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(NECN: Greg Wayland, Somerville, Mass.) - Howie Winter, was once the fierce and feared head of Somerville's notorious Winter Hill Gang.
He was back in the dock, along with 70--year old James Melvin of Braintree, Mass. who also had a criminal record.
Both are accused of extorting two individuals, known only as victim one and victim two,
Winter and Melvin's lawyers say, despite their reputations their clients are just nice old guys, falsely accused.
"They are the most gentle, quiet, unassuming guys you'd ever want to meet," said Peter Mullaney, attorney for Winter.
Melvin and Winter allegedly threatened the victims, demanding that they each pay them $35,000 for, as prosecutors tell it, loaning $100,000 to a third unnamed party -- telling the victims they'd loaned money without consent or permission. They allegedly threatened to reveal their money-loaning activities to North End of Boston mobsters.
During a secretly taped meeting between the victims and winter, prosecutors says one victim told Winter he didn't know who he was.
"To which Winter replied , 'You know something, you're full of (bleep). You don't know who I am? There's no one in the (bleeping) country that don't know who I am,' " said Stephen Gilpatric, assistant district attorney of Middlesex County.
Winter's and Melvin's lawyers claim the so-called victims were the real extortionist and their clients were merely trying to force them to return the $4,000 dollars weekly interest payments they were loansharking from an innocent Boston lawyer who had reached out to winters for help.
The cornerstone of the state's allegations is that Mr. Melvin and Mr. Winter were alleged to have extorted two extortionists.
Both were expected to be free on $25,000 bail. Their lawyers say they're harmless.