The man described as the head of the mob in all of New England pleaded no contest today to charges that he ran an organized crime gambling ring, but Peter Limone won’t be serving any jail time.
The judge in the case rebuffed prosecutors’ request to lock up the 76-year-old Limone for up to five years and instead handed down a suspended sentence.
Prosecutors wanted Limone, 76, locked up, but the judge in the case gave him a suspended sentence. Limone’s no contest plea to 12 charges means he’s acknowledging the DA had the evidence to convict him if the case went to trial.
Middlesex Assistant District Attorney David Solet said Limone ran a highly organized and disciplined criminal organization that used fear and intimidation to earn its money.
“That organization derived hundreds of thousands of illegal proceeds by means of an elaborate illegal gambling operation, lending money and extending credit at usurious rates, also known as loansharking, and extortion of other eastern Massachusetts bookmakers,” Solet said in court.
Prosecutors say this occurred after Limone got out of prison in 2001, where he had already served 33 years of a life sentence for a murder he did not commit. He won a $26 million dollar judgment for the wrongful conviction.
Despite the decades behind bars, investigators say that Limone has been a major mob figure since his release, ultimately becoming the boss of the Mafia in New England.
In handing down her five-year suspended sentence, in which Limone will be monitored by GPS, Judge Leila Kern insisted Limone's wrongful conviction was not the driving force.
“It’s a fact. We can't forget it. But as the Commonwealth has pointed out, it is not a get out of jail free card,” Kern said.
Transcripts of a wiretapped phone call from 2007 obtained by FOX Undercover reveal Limone's associates questioning why he would be involved with illegal gambling given the multi- million dollar judgment he won for the wrongful conviction.
One says, "…after I collect the money right? I wouldn't even sneeze in public."
The other man replies, "Well, they're gonna look to pinch him again. And say listen, see what he's doing, he's doing the same (expletive) thing."
Limone, whose associates referred to him with nicknames like “Chief Crazy Horse” and “The Camera Guy,” wanted nothing to do with FOX Undercover’s camera outside the courtroom.
“Can you tell us why you pleaded no contest?” asked FOX Undercover reporter Mike Beaudet. “How does this affect your position in the New England mob?”
Limone declined to answer.
But Juliane Balliro, Limone’s defense attorney, said, “It's not at all a get out of jail free card.”
“Mr. Limone is going to lead a law abiding life. And spend his time with his family and with his wife who stood by his side for so many years,” Balliro added.
“Is your client no longer the head of the New England mob?” FOX Undercover’s Beaudet asked.
“Mr. Limone was never the head of the New England mob,” Balliro replied.
“Law enforcement believes otherwise,” Beaudet said.
“Law enforcement will believe what they'll believe,” Balliro responded.
The prosecutor believes the nearly $180,000 in cash that Limone has deposited into his bank account since 2001 comes from his illegal gambling operation. The state wants that money forfeited. The judge says she'll consider it at a later date. The judge also ordered Limone to stay away from a long list of alleged mobsters and associates.