Organized crime in the United States keeps the FBI and other law enforcement agencies in a never-ending investigation of criminals suspected of the infiltration of legitimate businesses. A notorious twentieth century organized group was the New England Patriarca Mafia, or N.E.P.M.. Originating in 1915, the N.E.P.M. evolved over the early twentieth century decades, until 1954 when Raymond Loredo Salvatore Patriarca was donned as boss* and promptly began to expand its power. Due to mafia-related language that will be present throughout the paper, a page of definitions is supplied at the end of the paper. Defined words throughout the paper will be noted with an asterisk, ” * “.
To gain a basic knowledge for what organized crime really is and how the N.E.P.M. falls into this category, a short summary of legal characteristics is required. As defined by the President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice, organized crime is,
“A society that seeks to operate outside the control of the American people and their governments. It involves thousands of criminals*, working within structures as complex as those of any large cooperation, subject to laws more rigidly enforced than those of legitimate governments. Its actions are not impulsive but rather the result of intricate conspiracies, carried on over many years and aimed at gaining control over whole fields of activity in order to amass huge profits” (P.C.C., 1970).
Organized crime is a collective result of the commitment, knowledge, and actions of three components: (1) Criminal groups, who are core persons tied by racial, linguistic, ethnic or other bonds; (2) Protectors, who are persons who protect the group’s interests; and (3) Specialist support, which are persons who knowingly render services on an side-job basis to enhance the group’s interests. In order to thrive, an organized crime group needs many different elements. First, it needs an ensured continuity of members, clients, supporters, funds, etc. Additionally, it needs structure, criminality, violence, memberships based on common grounds, and a willingness to corrupt a power and profit goal. Generally, mafia organized crime groups disguise themselves behind the ownership of a legitimate business to avoid questioning from the Internal Revenue Service (I.R.S.) regarding any financial sources. The illegal enterprises are more likely to be smaller than their legal counterparts due to lack of external credits, lack of court enforceable contracts, a need to restrict knowledge of participation in the enterprise, and the inability to advertise or create goodwill for the enterprise itself, as opposed to goodwill for its agents.
Raymond Patriarca was born on March 17, 1908 in Worcester, Massachusetts to Italian immigrants Eleuterio and Mary Jane (DeNubile) Patriarca. At age three, the Patriarca family relocated to Federal Hill in Providence, Rhode Island, where his father opened a liquor store. Spending 59 of his 76 years of life being classified as a criminal*, Patriarca wasted no time in earning his nickname of the “King of Rackets”. It started at age seventeen, when he served his first jail sentence for a liquor law violation. His first known criminal position was serving as a guard for mafia bootlegging shipments as well as a hijacker of rival shipments. At age 21, he was imprisoned again, but this time being convicted of federal offenses including conspiracy to murder, armed robbery, violating the White Slave Act*, adultery, auto theft, and breaking and entering. In the late 1930s, Patriarca gained attention from the mafia and became an important Lieutenant and Hitman for Phil Buccola, the current New England mafia boss. In 1938, Patriarca was convicted of carrying a gun without a permit, possession of burglary tools and the armed robbery of the Brookline Jewelry firm, and was sentenced three to five years in state prison. This case was the beginning of his continuous involvement in political corruption. Just 84 days after being in jail, the Massachusetts Executive Council approved his pardon petition. Years later, Councilor Daniel H. Coakley, a disbarred lawyer, was impeached as a result of his involvement in the Patriarca case and several other matters. In 1938, Patriarca married Helen G. Mandella, the sister of and assistant messenger in the office of Leverett Saltonstall who was then governor of Massachusetts and went on to become a U.S. senator. Together they gave birth to a son, Raymond J. Patriarca, who went by “Junior”. By the early 1950s, Bucolla retired as boss and moved back to Sicily to escape the widespread trials occurring regarding La Cosa Nostra*, or L.C.N.. By 1952, Patriarca was powerful enough to take on his rival mob boss Carlton O’Brian. The N.E.P.M. became dominant in the underground of Rhode Island following the murder of O’Brien, and Patriarca became the new boss in 1954. Once Patriarca had ultimate control over the N.E.P.M., he rapidly expanded its power to include Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Maine. His