A one-time Boston mobster who served 16 years in prison before he was freed by a judge who ruled that prosecutors may have coerced him into admitting to a role in a killing he had no part in has sued the state attorney general for the return of $268,000 he says was unjustifiably confiscated.
The complaint filed last week by Vincent "The Animal" Ferrara", 73, said $250,000 was earned when he acted as a “facilitator” between a buyer and a seller in a real estate transaction, while the other $18,000 was earned through lawful business endeavors and from Social Security.
Since the money was seized from two of Ferrara's bank accounts last September, no one in law enforcement “has given to Ferrara an oral or written notice of any kind detailing the seizure" or of the “reason for its seizure," according to the suit filed in Suffolk Superior Court.
The money was legitimately earned “without any, any doubt," Michael Natola, Ferrara's attorney said Thursday. “He has no other way to support himself and they are completely hanging him up."
In a letter to the office of Attorney General Maura Healey dated Feb. 25 seeking the return of the money, Natola wrote that his client is “apparently a person of interest in connection with a grand jury investigation,” but had no additional details.
Ferrara intended to use the money “to invest in real estate and for other lawful business transactions to support himself and to assist his children in meeting their financial needs,” the letter said.
When asked about the lawsuit, the attorney general's office in a statement said the case "is in connection to a broad, ongoing criminal investigation," but did not provide details.
Ferrara, a Boston College-educated former New England Mafia capo, pleaded guilty to racketeering and other charges in the early 1990s and was sentenced to 22 years behind bars. In May 2005, a federal judge said there was evidence prosecutors didn’t tell Ferrara’s lawyers about a police memo saying a key government witness recanted his claim that Ferrara ordered the 1985 killing of Vincent Limoli, a mob foot soldier who allegedly stole drugs from another mobster.
Ferrara’s attorney at the time said his client was innocent, but accepted the plea deal because he feared a life sentence if found guilty of murder.
A hearing on the complaint is scheduled for Monday in Suffolk Superior Court.