The Philadelphia Family



Florida Representatives

Dons (Bosses)




Salvatore Sabella
(1900s-1927)
Salvatore Sabella is credited with being the first Black Hand mafioso in the City of Brotherly Love. He arrived in Philadelphia in 1911. What is known was the he arrived from Sicily fleeing a murder indictment and probably had the support of the native land's crime bosses.

Sabella was able to gather young hoodlums of Sicilian and Calabrese extraction, picking up petty rackets such as gamling and robbery along the way. The fact is the majority of organized crime was controlled by the Jewish syndicate. This syndicate being comprised of two factions, one led by Max Hoff and the other by the Haim brothers. In 1926 a war broke out between the two, Harry Stromberg and Irving "Waxey Gordon" Wexler would emerge as the dominant forces.

Following a 1927 acquittal for a double murder indictment, Sabella was sent back to Sicily and never returned. His rackets were then battled over by John Avena, Joseph Bruno and the donminant Jewish racketeers.



Joseph Bruno
(1927-1946)
Joseph Bruno filled the role as leader for the Black Hand syndicate. In 1929 Al Capone and Salvatore Maranzano, in addition to a host of other crime leaders, met in Atlantic City for a conference of criminals. To show just how much the Jewish syndicate controlled the majority of Philadelphia rackets, Bruno was not invited to attend and his city was represented by Harry Stromberg.

Besides this lack of recognition, upon the imprisonment of Sabella in 1927 Bruno faced an arch enemy named John Avena. A war would rage on for nearly a decade, by default allowing the Jewish syndicate to gain more ground and power. Finally in 1936 a faction within the Bruno gang known as the "Lanzetti group", which had previously worked for the Jewish gangsters as an enforcement arm during Prohibition, murdered Avena. Then the dominant five La Cosa Nostra crime families of New York, the mob in Buffalo and Chicago, decreeded Bruno as the official boss. For decades the Genovese and Gambino crime families would influence and outright appoint the leader of the underworld for The City of Brotherly Love.

Bruno became a capable boss. He quickly noticed the once thriving, by then a wasteland, Atlantic City. He would then span the rackets out of South Philadelphia and encompass southern New Jersey, with The Commission approval. On October 22, 1946 Joseph Bruno died of natural causes at a New York City hospital. The Five Families then appointed Joseph Ida as boss of Philadelphia and Atlantic City.



Joseph "Joe" Ida
(1946-1959)
Joseph Ida was able to capitalize on the declining Jewish syndicate. He quickly grabbed every racket between Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey. These being loan sharking, gambling, bookmaking, extortion and narcotics trafficking. Ida would dominate these rackets and groom men such as Angelo Bruno as potential leaders.

By all accounts he was an absentee boss, allowing much of the criminal operations to be controlled by his underboss Marco Reginelli and others. In 1956 Reginelli died of natural causes. In November 1957 Ida was caught fleeing a police raided crime boss summit at Apalachin, NY. Ida was now identifed, probably the first in a public manner, as a crime boss.

In late 1958 Ida began to feel the heat from a possible narcotics investigation. In addition, his acting underboss Antonio Pollina wasn't being respected by the rank and file of Ida's soldiers. On January 1, 1959 Ida set sail for Sicily and would never return. Angelo Bruno could feel what would happen if Pollina was allowed to become the official leader in the absence of Ida, he quickly went to New York and gained permission to become the new leader of the Philadelphia LCN Family. With their support Bruno confronted Pollina in public and the acting leader quickly fled the city. Ida would renounce his US citizenship April 21, 1960.



Antonio "Mr. Miggs" Domenico Pollina
(1957-1959)
(Acting Boss in
Joseph Ida's absence)
The ascension of Mr. Miggs to the head of the Philadelphia family took place in his 67th year. Pollina had been a favorite of Sabella, Avena, Joe Bruno and of course Joseph Ida. Pollina was handed the reigns of the Philly family when Joseph Ida fled the country to avoid an indictment relating to the Appalachin fiasco. Pollina apparently never felt secure in his position at the head of the table and began plotting to murder those he felt threatened his autonomy. Angelo Bruno fell into this category.

Pollina ordered Ignatzio Denaro, his handpicked underboss to kill Bruno but Denaro instead informed Bruno of Pollina's intentions. Bruno used his connections to the New York commission to pry Pollina's power away from him. The commission authorized Bruno to kill Polina for reasons that have never been fully explained. The typical theory is that since Pollina plotted to kill Bruno then he had the right to defend himself against Pollina's plot. In truth Pollina was the boss and if he so chose to eliminate one of his family members the commission truely had no right to stop him.

Whatever the case, Pollina stepped down and Angelo Bruno replaced him keeping Denaro as his underboss.

Inspite of the alledged murder plot, Pollina remained in Philadelphia and reportedly felt secure enough to ask Bruno to name him as his consigliere after the death of Joe Rugnetta in 1977. Bruno is said to have declined instead installling the man who would arrange his death 3 years later. Mr. Miggs passed away in 1993 at the ripe old age of 101.



