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 Philadelphia Inquirer - Scarfo Trial 88

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PostSubject: Philadelphia Inquirer - Scarfo Trial 88   Philadelphia Inquirer - Scarfo Trial 88 Icon_minitimeTue Feb 10, 2009 9:05 am

Philadelphia Inquirer, The (PA)-May 26, 1988
Author: Emilie Lounsberry, Inquirer Staff Writer

Philip "Crazy Phil" Leonetti - a man who law-enforcement authorities say is a dangerous mobster - is really a gentleman and dedicated father who should be released on bail pending his forthcoming federal racketeering trial, his attorney contended yesterday.

Leonetti is the fourth reputed mobster charged in the racketeering case to seek bail in the aftermath of their acquittals, along with reputed mob boss Nicodemo Scarfo and four others, two weeks ago in the 1984 slaying of mob figure Salvatore Testa.

In court documents, defense attorney Oscar B. Goodman asserted that the evidence in the racketeering case was substantially weaker than the evidence in the Testa case and in a federal drug case that resulted in Leonetti's acquittal in December.

Goodman contended that Leonetti appeared to be linked to the prosecution's theory only by the fact that he is the nephew of Scarfo and by the testimony of confessed mobsters Nicholas "Nicky Crow" Caramandi and Thomas DelGiorno.

Prosecutor Louis R. Pichini of the U.S. Organized Crime Strike Force in Philadelphia rebutted Goodman's contention that the government's case was weak, and said he would oppose the release of Leonetti and the three other reputed mobsters also seeking to be released.

"We feel that the evidence in this case is stronger than the other cases, and it's much greater than just the testimony of DelGiorno and Caramandi," said Pichini, who said he would file a formal response to the defense motions within the next week.

In addition to Leonetti, the three others who are seeking to be released on bail are reputed mob soldiers Salvatore Grande, Joseph Pungitore and Charles Iannece.

Scarfo and eight others - including Leonetti, Grande, Pungitore and Iannece -were acquitted May 10 by a Common Pleas Court jury of the Testa killing.

In January, Scarfo, Leonetti, Grande, Pungitore, Iannece and 14 associates were indicted by a federal grand jury on racketeering charges accusing them of murder, extortion, drug-dealing, loan-sharking and gambling. The trial is not expected to take place until later this year.

Edition: FINAL
Section: LOCAL
Page: B03

Record Number: 8802030674
Copyright (c) 1988 The Philadelphia Inquirer

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PostSubject: Re: Philadelphia Inquirer - Scarfo Trial 88   Philadelphia Inquirer - Scarfo Trial 88 Icon_minitimeTue Feb 10, 2009 9:07 am

Philadelphia Inquirer, The (PA)-January 12, 1988
Author: Emilie Lounsberry, Inquirer Staff Writer

In the most sweeping assault to date against organized crime in the Philadelphia-South Jersey area, a federal grand jury yesterday indicted Nicodemo D. Scarfo and 18 of his associates on racketeering charges accusing them of murder, extortion, drug-dealing, loansharking and gambling.

The 88-page indictment alleged that Scarfo and his subordinates participated in a variety of crimes, including the murder or attempted murder of 14 people, to "generate income" and to "maintain and extend the power" of the organized-crime family.

U.S. Attorney Edward S.G. Dennis Jr. said the racketeering indictment was much broader than the charges that have been brought against Scarfo in five separate cases in the last 14 months.

"This indictment represents fairly broad charges that will in fact charge these defendants with operating a criminal enterprise, that being the Philadelphia Mafia," said Dennis. "Heretofore, the indictments and trials . . . have focused on individual incidents."

"He gets blamed for everything," Scarfo's defense attorney, Robert F. Simone, said about the latest round of charges against the 58-year-old reputed mob kingpin.

Between April 1976 and October last year, the indictment alleged, the defendants participated in nine murders, five attempted murders, 14 extortions, three methamphetamine-distribution schemes, three illegal lottery operations and one illegal sports bookmaking operation.

"The charges attack organized crime at the highest level," Joel M. Friedman, the attorney in charge of the U.S. Organized Crime Strike Force in Philadelphia, said during a news conference. "The indictment alleges the full panoply of mob activity."

Law-enforcement officials throughout the United States have relied on the same charge - operating a criminal enterprise, as provided in the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organization statute - to prosecute successfully the hierarchy of organized-crime families in Boston, New York and Kansas City.

According to yesterday's indictment, Scarfo and his co-defendants conspired to murder anyone "who violated the rules, questioned authority or posed a threat to the leaders," and secured "the corrupt assistance of public officials" to maintain the power of the organization.

They extorted money, operated gambling businesses, sold drugs and used violence to collect debts in an effort "to generate income" for the mob, according to the indictment.

A month ago, Scarfo and four alleged subordinates were acquitted of federal

drug charges. In only a matter of weeks, Scarfo and eight associates are scheduled to go on trial in the 1984 slaying of mob figure Salvatore Testa.

As in the other cases, the charges announced yesterday appear to rely heavily on the word of mob informants Thomas DelGiorno and Nicholas Caramandi, who have testified that they became government informants in 1986 because they believed Scarfo had ordered them slain.

