The American Mafia history website home page - logo

Organized crime’s presence in Pennsylvania, 1970

Following is the text of selected portions (we have omitted the "Strategies Against Organized Crime..." section) of the Pennsylvania Crime Commission's 1970 Report on Organized Crime. Pages in this web version have been numbered to correspond to the printed report. If errors are found on any of these pages, please contact us.

PCC 1970 Report cover

Table of Contents
Page i

- Letter of Chairman William C. Sennett

Page ii

- The Commission

Page 1

- Recommendations of the Commission

A Detailed Picture of the Problem
Page 10

- What is Organized Crime

Page 13

- Criminal Syndicates in Pennsylvania

Page 14

- Syndicate Organization

Page 16

- Structure of Syndicate Operations

Page 17

- History of Criminal Syndicates in Pennsylvania

Page 17

- Russell Bufalino Family

Page 18

- John Sebastian LaRocca Family

Page 20

- Angelo Bruno Family

Page 21

- Stefano Magaddino Family

Page 21

- Sam DeCavalcante Family

Page 21

- Other Families

The Industries of Organized Crime:
Criminal Enterprises
Page 25

- Illegal Gambling

Page 26

- The Numbers Racket

Page 27

- 1. Philadelphia

Page 29

- 2. Pittsburgh

Page 31

- 3. Reading

Page 31

- 4. Pottsville

Page 32

- 5. Erie

Page 32

- 6. Bethlehem

Page 32

- Dice Games

Page 33

- Sports Bookmaking

Page 37

- Treasury Balance Tickets, Betting Pools, and Punchboards

Page 38

- Casino Gambling

Page 38

- Gambling's Relationship with Other Crimes

Page 39

- Loan Sharking

Page 42

- Illegal Narcotics Traffic

Page 45

- Illegal Liquor Traffic

The Industries of Organized Crime:
Business and Labor Involvement
Page 47

- I. Infiltration and Control of Legitimate Businesses

Page 52

- Crime Associated with Legitimate Businesses

Page 52

- 1. Income Tax Evasion

Page 52

- 2. Monopolies

Page 53

- 3. Insurance Fraud

Page 54

- 4. Embezzlement

Page 55

- 5. Fraudulent Bankruptcies

Page 55

- II. Labor-Management Racketeering

Page 57

- Violence and Extortion

Page 59

- Labor-Management Collusion: "Sweetheart" Contracts

Tools of Organized Crime
Page 59

- The Use of Force and Violence

Page 60

- Violence Against Competitors or Rivals

Page 63

- Violence Against Consumers of Organized Crime Services

Page 64

- Violence Against Law Enforcement Officers

Page 65

- Nullification of Government

Page 66

- Nullification of Criminal Justice Agencies

Page 117

- Appendix - Major Gambling Cases 1969

Page 129

- Index


PCC 1970 Chairman Letter


Click to return to Contents page

William C. Sennett, Attorney General, Chairman
Colonel Frank McKetta, Commissioner, Pennsylvania State Police
Honorable Charles Wright, Juvenile Court Judge, Philadelphia County
Harold Rosenn, Esquire, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
J. Shane Creamer, Attorney-in-Charge, U.S. Department of Justice, Pennsylvania Task Force Against Organized Crime, Philadelphia

Owen M. Morris

Clifford Karchmer, Special Agent
Douglas Little, Special Agent

Henry R. Wray, Deputy Attorney General

John Barron, Lieutenant, Organized Crime Section, Philadelphia Police Department
Russell Coombs, Assistant Counsel, U.S. Senate, Subcommittee on Criminal Laws and Procedures, Committee on the Judiciary.
Christopher DeCree, Lieutenant, Chief Inspector's Special Squad, Philadelphia Police Department
Gerald Shur, Chief, Intelligence and Special Services Unit, Organized Crime and Racketeering Section, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, D.C.
Roy Titler, Captain, Organized Crime Division, Pennsylvania State Police, Harrisburg.

Bruce Burns, Area Co-ordinator, Organized Crime and Racketeering Section, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, D.C.
John Rogers Carroll, former Assistant District Attorney, Philadelphia
Joseph Golden, Inspector, Homicide Division, Philadelphia Police Department.
Thomas Kennelly, Deputy Chief, Organized Crime and Racketeering Section, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, D.C.
Alfred King, Organized Crime and Racketeering Section, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, D.C.
Robert Nickoloff, Agent, Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, U.S. Department of Justice, Philadelphia

Organized Crime Task Forces, U.S. Department of Justice: Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit, Manhattan, Newark, and Philadelphia.
Philadelphia Evening Bulletin.
Office of the United States Attorney, Western District of Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh), Southern District of New York (Manhattan), Northern District of West Virginia (Wheeling).
Office of the District Attorney of Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania.

Linda Lupold
Linda Neumayer

George C. Herndl, Ph.D., Dean, Humanities Division, Belmont Abbey College

James R. Giermanski, Special Agent

ii & iii

Click to return to Contents page


The Effects of Organized Crime in Pennsylvania:

Recommendations of the Commission

It is the finding of the Pennsylvania Crime Commission that organized crime thrives throughout the Commonwealth and is a problem of tremendous and unrecognized magnitude. The vast volume of federal, state, and local law enforcement data allows no other rational conclusion. From the Kefauver Crime Committee investigation of 1950-51 to the recent indictments of major Pennsylvania organized criminals, there lies a grim documented history of the sustained exploitation and subversion of government, business, labor, and private citizenry by the crime syndicates.

Organized crime in Pennsylvania engages in a broad spectrum of criminal activities, These include the "victimless," consensual vice crimes - illegal gambling, loan sharking, and prostitution. But, as is rarely understood, organized criminals are also in the business of serious crime - extortion, arson for hire, murder and physical violence, fencing stolen property, hijacking, and narcotics trafficking-about which American society today is angry and fearful. In Pennsylvania, as in all of the United States, the organized crime syndicates accumulate much more wealth than do all other criminals combined.

Pennsylvania's organized crime is a conglomerate arrangement of criminal organizations. It is not a monolithic syndicate and is not dominated by a single individual. It is an alliance composed of powerful La Cosa Nostra families and local crime czars, with the arrangement between the Cosa Nostra and local leaders varying from area to area. Like the Cosa Nostra families, the local syndicates have significant wealth, influence, and power, and regional and national connections. The central, undeniable finding is that there are permanent, ongoing criminal conspiracies operating in Pennsylvania which are controlled in large part, but not exclusively, by La Cosa Nostra families.

The impact of organized crime falls most directly on the residents of our urban ghettoes, It is their money that is drained away by numbers runners, loan sharks, and narcotic peddlers and addicts. It is their youth who have almost no other models to respect than the racketeer who can flout legitimate authority, often openly, The criminal syndicates are perhaps the only big businesses in the ghettoes that are not about to pull out. For substantial progress to come to the impoverished cores of our cities, the presence and influence of organized crime will first have to be eradicated.

Organized crime also strikes directly at the more affluent sectors of Pennsylvania. By sponsoring professional criminals and providing


Click to return to Contents page

fencing networks for them, it contributes to, encourages, directs, and profits from theft and fraud including hijacking, burglaries, auto thefts, bankruptcy frauds, and the sale of and manipulation with stolen stocks and bonds. Through its infiltration of businesses and labor organizations, organized crime has a crippling impact on the freedom and integrity of the private sector.

In the estimation of the Crime Commission, the most harmful effect of the crime syndicates is what they do to government. To ensure the smooth and continuous operation of their rackets, they finance political campaigns or bribe and corrupt political leaders and criminal justice personnel - either the policeman, prosecutor, court clerk, or judge, depending on the type of protection desired and also on who is the weakest link of the criminal justice chain. Only a few selected persons need be influenced to negate the efforts of an entire agency or even of the entire criminal justice system.

However, more subtle means than outright bribery are used by the crime syndicates to nullify governmental opposition. By exerting their influence less directly, they can cause the honest "raiding" police officer to be transferred to a distant detail. Or the mob may pump considerable funds into the campaign treasury of a candidate opposing a crusading district attorney or public leader. Once the syndicate develops effective political influence, those who are responsible for fighting organized crime soon learn that "to get along you got to go along." Going along becomes political realism. As the years pass, inaction begets inaction and becomes a tradition of tolerating the syndicate. Measures taken are defensive; they guard against the embarrassment of public scandals. Organized crime need no longer bribe everyone. Invisibly and indirectly its power and influence and hence its immunity have been established throughout the system.

The harm of corruption and systematic inaction is cumulative. Vigorous, responsive officials conform to political "realism" or leave government, Countless others are deterred from even trying to enter and improve it. Numerous opportunities to anticipate or alleviate the city's problems, to provide enlightened public services, and to improve the quality of urban life are fumbled, lost, or overlooked. There is a heightening of urban crises. And, at a time when citizens demand and need more positive leadership, lesser and unresponsive governments erode the confidence of Pennsylvanians in the concept and practice of representative democracy. No harm could be greater than this.

Obviously, past efforts in Pennsylvania to control organized crime have been inadequate. The federal enforcement activity has developed because state and local governments have failed to move effectively; it can be expected to expand unless stronger efforts are made within the State. Despite some sporadic thrusts at the problem and the earnest work of some professional law enforcers, there never has been in Pennsylvania the sustained drive needed to eradicate the crime syndicates.

The Pennsylvania Crime Commission firmly believes that the first goal must be to lessen the influence of organized crime where it affects the agencies of criminal justice, and especially on the political ofiicials who control and oversee these agencies. This entails a fight against improper political interference in the entire criminal justice process from investigation to incarceration, which includes police, prosecutors,


Click to return to Contents page

judges, court clerks, probation and parole workers, and correctional officials. Any such drive must include the city councils and county commissioners who chart the direction of law enforcement by controlling the operating budgets. It must involve the State Legislature, which alone can provide the laws needed by state and local authorities.

Unless corruption and influence can be eliminated and the resolve to fight organized crime can be developed, Pennsylvania will continue to harbor criminal syndicates and suffer from an inevitably lowered quality of government.

On the basis of these findings, the Crime Commission recommends the adoption of a series of measures to improve law enforcement and the administration of criminal justice where organized crime is concerned.

Strong, creative leadership is essential if law enforcement is to be improved. The Pennsylvania State Police can focus their activity in those regions where the strength of organized crime is the greatest, and thereby hurt the rackets and prod local authorities into more effective action. They can also provide assistance to local agencies.

The Attorney General could highlight local inaction and encourage stronger local efforts by sending in prosecutors from the Department of Justice to initiate organized crime cases or to supersede district attorneys in such cases when necessary. New legislation may be needed to clarify the authority of the Attorney General in criminal cases. In addition, the Attorney General must propose, and develop, new legislation, and he can provide legal assistance to local agencies.

The Pennsylvania Crime Commission, which is headed by the Attorney General and is within the Pennsylvania Department of Justice, is the third source of state leadership. With its power to subpoena witnesses and records, grant immunity, and hold public or private hearings, the Commission can probe the operation of organized crime, assess present efforts and encourage greater ones, expose oliicials and agencies who are not fulfilling their sworn duties, and make positive recommendations for improvement. The Crime Commission will support and assist state and local law enforcers with its investigative and legal staff, accounting expertise, and intelligence sources. It will work for the passage of needed legislation and the creation of a statewide intelligence system. It can help to plan strategies and to coordinate law enforcement activity.

The primary responsibility for enforcing the penal laws against the crime syndicates rests, as it always has, with local police agencies, with county district attomeys, and, where no adequate police force exists with the Pennsylvania State Police, The role of the State is to move these agencies toward the resolve and capability for carrying out this obligation. They must surmount many problems before organized crime can be effectively attacked. Evidence for convicting top organized criminals is hard to gather. Requests for more manpower and resources to fight organized crime are difficult to justify in the usual budgetary process. And there is a noticeable distrust and lack of coordination among law enforcement agencies.

The threshold problem, however, is a lack of resolve. There is a climate of inaction toward organized crime which impedes the development of professional law enforcement. Resolve to fight the crime


Click to return to Contents page

syndicates is essential at the highest levels of leadership; once it is found, the many other problems will be surmountable. It will, for example, be easier to urge budgetary committees into understanding the unique requirements in men and resources for fighting organized crime. Developing resolve means concentrating all presently available resources, although these fall short of what is really needed, on convicting top racketeers. It does not mean satisfaction with the mere quantity of arrests. It means determination in building quality cases against top echelon figures which will weather the challenge of trial.

It is essential that all law enforcement agencies take strong measures to ensure their own integrity. Self-policing methods should be adopted throughout the criminal justice system; not just by the police, but also by prosecutors, court clerks, probation offiicers, and judges. No agency dealing with crime can expect to remain immune from the syndicate's influence-peddling. When an employee is found to have acted improperly and illegally, there should be a prosecution, not merely disciplinary action. No criminal justice agency can excuse the application of a lesser standard of justice to violators in its midst.

The Crime Commission believes that the prosecutor is the keystone of any campaign against organized crime. Prosecutors and investigators in Pennsylvania must pool their resources and start working together. Prosecutorial leadership and legal skills are essential to piercing the insulation of the syndicate's hierarchy, Unfortunately, the State's district attorney system is unequipped for these duties, The Commission recommends that the district attorney in the more populous counties be a well paid, full-time official with well paid, qualified, full-time assistants and adequate resources. If possible, organized crime units of attorneys and investigators should be created and mandated to focus exclusively on the rackets. Legislation to establish a more professional district attorney system should also provide for the State to assume financial support of district attorneys.

Police efforts against organized crime where it exists need to be substantially improved. The larger police departments in urban areas should form special units to collect intelligence on organized crime activity and plan overall strategies for attacking the crime syndicates. Available manpower from vice or racketeering units should be directed toward implementing these strategies, rather than just compiling numerous vice arrests. Furthermore, police should broaden the scope of their effort by hiring attorneys and accountants, They should unite to expose and challenge improper political influences. And, finally, they should provide general training on organized crime for all policemen and intensive advanced training for all specialists.

In addition to strong state leadership and reforms in law enforcement agencies, there are substantial needs for new tools and new legislation. Pennsylvania needs a modern intelligence system which can store, process, analyze, and disseminate large amounts of information on crime in general and organized crime in particular. A modern system would prevent loss of good data, reduce wasteful duplication of effort, and facilitate the sharing of information. At present, a project under the direction of the United States Department of Justice, with the participation of the Crime Commission, is being conducted to develop a computerized data system that would serve as a prototype for a state-organized crime intelligence network.


Click to return to Contents page

A new tactic for combating organized crime has been presented in proposed legislation - The Pennsylvania Corrupt Organizations Act of 1970 - which was developed through the joint efforts of the Committee on Law and Order of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and the Pennsylvania Crime Commission. This approach would use both criminal and antitrust-type civil sanctions to remove racket influence from legitimate organizations.

A related approach involves having state and local administrative and regulatory agencies adopt stringent measures to curtail organized crime's infiltration of the private sector. The foremost goal along this line should be to remove criminal infiuence from establishments holding liquor licenses. If the places allowing illegal activities on their premises are cleaned up or closed down and if hidden racketeer interests in such places are exposed, the strength of the syndicates will be lessened. Another goal should be to reduce the smuggling of cigarettes into Pennsylvania. Governmental agencies concerned with areas as diverse as health, horse racing, taxes, zoning, securities, and government contracts should search out thc manipulative influence of organized crime and apply appropriate sanctions.

New laws are definitely needed to supply legal tools for combating modern organized crime, Chart 1 [* Pg. 7] demonstrates that Pennsylvania ranks substantially behind the Federal Government and behind other states with serious organized crime problems in enacting needed legislation. Despite the fact that legislation has been proposed or is pending in Pennsylvania, little movement toward passage currently exists.

Substantive legislation on the following subjects is recommended:

  1. Infiltration of Legitimate Enterprises. The Pennsylvania Corrupt Organizations Act of 1970 (House Bill 2297) was passed by the House of Representatives, June 29, 1970, by a vote of 192 to 0, In the Senate it was referred to the Judiciary Committee on June 30, 1970. This bill, which was drafted by the Crime Commission in cooperation with the House Law and Order Committee, would outlaw the acquisition or conduct of any enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity or acquisition with funds derived from racketeering. The act would provide both criminal sanctions and civil remedies similar to the antitrust laws.
  2. Loan-Sharking. A comprehensive statute to cover the lending of money at exorbitant interest rates, the use of extortion to collect loans, the financing of these activities, the possession of loan shark records, and the problems of proving these violations.
  3. Syndicated Gambling. A statute to make participation in major gambling operations a felony with tough penalties, and to mandate short prison sentences for all violators.
  4. Sentencing. Legislation to allow extended terms of imprisonment for organized criminals and to supply the criteria for identifying the convicted organized criminal, while providing the necessary procedural safeguards; additional legislation to authorize appellate review of sentences in felony cases, misdemeanor convictions characteristic of organized or professional crime, and cases where an extended sentence is sought, as a means of supervising both excessive and inadequate sentences.


Click to return to Contents page

Reforms are also needed in the procedures of our criminal law. These include:

  1. Grand Jury. A statute to convene regularly and automatically an investigative grand jury in each of the more populous counties, and to allow such grand juries (1) considerable independence in their operation and (2) the power to indict and to issue public reports on general crime conditions in their jurisdiction. Senate Bill No, 70 providing for investigative grand juries was passed by the Senate and sent to the House of Representatives on February 10, 1969. It was referred to the House Judiciary Committee on February 11, 1969. House Bill No. 1615 dealing with this subject was introduced on September 9, 1969, and referred to the Judiciary Committee on September 9, 1969.
  2. Immunity. In 1968 an immunity statute was adopted in Pennsylvania. This statute, Act No. 333 (19 PS, §§ 640.1-640.6) authorizes the Attorney General to petition a court for a grant of immunity on behalf of any witness who asserts his privilege against self-incrimination in a proceeding relating to organized crime or racketeering. The immunity granted under this statute would apply to "any transaction, matter or thing" concerning which the witness is compelled to testify, and therefore it is an example of "transactional" rather than "use" immunity. The witness would be exempt from prosecution for any crime except perjury committed during his testimony. In addition, the statute purports to bar any "penalty," "forfeiture," "liability" or "cause of action" arising from the transactions about which he testifies. Comprehensive legislation is needed to cover the granting of immunity in judicial, administrative, or legislative proceedings but limiting the scope to the use of the compelled testimony or anything derived from it.
  3. Perjury. Legislation to modernize our perjury law by abolishing any uniquely rigid proof requirements and enabling a prosecutor to establish falsity of the defendant's testimony by proving that he made two contradictory statements under oath without having to prove which statement is in fact false.
  4. Electronic Surveillance, A statute, modeled after the federal statute, to prohibit all electronic surveillance - wiretapping and electronic eavesdropping - except that conducted by law enforcement agencies under strict court supervision to collect evidence of serious criminality. Senate Bill No. 398 (P.N. 428), known as the Protection of Privacy Act, incorporates, for the most part, the provisions of the federal statute on this subject. It was referred to the State Government Committee on March 26, 1969. House Bill No, 352 (P.N. 412), which is known as the Protection of Privacy Act of 1969, was introduced in the House of Representatives and referred to the Judiciary Committee on February 19, 1969.

None of these is by itself a solution to the problem of controlling organized crime, Any law enforcement drive must start with the determination to marshal all available resources on that problem in a sustained manner. But in the context of honest, creative, and vigorous effort, law enforcers could be substantially aided by these legal tools.


Click to return to Contents page

Chart 1


Click to return to Contents page


Click to return to Contents page



Click to return to Contents page


It is now a matter of public record, acknowledged by the President's Crime Commission, the U. S. Department of Justice, congressional investigating committees, and federal, state, and local law enforcement authorities, that a national conspiracy of organized criminals exists in the United States and operates in Pennsylvania. In Task Force Report: Goals for Justice, published in January, 1969, the Pennsylvania Crime Commission highlighted the organized crime problem and named the Cosa Nostra families operating in Pennsylvania.

The President's Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice has described organized crime as

a society that seeks to operate outside the control of the American people and their governments. It involves thousands of criminals, working within structures as complex as those of any large corporation, subject to laws more rigidly enforced than those of legitimate governments. Its actions are not impulsive but rather the result of intricate conspiracies, carried on over many years and aimed at gaining control over whole fields of activity in order to amass huge profits.[1]

In 1967 a conference convened at Oyster Bay, New York, with legal, judicial, and academic specialists in attendance, concurred in the following definition:

Organized crime is the product of a self-perpetuating criminal conspiracy to wring exorbitant profits from our society by any means - fair and foul, legal and illegal... It survives on fear and corruption. By one or another means, it obtains a high degree of immunity from the law. It is totalitarian in organization. A way of life, it imposes rigid discipline on underlings who do the dirty work while the top men of organized crime are generally insulated from the criminal act and the consequent danger of prosecution.[2]

The kinds of criminal operations carried on in this way escape the comprehension of most citizens. It is the miniscule 50¢ numbers and $2.00 horse bets that feed the coffers of organized crime, and without the constant support which citizens provide by such betting, the syndicates would have very little power to organize other criminal enterprises.

Professor Donald Cressey, a consultant to the President's Crime Commission, offers the conception of criminal activity as a continuum beginning with crimes by single individuals and moving to those planned and executed by small groups.[3] As we proceed along the continuum, the number of individuals, the types of crime, and the complexity of planning increase. Near the point where planning and organization require several layers of authority and specialization,


Click to return to Contents page

we are approaching the realm of professional crime (burglary, larceny) and organized crime (gambling, narcotics trafficking). The final point on the continuum is filled by organizations which seek to monopolize all forms of highly organized and many forms of less organized crime. Criminal syndicates seek not only monopolistic control over all gambling, loan sharking, and other racketeering crimes in their areas, but also a share of the profits from large burglary, bank robbery, and auto theft rings and other professional crime organizations.

Page 11 image

Previous congressional hearings, grand jury investigations, and law enforcement efforts centering upon organized crime in Pennsylvania have highlighted particular individuals or individual communities. Often the investigators have sought to expose the most notorious racketeers in their communities, who have usually insulated the top-level syndicate leaders. Thus, despite the dedication of state and local officials in assembling a picture of organized crime, pieces were missing and the gaps were filled by sensationalism and speculation. Past charges of "mob control" were therefore unconvincing, and denials by uninterested, naive, or corrupt officials further undercut the effectiveness of existing knowledge.

Since the 1950-51 hearings of the Senate Special Committee to Investigate Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce[4] (The Kefauver Committee), a mass of data has been compiled describing in detail the workings of criminal syndicates in Pennsylvania. Some has been assembled within the state. Also, much of the growing body of national information deals specifically with Pennsylvania. The chief sources are these:

  1. The Kefauver Hearings (1950-51).
  2. The McClellan Labor Rackets Hearing (1957-1960).
  3. Revelations by Cosa Nostra member Joseph Valachi (1963-1965).
  4. Disclosure in court of eavesdropped conversations of Cosa Nostra bosses Raymond Patriarca and Sam DeCavalcante.
  5. Published reports of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Attorney General of the United States, and the Internal Revenue Service.
  6. Reports issued by state and local law enforcement authorities.
  7. Pennsylvania Crime Commission Hearings, 1967-1968, and its 1969 report, Goals for Justice.


Click to return to Contents page

Previous information about organized crime required the concerned law enforcement official and individual citizen to infer the existence of criminal syndicates from either unsupported charges or individual, isolated examples such as arrests or indictments. Present information, much of which is new and some of which is presented here for the first time, permits us to relate individual cases from a more comprehensive and accurate overview. We are able to document conclusively that (1) organized crime exists in Pennsylvania, (2) numerous levels of organization are involved in the operation of illegal activities, and (3) the provision of illegal goods and services in Pennsylvania depends upon immunity and insulation from law enforcement and prosecution efforts.

