Film producer and former independent record promotion mogul Joe Isgro was charged Monday with extortion and using threats of violence to collect on loans.
Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles alleged that Isgro and Anthony Saitta made cash loans for which they charged 5% per week interest and threatened anyone who didn’t pay on time with violence, thereby extorting hundreds of thousands of dollars over the last five years.
Saitta, who was arrested two weeks ago on related charges, is being held without bail. Valentino Bartolone — an employee of Isgro’s current record label, Private I Records — has been charged with acting as Isgro’s enforcer in these matters.
Isgro, who served as exec producer of the 1992 biopic “Hoffa,” was indicted on 56 counts of payola and racketeering charges in 1989. The charges were dismissed due to prosecutorial misconduct regarding the exclusion of potentially exculpatory evidence.
The charges were refiled in 1993 and dismissed three years later with the presiding judge citing violation of the defendant’s right to a speedy trial.