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Justice News

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, December 18, 2017

Associate of La Cosa Nostra Found Guilty of Extortion-Related Charges

An associate of the Genovese La Cosa Nostra (LCN) crime family was found guilty today in federal court in Springfield, Massachusetts of extortion-related charges.

 

Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney William D. Weinreb for the District of Massachusetts, Special Agent in Charge Harold H. Shaw of the FBI Boston Field Office, Hampden County District Attorney Anthony Gulluni and Colonel Kerry A. Gilpin, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police, made the announcement today.

 

Richard Valentini, 53, of East Longmeadow, Massachusetts was found guilty today by a jury following a one-week trial of one count of conspiracy to interfere with commerce by threats or violence and one count of interference with commerce by threats or violence. 

 

U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman scheduled Valentini’s sentencing on March 12, 2018.

 

According to the evidence presented at trial, Valentini and co-defendants, Francisco “Frank” Depergola, Ralph Santaniello, and Giovani “Johnny Cal” Calabrese, were associates of the New York-based Genovese LCN crime family and engaged in various criminal activities in Springfield, Massachusetts, including extortion from legitimate businesses.  The prosecutors established that Valentini and his co-defendants used violence, exploited their relationship with the Genovese LCN crime family, and implied threats of murder and physical violence to instill fear in their victims.

 

The evidence established that in 2013, Valentini, Depergola, Santaniello and Calabrese attempted to extort money from a Springfield businessman.  Santaniello and Calabrese assaulted the businessman and threatened to cut off his head and bury his body if he did not comply.  Prosecutors established that over a period of seven weeks, the businessman paid $20,000 to Valentini, Santaniello, Calabrese, and Depergola to protect himself and his business.

 

Each charge provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, five years of supervised release, a fine of $250,000, and forfeiture.  Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

 

Santaniello, Calabrese and Deperola previously pleaded guilty; their sentencings are scheduled for Jan. 29, 2018, Jan. 30, 2018, and March 9, 2018, respectively.

 

The case was investigated by the FBI Boston Field Office and the Massachusetts State Police.  Trial Attorney Marianne Shelvey of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section; Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin O’Regan, Chief of Weinreb’s Springfield Branch Office; and Assistant U.S. Attorney Katherine Wagner, also of the Springfield Branch Office are prosecuting the case.

 

Topic(s): 
Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 
17-1443
Updated December 18, 2017