Justice News

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 11, 2018

Two Associates of La Cosa Nostra Sentenced to Prison for Extortion-Related Charges

Two associates of the Genovese La Cosa Nostra (LCN) crime family were sentenced today in federal court in Worcester, Massachusetts on extortion-related charges.

 

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

 

Richard Valentini, 53, of East Longmeadow, Massachusetts, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman to serve 20 months in prison followed by two years of supervised release. On Dec. 18, 2017, Valentini was convicted by a federal jury of one count of conspiracy to interfere with commerce by threats or violence and one count of aiding in the interference with commerce by threats or violence – aiding.

 

Francesco Depergola, 61, of West Springfield, Massachusetts, was sentenced by Judge Hillman to serve 38 months in prison followed by two years of supervised release. In December 2017, Depergola pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to interfere with commerce by threats or violence and one count of aiding in the interference with commerce by threats or violence – aiding, which were charged by indictment in the District of Massachusetts, and one count of racketeering conspiracy, which was charged by indictment in the Southern District of New York.

 

In August 2016, Valentini and Depergola were arrested with three of their associates from the New York-based Genovese LCN crime family: Gerald Daniele, Giovanni Calabrese, and Ralph Santaniello.

 

Based on Depergola’s plea documents and evidence elicited at Valentini’s trial, Valentini, Depergola, and their co-defendants, engaged in various criminal activities in Springfield, Massachusetts, including loansharking and extortion from legitimate and illegitimate businesses, such as illegal gambling businesses and the collection of unlawful debts. The defendants used violence, exploited their relationship with LCN, and implied threats of murder and physical violence to instill fear in their victims.

 

Further, in 2013, Santaniello, Calabrese, Depergola and Valentini attempted to extort money from a Springfield businessman. Santaniello not only assaulted the businessman, but he and Calabrese threatened to cut off the businessman’s head and bury his body if he did not comply. Over a period of two months, in order to protect himself and his business, the businessman paid $20,000 to Santaniello, Calabrese, Depergola and Valentini.

 

In addition, based on Depergola’s plea documents, around August 2014, Santaniello and Depergola financed a $30,000 loan that New York-based LCN member Eugene O’Nofrio extended to another individual. O’Nofrio later threatened the individual if he did not make payments on the loans. O’Nofrio was charged in the Southern District of New York, has pleaded guilty, and is awaiting sentencing.

 

In March 2018, Daniele was sentenced to two years in prison; and in April 2018, Calabrese and Santaniello were sentenced to three years and five years in prison, respectively.

  

Trial Attorney Marianne Shelvey of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kevin O’Regan, Chief of Lelling’s Springfield Branch Office and Katharine Wagner of Lelling’s Springfield Branch Office prosecuted the cases.

Topic(s): 
Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 
18-623
Updated May 11, 2018