracy, Zambarano has agreed to plead guilty as charged for his role in a conspiracy in which it is alleged he and three others devised a scheme in which an insurance claim would be filed to repair uninsured flood damage to the home of one of the co-conspirator’s, which was caused by the historic floods in March 2010. Zambarano will also be liable for $40,012.68, which represents funds gained from the fraudulent insurance scheme.

The criminal cases, which are presently before U.S. District Court Chief Judge Mary M. Lisi, are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys John P. McAdams and Terrence P. Donnelly.

The criminal matters were investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with the assistance of Rhode Island State Police, Providence Police, DEA, and the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation Division.


Contact: 401-709-5357



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