expansion of power included loansharking*, gambling, hijacking, etc. Out of his office, he operated National Cigarette Service and Coin-O-Matic Distributors, a vending machine and pinball business to keep himself from being in the I.R.S.s spotlight. At one point, his office was bugged and Patriarca was recorded admitting to underbosses* about how he was able to influence the decisions of prosecutors, bribe police officials for intelligence information and affect government decisions on granting licenses, probation, and parole. Luckily, Patriarca proved the bugs to have been placed illegally and was acquitted of charges. After Ms. Mandella’s death from cancer in 1965, Patriarca went on to marry Rita O’Toole, a former hostess at a Rhode Island nightspot. The two moved from Providence to Johnston, Rhode Island where Patriarca made an office on Atwells avenue. In 1968, Patriarca was arrested and convicted of conspiracy to murder William “Willie” Marfeo, a small-time hood who ran an illegal dice game without Patriarca’s permission on his “turf”. Marfeo was killed by four shotgun blasts in the telephone booth of a restaurant in Federal Hill in 1966. Patriarca was sentenced to 5 years in the Federal Penitentiary in Atlanta and was fined $10,000. A man asked to commit the murder was Joseph Barboza Barron, a tough ex-boxer from New Bedford who had claimed to have killed at least 40 persons. He was arrested in Boston for gun possession and forfeited $70,000 to make bail. When he asked for the help of the N.E.P.M. but was denied reimbursement, Barron realized that the N.E.P.M. did not care about him and became an F.B.I. informant. Barron’s testimony was a key factor in the conviction of Patriarca. After serving his federal sentence, Patriarca was transferred to another ten-year sentence for conspiracy in the murders of Marfeo’s brother, Rudolph, and Anthony Melei while still in prison. Paroled on January 9, 1975, Patriarca returned to his Atwells Avenue office and resumed his illegal activities. Through the testimony of another informant in 1978, Patriarch was involved in the proposal of a $4 million contract by the C.I.A. in an unsuccessful attempt to assassinate Cuban leader Fidel Castro. Between 1980 and 1983, Patriarca was arrested and charged with the murders of Robert Candos, who was rumored to have been scheduled to testify against him, and Raymond (Baby) Curcio, who allegedly burglarized the home of his brother and close associate, the late Joseph Patriarca. Patriarca died of a heart attack at age 76 on July 11, 1984. It is said that he was laid to rest with the solemn dignity of an ancient Roman Emperor. Despite his criminal career, his supporters remember him for his love for children, generosity to those in need, and polite manners.
One of the La Cosa Nostra families, The New England Patriarca mafia is rooted in the efforts of Gaspare Messina. In 1916, Messina created the New England mafia and died in 1924. Succeeded by Filippo (Phil Buccola) Brucolla, most of the mafia’s income was coming from mob staples such as loansharking, numbers-fixing, and bootlegging. Starting at the top of the mafia’s pyramid-like structure is the national commission*, then the boss*, underboss*, consiglieri*, Caporegime*, soldiers*, associates*, and protectors*. In 1931, Bucolla gained the respect of his underworld rivals and the nickname “Godfather of Boston” following the assassination of the Irish gang leader, Frank Wallace and an associate*. Retiring to Sicily by 1954, Patriarca, Sr. moved the mafia’s base of the family from Boston to Providence, Rhode Island. Gennaro “Jerry” Angiulo was appointed underboss, with Peter Limone as his right-hand man, and was responsible for overseeing and eventually getting a cut from all gambling games in Boston. Salvatore Cesario served as an enforcer, loanshark, and occasionally as a bodyguard for Angiulo. Delinquent loanshark victims were brutally beaten. Angiulo’s Boston caporegime was Ilario “Larry Baiona” Zannino. Massachusetts crime boss was Joe Lombardo. Together they all began to eliminate their Irish and Jewish competitors in the region because they were being forced to share their rackets. To gain yet more power, Patriarca formed a friendly alliance with Philadelphia don Angelo Bruno and the Genovese family, which ran western Massachusetts and parts of Connecticut. Sports activities were fixed by the N.E.P.M. and money was obtained from an ever-growing list of restaurants, resorts, vending businesses, linen services, and garbage collection services. Stephen Anthony Soccoccia — one of the country’s biggest, savviest, and most wanted money launderers* for Columbia’s drug cartels to prosecutors in Manhattan, Miami, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Providence — was reputedly a key moneymaking associate in the N.E.P.M.. Patriarca’s mafia was so powerful that he was able to insist on non-mob thugs being required to approve crimes on his “turf” ahead of time. Anyone found to have failed to get advanced permission was killed.
