Philadelphia crime family
The Philadelphia crime family, also known as the Bruno-Scarfo crime family, the Philadelphia Mafia, the Philly Mob/Mafia, or the Philadelphia-South Jersey Mafia, is an Italian-American Mafia family based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Formed and based in South Philadelphia, the criminal organization primarily operates in various areas and neighborhoods in the Greater Philadelphia Metropolitan Area (Delaware Valley) and New Jersey, especially South Jersey. The family is notorious for its violence, due in particular to its succession of violent bosses and multiple mob wars.
As the Bruno crime family under the 20-year reign of boss Angelo Bruno (1959–1980), the family enjoyed an era of peace and prosperity. Bruno became known for his cool-headed and deliberate approach to handling business disputes and preferring traditional rackets such as bookmaking, labor racketeering, and loansharking. A complex dispute involving disgruntled subordinates and territory claims by New York's Genovese crime family led to Bruno's murder in 1980. The killing triggered an internal war for control of the Philadelphia family, leading to a gradual decline in the family's power and a rise in mob violence in Philadelphia.
Bruno's death led to an internal war for control of the crime family. Bruno was immediately succeeded by his loyal friend, Philip "The Chicken Man" Testa; however, within a year of Bruno's murder, Testa was also assassinated, killed in a nail bomb explosion in 1981. When the dust settled from Bruno's death, Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo became the boss of the crime family. During Scarfo's reign, the family was known as the Scarfo crime family. Scarfo's 10-year reign saw the family grow in power, but also become highly dysfunctional. Unlike Bruno, Scarfo was infamous for his short temper and penchant for violence. Scarfo increasingly involved the family in narcotics trafficking and demanded that all criminals pay a street tax for operating in his territory. Scarfo also did not hesitate to order people murdered over moderate disputes. The dramatic rise in violence attracted increased attention from the FBI, Pennsylvania State Police and New Jersey State Police. Increased violence and law enforcement prosecutions also convinced several mobsters to cooperate with the government in order to escape death or prison. Scarfo's downfall came in 1988, when he and most of his top allies were arrested and sentenced to long prison terms.
Scarfo's imprisonment eventually led to another internal mob war. With the backing of the Gambino crime family in New York, John Stanfa was named boss of the Philadelphia family in 1991. However a faction of young mobsters led by Joey Merlino disputed Stanfa's ascension, and by 1992 yet another war within the family was underway. The war ended in 1994, when Stanfa and most of his supporters were arrested by the FBI. Merlino subsequently took control of the family and has allegedly been running the family to varying degrees ever since. Unlike most of his Mafia contemporaries, Merlino was extremely prolific and never camera-shy, and was frequently seen at local social events. Inevitably, the Philadelphia family has been weakened over the past thirty years due to violence, government turncoats, and law enforcement action following the passage of the RICO Act. Despite this, the family still remains one of the most active and powerful Mafia groups in the country.
- 1 History
- 2 Current leaders and membership
- 3 Historical leadership
- 4 Government informants and witnesses
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 Further reading
- 8 External links
In the early 20th century, several Italian immigrant and Italian-American South Philadelphia street gangs joined to form what would eventually become the Philadelphia crime family. Salvatore Sabella was the first leader of the group that would later bear his name. They busied themselves with bootlegging, extortion, loansharking, and illegal gambling, and it was during the Prohibition era that Sabella and his crew were recognized as members of the wider Sicilian crime syndicate of New York and Chicago. Sabella retired in late 1931.
John Avena and Joe Dovi
After Sabella's retirement, two of his top lieutenants, John Avena and Giuseppe Dovi, began a five-year war for control of the family. Avena was murdered by members of his own faction on August 17, 1936, and Joseph "Joe Bruno" Dovi became boss of the Philadelphia family.
Dovi had good connections with the Chicago Outfit and the Five Families of New York, and expanded operations to Atlantic City, South Philadelphia, and parts of South Jersey. Narcotics, illegal gambling, loansharking, and extortion activities provided the family's income, and connections to the Genovese and Gambino crime families grew throughout the 1930s and early 1940s.
On October 22, 1946, Dovi died of natural causes at a New York City hospital, and Joseph "Joe" Ida was appointed by the Commission to run the Philadelphia family and its rackets.
Influenced by Vito Genovese
Joseph "Joe" Ida ran the family throughout the 1940s and early 1950s. Ida and the Philadelphia organization were heavily influenced by the bosses of the Five Families, especially the Genovese crime family, which sought to control both families as Vito Genovese, underboss of the Genovese crime family, assumed control in 1956 after the shooting of former boss Frank Costello, who subsequently retired due to illness. As the Philadelphia family gained more power in Atlantic City and South Jersey, they were viewed as a large faction of the Genovese crime family. After a 1956 Commission meeting, the crime families of Philadelphia and Detroit, headed by Joseph Zerilli, were added to The Commission. Ida and his underboss Dominick Olivetto were present during the 1957 Apalachin Convention with roughly 100 other top mobsters. The meeting was raided by US law enforcement, and over 60 mafiosi were arrested and indicted for association with known organized crime members. Ida was named in the indictment and fled to Sicily not long after the meeting, leaving Antonio "Mr. Migs" Pollina as acting boss in Ida's absence.
After Ida retired in 1959, and Pollina was demoted, Angelo Bruno was appointed by the Commission to run the Philadelphia family. Bruno, the first boss of Philadelphia with a seat at the Commission, was a close ally of Carlo Gambino, solidifying his position as leader of the Philadelphia Mafia. Bruno used his contacts and his own business mind to maintain respect and power among other Mafia bosses in the country. He expanded the family's profit and operations in Atlantic City, which had now become known as the Philadelphia family's turf. Bruno himself avoided the intense media and law enforcement scrutiny and kept violence down. He spent almost three years in prison for refusing to testify at a 1970 hearing on organized crime in the state of New Jersey. After his release, he spent some time in Italy before returning to the United States in 1977.
Bruno had a reputation for seeking peaceful solutions to family issues instead of violence. Bruno oversaw the family's gambling syndicate and preferred more traditional operations such as labor racketeering, loan sharking, numbers games and infiltrating legitimate business. Since the late 1960s, the Philadelphia crime family used violence and intimidation to control various unions in the food and service industry such as Local 54 of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union. The crime family plundered the local's health and welfare funds and used its control to extort money from bars and restaurants. Family members owned or had a controlling interest in many restaurants, bars and social clubs throughout the Philadelphia/south Jersey area. During the early 1960s, the Philadelphia family was officially recognized as the Bruno family.
Bruno ran a fairly simple operation. He focused on low risk crimes and he gave his subordinates autonomy as long as he received a share of the profits. He was against any of his men getting involved in narcotics trafficking fearing the long prison sentences they could bring. Many of his men disagreed with this decision, seeing the large profits that could be made. Some mobsters, like Harry Riccobene and Raymond Martorano, ran drug trafficking operations behind Bruno's back. His men were further angered because Bruno accepted money from John Gambino in order to let the Gambino crime family sell heroin in south New Jersey. Bruno also faced pressure from the Five Families to let them have a piece of the action in Atlantic City, which had risen from a backwater to a gambling mecca. However, longstanding Mafia rules didn't allow other families to do business in Atlantic City unless Bruno invited them–and Bruno wasn't willing to do so.
On October 15, 1976, Carlo Gambino died of a heart attack. With Gambino gone, Bruno lost his most important ally in the underworld. Many of Bruno's subordinates felt that they were missing out on money because of Bruno's old-fashioned and content ways. His consigliere Antonio Caponigro approached Genovese family boss Frank Tieri in order to seek the Commission's permission to kill Bruno and take over the crime family. Tieri, sensing an opportunity to take Caponigro's north New Jersey gambling operation, lied to Caponigro and told him he had the Commission's support. On March 21, 1980, Bruno was shot in the back of the head while in his car by a gunman working for Caponigro. That April, Caponigro visited New York City under the assumption that he was going to be confirmed as boss. Instead, he was tortured and murdered for killing a Commission member without permission. Caponigro's co-conspirators Frank Sindone and John Simone were also murdered in 1980.
"Little Nicky" Scarfo
Bruno's successor, his underboss Philip Testa lasted just under a year before he was killed by a nail bomb on March 15, 1981. Testa's murder was orchestrated by Frank Narducci in yet another attempt to take control of the family. Afterwards, Peter Casella and Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo, Testa's underboss and consigliere respectively, were both vying to take over the family. Scarfo was close with Genovese family consigliere Louis "Bobby" Manna and approached the Genovese hierarchy with his suspicions that Narducci orchestrated Testa's murder. The Genovese family setup a meeting with Scarfo and Casella, where Casella confessed that Narducci killed Testa so that they could take over the family. Narducci was killed and Casella being banished from the Mob and fleeing to Florida. Scarfo was a Bruno crime family mobster who operated in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The city witnessed a boom in its economy when it enacted measures allowing casino gambling in the late 1970s. Scarfo was able to expand his power base by infiltrating the expanding construction and service industries in Atlantic City. In return for their support for him as boss, Scarfo let the Commission operate in Atlantic City under his discretion. Scarfo named Salvatore "Chuckie" Merlino as his underboss and Frank Monte as his consigliere. Scarfo demoted Bruno's mob captains and replaced them with Testa, Phil Leonetti, Lawrence "Yogi" Merlino and Joseph "Chickie" Ciancaglini, Sr.
