Federal agents on Friday said they have put a major dent in the ranks of the New England mafia after arresting four of its alleged members and associates, including a capo accused of continuing to shake down Providence-area strip clubs following the arrest of a reputed former boss in January.
Alleged New England La Cosa Nostra capo Edward "Eddy" Lato, 64, alleged "made" member Alfred "Chippy" Scivola, 70, and accused mob associates Raymond "Scarface" Jenkins, 47, and Albino "Albi" Folcarelli, 53, were arrested Friday in Rhode Island. All four were ordered held without bail at separate court appearances.
They are charged in a superseding second indictment tied to the January arrest of alleged former boss Luigi "Baby Shacks" Manocchio, 83, who is accused with others of shaking down Providence-area strip clubs beginning in the mid-1980s for at least $2 million. The indictment includes new allegations about Manocchio's role in the extortion plot of establishments including the Satin Doll, the Foxy Lady, Desire and Cadillac Lounge.
Federal officials said at a press conference that they will continue to zero in on La Cosa Nostra until it's snuffed out.
"The criminal activity of the New England La Cosa Nostra has been severely disrupted," said Jeffrey S. Sallet, FBI supervisory special agent in Providence, adding that authorities have "shattered `omerta' _ the New England (mafia)'s code of silence."
Manocchio has pleaded not guilty and is being held on bail awaiting trial. His attorney, Joseph J. Balliro, did not immediately return a message. Manocchio's co-defendant, Thomas Iafrate, 70, pleaded guilty in July to racketeering conspiracy and is awaiting sentencing next month.
The indictment says that after the arrest of Manocchio and Iafrate, Lato _ the alleged leader of the mafia's Rhode Island crew _ sought to continue to collect "protection" payments from several clubs. In particular, the indictment says, Lato fixated on getting Desire and the Cadillac Lounge to resume payments while lamenting that law enforcement was trailing him whenever he traveled to Massachusetts to meet with an unidentified high-ranking mafia figure.
"Every time I leave there's someone looking at me ... there's a guy on the corner in a car every (expletive) time. It's got to be something right," Lato is quoted as saying. "Then he's telling me I'm being followed there. ... How the (expletive) am I being followed there."
Rhode Island U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha said Lato's comments indicate he "was not making wise decisions."
On May 2, Lato came up with $2,000 from the renewed extortion of the Cadillac Lounge, the indictment says. Three days later, he delivered $5,000 to a "high-ranking" mafia member in Boston's North End from strip clubs in Rhode Island, prosecutors said. The FBI later seized the cash.
Prosecutors say the renewed monthly payments ranged from $2,000 to $6,000. They added a portion of the money was shared with Scivola, who was sentenced to two years in federal prison in 2005 for his role in a similar plot in Connecticut.
Lato and Scivola pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court in Providence and were ordered detained at the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls. Detention hearings will be held Sept. 29. During his arraignment, Scivola took a puff from an inhaler and blew a kiss to his wife, who showed up in court with a bag containing his prescription medications. Assistant U.S. Attorney William J. Ferland said Scivola's criminal record dates back to 1964.
Defense attorney Victor Beretta said both men believe they deserve bail.
Lato and Scivola are also facing charges in state court accusing them of participating in an illegal sports-betting ring. Lato, who was barred from leaving Rhode Island because of the state case, is also charged with federal counts of traveling in aid of racketeering for going to Massachusetts to meet with mafia figures, the indictment says.
Magistrate Judge David L. Martin also detained Jenkins and Folcarelli. They are accused of threatening an unidentified person with violence to obtain $25,000 to resolve a debt, the indictment says.
Folcarelli is accused of going to the debtor's workplace to intimidate him some time after July 2010. The person eventually paid Jenkins $20,000, which was withdrawn from his spouse's retirement account and shared with Folcarelli and Lato, according to the indictment.
Prosecutors say Jenkins boasted law enforcement wouldn't pick up on the extortion scheme.
"There is no way they can link it," Jenkins is quoted as saying. "There is no proof of money...There is no proof of nothing...nothing."
But by May, Lato began to fret that the debtor or his family were cooperating with authorities, according to the indictment.
"We got to worry about this (expletive) (person)," Lato is quoted as saying. Folcarelli also worried the "kid" would cause them a "headache," calling the debtor and his relatives a "family of stool pigeons" the indictment says.
U.S. Trial Attorney Sam Nazzaro said Folcarelli's criminal record includes 11 convictions _ some for felonies such as robbery and drug offenses. As a result, he faces a possible life sentence under the "three-strikes" law, Nazzaro said.
Nazzaro added that Folcarelli is on probation for a state case in which he pleaded no contest to attempted larceny.
Jenkins is currently on probation for a state racketeering case, said Ferland, who asked Martin for a permanent detention order. Jenkins did not object.
Mob associates Richard Bonafiglia, 57, and Theodore Cardillo, 67, were also indicted earlier this year in the case and have pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors say Bonafiglia and Cardillo kept Manocchio informed of the goings-on at the Cadillac Lounge, where they worked as a bouncer and manager, respectively.