Angelo "Don Angelo" Bruno
(1959-1980)
Angelo "Don Angelo" Bruno migrated from Sicily in 1911. As a young man he was arrested for minor crimes and served a brief prison stretch. Bruno was known for not using force, often referred to as the "docile" or "gentle" Don. He quickly realized the crime family potential and set about finding support through the commission. He had already sought their permission to become the new boss in 1959. He forged a bond with Brooklyn crime boss Carlo Gambino and eventually owned large portions of property with him along the eastern portion of Florida. In 1969, with the war within the Bonanno LCN Family at a frenzy, Angelo Bruno was awarded their place on the Commission. Now the Philadelphia crime family was seen as an equal.

In 1976, in attempt to salvage their economy, the New Jersey state assembly allowed legalized gambling and casinos to operate in Atlantic City. Bruno would later testify in public that he held no interest in becoming involved with these operations. That was partially true, he and along with other crime families would carve up Atlantic City for their own ill gotten gains. This caused serious dissention among his underboss Phil Testa, his consigliere Tony Caponigro and Atlantic City based capo Nicky Scarfo. In addition Bruno had became more serious about his anti-narcotics ban.

As tensions heated up, a conspiracy was in the midst, with capo John "Johnny Keys" Simone participating with the aforementioned members, to remove Bruno. On March 21, 1980 the back of Bruno's head was blasted away with his driver John Stanfa fleeing on foot. His murder marked the end of a chapter and a beginning of a new one. Gone were the days of relative peace and prosperity in Philadelphia's underworld. Now it would be a spiral of violence and treachery that would leave the crime family in dissaray. This same murder still haunts the crime family, now seen as a street gang, and are a far cry from their golden days.



Philip "The Chicken Man" Testa
(1980-1981)
Phil Testa came up through South Philadelphia as an enforcer and was once described as a knuckle dragging ape, he found himself as Angelo Bruno's underboss towards the end of the "Gentle" Don's tenure at the top. One of his most notable stints involved a two year stretch from 1973-1975 for refusing to testify despite being granted immunity. Upon the murder of Bruno, both the Genovese and Gambino's supported his promotion as boss. It was probably a sign that Testa could be easily influenced by more powerful regimes.

With casino gambling legalized in Atlantic City, Testa looked to make a substantial tribute through his control over union and construction activities. He also promoted Atlantic City capo Nicky Scarfo as consigliere, inducted Scarfo's nephew Phil Leonetti and Testa's son Salvatore as soldiers in his crime family.

Just as a tide of violent change hit the Philadelphia underworld with the murder of Angelo Bruno so would it with Phil Testa. In Atlantic City the Roofers Union boss John McCullough would wage a war against Scarfo and Testa's attempts to control labor. McCullough would meet a bullet in 1980. Testa then met his end through a bomb detonating underneath his home in Philadelphia on March 15, 1981. His reign at the top was just shy a year. Many suspected McCullough's associates and other union thugs had extracted revenge. This was not the case and when Scarfo took over he made sure that crime family members Frank Narducci and Rocco Marinucci paid with their life. The duo had been discovered as the conspirators against "The Chicken Man".



Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo
(1981-1991)
Originally banished to Atlantic City by Angelo Bruno, Nicky Scarfo had risen from a low ranking capo and proclaimed the boss's seat in late March 1981. In fact he didn't even attend the wake for the previous overlord Phil Testa, instead he met with Paul Castellano of the Gambino LCN Family and several other New York leaders to be assured he was supported. Later he would become close to John Gotti and provide an earlier account of a public friendly mob boss.

All was not well with the dimuitive psychopath's regime. He continually waged inner-family wars and was constantly paranoid about allegiance among his own troops. In the end he would receive multiple RICO convictions and watched as capos Larry Merlino and Tommy DelGiorno, his nephew and underboss Phil Leonetti, soldier Nick Caramandi and associate Joe Salerno sing to a grand jury as witnesses. By the end of 1987 Scarfo and probably half of his crime family were off to prison. Scarfo would maintain control through an acting boss until 1991. He currently resides in Colorado's 'Supoer Max" Federal Prison.



John Stanfa
(1991-1995)
Who would have thought that the driver to Angelo Bruno on that fateful day would emerge as king of the Philadelphia underworld ? Back in 1980 John Stanfa wasn't even known and in fact fled Philadelphia for Washinon DC. He spent a stretch behind bars for contempt. What many didn't know was that Sicilian born mobster had strong ties to his native land and the old time Mafia.

After a five year stretch serving as acting boss Anthony "Tony Buck" Piccolo stepped aside to fill the role as consigliere and with Commission approval, John Stanfa was proclaimed as crime boss of Philadelphia. His time at the top was limited. He would wage a war against upstart Joey Merlino and his crew of hoodlums. He was continually followed by the FBI and under constant surveillance. The FBI's work did open open the door to other lesser known crime bosses, such as Colombo capo Sal Profaci and Pittston, PA boss Billy D'Elia.

As Stanfa felt the war of the Merlino crew and defection in his own camp, American justice sped up their attempts. As 1995 drew to a conclusion Stanfa and a host of his regime would either take pleas or be dealt stiff sentences. Stanfa himself would be handed five consecutive life sentences in November of that year.