DelGiorno and Caramandi were key witnesses last year in the drug trial and in the extortion trials of Scarfo, then-City Councilman Leland M. Beloff and Beloff's top aide, Robert Rego, all of whom were convicted and sentenced to prison terms ranging from eight to 18 years.

Scarfo was charged with racketeering for allegedly participating in the murders and attempted murders of the following people:

* Former Somers Point Municipal Judge Edwin Helfant, who was shot to death Feb. 15, 1978, as he and his wife sat in the bar of the Flamingo Motel in Atlantic City.

* Michael "Coco" Cifelli, an alleged drug dealer from Clementon, Camden County, who was killed Jan. 4, 1979, as he sipped a beer at a restaurant in South Philadelphia.

* Vincent Falcone, a Margate, N.J., cement contractor who was shot once in the head and once in the chest on Dec. 16, 1979. (Scarfo, reputed underboss Philip "Crazy Phil" Leonetti and Lawrence "Yogi" Merlino were acquitted in the killing.)

* John "The Snake" Calabrese, an alleged drug dealer shot to death on Oct. 6, 1981 in South Philadelphia.

* Frank "Chickie" Narducci Sr, a member of the Scarfo crime family who was killed Jan. 7, 1982, in front of his South Philadelphia home.

* Salvatore Tamburrino, who was shot and killed Nov. 3, 1983, inside a Southwest Philadelphia variety store owned by his parents.

* Robert Riccobene, a half-brother of reputed mob figure Harry Riccobene, who was warring with Scarfo. Robert Riccobene was shot to death outside his mother's Southwest Philadelphia home Dec. 6, 1983.

* Salvatore Testa, whose bullet-riddled body was found dumped on the side of a road in Gloucester Township on Sept. 14, 1984.

* Frank "Frankie Flowers" D'Alfonso, a mob figure who was shot to death July 23, 1985, as he paused to light a cigarette near Ninth and Catharine Streets in South Philadelphia.

* Harry Riccobene, who survived murder attempts on June 8 and Aug. 21, 1982.

* Joseph Salerno Sr., the father of a government witness, survived a shot in the neck Aug. 10, 1982, at a Wildwood motel he owned.

* Frank Martinez, who survived a murder attempt on Oct. 14, 1983.

* Steven Vento Jr., who was wounded but survived a shooting on May 27, 1986.

Scarfo was not accused of participating in the April 1983 killing of mob soldier Pasquale "Pat the Cat" Spirito, the 14th murder or attempted murder in the indictment. The indictment alleged that defendants Salvatore ''Chuckie" Merlino, Joseph "Chickie" Ciancaglini and Charles "Charlie White" Iannece participated in that killing.

The indictment also includes, among the underlying "predicate" acts of racketeering, the attempt to extort $1 million from developer Willard G. Rouse 3d in the spring of 1986. Scarfo, Beloff and Rego already have been convicted of that charge.

Dennis said yesterday that he expected defense attorneys to argue that some of the racketeering acts - such as the extortion, drug and several murder charges - should not be included in the new indictment because Scarfo and other defendants already have been charged with those offenses in separate cases. The government will argue, he said, that the allegations are appropriate as part of a broader racketeering charge.

In a telephone interview, Simone said the indictment was not unexpected.

"This has been what they have been talking about for some time," said Simone. "Actually, we're glad to get it on with because now the defendants know where they stand."

The importance of the indictment was reflected yesterday by the more than 18 federal, state and local law-enforcement officials who gathered at FBI headquarters in Center City while Dennis announced the new charges.

"These are the most sweeping charges brought against Nicky Scarfo and the Philadelphia mob," said prosecutor Louis R. Pichini, one of five lawyers assigned to prosecute the case.

Pennsylvania Attorney General LeRoy S. Zimmerman said that the organized- crime figures needed only to look to those officials to understand how the indictment came about.

"Never before has the leadership of organized crime in the Philadelphia area been confronted with such a comprehensive type of indictment," said Zimmerman. "Law enforcement . . . ganged up on them this time."

Scarfo also is awaiting trial in Philadelphia in the slaying of D'Alfonso, and in New Jersey on racketeering and murder charges accusing him of the killing of Helfant and the attempted murder of Salerno.

In addition to Scarfo, Leonetti, Salvatore Merlino, Ciancaglini, Lawrence Merlino and Iannece, those indicted include Francis "Faffy" Iannarella, Joseph Pungitore, Salvatore Wayne Grande, Joseph Ligambi, Philip Narducci, Frank Narducci Jr., Salvatore Scafidi, Nicholas "Nick the Blade" Virgilio, Eugene "Gino" Milano, Nicholas "Nicky Whip" Milano, Joseph Grande, Anthony Pungitore Jr. and Ralph Staino Jr.



1. Nicodemo D. Scarfo; Indicted with 18 associates

2. Dennis says the defendants operate "a criminal enterprise, that being the

Philadelphia Mafia." (The Philadelphia Inquirer / AMY HUNTOON)

Edition: FINAL
Section: LOCAL
Page: A01

Record Number: 8801030262
Copyright (c) 1988 The Philadelphia Inquirer
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