February 17, 2016 |
Something must explain the persistence of The Philly Fan . In 2004, veteran actor Tom McCarthy first performed in Bruce Graham's one-man homage to Philadelphia sports franchises and their propensity to flub the big game, and this show has regularly reappeared on area stages ever since. But if you listened to the language (or paid attention to the demographics) of McCarthy's unnamed narrator, you'd think he was headed for extinction. The Philly Fan chronicles 50 years of attendance at Connie Mack Stadium, the Vet, the Spectrum, Franklin Field, and later, Lincoln Financial Field and the FU (First Union)
June 13, 2015 |
Hatchet chops to the wrist, hammer blows to the fingers, and, if all else failed, menacing promises of visits from "Italian friends" in New York were among the threats deployed by a violent Albanian loan-sharking and gambling operation run out of a Mayfair bar. But as the group's leader, Ylli Gjeli, 49, was sentenced Thursday to 14 years in prison on federal racketeering conspiracy charges, he insisted that he - and not his borrowers - was the true...
December 22, 2013 |
PHILADELPHIA The photo of Joseph Ligambi, taken at a mob associate's wedding three years ago, captured the reputed mob boss in less troubled times. Decked out in a dark suit and tie, and surrounded by a dozen close friends and family members at the Curtis Center, his face bore a smile not often seen in recent days in a federal courtroom here. But what that image meant, and its potential implications for Ligambi's criminal case, was the subject of testimony Friday as his racketeering retrial ended its sixth week.
August 25, 2013 |
THEY TOOK in stacks of untraceable money running a loan-sharking and gambling organization that bullied its customers into paying up by threatening to break their legs and to have them and relatives killed, officials say. But the business is now closed, and the nine people alleged to have run it were indicted yesterday on a slew of racketeering charges, federal officials in Philadelphia announced. "We will not tolerate this type of criminal activity that preys upon financial weakness and threatens the physical safety of the individuals in debt and their innocent family members," U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger said.
August 25, 2013 |
Nine members of an Albanian-run gang from Northeast Philadelphia that specialized in loan-sharking and illegal gambling - backed by intimidation with a gun and a hatchet - were arrested Friday morning, federal officials said. All nine appeared in federal court Friday afternoon in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Lynne A. Sitarski, who set an arraignment for Wednesday. The men were to be held in custody until then. The defendants, allegedly led by Northeast residents Ylli Gjeli, 48, and Fatimir Mustafaraj, 41, were indicted on racketeering, extortion, and other charges and are accused of running a criminal enterprise that federal authorities said thrived for more than a decade.
June 26, 2013 |
HARRISBURG - The increasingly hostile debate playing out in the Capitol over payday lending may not reach biblical proportions, but the conflict is emerging as a saints vs. sinners struggle over working class access to cash. Religious groups are leading efforts to snuff out newly revived legislation to legalize payday lending - the short-term, high-interest loans for people with no credit and no ability to obtain traditional bank loans. Citing Scripture, they have characterized these storefront lenders - which closed up shop in Pennsylvania after a state Supreme Court ruling in 2010 set interest rates so low that the business was no longer profitable - as predators on the poor.
June 14, 2013
A 37-year-old South Jersey man pleaded guilty Thursday to loan sharking on behalf of the Philadelphia mob, federal prosecutors said. Robert Ranieri, of Glendora, admitted that he conspired with Philadelphia mobster Anthony Staino and others to make a usurious loan to an undercover FBI agent and then threatened violence to collect on the loan, according to federal prosecutors. Ranieri's sentencing hearing is scheduled for Sept. 25 and he faces a maximum 40 years in prison. - Robert Moran
February 26, 2013 |
A North Jersey mobster, who admitted to participating in the affairs of Philadelphia's La Cosa Nostra, was sentenced today to a 55 month term in federal prison. Louis "Big Lou" Fazzini, 45, pleaded guilty in October to a racketeering conspiracy charge linked to a mob-controlled gambling and loan-sharking operation. A self-described "made" member of the mob, Fazzini, of Caldwell, operated a sports bookmaking business and ran a social club in northern New Jersey where illegal gambling on card and dice games occurred regularly.
December 14, 2012
I DON'T BELONG to the American Bar Association because, years ago, the national umbrella group for my profession announced that it supported abortion rights. Not that anyone was really asking. Not that it was particularly relevant to the business of lawyering. Not that a statistical consensus had been reached as in, "Hi, my name is Trixie and I know I'm interrupting your dinner but, um, can I ask you a few questions about abortion?" The ABA simply came out and announced that it strongly supported Roe v. Wade . As soon as I found that out, I sent the money I would have paid in membership dues to several pro-life organizations.