Ralph Natale
(1996-2001)
Ralph Natale would be crowned as the new boss even while awaiting the tail end of a seventeen year sentence for narcotics trafficking and arson. His prior forays was as a union official for bartenders.

Before his release, Natale had chosen former gangland renegade Joey Merlino as his underboss and acting boss. Merlino pretty much formed a crew of young punks that had fought the wars against Stanfa in prior years. He was said to have disrespected elder members and jumped heavily into narcotics trafficking.

Upon his release, Natale went back to the narcotics trafficking as well. Soon Merlino and he began a power struggle. Natale was hauled back in for parole violations and the streets became worse. He had no clout or respect. In 2001 he threw in the towel and rocked the Philadelphia underworld as no one else had-he became a government witness. He would go on to and testify against Merlino and others, but with little success. He currently resides in the Witness Protection Program.



Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino
(2001-present)
Joey Merlino, son of former Nicky Scarfo underboss Salvatore Merlino, is the reputed head of the Philadelphia underworld. An insider once shared with the author that Merlino "has always been a punk". Much of the underworld agrees with this statement.

Merlino has long been a face in the undeworld. A known narcotics trafficker and degenerate gambler, Merlino first made headlines during the reign of crime boss John Stanfa. The mob boss would wage a public war against Merlino and his crew of hoodlums dubbed "The young Turks" by Stanfa. The mob boss ultimately paid the piper in the justice system and Merlino would be crowned as underboss to kingpin Ralph Natale. He then attempted to shift alliances to himelf.

As Merlino began to take control, indictments and murders hit his crew. In a blink he he was hit with a murder, racketeering and trafficking charges. In the summer of 2001 he went to court which may have saved his life. Law enforcement would state that both Genovese and Gambino crime families had placed a contract on the life of the flamboyant gangster. Merlino, considered a charming and very public mob boss, would watch as former crime family members Natale, capo Pete Caprio, Gaetano "Horsehead" Scafidi and New Jersey racketeer Ron Previte took the stand. Merlino, his underboss Steve Mazzone and several crew members breathed a sigh of relief when they were found not guilty on the murder charges. However a sentence for other charges were handed down and Merlino is expected to be released in 2011. His "crime family" is being managed by close associate and consigliere Joe Ligambi.

sotto capi (Underbosses)




Marco Reginelli
(1946-1956)
Gambling specialist who upon his promotion to underboss, all but ran the Philadelphia family from his base in Camden, New Jersey. Reginelli owned the 500 club which was a frequent host to Frank Sinatra during the 40s. While in control of the Philly family, Reginelli promoted many of his gambling associates to mid-level management positions including Angelo Bruno a numbers specialist.

In spite of his small stature, Reginelli inspired fear and respect within the Philadelphia family until his death in 1956.



Antonio Domenico Pollina
(1956-1957)
Antonio Domenico Pollina dated back to the reign of Sabella "as witnessed by an arrest on May 30, 1927 with Sabella on a murder charge," but he did not emerge as a family leader until the ascencion of Jospeph Ida to the head of the Philadelphia family in 1956. His wait to gain the top slot would be a short one as Joe Ida elected to retire to Italy following his arrest at Appalachin in October of 1957.



Ignatzio Denaro
(1957-1977)
Denaro was the choice of Antonio Pollina (the successor to boss Joseph Ida who retired shortly after the Appalachin fiasco in 1957), as his handpicked second. Pollina is said to have ordered Denaro to kill Angelo Bruno one of the families gambling specialists. Instead of carrying out the order, Denaro is said to have informed Bruno of Pollina's plan which led to Pollina's removal as boss of the Philadelphia family in 1957. Bruno as a show of his appreciation retained Denaro as his underboss until Denaro's death of natural causes in 1977.

Denaro played a small role in the Bonanno war as he was caught discussing the plight of Joseph Bonanno on tape with New Jersey mob cheif Sam DeCavalcante.



Peter "Petey" Casella
(1980-1981)
Emerged from a 17 year prison stretch just in time to make a bid for the top spot in the Philadelphia family after the murder of Angelo Bruno in 1980. A popular family figure who's deep envolvement in narcotics contradicts the image of Angelo Bruno forbiding participation in trafficking by his family. Casella was named underboss by Phillip Testa in an attempt to pascify the aging mobster. The ploy failed as Casella was suspected of ordering one of his minions to kill Testa. Testa was killed by a bomb planted under the front stoop of his home on March 15, 1981. Casella immediately fled Philadelphia as he was known for his expertise in making bombs.

Casella's closest associates Frank "Chickie" Narducchi and Rocco Marinucchi were murdered for their participation in the murder of Testa. Casella was later located in Florida living with a daughter. He was never brought to justice for the Testa murder and died of natural causes in 1984.



Salvatore "Chuckie" Merlino
(1981-1986)
Through his ownership of Bayshore Rebar and its parent company Nat Nat Inc., Salvatore Merlino (with the help of his brother Lawrence), dominated the steel re-enforcement business in Atlantic City securing millions of dollars in publicly funded contracts between 1979 and 1986. Much of the business done by these companies centered around the construction of Atlantic City casinos. The Merlino's stranglehold over the re-enforcement business in Atlantic City was threatened when the Atlantic City gaming commission pulled their companies permits which allowed them to bid on casino contracts, the brothers promptly took over G&H Steel a company they would also use to defraud an ironworkers union of its health and pension benefits. These were just a few of the legitimate ventures which made Chuckie a favorite of rising mob power Nicky Scarfo.