The last person to stand in Scarfo's way was well respected, long-time mobster Harry Riccobene. Riccobene believed Scarfo was an unfit, greedy boss and he refused to pay tribute to Scarfo. While Bruno never asked Riccobene for a regular share of his illicit profits, Scarfo demanded a typical "kick up" tribute. With Scarfo off the street serving a brief prison term in Texas, the "Riccobene War" ensued between 1982 and 1984. The Scarfo faction was able to kill three of Riccobene's men. The Riccobene faction was able to kill Scarfo's consigliere Frank Monte, while Riccobene himself survived two attempts on his life. In 1984, the two gunmen in the Monte murder, along with Riccobene's brother, were arrested and agreed to cooperate with authorities. They testified at trial that Riccobene ordered Monte's murder. Riccobene was convicted and sentenced to life in prison, ending the war.
When Scarfo became Boss, he wanted to unify organized crime in the area and dreamed of running a smooth criminal empire. He soon installed a "street tax" on Philadelphia/south Jersey criminals. Although financially extorting criminals is a common Mafia racket, it was a somewhat alien practice in Philadelphia. Enforced by soldiers and associates of the family, the tax was paid by criminals working independently from the Mafia. Criminals such as drug dealers, bookmakers, loan sharks, pimps, and number runners operating in territory that Scarfo deemed his own were forced to pay his street tax weekly. Those who refused to pay the tax were usually murdered. Loan shark, drug dealer and pawn shop owner John Calabrese was killed by Joseph Ciancaglini, Sr., Tommy DelGiorno, Frank Iannarella and Pat Spirito. Frankie "Flowers" D'Alfonso was brutally beaten by Salvatore Testa and Joey Pungitore for refusing to pay the street tax. He was later murdered in 1985.
The crime family's biggest racket were control of labor unions. During Bruno's and Scarfo's reigns, the Philadelphia crime family maintained some degree of influence over Roofers Union Local 30, Iron Workers Union Local 405, Laborers Union Local 332 and Teamsters Union Locals 107, 158, 331 and 837. The crime family used this influence to extort businesses, steal from the union treasuries and receive paychecks and benefits for little to no work. Scarfo also got the crime family heavily involved in methamphetamine trafficking, which was the drug of choice in the Philadelphia/south Jersey area. At first, the family extorted money from local meth dealers. When Greek-American mob boss Chelsais Bouras began horning in on the methamphetamine trade in Philadelphia and refused to pay Scarfo's street tax, Scarfo had him killed. Bouras was eating dinner with his girlfriend, friends and Scarfo soldier Raymond Martorano when a hit team ambushed and killed him and his girlfriend. The crime family then started controlling the meth trade in the area by supplying illicit P2P (the key meth ingredient) to meth manufacturers. By controlling the supply of P2P the Philadelphia crime family was generally able to control the methamphetamine trade in the Philadelphia/South New Jersey area. Some criminals borrowed money from Mafia members to finance meth operations (and benefited from working with the Mafia instead of being extorted by them). The crime family also had some involvement in cocaine and marijuana trafficking.
Scarfo became notorious for his ruthless, paranoid nature. Scarfo demanded complete allegiance to him and ordered people murdered over signs of disrespect, insubordination or resistance. Described by a former crime family member:
[i]f you were in good graces with him, he loves you and you love him. You understand? But you never knew from one day to the next. He'd turn on anybody, and he drew no lines when it came to killing. Most Mob bosses were not like him. The Mob is basically run the same in every city, but our "family" was unusual in that it was a very paranoid family because we all feared each other and feared Scarfo the most. He held grudges. If you didn't say hello to him 20 years ago, he never forgot. He used to say, "I'm like the turtle. I get there." You know, we were the best of friends. He believed in me, and I believed in him. But he was very, very paranoid. He betrayed himself. His own nephew turned.— Nicholas "The Crow" Caramandi
Soon after his promotion to boss, the number of organized crime related murders escalated in the 1980s. Philadelphia mobster turned government witness Nicholas Caramandi described Scarfo's violent nature in a 2001 interview: "Scarfo was a cowboy. He didn't want a guy taken in a house and shot easily in the back of the head. He wanted it outside, in broad daylight, with a million people around. Restaurants, funeral homes, anywhere. Then it gets written up in the papers, and it puts fear in people. He loved that cowboy stuff."
Scarfo had recently inducted member Pasquale "Pat the Cat" Spirito murdered in 1983. During the Riccobene War Spirito switched sides and aligned himself with Scarfo, but was killed for turning down a murder contract on Riccobene's brother. On September 14, 1984, Scarfo loyalist Salvatore Testa was murdered. Despite serving faithfully under Scarfo and committing several murders on his behalf, Scarfo granted his underboss Salvatore Merlino permission to kill Testa for breaking off his engagement with Merlino's daughter. After Merlino's drinking problem got out of hand, Scarfo demoted him to soldier and promoted his nephew Phil Leonetti as his new underboss.
In November 1988, Scarfo and 16 of his men were convicted of racketeering, 10 murders, 5 attempted murders, extortion, gambling and narcotics trafficking. Along with Scarfo, underboss Philip Leonetti, three of the family's four capos or captains, Joseph Ciancaglini, Francis Iannarella Jr. and Santo Idone, and soldiers such as Albert Pontani, Salvatore Merlino and Charles Iannece were arrested. The prosecutions were strengthened by Mafia members Tommy DelGiorno and Nicholas "Nicky Crow" Caramandi agreeing to cooperate with law enforcement and testify at trial for the government in order to escape long prison terms and Scarfo's ruthless regime. 15 of the defendants received prison sentences ranging from 30 to 55 years. In 1989, six members, including Scrafo and two others in the previous indictment, were convicted for Frank D'Alfanso's murder. Successful investigations and prosecutions decimated some of the crime family's most profitable criminal operations. Law enforcement severely crippled the Mafia's influence on local labor unions, the local mob's biggest money maker. Police also broke up numerous mob-run illegal sports betting operations that took in bets totaling hundreds of millions of dollars a year.
Scarfo's underboss and nephew Phil Leonetti was the next defector who agreed to cooperate with the FBI after being sentenced to 45 years in prison. Many more mobsters would later be sentenced to long prison terms for crimes such as racketeering, narcotics trafficking and murder. This caused the number of Mafia members in the family to dwindle in the 1990s, with fewer new guys available to replace all those being convicted of serious crimes. By 1990, 21 members were incarcerated, 11 were under indictment and six turned government witnesses. The Pennsylvania Crime Commission reported that there were only 24 members who were free and not facing criminal charges.
Second Philadelphia Mafia War
With all of Scarfo's loyalists serving lengthy prison terms, it became clear that Scarfo would not be able to maintain control of the family from prison much longer. To avoid a total power vacuum in the Philadelphia Mafia, Sicilian-born mobster John Stanfa helped run the family for Scarfo. With the support and endorsement of the influential Gambino crime family in New York, Stanfa was named boss of the Philadelphia crime family in 1991. To many older Mafia members, and especially in the eyes of the New York crime families, Stanfa had substantial mafia credentials. He was born in Sicily to a Sicilian Mafia family, he was an old friend of Gambino boss Carlo Gambino, and he had served as a bodyguard and driver for the respected late Angelo Bruno starting in the 1960s. However, Stanfa was less respected in Philadelphia, especially among the new generation of young Philadelphia street mobsters. The New York Mafia's intrusion in Philadelphia Mafia affairs was not well received by many of these mobsters, who saw Stanfa as an outsider who had not worked his way up in the organization due to being imprisoned during the entire Scarfo era. Many of these young mobsters, born and raised on the streets of Philadelphia, were the next generation of jailed Scarfo lieutenants and capos. Deeply resentful of having been overlooked by the meddling New York families and dismissed by many of the older, more traditional Philadelphia mobsters, the new generation of mobsters felt it was their turn to run the crime family. This group of young, ruthless, overly ambitious men were led by Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino, the son of former underboss Salvatore Merlino.
