PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) - Hours after the largest one-day mob bust in FBI history, a Johnston man pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges he delivered strip clubs' protection payments to reputed former Mafia boss Luigi "Baby Shacks" Manocchio.
Thomas Iafrate, 69, was arraigned in U.S. District Court in Providence on two charges of conspiracy and extortion. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Iafrate was released on a $50,000 unsecured bond. U.S. Magistrate Judge David Martin denied a request that Iafrate be allowed to return to his employer, the Cadillac Lounge, which is one of the strip clubs cited in the indictment.
Martin also ordered Iafrate to stay away from other strip clubs and a number of alleged organized crime figures, including Manocchio, Peter Limone of Boston, Anthony St. Laurent and Robert "Bobby" DeLuca.
- Watch: Tim White on the raid, today's Mafia
- PDF: Read the Manocchio/Iafrate indictment
- PDF: See the FBI's chart of La Cosa Nostra
FBI agents arrested Iafrate at his home Thursday morning. He was one of 127 people taken into custody as part of a multistate raid that targeted seven Mafia families in Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey.
Authorities in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., also arrested Manocchio, 83, whom law enforcement believes ran New England's Patriarca organized crime family from roughly 1996 to 2009.
Manocchio waived his right to an identity hearing in Florida that had been scheduled to take place Thursday, Martin said in open court. Prosecutors expect him to be brought back to Rhode Island to be arraigned here sometime next week.
"Mr. Manocchio has been a target for a long time," Rhode Island U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha said in a phone interview Thursday. "When you're able to bring forth charges and take him into custody, it's a big deal."
Court documents described Iafrate as a mob associate and bookkeeper for two Providence strip clubs, the Cadillac Lounge and the Satin Doll. FBI agents have raided the Cadillac Lounge at least twice in recent years, although it's unclear whether that investigation and Thursday's arrests are connected.
Prosecturos allege Iafrate was responsible for setting aside, collecting and delivering payments to Manocchio on behalf of the two strip clubs, as well as other adult-entertainment businesses.
They also accuse Iafrate and Manocchio of using "force, violence and fear" to get $2,900 from the owner of the clubs on at least one specific occasion: Nov. 6, 2008.
Iafrate is a former Marine who has worked at the Cadillac Lounge for 11 years, according to prosecutors. Attorneys said he suffers from health problems, including high blood pressure.
The lead prosecutor in Iafrate's case is William Ferland, who spent two decades as a Rhode Island state prosecutor before joining the U.S. Attorney's office last year. Ferland was lead prosecutor in the Station nightclub trial.
Iafrate's defense attorney is Kevin Salvaggio, a former North Providence police officer who owns an eponymous law firm in Providence.
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