The Philadelphia Crime Family, also known as the Bruno Crime Family, Scarfo Crime Family, Philadelphia Mob, Philadelphia Mafia, or Philly Mob, is a powerful, ruthless and extremely violent Italian-American criminal organization based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is one of the most active Italian-American Mafia families outside of the Five Families of New York. The Philadelphia crime family has been known to hold territory or influence in other nearby areas outside Philadelphia, including Atlantic City, South Jersey, Trenton, Camden, Chester, Delaware, Baltimore and Newark. The Philadelphia crime family is notorious for extreme violence, brutality, bombing, and igniting external and internal wars, and for being a particularly dysfunctional family, mostly due to having a succession of extremely violent bosses. The Philadelphia crime family is one of the most violent, deadliest and warring crime family's in America. The Philadelphia crime family is also one of the most deadliest and feared criminal organization's in America.
The Philadelphia family enjoyed it's most peaceful and prosperous time under the powerful, long time mafia boss Angelo Bruno. He was murdered in 1980, and his underboss, Philip Testa, took over as boss until his own murder almost one year to the day later in 1981. Following the unsanctioned hits of both bosses Bruno and Testa, the Commission was infuriated, and ordered the Philadelphia crime family to kill whoever was involved in the unsanctioned murders of both bosses. When the Commission learned of Bruno's murder, the Commission ruled that Caponigro killed a boss without authorization, and they sentenced him to death. Antonio Caponigro was summoned to a meeting where he thought that he was going to be crowned the new boss of the Philadelphia crime family, instead he was brutally tortured for 12 hours by 10 members of the Genovese crime family, they blowtorched him on his feet and penis, he was garroted with piano wire, he was stabbed 20 times in the stomach with an Italian stiletto knife, and they finally killed him by shooting him 87 times with Uzi Submachine Gun's. In addition, 30 Philadelphia crime family associates who was involved with Antonio Caponigro in the Angelo Bruno assassination was all murdered by the Genovese crime family in similar fashion to the way Antonio Caponigro was murdered, 22 mafia associates of the 30 mafia associates whom was involved with Caponigro in the Bruno assassination was tortured to death by being stabbed dozens of times, garroted with piano wire, castrated, blowtorched in the face and feet, dismemberment of the fingers and toes, beat with baseball bats, and shot dozens of times. The Genovese crime family killed the remaining eight mafia associates whom was involved with Caponigro in the Bruno assassination with remote control bombs. In addition, In the aftermath of the murder of the short-lived mob boss Philip Testa, The Commission ordered the entire Philadelphia crime family to find whoever was involved in the unsanctioned murder of Philip Testa and kill them. The Commission quickly learned that there was one captain in the Philadelphia crime family Frank Narducci, and there was also 4 soldiers and seven associates of the Philadelphia crime family whom was involved in Testa's murder, therefore, the Commission sentenced all of them to death. The twelve Philadelphia mobsters whom was involved in Testa's unsanctioned murder was all killed by Nicodemo Scarfo's crew, five of them were machine gunned down, three of them were stabbed to death, Frank Narducci was shot to death with an Uzi submachine gun by Testa's son Salvatore Testa. and the remaining two was killed by car bombs. Six months after Testa's murder, the Commission crowned Nicodemo Scarfo, Testa's consigliere, as the new boss of Philadelphia. He involved the family in Drug Trafficking and Arms Trafficking, which Bruno had refused to do. The 1980s through the 1990s was a bloody and brutal reign and nonstop internal and external warfare took place. Scarfo's tenure saw the murder of over 30 of his own men and around 1,300-1,600 other people. during Scarfo's regime he was considered by the FBI to be one of the most powerful, deadliest and feared crime bosses in America. For over a decade, Scarfo was reckoned as the most violent crime boss in America. described by his associates as cold-hearted, fierce, merciless, imperious, predatory, arrogant, inhuman, crazy, psychopathic, warring, fearless, vengeful, psychotic, paranoid, volatile, relentless, greedy, narcissistic, unpredictable, bloodthirsty and power-hungry. In 1985, Scarfo had a net worth of an estimated $300 Million (which is equivalent of $750 Million as of 2017).
