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.