The conspiratorial planning of criminal syndicates is fulfilled in individual acts of gambling, murder, extortion, and sale of narcotics. There is frequently a "pyramid effect," additional crimes being committed to protect the syndicate from the consequences of earlier ones.

One example of such conspiracy involves Joseph Migliazza, a convicted bookmaker from Easton, Pennsylvania, who owned the Stage Coach Restaurant in that city. In 1964 Migliazza borrowed $12,000 from Cosa Nostra Boss Sam DeCavalcante in order to repay a gambling debt.[5] He continually defaulted on payments, and DeCavalcante kept adding interest to the loan. Finally Migliazza announced his inability to pay and his plan to burn down his restaurant and pay DeCavalcante with the insurance money he would recover. At this point a discussion took place between DeCavalcante and one of his lieutenants, Robert Occhipinti, who had just returned from a final attempt to collect the money:


Occhipinti: Mr. Maglie wants to burn down his joint and I got the guy.

DeCavalcante: Who's the guy?

Occhipinti: Russ ... As far as Pussy's [Anthony Russo] concerned he's okay.

DeCavalcante: What's he want for it?

Occhipinti: He's gonna pay $5,000. That's all - I'll give him a break. He's got $90,000 insurance on it.

DeCavalcante: I don't know nothing.

Occhipinti: Okay? Done - Okay?


DeCavalcante: I don't want to know nothing about it.[6]


As a subordinate to DeCavalcante, Occhipinti could not go back to Migliazza without a decision by the Boss approving or rejecting the plan. In underworld jargon "I don't want to know nothing about it" effectively gave DeCavalcante's consent and consummated the conspiracy, while insulating DeCavalcante from the act of arson. In July of 1965 the restaurant was destroyed by fire; Migliazza collected his insurance; DeCavalcante was presumably paid in full. The information concerning the conspiracy was not released to Pennsylvania authorities until long after the statute of limitations expired.


Click to return to Contents page

A second example demonstrates another aspect of organized crime syndicates: the need to commit one crime to cover up another. This results in an intricate network of crimes, again beginning with conspiratorial planning and ending in the commission of individual criminal acts. In 1963, Intelligence Agents of the Internal Revenue Service raided the numbers "bank" of Romualdo Ucciferri and Michael Keilyk in Philadelphia. Subsequent publications and prosecution established the following:[7]

  1. The bank operated in clear violation of state gambling and federal wagering tax laws. (Four of the bank's "managers" were convicted of failure to purchase wagering occupational tax stamps.)
  2. One of the bank's managers was guilty of evasion of federal income taxes;
  3. Federal agents continually observed the bank's managers meeting with local police officials and handing them parcels through squad car windows;
  4. A beer distributor who fell into gambling debt to the bank had his business taken over by the bank's managers until they finally controlled 100% of the company.

The crimes associated with the Keilyk-Ucciferri bank are numerous. They include violation of Pennsylvania state laws dealing with conspiracy, establishing a gambling place, operating a lottery, bribery, and corrupt solicitation. Moreover, separate offenses were committed for each day the bank was in operation and for each incident of bribery. On the federal level, wagering and income tax evasion crimes were committed. The takeover of the beer distributorship was not in violation of Pennsylvania law, but would be, under the proposed Pennsylvania Corrupt Organizations Act of 1970 (House Bill No. 2297.)


In 1951 the Kefauver Crime Committee concluded that a nationwide crime syndicate known as the Mafia operated in many large cities and that its leaders usually controlled the most lucrative rackets in these areas.[8] The Committee also concluded that this organization was the "cement" binding together many independent and local criminal syndicates throughout the country. Strictly speaking, the "Mafia" was a Sicilian organization of career criminals which was prominent in organized crime in the United States, beginning in the 1880's. In 1931, violent factional struggles occurred between members of the older, traditional Mafia and younger Sicilian-Americans who sought a more tolerant attitude toward non-Sicilian racketeers. Following a violent purge of older members in 1931, a fusion of Sicilian and other Italian racketeers was created which from that time to the present has been known as "La Cosa Nostra," or "Our Thing."[9] Although the terms "Mafia" and "La Cosa Nostra" are often used interchangeably, the latter is considered to refer to the contemporary confederation of Sicilian-Italian criminal organizations.

In 1967 the President's Crime Commission found that "today the core of organized crime in the United States consists of twenty-four groups operating as criminal cartels in large cities across the nation."[10]


Click to return to Contents page

(Subsequent investigation has fixed the number of "core group" Cosa Nostra families at twenty-six.) Pennsylvania was one of the states cited by the Commission as having such "core groups" operating within its borders. A continuing investigation by the Pennsylvania Crime Commission, assisted by the Pennsylvania State Police, substantiates that there are five La Cosa Nostra families operating in Pennsylvania and that they have a total of 142 members. Three of these families are run by bosses each of whom resides, along with the major portion of his family, in Pennsylvania. Two families are composed of members who reside in Pennsylvania but whose bosses reside in neighboring states. In addition to these five families, five more are presently conducting or in the immediate past have conducted operations in Pennsylvania although members do not permanently reside here. These families are based in Michigan, Ohio, New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island.

In addition to the presence of La Cosa Nostra families in Pennsylvania the Crime Commission found that there are numerous local crime czars who operate semi-autonomously throughout the state, but pay some form of tribute to the Cosa Nostra. Such men have received local and national attention because of their activities in such cities as Reading, Pittsburgh, Scranton, Allentown, Pottsville, Easton, and Bethlehem. Sometimes they remain independent of Cosa Nostra dominance, but often they form coalitions and act in mutual interdependence with Cosa Nostra enterprises. It is not, however, worth public debate whether criminal syndicates in a community are local or Cosa Nostra controlled. The existence of organized crime and political corruption itself poses a danger to law enforcement and the public welfare; the costs to a community are the same in either case.


Syndicate Organization

Criminal syndicates are composed of men, differentiated by the ranks they hold and the roles they fill, who contribute in some way to the management of a criminal enterprise. Some are employed directly in operations such as crap games or loan sharking, Others ("money movers") assist the cash flow from these operations through hidden conduits either to other criminal enterprises or to legitimate business "fronts." Some members serve as advisors and counselors, others as enforcers and executioners, still others as buffers to insulate top-level leaders from direct involvement in criminal operations. As in any organization, some members are aggressive and active; others lack intelligence and initiative and are content to remain at the lower levels of the syndicate performing simple, manual chores.

Generally criminal syndicates are organized along lines more of influence than authority. The most rigid systems of command and supervision are found in La Cosa Nostra families; independent syndicates vary from area to area in formal organization and actual operation. From the DeCavalcante transcripts and the revelations of Joseph Valachi, law enforcement authorities have pieced together a comprehensive picture of the Cosa Nostra groups. According to the DeCavalcante transcripts, the La Cosa Nostra confederation is composed of "families"[11] run by individual "bosses."[12] Families are divided into "regimes" which are supervised by "caporegimes."[13] A


Click to return to Contents page

regime is in turn composed of a number (usually ten) of "soldati," or street soldiers.[14] Two other ranking officials in Cosa Nostra families are significant; the "underboss" ("sottocapo") and the counselor ("consigliere").[15] The underboss works directly beneath the boss and serves as a buffer to channel business and communications to him. If a member from another family desires to confer with the boss, he must first arrange the meeting with the underboss.[16] The consigliere mediates disputes between other members and acquires his prestige from his long years of experience in La Cosa Nostra family and criminal activities.

A body known as "The Commission" or "The Administration" is composed of a selected number of family bosses, and controls induction of new members and matters of territorial jurisdiction.[17] Commission members usually serve for a period of five years. The Commission has the power to authorize a family to induct new members or to refuse such authorization, The family of Angelo Bruno of Philadelphia was prevented from naming new members as was the family of Stefano Magaddino of Buffalo (who controls organized crime in the Erie, Pennsylvania, area).[18] If the Commission is dissatisfied with the performance of a boss, it may permanently remove him by "putting him on the shelf," as it did with Joseph Bonnano of New York,[19] who was found to be plotting the murders of other Cosa Nostra bosses. Finally, the Commission may take over the operation of a boss's family for a period of time until it is satisfied with his performance. This happened to Boss John LaRocca of the Pittsburgh area, and was described by Sam DeCavalcante.

We had trouble in our outfit, they came right in: "You people belong to the Commission until this is straightened out." They done the same thing in Pittsburgh. They made the Boss John LaRocca step down. Oh, it's all straightened out now... They made LaRocca take orders from the Commission until everything was straightened out.[20]

A number of Cosa Nostra traditions concerning authority and discipline effect. the cohesiveness and criminal activities of the families. First is the tradition of complete obedience to the rulings of the boss or the Commission. Second, loyalty to the Cosa Nostra is supposed to outweigh any loyalties ta family, God, or country. Third, all members are sworn to an oath of secrecy, referred to as "omerta," which, translated literally, means silence. Fourth, members are prohibited from signing any statements of guilt or incrimination for law enforcement authorities. (Angelo Bruno once advised, "No friend of ours is supposed to sign any kind of statement with the law. Never.")[21] Fifth, the tie of mutual obligation binds all members together in a tight relationship. Once a favor is extended to a fellow member, the obligation is to be repaid in kind. Sam DeCavalcante once described the strength of this custom to his brother:

In every town there are people who are obligated to do me favors. See, like Magaddino [in Buffalo] will do anything for me. Not that he wants to. He has to![22]

Independent criminal syndicates are organized in somewhat the same manner, but the traditions are not nearly as old or pervasive. Local crime czars usually become more general administrators of


Click to return to Contents page

criminal enterprises. For example, in Reading the racket czar was Abe Minker, referred to as "The General." Beneath him in authority was his nephew, Alex Fudeman, until Fudeman was replaced by Benny Bonnano, who would correspond to an underboss. The chief enforcer for Minker's syndicate was John Wittig, a convicted murderer. There were numerous lieutenants who ran Minker's number sub-banks, or who operated sports "books" with Minker's consent. In the city of Pittsburgh there are many independent numbers banks, each completely controlled by a neighborhood banker who pays some form of tribute to La Cosa Nostra. In most cases the extent of the syndicate is the organization of the numbers bank itself.


Structure of Syndicate Operations

Criminal syndicates are pyramids of individual rackets and differ according to the number, variety, and size of rackets controlled. In some cases a particular operation may actually be run by a Cosa Nostra family in order to provide steady employment and a stable source of income to the family. Some numbers banks, horse books, loan shark operations, and narcotics distribution rings are run by independents under tight Cosa Nostra control. Many are operated by independents and have a high degree of organization.

There are, then, three types of relationships which individual criminal enterprises have with criminal syndicates. The first is the operation of an individual enterprise by a syndicate, employing its own members. In Philadelphia, the Angelo Bruno family runs a series of numbers banks, crap games, and Joan shark operations employing its own members in supervisory positions.

The second arrangement is the franchising of geographic areas of La Cosa Nostra to independent or local syndicates. In many cases a local crime czar will himself supervise many varied criminal enterprises, but will in turn pay some form of tribute to a Cosa Nostra family in return for permission to operate in the area. Abe Minker, the rackets czar of Reading, was known to pay 30% of his numbers profits to members of the Vito Genovese Cosa Nostra family. In the Lehigh Valley area, a large bookmaking operation directed by Joseph Migliazza was actually controlled in New York by the family of Vito Genovese through Mario Mosiello. In return for the franchise, the independent is entitled to operate in his territory without competition or interference. The Cosa Nostra provides "muscle" at such times as other independents cause trouble for the franchisee. The forms of franchise payments differ from area to area. In some places a lump sum or percentage is paid to the Cosa Nostra. In other areas the independent agrees to "lay off" or "edge off" heavy bets with services dominated by the Cosa Nostra. In this way the franchise payment is made by patronizing a service and paying for it.

The third arrangement between independents and La Cosa Nostra may be termed "mutual investment." Unlike the franchise arrangement where a powerful Cosa Nostra organization and a less powerful independent strike an agreement, the mutual investment arrangement occurs between racket organizations of almost equal size and power. Many independent racketeers - usually in the largest cities - acquire wealth and power to rival the prestige of La Cosa Nostra bosses. A claim to monopoly over a territory by a Cosa Nostra boss would hold


Click to return to Contents page

diminished weight. In this situation, the Cosa Nostra deals with near-equals, setting up mutual investment compacts and treaties. They invest in each other's legal and illegal enterprises, and provide hard cash when the other needs it in short order. Such reciprocal arrangements promote friendship and stability, and lessen the likelihood that rivalries will lead to violence and law enforcement attention.


History of Criminal Syndicates in Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Crime Commission has concluded that there are five national "core group" Cosa Nostra families whose members reside and work in Pennsylvania. They are as follows:

  1. . Angelo Bruno (Philadelphia and Southeastern Pennsylvania).
  2. . Russell Bufalino (Northeastern Pennsylvania).
  3. . Sam DeCavalcante (Bucks County).
  4. . John S. LaRocca (Southwestern Pennsylvania).
  5. . Stefano Magaddino of Buffalo (Erie County, Pennsylvania).

Prior to the release of the DeCavalcante transcripts little was publicly known about La Cosa Nostra in Pennsylvania. The transcripts confirmed that it was very active in organized crime and legitimate business activities in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Bristol, Easton, and Allentown, although these by no means constitute all Pennsylvania cities in which the Cosa Nostra operates.[23]

The Kefauver Committee hearings in 1950-51 dealt with major racketeers in Pennsylvania but not with any particular Cosa Nostra or national affiliation. The Senate Labor-Management Committee in 1958 held hearings investigating Pennsylvania attendance at the 1957 Apalachin meeting, but the structure and full operations of the Cosa Nostra in Pennsylvania were not touched upon. In 1963 another Senate Subcommittee heard testimony from Cosa Nostra member Joseph Valachi, whose only comment about Pennsylvania was that there were probably a hundred members in the Philadelphia (Angelo Bruno) Family.[24] Thorough research by the Pennsylvania Crime Commission has been able to piece together a history of the five Cosa Nostra families operating within the state. The three resident families (Bruno, Bufalino, LaRocca) have been the subject of the greatest attention.

1. The Russell Bufalino Family (Northeastern Pennsylvania). During the period from 1890-1920 thousands of Sicilians and Italians emigrated to the United States. Accompanying the thousands of honest and hard-working immigrants was a core of hardened Mafia criminals. Mafia societies sprang up in many communities where the immigrants settled, and a number of these were in Pennsylvania. The earliest Mafia-connected immigrant of record in Pennsylvania was Steven LaTorre, who came from Montedoro, Sicily, in 1880 with his wife and children and a number of other such families and settled in the Pittston area of Luzerne County. Soon afterwards, he sent for his friend, Santo Volpe, Sr., who became the first boss of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Cosa Nostra family. Known as the "Men of Montedoro," the earliest Pennsylvania Mafia leaders belonged to the LaTorre, Volpe, and Sciandra families, whose sons today continue to fill leadership positions in the Cosa Nostra Organization.[25]


Click to return to Contents page

Santo Volpe, Sr. began as an impoverished coal miner but through skillful manipulation was able to obtain interest in a number of coal mines. During the 1930's he was elevated to the position of a member of the State Coal Commission, which controlled the tonnage that each company was permitted to mine. These coal interests served as a strong economic base from which the Volpe Cosa Nostra family enriched itself. The family gradually took over both coal companies and locals of the United Mine Workers Union and benefited from the "sweetheart" contracts that could thus be obtained.

Some time in the 1930's Volpe was succeeded by John Sciandra. A partner in the Knox Coal Company in Luzerne County, Sciandra made the first inroads into the United Mine Workers Union. His son, Angelo Joseph Sciandra, attended the Cosa Nostra convention at Apalachin, New York, in 1957.

Following Sciandra as boss was Joseph Mario Barbara, Sr., a convicted bootlegger and suspected murderer from the Scranton area. Barbara later moved to Binghamton, New York, and finally to Apalachin, where he purchased a palatial country estate that was to serve as the site of the 1957 Apalachin convention. As his sottocapo (underboss) he chose Russell Bufalino, the son of Angelo Bufalino, a close personal friend of Barbara's.

After Barbara's death the control of the Northeastern family was passed to the younger Bufalino, whose reign has attracted nationwide publicity, beginning with the 1957 Apalachin meeting, which federal authorities credit him with "arranging and attending." The federal Bureau of Narcotics termed him "one of the most ruthless and powerful leaders of the Mafia in the United States."[26] Today the Bufalino family controls organized crime in the counties of Luzerne, Lackawanna, Berks, Schuylkill, and Carbon Counties, and extends into the New York state areas surrounding Lewiston, Binghamton, and Apalachin. Authorities believe that the family is composed of roughly thirty members, most of whom reside in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

2. The John Sebastian LaRocca Family (Southwestern Pennsylvania). The first boss of the Pittsburgh-Southwestern Pennsylvania family was John Bazzano, Sr., a Sicilian immigrant who came to the United States during the 1890's. During the prohibition era Bazzano successfully consolidated Sicilian, Calabrian, and Neapolitan factions in the Pittsburgh bootlegging underworld. However, this was not accomplished without violence, and he is believed to have ordered in 1929 the execution of three brothers of the rival Volpe gang in Pittsburgh. Two of the brothers (Louis and Joseph) survived and carried their complaint to the newly-formed Cosa Nostra Commission in New York. In 1932 Bazzano was lured to a Brooklyn testimonial dinner in his honor, After the elaborate affair the Cosa Nostra leaders in attendance set upon him, stabbing him to death with ice picks. His perforated body was found a few days later in a burlap sack. Fourteen Cosa Nostra leaders were apprehended and charged with loitering, including some who would later be catapulted into national prominence. These included Santo Volpe, Sr., of Pittston; Albert Anastasia of New York (later the executioner for Murder, Inc.) ; Anthony Bonasera and John Oddo from Brooklyn; Paul Palmieri from New Jersey; and Sam DiCarlo from Buffalo.

In that year, control of the family passed to Frank Amato, Sr., of Braddock. During Amato's reign the family expanded outward into


Click to return to Contents page

Allegheny County and surrounding areas. In 1956 Amato developed an acute kidney ailment and resigned from the position of boss to become both sottocapo (underboss) and consigliere (counselor) to the family. His advisory role later led to trouble with the Federal Government, and in 1969 he was indicted by a federal grand jury in New York for allegedly refereeing a dispute concerning which of two Cosa Nostra families would have jurisdiction over the kickback from a Teamsters Union pension fund. Indicted along with Amato were his successor, Boss John S. LaRocca, three caporegimes in the Pittsburgh family, and prominent leaders in both the Detroit and New York City area Cosa Nostra families.[27]

Boss John LaRocca, who has ruled from 1956 until the present, has been beset with law enforcement problems throughout his career. In 1954 the U.S. Department of Justice began deportation proceedings against him. Pennsylvania Governor John Fine granted LaRocca a pardon from the previous lottery and larceny convictions that had given the government grounds for deportation[28] Governor Fine issued the pardon after the close of the deportation hearings, but in an unprecedented move dated it to fall during the course of the hearings. The government was then forced to drop the deportation proceedings.

LaRocca attended the infamous Apalachin meeting in New York in November of 1957, in the company of two of his chief lieutenants: Gabriel Mannarino and Michael Genovese. A subsequent investigation by the McClellan Labor-Management Committee found that LaRocca had large hidden interests in the coin machine and juke box business in Pittsburgh, that he was "very close" to labor racketeer Nicholas Stirone, that he was involved in the laundry and overall business in Detroit with Cosa Nostra leaders William Tocco and Anthony Zerilli, and that he had considerable influence in organized crime in West Virginia.[29] Bureau of Narcotics investigations revealed that LaRocca had attended an organized crime meeting in Sierra Madre, California, on March 14, 1956, in company with Gary, Indiana, racketeer Anthony Pinelli, Los Angeles Cosa Nostra boss Frank DeSimone, and Salvatore Marino, a caporegime in the LaRocca family residing in California.[30]

Federal and state authorities estimate the size of LaRocca's family at thirty-two members, who control organized crime in Allegheny, Beaver, Blair, Butler, Cambria, Fayette, Mercer, Washington, and Westmoreland Counties, The structure of the LaRocca family is as follows:[31]

Boss: John Sebastian LaRocca
Co-Boss and probable successor: Michael Genovese (Pittsburgh-Allegheny County-West Virginia)
Underboss: Frank Amato Sr. (Braddock-Allegheny County)
Caporegimes: Gabriel Mannarino (Westmoreland County and northern portion of Western Pennsylvania)
Antonio Ripepi (Washington County and southern portion of Western Pennsylvania)
Frank J. Rosa (Penn Hills-Allegheny County)
Joseph Regino (Johnstown-Cambria County area)
Joseph Sica (Wilmerding-Turtle Creek-Allegheny County)
Salvatore Marino (San Jose, California)


Click to return to Contents page

3. The Angelo Bruno Family (Southeastern Pennsylvania). The Cosa Nostra family currently controlled by Angelo Bruno was brought to the United States by a Sicilian immigrant named Salvatore Sabella. Convicted in 1905 of murder in Sicily, Sabella fled to the United States as a stowaway in 1911. Between 1911 and 1927 he resided in Philadelphia as an illegal alien and directed the local Mafia family. On Memorial Day of 1927, two rival racketeers were brutally slain and four others were wounded in a daylight assassination attempt. Sabella was charged with the murders, and although he was acquitted, the publicity surrounding the trial brought to light his illegal residency and he was deported to Sicily.

The next boss was Joseph Bruno (no relation to Angelo), who ruled from 1927 until 1944, His headquarters was first centered in Bristol, then in Trenton, New Jersey. In 1944 Bruno decided to step down and was succeeded by Joseph Ida. Although in firm control of his family, Ida ran his operations through his sottocapo (underboss), Marco Reginelli of Camden, who attracted most of the public and law enforcement attention. Reginelli died of cancer in 1956 and was succeeded as underboss by Dominick Olivetto of Camden. Both Ida and Olivetto attended the 1957 Apalachin conclave and were apprehended. Because both resided in New Jersey, their control over Philadelphia Cosa Nostra activities was not a matter of attention.

Fearing deportation proceedings against him, Ida fled to Italy following the Apalachin meeting. His sudden flight left a vacuum of leadership in the family which was soon filled by Antonio Pollina, who served as an "interim boss" until the national Commission could appoint a permanent one. In an attempt to consolidate his power, Pollina plotted the murder of his principal rival, Angelo Bruno, A "contract" for the murder of Bruno was let by Pollina to Ignazio Denaro, Pollina's underboss. Denaro informed Bruno of the plot, and Bruno took the matter to the Commission. After hearing both sides in an arbitration proceeding, the Commission decided in favor of deposing Pollina and making Bruno the boss. Bruno was given the additional privilege of having Pollina murdered in retaliation, but he decided against this. Since 1959 Bruno has been the reigning boss of the Philadelphia family, and he is also a member of the national Commission. His family is composed of approximately seventy-eight members who reside in Philadelphia, Delaware, and Schuylkill Counties, and in Southern New Jersey. There is a very prosperous regime in the city of Chester, Delaware County. The family structure is as follows:[32]

Boss: Angelo Bruno
Underboss: Ignazio Denaro
Consigliere: Joseph Rugnetta (also a Caporegime)
Caporegimes: John Capello (Philadelphia)
Joseph Lanciano (Camden, New Jersey)
Peter Maggio (Philadelphia)
Nicholas Piccolo (Philadelphia)
Joseph Scafidi (Vineland-Bridgeton, New Jersey)
Joseph Sciglitano (Delaware County)
John Simone (Trenton, New Jersey)
Phillip Testa (Philadelphia)


Click to return to Contents page

4. The Stefano Magaddino Family (Buffalo, New York, and Erie, Pennsylvania). One of the largest and most powerful Cosa Nostra families in the United States is that of Stefano Magaddino of Buffalo. With extensive holdings in the Buffalo-Montreal area, Magaddino also controls the Erie County area of Pennsylvania through his consigliere (counselor) Vincent Scro. Scro supervises a contingent of approximately eight Cosa Nostra members in Erie County. In Erie the local lieutenants have been James "Westfield Jimmy" Salamone and Anthony Ciotti, who have lengthy criminal records. Salamone was convicted in 1955 on charges growing out of a bribery-corruption scandal in Erie involving over forty individuals. In 1961 he was convicted of income tax evasion[33] Ciotti, second-in-command, was indicted in 1969 by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh for transporting stolen securities in interstate commerce.[34] [*Ciotti has since moved to Covington, Kentucky.] He was subsequently convicted of this crime on June 5, 1970 by a federal jury in Erie.