Like most Italian-American mafia families, the Philadelphia Crime Family is a multi-billion dollar a year, vast, gigantic and incredibly powerful criminal enterprise. The Philadelphia crime family makes an estimated $50 Billion a year from extortion, loan sharking, illegal gambling, legal gambling, numbers racket, protection racketeering, drug trafficking, arms trafficking, labor trafficking, human trafficking, skimming casino's, prostitution, pornography, bookmaking, bank robbery, labor unions, labor racketeering, waste management and construction. The Commission allowed Scarfo to rule the Philadelphia crime family, but in reality the Commission ruled Philadelphia, and the Philadelphia crime family with an iron fist, particularly the Genovese crime family was the real power behind the Philadelphia crime family. In 1982, around 6 months after Scarfo became boss, he ruled Philadelphia through murder, extreme violence, brutality, fear and intimidation, Scarfo often ordered bombings, and many murder's in public to instill a constant atmosphere of fear throughout Philadelphia. Scarfo wanted everyone in Philadelphia to fear him, which is another reason why he ordered his men to kill people in public. Nicodemo Scarfo also demanded every pimp, prostitute, drug dealer, bookmaker, street gang, biker gang, and legitimate business in Philadelphia to pay "street tax" to him and the Philadelphia crime family, Scarfo demanded anywhere from 40% to 80% every month from anyone who operated illegally and legally in Philadelphia, including a vicious and notorious biker gang known as the Pagans Motorcycle Club or the Pagans MC, which is known as the most violent biker gang in America, However, the Pagans Motorcycle Club was no match for one of America's most powerful, deadliest and feared crime bosses Nicodemo Scarfo or the lethal and much-feared Philadelphia crime family or the incredibly powerful Five Families. According to Scarfo's nephew, and former Underboss Phil Leonetti "My uncle Nicky Scarfo demanded an outrageous amount of "street tax" from pimps, prostitutes, drug dealers, drug lords, bookmakers, biker gangs, street gangs, stores, strip clubs, clubs, 5-star restaurants, bars, pizzeria restaurants, and anybody operating in Philadelphia illegally or legally. My uncle Nicky Scarfo normally demanded around 40% to 50%, but he sometimes demanded as high as 75% to 80%, and on some cases he even went as high as 90% just to show that he rules Philadelphia with an iron fist, and he also wanted to prove a point of how much power he had. My uncle Nicky Scarfo was in fact that powerful, influential and dangerous, where if somebody didn't pay street tax to us, then my uncle Nicky Scarfo would send out a heavily armed hit team of 200 or 300 of the best hitmen to kill them all, but they all normally paid, about 99.9% of the time all of the criminals in Philadelphia paid us street tax, and if they didn't we killed them. My uncle Nicky Scarfo ran everything in Philadelphia, he ruled Philadelphia with an iron fist, for years he controlled everything, he had Cops, Judges, District Attorneys, Federal Prosecutors, DEA Agents, FBI Agents, ATF Agents, IRS Agents, EPA Agents, Senators, Councilman, Assemblyman, Congressman and Mayors in his pocket. But we had a real problem with this biker gang, known as the Pagans Motorcycle Club, the president of the Pagans Motorcycle Club did not want to pay that much street tax to us, in fact he didn't want to pay any street to us at all or my uncle Nicky Scarfo, which enraged my uncle, i mean he went ballistic, he said in front of me "were gonna kill all of these fucking bums, because we run Philadelphia, this is my fucking City!, they can't say no to me, they made a big fucking mistake, there a bunch of nobodies, we are a part of La Cosa Nostra. These fucking cocksuckers need to understand that if you fuck with us, its a death sentence. I want each and every one of these pussy pieces of shit dead. Were gonna slaughter each and every fucking last one of them." So therefore my uncle Nicky Scarfo got permission from the Commission to kill as many of them as possible. The Commission helped us by giving us high-tech weapons, heavy machine guns, light machine guns, C-4 plastic explosive bombs, grenades, and as many efficient hitmen as we needed. Therefore it started a bloody war between us and them, and it lasted roughly three years, and we kicked the shit out of them, they didn't have a chance and they knew that. We killed more than 50 members of the Pagans MC, i think, i don't know, i didn't keep track, however, my uncle Nicky Scarfo told me that we killed a total of 72 members of the Pagans MC, and i believed him because every person that he's ever killed he would always keep track of, he would even wright notches on his pistols, machine guns and shotguns,i once saw 103 notches on his favorite pistol, which i personally believe that he's killed probably over 250 people, and probably even 300 or 400 people, because he loved murdering people, he really enjoyed it, my uncle Nicky Scarfo would rather slit your throat than make love to a woman, he would pick murder over anything, that was his favorite thing to do, he was an extremely vicious, psychotic, ruthless, bloodthirsty and lethal man. My uncle Nicky Scarfo was a homicidal maniac, he was a killing machine. My uncle Nicky Scarfo killed a ton of people, and he ordered thousands of murders. We killed the members of the Pagans Motorcycle Club by either gunning them down, slitting their throats, we bombed around 15 of them, we also tortured a few of them to death. They killed only 3 or 4 of our guys, and then the Pagans MC finally realized that we won, and they also realized that we were much too powerful, vicious and dangerous for them to take us on, and they also realized that messing with us means that the Five Families and the Commission would get pissed off, and they would all wind up getting killed, so they decided that they wanted a truce, and we arranged a sit-down with them, we came to a reasonable understanding, and we handled business amicably, we came to the agreement, for them to pay us 20% of street tax of whatever they make from their businesses and they immediately accepted, and we went on with business as usual, and became allies with them, and we used the Pagans MC to do our dirty work, for a couple years they were our enforcement arm, and we often used them as a hit-squad."
