Monday, August 18, 2008

FBI tape labels "Cheese Man" as Mafia head

Carmen DiNunzioFBI recordings seem to point to Carmen "the Cheeseman" DiNunzio (right), 51, as the head of the Mafia in the Boston area and as the prime underworld authority behind a scheme to defraud administrators of the "Big Dig" project, according to a story by Laurel J. Sweet of the Boston Herald.

Andrew Marino, a contractor who has been indicted in connection with the scheme, was reportedly unaware he was being recorded as he spoke with a federal informant. According to the FBI, Marino identified "the Cheeseman" as "the guy in the North End - the head of the ... organization" and as "the head of [the] Mafia."

When the two men discussed an individual who was not trustworthy, Marino said the "rat" would be dealt with: "They'll kill him, dude. This ain't ... regular hoodlum that's setting this up. This is the Cheesman."

Marino refused to refer to DiNunzio by name: "You'll know his name if I said it, but nobody says his name."

Federal prosecutors have identified the Cheesman as DiNunzio, who has operated a cheese shop on the North End's Endicott Street. They say DiNunzio has served as underboss of the New England Mafia since about 2003.

In a different audio tape, DiNunzio identified himself as "the Cheeseman" to an undercover FBI agent: "I'm the Cheeseman... You ask anybody about me. We straighten out a lot of beefs, a lot of things."

DiNunzio was arrested May 2, the result of the FBI's "Big Dig" sting operation. He, Marino and Anthony J. D'Amore were charged with conspiracy to commit bribery in a federally funded program. The group allegedly offered bribes in order to win a contract to provide fill for the Big Dig underground highway project. The men allegedly planned to provide substandard fill to the project.

DiNunzio is under house arrest. He also awaits trial on extortion and gambling charges.

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Editor/publisher of crime history journal, Informer. Publisher of American Mafia history website 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.