5. The Sam DeCavalcante Family (Central New Jersey and Bucks County, Pennsylvania). The DeCavalcante family achieved national notoriety in 1969 when 2000 pages of eavesdropped conversations were released in federal court in New Jersey. The transcripts detail the elaborate national structure of the Cosa Nostra, as well as operations in the Philadelphia and Bucks County areas. In Bristol, DeCavalcante family member Ignazio DiGirolomo is in charge. In the transcripts DeCavalcante referred to DiGirolomo: "You know, I got a compadre, Ignatz in Bristol."[35] Angelo Bruno, who was conferring at the time with DeCavalcante, remarked "Ignatz is under you," which means that DiGirolomo was an acknowledged Cosa Nostra member subordinate to DeCavalcante. DiGirolomo supervises DeCavalcante's interests in the Bucks County area, along with Vincenzo Gioe of New Jersey. In 1968 DeCavalcante was indicted by a federal grand jury in Camden for allegedly extorting money from two players who patronized one of his dice games in Trevose, near Bristol, in Bucks County. The eavesdropped conversations were introduced in court during pretrial motions.

6. Other Families. In addition to the above five, other Cosa Nostra families have been known to operate in Pennsylvania at various times, although their members do not reside in the state. They include the following, headquartered in these cities:

1. New York City. A prominent caporegime in the former Vito Genovese family, Anthony DiLorenzo, was convicted in November of 1969 in federal court in Manhattan for his part in a conspiracy to transport 2600 shares of stolen IBM stock, valued at $1 million, from New York to Gettysburg.

2. Brooklyn. Four close associates of the Joseph Colombo Cosa Nostra family were indicted in Cleveland in 1969, along with six other defendants, for transporting obscene motion pictures from Brooklyn to Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Detroit, and Rochester. Colombo associates Cosmo and Frank Cangiano, Dominick Ariale, and Thomas Gambardella were indicted along with Pittsburgh racketeer Anthony DeRamo for their part in transporting a million dollars worth of films. When DeRamo's headquarters was raided, it yielded over 500 pounds of films.


Click to return to Contents page

3. Boston-Providence, Rhode Island. On September 24, 1968, Philadelphia police officers raided the flower shop of Frank D'Alfonso in South Philadelphia. In addition to netting Cosa Nostra Boss Angelo Bruno and his Chief Lieutenant Phillip Testa, they apprehended Robert Dick, manager of a gambling casino in London, and two lieutenants of New England Cosa Nostra Boss Raymond Patriarca. The latter pair, Joseph Napolitano and Theodore Fucillo, were arrested and charged with conspiracy and violation of Pennsylvania gambling laws. [*In June of 1970 a special grand jury in Philadelphia recommended the indictments of Angelo Bruno, Frank D'Alfonso, and Albert Schwartz relative to an alleged gambling conspiracy which took place at the meeting.]

4. Detroit. FBI agents conducted a sweeping raid in November of 1967 and apprehended over thirty individuals from the Detroit-Flint, Michigan and Pittsburgh-Erie, Pennsylvania areas, The principals in the raid were Joseph Giacolone, an associate of Detroit Cosa Nostra leaders, and Michael Maggio, who was allegedly responsible for printing illegal football pool tickets in Erie. Other members of the organization were charged for a variety of crimes, including attempted murder, bank robbery, and counterfeiting.

5. Cleveland. Mario Guerrieri, a non-member associate of the Cleveland, Ohio, Cosa Nostra family, was indicted on October 31, 1968, by a federal grand jury in Cleveland which charged him with planning to commit a series of post office burglaries in Pennsylvania and nearby states. In November of 1969 he was indicted for plotting large-scale counterfeiting in Youngstown and Pittsburgh. Guerrieri and sixty-two other persons have been indicted in the counterfeiting scheme. So far thirty-eight individuals, including Guerrieri, have been convicted. In addition to Guerrieri, Pittsburgh racket figures Robert Cooper and James Barone were indicted. The U.S. Secret Service pieced together a five-level syndicate: at the top was Guerrieri, the boss. Second were the major wholesalers, and third the high-level distributors. Fourth were middle-level distributors or wholesalers, and fifth were the passers, who occasionally distributed the counterfeit money to other passers.

Over the years authorities have discovered a number of clandestine "summit" meetings of organized crime leaders, and investigations of these have given authorities a more accurate picture of the internal problems of crime syndicates in Pennsylvania. Once of the first known meetings took place in 1932 in New York, to discuss the murder of Pittsburgh Mafia leader John Bazzano, Sr. Then-current national Mafia leaders in attendance were Albert Anastasia of New York, John Oddo of Brooklyn, Paul Palmieri of New Jersey, Santo Volpe of Pennsylvania, and Sam DiCarlo of Buffalo and later Youngstown, Ohio.

In 1947 a meeting took place in the William Penn Hotel of Pittsburgh. In attendance were major Cosa Nostra racketeers from Pennsylvania as well as powerful independent racketeers from Delaware County. Cosa Nostra leaders Anthony Ripepi (LaRocca Family) and Michael D'Alessio (Genovese Family) attended, as well as Louis


Click to return to Contents page

Barish, William Cleary, and John Nolan of Delaware County. Barish had been convicted of murdering a syndicate rival during the 1930's, but his sentence had been commuted by gubernatorial order.

Cosa Nostra Boss John LaRocca of Pittsburgh attended a number of meetings with major national racketeers in 1955 and 1956, Federal Bureau of Narcotics agents revealed that in 1955 he visited Gary, Indiana, where he met with Anthony Pinelli to discuss his disguised interests in jukebox and pinball machines. On March 14, 1956, he attended a number of meetings in Sierra Madre, California, with Frank DeSimone, Boss of the Los Angeles Cosa Nostra family, and Salvatore Marino, a caporegime in the LaRocca family, who lives in California. Marino is the brother-in-law of Philadelphia caporegime Peter Maggio.

On November 14, 1957, a meeting took place in Apalachin, New York, that was to become the best known gathering of Cosa Nostra leaders in American history. Of the estimated one hundred and twenty racketeers in attendance, fifty-eight were apprehended by New York State Police. The meeting took place at the lavish country estate of Joseph Mario Barbara, Sr., then Boss of the Cosa Nostra family now dominated by Russell Bufalino. From the three resident Cosa Nostra families in Pennsylvania, the following individuals attended:[36]

1. Pittsburgh-area Family
John S. LaRocca, Boss
Michael Genovese, Co-boss (probable successor)
Gabriel Mannarino, Caporegime

2. Philadelphia Family
Joseph Ida, Boss
Dominick Olivetto, Underboss

3. Northeastern Pennsylvania Family
Joseph M. Barbara, Boss (Apalachin, New York)
Russell Bufalino, Underboss
Dominick Alaimo, Soldier
Angelo Joseph Sciandra, Soldier
James Osticco, Soldier

While the exact deliberations which took place may never be known, a number of federal law enforcement agencies have published their conclusions about the meeting. In 1959 a special federal grand jury was convened at the request of Attorney General William P. Rogers to study the purpose of the gathering, its attendants, and their backgrounds. As a result of that probe, twenty men were convicted of conspiracy to obstruct justice. Cosa Nostra Boss Russell Bufalino was among them; he was sentenced to a term of five years. The convictions were later reversed by the United States Court of Appeals.

The purposes of the meeting, according to federal law enforcement authorities, were these:

1. Justification for the October, 1957, murder of Boss (and former executioner for Murder, Incorporated) Albert Anastasia.

2. Planning of Cosa Nostra domination of the illicit traffic in narcotics, and dealing with the problems posed by vigorous federal enforcement activity.

3. The amelioration of friction surrounding investment in gambling concessions in Cuba and the Caribbean.


Click to return to Contents page

A special investigation was conducted by the Acting Commissioner of Investigation of the State of New York, Arthur Reuter. On April 23, 1958, he delivered his findings to Governor Averell Harriman:

A significantly large proportion of the Apalachin participants are engaged in what appear on the surface to be legitimate activities connected with the garment industry, namely, as manufacturing wholesalers, contractors, truckers, labor "consultants," and union officials.
They are the key figures in the non-union garment industry existing in Pittston, Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania sweat-shops, muscle-protected trucking bosses and double-dealing officials have collaborated to undercut the legitimate unionized garment industry of New York City.
It must therefore be inferred that the purpose of the meeting was to discuss problems relating to these illicit activities. Such problems would presumably include . . . manipulation of labor grievances and extension of infiltration into labor unions, with particular reference to the strike in the Pennsylvania women's apparel industry.[37]

The publicity attendant to the Apalachin meeting deterred Cosa Nostra leaders from scheduling similar conferences in the immediate future. Intensive surveillance by the FBI prevented leaders from transacting their business at "mini-Apalachin" meetings in Miami, New Orleans, Buffalo, and New York City. On April 12, 1966, the Philadelphia Police Department conducted a raid on a Center City restaurant and arrested a number of major Philadelphia underworld figures, who were charged with conspiring to set up an interstate gambling operation. Seized in the raid were Philadelphia Cosa Nostra boss Angelo Bruno; his chief lieutenant Phillip Testa; and Gerald Laietta, a caporegime in the Vito Genovese Cosa Nostra family from New York. Also present were Philadelphia racketeers Al Silverberg and Nathan Newman, who had been convicted in 1932 of murdering a prohibition agent in Minneapolis.

On June 11, 1968, New York City police officers raided a New York restaurant and apprehended Philadelphia Cosa Nostra Boss Angelo Bruno, Brooklyn Boss Joseph Colombo, and New York City Boss Carlo Gambino. In attendance were Bruno's cousin John Simone, a caporegime in the Bruno family; Vincent Aloi, a caporegime in the Colombo family; and Thomas Masotto of Brooklyn, a member of the Gambino family. Significantly, all three bosses are currently under federal indictment for their activities: Bruno and Colombo for income tax evasion; Gambino for plotting an armored car robbery.

On September 24, 1968, a meeting was held in the Philadelphia flower shop of Frank D'Alfonso, This affair (which has already been discussed) was raided by Philadelphia Police officers. The topic of the meeting was the Victoria Sporting Club, a lavish London gambling casino, and the junket service run by the Bruno and Patriarca Cosa Nostra families, In attendance was Robert Dick, a courier for the club, who was seeking the assistance of Bruno in collecting gambling debts by patrons of the casino in the Philadelphia area. Dick was subsequently indicted for giving false testimony to a federal grand


Click to return to Contents page

jury investigating the Victoria Sporting Club, and later indicted for jumping bail and returning to England.

On July 23, 1969, a federal grand jury in New York returned an indictment against nine of the major Cosa Nostra leaders in the nation for conspiring to increase a kickback on a loan from the Central States Teamster Pension Fund. Indicted were Cosa Nostra boss John LaRocca of Pittsburgh, his underboss and former boss, Frank Amato, Sr., and three caporegimes in his family, Joseph Sica, Frank Rosa, and Gabriel Mannarino, Cosa Nostra leaders Salvatore Celembrino, Edward Lanziere, and James Plumeri of New York, and Peter Corrado of Detroit were also indicted. In 1964 the Mid-City Development Corporation needed $1.25 million to purchase an industrial building complex. The Company received $1.05 million through the Detroit Cosa Nostra, arranged by Peter Corrado and Samuel Marrosso. In order to raise the additional $200,000 the Development Corporation approached James Plumeri, a caporegime in the Thomas Lucchese family. Plumeri arranged for the $200,000 loan to be made through the Central States Teamsters Pension Fund, but a kickback would need to be paid to the auditor of the fund. Before the deal could be consummated, the Detroit Cosa Nostra received wind of it and became furious. A meeting was called in Braddock, outside of Pittsburgh, to mediate the dispute. Frank Amato, Sr., of Braddock was appointed as the referee, and the dispute was settled.




Illegal gambling is by far the largest and most lucrative activity in which organized crime is engaged. In 1961 a U.S. Senate Subcommittee, studying organized gambling in depth, concluded that "organized crime in the United States is primarily dependent upon illicit gambling, a multi-billion dollar racket, for the necessary funds required to operate other criminal and illegal activities or enterprises." That finding holds true in Pennsylvania, where a multitude of state and federal grand juries, congressional investigations, and intelligence information has confirmed a vast empire of illegal numbers, bookmaking, treasury balance tickets, and other forms of gambling.

Illegal gambling provides a steady source of lucrative profits: which organized crime syndicates then invest in either more profitable or high-risk ventures, such as narcotics smuggling and loan sharking, or in legitimate businesses. Because the odds are so heavily weighted against the player, the profits are tremendous. Since gambling is considered by many criminal justice authorities to be a marginal crime - if a crime at all - the penalties for involvement in gambling are an ineffective deterrent.

Syndicate gambling operations are extremely well organized enterprises, whether they be run by independents coordinated by the Cosa Nostra, or by the Cosa Nostra itself to provide employment for its members. Many hierarchies of authority and responsibility are involved, from the street-level numbers runner and bookmaker, to the top-level or "edge off" man who gives these operators insurance against heavy losses.


Click to return to Contents page

The Numbers Racket

The numbers racket is the largest and most: highly organized of all gambling operations in Pennsylvania. Projections made from records seized by the Intelligence Division of the Internal Revenue Service reveal that the volume of business conducted by major numbers banks in Pennsylvania totals over $240 million per year.[38]

Investigations conducted by Pennsylvania State Police and local authorities in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia reveal that most numbers syndicates are run similarly. At the very top is the "banker," who is usually a major organized crime figure with a lengthy criminal history. He usually has two principal lieutenants, one to deal with sports bookmaking and the other to take care of his numbers operations. These men insulate the banker from direct involvement in the gambling operation. A number of office managers answer to a lieutenant; the number of offices depends upon the size of the operation and the possibility of detection and apprehension by law enforcement authorities. In general, each office handles the work of from four to ten street writers, who take the bets from the players. Often the banker will scatter his offices in different locations throughout the city in order to avoid detection, and numbers writers or runners phone in their bets to the bank so that they can then destroy all gambling records. As another step toward protection, the office, or "sub bank" as it is often called, will call the writer or courier at a particular time and location so that the writer or courier will not be able to give authorities the telephone number of the office, should he be arrested and choose to cooperate. At the office the staff computes the incoming plays on adding machines to figure the daily take, and determines whether there might be especially heavy plays on particular numbers. Should such a number be selected as the winner, the loss absorbed by the individual banker would be enormous. In order to buy insurance against heavy losses, the bankers "hedge" or "edge off" these heavy bets with individuals who provide this type of insurance. The "edge off," or "lay off" business requires large amounts of money, and only the wealthiest syndicate leaders can provide this service. In Philadelphia one layoff service for the majority of bankers is provided by lieutenants of Cosa Nostra Boss Angelo Bruno.[39] Although the individual bettor never sees and probably does not know of the existence of layoff men, they nevertheless provide the cement which holds the numbers business together. Being invisible and many layers removed from the actual taking of bets, they do not come to be viewed as either criminals or serious threats to society. Yet without the insurance they provide, numbers banks would quickly go out of business, Because they are invisible, they are rarely the subject of law enforcement activity.

The winning number is chosen by a highly random process. All bets must be submitted before the first race at a standard track, as the sequence of parimutuel winnings determines the number. For the first digit of the winning number, the winning prices for the first, second, and third races are used. The first number to the left of the decimal in the figure produced by adding the winning prices of the first three races becomes the first digit. The same process is used to select the second digit (4th and 5th races} and third (6th and 7th


Click to return to Contents page

races). In order to provide a variety of betting arrangements, bankers allow bettors to wager money on each number as it comes out (lead bets) and the incidence of two numbers in any sequence (parlay bets). The odds and payoffs for these bets are drastically reduced, but many bettors like to vary their plays from day to day.

1. Philadelphia. Beginning in 1950, the seriousness of the organized crime problem in Pennsylvania caused the Attorney General of the United States to empanel a special federal grand jury in Philadelphia which investigated numerous areas of organized crime activity and political corruption.

In its final report in 1952 the Special Federal Grand Jury concluded:

Soon after we convened we learned of the shocking conditions that existed in the City of Philadelphia with reference to the organized rackets in the numbers and bookmaking operations.[40]

Special Assistant to the Attorney General of the United States Max Goldschein stated after completing the probe that "the racketeering situation in Philadelphia is worse than anywhere I have been."[41] Concurrently the numbers racket in Philadelphia was one of the topics studied by the U.S. Senate Special Committee to Investigate Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce, chaired by Estes Kefauver. In 1950 and 1951 it heard lengthy testimony concerning the operation of the Philadelphia and Scranton numbers rackets. In its Third Interim Report the Committee found that

... organized crime is the numbers game... [which] in Philadelphia has achieved the size of a big industry and like a big industry ... appears to be organized on a highly efficient scale... The city is organized into a number of geographical territorics, each with its own bank, in turn affiliated with sufficient political connections to be able to operate without too much fear of molestation.[42]

Since the time of that report, numerous state and federal prosecutions have established the Kefauver Committee's findings as accurate. Significant, but not exclusive, control over numbers gambling in Philadelphia has been exercised by the Cosa Nostra. The DeCavalcante transcripts provide a number of revealing examples.

On February 11, 1962, DeCavalcante visited Angelo Bruno in Bruno's offices at the former Penn-Jersey Vending Company in Philadelphia. He complained that his associate in numbers gambling in Bristol, Pennsylvania, James Goia, was cheating him out of profits. DeCavalcante said that he was losing so much in his Bristol bank that "whatever I'm making through these plays in Trenton I'm throwing to Bristol" to make up the deficit. After DeCavalcante claimed that his daily play was worth $33,751 in the Bristol area, Bruno announced his decision that whatever profits there were would be split between DeCavalcante and Goia evenly, by Bruno's cousin, Cosa Nostra member Charles "Pinky" Costello of Trenton.[43] In 1969 a special statewide grand jury in Trenton indicted Costello for running a $500,000-a-year numbers operation.


Click to return to Contents page

At the same meeting Bruno admitted handling the layoffs for independent and Cosa Nostra bankers "The only thing is the layoff. That's all I take, I don't want the other stuff.[44] Bruno also implicated a life-long friend of his and convicted narcotics peddler, Peter Casella, in his numbers operation. "Pete was giving me his business," said Bruno. Another individual mentioned by Bruno as being in the numbers racket was Phillip Testa, Bruno's chief caporegime, currently under federal indictment for lying on a Federal Savings and Loan application: "Phil has to make a living. I have something to do with it, but he takes care of it."[45]

There are approximately twenty-five numbers banks in the city of Philadelphia. Records seized by Philadelphia police officers, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation help piece together a picture of the enormous volume of business done by these banks:

  1. . Keilyk-Ucciferri Bank. In October of 1963, Intelligence Agents of the IRS arrested Michael Keilyk, Romualdo Ucciferri, and four associates for failure to purchase $50 wagering tax stamps. Records seized showed that the bank employed 45 runners, had a daily take of approximately $20,000 and an annual volume of close to $6 million.[46]
  2. . Fina Bank. One of the largest banks in Philadelphia was raided by IRS Intelligence Agents on February 27, 1967, The bank employed over 200 writers and runners, did a daily business of $50,000 and a yearly volume of $12.5 million. Francis Fina was observed to have clandestine meetings with Cosa Nostra caporegime Phillip Testa, who handled the "edge off" of many numbers banks for Angelo Bruno. The Fina bank was again raided in 1969 by Philadelphia police, and $298,000 in plays was found. In January of 1970 Edward and Francis Fina were indicted by a federal grand jury in Philadelphia for running an interstate numbers operation.[47]
  3. . Robinson bank. On December 17, 1969, Philadelphia police raided the headquarters of a West Philadelphia bank. Carl Robinson and two office workers were arrested. Records seized indicated that the bank's average daily volume of business was between $5,000 and $10,000, or between $1.25 and $2.5 million per year. The bank employed 75 writers and received an average of 25,000 bets per day.[48]
  4. . DiRugeris Bank. On May 20, 1967, IRS agents raided the bank operated by William and Louis DiRugeris. Records reflected that the bank employed 200 writers and did projected annual business of $2 million. During the arrest William DiRugeris assaulted a federal agent and was later convicted of the charge. He was arrested on three separate occasions in 1969 by Philadelphia police officers on gambling violations.[49]
  5. . Monzelli Bank. This bank was raided by FBI agents in February of 1965. Pasquale Monzelli and Nick Russo used interstate facilities to conduct a numbers operation between the Ambassador Townhouse in Philadelphia, and Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Monzelli has a criminal record of 14 arrests and three convictions, and when arrested by the FBI he possessed $5900 in cash, $4500 of which was in $100 bills.[50]


Click to return to Contents page

Other numbers banks have been the subjects of federal and local enforcement activity. Cosa Nostra associates Frank Monte and John Testa (brother of Phillip) were arrested in 1968 by Philadelphia police for possession of over 5000 numbers bets, totaling $10,000. Monte had been convicted on an carlier lottery charge in 1964. In 1968 Northeast Philadelphia numbers banker George Illgas attempted to bribe a member of the Chief Inspector's Special Squad: Illgas and the intermediary in the bribe attempt were convicted, and the Sergeant who reported the bribe offer has since been promoted.[51] Numbers banker Theodore Perri was convicted in 1970 in federal district court in Philadelphia for using interstate facilities to operate a numbers operation in two large Philadelphia industrial plants.[52] A close associate of Perri's, Joseph "Pope" McNally. has a lengthy arrest record for numbers gambling, In 1965 he was arrested by Philadelphia Police officers who found 450,000 in numbers bets and 250 coded names of numbers writers and runners in his possession. In 1967 he was arrested by IRS agents for failure to purchase a $50 wagering tax stamp.[53] He was twice arrested in 1969 on lottery charges.

It is a generally recognized principle among law enforcement officials throughout the United States that the size and complexity of numbers banks have required that they secure law enforcement and political protection from arrest and prosecution. The corruption and political influence attendant to the operation of numbers banks will be the subject of a following chapter on the nullification of government.

2. Pittsburgh. Numbers gambling in Pittsburgh is on an equal footing with that in Philadelphia. During the period 1961-1967 intensive IRS enforcement was able to identify and prosecute the leaders of the principal numbers banks in the city.[54] In 1966 the International Association of Chiefs of Police published a study of the Pittsburgh Police Department in which it asserted.

Three conclusions seem inescapable. First there is obviously considerable numbers gambling in Pittsburgh as there is in every major eastern city; numbers operators have been arrested and convicted by the department. Second, the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police is extremely vulnerable to police involvement in protection for numbers operators... Third, ... the official attitude of the administration of the bureau - to plead that numbers gambling exists but that the bureau must be more concerned with other forms of crime - has resulted in the tendency for many of the personnel to become complacent with respect to numbers gambling enforcement.[55]

David Craig, who became Public Safety Director following revelations of corruption in Pittsburgh, stated in 1968 that "we had better admit that we have organized crime here.[56] He estimated that the numbers volume in Allegheny County was "$230,000 per day or $71 million per year."[57]

While pursuing numbers gambling enforcement in Pittsburgh, the Internal Revenue Service developed an income tax evasion case against Assistant Superintendent of Police Lawrence Maloney, who was charged with failure to report bribes from numbers bankers as a source of income. During his trial in 1965, four of the major


Click to return to Contents page

numbers bankers in the city testified as to the amounts of bribes. Prior to their testimony the Internal Revenue Service requested that all four witnesses voluntarily submit to polygraph tests. All took them, and passed:[58]

1. Anthony Grosso: Convicted in 1964 of operating the largest numbers bank in Pittsburgh and sentenced to nine years. The Grosso operation was found to handle an annual volume of $12 million. At the Maloney trial he testified to the following:

(a) He handled a daily volume of between $40,000 and $60,000, with 3000-5000 numbers writers.
(b) Maloney was paid $1,000 per month, plus money for holidays and vacations.
(c) $15,000 per year was paid by Grosso to bagmen for political officials in Pittsburgh.
(d) Bribes were paid to other police and political officials totaling $25,000 annually.