Scarfo had Cops, Judges, Jurors, District Attorneys, U.S Attorneys, Federal Agents, Councilman, Mayors, and Politicians on his payroll. Eventually, he and his supporters were put in prison and John Stanfa took over. After a three year reign plagued by an all out street war with a younger faction led by Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino, dubbed the 'Young Turks', Stanfa was given five life sentences and was ultimately replaced by Merlino. A young and flashy gangster, Merlino shared the personality type of John Gotti. Like Gotti, he attracted too much attention from the media and law enforcement. He was also put in prison in 2001 on a racketeering conviction, and close Merlino ally Joseph Ligambi was tasked with trying to stabilize the weakened family as acting boss ever since.
Other powerful members have included mobsters such as Philip Testa, Salvatore Merlino, Joseph "Chickie" Ciancaglini, Nicholas Caramandi, Salvatore Testa, Antonio Caponigro, Phil Leonetti, and Harry Riccobene.
In the early 20th Century, several Italian-American Philadelphia street gangs joined to form what would eventually become the Philadelphia crime family. Salvatore Sabella was the first leader of the group that would later bear his name. They busied themselves with bootlegging, extortion, loansharking and illegal gambling, and it was during the Prohibition era that Sabella and his crew were recognized as members of the wider Sicilian crime syndicate of New York and Chicago. Sabella retired in 1927.
After Sabella's retirement John "Big Nose" Avena was appointed new boss of the Philadelphia Family by the Commission in New York. He ruled for five years before being assassinated by members of the notorious Lanzetti Mob. He was succeeded by Joseph Bruno who avenged Avena's death by waging war on the Lanzettis. The most important hit in this bloody campaign of vengeance was the killing of the infamous Pius Lanzetti by Mafia soldiers Harry Riccobene and Peter Casella. The remaining Lanzettis fled to Detroit. Joseph Bruno then was faced with a bloody revolt from within the ranks of his own Family. From a hideout in Upper Darby, PA he directed his loyalists in the War of 1939 to finally wipe out all serious opposition to his rule. He was head of the Family until his death by natural causes in 1946 at a New York City hospital, and Joseph Ida was appointed by the Commission to run the Philadelphia family and its rackets.
Influenced by Vito Genovese Edit
Joseph Ida ran the family throughout the 1940s and early 1950s. Ida and the Philadelphia organization were heavily influenced by the bosses of the Five Families, especially the Genovese crime family, which sought to control both families as Vito Genovese, Underboss of the Genovese crime family assumed control in 1956 after the shooting of former boss Frank Costello, who subsequently retired due to illness. As the Philadelphia crime family gained more power in Atlantic City and South Jersey, they were viewed as a large faction of the Genovese crime family. Joseph Ida and his Underboss Dominick Olivetto were present during the 1957 Apalachin Convention with roughly 100 other top mobsters. Around this time Philadelphia separated from the Genovese crime family, and were given a seat in the national mafia governing body, The Commission. The meeting was raided by US law enforcement and over 60 mafioso were arrested and indicted for association with known organized crime members. Ida was named in the indictment and fled to Sicily not long after the meeting, leaving Antonio Pollina as Acting boss in Ida's absence.
