Settimo "Big Sam" Accardi (October 23, 1902 Vita, Sicily – December 1977) was a New Jersey mobster who served as capo in the Lucchese crime family's Jersey crew. He controlled criminal operations in Northern New Jersey and was one of the largest heroin traffickers in the New York area during the 1950s.
Early years Edit
Accardi was born in Vita, Italy, in the Sicilian province of Trapani. He emigrated to the U.S. shortly before World War I, and soon became involved in gas-stamp black marketeering with Future Gambino crime family Bosses Paul Castellano and Carlo Gambino. During Prohibition, Accardi served as a gang enforcer both in New York and North Jersey. He later founded his own criminal organization with mobsters Joseph Sica, Willie Moretti, Joe Adonis and Abner Zwillman. Accardi was suspected of several gangland killings, but was never charged for them.
Accardi lived in Bloomfield, New Jersey and was married to Teresa Mineo. The couple had three children: Salvatore, Carmine, and Joseph. Accardi's legitimate business was real estate and construction. His arrest record included assault and battery and violation of federal narcotics laws.
Mob career Edit
Over a period of three decades, Accardi was able to avoid criminal charges, except for several counts of assault and battery. However, in June 1951, Accardi and 16 others were convicted of operating a 600 gallon-a-day alcohol still in Midtown Manhattan. While serving a one-year sentence in federal prison, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued a jeopardy tax assessment of $159,363 against Accardi.
On July 10, 1953, Accardi's U.S. citizenship was revoked because he had not disclosed two previous arrests during his naturalization hearing. In his defense, Accardi argued that the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution gave him the right to withhold this information, but the judge rejected this argument. Accardi served as the leader of the Lucchese crime family Jersey Faction up until his deportation.
In 1955, Accardi was arrested on a federal narcotics charge in Newark, New Jersey. After posting a $92,000 bond, Accardi skipped bail and fled to Italy, where he continued smuggling heroin into the US and Canada. Accardi later moved to Toronto, Canada, to oversee this operation. In one scheme, Accardi was receiving suitcases of heroin from Sicily, in another scheme the narcotics were hidden in cans of anchovies.
Extradition and prison Edit
In 1960, U.S. authorities finally located Accardi in Turin, Italy, where he was supposedly working as a fruit merchant. On November 28, 1963, after a long legal fight, Accardi was extradited back to New York City. On July 21, 1964, Accardi was convicted on narcotics conspiracy and skipping bail. He was later sentenced to fifteen years of imprisonment and a $16,000 fine.
In December 1977, Settimo Accardi died of natural causes.