Nicodemo Scarfo

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Nicodemo Scarfo
Nicky Scarfo.jpg
FBI surveillance photograph of Nicky Scarfo (center) and crew walking on the street.
Born (1929-03-08) March 8, 1929 (age 87)
Brooklyn, New York, United States
Nationality American
Other names Little Nicky
Known for Boss of the Philadelphia crime family
Spouse(s) (first wife - unknown), Domenica Scarfo
Children Christopher Scarfo
Nicodemo Salvatore Scarfo Jr
Mark Scarfo
Family Phil Scarfo (father)
Catherine Piccolo (mother)
Nicholas Piccolo (uncle)
Joseph Piccolo (uncle)
Michael Piccolo (uncle)
Nancy Leonetti (sister)
Phillip Leonetti (nephew)
Joseph J. "The Shark" Scarfo (cousin)

Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Domenico Scarfo (born March 8, 1929) is a member of the American Mafia who eventually became the Boss of the Philadelphia crime family after the death of Angelo Bruno and Phil Testa. During his criminal career, Scarfo was described by some as psychotic, cruel and vicious. From many accounts of his former criminal associates whom testified against him, he would want to murder someone if he was shown the slightest bit of disrespect or even if he was stared at.[1][2]

Scarfo orchestrated a particularly ruthless regime and ordered over a dozen murders during his time as boss. He was often described by informants as cold-hearted and narcissistic. He enjoyed the celebrity gangster life style and was an admirer of Chicago Outfit boss Al Capone. Scarfo would scan newspapers for his name and made sure his soldiers carried out murders in public to create a constant atmosphere of fear. Scarfo had very few scruples and approached organized crime activities such as drug trafficking to generate millions, while many other bosses avoided such activities known to bring law enforcement scrutiny. It was these methods which ultimately led to Scarfo's downfall. Though Scarfo's reign may have made him a rich man, in the long term, it almost destroyed the crime family that he dominated for a decade. After being convicted of multiple RICO charges including drug trafficking, loan sharking, extortion, attempted murder and first degree murder, and with damaging testimonies of several informants whom used to carry out his murders and his top lieutenants including his second in command and nephew, Crazy Phil, Scarfo has since been in prison from 1988. His scheduled release from federal prison is on January 5th 2033, aged 103.[3][4]

He is also the father of Nicky Scarfo Jr., a Lucchese family soldier, who most recently was sentenced to 30 years in prison for security fraud and racketeering.[5][6][7]

Early life[edit]

Scarfo was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Philip and Catherine Scarfo, both Catholics. At the age of 12, Scarfo and his family moved to New Jersey, where he worked as a young laborer and later graduated at Franklin High School in 1947. He earned himself a reputation by becoming an amateur boxer, fighting in small boxing clubs throughout Philadelphia, known for his aggressive temper in the ring.

Early criminal years[edit]

Having not became a success in the boxing world, Scarfo joined his uncle Nicky Buck, a Philly Mob soldier, to venture in illegal activities in Philadelphia.[8] He worked as a bartender at a club owned by his uncle and was apprenticed by him and his two brothers, he also committed his first murder with feared hitman, Felix “Skinny Razor” Di Tullio, who taught him how to kill.

Later criminal years[edit]

In 1954, Scarfo was proposed for membership into the Philadelphia crime family. He was inducted by then boss Joseph Ida at a ceremony held in New Jersey, alongside two of his uncles who were also inducted as full-fledged soldiers. Scarfo was reportedly arrogant and stubborn, having declined to marry the daughter of Consigliere Joe Rugnetta, leaving him embarrassed and disrespected, causing a brief friction within the family. In 1963, Scarfo plead guilty to murdering an Irish longshoreman with a knife over an argument at a Philadelphia restaurant, while he was with Chuckie Merlino, he spent around 10 months in prison.[9] After his release, he was sent to Atlantic City by Angelo Bruno to oversee the operations there. In 1976, Atlantic City legalized gambling, and Scarfo prioritized gambling as his main source of income. His cement contracting company, which was shared with his nephew, Scarf, Inc, received good business as developers built new casinos in Atlantic City; Scarfo would intimidate businesses into buying from his company, including billionaire tycoon Donald Trump.[10][11] Criminal associate and contractor Vincent Falcone was shot twice and killed by Phil Leonetti on orders of Scarfo after making negative remarks about the company and Scarfo.[12] In 1978, Scarfo and his associate Nicholas "Nick the Blade" Virgilio shot and murdered judge Edwin J. Helfant for refusing to cooperate with them and to help Virgilio receive a lighter sentence as he was facing murder charges, in exchange for $12,500. Scarfo acted as the getaway driver. Meanwhile, Virgilio fired numerous rounds into the judge as he dined with his wife in a restaurant. He made it a public execution and made him an example to anyone that wasn't willing to give him what he wanted.[13][14][15]

