In the days after Genovese crime family captain Eugene (Rooster) Onofrio was sentenced to two and a half years in federal prison for racketeering last month, MassLive and resident mobologist Stephanie Barry revealed a transcript of an FBI wire in which Onofrio is caught discussing mob affairs in Springfield, Massachusetts, a longtime satellite wing of the New York Genovese clan, in 2015. Despite living in New Haven, Connecticut, the 76-year old Rooster Onofrio is the Genovese capo responsible for the rugged Greater Springfield area and Manhattan’s shrinking Little Italy neighborhood.

On the tape, Onofrio is complaining to mob turncoat John (J.R.) Rubeo about how “the books are closed” in the crime family and Onofrio’s desire to get a Springfield wiseguy “made,” to ease travel pressures for him. Rubeo’s undercover work helped the feds bring the so-called East Coast LCN case of 2016, where nearly 50 Goodfellas stretching from New York to Florida were indicted for various racketeering offenses.

Prominent Springfield mob figures Ralphie Santaniello and Frank (Frankie the Shark) Depergola went down in the bust. Both have pled guilty and are serving prison time. Santaniello and Depergola joined with Onofrio to put out an extortionate $30,000 loan in the case. According to prior reporting by MassLive’s Barry, Santaniello and his cousin Albert (The Animal) Calvanese, a convicted loan shark, are heading the Springfield crew these days — well, at least Santaniello was before he got put behind bars.

Santaniello, 51, was identified in court records in the case as a “proposed member” of the Genovese family, leading some people to assume he is the person Onofrio is referencing in the recording. He is the son of Springfield mob crew elder statesman Amadeo Santaniello, an on-and-off advisor to the crew’s boss dating back to the 1990s, and is doing a five-year bid. The 41-year old Rubeo was whisked away into the Witness Protection Program after the case landed two years ago, unsuccessfully testifying in the one trial that the case spawned in early 2018.


Rooster Onofrio – Everything’s shut down right now.

J.R. Rubeo – He (Genovese boss Danny Leo) doesn’t put anyone up anymore?

Rooster Onofrio – Yeah, he does……I do (too)…I already put a guy up from Springfield….you know, that Springfield crew was given to me, right?

J.R. Rubeo — I remember you told me.

Rooster Onofrio – I’ve got four or five guys up there. One I love to death.

J.R. Rubeo — Why don’t you move me up there?

Rooster Onofrio – (I already got enough guys) I know this kid up there. I know he’s got balls, he’s got heart. His name is in already. When they open the books back up, I’m definitely putting him in because I can’t keep traveling from New Haven to Springfield all the time.

Ralphie Santaniello


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