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Philadelphia Mob

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NEWS
February 3, 1986 | By SCOTT FLANDER and JOE O'DOWD, Daily News Staff Writers
Victor DeLuca, a mob hit man who broke the "code of silence" and turned informant, is suffering from throat cancer and has had his voice box removed, sources have told the Daily News. For nearly two years, DeLuca has been providing investigators with details about the inner workings of the Philadelphia mob, and in 1984 his testimony helped convict Harry "The Hunchback" Riccobene of a contract killing. DeLuca, 47, underwent surgery in December at an undisclosed government hospital, sources said.
NEWS
January 29, 1989 | By George Anastasia, Inquirer Staff Writer
Santo Idone had been the only ranking member of the Nicodemo Scarfo organized-crime family to avoid arrest during an unprecedented, three-year onslaught by law enforcement authorities. That changed on Tuesday when Idone, 68, was named in a federal indictment in Philadelphia charging him and three of his top associates with racketeering, conspiracy and extortion in connection with the operation of an illegal poker machine distribution network in Chester. The indictment was announced on the same day that another high-profile Scarfo family member, Albert "Reds" Pontani, was sentenced to 30 years in prison in federal court in Newark, N.J., in a drug case.
NEWS
April 1, 2001 | By George Anastasia INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
In the long and lively history of mob trials in Philadelphia, last week's debut of the racketeering case against Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino and six others may have established at least one underworld first. The presence of Merlino at the defense table, former mob boss Ralph Natale on the witness stand for the prosecution, and reputed acting mob boss Joe Ligambi in the spectator section may have been the first time three bosses appeared in the same courtroom at the same time. "It's a real Philadelphia moment," quipped one underworld observer.
NEWS
April 11, 1993 | By George Anastasia, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Rosario Bellocchi, the suspected mob hit man charged with murder in Camden County last week, was angry. The Sicilian-born pizza maker stood with his hands cuffed behind his back during a March 29 preliminary hearing. A Montgomery County District Court judge had just refused to lower his $250,000 cash bail in a mob-related kidnapping case when he shouted: "What am I, an animal? I'm in jail, I didn't do nothing . . . What did I do?" Who Bellocchi is and what he has done are, in fact, two central questions in a broader organized crime investigation that sources say is aimed at bringing down reputed Philadelphia-South Jersey mob boss John Stanfa.
NEWS
January 26, 2014 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
For the first time in 13 years, George Borgesi, the Philadelphia mob's former consigliere, left the James A. Byrne federal courthouse Friday unencumbered by handcuffs and hand in hand with the woman he married while behind bars. Borgesi had been found not guilty. Hours earlier, a jury acquitted the 50-year-old known as "Georgie Boy" on one count of racketeering conspiracy and said it was hopelessly deadlocked on three of four counts facing his uncle and codefendant, reputed mob boss Joseph Ligambi.
NEWS
December 11, 1996 | By George Anastasia, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Joseph Sodano, a New Jersey mobster once heard on an FBI tape boasting about his Mafia pedigree, was found shot to death Saturday night in Newark in what authorities said yesterday appeared to be an organized crime hit. A leader of the Newark branch of the Philadelphia mob, Sodano, 58, was found slumped over the steering wheel of his van in the parking lot of a senior citizen complex shortly after 10 p.m., according to Detective Daniel Collins of...
NEWS
March 11, 1996 | By George Anastasia, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Salvatore Avena: Did I do somethin' wrong? Salvatore Profaci: Well, we started a lawsuit. Goodfellas don't sue goodfellas. . . . Goodfellas kill goodfellas. Of all the quotes on all the tapes from all the conversations made during the FBI's four-year probe of the Philadelphia mob, none compares to New York mob leader Sal Profaci's succinct and chilling explanation picked up by an FBI bug on June 2, 1992, in Sal Avena's Camden law office. Law enforcement authorities say it captured the essence of wiseguy life.
NEWS
October 2, 2012 | BY JULIE K. BROWN, The Miami Herald
BOCA RATON, Fla. - Joseph Merlino steps out onto the iron-railed balcony of his $400,000 townhouse. Bare-chested, ripped and clad in nothing but gray skivvies, he looks more like a former Calvin Klein underwear model than one of the most ruthless mobsters of his time. A year out of prison, Joseph Salvatore "Skinny Joey" Merlino isn't so skinny anymore. But he looks almost as boyish at 50 as at 39, when he was sentenced to 14 years in prison for racketeering. Back then, he was a 5-foot-3, 100-pound dapper young don who masterminded the bloody takeover of the Philadelphia mob. Today, he is a two-hour plane ride from the Southwest Philadelphia rowhouse where he grew up to become an underworld icon, both feared and eerily revered in the City of Brotherly Love.
NEWS
June 15, 1993 | By George Anastasia, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The feds say the go-ahead came from a man known as The Chin, a man who likes to walk the street in slippers and a robe. They say he sanctioned a Philadelphia bloodbath. Reputed New York mob boss Vincent "The Chin" Gigante has been identified by federal authorities in Brooklyn as a prime conspirator in six Philadelphia gangland slayings that changed the face of the local underworld in the early 1980s and led to Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo's bloody rise to power. Gigante, considered by many to be the most powerful mob leader in America, approved the murders of the six local mobsters because of their suspected involvement in either the 1980 murder of longtime Philadelphia mob boss Angelo Bruno or the 1981 murder of Bruno's successor, Philip Testa, according to a federal indictment unsealed last week.