Power struggle[edit]

Longtime Boss Angelo Bruno was murdered in 1980. His murder was orchestrated by his Consigliere Antonio Caponigro, weeks later Caponigro faced the consequence of killing a Boss without the approval of the American Mafia Commission, found shot dozens of times in a car trunk and $300 in bills were jammed in his mouth and anus as a sign of his own greed.[16] Phil Testa became the new Boss of the Philadelphia crime family, appointing Scarfo as his Consigliere. His tenure as Boss would be a short one. Testa was killed by a nail bomb under his porch in 1981, on orders of his Underboss and drug trafficker Peter Casella and Capo Frank Narducci Sr., which resulted in Casella being banished from the Mob and he fled to Florida and Narducci being gunned down, this also sparked an outrageous war within the family and heated up the current one after Bruno's gangland execution. Scarfo seized the top position for himself, promoting his nephew as his Underboss and Frank Monte as his Consigliere.[17][18] Scarfo would go on to lead the family for a decade with a bloody rampage, fueled by paranoia and aggression.[19] In 1982, Scarfo was convicted of gun possession and was sentenced to 2 years in a Texas penitentiary. During that time, aging Capo Harry Riccobene began to form another faction that opposed Scarfo. The war would cost him his little brother's death, his brother Mario to become a government informant and Riccobene himself to be given a life sentence for first degree murder.[20][21] In 1984, Scarfo ordered the death of Salvatore Testa, one of his Capo' and top hitman, for the reason of jealousy and Scarfo was insecure about his power as he thought he was becoming too ambitious. Testa was also the son of former Boss Phil Testa, whom was a close friend and mentored Scarfo.[22] Scarfo became known as disloyal and several criminal organisations across the USA began to distrust him as his motive for ordering the death of Testa was for very little reason.[23]

Downfall for Scarfo and the family[edit]

