PROVIDENCE, R.I., May 11 (UPI) -- A federal judge in Rhode Island sentenced a one-time mob boss to 5 1/2 years in prison Friday for an extortion scheme targeting strip clubs in Providence.
U.S. District Judge William Smith denied a request for leniency for Luigi Manocchio, 84, but did agree to recommend he be sent to a federal prison in Florida or North Carolina where the weather is warmer.
Smith dismissed the defense contention that a prison term would be a "death sentence" for Manocchio, telling the aging mobster, "I think you're going to make it through this sentence and come out the other end."
Manocchio was one of five defendants who pleaded guilty in February to charges of running a criminal enterprise. Manocchio said in a statement he read in court he had never assaulted or threatened anyone.
"By virtue of my position, I inherited the deeds of my associates," he said.
The Boston Globe said the conviction of Manocchio was considered to be a telling blow to the fading New England mafia. Investigators believe the mob in Boston and Rhode Island had dwindled to about 30 made members, many of whom lack the discipline and criminal wisdom of the old timers who have either died or are stuck in prison.