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La Cosa Nostra

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.
NEWS
May 12, 2003 | By George Anastasia INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
A few years before top aides to Gov. McGreevey established a foothold in New Jersey's multimillion-dollar billboard industry, a power broker of a different sort was trying to get into the business. Documents obtained by The Inquirer indicate that Philadelphia-South Jersey mob boss Ralph Natale tried to grab a piece of the action and at one point even proposed killing Lewis Katz, the millionaire owner of the New Jersey Nets and one-time giant in the billboard business. Natale, who began cooperating with federal authorities in August 1999, told the FBI that he met with two associates of Katz's to discuss getting involved in billboards.
NEWS
May 1, 2003 | By George Anastasia INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
He made and spent millions, saw his name in headlines and his picture on television, rose to the top of his profession, but if he had to do it over again, mobster-turned-informant Ronald Previte told authorities yesterday that he'd choose a different line of work. "I wish I had never got involved in it," Previte said. "It's a terrible way of life. You're never at ease. You wait for the door to crash down. You wait to get shot. It's a terrible way to live. " Previte, 59, was the final witness at a two-day hearing into the changing face of organized crime conducted by the New Jersey State Commission of Investigation.
NEWS
April 30, 2003 | By George Anastasia INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
He is the new face of organized crime in New Jersey, but he wore a hood, dark sunglasses and a baseball cap pulled low over his forehead yesterday when he testified before the State Commission of Investigation. Identified only as "Rey," the admitted drug dealer and "warlord" for a chapter of the Latin Kings was the final witness at the first of two days of hearings into underworld activity in the Garden State. His story supported the themes touched on by nearly a dozen law enforcement officials who also appeared before the panel - "super gangs," particularly the Latin Kings and the Bloods, are emerging as dominant players in the underworld, spreading from urban centers to the surrounding suburbs.
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