Providence 4 Enter Innocent Pleas
Four Providence men accused of setting up a fraudulent union insurance scheme had their Boston attorney enter innocent pleas to the charges in a Miami federal court.
The men were indicted Sept. 23 on counts of conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) statute through what federal agents suspect was an attempt to loot the Laborers' International Union of America of trust funds, and an elaborate insurance kickback scheme.
Arraigned were Arthur E. Coia, general vice president of LIU; his son, Arthur A. Coia, an attorney; Albert LePore, a law partner of the younger Coia and counsel to the Rhode Island Laborers' Health and Welfare Trust Fund; and Joseph Vaccaro Jr., a trustee of the New England Laborers' Training and Trust Fund.
Boston attorney Martin Leppo, representing the two Coias and LePore, had sought a continuance in the case, saying he was seeking local counsel for the men.
US Magistrate Charlene Sorrentino denied the motion Friday, and Leppo entered pleas of innocent.
A fifth Providence defendant named in the indictment, Raymond Patriarca, did not appear.