2. Meyer Sigal: Convicted in 1963 for wagering tax evasion, testified that he paid over $24,000 a year to Maloney and that he paid Maloney $1500 every primary clection and $1500 for every general election of the Democratic Party. Sigal testified that in return Maloney was to "keep arrests down as much as possible ... If arrests were made, I'd try to get Maloney to get as many discharges [from magistrates] as possible and have no more than one held for court."

3. Henry Katz: Another large numbers banker, convicted in 1962 of wagering tax cvasion, testified that he grossed $7000 per day or $2.1 million per year. He testified that he paid $850 per month to Maloney's chief assistant, Captain Clarence Cooper, who later pleaded guilty to income tax evasion, and $300 per month to Maloney.

4. Marvin Walkow: An independent numbers banker who had worked for Grosso, testified that he paid over $250 per month to top-level police officers in order to obtain immunity from enforcement.

In Washington, former Internal Revenue Commissioner Sheldon Cohen revealed that between ten and twenty percent of gross gambling income was used to corrupt public officials in Pittsburgh.[59] Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach reported that from 1961-1965, 158 racketeering cases were developed in Pittsburgh by the U.S. Department of Justice Organized Crime and Racketeering Section and the Internal Revenue Service. Fifteen major, management-level racketeers and 143 associates were convicted. Most of these were involved in numbers gambling operations.[60]

In addition to the numbers operations unraveled at the Maloney trial, federal authorities were successful in bringing a number of other major prosecutions in Pittsburgh:

1. Chester Stupak: Convieted of wagering tax evasion in 1963, Stupak was arrested in 1965 on two separate occasions for operating a lottery while free on appeal from his federal convictions. During his federal trial, local police officers testified that they had received bribe offers from Stupak.[61]


Click to return to Contents page

2. Pasquale Stanizzo: Stanizzo, Joseph Zeher, and seven other individuals were convicted in 1967 on federal wagering violations. During their trial it was computed that their operation grossed an average of $75,000 per week.[62]

3. Joseph Harper: An independent numbers banker in Pittsburgh, was indicted in 1969 for failing to file income tax returns for a five-year period.[63]

Other areas of Pennsylvania have shown significant numbers gambling over the years. These largely federal cases signal the failure of state and local criminal justice officials to deal with the problem.

3. Reading. One of the largest independent syndicate leaders in Pennsylvania, Abe Minker, ran a conglomerate of illegal activities in Reading. The largest was a numbers bank. In 1961 Minker was convicted of evading over $130,000 in federal wagering excise taxes on a gross volume of $1.25 million.[64] Soon thereafter a civil suit was filed by the Internal Revenue Service to collect $2 million in back taxes owed by Minker. The Attorney General of the United States termed the conviction "perhaps the most significant wagering tax case concluded during the year."[65]

In 1965 Minker was again convicted in federal court with Joseph Fiorini, who operated one of Minker's sub-banks.[66] Fiorini and Minker were charged with conspiring to evade and defeat collection of federal wagering taxes. The incident which led to the indictment was a raid conducted by Reading Police Chief Charles Wade after an FBI gambling raid in January of 1962 cast serious doubts over the honesty of Reading law enforcement. In order to give the appearance of honesty, Wade conducted a raid on Fiorini's headquarters without securing permission from Abe Minker. Seized in the raid were numerous records that showed that Fiorini and Minker were under-reporting their wagering income. A subsequent meeting was held at which Wade agreed to destroy selected gambling records. Instead he saved them and turned them over to federal authorities after he was indicted in federal court on charges of perjury stemming from another inquiry. Later Wade testified that he had agreed to purchase the job of Police Chief from Minker for $10,000, and that he remained on Minker's payroll while serving as Chief.

4. Pottsville, Several large numbers banks have been discovered and individuals prosecuted in Pottsville. Peter Joseph, the leading numbers racketeer in the city, was the subject of federal income tax evasion charges in 1952 and wagering tax evasion charges in 1959.[67] Internal Revenue agents became interested in Joseph's evasion of taxes on $200,000 in income when he attempted to exchange at a local bank $250,000 in molded money he had been storing in his basement. Joseph was convicted on the income tax charge, and in 1959 he was convicted of evasion of federal wagering taxes. IRS agents seized two whole filing cabinets full of numbers gambling records and $56,000 in cash from his headquarters. Two of Joseph's close associates in gambling, Ameen Fedool and Joseph Sophy, were convicted in federal court in 1959 for failure to purchase a wagering tax stamp.[68] During the past two years, they have been arrested by Pennsylvania


Click to return to Contents page

State Police in Pottsville, but Schuylkill County grand juries have refused to indict them.

5. Erie. Erie County has been the focus of major state and federal enforcement activity against numbers banks operated there. In 1959 US. Attorney Hubert Teitelbaum was probing rackets in Erie and Pittsburgh through a special federal grand jury. At one point he said "Erie is as bad as Pittsburgh for rackets. There are probably a dozen major numbers banks there.[69] In October of that year Erie police raided a $1000-a-day numbers operation of Salvatore Calafato, which was believed to be laying off large bets with organized crime syndicates in Pittsburgh and Youngstown.[70]

In 1954, a gambling-corruption scandel rocked the city of Eric. In that year State Police arrested over 40 numbers bankers, public officials, and political leaders for conspiring to commit acts of bribery to protect the Erie numbers racket. In 1955 Cosa Nostra member Carl Alessi was convicted in federal court for failure to purchase a wagering stamp before setting up his numbers operation.[71] Erie Cosa Nostra leader James Salamone, convicted in the 1954 gambling scandal, was sentenced to a one-year federal term in 1961 for income tax evasion, A federal agent testified at his trial that Salamone admitted that he obtained his income from numbers gambling.[72] In 1969, Pennsylvania State Police officials arrested a Cosa Nostra member and three major associates for running numbers gambling operations, but indictments were returned against only two individuals; the remainder were discharged.

6. Bethlehem. Major Lehigh Valley racketeer John C. Parenti was convicted of income tax evasion in federal court in 1969. During his trial federal agents and other witnesses established the fact that a major portion of Parenti's unreported income came from numbers operations he was controlling. A long-time associate of Parenti's, Ludwig Iskra, testified that he worked for Parenti in Bethlehem and handled Parenti's numbers operation there.[73]


Dice Games

Large scale dice or "crap" games have been prominent forms of revenue for organized crime in Pennsylvania. The most instructive example of the syndicate organization of a professional crap game is offered by the Reading game, raided by FBI agents on January 20, 1962, and termed "the largest crap game in the East."[74] Other significant examples exist. In 1965, FBI agents raided a Cosa Nostra run crap game in South Philadelphia and arrested five members with long arrest records for serious, violent crimes. In 1968 Cosa Nostra Boss Sam DeCavalcante was indicted for conspiring to rob players in one of his crap games. In 1970 veteran of the Reading game Frank LoScalzo was arrested in Lansdowne for participating in a large game raided by Lansdowne police.

The U.S. Department of Justice charged that the Reading game was run nine times a week, with each game involving a pot of between $50,000 and $100,000. The raid was conducted by over a hundred FBI agents, who netted over 150 operators and patrons. There were over thirty-five employees on the payroll - stickmen, luggers, tellers, loan sharks, dice detectives, and security personnel, with a weekly payroll of over $7800. The government also charged


Click to return to Contents page

that the partners of George Barrow in the game were Cosa Nostra bosses Joseph Profaci of New York and Dominick Olivetto of the Camden-Philadelphia area. The fourth partner, Abe Minker, was the leader of organized crime in Reading.[75]

Five of the principals and eight employees in the game were convicted in federal court. Barrow was originally given a sentence of three years, which was then reduced to two; in an unusual move the sentence was finally reduced to one year. Despite objections by government attorneys, who charged that Barrow had fifteen arrests for major crimes, had been a principal suspect in three racket murders, and had not been legitimately employed since 1926, he was given a hand-slap sentence.

In 1963, FBI agents arrested four Cosa Nostra members of the Angelo Bruno family, including Caporegime John Capello, and one associate. All were charged with interstate travel in the operation of a crap game run in South Philadelphia,[76] Capello and soldiers Frank Narducci, Dominick DeVito, and Joseph Lazzaro, and proposed member Frank Sindone, were convicted on November 10, 1966, in federal court on pleas of nolo contendre. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover listed the case as one of the principal anti-racketeering cases of 1966.[77] Subsequently DeVito was arrested by FBI agents in 1967 for failing to pay his fine, and Narducci was sentenced to a year in prison for violating his parole after he was arrested in Las Vegas for failure to register as a criminal. Narducci had a lengthy criminal record for murder, assault, and robbery. Frank Sindone had a conviction for narcotics violations and arrests for assault and robbery.

In March of 1968 Cosa Nostra Boss Sam Cavalcante was indicted in federal court in Newark, New Jersey, for conspiring to rob four players who patronized his dice game in Trevose, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.[78] Following this robbery, DeCavalcante was charged with extorting additional sums from the same victims.

A principal racketeer in Chester County, Thomas Joseph Mastrangelo, was arrested by Pennsylvania State Police on August 5, 1968, for running a floating crap game in Phoenixville. Twenty-four individuals were arrested and over $4000 was seized. Mastrangelo was indicted in January of 1969, and in September of that year a motion to suppress evidence was denied.[79] On March 10, 1970, Mastrangelo pleaded guilty in Chester County Court and was fined $250 plus costs. On February 19, 1969, Mastrangelo's Blue Jay Pool Room was raided by State Police officers, and two of his associates were arrested and later indicted for operating a dice game.


Sports Bookmaking

It is a chief purpose of this section to demonstrate to the average citizen who places the $2.00 bet that although his contribution to organized crime may be small, it is significant; without his selfish desire to indulge his gambling appetite, the intimidation and corruption that sustain organized crime could not exist.

Illegal bookmaking on sporting events is second only to the numbers racket in the amount of revenue controlled by crime syndicates. A recent special grand jury investigating gambling and corruption in Northampton County addressed the problem in its final report, issued in 1967:


Click to return to Contents page

... gambling on horses, numbers, and sporting events is widespread throughout the country ... We find as a further fact that the paramount reason for this condition is the apathy of the public - general acceptance of the belief that it works no harm - a feeling that if people wish to gamble they should be permitted to do so.[80]

The remarkable extent of illegal off-track betting in Pennsylvania has been slow to come to the surface. The following discussion should put to rest for good the contention that the corner bookie answers to no one above himself; that local bookmaking should be tolerated because the bookmakers are known to the community; and that off-track betting, illegal though it may be, should not be treated as criminal because it is harmless.

The first myth which bookmakers preach is that their operations are local, and that no outside syndicate controls them. Numerous federal eases in Pennsylvania confirm the finding that organized, illegal off-track betting is intra-state, inter-state, and national in nature, and that the corner bookie is the lowest rung on a high ladder dominated at the top by criminal syndicates.

In 1961 the New York State Temporary Commission of Investigation planned a series of coordinated raids in conjunction with New York State Police. The goal was to confirm the belief that gambling in New York State was syndicated and that it posed a serious law enforcement problem. To the surprise of officials in New York, many of the connections of New York bookmakers were centered in Pennsylvania. At a public hearing, the Commission of Investigation presented a map showing interstate gambling ties between the following cities in New York and Pennsylvania:[81]

New York   Pennsylvania
Syracuse to Scranton and Wilkes-Barre
Buffalo to Philadelphia and Pittsburgh
Falconer to Bradford and Wilkes-Barre

Actually, information confirming the existence of interstate gambling syndicates had been compiled in 1956 by IRS agents who located a gambling layoff center in New Kensington, Pennsylvania. Long known as the city impacted by organized crime, New Kensington proved to be the hub of a national layoff system. In April of 1956, IRS agents conducted a series of simultaneous raids throughout the United States based on information uncovered in New Kensington.[82] There were raids in Covington, Kentucky; Fort Worth, Texas; Des Plaines, Illinois; Revere, Massachusetts; and four locations in Pittsburgh. The hub of the enterprise was a small, ramshackle building adjoining Namey's Grill and Ice Cream Parlor in New Kensington. In May a second raid was conducted at twenty-two locations in seven cities affiliated with the New Kensington operation.

Pennsylvania bookmakers have subsequently continued and expanded their ties with nationwide gambling syndicatcs. In May of 1967, IRS agents arrested two principal bookmakers in the Pittsburgh area, Augustine Ferrone and William Mendicino, who were accused of laying off bets with a Las Vegas operator.[83] In July of 1969, FBI agents arrested two major Pittsburgh numbers operators and


Click to return to Contents page

sports bookmakers, Donald "Ducky" Cole and Mel Cummings. The two were charged with operating a national layoff operation between Pittsburgh and Houston, Texas.[84]

In 1963, FBI agents raided the innocent looking Terry's Cigar Store in Pottsville, the seat of Matthew Whitaker's multi-million dollar bookmaking enterprise. At Whitaker's federal trial he was found to be running an interstate bookmaking operation receiving illegal odds and race results from a notorious sports service in Baltimore, Chicago, and Fort Worth.[85] Following his conviction on this charge, Whitaker was found to be deeply involved in the national gambling syndicate of Gilbert Lee Beckley.[86] In 1966 his probation was revoked and he was ordered back to prison. Known as one of the largest bookmakers in the nation, Whitaker was termcd by the Attorney General of the United States as "a substantial bookmaking and layoff operator in Pennsylvania" and "a member of the Beckley-Nolan syndicate"[87]

These federal actions are in marked contrast to the inability of criminal justice authorities in Schuylkill County to prosecute Whitaker. In 1963, State Police officers raided Whitaker's operation in Pottsville. The ensuing trial later resulted in a mistrial, and Whitaker was not retried until May of 1970, when he was convicted on four counts of conducting a bookmaking operation. In May of 1968, State Police again raided Whitaker's operation, and records showing a volume of over $70,000 per day were seized. A Schuylkill County grand jury refused to indict Whitaker. On June 7, 1969, Whitaker was again raided by the Pennsylvania State Police. The officers seized bets totaling $27,000 from the Necho Allen Hotel, but a Schuylkill County grand jury refused to indict Whitaker on this charge also. [*On June 10, 1970, a federal grand jury in Phil indicted Whitaker and five others for use of interstate facilities in bookmaking. The alleged operation involved illegal bookmaking in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Mississippi, and Pennsylvania.]

State and federal law enforcement agencies have brought a number of other significant prosecutions in Pennsylvania in the following areas:

1. Pittsburgh. In 1967, IRS agents raided the Monroeville-based bookmaking operation of John LaGorga. They discovered that he was laying off bets with Robert R. "Fifi" London, a major racketeer in the Baltimore area. In 1969, FBI and Pennsylvania State Police officers raided the bookmaking operation of Robert Ianelli, termed the largest bookmaker in the Western portion of Pennsylvania. In 1970 Ianelli pleaded guilty to a bookmaking charge in Allegheny County and was given a hand-slap $500 fine.[88]

2. Philadelphia. In 1961, IRS agents raided the plush Colony Inn, a horse parlor operated by Tom Malone, nephew of then Assistant to the Commissioner of Police David Malone. The raid was one of a hundred conducted simultancously throughout the United States by IRS agents in 54 citics.[89]

3. Scranton. In 1961, the principal bookmaker in the Scranton area, Arthur Rinaldi, was convicted in federal court for failure to


Click to return to Contents page

purchase a federal wagering tax stamp.[90] In July of 1969, Pennsylvania State Police raided the gambling establishment of Leonard "Spike" Carlucci, Steven Nesko of Dunmore was arrested for bookmaking.

Occasionally the relationships of bookmaking operations to the national Cosa Nostra network come to light. In 1967, more than a hundred FBI agents conducted a series of raids in Easton, Pennsylvania, and apprehended over twenty persons for conducting an interstate bookmaking operation in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York.[91] The principal figures were Joseph Migliazza of Easton and Mario Mosiello, a Cosa Nostra member in the former Vito Genovese family. Subsequent investigation showed that a substantial portion of the profits was channeled to New York. Migliazza was later the subject of a special grand jury probe in Northampton County, and was convicted of both the federal and state charges. One of the principals in the federal case, Joseph Piperata, was arrested by Pennsylvania State Police officers in 1969 and was subsequently convicted of bookmaking in Northampton County Court.[92]

In addition to the layoff system by which heavy bets on particular events are insured or offset, a system of rapid communication of gambling odds and sports-events results is central to the functioning of a bookmaking operation. In 1961, after lengthy hearings into the problem, the Congress of the United States outlawed interstate transportation of wagering information. By eliminating the transmitters of such data, authorities have tried to reduce the amount of illegal, syndicate-controlled gambling.

Some of the most elaborate sports-information dissemination networks have operated in Pennsylvania. One was the subject of a U.S. Senate hearing in 1961 before the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. The witness was Albert Tollin, General Manager of Delaware Sports Service of Wilmington. Through committee staff testimony it was established that Tollin was supplying Pennsylvania bookmakers with betting information.[93] Mitchell Slivkin of Harrisburg and Santo Domiano of Reading were two of the twenty bookmakers supplied by Tollin's service.[94] In Pittsburgh, Mike Martorella was reeciving information from Frank L. Rosenthal's national layoff center in Chicago.[95] Matthew Whitaker's Terry's Cigar Store in Pottsville was found to be receiving race wire results from Angelo Rosetti's service in Revere, Massachusetts.[96]

One of the greatest tests of the new federal anti-gambling law took place in Philadelphia. In 1966 a federal grand jury indicted over ten individuals for their part in a national sports wire service which was run from an innocent-looking room on Chadwick Street.[97] U.S. Justice Department spokesmen commented that racketeers chose Philadelphia as the center for the sports service because "they know Philadelphia is one of the easiest places to buy their freedom, Most gamblers in this area with long arrest records seldom have a conviction."[98] In the period of one year, IRS Intelligence agents raided the wire room twice, but it continued to operate.

One of the principal ways of avoiding detection was to "backstrap" the telephones in the room. This involved wiring a telephone which was listed to an unsuspicious address so that it actually operated some


Click to return to Contents page

distance away at the wire room. Government spokesmen commented that "any bookie or bank that wanted to survive had to subscribe to the service."[99] The wire room syndicate was found to:

  1. Have its people at every major racetrack in the country.
  2. Have up to 300 customers in Philadelphia and 350 in cach city where it operated.
  3. Charge up to $175 for disseminating information from each race.[100]

One of the key participants in the wire room was Warren Picillo, described by the U.S. Justice Department as a Cosa Nostra member from Rhode Island.[101] In October 27, 1969, nine of the defendants pleaded guilty and received small fines and probated sentences. Soon thereafter Philadelphia police officers again raided the wire room, now operating at a different location. Two of the principal defendants convicted in the case, Joseph D'Amato and Joseph Nanartowitz, had their probations revoked and were ordered to prison. Rapid communication of key race results still ranks as one of the most important services needed by handicappers and bookmakers.

It is clear that the "harmless" $2.00 bet can not be tolerated when weighed against the harm done by the political corruption which flows from illegal gambling and by the channeling of gambling profits into other syndicate activities.


Treasury Balance Tickets, Betting Pools, and Punchboards.

The tremendous appetite for all types of illegal gambling has been reflected in a wide variety of games of chance. Among the largest in terms of revenue generated for syndicate operations are treasury balance, betting pools, and punchboards,

In 1951, testimony was given before the Kefauver Crime Committee by State Police Captain Harry McElroy concerning the illegal traffic in treasury balance tickets in Pennsylvania. Captain McElroy discussed the drive the State Police were conducting against illegal treasury balance tickets, which were then controlled by Lou Cohen of Scranton.[102] Although in a period of one year the State Police made five raids and confiscated millions of dollars worth of equipment and tickets, the racket continued to flourish, Estimates by law enforcement authorities at the time placed Cohen's annual gross at over $20 million per year, with six other independent treasury lotteries each averaging $2 million per year each.

In 1960, agents of the Internal Revenue Service conducted a raid on one of Cohen's distributors in Scranton, Nicholas Wedra. Approximately 15,000 treasury balance tickets were seized, and Wedra was convicted in federal court in Scranton for failure to purchase a wagering occupational stamp.[103]

In 1964, Pennsylvania State Police officers conducted an extensive investigation of the growing treasury balance ticket racket, and found that there were two principal areas in the state noted for heavy concentrations of tickets. The first was the Scranton area, containing Wilkes-Barre and Pittston, with heavy traffic in Hazleton and Bristol. The second area was the western portion of the state, with tickets flowing into Pennsylvania from Jamestown, New York and Youngstown, Ohio. Heavy traffic of tickets into Pennsylvania also emanated


Click to return to Contents page

from Baltimore and from Kansas City, Missouri, The treasury balance ticket racket in the Scranton area was believed controlled by Lou Cohen, and in the western portion of the state by a lieutenant of Cosa Nostra Boss John S. LaRocca.

Sports betting pools and punchboards are also very popular. In 1967 the Detroit Strike Force of the U.S. Department of Justice coordinated a series of interstate raids against a syndicate that was, among numerous other crimes, engaged in printing illegal football betting pool ecards and transporting them from Erie to Pittsburgh and Flint, Michigan. Erie resident Michacl Maggio was arrested, along with associates Joseph Giacolone of Flint, and Caesar Montevecchio and Chris Calabrese of Erie. Montevecchio and Calabrese were later convicted of bank robbery in Flint and were indicted in 1969 for bank robbery in Boston. An attempt was made to murder an informant working inside the organization who was cooperating with Michigan authorities. Although shot three times in the head the formant survived to name his assailant, who is now under indictment in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

The illegal traffic in punchboards and betting pools continued. In November of 1968, Pennsylvania State Police officers raided the Abington Press in Clarks Summit and seized 62,000 illegal football pool tickets, ready for distribution throughout the state.


Casino Gambling

Although open casino gambling is the most blatant form of illegal gambling, criminal syndicates in Pennsylvania have been actively engaged in it for decades. In 1961 six major figures in the LaRocca Cosa Notra family were convicted of running a wide-open gambling casino in New Kensington. When the casino was raided by IRS Intelligence agents, four New Kensington police officers were located inside[106] The case was a product of vigorous undercover work conducted by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Unit of the Internal Revenue Service and the Intelligence Division of IRS. Additional gambling casino interests of the LaRocca family were located just over the West Virginia border. In 1963 and 1967, FBI agents raided gambling casinos located near Chester, West Virginia, operated by LaRocca family member Joseph N. Pecora.[107] Arrested were notorious racketeers from Pittsburgh, Steubenville, Ohio, and Youngstown, Ohio, areas. In 1967, FBI agents conducted a series of raids in Steubenville and arrested a number of Pittsburgh-area racketeers for transporting casino customers interstate from Pennsylvania to Ohio. All were subsequently convicted and given small fines.

