Mob life, born and bred

Posted: December 11, 2012

PHILIP MICHAEL Leonetti was born in Philadelphia on March 27, 1953, to Pasquale Leonetti and Annunziata "Nancy" Scarfo - literally born into the mob.

The Leonetti and Scarfo families had immigrated to the United States from Naples and Calabria, where they had strong ties to the Mafia. Pasquale Leonetti was tapped by Angelo Bruno to oversee South Philly card and dice games in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Leonetti, who says that he got his "Crazy Phil" moniker from local radio talk-show host Mike Sherman, was molded by his uncle Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo, starting in elementary school. Leonetti was a standout basketball player at Holy Spirit High School, in Absecon, N.J., but Scarfo had other plans for his nephew.

At 32, Leonetti became the youngest underboss in modern Mafia history. In 1989, he flipped and admitted having taken part in 10 killings. In exchange for testifying against Scarfo and other mobsters, he served only five years, five months and five days of an original 45-year prison sentence .

Leonetti, 59, now lives in a West Coast seaside community under an assumed named with his wife and dog.

- William Bender

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