NEWS
April 28, 2007 | By George Anastasia INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Mobster Vincent "Big Vince" Filipelli wanted to make one thing perfectly clear yesterday after pleading guilty to an extortion-related charge that could keep him behind bars for the next several years. Signaling to reporters who had shown up in U.S. District Court in Camden to cover his plea hearing, the bulky former professional weight lifter slashed his hand through the air and then said with a smile, "Remember, no cooperation. " Filipelli, 53, wanted to underline what his lawyer had emphasized during the 30-minute session before Judge Noel Hillman - there was no plea agreement and no cooperation deal with federal authorities.
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NEWS
January 26, 2014 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
For the first time in 13 years, George Borgesi, the Philadelphia mob's former consigliere, left the James A. Byrne federal courthouse Friday unencumbered by handcuffs and hand in hand with the woman he married while behind bars. Borgesi had been found not guilty. Hours earlier, a jury acquitted the 50-year-old known as "Georgie Boy" on one count of racketeering conspiracy and said it was hopelessly deadlocked on three of four counts facing his uncle and codefendant, reputed mob boss Joseph Ligambi.
NEWS
January 8, 2014 | BY WILLIAM BENDER, Daily News Staff Writer benderw@phillynews.com, 215-854-5255
MAYBE THE Philadelphia mob fizzled out when Joey Merlino got pinched in 1999. Or maybe it continued to thrive well into the 21st century on a steady diet of video-poker revenue and loan-sharking juice. Depends on your benchmarks for a successful criminal organization. But those photos? They were a bad idea. As closing arguments began yesterday in the retrial of reputed mob boss Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi and his nephew George Borgesi, federal prosecutors broke out the photo album again.
NEWS
January 1, 2014 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
PHILADELPHIA By 2011, federal agents wanted Louis Monacello locked in a prison cell. His Mafia colleagues wanted him in his grave. Despite those mounting threats, the mob associate known as "Bent Finger Lou" felt confident that he could work even that dire outlook to his benefit, his former neighbor testified Monday. "No matter what happens, he said he was going to get a book deal out of it, or go on TV or something. Other mob guys had done it before," said Jerry Davis, a longtime Philadelphia City Council aide who lived next door to Monacello for years.
NEWS
December 18, 2013 | BY WILLIAM BENDER, Daily News Staff Writer benderw@phillynews.com, 215-854-5255
THE PHILADELPHIA Mafia has a reputation for a lot of things. Gambling, loan-sharking, extortion, the occasional mob hit. Impeccable timing is not one of them. A year after a highly publicized murder in South Philadelphia disrupted the racketeering trial of mob boss Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi and his top lieutenants, another reputed mob associate has been charged with soliciting murder - in the middle of the retrial for Ligambi and his nephew George Borgesi. Ronald Galati, an auto-body-shop operator with ties to Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino and the Borgesi family, was quietly arrested on Friday.
NEWS
December 9, 2013 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
PHILADELPHIA Walking into federal court each morning, Alyson Borgesi, wife of reputed Philadelphia mob consigliere George Borgesi, has made a habit of greeting those present with a now familiar refrain. "Enjoying the show?" she asks, cracking a sardonic smile. But as her husband's racketeering retrial entered its second month last week, she increasingly found herself cast as his unwilling costar. The trial came to an early halt Friday after four jurors accused the petite, 38-year-old brunette - a woman whose resumé includes stints as a travel agent and candy saleswoman - of trying to intimidate them from the court gallery, Borgesi family members said.
NEWS
December 7, 2013 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
During his 30 years with the New York mob, Anthony Aponick grew adept at juggling business both legitimate and illegitimate - or, as he described it, "walking and chewing gum at the same time. " But he spent much of Thursday discussing a more ambiguous form of income as he testified for a second day in the racketeering retrial of reputed Philadelphia mob consigliere George Borgesi: money he earned as a professional informant. Between 2002 and 2013, the FBI paid the 42-year-old former Bonanno crime family associate $152,000 for coughing up information on Borgesi, with whom he shared a cell in a federal detention center in West Virginia.
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
November 21, 2013 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
PHILADELPHIA A day after Pennsylvania lawmakers moved to open the door for legal small-scale gambling in bars, Philadelphia mob figure George Borgesi posed what to him seemed an obvious question. "So what are we doing here?" he asked a reporter Tuesday during a break from his retrial on racketeering conspiracy charges. Tapping a newspaper story on the state's proposed gaming expansion with one hand and gesturing to his codefendant and uncle, Joseph Ligambi, with the other, the 50-year-old added: "That's what they want to lock him up for. " Well, not exactly.
NEWS
November 9, 2013 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
PHILADELPHIA It might be considered the low-budget sequel. But reputed Philadelphia mob boss Joseph Ligambi and the federal authorities who have pursued him for 13 years both hope this time brings blockbuster results. Ligambi, known as "Uncle Joe," returned to court Thursday for his second trial in as many years on racketeering conspiracy charges. His nephew and alleged consigliere, George "Georgie Boy" Borgesi, sat by his side. Eight months ago, a federal jury deadlocked on the most serious counts against them after a marathon, four-month trial involving 12 other mob defendants.
NEWS
July 19, 2013 | By John P. Martin, Inquirer Staff Writer
Anthony "Ant" Staino Jr. once called himself the CFO of the Philadelphia mob and threatened to unleash "two gorillas" on a deadbeat debtor, but he didn't cut the typical image of a thuggish mobster. With silver hair and dark-rim eyeglasses, the 56-year-old South Jersey native has stellar credit, files yearly tax returns, and has logged time in college but never in jail. He was his high school class president and captain of the football team, shares cooking and landscaping tips with his Swedesboro neighbors, and donned a SpongeBob costume to trick-or-treat with his daughter.
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