Gambling's Relationship with other Crimes

The operation of an illegal numbers bank, bookmaking parlor, sports pool, or other enterprise involves much more than the street-level provision of the illicit service. Lengthy and complex planning must be conducted for the acquisition of the safe and proper site, the hiring of competent personnel (those with long criminal records), and the avoidance of detection and arrest. The conspiracies in which gambling syndicates engage come about as a result of the need for economic planning. In order to assure a profitable and stable income from the enterprise, the environment of law enforcement and illegal competition must be


Click to return to Contents page

stabilized. Organized crime expert Ralph Salerno has termed the kinds of crimes that contribute toward planning and insulation of the syndicate "strategic" crimes. While in themselves they may not bring in very much revenue, they establish the conditions under which increased revenue will gradually come in. In addition to the operation of illegal gambling enterprises, the syndicates that control organized gambling usually commit the following crimes:

  1. Extortion: Gambling debtors are forced to pay their debts by violent methods of collection. Also, competition is driven out by threats and acts of force, a practice which arises from the necessity to gain a monopoly over a particular service or area.
  2. Loan sharking: a service provided by gambling syndicates to players who find themselves without funds midway through the evening. All large casinos, crap games, or horse books maintain resident loan sharks to "help" these customers. Loan sharking entails violations of the Small Loans Act and Consumer Discount Act, as well as the crimes associated with blackmail when collection of the debt becomes a problem.
  3. Bribery: a method needed to guard against police raids that cause costly disruptions in operations. Immunity from law enforcement and prosecution has been estimated to cost gambling syndicates 10% to 20% of their gross income.
  4. Tax Evasion: Few racketeers report all their income; common factors of greed and failure to keep records entice them to keep as much as possible for themselves. Most prosecutions of major racketeers have come about through the use of two Internal Revenue laws: (a) the requirement of a $50 wagering occupational tax stamp and 10% excise tax on gross wagers [*The federal wagering tax laws have been declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court (see Marchetti v. US. 88 S. Ct. 697, 1968 and Grosso v. US., 88 8. Ct. 709).] and (b) the personal income tax law. The deficit left by tax-cheating racketeers is filled by honest, hard-working, middle-income taxpayers.

The end result of the entrenchment of gambling syndicates is an intricate web of conspiratorial and individual crimes, Corruption, concealment, and public apathy come to pervade communities where such syndicates exist. Only the brute force of honest law enforcement and vigorous prosecutorial agencies can pierce this shield and destroy it.



The revenue from illegal, usurious loans stands second to that from illegal gambling operations as a source of lucrative profits for organized crime. Most underworld crap games and gambling casinos maintain a resident loan shark to assist patrons who fall too far in debt while the evening is young. General terms of payment are "six-for-five" per week, or a return of six dollars for every five borrowed. Because this interest rate of 20% is compounded weekly, annual rates can run as high as 1000% per year. The practices of making loans at usurious rates and without a license are in violation of Pennsylvania Small Loan and Consumer Discount Laws, and forceful collection of debts is a violation of federal extortion and state blackmail laws. Usually


Click to return to Contents page

embarrassment at the threatened exposure of the victim's financial condition acts as a deterrent to his reporting forceful collection to law enforcement authorities.

Borrowers go to loan sharks because they are considered high-risk clients by legitimate loan companies. Either they have defaulted on prior obligations or they are unable to provide collateral for the loan they presently seek. (Research has shown that the "high risk" label attached to many borrowers is unfair and that they are as dependable as others who reccive loans from legitimate concerns.)[109] Whatever the reasons for their poor credit rating, ignorance and the inability of borrowers to obtain legitimate credit lead them into the clutches of a loan shark, The result is a major law-enforcement problem, caused in part by often violent methods of collection.

There are two classes of loans handled by loan sharks: (a) small loans made to individuals for quick purchases or payment of pending bills or gambling debts; and (b) large loans made to speculators and promoters engaged in "quick money" schemes whose questionable nature closes off legitimate loan sources.

In Pennsylvania the cities of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia appear to be the centers of loan shark activity. Corroborated by law enforcement authorities, the following statements ean be made about the loan shark racket in Philadelphia:

  1. There are three top-level syndicate leaders who control the loanshark racket as well as other criminal enterprises. They are Angelo Bruno, Frank Jaskiewicz, and Max Weisberg.[110]
  2. Beneath them are approximately fifteen major loan sharks who function as financiers both for large loans ($10,000-$50,000), and for most of the small loans ($300-$500) made by street-level loan sharks. These fifteen major loan sharks serve as conduits for the monies that come from the three top-echelon syndicate leaders.[111]
  3. At the street level there are as many as 5000 loan sharks who lend amounts of $300 to $500.[112]

If any individual seeks a large loan - one in the thousands of dollars - he must secure permission from one of the upper-level loan sharks. One professional criminal in Philadelphia provided the District Attorney's office with a description of a usurious loan he made with a major Cosa Nostra loan shark. He first had to obtain clearance from a top-level Cosa Nostra leader. This he did at a personal meeting with the leader, who okayed a loan for $10,000, The loan was to enable the professional criminal to open an ostensibly legitimate food retailing operation in Philadelphia. After it was approved, the borrower went to the large offices of a multi-million dollar legitimate business owned by a caporegime in the Angelo Bruno family and received a check for $10,000. The method of repayment of the loan was an agreement by the borrower to pay a 5% kickback on the amount of the lender's product sold through the borrower's food retailing enterprise.[113]

This same professional criminal described a loan-shark operation for which he served as bookkeeper. Four of the principal incorporators, including one of the three major syndicate leaders in Philadelphia, each contributed $10,000 to the pool of monoy to be loaned on the street.


Click to return to Contents page

Within a period of three months the $40,000 had doubled to $380,000, and profits continued to mushroom at an annual rate of 800%.

In 1963, agents of the FBI were alerted to an interstate extortion-loan shark racket centered in Philadelphia and New Jersey.[114] The matter began when three "quick money" promoters bought a community center in a racially changing white neighborhood for $90,000 and planned to sell it to a Negro civic association for $165,000. The promoters could raise all but $13,500, and for this amount they went to a notorious loan shark in Jersey City, Harold Konigsberg. The promoters were led to Konigsberg by Jimmie Roberts, a "pigeon" who was a principal in the lending enterprise as well as a person who led prospective borrowers to loan sharks for a commission. Konigsberg agreed to lend the $13,500 for thirty days, and he demanded to be repaid $25,000 - almost 100% per month interest (almost 1200% if figured on an annual basis). For a time the promoters were able to meet their payments, but at the end of the thirty days they were unable to complete the terms. Konigsberg then granted them a thirty-day extension - for an additional $5000 interest.

In order to help them meet Konigsberg's terms, Jimmie Roberts negotiated an additional loan from a South Philadelphia loan shark, Armand Colianni, who, through Roberts, lent them $5500 and demanded $11,000 in return. Konigsberg continued his threats to the trio, so one of them, Joseph Zavod, went directly to Colianni for help. Finally Cosa Nostra boss Angelo Bruno found out about the affair, and demanded a meeting with Konigsberg and his boss, Cosa Nostra caporegime Joseph Zicarelli of Jersey City. At an arbitration meeting Bruno ruled that the promoters had a remaining debt of only $15,000, to be paid to Bruno's underboss Ignazio Denaro. Bruno arranged for Konigsberg to receive $4000, while Colianni and Denaro were to get $11,000. Still unable to meet these adjusted terms, Zavod went to the FBI, and a prosecution ensued.

Not all loan-shark borrowers are as fortunate as the three promotors who were able to have Angelo Bruno intercede on their behalf. Many borrowers are threatened and assaulted. One case prosecuted by the Philadelphia District Attorney's office illustrates this point. In 1966 a Fairless Hills businessman borrowed $3000 from Army Major Arthur Ashkenase of Willingboro, New Jersey. Gradually the note accumulated $7000 in interest and Ashkenase sold it to two labor racketeers and loan sharks, Salvatore Rispo and Francis Marino. Rispo and Marino called Singer, the borrower, into their office and told him to dial a number which they recited to him. "Dial it. It'll be the teamsters. Ask for the big man."[115] When the phone was answered, Singer identified himself and was immediately instructed to give Rispo all his valuable belongings. Rispo took a gold watch from Singer's wrist, a diamond ring from his finger, and $250 in cash which Singer was planning to deposit in the bank. Rispo and Marino were later convicted of blackmail and sentenced to 4 1/2 to 9 years in prison.

Loan shark enforeers often resort to acts of violence to collect their loans. In 1963 two enforcers, members of the Philadelphia Cosa Nostra family, were arrested for beating two brothers, Nicholas and George Fiocca, who had earlier borrowed a total of $350 from loan shark Frank Colone. They had paid back most of the money plus interest, but still owed $100.[116] After a lengthy beating had been administered


Click to return to Contents page

to the Fiocca brothers, leaving both of them unconscious, a third muscle man picked up one of the brothers and pitched him through a taproom plate glass window.

Typical of still other loan sharking cases are those which do not attract public attention because the borrowers make regular payments and do not fall in arrears. In 1966 the Philadelphia District Attorney's office announced the largest prosecution of loan sharks in the East. Two brothers, Edward and James Datillo, were indicted on charges stemming from violations of the Small Loans Laws and Consumer Discount Act.[117] District Attorney's Detectives found concealed in the rafters of Edward Datillo's home ledgers recording over $250,000 in loans made to over 300 individuals. Federal authorities believed that the Datillos were lending the money of the late Cosa Nostra caporegime Felix "Skinny Razor" DeTullio, who was one of the fifteen principal loan sharks in Philadelphia. Annual interest on the loans ranged between 100% and 1000%. Loans averaging $300 were floated at rates from 10% to 25% per week. The brothers were charged in 672 bills of indictment, and in 1967 were found guilty of 209 bills. In 1968 the brothers were sentenced to terms of from six months to three years each. Reputation testimony was given by three prominent Philadelphia public officials, City Councilmen Thomas Foglietta and Benjamin Cucuruto, and State Representative Matthew F. Coppolino.[118]

In 1968, the Senate Select Committee on Small Business heard testimony from many experts in the field of law enforcement and from many loan shark victims. Ralph Salerno commented at the hearings that "loan sharking and gambling cannot be separated. Gambling is very often the medium by which the successful businessman (but unsuccessful gambler) is introduced to loan sharking."[119] Both gambling and loan sharking are controlled by organized criminal syndicates in Pennsylvania, and both pose severe law-enforcement problems.



In April, 1970, agents of the federal Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNDD) arrested the Ecuadorian Consul in Philadelphia and seized from him over seven pounds of pure cocaine valued at more than $1 million. The arrest and indictment, and subsequent conviction, of Consul Alfredo Giler marked the most recent in a long history of cases in which Pennsylvania cities have been chosen as main points of import and distribution of illicit narcotics. Philadelphia and Pittsburgh have long been major centers for illegal traffic throughout the United States. The U.S. Bureau of Narcotics (predecessor to the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs) traced the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh traffic to New York City and Montreal, Canada, where large quantities of pure heroin were imported from mainland Italy, Sicily, and the French Riviera.

Originally grown in the Middle East, opium poppies are processed in clandestine laboratories in Marseilles and then distributed to various Italian, Sicilian, and Riviera cities for importation into the United States.[120] After entry at New York or Montreal, the quantities of pure heroin are broken up into smaller lots, and the drug is diluted with milk sugar. Couriers then carry the heroin to major urban centers for further distribution - Detroit, Cleveland, Chicago, Washington,


Click to return to Contents page

Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh. The U. S. Bureau of Narcotics found that "leading criminal organizations in these cities distribute the narcotics in local and neighboring areas.[121]

In 1959 the Bureau of Narcotics completed a major narcotics conspiracy case which reveals the dimensions of the traffic. The principal conspirator was Philadelphia-New York racketeer Harry Stromberg, better known as "Nig Rosen." He was joined by forty-eight co-conspirators. The government charged that Stromberg had financed the multi-million dollar operation through hidden, numbered Swiss bank accounts.[122] The organization imported an average of fifty kilograms of pure heroin per month over a period of years and amassed a small fortune. The source of the drug was traced to a French-Corsican associate of Stromberg's named Saul Gelb. After the heroin was imported to New York City, U. S. Bureau of Narcotics Agents traced its distribution to Washington, Baltimore, Miami, Detroit, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh. All of the principals in the case were convicted in federal court in New York. Stromberg was sentenced to a maximum five-year term. The U.S. Bureau of Narcotics termed the case "the most noteworthy narcotics prosecution during the year."

The illicit narcotics traffic is a tremendous business. Statistics compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Narcotics in 1967 revealed that there were an estimated 1600 heroin addicts in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The daily cost of maintaining heroin addiction has been estimated at roughly $15, giving an average yearly cost of $87 million for all addicts in Pennsylvania. This multi-million dollar market has been monopolized by organized crime. The Cosa Nostra has been actively engaged in illicit narcotics trafficking in Pennsylyania, and federal prosecutions have shown this organization to enjoy within the state a near monopoly over importation and distribution of heroin and other addicting drugs. The following case illustrates the extent of Cosa Nostra control.

In 1958 the U.S. Bureau of Narcotics culminated a major narcotics conspiracy case against national Cosa Nostra boss Vito Genovese and over fifteen other major Cosa Nostra leaders.[123] The narcotics were imported to New York City and were distributed to Philadelphia as well as the major American urban centers of Cleveland, Chicago, and Los Angeles. All defendants were convicted and given stiff prison sentences.

Investigations by the U.S. Bureau of Narcotics have established that most Cosa Nostra families are now or have been in the past engaged in illicit narcotics traffic. In Pennsylvania, three of the five resident Cosa Nostra families have members who either have narcotics convictions or are suspected of having been active in narcotics traffic. Four members of the Angelo Bruno family in Philadelphia have narcotics convictions: Peter Casella, Harry Riccobene, Anthony Narcisi, and Vincent Fusci. Together they have a total of a dozen arrests. Bruno family associates Ignazio "Ray" Martorano, Frank Sindone, Frank Valli, and Frank Malfi also have narcotics convictions.

In the Russell Bufalino Family in Northeastern Pennsylvania, high-ranking member Giaocchino "Jack" Parisi was convicted in 1926 of illegal possession and sale of narcotics. Bufalino himself, boss of the


Click to return to Contents page

family, was described by the U.S. Bureau of Narcotics in Senate testimony:

One of the most ruthless and powerful leaders of the Mafia in the United States. Also engaged in narcotics smuggling, labor racketeering, and dealing in stolen jewels and furs.[124]

In the LaRocca family in Southwestern Pennsylvania, caporegime Joseph Regino of Johnstown was arrested in 1933 for dealing in illicit narcotics. The indictment was later nol-prossed by the U.S. Attorney.

Law enforcement, social science, legal and medical experts have all described the illegal narcotics traffic as vicious and ugly. The importers, traffickers, wholesalers, and pushers engaged in it have lengthy criminal records. Their careers have usually been highlighted by arrests for such crimes as murder, assault, armed robbery, bootlegging, and possession of firearms. Despite its hazards, the narcotics trade has been a life-long venture for many. Staggering profits await these exploiters of human misery.

One example of a career criminal engaged in narcotics trafficking is Harry Riccobene, a high-ranking member of the Angelo Bruno Cosa Nostra family. Riccobene has a record of four narcotics convictions, ranging from the 1920's until his latest in 1956. In 1970 he was convicted of conspiring to transport a stolen $500,000 U.S. Treasury bill from Philadelphia to Indianapolis.[125] The U.S. Bureau of Narcotics termed Riccobene "an important midwest narcotics wholesale trafficker."[126] In 1952 he was convicted in federal court in Philadelphia for conspiring to purchase large amounts of heroin from a Baltimore supplier, and was sentenced to a term of one year.[127] In 1954 he was one of the principal traffickers arrested by Bureau of Narcotics Agents who broke up a large heroin wholesaling operation active in Buffalo, Philadelphia, and Cleveland.[128] Cosa Nostra leaders Salvatore Pieri and Sam Rizzo of Buffalo, Sylvester Poliafico of Cleveland, Rocco Mazzie of New York, and Harry Riccobene of Philadelphia were among the major traffickers convicted in federal district court in Cleveland. Riccobene was sentenced to a term of 2 1/2 years.

In 1956 the Philadelphia Police Department labeled Riccobene as the "number one man in the drug racket in Philadelphia," and he was alleged to have close connections with international Cosa Nostra leader Charles "Lucky" Luciano, who had been deported to Italy.[129] Later in 1956 Riccobene was convicted on state charges in Philadelphia of dealing in heroin. He was sentenced to a term of 7 1/2 to 15 years.[130] Despite the fact that this was his fourth narcotics conviction, a plea was made for a light sentence by Philadelphia City Councilman Raymond Pace Alexander. Later Riccobene was supported in a bid for a commutation of sentence by State Senator Vincent Scarcelli.

In 1958, five of Riccobene's associates in the Philadelphia-Camden area were indicted in both New York and Camden (on separate charges) for operating a narcotics distribution organization. Among the codefendants were four of the major narcotics violators in the Philadelphia are: Cosa Nostra member Peter Casella and associates Frank Valli, Frank Malfi, and James Santore.[131] In July of 1958 Casella and Santore were convicted in New York and were sentenced to respective terms of 40 and 43 years cach. Subsequently they were convicted in federal court in Camden and were sentenced to concurrent


Click to return to Contents page

25-year terms. Casella had been labeled by the Bureau of Narcotics as a "major narcotics violator" from the Philadelphia area, and heir to the Cosa Nostra organization left by the late Marco Reginelli of Camden, underboss of the Philadelphia-area Cosa Nostra.[132]

Federal, state, and local law enforcement authorities have developed a number of other major narcotics cases in Pennsylvania in recent years. Among the most noteworthy have been the following:

1950: Frank Sindone, an associate and proposed member of the Angelo Bruno family, was convicted of smuggling heroin into the United States while a member of the armed forces stationed in South Carolina.[133]

1953: Philadelphia numbers banker and narcotics trafficker Andrew Willis was convicted of selling a synthetic narcotic. The organization of which Willis was a part also operated in Washington, D.C., New York, and Massachusetts.[134]

1956: Federal, state, and local authorities from Ohio and Pennsylvania staged a massive raid in Pittsburgh. Two of the major Ohio traffickers were apprehended: Edward Todd of Bellaire, Ohio, and Rinaldo Tarquino of Steubenville, Ohio.[135]

1957: A narcotics operation in Pottsville was broken up by federal and local authorities. Oreatha Gupton and three associates were apprehended and later convicted, and their New York source of supply was arrested.[136]

1967: Allegheny County Detectives arrested two of the major sources of illicit heroin in Pittsburgh, Robert Singleton and Charles Mosby, in a coordinated raid.[137]

Vigorous state, federal, and local enforcement activity has affected the flow of illegal narcotics in Pennsylvania. According to the U.S. Bureau of Narcotics, Philadelphia was in 1965 considered as an intermediate distribution point and not a major source of supply:

The narcotics traffic in Philadelphia has now more or less stabilized to individual addicts or one individual addict acting for a group making trips irregularly to New York, and obtaining either personal or group supplies of heroin...[138]

However, since that time the narcotics traffic in Philadelphia has markedly increased. A number of major narcotics peddlers in Philadelphia supply the entire Delaware Valley area.

Most law enforcement authorities agree that while wholesale and retail distribution of illegal narcotics in Pennsylvania has become somewhat decentralized, major organized crime syndicates still retain control over manufacture and importation of illicit drugs.



Illegal liquor distilleries have been a lucrative source of funds for organized crime in Pennsylvania. From the Prohibition era to the very recent past, some of the most significant federal cases have occurred in this state, where the traffic in untaxed liquor has been largely controlled by the Cosa Nostra.

In June of 1958 in Reading, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax agents raided the largest. continuous-process column still ever found in the United States. Twenty-three individuals were indicted for operating the still, which was controlled by Cosa Nostra figures in Newark, New Jersey.[139]


Click to return to Contents page

The still had a capacity for producing 4800 gallons of untaxed liquor per day and involved a tax fraud of over $3.9 million. The proprietors of the still obtained from the City Council quick installation of a sewer to get rid of the mash. It was established that a Reading City Councilman actually made arrangements for laying the sewer line. Fourteen of the principal defendants were convicted, including Philadelphia racketeers Augustine and Joseph Mazzio, Benito Tedesco, and Anthony Conoscenti. When a federal grand jury in Philadelphia was probing the still's ownership, Newark Cosa Nostra leader Antonio Caponigro assaulted an ATTU agent in the witness waiting room, and was later convicted of the resulting charge.[140]

The DeCavalcante transcripts contain a number of references to Cosa Nostra involvement in the illegal liquor traffic. In February of 1965, De Cavalcante made arrangements with an associate to store distillery equipment at the latter's warehouse. In March of that year, in arranging for a Cosa Nostra subordinate to repay a debt owned by one of the members in his family to another, DeCavalcante directed Dominick "Corky" Vastola as follows:

Corky, I want you to take 75 cans [of liquor], that equals $3000 - and put it away. Because Frank (Cocchiaro) owed Dapper (Frank Dappolito) $3000.[141]

Numerous other major organized crime figures have been apprehended due to their interest in illegal liquor distilleries. In 1960 one of the major violators in the Philadelphia-New Jersey area was Ignatius Esposito. He was convicted for his part in the Reading still case and two other cases involving stills in Southern New Jersey. In June of 1961 he was sentenced to a term of five years. The estimated tax frauds involving Esposito's three stills totaled over $4.5 million.[142]

In 1964, Alcohol Tax agents raided a still in Luzerne County and closed down an operation that had defrauded the government of over $110,000 in taxes during the short term of its operation.[143] Six of the defendants were later found guilty. The major defendant, Angelo Piazza, was a known associate of Cosa Nostra boss Russell Bufalino. Earlier in the 1960's, ATTU agents raided a still in Exeter Township, Luzerne County, operated by Cosa Nostra racketeers.[144] The case was turned over to Luzerne County officials, and five defendants were convicted.

An illicit distillery was raided by ATTU agents in Schuylkill County in 1964. Indicted were Joseph Rubino and Vincent Munjone, two of the major racketeers in the Lehigh Valley area, as well as seven other assistants.[145] In 1965, five of the defendants, including Rubino and Munjone, were convicted in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia and given merely token fines and probationary sentences. In 1969 Rubino was indicted by a federal grand jury in Scranton on charges that as a convicted felon he illegally possessed a firearm.[146]

In addition to the above cases, other major federal enforcement actions in Pennsylvania included the following:

1. Vincent Turco, an associate of the Angelo Bruno Cosa Nostra family, was convicted in 1950 in federal court of operating an illegal still in Chester County, along with five other Cosa Nostra associates.[147]


Click to return to Contents page

2. Edward Heller, former Superintendent of Sanitation in Upper Darby Township, was convicted in 1951 and again in 1952 on bootlegging charges. He was charged in 1951 along with Max Potnick of Upper Darby with illegal use of 500 tons of sugar, and in 1952 again with Potnick for operating a still. [148]

3. Peter Casella, Cosa Nostra leader in the Angelo Bruno family, was convicted in 1952 of operating an illegal still in Montgomery County; his brother was convicted in 1959 of similar charge in federal court.[149]

4. Anthony Ippolito and two Cosa Nostra associates were convicted in 1954 of operating an illegal still in Chester County.[150]

5. Suspected Cosa Nostra member Frank Monte was convicted in federal court in 1958 along with Delaware County racketeer Max Potnick, for operating an illegal still. Monte was later convicted of operating a numbers lottery, and Potnick was arrested in 1970 for helping plot a multi-million dollar series of burglaries in Delaware County.[151]

There are many crimes associated with traffic in liquor other than bootlegging. One example involves a high-ranking member of the John LaRocca family who has been connected with gambling casinos and night clubs in West Virginia, just across the Pennsylvania border. Joseph N. Pecora was convicted in federal court in Wheeling, West Virginia, in 1968 for selling altered alcohol spirits in refilled liquor bottles.[152] In 1963 and 1967 Pecora's gambling casinos in West Virginia were raided by FBI agents and were the subject of two federal anti-racketeering prosecutions.






