The Homecoming Brigade: Springfield Mob Figures Returning To Changing Landscape

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 convictions.

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 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, he slapped around and threatened to murder a Western Massachusetts businessman when Craig Morel, the owner of a tow truck company, rebuffed attempts to get him to pay a quarter million bucks in back street tax. Morel instead ran to the FBI and wired up, eventually paying Santaniello and the Springfield mob crew $40,000 of government funds to keep them at bay.

Cecchetelli, 52, was indicted back in December on a gun charge and pleaded not guilty. He turned himself in and did close to three months as he awaits trial, but was released to home confinement due to the Coronavirus. It’s believed he did the near 90 days, despite being awarded bond by the judge last year, aiming 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. His nephew and roommate Michael (King Merlin) Cecchetelli, is the ranking member of the Latin Kings gang on the east coast, and is facing racketeering charges. Part of his case stems from meetings of Latin Kings leaders hosted at the Springfield mob’s decades-long nerve center, the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Society Social Club, recorded by the feds.

The situation that Santaniello returns to in the Springfield mob is 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. According to sources on both sides of the law, Santaniello is on thin ice with Genovese brass because of his father’s indiscretion: Springfield mob elder statesman Amadeo Santaniello, the crew’s longtime “numbers man,” was shelved for taking a 2017 photo with turncoat Felix Tranghese, a mob soldier who testified against Genovese administrators.

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