Raymond L. S. Patriarca

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Raymond L. S. Patriarca
Raymond L.S. Patriarca.jpg
Raymond Loreda Salvatore Patriarca

March 18, 1908
DiedJuly 11, 1984 (aged 76)
Resting placeGate of Heaven Cemetery, East Providence, Rhode Island
OccupationBootlegger, crime boss, mobster, racketeer
Known forBoss of the Patriarca crime family

Raymond Loreda Salvatore Patriarca Sr. (March 18, 1908 – July 11, 1984) was an Italian-American mobster from Providence, Rhode Island who became the longtime boss of the Patriarca crime family, whose control extended throughout New England for more than three decades. He was one of the most powerful crime bosses in the United States, and often mediated disputes between Cosa Nostra families outside the region. He was the father of Raymond Patriarca Jr.

Early life[edit]

Raymond Patriarca's Providence Police photo

Patriarca was born to an Italian immigrant father in Worcester, Massachusetts; his mother was born in Massachusetts, according to the 1930 census. He was charged during his teenage years for hijacking, armed robbery, assault, safecracking, and auto theft. He was indicted as an accessory to murder before Prohibition's end in 1933. During the 1930s, the Providence Board of Public Safety named him "public enemy No. 1". He was sentenced to five years in prison for robbery, but he was paroled in 1938 after serving just a few months in prison.

An inquiry revealed that Executive Councilor Daniel H. Coakley, a close associate of Governor Charles F. Hurley, had drawn up a parole petition based on the appeals of a "Father Fagin", whom Coakley had fabricated. Coakley was impeached and dismissed from the Governor's office. This scandal enhanced Patriarca's reputation in the underworld, as it demonstrated the power of his political connections.

Rise to power[edit]

During the 1940s, Patriarca continued to rise in power. In 1950, mobster Philip Bruccola fled the country to avoid prosecution for tax evasion, and Patriarca took control of his criminal operations.

In 1956, Patriarca made drastic changes in the crime family, the biggest being to move his base of operations to Providence, Rhode Island. He ran his crime family from the National Cigarette Service Company and Coin-O-Matic Distributors, a vending machine and pinball machine business on Atwells Avenue in the Federal Hill neighborhood of Providence.[1] Every card game, prostitution ring, and illegal business in Providence had to pay a kickback to Patriarca.[2]

Patriarca's reign as leader of the New England syndicate was rumored to be brutal and ruthless. In one incident, he allegedly ordered an elderly mafioso to murder his own son, after Patriarca lost a substantial amount of money on a bad deal. The father pleaded for his son's life, so Patriarca exiled him from the family. (Underboss Henry Tameleo later persuaded him to relent.) In another incident, Patriarca demanded that several members of the crime family pay him $22,000 after federal authorities seized a hijacked shipment of cigarettes that he had financed. He allegedly ordered the murder of his brother for failing to notice an electronic surveillance device placed in his office by federal agents. He allegedly ordered the murder of several members of the McLaughlin Gang during the Irish Mob wars between the Charlestown Mob and the Winter Hill Gang. This occurred when Bernard "Bernie" McLaughlin started interfering with Patriarca's loansharking operations in Boston.


Patriarca's Rhode Island State Police I.D. photo

In March 1970, Patriarca and several of his associates went on trial for murder and conspiracy to commit murder, the chief witness being robber and hitman John "Red" Kelley, who afterwards went into the federal witness protection program.[3] Kelley gave testimony linking Patriarca and other family members to the murder of Rudolph "Rudy" Marfeo and Anthony Melei. Kelley had been contracted by Patriarca to kill Marfeo.

Patriarca and his associates were convicted of conspiracy to commit murder; associate Maurice Lerner also was convicted of murder. The mob boss was sentenced to 10 years in prison, but he continued to run his family while imprisoned. Lerner and the other defendants were subsequently exonerated when it was established that Kelley had perjured himself at the trial, as had FBI agent H. Paul Rico, who had corroborated Kelley's testimony.[4]

Death and succession[edit]

The North Providence, Rhode Island Fire Department Rescue Squad received an emergency call from a Douglas Avenue address on July 11, 1984 at around 11:30 a.m. It was later revealed that this was the home of Patriarca's girlfriend; his wife had died in 1965. He then married a former nightclub hostess and was living with her in Johnston, Rhode Island at the time of his death. When emergency workers arrived, they found Patriarca to be in full cardiac arrest and rushed him to Rhode Island Hospital, where doctors tried to revive him with electrical defibrillation and implanting a cardiac pacemaker. He was pronounced dead at 1 p.m. of a heart attack at the age of 76. He is buried in Gate of Heaven Cemetery, East Providence, Rhode Island.

Patriarca was under indictment for two murders when he died. The Boston Globe wrote: "In a business where violent death is often inevitable, Patriarca died relatively peacefully, unable to outwit failing health caused by a heart condition and diabetes that led to amputation of a gangrenous toe."


  1. ^ White, Tim (November 24, 2008). "The History of New England's Mob Bosses: A Rhode Island legacy of Mafia Dons". Wpri.com. Archived from the original on 29 September 2011. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
  2. ^ "Raymond Patriarca". Crimetown. Gimlet Media. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
  3. ^ Carr, Howie. "John (Red Kelley)". BostonHitman.com. Retrieved 13 April 2012.
  4. ^ Partington, John (2010). The Mob and Me: Wiseguys and the Witness Protection Program. New York: Gallery Books. pp. 123–4. ISBN 978-1-4391-6769-4.
  • English, T.J. Paddy Whacked: The Untold Story of the Irish American Gangster. New York: HarperCollins, 2005. ISBN 0-06-059002-5.
  • Fox, Stephen. Blood and Power: Organized Crime in Twentieth-Century America. New York: William Morrow and Company, 1989. ISBN 0-688-04350-X.
  • Kelly, Robert J. Encyclopedia of Organized Crime in the United States. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 2000. ISBN 0-313-30653-2.
  • Sifakis, Carl. The Mafia Encyclopedia. New York: Da Capo Press, 2005. ISBN 0-8160-5694-3.

Further reading[edit]

  • Lehr, Dick and Gerard O'Neill. Black Mass: The Irish Mob, the Boston FBI and a Devil's Deal. New York: Public Affairs, 2000. ISBN 1-891620-40-1.
  • Matera, Dary. FBI's Ten Most Wanted. New York: HarperCollins, 2003. ISBN 0-06-052435-9.
  • O'Neil, Gerardo and Dick Lehr. The Underboss. ISBN 0-312-91731-7.

External links[edit]

American Mafia
Preceded by
Phil Buccola
Patriarca crime family Boss
Succeeded by
Raymond Patriarca Jr.