Organized crime's involvement in the field of legitimate business was first brought to light during the 1930's when the lucrative area of industrial racketeering was discovered. Today the infiltration of legitimate businesses and racketeering in labor-management relations has grown to immense proportions. For purposes of illustration, the problem will be discussed first as it concerns infiltration and control of legitimate businesses, and sccond as it involves labor-management racketeering.

Criminal syndicates have been interested in the field of legitimate businesses for several reasons. First, legitimate establishments provide a source of legal income which racketeers can account for and spend freely. Second, the monopoly which many racket-dominated corporations enjoy provides a stable source of income, increased by the control they maintain over an entire market or area. There are also a number of further motives for organized criminals to acquire legitimate businesses:

1. It gives them a respectable "cover" or public explanation as to their occupation and source of income.

2. It provides a better base of operations in dealing with political leaders and public officials.


Click to return to Contents page

3. It provides facilities for "washing" illegal income for tax purposes and investments, and to create estates. It affords the racketeer the opportunity to participate in various federal income-tax benefits.

4. It is lucrative - racketeers can make more money out of legitimate businesses than legitimate businessmen can, given their connections and ready access to bribery and coercion.

5. It provides diversification, a "hedge" against unfavorable conditions in the crime world - such as a sustained, vigorous enforcement effort.

There are two basic steps involved when criminal syndicates decide to invest in a legitimate enterprise. First comes the so-called "strategic" approach, which is designed to create an atmosphere whereby the criminals can enter and take over a business. They may use threats of force or violence in order to obtain an interest in a company. Or they can foreclose on gambling and loan-shark debts and demand a share of the business as the form of payment. Over time they acquire more and more power in either a particular company or a portion of the market until they come to control the company or monopolize a product or territory. At this point the second phase occurs. The animosity of competitors and victims dissipates when they see the benefits offered by organized crime domination of the business. Original competitors or rivals may be hired by the syndicate-dominated business. Or they may be included in one of the many criminal enterprises of the syndicate. They find that racketeer-dominated labor unions provide cheap labor and freedom from the threat of strikes. They come to appreciate the political contacts of the syndicates, which can offer protection from law enforcement and regulatory agencies overseeing the operations of the business. In general they adjust to the presence of syndicate domination in the legitimate business sphere and come to depend and rely on syndicate activities to provide stability and a predictable flow of high income. For this reason there are few complainants when organized crime syndicates seek to overtake legitimate businesses. Often they are welcomed with open arms. Sometimes they muscle their way in through brute force.

When criminal syndicates acquire business interests, the goals are the same as those of their criminal enterprises. They seek (a) monopoly and (b) freedom from law enforcement and regulatory interference, Because syndicate-dominated businesses seek monopolies, they often violate extortion and anti-trust laws. Because they seek freedom from enforcement and regulation, they commit acts of bribery and apply political pressure against law enforcement and regulatory agencies. For these reasons syndicate interests in legitimate businesses are of acute concern to law enforcement agencies.

The range of crimes in which organized criminal syndicates engage while active in the legitimate business field shows that for all their packaged respectability, racketeers still employ their age-old tools against those who refuse to cooperate and submit. The categories of crime make a lengthy and frightening list. They include bribery, arson, extortion, tax evasion, embezzlement, fraud, and numerous substantive administrative violations.

The field of legitimate business involvement can be separated into


Click to return to Contents page

two categories: (1) ownership of an interest in businesses, and (2) crimes associated with businesses and labor unions.

Traditionally, crusading journalists and law enforcement agencies have exclaimed that racketeers were moving into the field of legitimate business and that this has posed a threat to the general public. But the precise dangers to the public have never been clear. Businesses controlled by organized criminals provide services and commodities roughly equal in quality to those found in the general market. (Sometimes, of course, syndicate-controlled businesses do manufacture or provide sub-standard goods and services, and these matters will also be discussed.)

The real danger imposed by criminal domination of the legitimate business sector comes from the power and prestige which this status confers. Our society respects wealth and economic power. As owners and stockholders in major local companies and as principal employers in many areas of the state, racketeers can more easily obtain the community respect and admiration which they seek. As they become respectable community leaders, their past and present involvement in more sinister criminal activities becomes hidden. In most communities these businesses provide steady employment, large payrolls, and a welcome tax base. The companies and their officers donate freely to local civic and religious organizations and sponsor many activities that citizens feel enrich the life of their community. But all these benevolent acts are done for an ulterior purpose, and should the racketeer ever become involved in criminal litigation, every one of his seemingly charitable acts will be paraded before prosecutors, judges, and juries. In these ways organized criminals have integrated themselves into all communities where they live and work.

The Pennsylvania Crime Commission has compiled a roster of over 375 legitimate businesses which were involved in the following ways with criminal syndicates: (a) total ownership, (b) partial ownership, (c) hidden interest, (d) use of the business for some illicit purpose. Most of these businesses fall into a few basic categories; typical are the following examples of organized crime infiltration of the business sector throughout the United States:

1. Jukeboxes and Vending Machines. These involve huge turnovers of coins that are difficult to trace. Income taxes can easily be evaded.

2. Restaurants and Taprooms. These have been steady sources of independent income, and have provided routine meeting places for syndicate councils and places to mingle with community leaders.

3. Confectionaries and Cigar Stores. On a lesser scale these concerns have been traditional centers of neighborhood social life where most illegal numbers, treasury balance, punchboard, and sports betting has taken place. Such businesses are kept in order to create an image of the "friendly corner" candy or cigar store bookie, who handles nickels and dimes to make a little more money. In reality these stores are the lowest rung on a high ladder dominated throughout by Cosa Nostra and independent criminal syndicates.


Click to return to Contents page

4. Garment factories. In Northeastern Pennsylvania these non-union garment centers have sprung up to take advantage of the unemployed coal mining population, used to low wages and poor working conditions. Major Cosa Nostra leaders from Pennsylvania and New York have dominated the industry and the trucking and labor unions which service it.

The DeCavalcante transcripts offer a great deal of information concerning organized crime involvement in legitimate businesses. In Philadelphia, boss Angelo Bruno was found to be involved in or associated with the following companies:[153]

  1. Penn-Jersey Vending Company. Owned in 1962 by Bruno, this was the scene of a Cosa Nostra meeting between him and DeCavalcante. DeCavalcante tried to encourage Bruno to take over his failing numbers business in Bristol. Internal Cosa Nostra matters, as well as crimes of gambling, bribery, bombing, murder, and others were discussed. Bruno stated that he might have tax problems associated with his hidden investment, "Now here I got problems because I need show money; money I can account for because when Uncle Sam comes in, you got troubles."
  2. Globe Exterminators. This business, at 775 S. 8th Street in Philadelphia, was owned in 1962 by Angelo Bruno.
  3. Garden State Vending Company. Bruno said he had invested $24,000 in this company, which he termed "show money."
  4. Shopping Center in South Philadelphia. Bruno stated that he bought the center with Angelo Russo, caporegime in the Vito Genovese family, but that it was in the name of Bruno's wife. Michael Grasso, a nephew of Bruno's, was also interested in the center. In 1969 the shopping center was the subject of an inquiry by a special grand jury in Philadelphia, probing a bribe allegedly paid by Angelo Bruno to a Philadelphia public official in order to secure a zoning modification.
  5. Real Estate in Florida. Bruno commented that he had a financial problem because he had just bought land in Florida for the price of $100,000.
  6. Maggio Cheese Company. The company, owned by the family of caporegime Peter Maggio, was linked to two labor strong-arm men, Michael Tramontana and Frank Pollastrelli. At one point the company was experiencing theft of its stock, thought to be committed by employees. Tramontana and Pollastrelli were called in to stop it. Michele Maggio, a founder of the company, was described by Bruno as the Cosa Nostra member who came to his house and proposed Bruno's membership in the criminal organization.

DeCavalcante and one of his associates discussed the Silver Line Trucking Company, located near Easton. Silver Line transports intrastate garments manufactured in the Northeastern Pennsylvania factorics. DeCavalcante discussed Angelo Bruno's interest in the company, as well as that of John Ignazio "Whitey" Franco of Easton, and New York labor racketeer and Cosa Nostra member Joseph "Joe Stretch" Stracci:

DeCavalcante: [Whitey's] always lived in Pennsylvania. He's with Don Angelo Bruno.

Noto: He controls this company?


Click to return to Contents page

DeCavalcante: He's supposed to have a picce. Don Angelo's supposed to have a piece, Joe Stretch [Stracci] is supposed to have a piece.

Noto: What's the name of this company?

DeCavalcante: The Silver Line.[154]

Of the over 375 legitimate businesses controlled or infiltrated by, or linked to, organized crime in Pennsylvania, most are either owned by or directly tied to the interests of the upper-level Cosa Nostra and independent organized crime leaders. Among the leaders and associates and their legitimate business holdings are the following:

1. John S. LaRocca. Boss of the Pittsburgh-area family. Owns North Star Cement Block Company and was identified in testimony before the McClellan Committee in 1959 as having an interest in the coin machine business in Pittsburgh and in Gary, Indiana, and the laundry and overall supply business in the Detroit area with Cosa Nostra leaders Sam Tocco and Anthony Zerilli. Formerly owned L and G Amusement Company with Michael Genovese.

2. Russell Bufalino. Boss, Northeastern Pennsylvania family. Formerly owned the Penn Drape and Curtain Company and City Auto Service in Pittston, which were sold to a Pittston redevelopment authority in 1961. In 1968 he was a partner in United Parcel Service in West Pittston. He owns the Bonnie Stewart Dress Company and Claudia Frocks in New York along with racketeers James Plumeri and Angelo Sciandra. He is a partner in the ABS (Alaimo-Bufalino-Sciandra) Construction Company in Pittston.

3. William Medico. An associate of Russell Bufalino. General Manager of Medico Industries, Inc., a multi-million dollar corporation in Luzerne County. Named as a "criminal associate" of Russell Bufalino, by the federal Bureau of Narcotics. Has arrests for suspicion of murder and assault, and convictions for bootlegging and disorderly conduct.

4. Peter Maggio. Caporegime, Angelo Bruno Cosa Nostra family. Partner in M. Maggio and Company and Michael's Dairies, Inc., one of the largest dairy companies in Philadelphia. In 1953, M. Maggio and Company was convicted in federal court for transporting uninspected meat interstate.[155]

Legitimate businesses dominated by organized crime figures have received a number of lucrative public contracts. The following examples show the ability of these businesses to find profitable outlets for their products:

1. Russell Bufalino. In 1968 was a partner in a company in West Pittston which sceured a United Parcel Service contract with the US. Government.

2. Edward Heller. A former bootlegger in Delaware County, Heller was Superintendent of Sanitation in Upper Darby in 1956 when it was found that he had a substantial interest in the City Wide Sanitation Service and Atlas Rubbish and Salvage Company of Philadelphia, along with notorious racketeers Sam Hoffman and Max Weisberg. At the same time, Heller's Company was negotiating a contract for hauling rubbish in Delaware


Click to return to Contents page

County. Heller has convictions in 1951 and 1952 for bootlegging activities, and in 1967 for assault on a U.S. Customs Agent.

3. Peter Maggio. Michael's Dairies secured a $203,000 contract to supply milk to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware as well as to the Philadelphia Naval Yard. Quality and sanitary deficiencies were later discovered and reported.

4. William Medico. General Manager of Medico Industries, Inc., in Luzerne County. In 1968 Medico Industries received a $3.9 million defense contract to produce 600,000 missile warheads for rockets to be used in Viet Nam. Earlier the firm secured a contract to produce tank parts for U.S. Army vehicles.

5. Nicholas Piccolo. Caporegime, Angelo Bruno family. In 1967, two companies owned by Piccolo received contracts from the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard and the Naval Air Engineering Center for a total of over $900,000. It was found that a number of employees of these firms had criminal records, and that Piccolo and two of his sons were members of the Cosa Nostra.


Crime Associated with Legitimate Businesses

In keeping with past habits of violating and manipulating numerous laws and regulations, organized crime syndicates have displayed an equal disregard for these in the operation of their legitimate businessses. A number of instructive examples exist which demonstrate the categories of crimes in which organized crime syndicates become involved via the business sector.

1. Income Tax Evasion. Some of the most notorious racketeers in recent American history have been convicted on income tax evasion charges when it was found to be impossible to catch them in the commission of other crimes, (Some of these include Al Capone, Frank Costello, Antonio Corallo, John Dioguardia, and Paul Ricca.) The late Sam Mannarino, a high-ranking Cosa Nostra figure in the John LaRocca family, was convicted in 1963 of tax evasion stemming from the operation of Nu Ken Novelty Company.[156] Mannarino was found to be reporting only one half of the gross income of the company, while the other half was skimmed off and probably invested in other organized crime enterprises.

In Hazleton, Cosa Nostra associate Fred Correale (brother of the late Caporegime Paul Correale) was indicted in 1969 on a number of charges of corporate and individual tax evasion, involving Correale Mining Company, Correale Construction Company, and subsidiary firms.[157] In 1970 Cosa Nostra Boss and National Commission Member Angelo Bruno was indicted for evading taxes relative to the sale of the Penn-Jersey Vending Company in Philadelphia to two Cosa Nostra associates.[158]

2. Monopolies. Through many devious and intricate means, organized criminals have been able to secure virtual monopolies over entire areas of the state for their legitimate businesses. Usually the forms of coercion and extortion are kept secret by the victims, but sometimes the means of exploitation surface. The Mannarino brothers, Sam and Gabriel, enjoyed a virtual monopoly over coin-machine distribution in the New Kensington area of Westmoreland County. James Salamone in Erie County enjoys a virtual monopoly through his ownership of Erie Coin Sales, a vending machine business. Washington County Cosa Nostra caporegime Antonio Ripepi enjoys


Click to return to Contents page

a similar near-monopoly through his ownership of Keystone Amusement Company.

Violence is sometimes utilized by racketeers to drive out competition as thoroughly and quickly as possible. In 1951 a minor racketcer in the Northeastern garment area was killed when his automobile was dynamited by unknown assailants. He was involved in the garment industry rackets and was believed to be cooperating with law enforcement authorities. Through time, syndicate racketeers have been able to secure a monopoly over non-union labor in the garment industry in the Northeast. Cosa Nostra leaders Russell Bufalino, Angelo Sciandra, Giaocchino Parisi, and Joseph Scalleat of Pennsylvania and James Plumeri of New York have owned and continued to own dress companies that maintain a rigidly low wage scale.[159]

In the coin-operated vending machine industry, other forms of coercion have been used. In 1964 an independent operator in Allegheny County filed a damage suit against the Mayor, Robert Stokes, and Chief of Police, George Photos, of Clairton and against Cosa Nostra member Antonio Ripepi for driving him out of business. The operator was allegedly told that he would no longer be permitted to conduct business in Clairton, and that Ripepi's firm, Keystone Music Company, was "the official machine company for the city, its mayor, and chief."[160] Charles Welch charged that his customers were ordered to remove his machines from their premises and that they were threatened with police harrassment if they did not. The Allegheny County sheriff never picked up the writ informing Ripepi and the others of the suit.

In 1957 the Attorney General of Pennsylvania published the results of an investigation which showed that $50,000 in extortion money was paid to Alex Fudeman, nephew of Reading rackets czar Abe Minker, by independent jukebox operators. Through Fudeman, Minker had set up a phony "Berks County Amusement Association."[161] Fudeman then demanded payments if the independents were allowed to remain in business. Later Abe Minker, John Wittig, and Alex and Louis Fudeman were indicted and eharged with blackmail. As the case approached trial, the principal prosecution witness refused to testify, and the state negotiated a guilty plea with Alex Fudeman and John Wittig, who received suspended sentences.

In 1958 a special federal grand jury probing organized crime and corruption in Western Pennsylvania heard testimony from Alvin Murschetz, independent operator of Al's Music Company in Beaver County. He told the press that attempts had been made by New York racketeers to move into Beaver County and take over his business. Murschetz stated that the racketeers told him they "wanted [my] business as a front for expanding gambling operations in Beaver County."[162]

Because competitors are either eliminated or absorbed into merged enterprises, few businessmen are left to protest monopolistic tactics. So long as we remain without adequate laws to stop the infiltration of legitimate businesses, the public will continue to fall prey to organized crime.

3. Insurance Fraud. Criminal syndicates in Pennsylvania have recently become involved in defrauding insurance companies of divi-


Click to return to Contents page

dends by making fradulent claims. The DeCavalcante transcripts contain one such case where Easton racketeer Joseph Migliazza became indebted to Boss Sam DeCavalcante through an illegal gambling operation. Migliazza then borrowed $1300 from DeCavalcante and subsequently claimed he was unable to repay the debt. He proposed that he burn down his Stagecoach Restaurant in Easton and earmark $5000 of the $90,000 in insurance payments for DeCavalcante. On July 4, 1965, the Stagecoach Restaurant was destroyed by fire, and Migliazza soon thereafter collected his insurance payment.[163]

Another form of insurance fraud concerns the illegal diversion of assets of insurance companies. Martin vonZamft served as an unofficial investment counselor to the Bankers Allied Mutual Company of Gettysburg. In December of 1966 the company was declared insolvent. A subsequent Pennsylvania State Police investigation revealed that vonZamft had allegedly arranged for the removal of good sccurities from the company, which were transferred to Philadelphia and never replaced. He has been charged with embezzlement and conspiracy.

Bankers and Telephone Employees Company, a subsidiary firm, also became involved in financial difficulties. The State Insurance Department ordered the company to come up with $1 million in sceurities in order to retain its license. vonZamft arranged for the purchase of $1 million of stolen IBM stocks, which were transported in 1968 from New York to Gettysburg. The stocks were accepted by the State Insurance Department, and the company was allowed to remain in business. Subsequently the stocks were recognized as stolen and vonZamft was arrested. In the investigation that followed, it was revealed that vonZamft arranged the purchase of the stocks through Anthony DiLorenzo, a rising captain in the former Vito Genovese Cosa Nostra family. DiLorenzo and vonZamft were subsequently convicted in federal court in New York.[164] vonZamft still faeces Pennsylvania state charges of conspiracy and embezzlement.

In the Migliazza case, illegal gambling led directly into loan sharking, and then to arson and insurance fraud. In the vonZamft case, reckless diversion of assets of a legitimate business led to purchase of stolen stocks. Often crimes associated with criminal syndicates lead from one to another in a seemingly endless chain of criminal violations.

4. Embezzlement. Embezzlement has commonly been considered a middle-class crime committed by clerks, tellers, and accountants. But because embezzlement of huge sums of money has proven lucrative for organized criminal syndicates, they have entered the field and are deeply entrenched in its operations. In 1964, August Lippi, President of District 1 of the independent United Mine Workers of America, was convicted on 34 counts of embezzlement.[165] The charges stemmed from the embezzlement of $439,000 from the First National Bank of Exeter, Pennsylvania, of which Lippi was Chairman of the Board. A codefendent in the case, cashier George Daledia, agreed to cooperate with federal authorities. Soon afterward, Daledia's son was shot and scriously injured by an unknown assailant. Law enforcement authorities believed that the assault was a retaliation for Daledia's cooperation. The embezzlement case was prosceuted by the


Click to return to Contents page

Organized Crime and Racketeering Section of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Another interesting example occurred in Pittsburgh. Patricia Cristina was the Head Savings Teller for the East Liberty Branch of the Mellon National Bank. After falling deeply into debt to a numbers syndicate operating in the East Liberty section of Pittsburgh, Mrs. Cristina agreed to embezzle money from the bank in order to repay two numbers writers. After she had succeeded in embezzling $191,000, the shortage was discovered by the bank and prosecution was instituted. Mrs. Cristina agreed to cooperate with the FBI in the case, and the two numbers writers, Dominick Gullia and Charles Giammateo, were indicted and convicted on charges of conspiracy to commit embezzlement. Gullia was subsequently indicted and convicted on charges of obstruction of justice after he threatened Mrs. Cristina when it was suspected that she was cooperating with the U.S. Department of Justice.[166]

5. Fraudulent Bankruptcies. In the early 1960's the U.S. Department of Justice became alerted to a growing number of bankruptcies involving firms linked to organized crime syndicates. Further investigation revealed that the bankruptcies were in fact engineered in a plan to defraud creditors of payment for goods and to sell goods after the firms had declared bankruptcy. A number of related cases in Philadelphia demonstrate the huge amounts of which creditors were defrauded.

M. Stein and Company was opened in 1959 by Morris Stein and his nephew Sylvan Scolnick, and it operated as a general merchandising store selling jewelry, radios, bicycles, and all types of household appliances. Between March and December of 1959 it acquired goods worth $1.2 million wholesale. In December of that year the owners of M. Stein and Company declared bankruptcy. When questioned by federal bankruptcy referees, Stein could not remember where the assets from the business went. He recalled that some went to gambling ventures in Las Vegas and some to Philadelphia loan sharks. A federal investigation revealed that over $600,000 in assets was concealed from the federal Receiver and Trustee, as well as from the creditors from whom the goods were purchased. The merchandise was subsequently sold, in violation of federal bankruptcy laws. Both defendents were later convicted; Skolnick was given a five-year term, and Stein's sentence of three years was suspended.[167]

Two other major bankruptcy frauds were uncovered in Philadelphia. In 1963 S. Steinbrecker declared bankruptcy and it was later found that $140,000 worth of goods was illegally sold.[168] In 1963 the owners of Karasow Jewelers declared bankruptcy, and 138 creditors were defrauded of a total of over $700,000.[169] A number of the defendants in these bankruptcy cases subsequently became the focus of state and federal investigations into highly organized professional burglary rings, loan sharking, and syndicated gambling.



If racketeers can come to control the bargaining processes of labor unions, they can increase their economic control over legitimate busi-


Click to return to Contents page

ness enterprises. Control over labor unions affords criminal syndicates privileged access to

  1. union treasuries.
  2. welfare-pension funds,
  3. employers (for purposes of collusion and extortion).
  4. workers on the job (for gambling and loan sharking operations).
  5. official positions within unions (in order to hire organized crime members).

La Cosa Nostra and independent organized crime figures have been actively engaged in labor-management racketeering throughout Pennsylvania since the 1930's. Labor-management racketeering has, in fact, became a national enterprise.

At New York's Kennedy Airport, where billions of dollars of air freight passes each year, $3.4 million in cargo waa stolen in 1969 in 546 major thefts.[170] All trucking companies which carry freight from Kennedy Airport must belong to the Metroplitan Import Truckmen's Association. In 1965 the New York State Commission of Investigation concluded that Cosa Nostra leader John Masiello was the "behind the scenes" power of the association. Soon thereafter he relinquished his control, and it passed to Anthony DiLorenzo, a rising member of the Vito Genovese family. (DiLorenzo was convicted in 1969 of interstate transportation of stolen stocks from New York to Gettysburg.) Teamsters Union Local 295, which holds a monopoly over all air freight labor at Kennedy, has been controlled by such Cosa Nostra leaders as John Dioguardia and Anthony Corallo. When such organized crime infiltration of both labor and management. associations comes to light, it is more easy to understand the multi-million dollar annual thefts at Kennedy Airport.

In Pennsylvania there have been numerous examples of racket infiltration of labor unions and management associations. In 1956 the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office revealed attempts by Cosa Nostra leader Angelo Bruno to take over control of Local 1 of Independent Unionist of America.[171] Bruno and independent racketeer Sam "Cappy" Hoffman were found to be using union organizer Sam Barone az a "front" for gaining control of the union and its employees. Soon thereafter Local 1 was disbanded, and a new Local 410 of the Restaurant Workers Union was chartered to organized lunch-counter employers,

In 1958 the McClellan Senate Labor-Management Committee found that Pittsburgh area Cosa Nostra boss John LaRocca was a close associate of Hod Carriers Union Local President Nicholas Stirone, who was later convicted of extortion.[172] Gabriel Mannarino, a leader in the LaRocca family, was a close associate of Chicago labor rackelecr Joe Sonken[173] In 1989 LaRocca, Mannarino, and seven other Cosa Nostra leaders were indicted for their part in a labor rasketeering matter involving New York, Pittsburgh, and Detroit families.