While serving prison time together in 1990, Merlino met Ralph Natale. Natale was an older mobster who used to be friends with deceased boss Angelo Bruno. It was in prison with Natale that Merlino first discussed taking over the Philadelphia family. The plan was for Merlino to start a war for control of the crime family, then have Natale named boss when he was released with the support of the Genovese crime family. When Merlino was released from prison, he recruited his best friend Michael Ciancaglini and his other childhood friends into the plan. Stanfa was aware of the divide in his family and tried to find a peaceful solution. He named Michael's older brother Joseph, Jr., as his new underboss. Stanfa hoped that this would appease the Merlino faction and bring them under his banner. However, tensions escalated and by 1992 another war for control of the Philadelphia crime family was underway. Merlino loyalists shot and incapacitated Joseph Ciancaglini, Jr. while Stanfa's faction killed Michael Ciancaglini. They continued attacking each other for months, including a freeway ambush Stanfa survived and several failed attempts on Merlino's life. The Stanfa faction was still solidifying its control of the crime family and recruited a lot of outside hitmen to fight in the war. The Merlino/Natale faction was a much smaller, tightknit group, but was just as ruthless. They had allies in other Philadelphia criminal organizations and convinced some members of the Philadelphia crime family to switch sides.
On March 17, 1994, Stanfa and 23 of his men were arrested on racketeering related chargers. This was the second major indictment on the crime family in seven years. The Federal case was the largest prosecution of an organized crime group in Philadelphia history. The second major indictment against the crime family was another strong case for the prosecution. A key piece of evidence was two years of recorded conversations Stanfa would have with mobsters in his attorney's office and doctor's office. Believing attorney–client privilege and doctor-patient confidentiality would protect him, Stanfa openly talked about important Mafia business with his men. However, the FBI was able to get a warrant to place covert listening devices in both offices once they figured out they were being used to aid criminal conspiracies. The secretly recorded conversations implicated Stanfa and his men of many criminal acts. The star witness at the trial was John Veasey, who was recruited by Stanfa to fight in the war against Merlino and eventually was inducted into the family. Before this, Veasey had no connection to the Mafia or organized crime. Three other men Stanfa inducted into the family, Philip Coletti, and Sicilians Rosario Bellocchi and Biagio Adornetto also agreed to cooperate with the government following their arrests.
Stanfa was sentenced to life in prison while most of his co-defendants were each sentenced to decades in prison in 1995. Earlier that year, Natale was released from prison. With most of Stanfa's supporters being convicted and locked up in 1995, Natale and Merlino grabbed control of the Philadelphia crime family. Natale was named boss of the Philadelphia crime family, Merlino was named underboss and Ronald "Ronnie" Turchi became consigliere.
Natale turns informant and Merlino takes over
Stanfa's conviction capped off a 15-year period that saw the family become decimated after experiencing two bosses get murdered, two internal wars, two major federal crackdowns on the family and nonstop violence. While Natale had the support of the Genovese family, he was unfamiliar with the current criminal landscape of the Philadelphia/South Jersey area due to his 15-year imprisonment. Merlino was charged with running most of the depleted crime family's day-to-day activities. However, it soon became clear that Merlino held more power in the Philadelphia Mafia than Natale. In reality, Merlino and his allies decided to allow Natale to become boss in hopes of drawing the attention of law enforcement away from themselves and redirecting it towards Natale. While Merlino outwardly positioned himself as merely an "underboss," Ralph Natale, a seemingly newcomer on the rise in the Philly underworld, would become the new focus of law enforcement attention.
While Natale ran the family, Merlino and his young allies maintained control on the street, collecting extortion payments and profiting from rackets and schemes Natale was not made aware of. Merlino was also the crime family's main link to many of the other criminal groups in Philadelphia including the Pagan's Motorcycle Club and the Junior Black Mafia. Merlino was only 32 years old, a young age for any Mafia member, let alone a leader of a Mafia family. Merlino and his allies were all young and inexperienced in running a criminal organization of such magnitude. They were also flashy, violent and loved the limelight. Merlino was often spotted by reporters and cameramen on the streets of South Philadelphia followed by a large entourage. Merlino's high-profile brought a lot of attention from the press and law enforcement. The crime family itself was unstable, with things poorly managed by Merlino's crew whose violent reputation was used to keep things in order. The Merlino faction's arrogance and aggressiveness turned off a lot of criminals from working with the crime family. Merlino's associates were also involved in drug deals in Philadelphia and Boston while overseeing the crime family's gambling, loan sharking, stolen goods and extortion rackets.
In June 1998, Natale was jailed for a parole violation; Merlino subsequently took control of the family and cut off support to the imprisoned boss. Angered by this, Natale offered to secretly record conversations with Merlino, but it was not until September 1999, when he was indicted for financing drug deals, that he formally struck a deal to cooperate. In doing so, Natale became the first sitting boss in the history of the American Mafia to become government informant.
Between 1999 and 2001, Merlino, along with his underboss Stephen Mazzone, his consigliere George Borgesi, Martin Angelina, John Ciancaglini and others were arrested and put on trial for racketeering, illegal gambling, loan sharking, extortion, murder and attempted murder. Natale testified against Merlino during his 2001 racketeering trial, but was unable to secure a conviction for the murders he claimed Merlino committed. On December 3, 2001, Merlino was however convicted of racketeering charges and given a 14-year prison sentence. In 2005, Natale was sentenced to 13 years imprisonment for drug dealing, racketeering and bribery. He was released in May 2011, and placed in witness protection.
The rise of Ligambi
In 1997, Joseph Ligambi was released from prison after he successfully appealed his murder conviction and was acquitted at retrial. After 10 years in prison, Ligambi returned to a much different Mafia family that saw two violent regime changes and the family under the control of a group of young mobsters. Ligambi, who is Borgesi's uncle, was a Scarfo era soldier when he was imprisoned in 1987 and was also mentored by Merlino's father, Salvatore. Upon his release, Ligambi went right back to work for the crime family. He was well respected among his peers for staying strong when sentenced to life in prison instead of betraying his crime family to the authorities to escape prison time. When Merlino and company were arrested, Merlino named Ligambi acting boss of the family. Ligambi continued as acting boss after their convictions on racketeering related crimes in 2001.
Ligambi stabilized the family when he took over, maintained membership and restored relations with the New York families. Ligambi was smart and unlike previous leaders, maintained a very low profile and was less likely to resort to violence to settle disputes. Ligambi created a tight-knit group around the family's new leadership, rarely conducting business without going through intermediaries, thereby insulating himself from law enforcement scrutiny. His inner circle includes longtime Philadelphia mobsters Joseph "Mousie" Massimino, Gateon Lucibello, and Anthony Staino. When Merlino faction leaders were released from prison in the 2000s (decade), they all fell in line with Ligambi. With many people approving of the way Ligambi ran things, law enforcement believed that he had taken over the family permanently. However, the FBI would later learn that Merlino maintained control of the crime family while in prison.
Ligambi was left to deal with the damage Joey Merlino had done to the family's relationship with illegal bookmakers, who refused to do business with the Philadelphia crime family because Merlino use to make huge bets, then never paid when he lost. By the mid-2000s, the family consisted of approximately 50 members, half of whom were incarcerated, in addition to almost 100 associates. During Ligambi's tenure, around a dozen made men were released from prison, filling the ranks. Many of these men had been young players who fell victim to the family's unstable history and are now middle-aged. He named Anthony Staino, his closest and most loyal associate, as his underboss. Under Ligambi's direction, the family was able to muscle in on several video poker gambling machine businesses in the Philadelphia area. In 2007, 23 people including four men connected to the Philadelphia crime family, were charged with running an illegal sports betting operation out of a poker room at the Borgata Casino in Atlantic City. The operation was accused of taking in $60 million in bets in a 20 month period. Most of those involved pleaded guilty and received sentences ranging from probation to five years.
Merlino was released from prison on March 15, 2011, and served out his three-year parole in Florida. In May 2011, Ligambi and 14 other members and associates of the crime family were indicted by the FBI on racketeering charges related to illegal gambling operations, video poker gambling machines and loan sharking. Seven of those indicted pleaded guilty to lesser charges. One became a government witness and seven went to trial in October 2012. The defendants were acquitted on 45 counts and found guilty on five counts, and 11 counts were undecided (hung jury). Joseph Licata was acquitted of his only charge and Staino, facing a retrial on the charges he was not convicted of, took a plea agreement for a lighter sentence. Ligambi and Borgesi beat all the remaining charges against them at a retrial and were released in January 2014.