Merlino's friendship with Scarfo led to his selection as Scarfo's number two when the diminutive mobster took command of Philadelphia's crime family in 1981. So close were the two that Merlino served as Scarfo's acting boss while the murderous mobster served a prison term between August of 1982 and January of 1984. Merlino's lofty status in Philadelphia came to a crashing halt due to a raging alcohol problem. Disgusted with Merlino's propensity for loosing control when drunk, Scarfo broke Merlino all the way down to the rank of soldier in 1986, choosing instead his nephew Phillip Leonetti as his new underboss. This action was duly noted by Merlino's son Joseph who would in the years to come enact a bit of revenge against Scarfo for the humiliation suffered by his father, a proud mafia soldier who is currently serving 45 years plus life for the murder of Frankie "Flowers" D'Alfonso.



Philip "Crazy Phil" Leonetti
(1986-1989)
Nephew to Nicky Scarfo, operated for his uncle under the lean years of Atlantic City and would be a partner in the Scarf Mix, Inc. firm. The uncle and nephew specialized in labor peace while fronting a cement pouring company, we here find it hard to believe "Crazy Phil" ever did much labor work, out the back door of the shop rackets were operated which included gambling, loansharking and narcotics trafficking. Leonetti earned a name as a killer and feared, maybe, only his uncle. In fact associate turned witness Joe Salerno would testify at the obvious chemical changes going on inside Leonetti's body as he murdered Vincent Falcone.

He would receive the rank as underboss following the demotion of Salvatore "Chuckie" Merlino in 1986. In 1989 American justice hauled him to answer to charges of RICO violations and murder. Leonetti didn't seem too tough when he was handed 45 years and began singing. He would testify to the inner workings and violence within the Scarfo organization. Once described by Scarfo as "my beloved nephew", following his debut he would be known as "my faggot nephew". Leonetti has made a few television appearances in which he describes his uncle's murderous tendencies. It should be noted he often forgets to discuss his own. After his debut he was swept into the Witness Protection Program and paid by the federal government. One source claims that prior to him leaving Philadelphia/Atlantic City scene that he allegedly busted into his uncle's safe and stole a "substantial amount of money". Also the same source states that Leonetti enjoyed the 1990s boating around the coast of United States.



Joseph "Joey Chang" Ciancaglini
(1990-1993)
Joseph "Joey Chang" Ciancaglini is the son of a jailed Philadelphia crime family crew boss. As underboss he acted as an influential factor from the old Scarfo regime. He would also watch as his brother Michael side with the faction led by Joey Merlino, son of former underboss and the jailed for life Salvatore Merlino. "Joey Chang" attempted to bring the Merlino crew to a hault, despite the encouragement of jailed Philadelphia mobster Ralph Natale and Scarfo's former henchmen. Merlino struck first by firing multiple shots into the body Ciancaglini in the early morning hours back in March 1993. His attempted death sentence happened at his South Philadelphia luncheonette and was caught on video by the FBI. Ciancaglini, at the age of 35, was left with partial paralysis and nerve damage. His brother Michael was shot down and killed in August of the same year in South Philadelphia. Currently living in South Carolina after receiving an "official" release from Merlino and Natale.



Frank Martines
(1993-1994)
Frank Martines took over the underboss slot on a temporary basis for John Stanfa. He was seen as more of an enforcer, giving muscle to the faltering Stanfa regime, following the embarassing attack perpetuated on then underboss Joseph Ciancaglini in 1993. Like so much of the time under Stanfa, which was bungled at best, so was Martines as chief enforcer. On January 14, 1994 he along with elder member Alphonse Pagano botched a hit against former associate John Veasey. In so much Veasey simply walked away with the duo embrassed and screaming in rage. The far worser part for Martines and Pagano was that Veasy had been operating as an FBI informant. Martines went down in a blaze along with Pagano, Stanfa and a host of others that dared to defend themselves. He received life for the mentioned attempted murder and multiple RICO violations.



Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino
(1994-1998)
Merlino was thrust into the role of underboss at a time when the Philadelphia underworld was immersed in one of its most bloody chapters.

Merlino and his crew took the bold step of challenging established mob leader John Stanfa for control of the decimated Philadelphia mob. Merlino aligned his crew with Ralph Natale, an imprisoned old line gangster with a solid reputation in the family. Natale served as Merlino's sponser or contact with the New York families.

Unbeknownst to Natale, Merlino would concentrate on establishing himself as the number one man in Philly while solidifying his reputation in New York through Natale. Merlino's true ambitions led to his wrestling the family away from Natale, leaving the oldtimer in a precarious position. Choosing to fight back through cooperation with the government instead of bullets, Natale shocked many longtime cohorts by defecting.



Joseph Ligambi
(1999-2001)
Joe Ligambi replaced Joey Merlino as Philadelphia underboss when the former usurped the power of imprisoned mob leader Ralph Natale in 1999. Ligambi had been a soldier in the Scarfo crime family with associations going back to the time of Angelo Bruno the so called docile don.