When Cosa Nostra member Harry Riccobene was searched by Philadelphia police in 1968, they found an address book listing the names and addresses of prominent political officials, labor leaders, and labor racketeers.


Click to return to Contents page

Like infiltration of legitimate businesses, labor-management racketeering involves a variety of crimes, Each type is designed to produce either a quick profit or a chance to dominate the union.


Violence and Extortion

The wide-open era of murder and bombing has gradually given way to somewhat different methods. In 1941 Giaocchino "Dandy Jack" Parisi (labeled the "ace triggerman" for Murder, Inc., by Manhattan District. Attorney Frank Hogan), was indicted in New York for the murder of an innocent man he mistook for a rival labor leader, and for a second, successful murder of another leader.[174] In 1949 Parisi was located in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, at the residence of his friend and associate Joseph Scalleat. By that time key witnesses had died or their memories had faded, and Parisi was set free. Labor racketeering violence continued in the 1960's, and only recently have violence and extortion taken a more subtle and businesslike tone.

In 1959 the Organized Crime Section of the U.S. Department of Justice obtained convictions in two Pennsylvania labor extortion cases. The first involved Emmanual Riggi, caporegime in the Vito Genovese family, who was convicted of extorting money from Chemsteel Construction Company in Pittsburgh.[175] At the time, Riggi was a member of Local 18 of the Hod Carriers Union in Newark, New Jersey. Also in that year, John Sweeney, a member of Teamsters Local 249 in Pittsburgh, was convicted of making threats of violence against Hirt Trucking Company of Ohio and Johns Trucking Company of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.[176]

In 1960 Nick Stirone, President of Pittsburgh Hod Carriers Local 1058, was convicted along with two associates of extorting over $31,000 from a ready-mix concrete company in Pittsburgh.[177] After being threatened with strikes and labor slowdowns, the owner of Rider Supply Company agreed to pay Stirone. The firm subsequently went bankrupt making the payments, and Stirone was sentenced to a term of ten years for the crime.

Teamsters Local 830 in Philadelphia, an affiliate of the Brewery and Beer Distributors Union, was the subject of an opinion in 1967 by the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board. Local 830, the Board found, had used "intimidation and coercion" to force three small independent beer distributors to sign union contracts.[178] In 1970 a trucking company official, Jake D'Agata, was indicted for perjury by a federal grand jury in Philadelphia which was investigating payoffs to officials of the same local, D'Agata was charged with perjury. [*D'Agata subsequently pleaded guilty to this charge in federal court.] Louis Lanni, President of Local 830, was indicted for extortion and for receiving illegal payments from trucking companies.[179]

Teamsters Local 107 in Philadelphia has been the subject of a number of state and federal investigations concerning labor racketeering and violence, The range of crimes in which 107 has been involved includes murder, assault, fraud, extortion, perjury, income tax evasion, larceny, and hijacking. In 1958 the local was the subject of an extensive hearing before the Senate Select Committee to Investigate Improper Activilies in the Labor-Management Field. In its Second


Click to return to Contents page

Interim Report the Committee concluded that prominent Philadelphia racketeers were involved in Local 107:

By the use of subterfuge, intimidation, threats, and physical violence the control of Pennsylvania's largest Teamster union went into the hands of a group of greedy and unscrupulous officers headed by Raymond Cohen. These men thereafter completely stifled the democratic processes of the union by terror and brute force and proceeded to drain the union treasury of large amounts of cash under the guise of legal expenditures.[180]

The Report also cited the involvement of Philadelphia numbers racketeer Abe Berman, labor racketeer Sam "Shorty" Feldman, and Ben Lapensohn, described as Raymond Cohen's "fixer," who arranged outright shakedowns of a Philadelphia garage owner.[181]

Subsequently both state and federal grand juries began probing 107's affairs. In 1959, eight Teamster Union organizers were convicted of income tax evasion stemming from illegal diversion of union funds.[182] Also in that year the Philadelphia District Attorney's office found instances of "blackmail, looting from 107's treasury, and violence against non-members."[183]

A regular grand jury returned indictments against 107 President Joseph Grace; Secretary-Treasurer Ray Cohen; Joseph Hartsough, Cohen's personal Scerctary; Edward Walker, Recording Secretary; and Business Agent Ben Lapensohn. All six were convicted on charges of fraud and given prison terms.[184]

In February of 1967, Henry Petersen, Chief of the Organized Critne and Racketeering Section of the U.S. Department of Justice, charged that "Local 107 has always been one of the most corrupt unions in the country. The Justice Department was convinced, he said, that "there are links between 107 and the Mafia in Philadelphia."[185] When Cosa Nostra member Harry Riccobene was searched by Philadelphia Police in 1968, he had in his possession an address book containing the names of two former Local 107 officers and one current one.

After Raymond Cohen went to jail, the union's leadership disintegrated into a series of factional struggles, In June of 1966 Local 107 Business Agent John Gorey and his secretary were found murdered in the offices of Local 107. Authorities believed they had been killed to prevent them from exposing corruption in the union. In 1967 a member of a dissident faction, Robert DeGeorge, was murdered outside a union meeting hall. DeGeorge and some friends had been planning to take ever the union leadership.

Following the Gorey and DeGeorge murders, authorities began inyestigating reports that one of the prizes in the factional struggle for 107's leadership was control over gambling and loan sharking at trucking terminals and warehouses. Two Local 107 organizers were netted in a raid conducted by the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office in August of 1967. Francis Marino and Salvatore Rispo, who had earlier been charged with assaulting a member of the DeGeorge faction, were charged with making usurious loans. Records seized by detectives indicated that Rispo and Marino had made loans to over sixty borrowers for a total execeding $25,000. The two were later convicted of the charges.[186]


Click to return to Contents page

Further investigations by the District Attorney's office uncovered evidence that a number of Local 107 members were securing bank loans under the false pretense that they were union officials. In December of 1967, eight individuals including a former secretary-treasurer of the union were charged with fraudulently securing over $16,000 in bank loans.[187] In still another investigation, former 107 official Joseph McGrael was indicted for conspiring to hijack a shipment of air conditioners.[188] Soon thereafter McGrael developed new interests in Hotel and Restaurant Local 170 in New Jersey. In 1970 he was indicted in federal court in Camden for extorting money from restaurants in Southern New Jersey.[189]

Since these occurrences, the leadership of Local 107 has changed hands, and incidents of racketeering in the union have diminished.


Labor-Management Collusion: "Sweetheart" Contracts

Agreements are often reached between the leaders of management and labor in order to defeat, for their own purposes, collective bargaining entered into on behalf of all union members. Usually labor leaders are paid sums of money in return for the assurance of labor peace. Such "sweetheart contracts" are illegal under the Taft-Hartley Act, and a number of federal prosecutions have been brought in Pennsylvania.

In 1958 a Cosa Nostra member and participant in the Apalachin meeting was indicted on thirty-four counts of receiving legal paynents from the Knox Coal Company in Luzerne County. Dominick Alaimo was serving in the capacity of committeeman for Local 8005 of the United Mine Workers, and his job was to handle "labor grievances" of Local 8005 members. Louis Fabrizio, President of Knox Coal Company, was also indicted, for making the $7650 in illegal payments. In 1959 Alaimo was convicted on all thirty-four counts and was sentenced to a term of two years probation, Fabrizio was tried and convicted in a separate trial[190]

In 1960 Phillip Gelso, President of Number 14 Coal Company in Luzerne County, and Samuel Gelso, Vice President, were indicted along with three officials of Local 7519 of the United Mince Workers Union in a sixty-count indictment. Charged with making and receiving illegal payments, all five defendants were convicted in 1963 and placed on probation for two years.[191] The Gelsos had long been known to federal authorities as close associates of the Cosa Nostra family run by Russell Bufalino in Luzerne County.

In 1958 the President of Local 1058 of the Hod Carriers and Common Laborers' Union in Pittsburgh, Thomas Pecora, was convicted of receiving illegal payments from the Black Top Paving Company of Pittsburgh.[192] Pecora had a record of gambling and labor law violations, and had later business dealing with Cosa Nostra boss John LaRocca.[193] In 1939 Pecora and LaRocca were arrested together in 2 numbers raid at LaRocca's headquarters.[194]





Criminal syndieates engage in acts of intimidation and violence for many reasons. They may want to create monopolies by driving


Click to return to Contents page

out competition. They may eliminate rivals or competitors who they fear will cooperate with law enforcement authorities, They may want to make an example of a particular consumer of one of their services in order that others will cooperate with them, One organized crime expert has termed these "strategic" violations; such crimes may not bring in profits, but each contributes to the creation of an environment in which rich profits will accrue. For example, a loan shark debtor who has continually defaulted in payments may be beaten up. The repayment of his debt may be a small monetary gain for the syndicate, but the message to other debtors is significant. Similarly, prosecution witnesses in organized crime cases may be threatened or assaulted. Other citizens quickly recognize the hazards of cooperation with law enforcement authorities.

Threats of violence, rather than violence itself, usually suffice to achieve the goals of monopoly and steady income. Sometimes, however, it is necessary to reinforce the attitude of fear by committing a selected act of violence. What Justice Holmes said of the law is thus to some degree true, for similar but inverse reasons, of the criminal conspiracy: it must "keep its promises" in order to maintain its authority. Like other businessmen, the criminal entrepreneur worries about the "image" of his enterprise and the credibility of its claims. At times, as with the "corner-store" bookie, he cultivates a spuriously disarming and comfortable impression. At times, he must he ready to back up his sinister reputation, since his effectiveness may depend upon public belief that he is ruthless - depend, that is, upon fear.

One of the lingering myths about criminal syndicates is that their leaders may have murdered and beaten each other during Prohibition, but that pattern has gradually altered. Yet the necessity to create monopolies and to prevent leaks of information to law enforcement authorities has in fact maintained the system of intimidation and violence, although violent crimes are today more selectively committed.

The victims of organized criminal force and violence fall into three categories: (a) competitors or rivals; (b) consumers of organized crime services or products; (c) law enforcement authorities. Each comes into contact with criminal syndicates in a different way, and each may incur the wrath of racketeers for varied reasons.


Violence Against Competitors or Rivals

Competitors of criminal syndicates are the most frequent victims of violence. Often they are accustomed to operating in an atmosphere of high pressure and force, and racketeers feel that such methods are necessary to achieve their cooperation. Sometimes the crime is assault; sometimes if is bombing and arson; sometimes it is murder.

Murder was one of the earliest tools which criminal syndicates used to eliminate competition and consolidate their power. Two of the main Cosa Nostra families in Pennsylvania were consolidated in this manner. The first boss of the Southeastern Pennsylvania family, Salvatore Sabella, was tried in 1927 for the murder of two rival bootleggers. John Bazzano, first boss of the Southwestern Pennsylvania family, was murdered when one of his chief rivals decided to avenge the deaths of his three brothers, for which Bazzano was reputedly responsible. In 1926, two Philadelphia Cosa Nostra members,


Click to return to Contents page

John Focoso and Peter Gallo, were arrested by Philadelphia Police for the murder of a rival member. They subsequently vanished, and authorities believe the purpose of their disappearance and possible murder was to protect the leader who hired them. In 1940, three Philadelphia Cosa Nostra associates disappeared, and in 1967 the FBI located their automobile buried in a reputed Cosa Nostra graveyard in Vineland, New Jersey. In 1945 Joseph Saia, the leader of a numbers bank in Upper Darby, was murdered. Following Saia's death, Cosa Nostra member Frank Palermo, Sr. and independent racketeer James Singleton took over his bank.[195]

In the 1950's there were three organized crime murders in Southeastern Pennsylvania. In 1954 the body of Marshall Veneziale, a known bootlegger, was found in Philadelphia. In 1956 Anthony Benedetto was found bludgeoned and shot to death on the floor of his auto. He had an extensive police record dating to 1941, and af the time of his death was under indictment on charges of burglary. Cosa Nostra member Frank Narducci was a codefendent in that case and was a suspect in the murder. Narducci was convicted in 1960 of the slaying of Attilio Romolini, whom he had shot three times in the head. A few weeks after the death of Benedetto, Emmanuel Gottobrio was found murdered in Philadelphia. Gottobrio had figured in a 1949 scandal involving wideopen casino gambling in Maple Shade, New Jersey. His murder remains unsolved.

The 1960's have seen a rash of organized crime murders. In addition to the Teamsters 107 murders already discussed in connection with labor-management racketeering, the most recent killings include:

1. Louis Moses, 1961: Moses was a member of a highly organized safe-burglary ring whose body was found dumped in a rural Washington County area. On November 14, 1961, he was arrested for burglary in New Castle. It was believed that he was prepared to cooperate with law enforcement authorities.

2. Frank Donate, 1963: Donate was a partner in a numbers bank in Reading. Prior to his murder on November 25, 1963, IRS agents had raided his home and found large quantities of cash. Later, word of this spread through the underworld and Donato was kidnapped. He soon escaped from the abductors and telephoned authorities. It was believed he was murdered to prevent his testifying at the trial of the kidnappers.

3. Ferdinand Iacono, 1963: Iacono's body was found in a Carbon County strip mine on June 8, 1963. He had been strangled with a venetian blind cord, and his body was dumped in a mine shaft. His face, nose, and mouth were covered with tape - the underworld's way of signifying to others that Iacono had talked to authorities and thus broken an underworld rule. He had been involved with numbers racketeering in Chester, Pennsylvania.

4. Abe Zeid, 1965: Zeid was convicted of extortion on June 24, 1965. He disappeared later that night and was found the next day murdered, the body being located on the farm of his attorney, James Ashton, Zeid was the "torch man" and enforcer for organized criminals in the New Kensington area, and was scheduled to stand trial on a charge of firebombing a shopping


Click to return to Contents page

center in Monroeville, It was believed that he was murdered to prevent his implicating the other parties to the arson.

5. Alphonse Morano, 1967: Morano was murdered on December 13, 1967. He had been involved in a gambling-prostitution ring run by Pittsburgh racketeer Augustine Ferrone, On November 4, 1967, Ferrone and two of his associates, Paul Scolieri and Anthony Capizzi, were arrested by IRS agents for wagering tax violations. It was found that Morano had been befriended by an undercover agent and that Morano had possibly led the agent to Ferrone's gambling operation.

6. Anthony Scotchel, 1968: Scotchel operated a gambling house in Morgantown, West Virginia, which was a territory controlled by the Southwestern Pennsylvania criminal syndicate. He had been shot four times in the head and was found stuffed in the trunk of his Cadillac on January 25, 1968, The individual tried for the murder, John Galayda, was believed to be trying to monopolize organized crime in the Pennsylvania-West Virginia border area. He was acquitted of the charge when evidence was introduced that the real murderer was Gregory Cownden, who by that time had been murdered.

7. John Krukar, 1968: Krukar was allegedly involved in a postal burglary ring that was operated out of Youngstown, Ohio, by racketeer Mario Guerrieri. He was invelved with slain racketeer Gregory Cownden in West Virginia-Pennsylvania gambling rackets,

The brutal details of organized crime murders have long shocked the general public. It is striking that organized criminal accomplices often turn against one another when law enforcement pressure is applied. For example, to entice the victim to cooperate in traveling to a murder site, his friends are used as decoys so that he will be unsuspecting and unresisting. A person close to organized crime has described the procedure often used in Cosa Nostra killings:

A friend of the victim entices him to a spot where the individuals who are going to commit the murder take over. The victim is murdered and usually buried in a grave that has been prepared previously if the murder is a planned one. All identification and clothing is removed from the body, and is placed in the open grave and covered. The bodies are covered by at least 4 1/2 feet of dirt to prevent dogs and animals from digging them up.

As organized crime has grown more entrenched and sophisticated, applications of force other than murder have become popular, Since gang killings attract unwanted public attention and law enforcement scrutiny, murder is now avoided, if possible. One alternate tactic is bombing. The DeCavalcante transcripts contain a discussion by Ignazio Denaro, underboss of the Angelo Bruno family, concerning an individual who committed bombings. Denaro spoke of an individual named "Dean" who "threw the bomb... he used to work for them when he got pinched."[196] In 1967 the home of the late McKeesport numbers boss Walter Plopi was bombed, and earlier his automobile had been dynamited. In September of 1968 a store which Plopi had rented in McKeesport was firebombed.[197] Authorities were aware


Click to return to Contents page

that Cosa Nostra leaders were interested in moving into MeKeesport but that Plopi refused to relinquish his territory. Pressure was continually applied, and finally the Cosa Nostra won. Plopi died of a heart attack in the summer of 1969.

Sometimes threats are enough to produce compliance, and actual crimes of violence do not occur. A major boxing racket extortion case involved two prominent Cosa Nostra leaders in the Philadelphia-Camden area. In 1960 Frank Palermo, Sr., and Paul John "Frankie" Carbo were indicted by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles for extorting purse money from heavyweight boxer Don Jordan. Jordan's manager Don Nesseth and a promoter, Leonard Blakely, were threatened with violence if they did not turn over a fixed percentage of Jordan's winnings to Palermo, Carbo, and two Los Angeles Cosa Nostra enforcers. (In 1959 Blakely had testified before a California State Athletic Commission hearing looking into the hoxing racket, and shortly thereafter he was beaten unconscious and found with severe head wounds.) After a lengthy trial in 1961, Palermo, Carbo, and the two enforcers were found guilty and sentenced to terms ranging from 10 to 25 years.[198]


Violence against Consumers of Organized Crime Services

Consumers of organized crime products and services who can not or will not pay for what they purchase are sometimes subjected to violent methods of collection. Occasionally intimidation and force are used to prevent the consumer from becoming a witness for the prosecution.

The loan shark racket is a field where the failure of debtors to meet their obligations on time could cause severe financial hardship to the syndicate. Occasionally a debtor who has flagrantly defaulted in payments will be beaten to set an example for others. Donald Cressey described a vivid example in his book, Theft of the Nation:

In Philadelphia, a jeweler with a penchant, for gambling was the valued client of a local usurer because he repaid his loans punctually. The jeweler introduced two of his friends to the usurer, not knowing that he thereby was automatically guaranteeing their interest payments. But the friends missed a few payments and took off for California, leaving the jeweler liable for their debts and interest. Four goons showed up at the jeweler's store and glared at him. The jeweler even cashed bad checks to pay his friends' loans, but he couldn't make it. He was invited to visit the usurer, and he accepted the invitation. Upon his arrival, the four goons - "one looked like King Kong" - put him in his own car, drove him through an alley, beat him on the head with a club, stopped the car, took him to the back room of a restaurant, beat him with a blackjack, returned him to the car, and knocked out two of his teeth with a whiskey bottle. They then put him in the trunk of his car and drove around for about a half-hour. After more beating with the blackjack, he was again taken to the basement of the restaurant, handcuffed to an overhead pipe in a walk-in refrigerator, and punched in the stomach by all four men, working in a relay. Then he was released, but without his


Click to return to Contents page

car. He took a taxi to a hospital where he was informed, the next day, that the $2,000 car would pay $500 worth of the debts and that if he didn't sign over the title, he would owe the usurer $100 a week interest. When he went home that night, he called his girl friend, who told him she had received two threatening telephone calls, one of them saying, "If [borrower] don't pay the loan we'll cut off your teats and send them to him in a box."[199]

Similar examples have surfaced in loan sharking cases. In 1968 the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office prosecuted three loan sharks for usury and extortion, When detectives raided one of the loan shark's homes, they found two rifles and three automatic pistols. These weapons were used to threaten borrowers into paying.


Violence against Law Enforcement Officers

Most Cosa Nostra and Independent racketeers have long records of violent crime. They will go to any lengths to protect their criminal enterprises and will take extreme measures against anyone Who causes them trouble. Prominent among the people who cause racketeers hardship are law enforcement authorities.

Edward and Francis Fina run one of the largest numbers banks in Philadelphia, estimated to gross over $12 million annually. Both brothers have lengthy records involving serious crimes. In 1959 Francis Fina was arrested on charges of assaulting a police officer, and in 1960 for assault with intent to murder.[200] Edward Fina has over fifteen arrests, five of which are for violent crimes. In 1958 and again in 1960 he was convicted of assault and battery on police officers and was fined $10 in each case by Philadelphia magistrates.

Assaults on federal law-enforcement officers are also quite common. The attitude of organized criminals to authorities who apprehend them was summed up by Cosa Nostra member Frank Zirpoli at his 1942 trial for bootlegging. He told Alcohol Tax agent Vincent Conwell that "some day they will find you in South Philadelphia with a bullet in your back."[201] In 1967 Pittsburgh racketeer Augustine Ferrone was charged with assaulting an IRS Intelligence agent when the agent tried to prevent Ferrone frem destroying gambling records during a raid. In 1970 Ferrone was convicted and sentenced to a term of ninety days.[202]

In 1958 Cosa Nostra member Antonio Caponigro was called before a federal grand jury then probing the huge illicit liquor still uncovered in Reading. It was believed that Caponigro had been called into Reading to teach the local operators how to manage the operation. While in the grand jury waiting room, he assaulted an Alcohol Tax agent who had tried to photograph him, and was convicted in 1959 of the resulting charges.[203]

The Philadelphia numbers bank of William and Louis DiRugeris was raided by Internal Revenue agents in 1967. William DiRugeris sssaulted an agent during the raid and was convicted of the charge in 1968.[204] In 1967, U.S. Customs agents traced a carpet illegally imported from a Communist nation to the home of former bootlegger and Delaware County official Edward Heller. When the agents attempted to seize the carpet, they were threatened and assaulted


Click to return to Contents page

by Heller, who was later convicted and sentenced to a term of two years probation and a fine of $2000.[205]



Today's corruption is less visible, more subtle, and therefore more difficult to detect and assess than the corruption of the prohibition era. All available data indicate that organized crime flourishes only where it has corrupted public officials.[206]

No criminal syndicates can operate in American society without either complete secrecy or some other form of protection from governmental interference. Secrecy can sometimes be achieved where the public is the victim (not the consumer) of organized crime operations when crimes are planned against the citizen without his consent. But when the public purchases goods and services from organized criminals, these commodities must be visible and accessible. Since anything that san be seen or reached by the consuming public will attract the attention of law enforcement authorities, their efforts must be nullified.

It has long been assumed that organized crime exists because it pays outright bribes to public officials. But as syndicates have grown and evolved they have come to employ more varied und sophisticated means. They may encourage the promotion of a cooperative official, or they may arrange for him to receive shares of stock in a business dominated by organized crime. The goal is nullification of government, whether the means be bribes, more subtle rewards, or a pervasive fear of vigorously enforcing the law. Bribery as a form of nullification still exists, but it has been supplemented by an intricate web of political favors and hidden payoffs with a semi-legitimate cover. Finders' fees, commmissions, and other monetary rewards often come within the margin of legal but unethical "conflict of interest" conduct.

Increasing centralization of organized crime activities has accompanied increasing centralization of governmental and political control within communities. For this reason it is no longer necessary to bribe hundreds of street-level enforcement agents. It has beeome essential to secure the cooperation of a few top-level officials - high ranking police, mayors, district attorneys, and judges. These officials commmunicate in various ways to their subordinates that organized crime cases are not to be pursued or that they are to receive lenient treatment. In turn these middle-level subordinates communicate these unofficial policies to their street-level assistants and enforcement agents. Officials learn from experience that agents who aggressively pursue organized crime cases will be disappointed time and again when the cases are thrown out or the offenders receive hand-slap sentences. Crusading officials are slow to be promoted and are accused of giving the department a "bad name" by uncovering so much vice. The process continues up and down the line until criminal justice agencies - police, prosecutors, and courts - become thoroughly demoralized and incapable of reacting as organized crime increases. Criminal justice agencies react to a political environment just as all public agencies do, and when influential leaders do not want a particular matter pushed, they see to it that their subordinates do not push it.


