Albert Calvanese was a target in the FBI investigation that brought down a number of Springfield, Massachusetts mobsters last year but was able to slip away from any legal harm, according to resident Western Mass mob scribe Stephanie Barry of MassLive.com in an article she penned on a pair of guilty pleas in the case this week. The 54-year old Calvanese has been the reputed Springfield crew chief the last few years, yet wasn’t one of the five local wiseguys busted for extortion and collecting gambling and loansharking debts in 2016. The Springfield mob contingent reports to New York’s Genovese crime family.
Both Ralph (Ralphie Sant) Santaniello and Giovanni (Johnny Cal) Calabrese entered guilty pleas Monday in the federal courthouse in Worcester, Massachusetts. The plea deals call for a maximum of six and five year prison terms, respectively. In one incident, Santaniello, 50, and Calabrese, 54, threatened to kill and behead an area tow truck company owner if he didn’t pay current and retroactive street tax on his business to the tune of over $50,000.
Santaniello, a repeat felon, pled guilty to financing juice loans in another case out of New York back in the summer. He was caught on FBI wires in each case. Calabrese has no previous criminal record.
Calvanese is Santaneillo’s cousin and was released from a prison sentence for extortion in 2011. An FBI wire intercepted the sounds of Calvanese beating a debtor in broad daylight in his 2006 case which alleged he was one of the area’s biggest loansharks. Per Barry’s report from Monday night, the feds were hot on Calvanese’s trail again in recent years, however, living up to his longtime reputation for being street smart, he was too slick to get caught, frequently losing his surveillance detail in traffic and refusing to talk business on the phone and with government plants sent in his direction.
Barry identified Calvanese as the Springfield mob crew’s skipper in a 2015 investigative piece. That same year he was reported to have gotten into a physical altercation with fellow Western Mass mob figure Carmine (The Barber) Manzi at Tony’s Famous Barber Shop in Springfield’s South End neighborhood. Back in the summer, Barry reported that Calvanese and Ralphie Santaniello’s father, Amedeo, the crew’s 78-year old de-facto elder statesmen and Calvanese’s “uncle”, were on the outs on the heels of the younger Santaniello’s incarceration.