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La Cosa Nostra

NEWS
January 14, 1990 | By Emilie Lounsberry, Inquirer Staff Writer Inquirer correspondent Mike Schurman contributed to this article
A secret ceremony. Clandestine underworld meetings. Money. Power. Murder. The Mafia. That was the world of Philip Leonetti, 36, handsome, preppie-looking and articulate - a man who seemingly would be more at home in the movies or closing deals on Wall Street than in the No. 2 position in the Philadelphia- South Jersey La Cosa Nostra. But on the stand last week in U.S. District Court for his debut as a government witness, the former underboss gave a spellbinding and often chilling account of what it was like to grow up in the mob with the careful grooming of his uncle, imprisoned mob boss Nicodemo Scarfo.
NEWS
September 28, 1988 | By Emilie Lounsberry, Inquirer Staff Writer
An organized-crime expert may testify during the racketeering trial of reputed mob boss Nicodemo Scarfo and 16 associates about a 1977 FBI tape that the government contends proves the existence of the Philadelphia branch of the Mafia, a federal judge ruled yesterday. The ruling by U.S. District Judge Franklin S. Van Antwerpen was one of the final legal issues addressed during a daylong hearing that forced the delay of opening statements, which are now scheduled for today. The tape is considered important to the government's case because four alleged mobsters - Scarfo, Harry Riccobene, Philip "Chicken Man" Testa and Frank "Chickie" Narducci - discussed the impending selection by then-mob boss Angelo Bruno of a new consigliere, or top-ranking adviser.
NEWS
August 2, 1990 | By Jim Smith, Daily News Staff Writer
Convicted mob boss Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo and 13 of his henchmen got a fair trial, a federal appeals court in Philadelphia ruled yesterday in upholding their convictions. "It's a great day for the public," said Joel Friedman, prosecutor in charge of the U.S. Organized Crime Strike Force, the agency that coordinated the investigation and prosecution of the case. Prosecutors say Scarfo and many of the defendants will remain in prison for the rest of their lives, having been hit with multi-decade sentences in the federal racketeering case and life sentences on state murder raps.
NEWS
April 7, 2001 | by Kitty Caparella Daily News Staff Writer
Vendor Anthony Milicia ignored requests to discuss extortion payments to La Cosa Nostra on behalf his video-poker-machine business. Neither Ralph Natale, former mob boss, nor Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino, then underboss, could tolerate such an affront. "We're being made to look like a-------,'" Natale told Merlino, George Borgesi and Steve Mazzone in mid-1996, Natale testified yesterday. "Joey and I decided, we got to take a drastic step," Natale, the mob turncoat, added.
NEWS
November 22, 2013 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
PHILADELPHIA It was the evidence that Joseph Ligambi's lawyers didn't want a jury to hear. But in a one-two punch Wednesday, federal prosecutors laid out two of the most contentious elements of their racketeering case against the reputed head of the Philadelphia mob. First, Joaquin Garcia, a former undercover FBI agent who once infiltrated New York's Gambino crime family, regaled jurors with tales of Mafia rituals, violence, and the gangsters with...
NEWS
July 26, 2013 | BY WILLIAM BENDER, Daily News Staff Writer benderw@phillynews.com, 215-854-5255
SURE, the South Philly mob ain't what it used to be, but that doesn't mean that there aren't still stories to be told about La Cosa Nostra . And National Geographic has got the goods. Six hours' worth. "Inside the American Mob," a six-part series, premieres Sunday at 9 p.m. "It's the small, personal stories on both sides of the coin, from the Mafia and the prosecutors that chased them," said Michael Welsh, the series' executive producer. "You're getting multiple points of view on the same events over the course of the mob history.
NEWS
June 27, 1996 | By George Anastasia, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Hold the vino and the pasta. Break out the vodka and piroshki. The Russians are coming. A report released by the New Jersey State Commission of Investigation and three other law enforcement agencies warned yesterday that "Russian emigre crime groups . . . have the potential to develop into one of the most formidable organized crime challenges to law enforcement since the advent of La Cosa Nostra. " Focusing on New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York, the 69-page report outlines the involvement of Russian emigre criminals in multimillion-dollar tax and insurance scams, extortion rackets, jewelry thefts, money laundering and 70 murders or attempted murders since 1981, including the gangland-style assassinations of two Philadelphia jewelers.
NEWS
March 31, 2001 | By George Anastasia INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
He described La Cosa Nostra as a "descent into hell. " And he said: "I was there at one level or another for almost 40 years. " Then he spent four hours telling a federal court jury how he rose through the ranks of the Philadelphia mob, how he served jail time for arson and drug trafficking, and how, from prison in the early 1990s, he orchestrated a series of gangland murders while plotting to take control of the Philadelphia crime family....
NEWS
November 16, 2013 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
PHILADELPHIA Teased at the start with tales of mob shakedowns, swindles, and contract slayings, jurors in the racketeering retrial of reputed Philadelphia Mafia boss Joseph Ligambi instead have received a long lesson this week in the minutiae of the video gambling business. Testifying over three days, Curt Arbitman, the operator of a South Philadelphia video poker machine company, detailed his work collecting money and fixing gaming machines for several convicted mob figures. But while he may have been aiding an illegal operation, his day-to-day frustrations with broken bill acceptors, malfunctioning meters, and grousing South Philadelphia bar owners dominated discussion in 35 recorded phone calls played by prosecutors.
NEWS
December 12, 2012 | BY WILLIAM BENDER, Daily News Staff Writer benderw@phillynews.com, 215-854-5255
PHILIP "CRAZY PHIL" Leonetti learned to shoot a gun at age 10 and says that he participated in the same number of gangland murders under the twisted tutelage of his crazier uncle, mob boss Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo. That much Leonetti has admitted in court. But in his new tell-all book - and what mafioso worth his salt doesn't cap an illustrious career with a book deal these days? - the former underboss of the Philadelphia-South Jersey mob in the 1980s breaks 16 years of silence to reveal how he came "very close" to whacking the last guy anyone would have expected.
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