Indicted Mob Soldiers in Atlantic City Extort Bookies, Sell Drugs, Feds Say
Posted on: November 24, 2020, 03:10h.
Last updated on: November 24, 2020, 08:36h.
Federal prosecutors on Monday unsealed indictments against 15 alleged members of the Philadelphia Mob for racketeering, extortion, gambling, and drug trafficking.
According to the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, since 2015 the Bruno-Scarfo crime family has been adding new soldiers to its ranks. These newly made men have been tasked with spreading mob influence into Atlantic City for reputed underboss Steven “Handsome Stevie” Mazzone and his capo, Domenic “Baby Dom” Grande.
The revamped mob has achieved this by extorting local bookies and loan sharks while dabbling in cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl distribution, according to the indictments.
Among those charged are men with names like “Tony Meatballs,” “Joey Electric” and “Louie the Sheep.” Mazzone and Grande are also named in the indictment.
Ten of the 15 are charged with racketeering and the collection of unlawful debts, while the remaining five face a variety of charges, including conducting an illegal gambling business, conspiracy to make extortionate extensions of credit, and conspiracy to distribute controlled substances.
They are also accused of plotting to kidnap and murder a drug dealer who sold them fake methamphetamine.
Atlantic City was once considered a fiefdom of the Philadelphia crime family. In August 1977, the New Jersey Commission of Investigation (NJCI) confirmed the family had infiltrated legitimate businesses, such as cigarette vending and nightclubs, just as the city prepared to open its first casinos.
Its Atlantic City operations were headed by Nicodemo “Little Nicky” Scarfo, who would later replace Angelo Bruno as head of the family after the latter’s murder in 1980.
Scarfo intimidated many of the city’s casino developers, including Donald Trump, into using his cement contracting company, making a fortune from the new casino industry.
In 1978, as the first casinos began to open, then-Governor Brendan Byrne warned the Mafia to “keep your filthy hands out of Atlantic City.” In the same year, Scarfo had a New Jersey judge killed for refusing to be bribed.
Scarfo also had a stranglehold on Local 54, the union that represents thousands of casino workers in Atlantic City. In 1989, the NJCI concluded that “the Scarfo family funneled bribes and engaged in other corrupt deals” with Atlantic City Mayor Michael J. Matthews.
Mob Down but Not Out
But the Philly Mob was weakened by in-fighting after Scarfo’s imprisonment in 1988, and lost its grip on the city. Recent high-profile prosecutions of former leaders Joseph “Uncle Joe” Ligambi and Joseph “Skinny Joey” Merlino, suggested the organization’s power and influence had waned further.
But the indictments show the family is still powerful.
“We will not rest until the mob is nothing but a bad memory,” US Attorney William McSwain said when announcing the criminal charges.
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