In 1985, Scarfo plotted to extort $1 million from major commercial developer Willard Rouse, and so he sent his soldier Nicholas Caramandi and another associate to do it. Rouse refused and immediately contacted the FBI. The FBI began a case to tackle Scarfo, sending an undercover agent to pose as a representative of Rouse. This would lead Caramandi, a notable and feared hitman, to cooperate and testify against the organisation.[24][25][26] According to Caramandi, Scarfo was considering to murder his best friend Salvatore Merlino and sought advice, fearing that Merlino wanted to take over the family for himself and had a loyal faction to effectively carry it out, but ultimately decided to demote him to the rank of Soldier. In 1986, Caramandi was indicted for his role in the extortion case and decided to cooperate in fear of Scarfo ordering a hit on his life. A year later, Caramandi testified against him in court. Scarfo received 14 years for the extortion as a result of Caramandi's testimony. With the help of several informants, including his blood relative Phil Leonetti, Scarfo was convicted of 9 murders and of the numerous failed attempts on Harry Riccobene in 1989 and other RICO charges, he was handed a life sentence. He is currently serving his prison time at the Atlanta federal penitentiary.[27][28]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "On the anniversary of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, a look at history's most fearsome mob bosses". Nicholas Parco. The New York Daily News. February 14, 2016. Retrieved 10 March 2016. 
  2. ^ "Nicodemo - Little Nicky - Scarfo". La Cosa Nostra Database. LCNDB. Retrieved 10 March 2016. 
  3. ^ "NICODEMO SCARFO". Federal Bureau of Prisons. USA Gov. Retrieved 9 March 2016. 
  4. ^ "Always A Joker, Never A Rat. In Mobster's Obituary, Unexpected Family". Philly.com. George Anastasia. Retrieved 9 March 2016. 
  5. ^ "Reputed Philly Mobster Nicky Scarfo Jr. Gets 30 Years for Stealing $12M From Company". NBC. NBC Philadelphia. July 28, 2015. Retrieved 9 March 2016. 
  6. ^ "La Cosa Nostra Lengthy Prison Terms for Lucchese Crime Family Members". The FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation. FBI. Retrieved 9 March 2016. 
  7. ^ "'Little Nicky' Scarfo's Son Busted In Jersey". Richard Esposito / Mark Schone. ABC News. November 1, 2011. Retrieved 9 March 2016. 
  8. ^ "Nicodemo Scarfo". Bio. A&E Television Networks. Retrieved 9 March 2016. 
  9. ^ "THE CORONATION – LITTLE NICKY BECOMES KING". Gangster Report. Scott Burnstein. Retrieved 9 March 2016. 
  10. ^ "Donald Trump and the mob". CNN. Chris Frates. Retrieved 9 March 2016. 
  11. ^ "Journalist Calls Out Donald Trump on Potential Mob Ties in Resurfaced Report". The Libertarian Republic. Micah J. Fleck. Retrieved 9 March 2016. 
  12. ^ "Book excerpt from 'Mafia Prince:’ The story of Philip Leonetti’s mob hit of Vincent Falcone as ordered and watched by Nicky Scarfo". NY Daily News. The New York Daily News. November 19, 2012. Retrieved 9 March 2016. 
  13. ^ "'The Blade' Is Cut Down Killer Nicholas Virgilio Dies In Prison". Philly.com. Kitty Caparaella. Retrieved 10 March 2016. 
  14. ^ "Her Memory Of 'The Blade' Wasn't Sharp Fed's Witness Mistakes Scarfo For Virgilio". Philly.com. Toni Locy. Retrieved 10 March 2016. 
  15. ^ "N.J.'s most notorious murders | The mobsters". NJ.com. Vicky Hyman. Retrieved 10 March 2016. 
  16. ^ "Mobster's South Philly House Up for Historical Nomination". Philly Curbed. Melissa Romero. Retrieved 10 March 2016. 
  17. ^ "This Mob Shot Its Brains Out Crime boss Ralph Natale, in rare testimony against his own, tells a tale of murder--and ineptitude.". Stephen Braun. The LA Times. May 4, 2001. Retrieved 10 March 2016. 
  18. ^ "Mob Violence Is Personal For Narducci's Sons". Philly.com. Retrieved 10 March 2016. 
  19. ^ "The Mafia Prince Next Door". Huffington Post. Phil Leonetti. Retrieved 10 March 2016. 
  20. ^ "Too tough to fuggedabout: Notable Mafia nicknames". Fox News. Fox News. May 11, 2012. Retrieved 10 March 2016. 
  21. ^ "Former Philly Police Captain Dies at 71". NBC News. NBC News Philadelphia. January 8, 2014. Retrieved 10 March 2016. 
  22. ^ "The Story Of Sal Testa, Former Scarfo Protege". Philly.com. Michael B. Coakley. Retrieved 10 March 2016. 
  23. ^ "What happened to the Scarfo crime family?". Press of Atlantic City. Donna Weaver & Brian Ianieri. Retrieved 10 March 2016. 
  24. ^ "Scarfo Guilty of Rouse Extortion". Philly.com. Jim Smith. Retrieved 10 March 2016. 
  25. ^ "Reputed Mob Boss Has Florida Ties". Sun Sentinel. Deborah Petit. Retrieved 10 March 2016. 
  26. ^ "CRIME CHIEF GUILTY IN EXTORTION PLOT". NY Times. The New York Times. May 7, 1987. Retrieved 10 March 2016. 
  27. ^ "Reputed Mob Leader and 16 Others Are Convicted". Robert Strauss. The New York Times. November 20, 1988. Retrieved 10 March 2016. 
  28. ^ "SCARFO AND 11 INDICTED IN JERSEY AS CRIME CONSPIRATORS". Donald Janson. The New York Times. November 4, 1986. Retrieved 10 March 2016. 

External links[edit]

Business positions
Preceded by
Philip Testa
Philadelphia crime family
Boss

1981–1991
Succeeded by
John Stanfa