Ligambi's alliance with Joey Merlino stemmed from his close knit ties to Chuckie Merlino who served as his mob mentor. Ligambi was inducted into the Scarfo led Philly mob after successfully eliminating Frankie "Flowers" D'Alfonso on July 23, 1985. The following June, Ligambi was inducted into the family. Ligambi was assigned to a crew led by Tommy DelGiorno and Joseph Pungitore Jr. By 1989, Joseph Ligambi had been snared by the FBI and was on his way to prison for the D'Alfonso murder. Joe served 8 years before receiving an acquittal following a retrial of the case. The following year he and Merlino rose to the top of the Philly family.

Since his elevation Ligambi has been the driving force in running Merlino's operation as his effectiveness has been hampered by constant legal issues.



Steve Mazzone
(2001-present)
Close friend and longtime associate of Ralph Natale, Mazzone owes his elevation in the revamped Philadelphia family to his betrayal of his former benefactor.

Mazzone became a factor during the reign of the turncoat mafia leader. Mazzone came to be recognized as Natale's right hand and often passed orders from Natale to the crew run by Joey Merlino. One such order was that which led to the murder of Billy Veasey the brother of a man aligned with former Philly boss John Stanfa. In addition to his administrative duties, Mazzone also participated in heavy work and is the prime suspect in the 1996 disappearance of mobster Michael "Dutchie" Avicoli.

Steve Mazzone was sentenced to serve a 9 year term in December 2001 for racketeering in connection with a sweeping indictment charging racketeering, murder and a host of other charges against the Merlino family leaders.



Joseph "Mousie" Massimino
(Acting Underboss)
(2001-present)
With a criminal record dating back 30 years, Joseph Massimino is anything but an overnight sensation in the Philadelphia/South Jersey Mob. Mousie (as he is known to his mob associates), has a rap sheet with no fewer than 30 arrests for crimes ranging from assault and battery to gambling. Massimino began his career as a drug dealer, a sideline which led to a two year sentence in 1988. Joey redeamed himself by organizing a multi-million dollar gambling operation and setting up a loansharking operation which led to his latest prison stay in 1993 when he pled guilty to a racketeering charge which accused him of loansharking, extortion and arranging the sale of 11 lbs of methamphetamine to an FBI informant. This case resulted in a 10 year sentence of wich Massimino served 3 years.

Since this time, Joey has steadily elevated through the ranks of the Merlino family peaking last year when he was identified as the current acting boss of the Philly mob under Joseph Ligambi "since Dec. 2001." Mousie Massimino was also added to the Atlantic City list of undesirables by the New Jersey Gaming Commission earlier this year.

Consiglieri (Advisors)




Giuseppe "Joe" Rugnetta
(1936-1977)
Following the murder of John Avena in 1936, the Philadelphia family passed to the capable hands of Joe Bruno. Seeking an end to the cultural rifts which kept the Philadelphia family on the verge of war under Sicilian bosses Sabella and Avena, Bruno appointed Joseph Ida a native of the Calabresi faction. The Bruno/Ida alliance was further strengthned by the elevation of 'Calabresi descendants' Joseph Rugnetta, Marco Reginelli and Frank Piccolo to management positions. Rugnetta ranked the highest securing the position of consigliere. Rugnetta had proven himself to be a valuable asset to Bruno after earning admission into the family under Avena. Rugnetta retained his position through the administrations of Bruno, Ida and most of Angelo Bruno's reign finally succumbing to old age in 1977.



Antonio "Tony Banannas" Caponigro
(1977-1980)
Tony Banannas was a major figure in Northern New Jersey with strong ties to the Genovese crime family in New York. He had a history of dealing in narcotics which had earned him a long prison sentence in the 60s. Tony emerged from prison just prior to the death of Joseph Rugnetta in 1977.

Knowing Caponigro had designs on the family, Bruno mistakenly believed he could placate Tony by naming him his consigliere turning down an offer to fill the post by Mr. Miggs Pollina. Caponigro performed his duties from a distance for 3 years before launching an attack which would shake the Philadelphia underworld to the core. Tony Banannas thought he had secured the support of Genovese family boss Funzi Tieri to murder Bruno but in reality he had been duped by the wiley mobster into removing the major obstacle in his family's taking control of New Jersey. Caponigro paid for his mistake with his life. His battered body was found with $20 bills stuffed into his mouth and other bodily openings in New Jersey.



Nicodemo "Nicky" Scarfo
(1980-1981)
Replaced Caponigro after Testa gained control of the Philly family in 1980. Much like his predcessor, Scarfo was wild and often uncontrollable. He to had strong ties in New Jersey and with the Genovese family. His selection by Testa was largely a cerimonious gesture as Testa had more self control and knowledge of family dealings than Scarfo who had been ostracized to Atlantic City by Angelo Bruno several years before.



Frank Monte
(1981-1982)
Prior to his elevation to the lofty consigliere's post, Monte had run a large gambling operation for Phil Testa.

