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Ralph Natale

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NEWS
September 2, 2011
RALPH NATALE was head of the Philadelphia mob from 1994 to 1999, when he was busted on drug charges. * Many believe that Natale, 76, was a figurehead boss, and that Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino actually had the power. * Natale, the first sitting mob boss to testify against his own crime family, finished an 11-year prison term in May and is working on a tell-all memoir that has caught the attention of federal investigators. * The Daily News is not disclosing where he is living because we don't want Ralphy's blood on our hands if he gets whacked.
NEWS
July 20, 1999 | by Kitty Caparella, Daily News Staff Writer
Jailed mob boss Ralph Natale didn't have anything to say about his onetime adversary, reputed acting mob boss Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino, their fallout, or Merlino's drug charges. Nor did he comment on reputed mob capo-turned-FBI informant Ronald Previte, 55, of Hammonton, N.J., an ex-Philly cop who recorded conversations with him about the methamphetamine business and other illegal activities. But he did have one important thing to say to U.S. District Judge Robert B. Kugler in Camden yesterday.
NEWS
September 10, 1995 | By George Anastasia, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Nicky Scarfo never had to pay for a meal in an Atlantic City restaurant. When the now-imprisoned mob boss stopped at a bar, the drinks were always on the house. Reservations? Forgetaboutit. Those were some of the "perks," say law enforcement and underworld sources, that the diminutive crime boss enjoyed as a result of his control of Local 54 of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union in the early 1980s. About $20,000 a month in cash siphoned from the union's coffers was also part of the package, according to federal authorities who took control of the local in 1991 and have since declared it mob-free.
NEWS
November 9, 2000 | by Jim Smith, Daily News Staff Writer
The "Second Coming of Ralph Natale," a story of a Philly mob boss turned King Rat unfolding in the federal courthouse in Camden, is something to behold. Chin up, chest out, head shaved and polished, the 65-year old ex-Mafia chieftain, sporting a graying goatee and black business suit, strutted into Courtroom 3A yesterday afternoon, looking and talking like a 5-foot-6, bantamweight devil incarnate. He likened himself to a killer "dog," who long ago had been "set free" to commit murder for the mob. Jurors and spectators listened spellbound to his grisly tales of mob murders and efforts to corrupt the mayor of Camden.
NEWS
May 6, 2000 | by Kitty Caparella, Daily News Staff Writer
Ralph Natale's charcoal suit arrived before he did. His U.S. marshal's plane was fogged in yesterday, making Natale late landing in Pennsylvania. But federal agents were waiting with his suit, which they brought him from his Pennsauken penthouse. When Natale finally appeared for his historic hearing in federal court in Camden, he was two hours late. But it was a new Natale. Still short, but now deeply-tanned, slimmed down, physically fit, sporting a dark moustache and white goatee.
NEWS
September 14, 2001 | By George Anastasia and Dwight Ott INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS
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.
NEWS
September 25, 2001 | By Angela Couloumbis INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Former City Council President James R. Mathes Jr. pleaded not guilty yesterday in U.S. District Court to charges that he sold his office to the Philadelphia-South Jersey mob. Mathes, 61, the Camden School District's affirmative-action officer, is accused of plotting with former mob boss Ralph Natale to steer government contracts to mob-related companies. In exchange, his indictment alleges, the mob paid for a diamond ring, valued at $2,000 to $5,000, for his girlfriend. Mathes declined to comment on the allegations, but his attorney, Wayne Powell, called the indictment groundless.
NEWS
April 15, 2000 | By Emilie Lounsberry, Barbara Boyer and Angela Couloumbis, INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS
A month before Milton Milan was sworn in as mayor of Camden, mob boss Ralph Natale boasted that he "always took care of" Milan and said that he had sent him "three in the envelope" - a reference the FBI said likely was to money, according to an affidavit unsealed yesterday in U.S. District Court. Natale, who became a government witness last summer, made that statement during a secretly taped meeting in June 1997 with an unidentified associate during which he also described Milan as a "sweetheart" and a man "looking to make money.
NEWS
February 19, 2004 | By George Anastasia INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The image has been changed, but the story is the same. Former Philadelphia mob boss Ralph Natale was presented to a federal jury here yesterday as a gangster doing time rather than a mobster who has made a deal. Gone were the vibrant tan, cocky swagger, and tailored business suits that were de rigueur during Natale's three earlier appearances at trials in federal courts in Philadelphia and Camden. Instead, the former crime kingpin, who took the stand in the murder trial of Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino yesterday afternoon, wore a tan, prison-issued work shirt and pants.
NEWS
August 28, 1999 | By Barbara Boyer, Dwight Ott, and Emilie Lounsberry, INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS
FBI agents who searched Camden Mayor Milton Milan's City Hall office on Thursday were seeking records about an array of businesses and people - including mob boss Ralph Natale, according to court documents released yesterday. In the search warrant, which was approved by U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Kugler, FBI agent William Grace said he was seeking a range of documents - everything from checks and bills to City Council minutes and appointment books going back to January 1996 - about a string of companies and people.
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NEWS
September 9, 2014 | BY WILLIAM BENDER, Daily News Staff Writer benderw@phillynews.com, 215-854-5255
JOEY MERLINO insists that he's gone legit, but the number of people who actually believe him is dwindling. Sort of like the mob. The former South Philly mob boss - or current boss-in-exile, some law-enforcement officials would say - is facing a new round of legal troubles. Merlino, 52, will have to travel from his home in South Florida to Philadelphia in the coming weeks to face allegations that he violated the terms of his probation by associating with two felons and a member of La Cosa Nostra in mid-June.