Angelo Bruno: The Gentle Don Edit
After Joseph Ida retired in 1959, and Pollina was demoted, Angelo Bruno, nicknamed "The Gentle Don", was appointed by the Commission to run the Philadelphia crime family. Bruno, the first boss of Philadelphia with a seat at the Commission, gained much respect in the underworld and was soon to be seen as the most powerful Mafia boss outside the New York and Chicago area, as he expanded the family's profit and operations in lucrative Atlantic City, which had now became known as the Philadelphia family's turf. Bruno himself avoided the intense media and law enforcement scrutiny and outbursts of violence that plagued other crime families, as well as avoiding lengthy prison terms despite several arrests; his longest term was two years for refusing to testify to a Grand Jury. In addition, Bruno did not allow his family to deal in narcotics, or to be in any part of the drug trafficking that led to Vito Genovese's 15 year prison-sentence in 1959. Apparently, Bruno preferred more traditional operations like labor racketeering, illegal gambling, extortion, protection racketeering, labor unions, pornography, prostitution, skimming casino's, truck hijacking, cigarette smuggling, gasoline bootlegging, fraud, numbers racket, bookmaking and loansharking. During the early 1960s, the Philadelphia family was officially recognized as the Bruno family.
Philadelphia Mafia War Edit
Angelo Bruno and Philip Testa murders Edit
Angelo Bruno held complete power over his family for two decades, but the offroad navigation of the narcotics operations, that many factions below him thought they should have a piece of, eroded his support. Additionally, he allowed the Five Families to work in Atlantic City after it turned into a gambling mecca. Atlantic City had long been recognized as part of the Philadelphia crime family's domain, but the New York families thought that Atlantic City, like Las Vegas, was too lucrative for one family to get all of the action. However, under the rules of the Mafia, a family couldn't set up shop in another family's territory without permission. While Bruno was initially unwilling to invite them, he realized he couldn't challenge the Five Families and eventually let them in.
On March 21, 1980, the sixty-nine-year-old Angelo Bruno was killed by a shotgun blast to the back of the head as he sat in his car. It is believed that Bruno's Consigliere, Antonio Caponigro, ordered his murder. Caponigro was apparently ready to step up, but he was killed by Vincent Gigante's crew and stuffed in a body bag in New York. About $300 in bills were jammed in his mouth and anus, and four other mobsters connected to Angelo Bruno's murder were also murdered by Vincent Gigante's crew in similar fashion. It was alleged that the Commission ordered his murder because Caponigro had assassinated a family boss, and a member of the Commission, without their sanction. After Caponigro's murder, various short-lived leaders were to run the family. Philip Testa led the family for about one year, but was killed by a nail bomb at his home on March 15, 1981. The roofing nails in the bomb were to make it appear that it was retaliation by the K&A Gang for the killing of union president John McCullough. After taking over as Boss, Nicodemo Scarfo had the real conspirators, Frank Narducci and Rocco Marinucci, murdered for the unsanctioned hit. Testa's death resulted from an attempt by Peter Casella, Testa's reputed Underboss, to become the Boss of the Philadelphia family.
In the aftermath of Bruno's murder, many crime families across the country, including the Five Families, the Chicago Outfit, and the New Jersey-based DeCavalcante crime family, mediated between the rival factions and took advantage of the situation. This included, among other things, the rackets in Atlantic City, of which the Genovese crime family eventually took large parts. The relations between the Philadelphia and the New York families eventually declined, and their seat at the powerful Commission was eventually taken from them in the 1980s.
Testa's killing spawned a string of intra-family wars that lasted until 1995. Testa's son, Salvatore Testa, became a rising star in the Philadelphia crime family. A few months after Testa's death, Nicodemo Scarfo, his successor, made Salvatore a caporegime.
The fierce regime of Nicky Scarfo Edit
Nicodemo Scarfo, a powerful leader of the Atlantic City faction, had risen to become the full Boss of the Bruno crime family, which became known as the Scarfo crime family, and promoted his cousin Anthony Piccolo to Consigliere and later his nephew Phil Leonetti to family Underboss. Scarfo, a mobster quite different from Angelo Bruno, cut a deal with the Five Families of New York that allowed them a piece of the action in Atlantic City while keeping a significant slice for himself aiming to keep the partnership between Philadelphia and New York working. However, Scarfo was also known for being ruthlessly violent and organized the murders of at least 1,300 other people, including cops, judges, prosecutors, FBI informants, local street gang members, and biker gang members, and 30 of his own men, either because they were suspected rivals or even potential Government informants. During his bloody regime of the 1980s, Scarfo became the most violent crime boss in the United States. reputed captain John Gotti of the Gambino crime family organized the shooting of his Boss Paul Castellano and his driver in 1985, leaving John Gotti as the new Boss of the powerful Gambino crime family of New York. Scarfo was a close ally of Gotti during the time, and hoped Gotti would bring them back into the Commission in New York. However, Gotti had murdered his Boss without the approval of the other families and rival Genovese crime family Boss Vincent Gigante conspired with Lucchese crime family leaders Vittorio Amuso and Anthony Casso to murder Gotti. A 1986 attempt on Gotti's life instead killed his Underboss Frank DeCicco. As Gotti's enemies conspired in the late 1980s, Scarfo's relations with New York lapsed. Scarfo and Gotti would soon become enemies.
