Eleven members of a Rome-based mafia clan known for its ostentatious funerals and garishly decorated villas are facing trial for allegedly stealing electricity via an illegal connection to their neighbours’ supply.
The charges emerged as part of an investigation into the Casamonica clan, whose illegally built villas in the Quadraro district were demolished in 2018 as former Rome mayor Virginia Raggi sought to tackle organised crime in the city.
The eleven suspects are accused of “aggravated theft of electricity” after evading bills totalling €60,000 (£51,000), La Repubblica reported.
Rome prosecutors found that clan members living in several of the villas had allegedly hacked into the meter of the energy company that was providing electricity to their neighbours, installing a cable that hooked up the supply to their homes too.
The sprawling Casamonica clan has been associated with racketeering, extortion and usury for decades, mostly operating under the radar until 2015, when a lavish funeral for crime boss, Vittorio Casamonica, drew public outrage.
The ceremony was replete with a gilded horse-drawn carriage, flower petals tossed from a helicopter and the theme tune from The Godfather playing outside a church in the outskirts of Rome. The outrage was further fuelled after the dead boss’s daughter and nephew were hosted on an Italian TV chat show.
Two years after Raggi was elected in 2016, police confiscated eight Casamonica villas, filled with marble statues of tigers and horses and other items of regal furniture, that were then bulldozed.
The crime group continued to operate, with three women closely associated with it arrested for drug-dealing on Sunday. In February, authorities seized €22m-worth of possessions from the clan, including more luxury villas, cars and jewellery.
A report last year found that the Casamonica family had grown from being nomads to the most feared “godfathers” in Rome. The clan infiltrated several neighbourhoods in the outskirts of the city before spreading its wings to other areas of the Lazio region.
The report found that the Casamonica clan includes as many female members as it does male.