List of casaulties during Merlino era
|Louis "Louie Irish" DeLuca||May 24, 1990||55-year old DeLuca worked for former Scarfo-era capo Francis "Snuffy" Iannarella and Charles Iannece. Ralph Natale allegedly set-up the murder for Merlino with Michael Ciancaglini and Gaetano "Tommy Horsehead" Scafidi serving as the hitmen, shot DeLuca 3 or 4 times and killed while parking his car on Shunk Street, South Philadelphia.|
|Felix "Little Felix" Bocchino||January 29, 1992||Bocchino and Tony Ferrante reportedly transported the shotgun used in the 1980 Angelo Bruno murder from Newark, New Jersey to Front Street, Philadelphia. He was a capo in the Stanfa regime and was reportedly in line to serve as underboss. He was shot 3 times in the neck and head behind the wheel of his 1977 Buick car, and killed by Michael Ciancaglini and Steven Mazzone.|
|James "Jimmy Brooms" DiAddorio||May 20, 1992||Philly mob associate and Stanfa loyalist. Shot to death by two men while speaking on the phone at Vulpine Athletic Club in Philadelphia for refusing to pay street tax from his bookmaking business and drug operations, and for negatively talking about Merlino and his crew in several local bars.|
|Francesco DiGiacomo||November 29, 1992||Philly mob associate and Stanfa crew loyalist. Shot and killed in New Jersey by Rosario Bellocchi for not repaying a debt to the Stanfa crew.|
|Billy Shear||1993||Philly mob associate based in North-Jersey. Killed by Philip "Philly Fay" Casale in Newark, New Jersey for being a suspected police informer.|
|Rod Colombo||January 7, 1993||29-year old Philly/Los Angeles mob associate, shot 3 times in the back of his head in Audubon, New Jersey while sitting in his Cadillac car.|
|Mario "Sonny" Riccobene||January 28, 1993||Philly mob soldier and older brother of Harry Riccobene. Killed by the Stanfa crew after he testified in 1984 and entered the witness protection program, and later returned to South Philadelphia.|
|Michael "Mikey Chang" Ciancaglini||August 5, 1993||Philly mob soldier, 10 to 15 shots were fired at him and Joey Merlino by Philip Colletti and John Veasey on a South Philadelphia street corner as they left a mob social club. Ciancaglini died from gunshot wounds to the chest and lungs and Merlino was shot in the buttocks.|
|Frank "Frankie Bronze" Baldino||September 17, 1993||Shot 5 to 7 times in the head and torso by John Veasey outside the Melrose Diner in South Philadelphia; Frank Martines and Giuseppe Gallara accompanied Veasey in the drive-by shooting.|
|William "Crazy Willie" Gantz||May 8, 1994||Philly mob associate. 44-year old Gantz served as a driver and bodyguard to Philadelphia crime family capo Joseph Sodano.|
|Michael "Mikey Ice" Brennan||December 6, 1994||Philly mob associate. Shot and killed, wrapped in a floor carpet and dumped in the woods after an alleged falling out with the Merlino faction.|
|Ralph Mazzuca||February 24, 1995||Philly mob associate and drug dealer. Shot in the head and back, hog-tied and set on fire after he robbed two kilograms of cocaine from Joey Merlino's driver-turned government informer Roger Vella and tied up his sister and dad at their home in 1994.|
|Michael "Dutchie" Avicolli||April 4, 1996||Shot and killed by Merlino and Steven Mazzone for having an affair with Mazzone's wife, reportedly buried on farm property in New Jersey and his car was disposed of.|
|Billy Veasey||October 5, 1996||Philly mob associate and brother of John Veasey, 35-year old Veasey was shot 4 times by John "Johnny Chang" Ciancaglini on the morning his brother was set to testify against the Philadelphia crime family.|
|Joseph "Joe the Nodder" Sodano||December 7, 1996||Philly mob capo based in North New Jersey. Shot twice in his SUV in Newark, New Jersey by Philip Casale and Peter "Pete the Crumb" Caprio then Casale stole jewellery and $12,000 from his wallet, allegedly killed for trust and loyalty concerns.|
|Robert Matonis||1997||Philly mob associate and drug dealer, killed by Philip Casale in Harrison, New Jersey.|
|Anthony Turra||March 18, 1998||Shot in the back and his right eye outside his South Philadelphia home while enroute to court for his federal racketeering trial after he previously sanctioned an assassination attempt on Joey Merlino due to a dispute beaten Merlino and his son Louis Turra. Steven Mazzone is suspected in his killing.|
|Gino Marconi||April 10, 1999||Shot 3 times in the chest from a rifle by the Boston crew.|
|John "Johnny Gongs" Casasanto||November 23, 2003||Shot twice in the back and head, ordered by Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi and killed by the Merlino faction, Damion Canalichio and Anthony Nicodemo are suspects in his killing. Casasanto was a suspect in the January 2002 Raymond Martarano murder.|
|Rocco Maniscalco||June 10, 2010||South Philadelphia bookmaker and loan shark, reportedly killed on orders of Joseph Ligambi for refusing to pay "protection money".|
|Gino DiPietro||December 12, 2012||Shot and killed by Philly mob soldier Dominic "Baby Dom" Grande. DiPietro was allegedly murdered over an unpaid debt in a backdoor poker game. Anthony Nicodemo was sentenced to a minimum of 25 years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to the murder. According to George Anastasia, Nicodemo rejected several offers to cooperate against the Philadelphia crime family.|
Merlino continues to serve as the boss of the crime family while living in Florida. He has run things by proxy since his release, delegating most duties since 2011 to senior members in Philadelphia. Their criminal operations have greatly reduced over the years, but some experts believe they have been able to quietly maintain power and stability. In 2016, it was reported that some members were involved in Philadelphia's booming construction and home rehab industry. In January 2018, Merlino went on trial for racketeering, fraud and illegal gambling charges. After a trial ended in a hung jury, Merlino pleaded guilty to one illegal gambling charge and was sentenced to two years in prison.
In April 2018, four soldiers and associates in New Jersey were arrested on drug trafficking charges. They are accused of distributing large amounts of methamphetamine, heroin, fentanyl and marijuana.
Current leaders and membership
- Boss - Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino
- Acting Boss/Street Boss - Michael "Mikey Lance" Lancelotti
- Underboss - Steven "Handsome Stevie" Mazzone
- Consigliere - Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi
- Capo - Michael "Mikey Lance" Lancelotti. A smart and low-key captain who has not been convicted of a major crime.
- Capo - Martin "Marty" Angelina. In 2001, he was convicted of racketeering with Joey Merlino, and was sentenced to 78 months. In September 2012, he was sentenced to 57 months on racketeering, loansharking and illegal gambling charges.
- Soldier - Anthony Nicodemo. He was charged with the murder of Gino DiPietro, and was a suspect in 2003 when John Casasanto was gunned down. Pleaded guilty to being the driver in the DiPietro murder and is serving a 25-50 year sentence.
- Soldier - Salvatore "Sonny" Mazzone. He is the brother of Philadelphia crime family underboss, Steve Mazzone, who attacked and bit off a part of a civilian's nose on the streets of Philadelphia.
- Soldier - Joseph Massimino. In 2004, he pleaded guilty to charges of racketeering related to gambling and loan sharking, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. As of October 2012, he was on trial for additional charges of racketeering related to electronic gambling devices.
- Soldier - George Borgesi. Ligambi's nephew, he was scheduled to be released from prison on July 3, 2012, before being charged with overseeing a loan sharking operation in Delaware County from his prison cell in North Carolina. He has a couple of other family members working as associates for the Philadelphia crime family. He was released from prison on January 24, 2014.
South New Jersey faction
- Capo - Anthony Staino. He was charged with loansharking. Henry Scipione, a Philadelphia bookie who owed Staino $80,000, testified against Staino saying that he had threatened to put a bullet in his head.
- Soldier - Anthony Borgesi. Philip Ligambi and Borgesi were charged in 1994 with assault on a mother and her 16-year-old son over a business deal.
North New Jersey faction
- Capo - Joseph "Scoops" Licata. Licata was sentenced to 14 years in 1994 after George Fresolone recorded secret conversations, and Licata was charged under major gambling operations in Newark. He was acquitted of racketeering in 2012. Licata received the nickname "Scoops" because he was always privy to underworld gossip.
- Soldier - Vincent "Beeps" Centorino. In 1994, he and other high-profile Philadelphia crime family mobsters, including Nicky Scarfo Jr., were tapped by the FBI, and all pleaded guilty.
