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Rhode Island Cosa Nostra Boss Arrested on Extorsion and Racketeering Charges

April 26th 2012

Anthony L. DiNunzio

The alleged boss of New England's organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra (NELCN) was arrested on April 25 on racketeering and extortion charges in Providence, Rhode Island, according to a report by the U.S. Department of Justice obtained by the National Association of Chiefs of Police. Anthony L. DiNunzio, 53, of East Boston, Massachusetts, was ordered detained following an appearance in U.S. District Court in Providence. A third superseding indictment returned on April 24, 2012, and unsealed in the District of Rhode Island, alleges, among other things, that DiNunzio and other leaders, members and associates of the NELCN extorted protection payments from pornography businesses throughout Rhode Island.

“According to the indictment unsealed [April 25], as the [acting Capo] of the New England La Cosa Nostra for more than two years, Mr. DiNunzio used fear and intimidation to control the corrupt activities of his criminal enterprise,” said Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer. “Among other charged criminal conduct, he allegedly asked an LCN member to extort a businessman in the adult entertainment industry and told others he would use violence against insubordinates. These charges are another step in our unrelenting efforts to stamp out the Mafia,” Breuer stated during a press conference following the mob boss' arrest.

DiNunzio allegedly took over as leader of the Patriarca crime family in late 2009 or early 2010, shortly after the Rhode Island-based gangster, Luigi “Louie” Manocchio gave up the job. Manocchio, who is in his mid-80s, has already pleaded guilty to federal charges.

According to Assistant US Attorney William Ferland and court records, Anthony DiNunzio is facing one count of racketeering conspiracy, one count of extortion conspiracy, and five counts of traveling in aid of racketeering.

Anthony DiNunzio is the brother of Carmen “The Cheese Man” DiNunzio, who was the acting boss of the New England mob until his imprisonment in 2009 on federal charges related to the Big Dig.  

According to the DOJ report, since January 2011, DiNunzio is the ninth alleged leader, underboss, member or associate of the NELCN to be indicted by a federal grand jury in Providence on federal racketeering and related charges.  Several of the NELCN members and associates involved previously pleaded guilty to racketeering charges.  

This superseding indictment also alleges that on several occasions, at DiNunzio’s direction, crime family members from New England, New York and New Jersey were consulted with or traveled to Massachusetts to discuss various criminal activities and crime family matters.   DiNunzio also allegedly directed NELCN members to travel to various locations, including New York, for meetings to discuss various criminal activities and crime family matters. 

According to the indictment, it is alleged that one such meeting occurred on November 3, 2009, in Boston, at a wake of an NELCN member’s mother, and later that same evening at a local restaurant.   During these meetings, DiNunzio and another NELCN member allegedly discussed, among other things, the distribution of proceeds from the extortion of the Rhode Island adult entertainment businesses. 

In addition, DiNunzio allegedly dispatched an NELCN member to New York to meet with Gambino crime family members on several occasions to receive Gambino family permission to extort money from the businessman for businesses he was operating in New England, according to the indictment.

In the indictment, Anthony DiNunzio described his management style: “As soon as I took over, I changed everything,’’ he is quoted as saying.

According to this indictment, during a meeting at My Cousin Vinny’s restaurant in Malden with a senior Gambino crime family member, DiNunzio allegedly discussed his NELCN leadership style stating,

    “As soon as I took over I changed everything.  One guy… ‘What if nobody wants to listen to you?’  ‘I said you’re shelved.’  He said ‘What if they don’t wanna get shelved?’  ‘Well then you and I get to watch you die in the ground….I’ll bury you right in the [expletive] ground puts all the dirt.  You’re alive.  They stay there.  I’ll stay there [expletive] 10 hours until you’re dead. And I’ll dig you back up and make sure you’re dead.’" 

The indictment alleges that DiNunzio continued to be concerned about the investigation, arrests of other members and possible government cooperators in the case.  The third superseding indictment alleges that despite these concerns, he continued to try to get other members to assist in running the Rhode Island part of the criminal enterprise. At one point, during a December 7, 2011, meeting with a senior Gambino made member, DiNunzio allegedly commented, “If I go to the can.  I’m still the boss…no matter what.”

Jim Kouri is the fifth Vice President and Public Information Officer of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, and writes for the Examiner website. He has served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the U.S. 


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