Saturday, February 6, 2010

inside the Mafia: Saint,’ family face extortion charges

PROVIDENCE — Jailed mobster Anthony M. “The Saint” St. Laurent Sr., his wife and son were charged Friday in U.S. District Court with conspiring to commit extortion involving several bookmakers in the Taunton, Mass., area.

The family is charged with extorting “protection” payments from 1988 through Feb. 3, 2009, with St. Laurent Sr. functioning “as the overall leader of this conspiracy,” according to an FBI affidavit, based on bookmakers turned federal witnesses.

Dorothy St. Laurent, 73, was described in the affidavit as the “primary collection agent of the cash extortion payments.” Her son, Anthony St. Laurent Jr., 44, sometimes by verbal threat, sometimes by force, made sure bookmakers stayed in the business and kept payments coming, authorities say.

St. Laurent Sr. is serving a five-year sentence at Federal Medical Center Devens, Mass., for a 2006 conviction on a separate extortion case. He is charged in a pending federal case with trying to hire someone to kill a mob rival, Robert P. DeLuca. St. Laurent Sr. has pleaded not guilty to the murder-for-hire charge.

A short time after they were arrested, Dorothy St. Laurent and her son were brought before federal Magistrate Judge Lincoln D. Almond. He set $10,000 surety bail for St. Laurent Jr., of Cranston, and ordered him to surrender his passport. St. Laurent Jr., who has a previous extortion conviction, was also ordered by Almond to be electronically monitored on home confinement and to not leave the state.

Dorothy St. Laurent was released and cannot leave the state without permission.

An arraignment date for St. Laurent Sr. has not been set.

One of the bookmakers-turned-federal-witness said, according to the FBI affidavit, that he first met St. Laurent Sr. in the 1970s and made payments to, and later, collected payments for St. Laurent Sr. The witness said St. Laurent Sr. once warned that if the bookmaker did not continue payments and was caught taking bets, St. Laurent Sr. would “cut his hands off.”

The bookmaker said that in the 1990s, when the Twin River slot parlor in Lincoln was called Lincoln Park, St. Laurent Sr., banned from there because he was on the Nevada Gaming Commission’s “Black Book” of people barred from Vegas casinos, would sit in the car while his wife did business. He said she would wait inside Lincoln Park for bookmakers who handed her the payments that bought protection for their illegal activities, according to the affidavit. Sometimes, with her husband in prison, she collected payments in a Johnston Stop & Shop parking lot and more recently traveled to Rehoboth to make collections, according to the affidavit.

Typically, the affidavit says, one bookmaker was an intermediary collecting payments from other bookmakers to deliver to St. Laurent Sr.

A second bookmaker turned witness recounted that in the late 1980s he told an intermediary that he was going to stop bookmaking and ended payments to St. Laurent Sr. for about three weeks. St. Laurent Jr. and an unknown male came to the bookmaker’s Taunton business, waited for a customer to leave, and allegedly began hitting the bookmaker with various items on the head and body, the affidavit says.

By September 2008, according to the court document, one of the bookmakers was collecting and paying $4,100 in cash to Dorothy St. Laurent every two weeks in what authorities say was routine practice after St. Laurent Sr. was imprisoned in 2006. In the fall of 2008, the witness agreed to wear a recording device for interactions with Dorothy St. Laurent and St. Laurent Jr. The FBI says it recorded and conducted surveillance of 12 meetings and numerous phone calls between the witness and the mother and son.

On Nov. 25, 2008, the bookmaker, as directed by authorities, told Dorothy St. Laurent in a Rehoboth Dunkin’ Donuts parking lot that other Taunton bookmakers wanted to shut down. Dorothy St. Laurent expressed concern that her husband would “get something going” to see that payment continued and, in doing so, risk “getting in … trouble while he’s in jail,” according to the court document.

The next day, under surveillance, the bookmaker and St. Laurent Jr. met at the Raynham Dog Track near Taunton, and the witness provided names of four bookmakers who the witness said wanted to stop paying protection money. St. Laurent Jr. asked him to get their phone numbers, to “let them know I want to see them” and set up a meeting so “they know I’m visible.”