Monte soon found himself in Scarfo's doghouse as Nicky began to suspect that Monte was skimming from the gambling operation he had controlled for years. Knowing Scarfo as a man of action, Monte began to look for ways to ingratiate himself to the boss. It was under these conditions that he eagerly ignored his responsibility as arbitrator of family disputes and approached Raymond 'Long John' Martorano with a plan to rid Nicky of the menace of Harry Ricobene.

Monte's attempts to kill Ricobene using his brother Mario was a miscalculation which ultimately cost him his life. 52 year old Monte was shot and killed by a sniper acting on Harry Riccobene's order. The killers turned out to be bookmaker Joseph Pedulla and Riccobene enforcer Victor DeLuca.



Anthony "Tony Buck" Piccolo
(1982-1994)
One of murdered Sabella killer Frank Piccolo's three sons, Piccolo replaced Frank Monte as Nicky Scarfo's advisor.

Scarfo chose Tony Buck not only because he was well thought of by members of the Philly group but was also his cousin. Tony Buck also served as Nicky's acting boss when Scarfo was sent to federal prison in June of 1987. Piccolo continued to serve in this capacity until John Stanfa took control of the family in 1991 at which time Piccolo returned to his consigliere role. Tony Buck was finally shoved aside upon Ralph Natale's seizure of a decimated Philly group in '94.

Tony buck was sentenced to 45 years in prison in 1995 a year after he was deposed as consigliere.



Ronald Turchi
(1994-1996)
A convicted arsonist who served 10 years of a 40 year sentence handed down in 1979. Turchi emerged from prison in August of 1989 and earned induction into the Phily family under John Stanfa. A favorite of Stanfa's, the boss awarded control of a lucrative numbers operation which had been under the watch of Joey Massimino. Turchi remained a Stanfa loyalist but joined an uprising which catipulted Ralph Natale to the head of the family in 1994. As a reward for his betrayal of Stanfa, Turchi was named consigliere. Hounded by parole restrictions, Turchi's effectiveness was severly limited. After public appearances with Natale, Joey Merlino and several other criminal figures, Turchi's parole was violated in 1997. Soon thereafter, Turchi was demoted to the rank of soldier when Louis Turra a close associate of Turchi's made several attempts to murder Joey Merlino and refused to pay a mob enforced street tax on drug dealers. Turchi was found in the trunk of his wife's car in October of 1999, he was 61 years old.



John "Johnny Chang" Ciangcaglini
(1996-1999)
One of four members of the Ciangcaglini family initiated into the Philly family. John was elevated to family advisor when Ronald Turchi was busted down by Ralph Natale.

Ciancaglini's criminal resume includes an extortion conviction which removed him from the streets during the 1993 mob war. His abscence enabled Stanfa and Natale to split his brothers resulting in the disabling of Michael in March of 1993 and the murder of Joseph Jr., 5 months later.

A partner of Philly bookmaker Tony Mutani, Johnny Chang voluntarily stepped down in rank and left Philadelphia in an attempt to start anew in 1999. The 46 year old Chang is currently serving time in federal prison as a result of a racketeering conviction in 2000.



Steven Mazzone
(1999-2000)
Acted as family advisor prior to the incarceration of Joey Merlino. With Underboss Joseph Ligambi taking control of the family, Mazzone became the acting underboss in 2000. George Borghesi the nephew of acting boss Ligambi was chosen to replace him.

Borghesi is currently serving a 14 year sentence imposed on December 6, 2001.



George Borghesi
(2000-2001)
The nephew of acting Philly boss Joseph Ligambi. Borgesi was named acting consigliere by his uncle who elevated Steven Mazzone to underboss in 2000.

Borgesi was implicated in the 1995 murder of Ralph Mazzuca by Merlino friend Roger Vella. Borghesi was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison for his role in the Merlino racketeering case on December 6, 2001.

Capiregime (Captains)




Frank "Chickie" Narducci Sr.
(1960s-1982)
Frank "Chickie" Narducci, Sr. was a deeply entrenched Bruno family capo and never left South Philadelphia. He primarily was focused on loan sharking and gambling. In fact some sources speculate that he may actually been an overseer of many of Bruno's extensive gambling interests. During his early years as a member of Bruno's caporegime, Narducci had a yet unknown and tempermental soldier Nicky Scarfo operating for him in Atlantic City.

Narducci may have conspired with Tony Caponigro on the murder of Bruno in 1980. This was never fully proven. However a year later Narducci, along with Pete Casellla, were seen as the primary conspirators against Phil Testa and his murder in 1981. Casella immediately traveled to New York to attempt to consolidate his power and hoped to be recognized as crime boss of the Philadelphia crime family. He also alluded that Nicky Scarfo was attempting to over run the criminal syndicate with a rebellious faction. The problem was that Scarfo had beaten him to the punch and established what would become an opportunistic friendship with Gambino boss Paul Castellano and the Genovese LCN Family. Supposedly the Genovese crew reported the actions of Casella to Scarfo as a heads up. All of this, of course, was conditional of Scarfo's allowance of a bigger stake for the New York crime famlies and their attempts in Altlantic City.