Boss (official, acting and front)
- 1911–1931 — Salvatore Sabella — retired, deceased in 1962
- 1931–1936 — John "Nazzone" Avena — murdered on August 17, 1936
- 1936–1946 — Giuseppe "Joseph Bruno" Dovi
- 1946–1959 — Giuseppe "Joseph" Ida — deported in 1958, deceased in 1960s-1970s
- Acting 1958–1959 — Antonio "Mr. Miggs" Pollina — deposed by Commission
- 1959–1980 — Angelo "The Gentle Don" Bruno — murdered on March 21, 1980
- 1980–1981 — Philip "the Chicken Man" Testa — murdered on March 15, 1981
- 1981–1991 — Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo — imprisoned for life
- Acting 1981–1984 — Salvatore "Chuckie" Merlino
- Acting 1987–1989 — Anthony "Tony Buck" Piccolo
- 1991–1995 — Giovanni "John" Stanfa — imprisoned for life
- 1995–1999 — Ralph Natale — arrested in 1998, turned informant in 1999
- Street boss 1995–1999 — Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino
- 1999–present — Joey Merlino — arrested in 1999, released in 2011
- Acting boss 1999–2011 — Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi
Underbosses (official and acting)
- 1911–1931 — John "Nazzone" Avena — became boss
- 1931–1936 — Giuseppe "Joseph Bruno" Dovi — became boss
- 1936–1946 — Giuseppe "Joseph" Ida — became boss
- 1946–1956 — Marco "Small Man" Reginelli
- 1956–1957 — Dominick Olivetto — retired
- 1957–1959 — Antonio "Mr. Miggs" Pollina — deposed by Commission
- 1959–1970 — Ignazio "Natz" Denaro
- 1970–1980 — Philip "the Chicken Man" Testa — became boss
- 1980–1981 — Peter "Petey" Casella — deposed by Commission
- 1981–1986 — Salvatore "Chuckie" Merlino — demoted, deceased in 2012
- Acting 1982–1984 — Salvatore "Salvie" Testa — murdered on September 14, 1984
- 1986–1989 — Philip "Crazy Phil" Leonetti — turned informant
- 1989–1990 — Pasquale "Patty Specs" Martirano
- 1991–1992 — Joseph "Joey Chang" Ciancaglini Jr. — shot and incapacitated
- 1992–1995 — Frank Martines
- 1995–1998 — Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino — became official boss
- 1998–2004 — Steven Mazzone — imprisoned in 2000
- 2004–2012 — Joseph "Mousie" Massimino — imprisoned June 2004 – 2010
- 2011–present — John "Johnny Chang" Ciancaglini
- Acting 2015–present — Joseph "Chickie" Ciancaglini
Consigliere (official and acting)
- 1911–1931 — Giuseppe "Joseph Bruno" Dovi — became underboss
- 1931–1936 — Giuseppe "Joseph" Ida — became underboss
- 1936–1946 — Marco "Small man" Reginelli — became underboss
- 1946–1977 — Giuseppe "Joe the Boss" Rugnetta
- 1977–1980 — Antonio "Tony Bananas" Caponigro — murdered by Commission
- 1980–1981 — Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo — became boss
- 1981–1982 — Frank Monte — murdered
- 1982–1989 — Nicholas Piccolo
- Acting 1984–1987 — Anthony Piccolo
- 1989–1994 — Anthony Piccolo — imprisoned for life, deceased in 2004
- 1995–1996 — Ronald "Ronnie" Turchi — demoted, murdered in 1999
- 1996–1998 — Steven "Handsome Stevie" Mazzone — promoted underboss
- 1998–2004 — George Borgesi — imprisoned in 2000
- Acting 2001–2004 — Joseph "Joe Crutch" Curro
- 2004–2011 — Gaeton Lucibello
- 2014–present — Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi
Government informants and witnesses
- Ron Previte - former capo. Previte was a Philadelphia Police Department officer for over a decade and was forced to resign around 1979. He became a bouncer in an Atlantic City casino shortly after. In 1985, he was arrested on theft charges and agreed to become an informer for the New Jersey state police. By 1993, he was a soldier in John Stanfa's Philadelphia crime family, though he wasn't formally inducted, Stanfa allegedly told him to consider himself as a made man. He became an informer in 1997 and agreed to wear a wire for the FBI, he was also paid over $700,000 for information during his time as an informant. His cooperation, in part, led to former boss Ralph Natale's decision to cooperate in 1999. His testimony and cooperation has brought down at least 50 Philadelphia crime family members and associates. He died in August 2017 at the age of 73.
- Andrew Thomas DelGiorno - former captain. DelGiorno first became active with the Philadelphia crime family around 1964 and had gotten involved in the bookmaking business. He admitted to his participation in 5 murders during the 1980s. He testified against boss Nicky Scarfo and 16 other Philadelphia mobsters in November 1988.
- Nicholas "Nicky Crow" Caramandi - former hitman and soldier. In 1986, Caramandi alongside Robert Rego and former Democratic-Pennsylvania House of Representatives member, Leland Beloff, attempted to extort $1 million from real estate developer Willard Rouse, for funding revolved around the construction of Penn's Landing in Philadelphia. As a result of the 1984 slaying of Philadelphia captain Salvatore Testa, Caramandi, Joseph Grande and Charles Iannece were inducted into the Philadelphia family. After he received a message from Philadelphia crime family member Raymond Martorano while in prison, who alleged boss Nicky Scarfo was planning to have him murdered, and facing over 20 years in prison, Caramandi agreed to become a government witness.
- Eugene "Gino" Milano - former soldier and hitman. In 1981, he and captain Salvatore Testa allegedly beaten up Frank D'Alfonso, on orders of Scarfo. In January 1988, he was indicted on murder, attempted murder, extortion, gambling and conspiracy to distribute narcotic charges, alongside boss Nicky Scarfo and 18 others. Milano became a government witness in early 1989 and admitted to participation in the murder of Frank D'Alfonso on July 23, 1985. It is noted that he has testified against his younger brother. In 1990, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison, however in 1993, his sentence was reduced to 9-years imprisonment.
- Lawerence "Yogi" Merlino - former captain. He is the deceased uncle of current Philadelphia family boss Joey Merlino and the brother to Chuckie Merlino. Due to his ownership of a construction company based in Atlantic City, Merlino relatives have been repeatedly denied a gaming license by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission since 1989. In 1989, he agreed to become an informer and pleaded guilty to federal racketeering charges and to a murder charge. He died in 2001.
- Phil "Crazy Phil" Leonetti - former underboss and nephew of former Philadelphia crime family boss Nicky Scarfo. He participated in his first murder at the age of 10 and helped Scarfo dispose of a corpse, a man Scarfo killed with an ice pick in a New Jersey bar for disrespecting him, the young Leonetti was used as a decoy. The first person he killed was a drug user named Louie DeMarco in 1976 on orders of boss Angelo Bruno. In 1978, he shot Vincent Falcone twice and killed him, which prompted associate Joe Salerno to become a government witness. He was inducted into the Philadelphia mob as a soldier in 1980. Leonetti was sentenced to 45 years in prison in 1987. He decided to become a government witness in 1989. Leonetti admitted to being the trigger man in 2 murders and participated in 8 separate murders. He was scheduled to testify against Gambino crime family boss John Gotti on January 21, 1992, however Gambino underboss Sammy "the Bull" Gravano agreed to testify instead. In May 1992, former federal judge Franklin Van Antwerpen reduced Leonetti's sentence to 6-years imprisonment. He testified against Genovese crime family boss Vincent Gigante in 1997 and claimed Gigante ordered 6 murder contracts as retaliation for murdering Philadelphia bosses Angelo Bruno and Phil Testa without approval from the other crime families, specifically in New York. He released a book about his life in 2012.
- George Fresolone - former soldier. During his imprisonment for illegal gambling and loansharking, Fresolone became an informant for the New Jersey State police in 1988. He recorded more than 400 conversations and his information was responsible for the indictment of nearly 40 mobsters. He wore a wire during his ceremony in July 1990 to become an official member of the Philadelphia mob. He died in 2002.
- Salvatore "Wayne" Grande - former soldier. On September 14, 1984, he shot and killed captain Salvatore Testa, the son of Phil Testa, who became boss of the Philadelphia mob for a brief period and who also inducted Grande four years earlier. According to former Philadelphia crime family underboss and government witness Phil Leonetti, Grande repeatedly attempted to murder Harry Riccobene but failed, an enemy of the Scarfo faction, including an incident where Riccobene managed to survive 5 gunshot wounds to his face. In 1988, he was convicted on federal racketeering charges and informed on American Mafia mobsters later on during his imprisonment. Some of his relatives remain in the mob, including his son, who was allegedly inducted in 2011.
- John Veasey - former associate and hitman. He was part of the Stanfa faction during the Philadelphia mob war from 1992 to 1994. In August 1993, Veasey shot and killed Michael "Mikey Chang" Ciancaglini during a drive-by shooting, and wounded Joey Merlino with 4 gunshot wounds. In September 1993, he shot and killed Frank Baldino, Sr. outside of the Melrose Diner in South Philadelphia. He alleged that Stanfa became withdrawn after Veasey's complaints and ordered a contract on him. On January 14, 1994, he was lured to a second-floor apartment and noted that the room was covered in plastic, the hitmen alleged that they were "painting". Moments after, he was shot 3 times in the head and once in the chest. Veasey managed to stab one of the attackers and hit the other one, eventually fleeing the apartment. In January 1994, he became a government witness. On the day of John Stanfa's trial in October 1993 which Veasey was scheduled to testify at, his brother, William "Bill" Veasey, was murdered and shot at 9 times. He was sent to prison in the mid-1990s and was released in 2005. He released a book about his life in January 2012.
- Rosario Conti Bellocchi - former soldier and hitman. He was engaged to John Stanfa's niece. Along with fellow Philadelphia mob soldier, Biagio Adornetto, he departed Sicily to work for Stanfa.
- Biagio Adornetto - former soldier. He survived a failed assassination attempt on his life as friend and fellow Philly mob soldier, Rosario Bellocchi, loaded the shotgun with the wrong size of bullets; Adornetto was accused of flirting with John Stanfa's niece.
- Philip Colletti - former soldier. He was part of the Stanfa faction. According to Colletti, he created a remote-control bomb which was planted under Joey Merlino's car in 1993 and failed to detonate multiple times. His wife testified that Colletti and his wife participated in the disposing of a car which was used in a mob hit, the death of Michael Ciancaglini and wounding of Merlino, and fellow Philadelphia mob member and informer John Veasey testified that Colletti was with him when the shooting took place.
- Ralph Natale - former boss between 1994 and 1998. Natale was inducted by Joey Merlino while in prison in 1994 however he later claimed that he became a member under Angelo Bruno. He reached out to the FBI in the summer of 1998 while imprisoned on parole violations however a deal was worked out in 1999 after facing a charge of conspiracy to manufacture and distribute methamphetamine's in Philadelphia and New Jersey, alongside Joey Merlino. In 2000, he pleaded guilty to illegal gambling, extortion and drug distribution charges, including participating in 7 murders. He also admitted to handing bribes of around $50,000 to Milton Milan, the Democratic 45th mayor of Camden, New Jersey. He was interviewed by Trevor McDonald in 2015 and released a book about his mob life in 2017.
- Robert "Boston Bob" Luisi Jr. - former captain under Joey Merlino. Originally an associate of the Patriarca crime family, he joined the Philadelphia mob and became inducted in 1998. On November 6, 1995, his father, cousin, brother and family friend were killed by gunman Anthony Clemente who fired 13 shots inside of a Charlestown restaurant. It is noted that he attempted to seize control of the criminal rackets of Whitey Bulger in Boston during the 1990s, and attempted to meet Kevin Weeks in 1998. He was indicted by the FBI on June 28, 1999, alongside 13 others for conspiracy to acquire and distribute cocaine. In 2000, he admitted to the murder of Anthony DiPrizio in 1997. He later became a pastor and relocated in Tennessee using the alias Alonso Esposito.
- Pete "the Crumb" Caprio - former capo. In July 2000, he admitted to conspiring to commit murder, extortion and other crimes. During the case, he was accused of participating in the murder of William Gantz in 1994 and Joseph Sodano in 1996. Caprio testified against the absent Genovese crime family captain Lawrence Ricci in October 2005, who was murdered a few weeks before his trial.
- Gaetano "Tommy Horsehead" Scafidi - former soldier. By 1986, he was a money runner for boss Nicky Scarfo, collecting and delivering money payments each week on behalf of Scarfo. His brother, Tori Scafidi, was also a soldier in the Philly crime family and was inducted in 1986. He joined the Merlino faction during the Philadelphia mob war in the 1990s, who opposed new boss John Stanfa. However he switched sides and was shortly after inducted into the crime family by Stanfa. In 1993, two gunmen attempted to kill him however the bullet shattered his car mirror. He became an informer in 2000.
- "The Departed". Philadelphia CityPaper. October 8, 2015. Archived from the original on January 22, 2016. Retrieved November 3, 2015.
- Burnstein, Scott M. (2006). Motor City Mafia: A Century of Organized Crime in Detroit. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 9780738540849.
- Caparella, Kitty (March 11, 1999). "Mob-pagan Pact Joey's Bid For Philly Crime Boss Fueled By Link With Biker Gang". Philadelphia Daily News. Retrieved November 7, 2015.
- "The Mafia in New Jersey - La Cosa Nostra - State of New Jersey Commission of Investigation 1989 Report - The Bruno/Scarfo Family". Mafianj.com. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
- Caparella, Kitty (August 30, 1989). "Sources: Mob Buys Coke From The Jbm". Philadelphia Daily News. Retrieved November 7, 2015.
- "How the Pagans Bested the Mob | Cover Story | News and Opinion". Philadelphia Weekly. Archived from the original on September 9, 2012. Retrieved July 15, 2012.
- "Philadelphia Mafia figure returned to prison for meeting friend". TribLIVE. Associated Press. Retrieved March 25, 2015.
- Volk, Steve. "What Ever Happened to the South Philly Mob". phillymag.com. Philadelphia Magazine. Retrieved March 25, 2015.
- "Merlino still runs Philly mob, court document says". Philly.com. May 4, 2012. Retrieved July 15, 2012.
- https://web.archive.org/web/20120508065325/http://www.myfoxphilly.com/dpp/news/local_news/Joey_Merlino_Still_Runs_Philly_Mob_Document_Shows_050312. Archived from the original on May 8, 2012. Retrieved May 3, 2012. Missing or empty
- State of New Jersey Commission of Investigation. "State of New Jersey 27th Annual Report" (PDF). State.nj. Retrieved June 2, 2016.
- "Mob chef Angelo Lutz hopes for a hit with New Jersey restaurant The Kitchen Consigliere". New York: NY Daily News. Associated Press. October 31, 2013. Retrieved March 25, 2015.
- Anastasia, George (March 31, 2000). "Tracing Ties Between Mob And Mayor Investigators Say A Friend Of Boss-turned-informant Ralph Natale's Funneled Cash And Gifts To Milton Milan". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved March 25, 2015.
- Anastasia, George (November 4, 1990). "Informant Is Mob Target, Officials Say". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved March 25, 2015.
- Brady Shea, Kathleen (July 2, 2008). "17 arrests aimed at the mob in Delco The arrests ended a 6 1/2-year probe into gambling, selling drugs and loan-sharking, authorities said". Philly.com. The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved November 3, 2015.
- Simmons, Rose (February 1, 1990). "Mafia Trial Shows Muscle Of 'Old One'". Philly.com. The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved November 3, 2015.
- Anastasia, George (December 1, 1988). "Rackets Said To Own Chester Pa. Crime Panel Hears 2d Day Of Testimony". Philly.com. The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved November 3, 2015.
- Barry, Jim. "Trouble With a Capital N". Philadelphia CityPaper. Retrieved November 3, 2015.
- "Nicodemo Scarfo". Biography.com. Bio. Retrieved March 25, 2015.
- Sullivan, Joseph F. (August 22, 1990). "41 Charged in Mob Case Based on Informer". The New York Times. Retrieved March 25, 2015.
- LeDuc, Daniel; Anastasia, George; Terry, Robert J. (August 22, 1990). "Mobster-informant Leads To Arrests Of Nicodemo Scarfo Jr., 28 Others". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved March 25, 2015.
- Tulsky, Fredric N.; Pothier, Dick (May 14, 1987). "Scarfo Had Sal Testa Slain For 'Honor,' Caramandi Says". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved March 25, 2015.
- Capeci, Jerry. The complete idiot's guide to the Mafia "The Mafia's Commission" (pp. 31–46)
- The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Mafia. Capeci, Jerry. Penguin Publishing, 2005
- Pennsylvania Crime Commission: 1984 Report. DIANE Publishing Company ISBN 9780788145629
- Anastasia, George (March 12, 1989). "Behind Bruno's Slaying: Tale Of A Triple-cross". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved December 10, 2015.
- Anastasia (1991), pp. 29-30, 88
- Anastasia (1991), pp. 91-92
- Anastasia (1991), pp. 106-109
- RICHARD BEHAR Nicholas (The Crow) Caramandi (June 24, 2001). "A Crow Turns Stool Pigeon". Content.time.com. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
- "The Story Of Sal Testa, Former Scarfo Protege". Philly.com. Michael B. Coakley. Retrieved March 10, 2016.
- "Dismantling The Philadelphia Mob". Articles.philly.com. January 29, 1989. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
- "Mob Underboss Gets 45-year Sentence". Articles.philly.com. May 11, 1989. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
- "For Nearly 50 Years, An Underworld Player". Articles.philly.com. May 24, 2011. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
- Raab, Selwyn (November 22, 1995). "Jury Convicts Philadelphia's Mob Leader". NYTimes.com. Philadelphia, Pa, Usa. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
- "Veasey's Life After the Philly Mob". Phillymag.com. October 29, 2010. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
- Barry, Jim. "Who's the Boss?". Citypaper.net. Archived from the original on October 1, 2015. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
- "Brother Against Brother MOB SCENE". YouTube. May 29, 2013. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
- Raab, Selwyn (October 6, 1995). "Brother of Mob Turncoat Is Gunned Down - NYTimes.com". The New York Times. Philadelphia (Pa). Retrieved January 22, 2016.
- Decourcy, Michael (March 18, 1994). "F.B.I. Arrests Reputed Leader of Philadelphia Mob and 23 Others". NYTimes.com. Philadelphia (Pa). Retrieved January 22, 2016.
- "Underboss sentenced as war on mob continues Merlino associate Steven Mazzone was given a nine-year term. The probes go on, authorities say". Articles.philly.com. September 2, 2011. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
- Jim Barry; Howard Altman (April 5, 2001). "Hit Recordings". Philadelphia City Paper. Retrieved November 23, 2011.
- Anastasia (2004), p. 337
- Cite error: The named reference
brainswas invoked but never defined (see the help page).
- Anastasia (2004), p. 263
- "NATION IN BRIEF". Washington Post. January 22, 2005. Retrieved November 23, 2011.
- "7 Reputed Mafia Figures Are Acquitted of Murder". New York Times. July 21, 2001. Retrieved September 14, 2011.
- "Mid-Atlantic: Pennsylvania: Mobster Gets 14 Years". The New York Times. December 4, 2001. Retrieved May 7, 2010.
- "About Ralph Natale". Philly.com. September 2, 2011. Retrieved January 27, 2012.
- Gross, Dan (July 28, 2011). "Mob boss turned rat Ralph Natale working on a memoir". Philadelphia Daily News. Retrieved January 27, 2012.
- George Anastasia (December 26, 2010). "Still Home for Holidays". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved January 4, 2010.
- McGarvey, Brendan. "Happy Birthday to Joe :: News :: Article :: Philadelphia City Paper". Citypaper.net. Retrieved July 15, 2012.
- Porello, Rick (December 17, 2001). "Meet The New Boss". AmericanMafia.com. Internet.
- McGarvey, Brendan. "Sins of the Fathers". Citypaper.net. Archived from the original on January 22, 2016. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
- "Police data show Philadelphia mob in decline". New Criminologist. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
- "Waste And Abuse" (PDF). State.nj.us. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
-  Archived January 16, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
-  Archived May 27, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
- MARYCLAIRE DALE (October 10, 2014). "Judge weighs revoking convicted mobster's parole". sandiegouniontribune.com. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
- PATRICK WALTERS (May 23, 2011). "Reputed Philly mob boss, 12 others arrested | 6abc.com". Abclocal.go.com. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
- MARYCLAIRE DALE (October 8, 2012). "Ligambi goes on trial Tuesday in Philly mob case | Action News at 4pm". Abclocal.go.com. Archived from the original on December 13, 2013. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
- Belardo, Carolyn. "Mob figure dies in hail of bullets". UPI. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
- Cimino, Al (2017). The Mafia. ISBN 9781788286473. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
- "Mob Figure Gunned Down in South Philly". AP. Retrieved January 30, 2020.
- "Murder Charges Dropped : New Ballistics Test Disproves LAPD Lab Results for 2nd Time". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
- Constantine, Alex. "The Florida/Hollywood Mob Connection, the CIA and O.J. Simpson (SEGMENT)". MFC. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
- Profile of Organized Crime, Mid-Atlantic Region: Hearings Before the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Committee on Governmental Affairs, United States Senate, Ninety-eighth Congress, First Session, February 15, 23, and 24, 1983, Volume 4. U.S. Government Printing Office. 1983. p. 260. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
- Organized Crime: 25 Years After Valachi : Hearings Before the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Committee on Governmental Affairs, United States Senate, One Hundredth Congress, Second Session, April 11, 15, 21, 22, 29, 1988. U.S. Government Printing Office. 1988. p. 1225. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
- Robbins, William. "WITNESSES TESTIFY ABOUT MAFIA LIFE". The New York Times. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
- Baram, Marcus. "Start Snitching: Inside the Witness Protection Program". ABC NEWS. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
- Cimino, Al (2014). Mafia Files: Case Studies of the World's Most Evil Mobsters. ISBN 9781784043698. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
- "United States District Court, E.D. PennsylvaniaOct 11, 2000Criminal Action No. 99-0363-06 (E.D. Pa. Oct. 11, 2000)". Casetext. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
- Anthony, Ted. "Underboss' Brother Killed on South Philly Street; Second Man Injured". AP. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
- "Reputed Philadelphia mob boss on trial". UPI. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
- "The Changing Face of ORGANIZED CRIME IN NEW JERSEY" (PDF). State of NJ. State of New Jersey Commission of Investigation. Retrieved January 30, 2020.
- Caparella, Kitty. "Mob snitch hits get-out-of-jail jackpot". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved January 27, 2020.
- Raab, Selwyn. "Brother of Mob Turncoat Is Gunned Down". The New York Times. Retrieved January 28, 2020.
- Fallik, Dawn. "Brother of Mob Informant Slain in Philadelphia". AP. Retrieved January 28, 2020.
- Woolley, Wayne. "Turncoat Hit Man Takes Stand Week After Brother Shot Dead On Street". AP. Retrieved January 28, 2020.
- "Philly Mob Figure Acquitted of Murder". ABC NEWS. Retrieved January 28, 2020.
- "Jury Acquits Mob Figure of Murder, Conspiracy". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 28, 2020.
- Dow, Paula. "Former Organized Crime Associate Pleads Guilty To Four Murders". njecpo. Retrieved January 28, 2020.
- "Defendant in Pa. Mob Plot Shot Dead". AP. Retrieved January 28, 2020.
- "Mob Trial Defendant Shot to Death". AP. Retrieved January 28, 2020.
- Anastasia, George. "Reputed S.J. mobster held without bail". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved January 30, 2020.
- "Jury Hangs On Uncle Joe, But Three Associates Guilty in Mob Trial". Pagno Law. Retrieved January 30, 2020.
- Caparella, Kitty. "Meeting his pals costs mob figure". Meeting his pals costs mob figure. Retrieved January 28, 2020.
- "Reputed mobster killed". UPI. Retrieved January 28, 2020.
- Bender, William. "The bookie and the Biq Squeeze". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved January 30, 2020.
- Anastasia, George. "Nicodemo Gets 25-50 Years For DiPietro Murder". Big Trial. Retrieved January 30, 2020.
- Stamm, Dan. "Man Charged With Mob-Related Murder". NBC PHILADELPHIA. Retrieved January 30, 2020.
- Scott Burnstein. "Skinny Joey Is Still LCN Boss In Philly, Don't Believe The Hype, Says Sources – The Gangster Report". Gangsterreport.com. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
- "Joey Merlino arrested in major mob bust". PhillyVoice. Retrieved October 5, 2016.
- "Reputed Philly crime boss Joey Merlino gets $5 million bond". Retrieved October 5, 2016.
- https://web.archive.org/web/20110823061333/http://newsroom-magazine.com/tag/joseph-massimino/. Archived from the original on August 23, 2011. Retrieved May 25, 2011. Missing or empty
- "Reputed mob boss Ligambi and others indicted on gambling, loan-sharking charges". Articles.philly.com. May 24, 2011. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
- "Informant testifies at Ligambi trial". Philly.com. Retrieved February 2, 2013.
- "Mobster receives 57 months for racketeering". Philly.com. Retrieved February 2, 2013.
- "Shooting death of South Philadelphia man termed a mob hit". Philly.com. Retrieved February 2, 2013.
- "Nose Job". Philadelphia City Paper. Retrieved February 2, 2013.
- George Anastasia (July 23, 2009). "Mob underboss seeks sentence reduction Joseph Massimino, who ran a gambling operation in South Jersey and Pa., has served half of a 10-year term". Philadelphia Media Network. Retrieved December 30, 2012.
- WILLIAM BENDER; MORGAN ZALOT (December 13, 2012). "Apparent mob hit in South Philadelphia". Philadelphia Media Network. Retrieved December 30, 2012.
- Barry Leibowitz (May 23, 2011). "Alleged Phila. mob boss, a dozen more, hit with federal indictment for rackateering, gambling - Crimesider - CBS News". CBS News. Retrieved December 30, 2012.
- "Ex-mob consigliere Borgesi pleads not guilty". Philly.com. June 15, 2011. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
- "Ligambi ordered held without bail". Philly.com. May 27, 2011. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
- "Jailed Mob Boss In Spat With Relative?". Archived from the original on June 4, 2011. Retrieved June 2, 2011.
- "Angry 'Wiseguys' In Corner Argument". Myfoxphilly.com. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
- "Prosecution witness says Staino seldom threatened him". Philly.com. Retrieved February 2, 2013.
- "Reputed Mob Associates Charged In Attack On Mother, Son Anthony Borgesi, 29, And Philip Ligambi, 24, Are Charged. Police Say The Fight Was Over A Business Deal". Philly.com. Retrieved February 2, 2013.
- "Mobster-informant Leads To Arrests Of Nicodemo Scarfo Jr., 28 Others". Articles.philly.com. August 22, 1990. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
- "Mob Boss Sentenced To 14 Years Joseph Licata Admitted Having Headed A Loan-sharking And Gambling Ring In The '80s". Philly.com. Retrieved February 2, 2013.
