Focus on DiNunzio: Authorities Try to Dismantle the New England Mafia
When an alleged crime occurs, police try to gather enough evidence for the arrest of the suspected individual and prosecutors try to charge and prove the criminal allegations in court beyond a reasonable doubt. The role of a criminal defense attorney is to be a personal advocate for people facing criminal charges by aggressively defending their actions and ensuring that the police and the prosecution are held accountable to their burdens of proof. For some time, federal authorities have been trying to collect enough evidence to bring down New England’s Cosa Nostra crime family.
Near the end of April 2012, the alleged boss of the New England Mafia, Anthony DiNunzio, was charged with multiple counts of extortion, racketeering, and conspiracy. After his arrest, DiNunzio attended a hearing where he pleaded not guilty to the charges and was ordered held without bail. The 53-year-old faces up to 20 years in jail on just one of the charges against him.
According to federal prosecutors, Anthony DiNunzio became the leading figure of New England’s Cosa Nostra crime family near the end of 2009 and headed the organization’s alleged extortion of strip clubs and other businesses in Rhode Island, allegedly demanding monthly payments of $2,000 to $6,000. Court records helped authorities portray DiNunzio in the hearing as someone who is supposedly no stranger to hardball tactics and should therefore be held without bail. Legal documents show how he allegedly demanded payments from subordinates, intimidated members of the organization he suspected were cooperating with authorities, and boasted he would bury alive those who moved against him.
Because of those allegations, DiNunzio faces multiple charges of extortion, racketeering and conspiracy. But what are the definitions of DiNunzio’s alleged crimes? While precise definitions vary by state, extortion is generally defined as the taking of money or property by force or by threat of violence, harm to reputation, or property damage. State and federal racketeering laws make it illegal for criminal organizations to profit from legitimate business. The goal of racketeering laws is to cut off the source of finances that fund criminal activity. Any crime that cross state lines or involves an applicable federal law provides the basis for federal authorities to intervene. The Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act, better known as RICO, is the federal anti-racketeering law. Finally, conspiracy occurs when two or more people agree to commit an illegal act and take significant action toward doing so. The action taken may not necessarily be a crime, but it must indicate that those involved knew of the plan and intended to break the law.
Anthony DiNunzio’s arrest and detention is the latest effort by law enforcement to dismantle the mob and demonstrate the relationship between mafia members in Boston, Providence and New York. DiNunzio is the ninth person facing charges for alleged involvement in the New England mob. Six of those arrested, including the former boss of the New England Mafia Luigi Manocchio, have struck plea agreements. DiNunzio’s brother has also been subject to the investigation. Carmen DiNunzio is a former New England Mafia underboss and ran the family’s cheese shop. He was convicted of federal bribery charges in 2009. Most recently, 54-year-old Albino Folcarelli, was convicted at the end of July on one count of extortion conspiracy for intimidating a used car salesman to pay the New England Mafia $25,000. As of late, Anthony DiNunzio continues to maintain his not guilty stance.
If you are the subject of criminal charges in Massachusetts, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who can protect your rights.