Casella, sensing he was beat, fled to Florida and remained in seclusion. This left Narducci to go at it alone. The justice system had also caught up with Narducci too. In late 1981 he was convicted of bribing a law enforcement officer. In January 1982 he was slated to go on trial for a racketeering-gambling charge. On the evening of January 7 Narducci walked to his Cadillac sedan, which was parked near his home in South Philadelphia and was approached by two gunmen. Moments later he died from 10 gunshots to the face and chest in a gutter next to his car. By March 1982 three more soldiers of Narducci's crew were found murdered-Vincent Panetta, Dominic DeVito and Rocco Marnucci. All of them had conspired with Narducci and Casella against Phil Testa and Nicky Scarfo. Oddly, both of Narducci's sons would later join Scarfo's criminal and chaotic empire.



John "Johnny Keyes" Simone
(1960s-1981)
John "Johnny Keyes" Simone was a Bruno cousin and overseer of the Trenton, New Jersey rackets. Simone and Bruno were said to have been very close, together operating the AAA Linen and Supplies, which was located in Trenton. Apparently Simone didn't think much of his cousin when it was found out he was a chief conspirator behind his 1980 rubout.

It didn't matter if "Keyes" had or had not played a role in the unsanctioned hit, he was perceived as guilty. Simone then went to visit Cleveland crime boss John "Peanuts" Tronolone at his south Florida Peter Pan Travel Agency. Tronolone then lied and reassured Simone that he would help take care of the matter. Meanwhile the Genovese crime family desperately wanted to end the life of Simone.

Paul Castellano of the Gambino crime family had had enough of the matter. He dispatched mob soldier Sammy Gravano to finish the matter. Gravano made his presence in Trenton several times, siding up to Simone and winning his trust. Much of it coming from an introduction for Gravano to Simone, which was facilitated by Trenton based Gambino mobster Nicky Russo.

In September 1980 Simone was snatched off from a golf course by Gravano, Louie Milito and Lou Vallario. He would later be found in the woods murdered with his shoes off, which he told Gravano his wife would understand. Gravano said he admired Simone, he didn't fight or struggle. Simone would warn Gravano and crew about the treachery and deception in the Cosa Nostra underworld, words Gravano should've taken to heart.



Frank Sindone
(1970s-1980)
Frank Sindone made the third part of the conspiracy to remove Angelo Bruno-the others were Anthony Caponigro and Johnny Simone. Sindone was made, along with Joseph Ciancaglini, into the crime family in the early 1970s. They would be the last to receive a "button" under Bruno.

Frank Sindone was described at the chief loanshark on behalf of Bruno, suggesting he managed a family bank or large scale operation for the slain mob boss. Sindone had previously served time for narcotics trafficking and was heavily involved with illegal gambling within the Philadelphia metro area. Sindone also operated along with Bruno family associate Harry D'Ascenzo, another loanshark with ties to Baltimore.

On October 30, 1980 Sindone was found shot, tied and wrapped up in garbage bag lying in a South Philadelphia alley.



Salvatore "Salvi" Testa
(1981-1984)
Salvatore "Salvie" Testa was the son of mob boss Phil Testa. When his father was elevated to the rank of boss, young Salvie was christened a mob soldier. The younger Testa was capable and subscribed to the secret code of the Philadelphia underworld. Following the murder of his father and Scarfo's rise to power the younger Testa, before the age of thirty, was appointed caporegime.

From 1982-1984 Testa fought a fierce war against the Riccobene faction. There were several well known gangland shootouts in broad daylight. Testa showed he had what it took, along with his good looks and reserved nature. Some of his closest associates were mob soldiers Charlie Ianecce and Nick Caramandi, both seasoned veterans of the streets.

In late 1983 or early 1984 Testa announced he was in love and would wed the daughter of Scarfo underboss Salvatore Merlino. Scarfo had big plans for the "prince of the South Philadelphia underworld". Scarfo personally arranged the wedding, which would have been a guaranteed gangland spectacle that would have rivaled their counterparts in New York. Scarfo was also making plans to use the wedding as an attempt to acquaint himself with other mob bosses, having wrapped up Philadelphia, Atlantic City, a portion of south Florida and was now looking elsewhere to expand. However plans were eventually called off and Testa was involved in a violent argument with Scarfo over the matter.

Scarfo had been in prison for a gun possession conviction during the years of the Riccobene wars. When he arrived home, following the aborted plans of the Testa-Merlino wedding and subsequent public argument with Testa, an April 1984 Wall Street Journal ran a story about Testa. The article described him as being Scarfo's successor, capable and how a crew had grown loyal to him that was based in the Italian market of Philadelphia. In addition the article described how Testa's father had left him and his sister an estate worth of $800,000. His father had also owned a bar in Atlantic City, which was under negotiations with Donald Trump to be leveled and was planned for a new casino site. Testa stood to become very rich, far wealthier than anyone would have imagined.

Between the aborted wedding plans, growing loyalty towards the mob capo and the Journal article, Scarfo had seen enough. He ordered mob capo Tommy DelGiorno, soldiers Wayne Grande, his brother Joseph, Nick "Nicky the Whip" Milano, Charles Iannece, Frances Ianarella and Nick Caramandi to set up Testa for his doom. Testa avoided all contact with Scarfo and his loyalist. He wasn't stupid and he would make them come after him, not walking into a trap. The truth was, they (in particularly Caramandi) didn't want to murder Testa and were begining to see Scarfo's legendary paranoia.