NEWS
April 2, 2014 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
Ralph Natale has been legally blind since his days testifying against his former mob colleagues. But when it comes to whom to blame, the former Philadelphia don and a federal judge just don't see eye to eye. Last week, U.S. District Judge Mary McLaughlin rejected claims that prosecutors and prison officials ignored Natale's complaints about his deteriorating vision while he served out a 13-year prison sentence - neglect that he says has since...
NEWS
May 3, 2013 | By John P. Martin, Inquirer Staff Writer
Somewhere along the East Coast, former mob boss Ralph Natale spends his days sitting in a chair, staring at nothing. And for that, he blames the government. Natale headed Philadelphia's mob until the late 1990s, when he got busted on drug charges and became the first mafia don to turn on his own family. He spent years testifying against other wiseguys. But as prosecutors used him to win convictions, Natale was losing his eyesight - and no one cared, he claims. In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, the 78-year-old says he's now functionally blind because prosecutors and prison officials wouldn't get him the treatment he needed.
NEWS
October 1, 2012
JOSEPH MERLINO, whose father, Salvatore "Chuckie" Merlino, was an underboss to Nicodemo 'Little Nicky' Scarfo, rose to prominence in 1989 after authorities alleged that he tried to kill the mob boss' son, Nicky Scarfo Jr. Scarfo Jr. was repeatedly shot on Halloween inside Dante & Luigi's, at 10th and Catharine streets, but survived. Scarfo's father, who had been running the mob from prison, eventually lost control as most members of his organization were imprisoned. With Scarfo Sr. in prison for life, various factions of the mob vied for control.
NEWS
April 24, 2012 | By George Anastasia, Inquirer Staff Writer
In the refined language of the law, it's called a plea bargain. But more often than not, say defense attorneys, it's a deal with the devil. The latest example is playing out in Atlantic County Court, where a jury is deliberating the fate of Craig Arno following testimony by Jessica Kisby, his former girlfriend and alleged accomplice in the Taj Mahal carjacking-murder case. Both were arrested in May 2010 in the murder of Martin Caballero, a North Jersey grocer who traveled to Atlantic City to celebrate his daughter's birthday on the night of May 21 and ended up dead.
NEWS
September 29, 2011 | BY JOHN F. MORRISON, morrisj@phillynews.com 215-854-5573
ONCE SHE GOT the travel bug out of her system, Ruth Louise Seccio settled down in her native Philadelphia, where she worked at various restaurants as a popular and efficient waitress. But before that for several years, she and her daughter Ruthann saw lots of the country, as Ruth went from one waitressing job to another. "We got to see different cultures," Ruthann said. "We had friends who were cowboys, all sorts of people. I learned to adapt to every situation. "I went to 68 different schools before I was 13. " Ruth Seccio, a charming redhead and a generous woman who took care of the elderly in the senior-living facility where she lived, died of cancer Friday.
NEWS
September 19, 2011
THE RECENT reporting by Dan Gross and William Bender on organized-crime bosses Joey Merlino and Ralph Natale show the unhealthy mentality of convicts wanting to glorify their crimes. Trying to create a source of income from hurting others is not what our society should support. The list of individuals affected directly or indirectly by organized crime is extremely long, beginning with the families of the criminals. What child would be proud of their "hit man" father who murdered others, thinking only of himself and what goal would be fulfilled by taking another's life?
ENTERTAINMENT
September 12, 2011 | By Dan Gross
NOT TO BE outdone by former mob boss Ralph Natale , who is working on a memoir, it turns out that Joey Merlino , who was just released from a Florida halfway house and whom Natale testified against, has been talking to veteran actor and screenwriter Leo Rossi about writing a movie about his life. On Friday, Northeast native Rossi confirmed that he has had six phone conversations with Merlino, who he says "has got a great sense of humor. " Rossi says that he and Merlino are both trying to line up financing for a possible biopic about the jailed mob boss.
NEWS
September 2, 2011
EXCERPTS from the handwritten first draft of Ralph Natale's memoir. * Referring to the 1918 flu pandemic that killed his paternal grandparents: "I write this to show where I came from and to explain also why I turned out to be what I am. My father never knew love or kindness from a mother or father, so how was he to know how to give this to his son? . . . So this made me unfeeling when, as a man, I took men's lives who wanted to take mine, or something that belonged to me or what I believed in at that time, 'La Cosa Nostra.' " * Philadelphia mob boss Angelo Bruno talking about Natale to Gambino crime-family boss Carlo Gambino in the 1960s; the conversation apparently was reconstructed by Natale, a former associate of Bruno: "He has killed without hesitation on my orders before, and has done this without creating a storm with the police.
NEWS
September 2, 2011
"HE DON'T LIE. " That's what Ruthann Seccio, the former ex-girlfriend of Ralph Natale, says of the tell-all memoir that the married mobster is trying to get published. "What he's telling you is the truth," she said. But Seccio, 42, whom Natale, 76, met in 1994 while she was sunning by the pool with his daughter, has mixed feelings about his book. "He ratted on everybody and he left me holding the bag," Seccio said last night. "There was a hit on me. I had a whole family of gangsters trying to put poison in my drinks and wanting to shoot me. " Seccio, now engaged to another man, wouldn't mind seeing a few bucks for her troubles.
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