Two septuagenarians, one with a limp and the other with a hearing aid and both reputed members of the New England Mafia, admitted in federal court that they ran an extortion scheme for years.
Prosecutors alleged that Antonio L. "Spucky" Spagnolo, 73, of Revere is the acting boss of the New England Mafia, also called the New England Family of La Cosa Nostra. His co-defendant, Pryce "Stretch" Quintina, 75, also of Revere, was a "made" man in the mafia who reported to Spagnolo, prosecutors said.
Both men pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Boston Monday, the Boston Globe reported, to charges of conspiracy to affect commerce by extortion for threatening the owner of the Revere Moose Lodge and another businessman.
If Judge Patti B. Saris approves a plea agreement in the case, Spagnolo will be sentenced to 24 months in prison and Quintana will be sentenced to 18 months, the Globe reported. A sentencing hearing is set for March 24.
While the Globe reported both men in court appeared to be many years past their prime days as physically tough gangsters, the indictments against both men charges them with threatening and intimidating business owners.
According to court documents, one of the victims of the extortion was the owner of Constitution Vending Co., a company that set up illegal video poker machines in bars and restaurants in Revere and East Boston. The company split the proceeds of the illegal machines with the bar and restaurant owners
When the victim took control of Constitution Vending Co. in 2004, he continued the 10-year tradition of paying a senior member the New England Mafia for protection — specifically, to ensure that his machines could remain in the bars and restaurants and would not be replaced by machines from another vendor.
Beginning in October 2005, court documents showed, Spagnolo was the senior member directing Quintana to collect the monthly payments from the owner of Constitution. Between that date and October 2012, the two men demanded and received at least $50,000 in payments.
In 2013, an official at the Revere Moose Lodge and the owner of a new video poker machine company agreed that new poker machines would be placed in the lodge, with the lodge getting a "more favorable" split of the proceeds than Constitution was offering.
When Spagnolo learned of the plan, he and Quintana threatened the Moose Lodge official and said he would not allow the new machines to be used. As a result, the new machines were not installed, according to the indictment.
The men were arrested in October and released with GPS monitoring devices.
In court Monday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Moran said the two men made "implied" economic threats, the Globe reported.
Spagnolo denied there was any physical threat. "The implied threat was that they couldn't put their machines in there," he said, according to the Globe.
It is believed that Spagnolo took over the New England Mafia after former Patriarca boss Anthony DiNunzio, 55, pleaded guilty to racketeering charges that he shook down strip clubs in Rhode Island.
Both men denied in court that they were members of any organized crime group, the Globe reported.
The Boston Globe reported that Spagnolo, a "made" man, was a capo and reputed drug dealer when Gennaro Angiulo ran the Mafia's Boston operations from 1960s to the early 1980s.
Spagnolo in the 1990s served a nine-year prison sentence for racketeering and drug dealing, while Quintana served more than seven years for racketeering.
Both were rumored to have been present at the October 1989 Mafia induction meeting in Medford that the FBI secretly recorded, the Globe reported. The group has weakened substantially since then, the newspaper wrote, with many leaders being prosecuted.