May 11, 2020 – The Springfield (MA) mob is welcoming two of its own back to town: convicted bookmaker David (Fat Chicky) Cecchetelli was released from federal lock-up late last month and wiseguy Ralphie Santaniello is walking out of a Pennsylvania federal prison this week after four years behind bars on extortion and gambling pinches.

Cecchetelli has been removed from the day-to-day hustle and bustle of the underworld in Western Massachusetts for the last several years, according to sources. Santaniello, on the other hand, not so much.

The 52-year old Santaniello was on his way to being “made” into the Genovese crime family before he was taken down in two racketeering cases in 2016, per court records. In one of the cases, Santaniello slapped around and threatened to murder a Western Massachusetts businessman who he determined owed hundreds of thousands of dollars in back street tax from a previous local mob regime. He’ll be released to a halfway house on Tuesday morning.

Cecchetelli, 52, was indicted back in December on a gun charge and pleaded not guilty. He turned himself in to authorities in January and did close to three months, but was released to home confinement to await trial due to the Coronavirus pandemic. It’s believed he did the near 90 days, despite being awarded bond by the judge last year, in an aim for a plea deal where he will be sentenced to time served.

Fat Chicky ran a major sports book for Springfield mob bosses in the 2000s. He pleaded guilty to bookmaking charges in 2006. Lately, he’s been trying to craft a social-media and reality-television career for himself.

Cecchetelli’s nephew and roommate, Michael (King Merlin) Cecchetelli, is the ranking member of the Latin Kings gang on the east coast, and is facing federal racketeering charges from a 2019 bust known as Operation Throne Down. Part of his case stems from two meetings of Latin Kings leaders hosted at the Springfield mob’s decades-long base camp, the South End’s Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Society Social Club, and recorded by the feds. Fat Chicky Cecchetelli has belonged to the club for more than 30 years.

The situation that Santaniello returns to a Springfield underworld that is vastly different than the one he left four years ago when he was on the cusp of induction into the Western Massachusetts wing of New York’s Genovese crime family and taking over the Springfield crew. According to sources on both sides of the law, Santaniello is currently on thin ice with Genovese brass because of his father’s slip up. Springfield mob elder statesman Amedeo Santaniello, the crew’s longtime “numbers man,” was shelved two years ago for taking a 2017 photo with turncoat Felix Tranghese, a mob soldier who testified against Genovese administrators.

Even before the photo-op mishap, Amedeo Santaniello, 81, was on the outs with management so to speak, allegedly butting heads with Albert (The Animal) Calvanese, his nephew and the crew’s reputed boss, per sources. Ralphie Santaniello, those sources say, has the ability to mend fences with his cousin Calvanese and restore his standing in the Springfield crew. Amedeo Santaniello has run “hot and cold” with Western Massachusetts mob bosses for years, getting banished to Florida in the late 1990s and then being brought back by a new leadership regime in the 2000s.

“That family (the Santaniellos) has a hundred lives,” one insider said. “Ralphie can talk his way back into Albert’s good graces. That’s all that really matters. I don’t think New York (the Genovese) would interfere.”

Connecticut mobster Eugene (Rooster) Onofrio, the Genovese family’s point man for the Springfield rackets, was released two weeks early from prison last month because of the pandemic. Onofrio, 77, pleaded guilty in 2018 to the same “East Coast LCN” case that ensnared Santaniello. It was Rooster Onofrio that proposed Santaniello to get his button before the bust.

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