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Prosecutors want to hold cash found in mobster’s hotel room pending appeal

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Prosecutors are asking a federal judge to have the courts hold cash found on a former mob boss while he was on the run until he exhausts his appeal on a murder conviction.

Francis “Cadillac Frank” Salemme, 85, was sentenced to life in prison last September for taking part in the murder of Boston nightclub manager Steven DiSarro, a Providence native, in 1993.

Prosecutors have said Salemme went on the run in 2016 when he learned his arrest was imminent.

Salemme had been relocated to Atlanta by the government after cooperating in an unrelated mob case, and was living under the assumed name Richard Parker.

On Aug. 10, 2016, FBI agents arrested Salemme at a Connecticut hotel and discovered more than $28,000 in cash stuffed in various bags around the room.

As part of his appeal, Salemme’s attorney argued the money should be returned to the aging former gangster until his appeal is heard.

On Wednesday, prosecutors filed a motion in U.S. District Court in Boston asking a federal judge to put $25,589 of that money in escrow, with only $2,500 going back to Salemme. The paperwork states the money would be held by the clerk of courts in Boston.

Salemme has appealed his conviction before the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. If he loses, prosecutors say the money should go toward paying fines levied on him during sentencing.

If his appeal is successful, the cash would be returned to him.

Salemme was convicted in June along with mob associate Paul Weadick. The two were charged with murder of a witness. Prosecutors say Salemme was concerned DiSarro would cooperate with investigators in an ongoing investigation into a nightclub DiSarro managed. Salemme and his son were silent partners in the club.

DiSarro’s disappearance remained largely a mystery for decades until his body was exhumed from behind a Providence mill building in 2016.

Rhode Island mob brothers Robert and Joseph DeLuca were key witnesses at Salemme’s trial. The two told jurors how they coordinated with Salemme to dispose of the remains shortly after DiSarro was strangled by Salemme’s son (who has since died of natural causes).

Target 12 reported last month that Salemme was moved from a federal prison in Brooklyn to a medical prison in Springfield, Missouri. The facility is described as an “administrative security federal medical center” on its website.

Tim White ( is the Target 12 investigative reporter and host of Newsmakers for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook

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