A New England Mafia member was ordered Thursday to serve nearly four years in federal prison for his role in the shakedown of Rhode Island strip clubs, becoming the second admitted mobster and fifth person overall to be sentenced in the case.
Alfred "Chippy" Scivola Jr., of Johnston, was sentenced in Providence to three years and 10 months by a federal judge who imposed the punishment sought by prosecutors. Under a plea agreement, Scivola had faced between three years, five months and four years, three months in federal prison.
The 71-year-old Scivola pleaded guilty in March to racketeering conspiracy. He blew a kiss to his family as he was led away from the courtroom in handcuffs.
Scivola's role in the extortion of strip clubs by the mob for monthly protection payments dates to 2002, according to a plea agreement signed in February. The agreement says the plot netted $800,000 to $1.5 million in ill-gotten gains.
Defense attorney Victor Beretta said the evidence ties Scivola to the scheme beginning last year and argued Scivola got involved at the end of a decades-long scheme.
"If you come in at the end of a 30-year conspiracy ... you cannot be held responsible for everything that came before you," Beretta said.
Beretta also described Scivola as a good family man and "loyal and true friend," who has a pacemaker and requires treatment for respiratory and heart problems. He asked that Scivola be given a less severe sentence.
Rhode Island U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha praised Scivola's sentence.
"We're just moving along. The dominoes are falling," Neronha said. He added prosecutors will "keep the pressure on" the mob after the final case is settled.
The extortion investigation has ensnared nine people described by prosecutors as having ties to organized crime.
Five people have been sentenced to prison in the case, including three mob associates and former New England mob boss Luigi "Baby Shacks" Manocchio. Manocchio, 84, was ordered last month to serve 5 1/2 years in prison for his role in the plot.
Reputed acting New England mob boss Anthony DiNunzio was arrested in connection to the scheme in April. DiNunzio, who lives in the East Boston section of Boston, has pleaded not guilty and is being held without bail.
Edward "Eddy" Lato, 65, the captain of the mob's Rhode Island crew, has pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy and faces sentencing next week.
Assistant U.S. Attorney William J. Ferland said Scivola was inducted into the Mafia in 1996. He detailed Scivola's history with the crime family, including his involvement in a strip club extortion plot in Connecticut. Ferland also said Scivola traveled out of state on behalf of the mob, going to New Haven, Conn., in 2008 to meet with the New York-based Gambino crime family and meeting in 2011 with reputed New England mob captain Mark Rossetti, of Boston, to discuss the flow of money from the strip club plot.
Ferland asked the judge to impose a sentence that would send a message to those who might be drawn to the "glamour" associated with the Mafia and warned that the extortion case has not erased the New England crime family completely.
Monthly payments from strip clubs were set aside for the Mafia by Thomas Iafrate, 71, a former bookkeeper at the Cadillac Lounge and Satin Doll strip clubs, prosecutors said. Iafrate is serving a 2 1/2-year prison sentence for racketeering conspiracy.
Theodore Cardillo, 69, who prosecutors say was a manager at the Cadillac Lounge, has pleaded not guilty to charges and awaits trial.