The downfall of the N.E.P.M. began with the death of Patriarca, Sr. His son, “Junior”, was left in charge and did nothing but make a mess of everything and was eventually arrested, convicted, and imprisoned for racketeering*. As a result, he was demoted to a soldier. Next in the line of bosses came Nicky Bianco. Despite his efforts to try and save the N.E.P.M., he was also arrested and convicted of racketeering and eventually died in prison. Succeeding Bianco was Francis “Cadillac” Salemme who was convicted of racketeering as well. Acting boss Louis “Baby Shanks” Manocchio did not do any better. He pleaded guilty to receiving stolen property. Ultimately, the N.E.P.M. was brought down in the 1990s with the help of F.B.I. informants including Thomas Hillary, a mob associate turned informant*, who grew up in Patriarca’s home. In addition, two leaders of an Irish mob in South Boston, the “Winter Hill Gang”, provided 30 years of information to the F.B.I.. For those 30 years, profitable gangland activities grew and murders committed by the W.H.G. went uninvestigated. At one point, a corrupt F.B.I. Agent warned James “Whitey” Bulger of an upcoming criminal indictment* in 1995. Bulger fled and has been missing ever since, making appearances on the America’s top 10 Most Wanted list. There is a $1 million bounty for information leading to Bulger’s capture.
Assessing the New England Patriarca mafia’s illegal activities in their entirety, it is clear that it is considered and organized crime group. Patriarca’s political corruption and its illegal activities negatively impacted many New England businesses and incorporated a constant threat and a sense of fear to all New England citizens. From a criminological perspective, Patriarca was an extremely successful boss and brought the N.E.P.M. to its level of ultimate power. Enduring for the greater part of the twentieth century, the N.E.P.M.’s power slowly began to diminish after the death of Raymond Patriarca and has never been the same.
Associates: An informal, yet crucial position to the family. Need not be of Italian ancestry. Someone whose skills of positions make him of value to the organization. Some are used as soldiers, while others are more distantly connected. The FBI has estimated that for every formal member of La Cosa Nostra there are ten criminal associates who cooperate with members and share their enterprises.
Boss: The head of the family. He does not participate in the day-to-day activities of the organization, but is supposed to get a cut from every income source. He usually has his own legitimate and illegitimate businesses.
Caporegime: “Captain”. Also known as “Capos”. Supervisor’s of the family’s day-to-day criminal operations; represents the family among the soldiers, whom they oversee. He may have their own legitimate and illegitimate ventures, and retain part of the income paid by their soldiers. The number of capos depends on the size of the family.
Consiglieri: Literally, “counselor”. Assists the boss, but has no leadership authority. He is generally an older, experienced member who can advise family members. Usually only one per family.
Crime Family: A unit of Cosa Nostra operating in a specific territory, composed of men tied together by loyalty to their crime boss and sometimes by actual blood relationship.
Criminal: A person guilty of crime or a serious offense; involving or being or having the nature of a crime
Gangland: The underworld of organized criminal gangs.
Indictment: A written statement charging a party with the commission of a crime or other offense, drawn up by a prosecuting attorney and found and presented by a grand jury.
Informant: A criminal who cooperates with law enforcement agencies in exchange for reduced charger, reduced sentences, and immunity from imprisonment.
Labor Racketeering: The use of force or threats to obtain money for ensuring jobs or labor peace.
La Cosa Nostra: The largest, most extensive, and most influential crime group for more than 55 years.
Loansharking: Lending money to individuals at an interest rate in excess of that permitted by law.
Made Man: A man of Italian ancestry who has undergone the initiation ritual of the LCN.
Money Laundering: The processing of “dirty” money into “clean”, untraceable funds.
National Commission: Established by Salvatore “Lucky” Luciano in 1931. Consisted of nine to twelve crime family bosses
Protectors: Support network for the family. Consist of corrupt public officials, bankers, lawyers, attorneys, and other professionals who protect the criminal group from governmental action, both civil and criminal.
Racketeering: Any act or threat involving murder, kidnapping, gambling, arson, robbery, bribery, extortion, or dealing with narcotic or dangerous drugs.
Soldier: The basic rank in the family. They are the ones who make the organization such a truly predatory creation. Typically he already has a background in burglary and robbery before he is considered for membership. Sometimes known as a “wise guy”, or “button”, or a “made man”. They are the men who do a majority of the mafia’s murders and other “dirty work”.
Underboss: Assists the boss. Usually he is being groomed to succeed the boss, but succession is not automatic. There is only one underboss per family.
White Slave Act: Also known as the Federal Mann Act. Prohibits anyone know knowingly persuades, induces, entices, or coerces and woman or girl to travel between states or countries for the purpose of prostitution or debauchery, or for any other immoral purpose, with or without her consent.
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