Five accused mafia plead guilty to extortion of strip clubs

Reuters News
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Posted: Feb 16, 2012 4:28 PM
Five accused mafia plead guilty to extortion of strip clubs

By Zach Howard

(Reuters) - Five alleged mobsters accused of terrorizing and extorting protection payments from strip clubs around Providence, Rhode Island, have agreed to plead guilty to federal racketeering charges, officials said on Thursday.

Plea deals were reached with the accused former godfather of the New England La Cosa Nostra, Luigi "Baby Shacks" Manocchio, and associates Edward Lato, Alfred "Chippy" Scivola and Richard Bonafiglia, said Peter Neronha, U.S. Attorney for Rhode Island, in a statement.

Each will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise.

Associate Raymond Jenkins also will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to extort the clubs.

The men face sentences of up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000.

The organized crime family members were accused of extorting thousands of dollars in cash payments each month from strip club operators since the mid-1980s. Violence and threats were part of the monthly routine "to promote a climate of fear, preserve its power, and enrich its members and associates through extortion," prosecutors said.

The deal comes 13 months after the biggest single-day sweep against organized crime in U.S. history, when authorities in January 2011 arrested more than 100 organized crime suspects, targeting New York's five Mafia "families," one in New Jersey and one in New England, according to the FBI.

(Editing By Barbara Goldberg and Greg McCune)