Raymond Loreda Salvatore Patriarca, Sr. (March 18, 1908-July 11, 1984) was a Providence, Rhode Island mobster who became the longtime boss of the Patriarca crime family, whose control extended throughout New England for over three decades. One of the most powerful crime bosses in the United States, Patriarca often served as a mediator between warring crime families outside the region. He is the father of Raymond L.S. Patriarca, Jr. who was born February 24, 1945.
Born to Italian immigrants in Worcester, Massachusetts, Patriarca would compile a list of criminal charges during his teenage years for hijacking, armed robbery, assault, safecracking, auto theft and accessory to murder before Prohibition's end in 1934. He had a fleeting facial resemblance to comedian Walter Matthau.
Despite being named "Public Enemy No. 1" by the Providence Board of Public Safety during the 1930s, Patriarca served only several months on a five year prison sentence for robbery before being granted parole by state officials in 1938. An inquiry into the pardon revealed that Executive Councilor Daniel Coakley, a close associate of then Governor Charles F. Hurley, had drawn up a petition based of the appeals of a "Father Fagin". However, when Fagin was proved to be fabricated by Coakley, he was impeached and dismissed from the Governor's office (despite the scandal, Patriarca's reputation in the underworld was enhanced due to his demonstration of political connections).
Patriarca continued to rise in power during the 1940s and, after Boston mobster Phillip Bruccola fled the country in the face of tax evasion charges in 1950, was able to assume control of Bruccola's former criminal operations. Patriarca's reign as leader of the New England syndicate was reportedly a brutal and ruthless one as, in one incident; Patriarca was alleged to have ordered an elderly mafioso to murder his own son who had cost Patriarca a substantial amount of money after a deal the son had negotiated fell through. When the elder man tried to plead with Patriarca to spare his son's life, Patriarca had him exiled from the crime family (he was later allowed to rejoin after underboss Henry Tameleo persuaded Patriarca 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 which Patriarca had financed. He was also said to have put out a murder contract on his own brother who failed to notice an electronic bug which had been placed by federal agents in Patriarca's office.
During the Irish Mob Wars between the Charlestown Mob and the Winter Hill Gang, Patriacra reportedly had members of the McLaughlins killed after Bernard McLaughlin had begun interfering with Patriarca's loansharking operations in Boston.
On July 11, 1984, at about 11:30 in the morning, the North Providence, Rhode Island Fire Department Rescue Squad received an emergency call from a Douglas Avenue address. It was later revealed that this was the home of a girlfriend. (Patriarca’s first wife died in 1965. He 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 in full arrest. Rushed to Rhode Island Hospital, doctors kept up intense efforts to revive him including electrical shock and the implanting of a cardiac pacemaker. At 1:00 Patriarca was pronounced dead of a massive heart attack at the age of 76.
A Boston Globe article stated, “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.” At the time of his death Patriarca was under indictment for two murders. Patriarca was succeeded by his son Raymond Patriarca, Jr.
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