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

Thursday, February 23, 2012

No deal for another accused mobster

Despite signing an agreement with prosecutors, another accused mobster has backed away from a plea deal.
Alfred “Chippy” Scivola, 70, held off on changing his plea to guilty Thursday. His lawyer, Victor Beretta asked for a continuance to work out some of the details in the agreement.
Scivola is one of eight defendants in a sweeping mob case that took down the reputed former boss Luigi “Baby Shacks” Manocchio.
Scivola had signed a deal to plead guilty to racketeering conspiracy. He was accused of being part of a scheme that shook down strip clubs for protection money.
Outside court, Beretta declined to say what the issue was with the deal. It is still expected they will come to an agreement sometime next month.
Earlier in the same courtroom, mob associate Raymond “Scarface” Jenkins changed his plea to guilty. He will face between 33 and 41 months in prison. U.S. District Court Judge William Smith will sentence Jenkins on May 11.
Investigators say Jenkins was part of crew that shook down a used car salesman from Johnston. Ultimately, the man’s wife drained $20,000 from their retirement account out of concern for her husband’s safety. In all the man was extorted for $25,000, according to court documents.
Also pleading guilty on Thursday was Richard Bonafiglia, a longtime mob associate who once worked at the Cadillac Lounge in Providence - one of the strip clubs investigators say was paying protection money to the mob.
In court, trial attorney for the Department of Justice Sam Nazzaro said Bonafiglia was hired by the Cadillac in November 2005 and served as the "eyes and ears for the criminal enterprise."
"He did not answer to management at the Cadillac Lounge, but rather the enterprise," Nazzaro said.
Bonafiglia has a lengthy criminal record and faces up to 105 months in prison when he is sentenced in June.
Investigators present
Sitting in on the plea hearings were several investigators from the Organized Crime Task Force who have worked this case for years, including FBI Special Agent Jeffrey Cady, State Police Corporal Matthew Moynihan and longtime Providence Police detective Jack Whalen as well as former task force member Lt. Kevin Hawkins of the state police.
For Whalen, who has been with the Providence Police Department for 23 years – 13 of which battling mobsters – the plea hearings came just 24 hours from retirement and marked the end of a long-running probe into the New England La Cosa Nostra that he was a part of.
In fact, he was one of the investigators who detained Manocchio at a Florida airport in 2011 just before the aging – and now admitted – mobster was about to board a plane to return to Rhode Island. Since then, Manocchio has been behind bars awaiting the outcome of the case.
Whalen is a familiar face at mob hearings and has collared many of the defendants in this case. The list includes Jenkins, a longtime enforcer for the mob. The pair exchanged cordial words and a handshake prior to the hearing.
Not present for the plea hearings was FBI Special Agent Joseph Degnan, who recently retired. He would most certainly return to the courtroom as a witness if any of the defendants end up going to trial.
Deal called off
The plea agreements faced a similar bumpy road on Wednesday with one accused capo regime backing away from the pre-arranged plea deal.
Edward “Eddie” Lato said while he agreed with some of the facts laid out in court, he said he did not receive any money from the Satin Doll strip club in an alleged shakedown scheme. He also took issue with the characterization that he helped run some of the criminal enterprise.
“I don’t know nothing about the Satin Doll,” Lato told Judge Smith. “I didn’t oversee anything.”
Smith told both sides he couldn’t allow the plea hearing to go forward if the defendant didn’t agree with all the facts. He told Lato's lawyer, Mark Smith, to meet with his client in the near future.
On Wednesday Manocchio, 84, of Providence, pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering conspiracy. Federal prosecutors said he once ran the New England crime family and profited from an extortion scheme where he shook down strip clubs for protection money.
During the hearing, Judge Smith asked Manocchio if anyone threatened him to sign onto the plea deal.
“I don’t know who that would be,” Manocchio said with a laugh. “But no.”
Smith is scheduled to decide Manocchio’s fate May 11, 2012, but his lawyer – Joseph Balliro of Boston – asked if the date could be moved up because his client wants out of the Wyatt Detention Center in Central Falls where he’s been held for nearly a year.
“He’s extremely anxious to get out of Wyatt,” Balliro said. “It’s an ugly place for a man of his age.”
Two other defendants – Theodore Cardillo and Albino Folcarelli – have not signed onto the pea agreement and are scheduled for trial in May.
There are signs, however, that Cardillo is working to hammer out a deal with the Rhode Island U.S. Attorney’s Office.


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