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La Cosa Nostra

NEWS
December 24, 2007 | By George Anastasia, Inquirer Staff Writer
The New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice provided the outline for a new Garden State mob saga last week when more than two dozen reputed wiseguys - including three alleged leaders of the Lucchese organized-crime family - were charged in a $2.2 billion gambling, money-laundering and racketeering case. Based on a 16-month investigation in which hundreds of conversations were secretly recorded, the probe offered an inside look at what authorities allege was one of the biggest gambling operations ever uncovered.
NEWS
December 19, 2007 | By George Anastasia INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Three reputed leaders of the Lucchese organized crime family were charged yesterday with heading a $2.2 billion sports-betting and loan-sharking operation targeted in an investigation by the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice. The investigation, Operation Heat, also uncovered an alliance between organized crime figures and a member of the Bloods street gang, authorities said. The arrests and alleged connection between La Cosa Nostra and the Bloods were disclosed by New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram during a news conference in West Orange.
NEWS
December 2, 2007 | By George Anastasia INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Joseph Ligambi, the reputed mob boss of Philadelphia, is an early riser, often out of the house by 6 a.m. But unlike his predecessors - who, not coincidentally, are in jail - Ligambi spends most of his nights at home. "He's a quiet family man," said an associate without a trace of irony in his voice. "He's more interested in making money than in making headlines," adds Capt. Charles Bloom of the Philadelphia Police Department's Criminal Intelligence Unit. Low-key, circumspect, and happy to stay in the shadows.
NEWS
January 24, 2007 | By George Anastasia INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Convicted mob racketeer Marty Angelina was ordered back to prison for four months yesterday after admitting to a federal judge that he had violated the terms of his probation by meeting with known felons and members of La Cosa Nostra since his release from prison 15 months ago. They were "bad choices," the onetime enforcer for jailed mob boss Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino said during a probation revocation hearing before U.S. District Judge R....
NEWS
July 20, 2006 | By George Anastasia INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Back in November 1999, when North Jersey mob hit man Philip "Philly Fay" Casale cut a deal with the government and agreed to become a cooperating witness, he forgot to mention four gangland killings in which he had played a crucial role. The oversight led federal prosecutors to void Casale's agreement, costing the gunman, who was part of the Newark, N.J., branch of the Philadelphia crime family, a chance for a lenient sentence and freedom. Currently serving a 20-year sentence on a racketeering charge that included two other homicides, Casale was in court in Newark yesterday to set the record straight.
NEWS
February 21, 2006 | By George Anastasia and Jennifer Moroz INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS
Before he became a New Jersey state trooper, Jim Harney tended bar at Legends, a once-popular South Philadelphia nightspot whose clientele included professional athletes and local wiseguys. Harney got to know some hockey players, his lawyer says - but that didn't make him a member of the NHL. He also got to know some organized crime figures, the lawyer added - but that didn't make him a mobster. Harney's alleged mob connections remain one tantalizing element of a high-profile, multimillion-dollar sports-betting investigation in which he, former Flyers star Rick Tocchet, and another man have been charged.
NEWS
March 16, 2005 | By George Anastasia INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
South Philadelphia and the mob. For decades, they have been intertwined. From Angelo Bruno to Joey Merlino, the cast of characters - and the term is used advisedly - has been the focus of law enforcement and media attention that reinforced that perception. Like it or not, and many in the community clearly do not, La Cosa Nostra has been a neighborhood institution. It is the dark side of the Italian American experience - a negative twist on the ethnic values of honor, family and loyalty.
NEWS
January 22, 2005 | By George Anastasia INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Former Philadelphia mob boss Ralph Natale was sentenced to 13 years in prison yesterday by a federal judge who said he had to balance Natale's efforts as a cooperating witness against his "heinous" record as a career criminal. "Both are off the charts," said U.S. District Court Judge Joseph E. Irenas as he imposed the sentence in Camden. Natale, his faced flushed, sat stoically as Irenas concluded a four-hour hearing with the pronouncement of the sentence. Natale could have received a life sentence after pleading guilty to drug dealing, racketeering and corruption charges.
NEWS
September 2, 2003 | By George Anastasia INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Mob informant Roger Vella makes his debut as a government witness this week in the double-homicide trial of suspected drug dealer Trent Pickard. A former driver for jailed mob boss Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino, Vella is expected to take the stand either today or tomorrow in the Common Pleas Court case. Pickard, 36, is charged with the murders of Chad Alexander and Terrell Dean, who were gunned down Nov. 10, 2000, near the corner of 30th and York Streets in the Strawberry Mansion section of the city.
NEWS
July 27, 2003 | By George Anastasia INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
He has been described as a wanna-be wiseguy and a gofer with little common sense and limited intelligence. "A mental midget," said one former associate who predicted he will wilt under the pressure of a strong cross-examination once he takes the witness stand. But Roger Vella, the mob associate who once idolized jailed Mafia boss Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino, may be the key to the next major case built against the beleaguered Philadelphia organized crime family. More than two years after Vella, 31, first agreed to cooperate, an outline of what he is telling authorities is taking shape.
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