December 11, 2001 |
John Ciancaglini, whose two brothers were gunned down - one killed, the other crippled - in a bloody 1993 mob war, was sentenced to nine years in prison yesterday for his conviction on racketeering charges this summer. U.S. District Judge Herbert Hutton imposed the sentence, which was 13 months less than the maximum Ciancaglini faced, following an hour-long hearing in which the defense and prosecution presented decidedly different pictures of the South Philadelphia mobster. Ciancaglini's lawyer, F. Emmett Fitzpatrick, portrayed his client as a hardworking businessman who got involved in an underworld bookmaking operation but who was not a key player in La Cosa Nostra.
November 21, 2001 |
In a scathing report that is part mob history and part polemic, federal prosecutors have asked that mob boss Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino be sentenced to more than 24 years in prison for his conviction on racketeering charges in a high-profile trial that ended in July. Merlino was described in a prosecutorial memo filed yesterday as a "confirmed enemy of civilized society" whose crimes were "deliberate, premeditated and systemic. " "When one views Merlino's past criminal history, his dogged allegiance and pursuit of a mob career, despite impediments and reverses that would have discouraged a less resolute criminal, there can be little question that he is committed body and soul to the perverted values of La Cosa Nostra," the memo read in part.
October 25, 2001 |
Mob associate Stephen Sharkey was sentenced yesterday to 60 months in prison after admitting his role in a gambling and extortion operation linked to mob boss Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino and several of his top associates. During a hearing before U.S. District Judge Herbert Hutton, Sharkey said he was "truly sorry" for what he had done and asked for a chance to "return to my family and redeem myself. " Sharkey, 32, of Delaware County, pleaded guilty to a racketeering charge that included allegations of bookmaking and extortion.
September 14, 2001 |
Another Camden political figure has been indicted on charges of selling his office to the mob. The price? A diamond ring for his girlfriend, according to a four-count indictment returned yesterday that charges former City Council President and school board employee James R. Mathes with conspiracy and fraud. The indictment, rumored for months, comes less than a year after former Mayor Milton Milan was convicted of mob-related corruption charges. Both Milan and Mathes, according to federal authorities, were plotting with then-mob boss Ralph Natale to steer government contracts to companies associated with the Philadelphia-South Jersey crime family.
July 4, 2001 |
Reputed mobster John Ciancaglini is expected to take the stand tomorrow as the defense wraps up its case in the racketeering trial of reputed mob boss Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino and six codefendants. Ciancaglini, 45, charged with murder and extortion, would be the second codefendant to testify in the 14-week-old trial. Yesterday, reputed mob associate Angelo Lutz, who is charged with gambling and extortion, completed a second day on the witness stand, trading verbal barbs with special assistant federal prosecutor Steven D'Aguanno.
July 3, 2001 |
Angelo Lutz brought it all to the witness stand yesterday, from his disdain for the government to his recipe for pork chops. Testifying in his own defense, the loquacious, 5-foot-5, 400-pound reputed mob associate described himself as a degenerate gambler whose addiction led his elderly parents to go $200,000 into debt to pay off his gambling losses and failed business ventures. But he repeatedly denied that he was an extortionist for the mob, as the government has alleged.
May 2, 2001 |
Cop-turned-mobster-turned-informant Ronald Previte is set to take the stand in the racketeering trial of reputed mob boss Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino and six codefendants. Previte, 57, the third major mob figure to testify, will be on the witness stand this week - possibly today, more likely tomorrow - as the trial continues in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia before Judge Herbert Hutton. The onetime wiseguy is expected to provide a detailed account of the operations of the criminal enterprise that prosecutors have alleged Merlino, 39, controlled.
April 26, 2001 |
He said he was willing to kill for La Cosa Nostra. He admitted his own involvement in two gangland hits. He talked about how he once beat an underworld rival with an aluminum baseball bat and how he extorted tens of thousands of dollars from gamblers and drug dealers through threats and intimidation. But when he tried to explain why he had become a cooperating government witness, Gaetano "Tommy Horsehead" Scafidi cried. "Everything I believed in, I threw out the window sitting here talking to you," Scafidi, his voice cracking, his eyes filling with tears, told the jury yesterday as he completed his second full day of testimony in the federal racketeering trial of reputed mob leader Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino and six codefendants.
April 25, 2001 |
Mobster-turned-informant Gaetano "Tommy Horsehead" Scafidi took aim at his former boyhood friends and underworld allies yesterday, linking Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino and several of his codefendants to a series of murders, attempted murders and extortions that are at the heart of Merlino's federal racketeering trial. "We kill each other. It's part of our life," said Scafidi, an admitted fourth-generation mobster, as he opened his second day on the witness stand in the high-profile mob case.
April 22, 2001 |
Former mob boss Ralph Natale stepped down from the witness stand on Thursday after spending 14 days giving a federal jury a candid look at the inner workings of the Philadelphia mob. It wasn't a pretty picture. Already considered one of the most dysfunctional mob families in America, the criminal organization depicted by Natale was a picture of disorganized organized crime, a slap-dash outfit motivated by greed that failed at nearly every enterprise except murder. "La Cosa Nostra is a descent into hell," the nattily dressed and smooth-talking Natale said in one of his first and most dramatic remarks after taking the stand in the racketeering trial of his onetime underworld ally, Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino, and six codefendants.