Feds: Reputed mob underboss worked from prison

Posted: August 16, 2012

Joseph "Mousie" Massimino may be the reputed underboss of the Philadelphia mob, but he took the wise out of wise guy when he penned a potentially incriminating letter in prison - fully aware that law enforcement officials were reading his mail.

The letter, which Massimino wrote in 2005 while locked up on racketeering charges in New Jersey's South Woods State Prison, advises a friend to "get in touch with Michael and tell him to tell his mother to tell her husband that he better get my f--kin money."

Massimino, 62, wrote that the debtor, a "bald headed mother f--ker" who owed him $35,000, "won't be able to hide anywhere in the U.S." Toward the bottom of the letter, Massimino cautioned his friend: "If you write me watch what you say. They read everything that comes to me."

Federal prosecutors plan to introduce the letter in the upcoming mob racketeering trial as evidence that Massimino was conducting mob business from jail.

Massimino's attorney, Joseph Santaguida, is seeking to prevent the jury from seeing the letter, arguing that prison officials had no reason to read it.

"Even though you're a prisoner, you don't lose all your constitutional rights," he said.

Regardless, Santaguida said, the letter isn't incriminating. He said his client was only sending a friendly reminder to someone who owed him money.

"There wasn't anything ominous about it," he said.

Contact William Bender at benderw@phillynews.com or 215-854-5255. Follow him on Twitter @wbender99.

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