Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Relaxed-looking Rhode Island mob associate pleads guilty to racketeering

A casually-dressed Thomas Iafrate leaves federal court in downtown Providence Thursday; defense attorney Kevin Salvaggio holds open the car door for him.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- A mob associate who worked as a bookkeeper at two strip clubs in the city pleaded guilty Thursday to one federal count of racketeering conspiracy.
In return for the guilty plea, government prosecutors will recommend a reduced sentence for Thomas Iafrate, 70, of Johnston, who took care of the financial records at the Satin Doll and the Cadillac Lounge, two adult entertainment spots run by Richard and Nancy Shappy.
At Iafrate's sentencing, the government also will move to dismiss two extortion charges against him.
U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith accepted Iafrate's plea and set sentencing for Oct. 21 at 11 a.m. The felony charge calls for a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, but he will get just a fraction of that penalty for admitting his guilt.
Iafrate looked relaxed inside and outside the courtroom in U.S. District Court. He wore a dark-print Hawaiian shirt with beige palm trees surrounding his waist. Before the hearing got under way, he asked Detective Jack Whalen, a longtime mob investigator for the Providence police, if he had any cigars.
"You don't have a cigar for me?'' he joked.
Inside, Iafrate marveled at the intricate woodwork and the high ceilings in the majestic third-floor courtroom.
"They did a nice job with this,'' he told Artin H. Coloian, one of his lawyers.

In January, Iafrate and Luigi "Baby Shacks'' Manocchio, of Providence, the former boss of the New England mob, were indicted in a massive organized-crime sweep that included 127 mobsters and associates from Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey on a bevy of criminal charges such as murder, loansharking, narcotics trafficking and labor racketeering.
Iafrate and Manocchio were accused of shaking down the Shappys for thousands of dollars in monthly extortion payments. Specificially, Iafrate was accused of using his position at the strip clubs and at Northeast Sales, another Shappy business, to set aside extortion payments that were delivered to Manocchio and the New England mob. The payments exceeded $800,000, court papers show.
The extortion payments date to 1989, the indictment says, and since 2006, Iafrate was accused of delivering $125 daily from the Cadillac Lounge to the mob.
There is no mention in court filings that Iafrate has agreed to cooperate with the government, and the subject did not surface at his plea hearing.
Iafrate remains free on $50,000 personal recognizance, pending his sentencing in the fall.

Manocchio, who pleaded not guilty to racketeering conspiracy, extortion conspiracy and extortion, is being held without bail at the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls.



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