US authorities had been investigating the Philadelphia crime family since the late 1970s, and many members of the family, including his niece Debbie Massi-Gallo who had been adopted by his mother Catherine Piccolo,a close 'associate' of hers known as 'The Greek'.Nicodemo Scarfo, were charged with racketeering, illegal gambling, loansharking, extortion, drug trafficking, and murder. At the end of 1989, twenty members of Scarfo's organization were serving lengthy prison sentences, and another ten were on trial. To make matters worse, five members of the family had turned state's evidence against Scarfo: soldiers Nicholas Caramandi and Eugene Milano, reputed capos Andrew DelGiorno and Lawrence Merlino, and worst of all, Underboss and nephew Phil Leonetti. On April 5, 1989, Scarfo was convicted in Common Pleas Court of first degree murder in the 1985 death of rival mobster Frank D'Alfonso, along with six of his lieutenants. Scarfo, who had already been sentenced to 15 years in prison on extortion and conspiracy charges, was sentenced to life imprisonment the following day. It is not known if the family hired a young hit man from the north side of Philadelphia known to FBI as Young boy aka Lito to commit hits on other rival members. From the late 1980's until early 1995 little was known of the Puerto Rican the family used. Not much is known of him since. Many say that his talent over met those of professionals..
Later that same year, Scarfo's son Nicodemo Scarfo Jr. was shot and wounded in a South Philadelphia Italian restaurant. Some reports suspect Joseph Merlino of being Nicodemo Scarfo Jr.'s assailant. Fearing his rivals had sanctioned his son's murder, Scarfo had him inducted into the Lucchese crime family in 1990 to provide his son protection. Scarfo's cousin Anthony "Tony Buck" Piccolo became the acting boss of the family from the time Scarfo was arrested until the early 1990s.
In the early 1990s mobster Giovanni Stanfa was then promoted to official boss, but his reign ended in 1995 after a two year war with Joseph Merlino in an attempt to gain the family's control. Several murder charges resulted in Stanfa being sentenced to five consecutive life sentences in 1995. Ralph Natale, a former Bruno associate and ally of Merlino, took over as boss upon Stanfa's conviction. In a move that remains controversial today, Natale was inducted into Cosa Nostra by Joseph Merlino, who was at the time just a soldier in the Philadelphia crime family. Ralph Natale immediately took over the title of boss on the same day as his induction.
Ralph Natale eventually became a government witness after he was arrested for running the Philadelphia and South Jersey rackets. After years of being plagued with internal power struggles, informants and federal indictments Joseph Merlino took over as boss of the family in the late 1990s with Steve Mazzone holding the title of underboss and George Borgesi as consigliere. However, the entire administration was imprisoned soon after, with Merlino passing leadership to acting boss Joseph Ligambi, who is Borgesi's uncle.
The rise of Joseph Ligambi Edit
Joseph Ligambi, who became the acting boss after Merlino's imprisonment in 1999, has stabilized the family, increased membership, and more importantly restored relations with the New York families. He has had to contend with the damage Joseph Merlino had done to the family's relationship with illegal bookmakers, who refused to do business with the Philadelphia crime family because Merlino would make huge bets, then never paid when he lost. The family currently consists of approximately 50 soldiers, half of whom are incarcerated, in addition to almost 100 associates. Around a dozen made men will be released from prison in the following years, filling the ranks. Many of these men were young players who fell victim to the unstable Scarfo and Merlino eras, and are now middle-aged. Much of the Philadelphia family's earnings come from illegal poker machines. In contrast to Merlino, Ligambi maintained a low profile, and is more interested in making money, not headlines. With Joseph Massimino serving a prison sentence, Ligambi tapped his closest confidant, Anthony Staino, as the de facto underboss on the street.
