• Former Winter Hill Gang members indicted on extortion charges


    WOBURN (FOX 25 / MyFoxBoston.com) – Former Winter Hill Gang members were indicted on Thursday in connection with their involvement in an extortion scheme.

    RELATED:Howie Winter's history in the Boston underworld

    Howard Winter, aka "Howie", 83, of Millbury and James Melvin, 70, of Braintree, were indicted by a Middlesex Grand Jury on multiple charges of attempted extortion and conspiracy.

    Winter and Melvin are accused of engaging in a months-long conspiracy to extort cash from two businessmen.

    An arraignment date in Middlesex Superior Court has not yet been scheduled.

    The investigation into the reported extortion uncovered activities in which individual and collective attempts were made to extort $35,000 each from two victims.

    Winter and Melvin reportedly harassed two businessmen, who had loaned money to an attorney, because they had engaged in the loan transactions without receiving permission of unidentified people in the North End section of Boston.

    Both victims began receiving threatening phone calls from Melvin and contacted law enforcement in early March.

    State police audio recorded a meeting between the victims and suspect at the Sons of Italy hall in Medford in March 2012. At this meeting, Winter and Melvin reportedly demanded the two victims each pay Winter $35,000 in cash.

    When one of the victims asked who Winter was and why he was involved in their loan transactions, it is alleged that Winter responded "There's no one in the (expletive) country that don't know who I am…when you tell me you don't know who I am, you're full of (expletive). There's nobody that don't (expletive) know me; I wish they didn't know me, OK?" referring to the long and well known organized crime and violent history of Howie Winter.

    After the meeting, Melvin and Hill reportedly employed tactics meant to intimidate the victims and motivate them to make payments.

    Over the next several weeks, state police audio recorded and videotaped three cash payments made to Winter and Melvin by one of the victims. Winter and Melvin, continuing to act in concert, further demanded that the victims start paying $5,000 per month to them.

    The two defendants were arrested June 7 and were arraigned June 8 in Somerville District Court on charges of attempted extortion and conspiracy. Somerville District Court Judge Neil Walker released the defendants on $25,000 cash bail each, with conditions to have no contact and stay away from the victims, wear a GPS monitoring device, surrender their passport and remain in the Commonwealth.

    RELATED:Howie Winter's history in the Boston underworld

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