DelGiorno returned to Scarfo, seeking permission to enlist Testa's closest friend-Joey Pungitore in on the conspiracy. Pungitore was said to have agreed but refused to pull the trigger. Pungitoe had been warned by Scarfo-get it done or your family's health would be at risk.

On September 14, 1984 Testa left his home to play racquetball. Pungitore had asked Testa to stop by a candy store afterwards on the belief that a dispute had erupted between his conspirators-Pungitore and Wayne Grande. As the three began to get comfortable at a table, Wayne's brother and store owner Joseph emerged. Testa turned to shake his hand then Wayne fired two bullets into the underworld's prince's head. Testa's body was disposed of on an unlit road in South Jersey. He had been disposed of "cowboy style", tied and blanketed. This only added further insult to a sad death for one of the most promising members of Philadelphia's underground. It was said that this murder would directly influence the fall of Nicky Scarfo.



Lawrence "Yogi" Merlino
(1981-1985)
The Merlino brothers, along with Nicky Scarfo, had dominated the underworld surrounding Atlantic City long before the legalized gambling boom. The Merlino brothers had controlled much of the construction of several casinos during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Upon the rise of Scarfo, with his brother Salvatore filling the underboss slot, the younger "Yogi" was assigned as capo and looked after the Atlantic City interests. These interests included narcotics trafficking, loansharking, shakedowns and bookmaking.

Both Merlino brothers were indicted on gambling charges after it was discovered a bug had been placed in capo Tommy DelGiorno's beach home. In addition Merlino, Scarfo and Scarfo's nephew Philip Leonetti had previously been indicted for the 1979 murder of mob associate Vincent Falcone. By 1985 Merlino had been demoted to the rank of soldier. He also began to fear his life during a litany of indictments. While Salvatore stayed strong to the code of silence, "Yogi" decided to cooperate and become a federal witness in future Scarfo RICO trials.

In 2001 Larry "Yogi" Merlino passed away from natural causes.



Thomas "Tommy Del" DelGiorno
(1982-1986)
Coming from the streets of South Philadelphia, Tommy DelGiorno emerged as a former student to legendary gambler Frank D'Alphonso. DelGiorno was inducted into the crime family by Scarfo and quickly climbed the ladder, holding the rank of caporegime. He had previously been a delivery truck driver, taking bets along his route and then parlaying his profits into a loanshark book. He would later become a business partner with Philadelphia mob figure Frank Sindone.

DelGiorno quickly expanded his gambling empire under Scarfo and made frequent trips to Atlantic City to enjoy another passion-boxing. He often received the top seats and was treated like a king. He would also lead the murder conpiracy against fello mob captain Salvie Testa.

During the Summer of 1985, DelGiorno rented an apartment at Ocean City, New Jersey. The New Jersey State Police, who had long been investigating DelGiorno's activities, had also planted listening devices or "bugs" in his summer residence. This action ultimately resulted in the indictment of DelGiorno, Scarfo, the Merlino brothers, Phillip Leonetti, and the Grande brothers. This proved too much for Scarfo and he demoted DelGiorno to the rank of soldier. A year later, 1987, DelGiorno entered the courtroom as a state and later federal witness. He had managed to collect a substantial portion of his illegal gains and had the federal government shell out additional funds. He is thought to still be living in the Federal Witness Protection Program.



Joseph "Chickie" Ciancaglini
(1982-1988)
Former right hand man to Frank Sindone, Joseph Ciancaglini was made alongside Sindone in the early 1970s with fellow mobster John Grande. A long time supporter to Testa and Scarfo, "Chickie" was elevated to the rank of caporegime following the murder of another "Chickie"-Frank Narducci.

Ciancaglini was a chief enforcer for Sindone's loanshark rackets. He was also heavily tied with Teamster Local 107, which became so large it was decided to break it up and former smaller locals.

Ciancaglini was brought down with the rest of the Scarfo crew in the late 1980s. He won't be elligible for parole until 2015.

Ciancaglini would leave behind two sons, Joseph "Joey Chang" and Michael "Mikey Chang". Both would walk in their father's footsteps. Both originally alligned themselves with Joey Merlino and his faction, which battled mob boss John Stanfa for control of the streets. Stanfa, in attempt to appease the imprisoned Scarfo guard, offered "Joey Chang" the underboss if he switched sides. He accepted and in March 1993 was shot at multiple times by Merlino goons in a cafe, a hit that was recorded by FBI cameras and left partially paralyzed. He survived and at the age of 35 left Philadelphia. "Mikey Chang" wasn't so fortunate, gunned down by Stanfa loyalist in August 1993 and left dead.

Associates




Harry D'Ascenzo
(1960s-present)
Harry D'Ascenzo was a long time associate of the Philadelphia crime family and most particularly with Frank Sindone. He was a long time enforcer for Sindone and when Sindone was murdered, he was being indicted with his pal for similiar charges. D'Ascenzo has ventured into Baltimore, establishing a presence and loanshark book. His current status is unknown.

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