Joseph Ligambi has created a tight-knit group around the family's new leadership, rarely conducting business without going through intermediaries, thereby insulating himself from law enforcement scrutiny. His inner circle includes longtime Philadelphia mobsters such as Joseph Massimino, Gaeton Lucibello, and Michael "Mikey Lance" Lancelotti. Recently released Merlino faction leaders Martin Angelina, John Ciancaglini, and Steve Mazzone have also appeared to have fallen in line behind Ligambi. Joseph Merlino was released from prison on March 15, 2011, and was ordered to serve six months in a halfway house in Florida. After his release from prison, Merlino publicly moved to Boca Raton, Florida, to avoid the limelight and heavy scrutiny that was bound to come his way from law enforcement while serving three years of federally supervised release.
On May 23, 2011, Joseph Ligambi and 13 other top members of the crime family were indicted by the FBI on racketeering charges related to illegal gambling operations and loan sharking. However, no murder or violent crimes were alleged; thus, Ligambi's lawyer, Edwin Jacobs, described the indictment as "racketeering light" and that the Philadelphia mob was a shell of its former self. Merlino contines to run the family from South Florida, and after the indictment of Ligambi, he installed his closest friend, Steve Mazzone, as the acting/street boss to run the day to day affairs of the family back in South Philadelphia. Another top Merlino ally, John "Johnny Chang" Ciancaglini, serves as the acting underboss, while his father. recently released former capo Joseph "Chickie" Ciancaglini, is the official underboss. The elder Ciancaglini's position is only titular in nature, as a reward for his ability to keep quiet while serving nearly 30 years in prison after being convicted in the early 1980s as part of the Nicodemo Scarfo regime.
Current leaders and membership Edit
In September 2009, it was reported by George Anastasia that Joseph Ligambi was boss, Marty Angelina was serving as acting underboss, Anthony Staino was a capo running South Jersey, and Michael Lancelotti was a capo running Philadelphia. In May 2012, recorded conversations reveal that Joseph Merlino has been the boss even while serving jail time dating back to 2001 and that Joseph Ligambi was merely Acting Boss during this time.
Boss - Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino - Took over the crime family following a bloody three year street war with former boss John Stanfa. After Stanfa was sentenced to five life sentences in 1995, the family was essentially without a leader. Merlino inducted one of his allies from prison, Ralph Natale, also an associate of long time don Angelo Bruno in the 1970s, into the family and immediately elevated him to boss. This move has been in question for quite some time; at the time of Natale's induction, Merlino was himself only a soldier. Natale believed he ruled the family until his arrest, however, Merlino was really the power of the family all along. His faction merely used Natale as a figurehead and "lightning rod" to distract the FBI and take the attention of law enforcement off of themselves. Following his release from federal prison in 2011, Merlino relocated to Boca Raton, Florida and denounced the life of crime. In an interview with famed journalist and mob reporter George Anastasia, Merlino said he was retired from the mob and that he wanted no part of it, claiming there were "too many rats" around Philadelphia and the entire cosa nostra in general. Before his parole restrictions could expire in September 2014, Merlino was ordered back to federal prison for four months due to a parole violation. The violation came to light during surveillance that was being conducted by law enforcement in Florida, as Merlino was captured meeting with John Ciancaglini at a restaurant and cigar bar, a violation of the terms of his parole that he not meet or associate with convicted criminals or known mob associates. Despite being set to be released in May 2015, a ruling panel was installed to avoid potential conflicts and run the day to day street affairs of the family back in Philadelphia. According to reports, a three man panel of "street bosses" was established, which includes reputed acting boss Steve Mazzone, acting underboss John Ciancaglini, and former Scarfo era soldier Phil Narducci.
Acting/Street Boss - Steven "Handstome Stevie" Mazzone - Former underboss/consigliere for Merlino. Named acting boss after Joseph Ligambi was arrested for racketeering in 2011. Continues to run the day to day street operations of the family while Merlino remains in Florida.
