|Ralph Santaniello was sentenced to five years in prison for extorting a Springfield tow company operator in 2013, including leveling a death threat and smacking the businessman in the face. Santaniello's sentencing followed that of co-defendant Giovanni Calabrese, who was handed three years in prison in connection with the same scheme.|
Santaniello and Calabrese were among five organized crime associates charged in 2016 with shaking down Craig J. Morel for "street taxes" three years earlier.
|Morel told jurors Santaniello and Calabrese ambushed him in the fall of 2013, demanding $100,000 for the Springfield faction of the New York-based Genovese crime family. The figure was later negotiated down to $20,000 and Morel went to the police.|
Santaniello, who has previous illegal gaming and loansharking convictions, has been held without bail since his arrest two years ago.
|Vito Genovese in a police mugshot, 1946.|