William D'Elia

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William D'Elia
Born (1946-06-24) June 24, 1946 (age 72)
Trenton, New Jersey, U.S.
Residence Pennsylvania
Other names Big Billy
Spouse(s) Ellen
Children 3

William "Big Billy" D'Elia (born June 24, 1946) is a Pennsylvania mobster and former leader of the Bufalino crime family before he was revealed to be an informant.


D'Elia began working with the Bufalino family in the late 1960s as boss Russell Bufalino's driver. D'Elia's business background in solid waste brokering and other areas would later be useful in making contacts in New York, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh. Rising through the ranks, D'Elia was said to be a mediator among mob families, meeting frequently with mobsters from the Philadelphia crime family, Western Pennsylvania, and New York City. D'Elia lives in Hughestown, Pennsylvania with his wife Ellen. They have a son Russell named after Bufalino, and two adult daughters, Carolyn named after Bufalino's wife and Miriam, an attorney in Philadelphia.[1]

Succeeding Edward Sciandra in 1994, D'Elia expanded the organization into legitimate operations such as waste management and controlling shares of Spanel Transportation and the Newcastle Group, the latter of which is a suspected money laundering operation.[2][better source needed] He lives in Pittston, Pennsylvania. He stands at 6'3" and weighs 210 pounds with brown eyes.

In 1990, Bufalino was implicated in a money laundering operation involving The Metro, a newspaper in Exeter, Pennsylvania. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) charged that over $3.0 million in drug and prostitution money was hidden as revenue from fictional Metro newspaper ads and subscriptions. The Metro closed in 1998.

Prosecution and prison[edit]

On May 31, 2001, IRS agents, US Postal Service Inspectors, and Pennsylvania State Police obtained search warrants for the homes of several Bufalino crime family members, including D'Elia and his mistress. The agents seized records relevant to a tax evasion investigation from which D'Elia claimed a loss of $6 million while reporting $8,000 in gambling operations in Atlantic City, New Jersey. On February 26, 2003, the New Jersey Casino Control Commission banned D'Elia from entering any Atlantic City, New Jersey casinos and he remains on the Exclusion List of the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.[3]

On May 31, 2006, D'Elia was indicted on federal charges of laundering $600,000 in illegal drugs proceeds. When D'Elia learned that a co-conspirator might testify against him, D'Elia allegedly plotted to kill him. In August 2006, D'Elia unwittingly told an informant that he would give him photographs of a prosecution witness and later signal him to kill the man. In November 2006, D'Elia was charged with trying to kill a witness and with new charges of money laundering.[1]

On March 12, 2008, D'Elia pleaded guilty to reduced charges of money laundering conspiracy and witness tampering. As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors dropped the 2008 indictments.[4] In an attempt for leniency, D'Elia testified to a Dauphin County grand jury that indicted Mount Airy Casino Resort owner Louis DeNaples for perjury to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.[5]

D'Elia was released from prison in February 2013.[6]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Capecci, Jerry. The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Mafia. Indianapolis: Alpha Books, 2002. ISBN 0-02-864225-2
  • Pennsylvania Crime Commission. St. Davids, Pennsylvania: DIANE Publishing, 1984. ISBN 0-8182-0000-6 [1]
  • Sifakis, Carl. The Mafia Encyclopedia. New York: Da Capo Press, 2005. ISBN 0-8160-5694-3
  • Sifakis, Carl. The Encyclopedia of American Crime. New York: Facts on File Inc., 2001. ISBN 0-8160-4040-0


  1. ^ a b "Reputed mobster gets 9 years in prison" The Daily Item November 24, 2008
  2. ^ "History of the Bufalino Crime Family" La Cosa Nostra Database
  3. ^ "William D'Elia". State of New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. Retrieved 2012-12-14. 
  4. ^ Mafia boss William D'Elia on the move" Mafia Today September 3, 2009
  5. ^ "William D'Elia pleads guilty" Pennlive March 28, 2008.com
  6. ^ Bureau of Prisons Inmate Locator

External links[edit]