Acting Underboss - John "Johnny Chang" Ciancaglini - Former South Philadelphia captain and loyal associate of the Merlino faction. His father, Joseph "Chickie" Ciancaglini, a former capo during the Scarfo era, was recently released from federal prison after serving 30+ years. In return for his years of silence and loyalty, Chickie was promoted to underboss shortly after returning home from prison. However, it is believed that the elder Ciancaglini holds the position in title only, and his son Johnny Chang actually handles the day to day duties of the position on the street. Two brothers, Michael "Mikey Chang" Ciancaglini, and Joseph "Joey Chang" Ciancaglini, were both shot while in opposing factions during the Stanfa-Merlino street war in the early 1990s. Mikey Chang was killed in a drive-by shooting while with Merlino, who escaped with a minor gunshot wound to the rear end. Joey Chang, at the time in the rival faction as Stanfa's underboss, was partially paralyzed in a shooting ordered by Merlino.
Consigliere - Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi - The former acting boss of the Philadelphia mob while Joseph Merlino was serving a 14 year federal prison sentence following his 2001 racketeering conviction. Ligambi served as acting boss from around the time of Merlino's arrest in June 1999 until his own arrest in May 2011 following a sweeping racketeering indictment that nearly decimated the family. Ligambi rose up through the ranks of the Philadelphia underworld as friends of capo Lawrence "Yogi" Merlino and his brother, underboss Salvatore "Chuckie" Merlino. Ligambi was eventually inducted into the family in 1987 by Nicodemo Scarfo.
North Jersey - Joseph Licata (Joe Scoops) - Elder statesman and long time loyalist to the Philadelphia family. Considered to be a "high ranking" and trusted member of the hierarchy by those in law enforcement. Leads a small faction of the family that is mainly involved in bookmaking and loansharking.
South Jersey - Anthony Staino (Ant) - Also held the unofficial position of de facto underboss of the crime family while Joseph Massimino was in prison in 2010. Staino is considered one of the biggest earners in the family, and is involved in the lucrative video poker racket with Ligambi and Massimino. He is also considered the closest confidant and ally of Ligambi. After being convicted and sentenced to federal prison until 2020, it is unknown how long Staino will remain an official captain of his crew. It has been speculated that he may "retire" once released from prison.
South Philadelphia - Michael Lancellotti (Mikey Lance) - Current captain of the South Philadelphia faction, considered the most powerful crew in the family. While law enforcement believes Lancelotti to be one of the major players in the South Philadelphia mob, he has managed to avoid attention while ducking indictments and never being sentenced to long prison terms.
South Philadelphia/Delaware County - Martin Angelina (Marty) - Reputed captain and long time friend and loyal supporter to Merlino. Angelina was recently released from federal prison along with the crews other former captain, Gaeton Lucibello. Not known for his brains or big time ability to earn money, Angelina once sold a special edition $110,000 1988 Lamborghini 500S to a federal agent for a measly $5,300. Before going to prison on the racketeering conviction, Angelina was appointed to serve as the acting underboss under Ligambi while Joseph "Mousie" Massimino was in prison. It is not clear if Angelina if the official captain of the crew, as some believe that former capo Gaeton Lucibello may have reclaimed his former position.
Scarfo Faction - Phillip "Phil" Narducci - Fresh off of a 20+ year stint in federal prison, Phil Narducci and his brother Frank "Windows" Narducci are considered to be heavy hitters and feared members of the Philadelphia LCN family. Their father, Frank Narducci Sr. was part of the plot that rubbed out former boss Philip Testa in 1981. As a result, Narducci was subsequently murdered himself on orders of Nicodemo Scarfo. Scarfo told the sons they would not be held accountable for the sins of their father, and both fell in line as loyal soldiers. Many outsiders, including those in law enforcement and former underboss Phil Leonetti, believe Narducci to be one to watch in the family and consider him the only "true gangster" in the city of Philadelphia. Since his release from prison, Narducci has been building influence and a heavy following in the city, commanding a faction that includes his brother Frank, several young associates of the 10th and Oregon gang, and other holdovers from the Scarfo reign, including Nicholas Milano and Salvatore Scafidi. It is believed that two other former Scarfo soldiers, Joseph "Joey Pung" Pungitore and his brother Anthony "Tony Pung" Pungitore, are back in the game in Philadelphia but are currently operating independently from Narducci and any other crew in the family. In early 2015, reports surfaced that a three man ruling panel had been established to run the family while Joseph Merlino serves a four month federal prison sentence for a parole violation. In order to appease Narducci and avoid conflict, he was installed as a street boss in the new ruling panel along with current acting boss Steven Mazzone and acting underboss John "Johnny Chang" Ciancaglini.
