Francis "Cadillac Frank" Salemme, 74-year-old former boss of the New England Crime Family, was sentenced Tuesday to five years for lying and obstruction of justice, according to a story by Shelley Murphy of the Boston Globe. With credit for time served, he could be released from prison by December or January. After prison, he will be in a supervised release program for three years, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts.
In a plea deal, Salemme (right) admitted lying to investigators about the May 1993 disappearance of Steven A. DiSarro, owner of a nightclub in South Boston known as "The Channel." Salemme maintains that he had nothing to do with DiSarro's disappearance. The nightclub owner is presumed to have been murdered. A decade ago, Salemme told investigators that former New England boss Nicholas Bianco wanted DiSarro eliminated.
"I want to categorically deny that I had anything to do with DiSarro, the assault or the murder...," Salemme told the court before hearing his sentence.
Salemme took over as New England boss after Bianco was removed by federal prosecution and by his November 1994 death in prison. During a power struggle within the Boston and Providence-based Mafia, Salemme was indicted on racketeering charges in January 1995.
Also indicted at that time were James "Whitey" Bulger (left) and Stephen "the Rifleman" Flemmi. Bulger and Flemmi were longtime FBI informants. According to Salemme, former FBI agent John J. Connolly Jr. warned Salemme, Bulger and Flemmi of the indictments. Bulger and Flemmi fled. Bulger remains a fugitive. Salemme became a government witness against Connolly in 1999, helping to convict Connolly of racketeering.
Salemme was released into the witness protection program in 2003. He was back in custody in 2004 after prosecutors accused him of covering up his son Frank Jr.'s alleged involvement in DiSarro's slaying. Salemme denied the charge. Frank Jr. died in 2005 of lymphoma.
Prosecutors noted that DiSarro's disappearance occurred shortly after investigators began looking into the relationship between the Salemmes and The Channel.
- Editor/publisher of crime history journal, Informer. Publisher of American Mafia history website mafiahistory.us. Moderator of Mafia-related Google+ community and Yahoo discussion group. Author of Wrongly Executed? Coauthor of Deep Water: Joseph P. Macheca and the Birth of the American Mafia and DiCarlo: Buffalo's First Family of Crime. Contributor of American Mafia history to Australian-published Mafia: The Necessary Reference to Organized Crime. Writer/co-writer of crime history articles for Informer, On the Spot Journal, Cigar City Magazine, Tampa Mafia Magazine.