Crime

Reputed Philly mob boss, 12 others arrested

Monday, May 23, 2011
Joseph Ligambi Joseph Ligambi

The reputed boss of the Philadelphia mob, his alleged lieutenant and 11 others were hit with federal racketeering and gambling charges in an indictment unsealed Monday, a case that federal authorities said shows that organized crime is far from defunct.

The indictment accuses alleged mob leader Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi, reputed underboss Joseph Massimino and the others of running illegal gambling operations or loan sharking.

RELATED: Read the full indictment from the U.S. Attorney's Office

Eleven people were arrested Monday, including Ligambi, who pleaded not guilty during an initial appearance. The other two defendants were already in federal custody.

Ligambi's attorney, Joseph Santaguida, said the case against his client is not strong and he should be granted bail at a hearing later this week.

The arrests were the largest action taken against Philadelphia's crime family in a decade.

"They used violence and the threat of violence to exert control over others," Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer said in a news conference, noting that organized crime in Philadelphia had shown "a remarkable ability to reorganize and reinvent itself."

U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger said the arrests should serve as a warning to the city's Mafia that law enforcement hasn't forgotten about them.

"Today, we make clear that such activity will not be tolerated by my office and that La Cosa Nostra remains a priority for the Department of Justice," Memeger said.

Ligambi, Massimino and the others provided illegal gambling devices including video poker machines to bars, restaurants and convenience stores in and around Philadelphia, prosecutors said. The group then allegedly forced another illegal gambling ring to sell their business to them after authorities seized their own machines.

Ligambi, 72, took over the Philadelphia mob after former boss Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino was convicted of racketeering in 2001, according to investigators. Merlino was later acquitted of a murder charge in 2004.

Ligambi was convicted in the 1985 gangland slaying of Frank "Frankie Flowers" D'Alfonso and spent 10 years in prison before he was acquitted on retrial in 1997.

Merlino is currently serving a six-month term at a Florida halfway house after being released from federal prison in March.

Full list of defendants:

Name: Joseph Ligambi
aka: "Uncle Joe" and "Unc"
Age: 72
Residence: Philadelphia
Charges: Count One (RICO conspiracy); Count 39 (Conspiracy to Make Extortionate Extensions of Credit); Count 42 (Collection and Attempted Collection of Extensions of Credit by Extortionate Means); Count 43 (Conspiracy to Conduct an Illegal Gambling Business); Count 44 (Illegal Electronic Gambling Device Business); Count 49 (Illegal Sports Bookmaking Business); Count 50 (Obstruction of Justice); Notice of Forfeiture (Racketeering Forfeiture); Notice of Forfeiture (Extortionate Credit Transactions); Notice of Forfeiture (Illegal Gambling Business)

Name: Joseph Massimino
aka: "Mousie"
Age: 61
Residence: Philadelphia
Charges: Count One (RICO conspiracy); Count 43 (Conspiracy to Conduct an Illegal Gambling Business); Count 44 (Illegal Electronic Gambling Device Business); Count 48 (Illegal Electronic Gambling Device & Sports Bookmaking Business); Notice of Forfeiture (Racketeering Forfeiture); Notice of Forfeiture (Extortionate Credit Transactions); Notice of Forfeiture (Illegal Gambling Business)

Name: George Borgesi
aka: "Georgie"
Age: 47
Residence: Philadelphia
Charges: Count One (RICO conspiracy); Count 26 (Financing Extortionate Extensions of Credit); Count 27 (Conspiracy to Collect Extensions of Credit by Extortionate Means); Counts 28-37 (Collection and Attempted Collection of Extensions of Credit by Extortionate Means); Count 38 (Conspiracy to Collect Extensions of Credit by Extortionate Means); Notice of Forfeiture (Racketeering Forfeiture); Notice of Forfeiture (Extortionate Credit Transactions)

