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Court papers: 'Sopranos' strip club operator will sing as informant

By Haley Draznin, CNN
updated 5:53 PM EST, Fri February 7, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Documents: Reputed mobster decides to become informant
  • Anthony Cardinalle's strip club setting for "The Sopranos" bar
  • He, others accused of trying to take over legit businesses

(CNN) -- A reputed New Jersey mobster whose strip club was the setting for the Bada Bing go-go bar on "The Sopranos" is playing out a scene from the hit HBO series by turning informant in real life, according to court papers.

Under a December plea agreement, Anthony Cardinalle, 62, of Saddle River, New Jersey, will assist the U.S. Justice Department, FBI, and other law enforcement agencies to uncover organized crime throughout the New York metropolitan area, according to court documents.

Cardinalle, who the feds say is an associate of the Genovese crime family, was arrested in January 2013 on racketeering and extortion charges, along with 31 other people. The accused mobsters allegedly tried to take over legitimate waste disposal businesses by threatening economic and physical harm, according to court papers.

His collaboration with federal law enforcement officials would make him what Soprano "wiseguys" would call a "mob rat."

Cardinalle's supposed exploits are similar to those of the fictitious "Sopranos" characters.

"The tactics they used to exert and maintain their control come right out of the mafia playbook," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement last year when charges were announced.

Cardinalle was a member of what prosecutors called the Waste Disposal Enterprise, a criminal organization that engaged in various crimes, including extortion, loansharking, mail fraud and stolen property offenses, according to court papers.

His lawyer did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

Cardinalle faces up to 40 years in prison, but he may be eligible for a lighter sentence because of his guilty plea and cooperation.

Law enforcement officials have agreed not to prosecute Cardinalle for criminal tax violations, according to court papers.

Cardinalle's Lodi, New Jersey club, Satin Dolls, was where the infamous mob boss Tony Soprano regularly conducted shady business deals in his office in the backroom.

When "The Sopranos" star James Gandolfini died in June, Satin Dolls honored the late actor by putting up pictures of him throughout club and a sign outside that said, "Thank You Jimmy, Farewell Boss."

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