BOSTON (CN) - A former member of a Boston Teamsters local was convicted by a federal jury for the extortion of Beantown businesses.
The jury on Tuesday found James "Jimmy the Bull" Deamicis guilty of extortion and conspiracy to commit extortion after a one-week trial. His victims were numerous local businesses, including The Westin Copley Hotel, House of Blues and Pt. Lighting Systems.
Deamicis, 52, threatened the businesses with picketing and other similar tactics in order to pressure them into staffing unnecessary staff positions, according to the U.S. Justice Department.
"A jury unanimously found that Deamicis tactics were not legitimate union organizing, but orchestrated extortion," U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz said in a statement. "A union card is not a license to commit a crime; the strong-arm tactics belong in the history books, not on the streets of Boston."
Since 2007, Deamicis and others extorted various companies in Boston including hotels, event planners, catering companies, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, music entertainment groups and nonprofits, none of which had collective bargaining agreements with Teamsters Local 82, according to the Justice Department.
Deamicis threatened to picket and disrupt business if they did not give in to his demand for unnecessary jobs, which he also wanted payment for, the government said.
Deamicis' attorney was critical of the case and said that he intends to appeal the ruling.
"Mr. Deamicis was charged in a thirty count indictment with racketeering and extortion arising out of his work as a proud member of Local 82 Teamsters Union," James Iovieno wrote in an emailed statement. "Mr. Deamicis was previously found not guilty of all other counts except three involving the alleged extortion of wages for work performed in the amount of $700. The jury could not reach a verdict on those three remaining counts."
Iovieno continued, "The government chose to retry Mr. Deamicis on those three counts involving $700 in a monumental waste of the taxpayers' money and resources. The law is quite clear that a Labor Union may engage in threats to picket in order to obtain jobs and wages for its members. Today's verdict misapplied established law that has existed for decades. Mr. Deamicis will certainly appeal this verdict on those three counts and is confident that he will be completely and without question fully exonerated."
U.S. District Judge Denise Casper scheduled Deamicis' sentencing for March 23, 2016
Cheryl Garcia, special agent in charge of the U.S. Labor Department's Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations, said in a statement that the conviction represents the government's commiment to protect businesses from would-be intimidators.
"James Deamicis and his co-conspirators lied to hotels, nonprofits, and other businesses in Boston regarding their obligation to use union labor from the Teamsters in an effort to obtain cash in exchange for labor peace," Garcia said. "This office stands committed to working with our law enforcement partners to combat this type of criminal activity."
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