Boston Globe Profiled Kenneth Francis Guarino in 1983


Kenneth Guarino started Capital Video in 1979. As early as 1983, The Boston Globe published a profile of him and his operations:

…Although he was only 28 years old [in 1977], Guarino had become the biggest purveyor of pornography in New England…

Guarino, who entered the business as a teenager, had risen to become one of the nation’s top pornography dealers in less than 10 years. His companies were grossing an estimated $3 million a year, and every month Guarino was depositing an average of $175,000 into their bank accounts…

A few things have changed for Guarino since the mid-1970s… One of his closest associates was killed under mysterious circumstances when he fell out of a moving car…

…Guarino has been tried and convicted on federal charges for interstate distribution of obscene materials (he has appealed), and he has been indicted for income-tax evasion, as well as distribution of pornographic material involving children…

Guarino has never spent any time in prison [that changed in 1997], and his pornography empire continues to grow… [H]e has branched out through his wife, Paula, into the fastest growing area of the pornography business: video cassettes…

Guarino refused to be interviewed, as did most of his present and past associates.

Law-enforcement sources, including those in the FBI, Rhode Island State Police and Providence Police, stated in interviews that Guarino has ties to organized crime, especially the Carlo Gambino family in New York City. There are these circumstances to support their statements:

Guarino’s major supplier of pornographic magazines and films has been Star Distributors Ltd., a Manhattan company that is controlled by an associate of two crime families, those of Gambino and Simone (Sam the Plumber) DeCavalcante of New Jersey.

An undercover FBI agent who helped bring obscenity-related indictments against numerous associates of organized-crime families in the 1980 Miporn case said that, by agreement, Guarino handled trade of books, magazines and sexual devices in New England while the 16mm and 35mm movie business was reserved for the DeCavalcante family.

Late in 1977, Guarino made out two $7500 checks to an associate of the Gambino family. The money was the single largest payment made to any individual out of Guarino’s corporate funds during the three-year period from early 1975 to February 1978, and it is labeled on Guarino’s ledger book as “commissions…”

Guarino’s company, Imperial Distributors, took over as the prominent distributor of pornographic magazines in New England in the early 1970s, from the now-defunct Atlantic Distributors Inc., also of Providence. Providence police contend that Guarino went to work for Atlantic around 1966 or 1967, shortly after he left Mount Pleasant High School in his junior year.

In 1969, then 20 years old, he started on his own and opened Imperial Distributors Inc. in Providence. Within two years, most of the adult bookstores in New England were buying their magazines and books from Imperial. The details of how Guarino assumed major control of pornography distribution from Atlantic Distributors are not known…

For pleasure, [Guarino] made frequent trips to Las Vegas, where he ran up thousands of dollars in casino “markers…”

The FBI assigned one of its accountants to review the several ledger books and other financial records seized at Guarino’s Imperial Distributors headquarters. From that review, the FBI accountant concluded that Guarino was failing to declare thousands of dollars in income that his chain of retail stores was grossing…

In addition to inspecting Guarino’s seized records, the FBI interviewed an accountant who had worked on Guarino’s financial books from sometime in 1973 to February 1978. According to a confidential report on that interview, the former accountant, William J. Martin 3d, told the FBI that “Guarino was skimming over a half-million dollars a year” from his corporations and bookstores.

At the time that the former accountant made the charge, he was under indictment in Connecticut for embezzling more than $146,000 in four separate checks from his full-time employer, General Dynamics, in early 1978. Martin, according to the confidential report, later told the FBI that he had embezzled the money on orders from Guarino because Guarino needed money “for anticipated legal fees.” However, Martin said he would not testify against Guarino in the case because he feared for his safety…

Martin pleaded guilty to charges of first-degree larceny and conspiracy and was given a four-to-eight-year suspended sentence. Guarino was never charged in the case…
“Spotlight: The Pornography Industry–A Quick Route to Profits for Region’s Top Porn Dealer”, The Boston Globe, 2/15/83

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