Mobster DeLuca pleads guilty to lying, set to return to RI for role in mob cold case

Broward County Sheriff's Office booking photo of Robert DeLuca
Broward County Sheriff's Office booking photo of Robert DeLuca

BOSTON, Mass. (WPRI) – He bought his freedom and five sun-splashed years in Florida by cooperating with federal investigators in 2011, but Rhode Island mobster Robert “Bobby” DeLuca’s lies have caught up to him, and will likely be sending him back to prison.

The 71 year-old DeLuca pleaded guilty to three counts – obstruction of justice and two of making false statements – in U.S. District Court in Boston Friday. He’s accused of lying to federal investigators about what he knew of the 1993 murder of Boston nightclub owner Steven DiSarro.

Dressed in a bright orange prison jumpsuit, his legs in shackles and head shaved, DeLuca greeted reporters in the courtroom before the hearing began.

When asked by U.S. District Court Judge Denise Casper if he was guilty of the crimes he was accused of, DeLuca said, “yes I am.”
In the courtroom with Boston federal prosecutor Fred Wyshak was Assistant U.S. Attorney from Rhode Island, William Ferland.

As part of the plea agreement reached with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, DeLuca has also pledged to return to Rhode Island and plead guilty to his role in the brazen 1992 gangland slaying of Kevin Hanrahan.

Kevin Hanrahan
Mob enforcer Kevin Hanrahan was murdered in 1992

The feared mob enforcer was shot three times to the head as he walked out of a Federal Hill restaurant on Sept. 18, 1992. No one has ever been charged with the crime.

DeLuca is not being charged with actually pulling the trigger, rather he is promising to plead guilty to murder conspiracy. The actual gunman has never been identified and no one else has been charged in the crime.

A spokesperson for Attorney General Peter Kilmartin has declined to comment on the status of the case.

After the hearing, DeLuca’s court-appointed attorney Carlos Dominguez was asked why his client ultimately decided to avoid trial and plead to the charges.

“Because he’s guilty of it and he wants to accept responsibility and move on,” Dominguez said. “He’s living in Florida has three children and wants to see if he can get on with his life and get back to it quicker than he would otherwise.”

There is little question DeLuca will face prison time. The count of obstruction of justice comes with 10 years behind bars and each count of making false statements comes with five years. The murder conspiracy charge would come with 10 years, according to a spokesperson with the R.I. Attorney General’s office.

The Rhode Island sentence would be served at the same time as the one handed down in Boston, according to the plea agreement filed Wednesday.

Dominguez said based on DeLuca’s lengthy criminal history, the guideline range for the judge to consider could be anywhere between 10 and 15 years in prison.

DeLuca has not been officially charged in Rhode Island in the Hanrahan case, but Dominguez said that is just a mater of time.

“My understanding is he should be brought back Rhode Island in the next month or month and a half,” he said.

In June DeLuca was arrested by FBI agents in Florida where he was believed to have been living since he cooperated with investigators in a sweeping 2011 crackdown into organized crime in Rhode Island.

DeLuca has been identified as a longtime mob capo regime in the Patriarca crime family.

He was officially became a made member of the mob during an infamous 1989 induction ceremony – presided over by former mob boss Raymond “Junior” Patriarca – in Medford Massachusetts.

The meeting was being secretly recorded by the FBI and has been used in several court cases by the government to prove the existence of La Cosa Nostra.

Tim White ( twhite@wpri.com ) is the Target 12 investigative reporter and host of Newsmakers for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook