Ron Previte

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Philly cop turned mobster turned government informant Ron Previte (middle) in an FBI surveillance photo.

Ron "Big Ron" Previte (1943-2017) was a federal witness, Philadelphia police officer and member of the Philadelphia crime family.[1]

Previte was born in West Philadelphia and later grew up in Hammonton, New Jersey to a first-generation Sicilian-American father and a first-generation Neapolitan-American mother; his earliest memories are of gangsters. After leaving the Air Force, he joined the Philadelphia Police Department. During a 2004 60 Minutes interview, Previte proclaimed, "I had a good work record. Except I was a crook. But most of the [cops] I worked with were crooks ... I never learned about crime 'til I went in the police department. I always said that I really became an adept thief when I went in the Philadelphia Police Department. It was a nice life...And plus, I had the badge. I couldn't get any trouble...". Previte learned how to extort from pimps, drug dealers, bookmakers and mobsters, pocketing thousands of dollars a week in addition to his regular paycheck.

Previte left police work and began working security for Atlantic City casinos in 1981, where he says he ran poker games and prostitution on the side, while also stealing from guests' safe deposit boxes and the casinos' warehouses.[1][2] In the early 1990s, Previte began working directly for the Mafia and also became a paid informant for the New Jersey State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.[1] His testimony and undercover work helped convict over 50 members of the mafia.[1]

Previte is the subject of the book The Last Gangster by George Anastasia.[3]

He had been a resident of Hammonton before his arrest on bookmaking charges[4] and remained in the Hammonton area after being convicted and sentenced to probation.[5] He died at age 73 on August 21, 2017.[6]


  1. ^ a b c d "Former 'Capo': 'I Was Underpaid'". CBS News. 2007-12-05. Retrieved 2012-07-26. 
  2. ^ "Former 'Capo': 'I Was Underpaid'". CBS News. Retrieved 3/11/2004.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  3. ^ Anastasia, George (2011-10-18). The Last Gangster. HarperCollins. pp. 6–. ISBN 9780062124005. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  4. ^ Anastasia, George. "Police: Hammonton Raids Broke Up A Betting Ring", The Philadelphia Inquirer, December 17, 1996. Accessed November 18, 2013. "Sources said yesterday the bookmaking ring was part of a broader gambling and loan-sharking operation controlled by reputed mob figure Ron Previte of Hammonton."
  5. ^ McAleer, Pete. "Hammonton mob informant misses life left behind", copy of article from The Press of Atlantic City, June 14, 2004. Accessed November 18, 2013. "Ron Previte, who once ran Hammonton's underworld from the booth of a diner on the White Horse Pike, is not quite sure what to do with himself these days.... He chose not to enter the witness protection program and has not moved far from Hammonton, a place he says he still loves."
  6. ^ "Former Philly mob captain Ronald Previte dies". Retrieved 20 September 2017.