Two associates of the Genovese crime family’s crew in Springfield, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty to extortion-related charges on Monday. 50-year-old Ralph Santaniello and 54-year-old Giovanni Calabrese admitted to using threats of violence as they sought to collect their loansharking debts.
Both men were arrested and charged in August 2016 along with Gerald Daniele, Francesco Depergola, and Richard Valentini. All men are alleged associates of the New York-based Genovese La Cosa Nostra crime family.
The crew engaged in various criminal activities in Springfield, Massachusetts, including loansharking and extorting legitimate and illegitimate businesses, such as illegal gambling businesses and the collection of unlawful debts. They allegedly used violence, exploited their relationship with the New York mob, and implied threats of murder and physical violence to instill fear in their victims.
In 2013, Santaniello, Calabrese, Depergola and Valentini allegedly attempted to extort money from a Springfield businessman. Santaniello assaulted the businessman and threatened to cut off his head and bury his body if he did not comply. Over a period of four months, the businessman paid $20,000 to Santaniello, Calabrese, Depergola and Valentini to protect himself and his business.
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In addition, during a six-month period in 2015, it is alleged that Daniele extended two extortionate and usurious loans to an individual, and then, along with Santaniello and Calabrese, threatened the individual if he did not make payments on the loans.
Each charge provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, a fine of $250,000 and forfeiture. Their sentencings are scheduled for January 29 and January 30, 2018.
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