By Michelle R. Smith, Associated Press

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A Boston mobster acknowledged he was the acting head of the New England mafia as he pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to one count of racketeering conspiracy for shaking down Rhode Island strip clubs for protection money.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Mark Katic reports

Anthony L. DiNunzio, 53, entered a guilty plea under a plea agreement in U.S. District Court in Providence.

Under the agreement, prosecutors said they would recommend a sentence in the range of between just over five years and up to 6 ½ years.

Sentencing was scheduled for Nov. 14.

“We have driven a stake through the heart of organized crime in Rhode Island, and we have cut off its head in Boston,” U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha said outside court after DiNunzio pleaded guilty.

He said he hoped the case sent a message to others in the mafia, but acknowledged organized crime was still a threat.

“Organized crime does not exist by itself in one particular place,” he said. “Where there’s an opportunity, other families may try to step in.”

DiNunzio was arrested in April, and is the eighth person to plead guilty in a federal investigation into extortion by the New England mob.

Prosecutors say DiNunzio assumed control of the New England mob about two years ago.

One of his predecessors was his brother, Carmen “The Cheeseman” DiNunzio, who is serving a six-year sentence for bribing an undercover FBI agent posing as a state official.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.


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