- "Secret Tape Captures A Mob Initiation Rite A Bombshell Lands On 'Tony Buck' Piccolo". Philly.com. Retrieved February 2, 2013.
- Brown, Julie K. (September 29, 2012). "Joseph Merlino: The mobster next door". Miami Herald. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
- "Skinny Joey Talks About Nicky Skins And Life Without The Mob | Big Trial | Philadelphia Trial Blog". Big Trial. April 12, 2013. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
- "Mob underboss seeks sentence reduction Joseph Massimino, who ran a gambling operation in South Jersey and Pa., has served half of a 10-year term". Articles.philly.com. June 23, 2009. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
- "FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF". Myfoxphilly.com. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
- "FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF". Myfoxphilly.com. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
- "Ronald Previte, Mafia captain turned informant, dies at 73". Chicago Tribune. Michael Rubinkam. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
- "Former 'Capo': 'I Was Underpaid'". CBS. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
- "The Last Gangster". CBS. Tatiana Morales. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
- "Onetime Wise Guy Rates Another Kind of Mob Hit". Joe Sharkey. New York Times. January 15, 2000. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
- "Musings of a Mob Man With a Price on His Head". Joe Sharkey. The New York Times. May 18, 1997. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
- "Defense rests, prosecution resumes in Scarfo trial". UPI. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
- "Willard Rouse, 60, dies; transformed Phila.'s skyline". Philadelphia Business Journal. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
- "PHILADELPHIA COUNCILMAN CHARGED WITH EXTORTION IN DEVELOPMENT". NY TIMES. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
- "United States of America v. Anthony Pungitore, Jr., Appellant in No. 89-1371.united States of America v. Joseph Grande. Appellant in No. 89-1372.united States of America v. Francis Iannarella, Jr., Appellant in No. 89-1393.united States of America v. Phillip Narducci. Appellant in No. 89-1395.united States of America v. Salvatore Scafidi. Appellant in No. 89-1396.united States of America v. Nicholas Virgilio. Appellant in No. 89-1397.united States of America v. Charles Iannece. Appellant in No. 89-1400.united States of America v. Salvatore Wayne Grande. Appellant in No. 89-1401.united States of America v. Joseph Pungitore. Appellant in No. 89-1402.united States of America v. Frank Narducci, Jr., Appellant in No. 89-1403.united States of America v. Ralph Staino, Jr., Appellant in No. 89-1404.united States of America v. Salvatore J. Merlino. Appellant in No. 89-1409.united States of America v. Nicodemo Scarfo. Appellant in No. 89-1446.united States of America v. Joseph Ciancaglini. Appellant in No. 89-1448, 910 F.2d 1084 (3d Cir. 1990)". US JUSTIA LAW. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
- "Hitman says slain mob captain set up by best friend". UPI. Brian Mooar. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
- "When Mobsters Refuse to Retire". AARP. George Anastasia. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
- "A Crow Turns Stool Pigeon: NICHOLAS CARAMANDI". Time. Richard Behar. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
- "Crow?s Feat". Philly Magazine. Bill Tonelli. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
- "Scarfo, 18 others named in sweeping indictment". UPI. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
- "Mob defector testifies against former co-defendants". UPI. Brian Mooar. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
- "Philadelphia Mob Leader Is Convicted of Murder". The New York Times. April 6, 1989. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
- "Mob Witness Gets Sentence Reduced". The Morning Call. Gay Elwell. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
- Cimino, Al (2017). Mafia Crimes: The History of the Mob. ISBN 9781788284172. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
- "Convicted mobster 'Chuckie' Merlino dies in federal prison". Herald Net. Troy Graham. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
- "'Family' ties at issue in Merlino casino work bid". Boston.com. Wayne Parry. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
- "Mobster founded Merlino firm, crime expert says". Press of Atlantic City. DONALD WITTKOWSKI. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
- "Kin's mob memoir details Scarfo's bloody Pa. reign". Abc. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
- "The Mafia's Marked Man : Books: Joe Salerno fingered a mob boss and broke a crime family. He has been running ever since". Paul Dean. La Times. February 22, 1990. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
- "Book excerpt from 'Mafia Prince:' The story of Philip Leonetti's mob hit of Vincent Falcone as ordered and watched by Nicky Scarfo". Scott Burnstein. NY DAILY NEWS. November 19, 2012. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
- "Mafia Trial in Hartford Opens With Guilty Plea". Nick Ravo. NY TIMES. May 4, 1991. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
- "Judge reduces mobster's sentence". UPI. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
- "Organized Crime An Offer They Can't Refuse". TIME. Richard Behar. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
- "CHIN FINGERED IN 6 SLAYINGS". New York Daily News. July 3, 1997. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
- Mafia Prince: Inside America's Most Violent Crime Family and the Bloody Fall of La Cosa Nostra. Scott Burnstein. ASIN 0762454318.
- "George Fresolone, 48; Mob Informant". LA TIMES. March 18, 2002. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
- "Blood Oath: The Heroic Story of a Gangster Turned Government Agent who Brought Down One of America's Most Powerful Mob Families". Publishers Weekly. Robert J. Wagman. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
- The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Mafia, 2nd Edition. Jerry Capeci. 2005. ISBN 9781440625824. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
- "10 REPUTED MOBSTERS ARE INDICTED IN PHILADELPHIA IN 1984 SLAYING". New York Times. April 11, 1987. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
- Mafia Prince: Inside America's Most Violent Crime Family and the Bloody Fall of La Cosa Nostra. Phil Leonetti. 2014. ISBN 9780762456000. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
- "Jury Finds Scarfo, 16 Others Guilty In Racketeering Case". AP NEWS. Lee Linder. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
- "Hit man: Has a mobster found redemption?". CBS. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
- "Thugs discard old rules in Philadelphia mob war". Baltimore Sun. Bill Glauber. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
- "Philadelphia Braces for Increase in Mob Violence". NY TIMES. September 5, 1993. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
- "John-John Veasey Guest Lecturer At West Chester University". Philadelphia Trial Lawyers. Ralph Cipriano. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
- "Shot in Head, Mobster Escapes Informer's Survival, Testimony Lead to Arrests of 12, Authorities Say". Questia. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
- "Brother of Phila. mob witness slain". UPI. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
- "Brother of Mob Turncoat Is Gunned Down". Selwyn Raab. New York Times. October 6, 1995. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
- "The Hit Man: A True Story of Murder, Redemption and the Melrose Diner". Amazon. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
- "Reputed Mobsters to Face Their Own Words in Federal Racketeering Trial". AP NEWS. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
- Cimino, Al (August 15, 2014). Mafia Files: Case Studies of the World's Most Evil Mobsters. ISBN 9781784043698. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
- "INEPT MOBSTERS MADE BEST HITS AS WITNESSES". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
- "PHILLY'S GOOFFELLAS MADE MESS OF MOB". Wayne Woolley. NY DAILY NEWS. November 26, 1995. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
- "Former mobster John Veasey's life chronicled in new book". Philly.com. George Anastasia. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
- "Witness Protection". MyCityPaper. Jim Barry. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
- "True or false? Ralph Natale was secretly initiated into Mafia by Bruno and Gambino". Philly Voice. George Anastasia. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
- "'Dumbfellas' spell trouble for the mob". The Independent. Andrew Marshall. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
- "Mob Turncoat Pleads Guilty". CBS. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
- "THE SKINNY ON JOEY". The Trentonian. Michael Rubinkam. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
- "Another Camden Mayor Convicted Of Mob-linked Corruption, Fraud". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
- Last Don Standing: The Secret Life of Mob Boss Ralph Natale. ASIN 1250095875.
- "METRO NEWS BRIEFS: NEW JERSEY; Organized Crime Figure Indicted in 2 Murders". New York Times. March 11, 2000. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
- "LOSTFELLA STILL MAKES IMPACT ON MOB TRIAL". NY DAILY NEWS. John Marzulli. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
- "Straight From the Horsehead's Mouth". Philadelphia Weekly. Ralph Cipriano. Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
- "Fascination with the mob goes beyond the Godfather". Baltimore Business Journal. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
- Anastasia, George. Blood and Honor: Inside the Scarfo Mob, the Mafia's Most Violent Family. 2004, ISBN 0940159864
- Anastasia, George. Goodfella Tapes.
- Anastasia, George. The Last Gangster.
- Wagman, Robert J. Blood Oath.
- Morello, Celeste Anne. Book One Before Bruno: The History of the Mafia and La Cosa Nostra in Philadelphia. Publication date: Apr 28, 2000, ISBN 9780967733418
- Morello, Celeste Anne. Book Two Before Bruno: The History of the Philadelphia Mafia, 1931-1946. Publication date: Nov 28, 2001, ISBN 9780967733425
- Morello, Celeste Anne. Book Three Before Bruno and How He Became Boss: The History of the Philadelphia Mafia, Book 3--1946-1959. Publication date: Aug 28, 2005, ISBN 9780977053209