Two New England men in their 70s are heading to prison after admitting in a federal court to running an extortion scheme for years.
On Monday, Antonio “Spucky” Spagnolo, 73, and Pryce “Stretch” Quintina, 75, pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to affect commerce by extortion, MassLive.com reported.
Prosecutors claimed the two elderly, one with a limp and the other with a hearing aid, were members of the New England Family of La Cosa Nostra, with Spagnolo as the acting boss of the New England mafia and Quintana as a “made” man who reported to Spagnolo, according to the Boston Globe.
The men may have appeared to be past their prime, but their indictments charged the two with threatening and intimidating business owners.
One of the victims was the owner of Constitution Vending Co., which sets up illegal video poker machines in bars and restaurants in Revere and East Boston and split the revenue with the bar and restaurant owners. According to court documents, the business owner took over the company in 2004 and continued the decade-long tradition of paying a senior member of the New England Mafia or risk losing his business to another vendor.
Authorities said between October 2005 and October 2012, Spagnolo—a senior member at the time—and Quinta demanded and received at least $50,000 in “protection” payments. But in 2013, one of Constitution’s clients—the Revere Moose Lodge—wanted to a new video poker machine company.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Moran was quoted by the Boston Globe saying the two men “implied the threat of economic harm,” to which Spagnolo explained: “The implied threat was that they couldn’t put their machines in there.” The two men, however, denied they made any threat that they will physically harm the victims.
Spagnolois facing up to 24 months in prison, while Quinta is expected to receive 18 months during the sentencing hearing on March 24, according to the new outlet. The two men have denied any association with the mob.
The name La Cosa Nostra has been in the news quite frequently in the past year, thanks to the shenanigans of its elderly members. Last July, 78-year-old Joseph Graziano was sentenced to 18 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering conspiracy.
Graziano was the principal owner of Costa Rica-based Beteagle.com, but authorities believe the online sports betting operation was actually headed by 83-year-old Joseph Lascala, an alleged “capo” of the Genovese Crime Family of La Cosa Nostra operating in northern New Jersey.
Charges against Lascala are still pending.
In their 70s, two New England Mafia members admit extortion, prepare for prison
By Rebecca Everett | firstname.lastname@example.org
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BOSTON — 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.