News out of Western Massachusetts this week is that Springfield mafia crew leader Ralphie Santaniello has pled guilty to financing loansharking operations as part of a federal racketeering indictment filed in U.S. District Court in New York and his father and crew advisor Amedeo Santaniello is allegedly on the outs with crew management, according to area mobologist Stephanie Barry of MassLive.com. The younger Santaniello, 50, will probably receive less than two and a half years in prison due to the plea but still faces another set of federal racketeering charges out of Massachusetts and is currently behind bars after being denied bond.

The mob in Springfield has long been a satellite wing of New York’s Genovese crime family. The elder Santaniello, 78, came up in the notorious Sciabelli brothers’ regime of the 1970s and 80s, looking after a string of policy lottery banks spanning territory in both Massachusetts and New York.

Barry reports that Santaniello has “fallen out of favor” with the powers that be in the Springfield mafia contingent. Back in 2015, Barry was the first to report that the Springfield crew was in the hands of convicted loan shark Albert Calvanese, Santaniello’s nephew.

However, according to Barry’s sources on the street in the South End, since his son went away to jail in 2016, the local gangland elder statesman has butted heads with unidentified crew higher-ups. Whether or not that includes the burly 54-year old Calvanese is unclear.

Per court records, three years ago in 2014, Ralph Santaniello, Calvanese’s reputed second-in-command, and fellow Springfield mobster Frank (The Shark) Depergola met with Genovese captain Eugene (Rooster) O’Nofrio and an undercover FBI agent posing as O’Nofrio’s driver, in a pizza parlor and Santaniello handed an envelope stuffed with $15,000 in cash to the disguised fed for the purpose of starting a loan-sharking business. O’Nofrio and Depergola were busted alongside Santaniello last summer in a sweeping east coast mob takedown bagging almost four dozen wiseguys across six states.

Investigators contend O’Nofrio, 75, is responsible for Genovese affairs in Manhattan’s Little Italy, Connecticut and Springfield. He’s pled not guilty and is awaiting trial.

The Massachusetts indictment accuses Ralph Santaniello and a handful of his enforcers of extorting local Springfield residents and businessmen for “retroactive” street tax. He is alleged to have threatened to kill those unwilling to yield to his demands and is accused of slapping one shakedown victim when he scoffed at forking over $20,000 in back mob taxes, telling the man he intended on chopping off his head and burying it in his backyard if he didn’t pay up.

Amedeo Santaniello avoided being collared in the case, yet has been effected by the fallout – his son’s absence on the scene has apparently exposed a generational divide in the small mob community, leaving him at odds with the crew’s younger members. Santaniello fled Massachusetts for Florida in the 1990s after feuding with former confidant Adolfo (Big Al) Bruno, at that time on his way to the top of the Springfield mob crew hierarchy. Following Bruno getting assassinated in a palace coup staged by his protégé Anthony (Bingy) Arillotta in the early 2000s, Santaniello returned to Springfield and allegedly resumed his standing in the Springfield underworld.

Frank Depergola, 62, was with Big Al Bruno the night he was gunned down in the parking lot of his social club in November 2003. Arillotta replaced Bruno as mob capo of the region until he became a witness for the government in 2011. In a bombshell report back in the spring, Barry revealed Arillotta, 48, is out of prison and living back in the Springfield area.

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