Sunday, November 27, 1983
A labor racketeering indictment has been
reinstated against a former Rhode Island legislator and three
other men in a Miami case that also involves the reputed organized
crime boss of New England, Raymond L.S. Patriarca.
A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit
Court of Appeals reversed a lower court's ruling, which had dismissed
the indictment against former Rhode Island Rep. Albert J. Le Pore,
Joseph J. Vaccaro Jr. of Winchester, Mass., Arthur E. Coia of
North Providence, R.I., and Coia's son, Arthur A. Coia.
Patriarca and the four were indicted in Miami
in 1981 on one count of conspiring to use their influence over
the Laborers International Union of North America to funnel union
business to insurance and service companies the men controlled.
The indictment charged the five then "looted
the insurance premiums through the use of kickbacks, payoffs,
unearned salaries and fees, and improper personal expenses."
A federal magistrate ruled that Patriarca,
who suffers from angina and other heart ailments, could not appear
to answer the indictment. Because of his condition, Patriarca
also has not been tried on a charge that he ordered a 1968 slaying.
The other four racketeering defendants won
a ruling from a district judge that they could not be prosecuted
because the five-year statute of limitations period had expired.
The 11th Circuit said the lower court, relying
on an earlier case in the circuit involving the Drug Control Act,
had ruled that the five-year period began with the last alleged
overt illegal act contained in the indictment.
The appeals court said the Supreme Court
later held that proof of an overt act was not necessary to prove
conspiracy under the Drug Control Act. Therefore, the 11th Circuit
ruled, proof of overt acts is not required by the racketeering
law under which the defendants were charged, and "the conspiracy
may be deemed to continue as long as its purposes have neither
been abandoned nor accomplished."
"The government consistently alleged
that the conspiracy continued well into the limitations period,"
the appeals court said in the opinion, dated Nov. 17.
If convicted, the men could be sentenced
to 20 years in prison, fined $25,000 and stripped of union positions.
All content © 1983 THE MIAMI HERALD