A shadowy group of political insiders tries to cover up a crisis. A mobbed-up banker vanishes after embezzling millions of dollars. And one renegade ex-nun saw the whole thing coming.
LISTEN TO CHAPTER THIRTEEN
ATTILA THE NUN
In a 1992 inquiry about the causes of the Rhode Island banking crisis, Violet was adamant that she had predicted the crash during her tenure as attorney general from 1985 to 1987. She claimed that a "network" of political and business elites thwarted her attempts at financial reform. Courtesy of the Rhode Island State Archives.
A BANKER DISAPPEARS
Joseph Mollicone Jr., president of the Heritage Loan and Investment Company, fled after embezzling millions of dollars from his bank. Just four days after he vanished, the public learned that the Rhode Island Share and Deposit Indemnity Corporation, or RISDIC, was taking over Heritage. Speculation surrounding Mollicone's whereabouts placed him as far away as Italy or South America. Courtesy of the Rhode Island State Archives/WJAR.
THE CRISIS BEGINS
Several hundred thousand depositors were locked out of their accounts during the banking crisis. Public anger mounted even more when it was revealed that some bankers, politicians, and other well-connected people may have been tipped off about the shutdown and withdrawn funds in advance. Courtesy of the Rhode Island State Archives/WJAR.
Mollicone was placed on a restitution payment plan that would take more than 4,500 years to pay off. He claimed that the debt he owed was much lower than the $12 million figure arranged at sentencing. Courtesy of WPRI.
Each year, the Providence Newspaper Guild presents the "Follies," an evening of songs and skits parodying the year in news. In 1991, performers poked fun at RISDIC and DEPCO. Courtesy of the Rhode Island State Archives.
Crimetown is Marc Smerling and Zac Stuart-Pontier. It is produced by Drew Nelles, Kaitlin Roberts, Austin Mitchell, and Mike Plunkett. The associate producer is Laura Sim. The show is edited by Alex Blumberg and Caitlin Kenney. Fact-checking by Mick Rouse. This episode of Crimetown was mixed, sound designed, and scored by Matthew Boll. Additional mixing by Enoch Kim and Kenny Kusiac. The title track is “Run To Your Mama” by Goat. The country music is "Shadows of You" by Kenny Brent and Donna Harris, courtesy of Jack Fleischer. The choir is the Providence Singers rendition of Hymn to the Virgin by Benjamin Britten. RISDIC archival footage courtesy of the Rhode Island State Archives. News archival footage courtesy of WPRI channel 12.
Original music by John Kusiak, Jon Ivans, Bobby Lourde, Billy Klein, Edwin and Bienart. Ad music is by Matthew Boll. The show's digital editor is Rob Szypko. The design director is Ale Lariu. This season of Crimetown is dedicated to the memory of Zachary Malinowski. If you want to know more about Arlene Violet, check out her autobiography Convictions: My Journey from the Convent to the Courtroom. Thanks to the Providence Journal, Julia Heymans, Emily Wiedemann, Lisa Newby, Tim White, Jim Taricani, Ken Carlson, Phil West, Ed DiMeglio at Retro Media, Sam Eilertsen, Kate Wells, Mary Murphy, Brian Andrews, Dan Barry and everybody who shared their stories with us. Providence is a special place, and we're honored to tell a part of its story.