Name: Martin Angelina
aka: "Marty"
Age: 48
Residence: Philadelphia
Charges: Count One (RICO conspiracy); Count 40 (Conspiracy to Collect Extensions of Credit by Extortionate Means); Count 41 (Collection and Attempted Collection of Extensions of Credit by Extortionate Means); Count 47 (Illegal Electronic Gambling Device Business); Notice of Forfeiture (Racketeering Forfeiture); Notice of Forfeiture (Extortionate Credit Transactions); Notice of Forfeiture (Illegal Gambling Business)

Name: Anthony Staino Jr.
aka: "Ant"
Age: 53
Residence: Swedesboro, N.J.
Charges: Count One (RICO conspiracy); Counts Two-12 (Racketeering); Counts 13-23 (Collection and Attempted Collection of Extensions of Credit by Extortionate Means); Count 24 (Conspiracy to Make Extortionate Extensions of Credit); Count 25 (Conspiracy to Collect Extensions of Credit by Extortionate Means); Count 39 (Conspiracy to Make Extortionate Extensions of Credit); Count 43 (Conspiracy to Conduct an Illegal Gambling Business); Count 44 (Illegal Electronic Gambling Device Business); Count 49 (Illegal Sports Bookmaking Business); Notice of Forfeiture (Racketeering Forfeiture); Notice of Forfeiture (Extortionate Credit Transactions); Notice of Forfeiture (Illegal Gambling Business)

Name: Gaeton Lucibello
aka: "The Big Guy" and "Gate"
Age: 58
Residence: Philadelphia
Charges: Count One (RICO conspiracy); Count 45 (Illegal Electronic Gambling Device Business); Count 46 (Illegal Electronic Gambling Device Business); Notice of Forfeiture (Racketeering Forfeiture); Notice of Forfeiture (Illegal Gambling Business)

Name: Damion Canalichio
aka: "Dame"
Age: 41
Residence: Philadelphia
Charges: Count One (RICO conspiracy); Count 47 (Illegal Electronic Gambling Device Business); Count 49 (Illegal Sports Bookmaking Business); Notice of Forfeiture (Racketeering Forfeiture); Notice of Forfeiture (Illegal Gambling Business)

Name: Louis Monacello
aka: "Bent Finger Louie"
Age: 44
Residence: Philadelphia
Charge: Count One (RICO conspiracy); Count 26 (Financing Extortionate Extensions of Credit); Count 27 (Conspiracy to Collect Extensions of Credit by Extortionate Means); Counts 28-37 (Collection and Attempted Collection of Extensions of Credit by Extortionate Means); Count 38 (Conspiracy to Collect Extensions of Credit by Extortionate Means); Count 42 (Collection and Attempted Collection of Extensions of Credit by Extortionate Means); Notice of Forfeiture (Racketeering Forfeiture); Notice of Forfeiture (Extortionate Credit Transactions)

Name: Louis Barretta
aka: "Sheep"
Age: 47
Residence: Philadelphia
Charges: Count One (RICO conspiracy); Count 49 (Illegal Sports Bookmaking Business); Notice of Forfeiture (Racketeering Forfeiture); Notice of Forfeiture (Illegal Gambling Business)

Name: Gary Battaglini
aka: N/A
Age: 50
Residence: Clementon, N.J.
Charges: Count One (RICO conspiracy); Count 49 (Illegal Sports Bookmaking Business); Notice of Forfeiture (Racketeering Forfeiture); Notice of Forfeiture (Illegal Gambling Business)

Name: Robert Verrecchia
aka: "Boots" and "Bootsie"
Age: 42
Residence: Philadelphia
Charges: Count 48 (Illegal Electronic Gambling Device & Sports Bookmaking Business)

Name: Eric Esposito
aka: N/A
Age: 40
Residence: Philadelphia
Charges: Count 47 (Illegal Electronic Gambling Device Business); Notice of Forfeiture (Illegal Gambling Business)

Name: Robert Ranieri
aka: "Bobby"
Age: 36
Residence: Glendora, N.J.
Charges: Count 24 (Conspiracy to Make Extortionate Extensions of Credit); Count 25 (Conspiracy to Collect Extensions of Credit by Extortionate Means); Notice of Forfeiture (Extortionate Credit Transactions)

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Tags:
philadelphia, pennsylvania, organized crime, crime
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