Historical leadership Edit
Bosses (official and acting) Edit
- 1911 - 1931 — Salvatore Sabella (retired) (died of natural causes in 1962)
- 1931 - 1936 — John Avena (killed 1936)
- 1936 - 1946 — Giuseppe Dovi (died of natural causes in 1946)
- 1946 - 1959 — Joseph Ida (deported in 1958)
- Acting 1958 - 1959 — Antonio "Mr. Miggs" Pollina (deposed by Commission)
- 1959 - 1980 — Angelo "Gentle Don" Bruno (killed 1980)
- 1980 - 1981 — Philip "Chicken Man" Testa (killed 1981)
- 1981 - 1991 — Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo (in prison until 2033 - virtual life sentence)
- 1991 - 1994 — John Stanfa (in prison for life)
- 1994 - 1999 — Ralph Natale (in jail 1998, cooperated with the government in 1999)
- Acting 1998 - 1999 — Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino (became official boss)
- 1999 - present — Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino (in prison, parole violation)
Underbosses (official and acting) Edit
- 1911 - 1931 — John Avena (became boss)
- 1931 - 1936 — Giuseppe Dovi (became boss)
- 1936 - 1946 — Joseph Ida (became boss)
- 1946 - 1956 — Marco Reginelli (died 1956)
- 1956 - 1957 — Dominick Olivetto (retired)
- 1957 - 1959 — Antonio "Mr. Miggs" Pollina (became acting boss 1958, deposed 1959)
- 1959 - 1970 — Ignazio Denaro (died 1970)
- 1970 - 1980 — Philip "Chicken Man" Testa (became boss)
- 1980 - 1981 — Peter Casella (deposed by Commission)
- 1981 - 1986 — Salvatore "Chuckie" Merlino (demoted to soldier)
- Acting 1982 - 1984 — Salvatore "Salvie" Testa (killed in 1984)
- 1986 - 1989 — Phil "Crazy Phil" Leonetti (became government informant)
- 1989 - 1990 — Pasquale "Patty Specs" Martirano (died 1990)
- 1991 - 1994 — Joseph "Joey Chang" Ciancaglini (shot in 1992, stepped down)
- Acting 1992 - 1994 — Frank Martines (in prison for life)
- 1994 - 1999 — Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino (became boss)
- Acting 1998 - 1999 — Steven "Handsome Stevie" Mazzone (became official underboss)
- 1999 - 2004 — Steven "Handsome Stevie" Mazzone (went to prison in 2001)
- Acting 2000 - 2004 — Joseph "Mousie" Massimino (became official underboss)
- 2004 - 2012 — Joseph "Mousie" Massimino (in prison until 2025)
- Acting 2007 - 2010 — Martin "Marty" Angelina
- Acting 2010 - 2011 — Anthony "Ant" Staino (in prison until 2020)
- 2012 - 2015 — John "Johnny Chang" Ciancaglini (gave position to his dad, became acting underboss)
- 2015 - present — Joseph "Chickie" Ciancaglini
- Acting 2015 - present — John "Johnny Chang" Ciancaglini
Consiglieres (official and acting) Edit
- 1911 - 1931 — Giuseppe Dovi (became underboss)
- 1931 - 1936 — Joseph Ida (became underboss)
- 1936 - 1946 — Marco Reginelli (became underboss)
- 1946 - 1977 — Giuseppe "Joe the Boss" Rugnetta (died 1977)
- 1977 - 1980 — Antonio "Tony Bananas" Caponigro (killed in 1980 by the Commission)
- 1980 - 1981 — Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo (became boss)
- 1981 - 1982 — Frank Monte (killed in 1982 during Scarfo/Riccobene war)
- 1982 - 1989 — Nicholas "Nicky Buck" Piccolo (died - position vacant until Stanfa takes over in 1991)
- Acting 1984 - 1987 — Anthony "Tony Buck" Piccolo (became acting boss)
- 1991 - 1994 — Anthony "Tony Buck" Piccolo (imprisoned for life)
- 1994 - 1996 — Ronald "Ronnie" Turchi (demoted to soldier) (killed in 1999)
- 1996 - 1999 — Steven "Handsome Stevie" Mazzone (became official underboss)
- 1999 - 2011 — George "Georgie Boy" Borgesi (imprisoned, released 2014)
- Acting 2001 - 2004 — Joseph "Joe Crutch" Curro (died 2004)
- Acting 2004 - 2011 — Gaeton Lucibello (imprisoned, released 2015)
- 2011 - 2014 — Position vacant
- 2014 - present — Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi (partially retired)