Mob informant 'Frankie the Fixer' switches sides

Posted: January 03, 2014

FRANK DiGiacomo used to be a plumber. Then he became a South Philly mob associate.

After falling into debt, "Frankie the Fixer" ran to the FBI for help and agreed to wear a body wire. He testified against reputed mob boss Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi and other mob leaders in the last racketeering trial.

Yesterday, the 49-year-old Kensington native starred in yet another role in the years-long drama: defense witness.

Prosecutors decided to ditch DiGiacomo in the retrial of Ligambi and his nephew George Borgesi after they put DiGiacomo on the stand last year only to have him disparage another government witness and call Philly mobsters "great people."

So attorneys for Ligambi and Borgesi decided to call DiGiacomo themselves this time. The results were mixed.

"That was my boss, right there," DiGiacomo blurted out as he lurched forward and pointed to Ligambi.

DiGiacomo testified that, before entering the witness-protection program, he had collected debts while working for mob turncoat Louis "Bent Finger Lou" Monacello. But DiGiacomo backed up the government's assertion that Monacello was running the operation for Borgesi, who had been imprisoned on a prior racketeering conviction.

"You always had Georgie's name in there," DiGiacomo said.

Under questioning from Borgesi attorney Christopher Warren, DiGiacomo conceded that he never spoke directly with Borgesi about mob business, and that his knowledge of the operation came from Monacello.

"It's possible Monacello was throwing George's name around, isn't it?" Warren asked.

Warren and Assistant U.S. Attorney John Han spent the rest of the morning trying to elicit a kernel of beneficial testimony, with limited success. Neither lawyer seemed able to get exactly what he wanted from DiGiacomo, a blue-collar but somewhat inscrutable bald man with glasses and an olive suit.

When Warren identified an inconsistency between DiGiacomo's past and current testimony, DiGiacomo was unfazed. "Was it true when you gave it?" Warren asked of his 2012 testimony.

"I guess it was," DiGiacomo responded.

The defense rested its case yesterday. Closing arguments are to begin Monday.

On Twitter: @wbender99


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