Click to return to Contents page

Nullification of state and local government has followed the increasing scope of activities handled at these levels. As more and more areas of public life become regulated, more and more citizens try to evade the regulations in order to maximize their profits and minimize disruption in their operations. "Influence peddlers," "fixers," and "corrupters" abound as never before. As criminal syndicates have grown larger and more centralized, their "corrupters" have come to monopolize the fixing of criminal matters. In Philadelphia a former court crier was convicted of 314 counts involving bribery, extortion, robbery, and forgery. In one case he demanded $1500 to transfer a defendant's case from a strict to a lenient judge in order to obtain a probationary sentence. In another case Philadelphia bail bondsman Albert Schwartz was indicted for arranging lenient sentences for two criminals, for fees totaling over $100,000.

As these peddlers of influence become more and more involved in nullifying positive government action, the entire mood of a community is affected. There is a weakening of resolve among civic leaders to address their many urban problems. Citizens come to doubt the efficacy of government. The young easily detect the hypocrisy and corruption of public officials, and grow more alienated from the mainstream of American society. In contrast, communities with aggressive leaders who try to solve urban problems usually become aware of organized crime and seek appropriate solutions. Until the highest levels of political leadership are interested and engaged in the issue af organized crime control, the law enforcement agencies under them cannot be expected to give the matters adequate attention, Honest public officials in every community need help from their colleagues if any progress is to be made.


Nullification of Criminal Justice Agencies

Law enforcement and other criminal justice agencies are targets of corruption and political influence. The subversion of government which results from bribery or illicit influence creates an atmosphere in which individual agencies become reluctant to pursue organized crime. Police, prosecutors, or courts mounting an aggressive attack often find another agency or official blocking their way.

Illegal gambling operations are the most lucrative of organized criminal activities, and to protect them from costly disruption, gambling syndicates seck to undermine the machinery of criminal justice.

In 1950-51 the Kefauver Crime Investigating Committee held hearings in three Pennsylvania cities: Philadelphia, Scranton, and Reading. Lengthy testimony detailed the attempted and actual bribery of public officials in these cities, The Committee concluded that in Philadelphia the numbers racket "operates through tight control, manipulated by a politico-gambler-police tie-up that makes it impossible for an intruder to edge his way in from the outside."[207] During the height of federal anti-racketeering enforcement in Philadelphia during the 1960's, the principal numbers banks were intensively investigated and periodically raided. Records showed that bribery of law enforcement authorities was involved in four of the major numbers banks, operated by Francis and Edward Fina, George Illgas, Pasquale Monzelli, and Romualdo Ucciferri and Michael Keilyk. Ill-


Click to return to Contents page

gas and Monzelli were convicted in Philadelphia on local charges of attempting to bribe local officials.[208]

Cosa Nostra Boss Angelo Bruno of Philadelphia, in a conversation with Sam DeCavalcante on February 11, 1962, in the offices of Bruno's Penn-Jersey Vending Company, asserted that police officers had earlier been about to arrest both him and his wife on lottery charges, but that he had paid them to take him alone.[209] Frank Jaskiewicz, one of the largest independent racketeers in Philadelphia, was so powerful that he was advised of planned police raids; he tipped off these affected. (This information was obtained during forty-one hours of legally wiretapped conversations in 1955).[210] At Jaskiewicz' tax evasion trial in 1969, an IRS intelligence agent quoted Jaskiewicz as stating to him that "you have to 'pay off' [authorities] in order to stay in business."[211]

An almost identical pattern appears in Pittsburgh, where major racketeers have testified that they paid bribes to high officials in order to protect their numbers banks. Testimony confirmed beforehand by lie detector tests and given at the trial of the late Assistant Commissioner of Police, Lawrence Maloney, provided the following data:[212]

  1. Tony Grosso. Operator of a $12 million-a-year bank, Grosso testified that he paid over $12,000 per year to Maloney; that he paid between $5000-$7000 during election years for primary contests, plus $100 per person when his numbers writers were arrested. In return for this, Grosso testified, "I received protection for all my stores [banks] in the city of Pittsburgh, plus writers and pickup men."
  2. Henry Katz. Convicted of evading wagering taxes on a $2.1 million-a-year operation, Katz testified that he paid $850 per month to Inspector Clarence Cooper, Maloney's associate, and $300 per month to Maloney.
  3. Meyer Sigal. Testified that over a 5 1/2-year period he paid Maloney $176,000 in bribes.
  4. Marvin Walcott. An independent banker who worked for Grosso, Walcott testified that he had been paying bribes for twenty-one months to high officials.

Major gambling-corruption networks have been discovered in other Pennsylvania communities, In Erie in 1954, Pennsylvania State Police officers arrested forty individuals on charges of gambling, conspiracy, and bribery, Among these forty were the Mayor, a member of the police vice squad, and two officials of the Erie Democratic Party. Along with these, six members of the Stefano Magaddino Cosa Nostra family who lived in Erie were indicted and four were convicted. These racketeers haye subsequent criminal records confirming their continued participation in organized crime activities.

Agents of the FBI conducted a series of raids in Easton in 1967 on a local gambling operation directly tied to the Cosa Nostra in New York. When one of the principal defendants, Joseph Migliazza, was arrested, he bore a slip of paper with the notation "$200.00-ice." In underwerld jargon "ice" refers to bribe money, and the disclosure led to the empaneling of a special grand jury in Northampton County. In its presentment the Grand Jury concluded that "corruption was


Click to return to Contents page

present in the Easton Police Department, although limited to a small group..." and that there existed "disturbing outside interference with the Easton Police Department."[213] Later Migliazza recorded a taped interview for the Easton Express in which he detailed contributions and payoffs to political leaders and public officials,

The impact of this high-level corruption is difficult to estimate. When top-level officials accept campaign contributions and bribes from underworld leaders, they communicate to subordinates the idea that these individuals and their interests are to be protected. In such an atmosphere the honest police officer and public official become demoralized and sometimes take the option of accepting a small bribe. The argument is, "If you don't take it someone else will, and I'll get off anyhow."

The nation's most extensive and publicized example of organized crime and political corruption occurred in Pennsylvania. Reading, or "Wincanton," as it was called by the President's Crime Commission, was known as a wide-open city prior to the past seven years of reform, and numerous prosecutions revealed that a criminal-political elite was dominating it.[214]

In 1951 the Kefauver Committee found that "Reading is a classic example of political strangulation af a police department at the behest, of gambling interests seeking to thwart any interference with their activities"[215] In 1957 the Pennsylvania Attorney General launched an investigation into vice and extortion in Reading, and reported that "One is led inescapably to the conclusion that, at best, the local law enforcement officials were less than diligent in the discharge of their duties."[216] In 1959 the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section of the U.S. Department of Justice described Reading "a vice area of considerable magnitude."[217] In 1961 the most powerful racketeer in Reading, Abe Minker, was convicted of evading federal wagering taxes stemming from his multi-million dollar gambling empire.[218] In 1965 Minker and Mayor John Kubacki were convicted of extorting over $10,000 in kickbacks from parking meter concerns which sought city contracts.[219] At the trial Police Chief Charles Wade revealed that he had actually purchased the office of Chief of Police from Minker for $10,000, and that he took orders from Minker in all matters relating to vice and gambling enforcement. During Minker's earlier wagering tax-evasion trial, the government introduced an exhibit that consisted of Minker's hand-written notes, detailing payments of "ice" (bribes) to public officeholders.

Organized criminals endear themselves to officials and political leaders in a number of ways, creating many types of obligations. While evidence does not always exist of specific bribes, key officials go to bat for racketeers for unexplained reasons when the latter get into trouble with law enforcement authorities. Criminal justice agencies are particularly susceptible to this form of manipulation. One of the commonest occasions for pressure applied en behalf of racketeers has been that of the criminal trials or sentence hearings, During trials, community leaders have appeared as defense witnesses, claiming that the defendant is of such impeccable character as to be incapable of the crime for which he is charged. At sentence hearings the burden of testimony is that the convict is an asset to his community and


Click to return to Contents page

should be given a light sentence. The appearance of these witnesses is one way by which political leaders signal to judges and correctional officials that the convict is a person about whom they care. Weighted against these pressures are the facts of the case, perhaps dealing with a single crime which actually is but one fragment of an ongoing organized operation.

The following tabulation is taken from a study of ten cases involving (a) criminal offenses, (b) deportation hearings, and (c) extradition proceedings, in which public officials vouched for reputed racketeers:

1. Defendant: George Barrow.[220]
Case: Interstate racketeering, 1963.
U.S. Congressman, William A. Barrett.
Former Assistant Superintendent of Philadelphia Police, George Richardson.
Mayor of Yeadon, Joseph Boyle.
District Attorney (Delaware County), Raymond Start.
Magistrate, Upper Darby, James J. Ward.
Chairman, Board of Revision of Taxes, Philadelphia, Joseph Burns.
Tax Collector, Yeadon, Martin Scully.
Delaware County Commissioner, Harry McNichol.
Candidate for District Attorney (Delaware County, Stephen McEwen.)
Fight Promoter, Herman Taylor.
Philadelphia Attorney, Louis Lipschitz.
Former Philadelphia Detective, John Hackett.
2. Defendant: Russell Bufalino.[221]
Case: Deportation Hearing, 1962.
Philadelphia County Court President Judge Adrian Bonnelly.
3. Defendant: Frank Jaskiewicz.[222]
Case: Income Tax Evasion, 1969.
Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge, William Dwyer.
4. Defendant: Ben Lapensohn[223]
Case: Conspiracy to defraud, 1963.
Philadelphia County Court Judges, Adrian Bonnelly, Benjamin Schwartz, and Edward Kallick.
Philadelphia Magistrate, Harry Ellick.
Philadelphia City Councilman, Gcorge Schwartz.
Commissioner of Voting Registration, Harold Salkind.
Former City Solicitor, Frank Truscott.
6 other witnesses present.
61 witnesses sending written testimonials.


Click to return to Contents page

5. Defendant: Lawrence Maloney.[224]
Case: Income Tax Evasion, 1965.
Justice, Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Henry O'Brien.
Judge, Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, David Olbum.
Chief of Police, Hopewell Township, Joseph Unis.
6. Defendant: Abe Minker[225]
Case: Evasion of Federal Wagering Taxes, 1961.
Philadelphia County Court President Judge Adrian Bonnelly.
4 other witnesses.
7. Respondent: Giaocchino Parisi.[226]
Case: Naturalization Hearing, 1969.
Chief of Police, Hazleton, Hugh Ferry.
2 City Police Officers, Hazleton.
8. Defendant: Harry Riccobene.[227]
Case: Narcotics Trafficking, 1956.
Character Witness:
Philadelphia City Councilman, Raymond Alexander
9. Defendant: Antonio Ripepi.[228]
Case: Extradition Hearing for Charge of Assault and Battery, 1967.
Pennsylvania Stale Representative, Charles Caputo.
Police Chief, Pleasant Hills, Ralph D. Brain.
Former Pennsylvania State Trooper, Julius Trombetto.
4 other witnesses.
10. Defendants: Edward and James Datillo.[229]
Case: 209 Counts of Usury, 1967.
Philadelphia City Council Minority Leader, Thomas Foglietta.
City Councilman, Philadelphia, Benjamin Cucuruta.
Pennsylvania General Assembly Representative, Matthew Coppolino,

Two cases emphasize the way in which character witnesses are used to secure major reductions in sentence. The first involves George Barrow, alias "Skinney Barret," supervisor of the Reading crap game. Originally three years, Barrow's sentence was soon (on October 5, 1964) reduced to two years. Subsequently there occurred an unprecedented second hearing for reduction in sentence, at which numerous prominent political leaders and public officials appeared. All witnesses testified that they had known Barrow as a law-abiding citizen with a reputation for honesty. The U.S. Department of Justice felt differently. It replied that


Click to return to Contents page

  1. Barrow had held no legitimate occupation since 1926.
  2. He had a lengthy criminal record with fifteen arrests, three of them for murder.
  3. His partners in the game were (a) Abe Minker, Reading rackets czar, (b) Dominick Olivetto, underboss of the Angelo Bruno Cosa Nostra family, and (c) Joseph Profaci, boss of a Cosa Nostra family in New York City.
  4. His criminal records were mysteriously missing from police departments in Lansdowne, Yeadon, Upper Darby, and Millbourne, and from the Bureau of Criminal Identification of Delaware County.[230]

On May 14, 1967, Barrow's sentence was reduced to one year in prison; he was eligible for parole after having served four months.

In 1956 Harry Riccobene was termed "the number one man in the drug racket in Philadelphia" by the Philadelphia police.[231] Since the 1930's Riccobene had been convicted in four major narcotics cases, and he was listed as a major violator by the federal Bureau of Narcotics. Pleas for a light sentence for Riccobene were made by then City Councilman Raymond Pace Alexander. Liable for a term of life imprisonment on this (his fourth) conviction, Riccobene was sentenced to a term of 7 1/2 to 15 years. In 1970 he was convieted of conspiring to transport a stolen $500,000 U.S. Treasury bill from Philadelphia to Indianapolis.

In addition to help at sentence hearings, political officials can give assistance to racketeers who are incarcerated for long periods or who need to erase their criminal convictions in order to secure licenses or other privileges. Research by the Pennsylvania Crime Commission shows that six Cosa Nostra members have been given gubernatorial pardons by Pennsylvania governors.

1. John S. LaRocca, boss, Southwestern Cosa Nostra family. Pardoned in 1954 by Governor John Fine for the crimes of larceny, receiving stolen goods, and operating a lottery. The pardon was filed after deportation hearings for LaRocca closed, but was dated to occur while the hearings were still in progress. In effect the pardon cleared LaRocca's record and left the government without a deportation case. (Pardon file #A-1785)

2. Joseph Frank Rosa, (deceased), caporegime, Southwestern Cosa Nostra family. Pardoned in 1954 by Governor Fine for the crimes of illegal entry and bombing. (Pardon file #3824)

3. Nicholas Piccolo, caporegime, Angelo Bruno Cosa Nostra family. Pardoned in 1947 by Governor James Duff for the crime af robbery. (Pardon file #8845)

4. Frank S. Palermo, Sr., member, Southeastern Cosa Nostra family. Pardoned in 1948 by Governor Duff for the crimes of aggravated assault and battery and operating a lottery. The pardon was needed so that Palermo could obtain a boxing manager's license. In 1961 he was convicted of interstate extortion involving boxing. (Pardon file #9170)


Click to return to Contents page

5. Luigi Quaranta, member, Southeastern Cosa Nostra family. Pardoned in 1938 by Governor George Earle for the crime of murder. (Pardon file #2593)

6. Joseph Luciano, member, Erie regime of the Buffalo, New York, Cosa Nostra family. Pardoned in 1938 by Governor Earle for the crime of robbery. (Pardon file #1836)

Many other racketeers have received pardons, Cosa Nostra associate Felix Bocchiccio, a friend of Frank Palermo, Sr., and Frank Carbo in boxing rackets, was pardoned in 1949 for the crime of breaking and escaping prison.[232] Erie racketeer Leo Kaminski had his 1955 conviction for bribery and conspiracy commuted by Governor George Leader in 1955.[233] The murder conviction of Reading racketeer John Wittig, the enforcer for czar Abe Minker, was commuted in 1952.[234] The sentence of Louis Barish, a racketeer from Delaware County and an associate of Pittsburgh and New York Cosa Nostra families, was commuted by Governor Fisher m 1937. He had been convicted in 1953 of murder.[235]

The only logical conclusion that can be drawn from the foregoing information is that organized criminals in Pennsylvania have benefited from the method of administering criminal justice. Whether through bribery, political influence, or subtle manipulation of its processes, the criminal justice system has operated more to the advantage of the racketeer than for justice and the safety of society.


Click to return to Contents page

Pages 73 through 116 discuss "Strategies Against Organized Crime in Pennsylvania" and are not included in this web version of the report.


Click to return to Contents page



Click to return to Contents page


1 Task Force Report: Organized Crime, President's Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1967), p. 1.

2 Combating Organized Crime: A Report of the Oyster Bay, New York, Conference on Organized Crime, Office of the Counsel to the Governor of New York (Albany: Office of the Governor, 1965), p. 19.

3 Presentation of Professor Donald Cressey, University of California-Santa Barbara, at the Third Organized Crime Law Enforcement Training Conference, sponsored by the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration, U.S. Department of Justice, at the University of Oklahoma, Norman, March 4, 1970.

4 Investigation of Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce, U.S. Senate Special Committee to Investigate Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce, Pts. 11 and 19, "Pennsylvania" (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1951).

5 Logs of Electronically Surveilled Conversations of Samuel Rizzo DceCavalcante, et al., 1961-1965, by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Introduced during proceedings of U.S. v. DeCavalcante, et al. (Camden: U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey), Criminal No. 111-68; vol. 7: 168-81 (Hercafter referred to as the DeCavalcante transcripts).

6 Ibid., p. 181.

7 U.S., vs, Ucciferri, et al. (Philadelphia: U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No. 21659; also James Magee, Albert Guadiosi, and Bayard Brunt, Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, Nov. 6-15, 1963, p. 1.

8 Third Interim Report, U.S. Senate Special Committee to Investigate Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce (Washington, D.C.: US. Government Printing Office, 1951), pp. 150-151.

9 Donald Cressey, "The Functions and Structure of Criminal Syndicates," Task Force Report: Organized Crime, Appendix A, pp. 25-81.

10 Task Force Report: Organized Crime, p. 6.

11 DeCavalcante transcripts, vol. 13: 21-73.

12 Ibid., p. 73.

13 Ibid., p. 60 and vol. 5: 179.

14 Ibid., vol. 13: 75.

15 Task Force Report: Organized Crime, p. 34.

16 DeCavalcante transcripts, vol. 13: 4.

17 Ibid., vol. 5: 174-177.

18 Ibid., p. 178.

19 Ibid., vol. 3: 58.

20 Ibid., pp. 98-99.

21 Ibid., vol. 13: 67.

22 Ibid., vol. 4: 149.

23 Ibid., refencences are made to the following cities: Bristol (vol. 13: 8 ff); Easton (vols. 4: 108, 7: 168-181); Philadelphia (vol. 13, passim); Pittsburgh (vol. 2: 98-99); Allentown (vol. 9: 17).

24 Organized Crime and Illicit Traffic in Narcotics, U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Committee on Government Operations Hearings (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1963), Pt. I, p. 386.

25 For a discussion of the early Mafia faraily in Luzerne County, see Investigation into Improper Activities in the Labor or Management Field, U.S. Senate Select Committee to Investigate Improper Activities in the Labor or Management Field (Washington, D.C.: US. Government Printing Office, 1958), Pt. 32, pp. 12225-12226.

26 Organized Crime and Illicit Traffic in Narcotics, Pt. 4, p. 1016.

27 New York Times, July 24, 1989, p. 1; see also U.S. vs. LaRocca, et al. (New York: U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York), Criminal No. 69-569.

28 For a discussion of the pardon (File No. A-1785) see Annual Report of the Attorney General of the United States for Fiscal Year 1956, U.S. Department of Justice (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1957), pp. 146-147.


Click to return to Contents page

29 Investigation into Improper Activities in the Labor or Management Field,Pt. 53, pp. 18736-18738.

30 Ibid., Pt. 32, p. 12332.

31 Information supplied by various law enforcement agencies.

32 The structure of the Philadelphia Cosa Nostra family appears in Measures Relating to Organized Crime, U.S. Senate, Subcommittee on Criminal Laws and Procedures of the Committee on the Judiciary Hearings (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1969), p. 128.

33 U.S. vs. Salamone (Pittsburgh: U.S. District Court, Western District of Pennsylyania), Criminal No. 19537.

34 U.S. vs. Ciotti, et al. (Pittsburgh: US. District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No. 69-288.

35 DeCavalcante transcripts, vol. 13: 20-21.

36 Senate Labor-Management Hearings, Pt. 32.

37 Organized Crime and Illicit Traffic in Narcotics, Pt. 1, pp. 6-7, 388-389; see also, Report on the Activities and Associations of Persons Identified as Present at the Residence of Joseph Barbara, Sr., at Apalachin, New York, on November 14, 1967, and the Reasons for their Presence, State of New York Executive Department, Office of the Commissioner of Investigation (Albany: April, 1958), pp. 28-29.

38 These projections were made from only those records seized in selected raids on a limited number of banks; the total volume of all banks should greatly exceed $240 million.

39 DeCavalcante transcripts, vol. 13: 41; also information supplied by various law enforcement agencies.

40 Final Report, U.S. Special Federal Grand Jury (Philadelphia: U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania), in Henry Massaros, "U.S. Rackets Jury Indicts 14 for Taxes," Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, March 14, 1952, p. 1.

41 Philadelphia Inquirer, March 15, 1952, p. 1.

42 Third Interim Report, p. 46.

43 DeCavalcante transcripts, vol. 13: pp. 7 and 89.

44 Ibid. vol. 13: 41.

45 Ibid.

46 U.S. vs. Ucciferri, et al., sup. n. 7.

47 U.S. vs. Fina, et al. (Philadelphia: U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania), Criminal Nos. 22813 and 70-13; also, "Revenue Men Raid South Philadelphia Racket Center," Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, February 27, 1967, p. 3.

48 Commonwealth vs. Robinson (Philadelphia: Court of Quarter Sessions of Philadelphia County), Bill Nos. 556, 557, 570, March, 1969 Term of Grand Jury; also, "Three Arrested in South Philadelphia Numbers Raid," Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, December 18, 1969.

49 U.S. vs. DiRugeris, et al. (Philadelphia: US. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No. 22969; also, Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, May 20, 1967, p. 3.

50 U.S. vs. Monzelli, et al. (Philadelphia: US. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No. 22154; Commonwealth v. Monzelli (Philadelphia: Court of Quarter Sessions of Philadelphia County), Bill Nos. 511, 512, 947, 948, October, 1965 Term of Grand Jury; also, Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, February 7, 1965, p. 1.

51 Commonwealth vs. Illgas (Philadelphia: Court of Quarter Sessions of Philadelphia County), Bill Nos. 1658, 1654, May, 1968 Term of Grand Jury.

52 U.S. vs. Perri, et al. (Philadelphia: U.S, District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No. 69-198.

53 See Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, March 11, 1965, for an account of the arrest. McNally was indicted by a federal grand jury in Philadelphia in 1970 for income tax evasion; see "US, Indicts Gambling Figure in Northeast," Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, April 3, 1970, p. 3.

54 A summary of the federal organized crime drive in Pittsburgh, 1960-1965, may be found in Invasion of Privacy, U.S. Senate, Subcommittee on Administrative Practice and Procedure of the Committee on the Judiciary Hearings (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1965), Pt. 3, pp. 1148-1301.


Click to return to Contents page

55 Summary of the Principal Findings and Recommendations, Survey of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, International Association of Chiefs of Police (Washington, D.C.: Int'l Assn. of Chiefs of Police, 1966), pp. 2-3.

56 Statement quoted in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, February 16, 1968, sec. 2, p. 18. Similar statements concerning Pittsburgh's organized gambling problem were made by Mayor Peter Flaherty, FBI agent Fdward F. Stewart, and Lt. Robert Coll, Acting Inspector of the Pittsburgh Police Vice Control Unit. See, Alvin Rosensweet, "Flaherty Concedes Numbers Problem," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, February 12, 1970, p. 25.

57 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, February 16, 1968, sec. 2, p. 18.

58 U.S. vs, Maloney (Pittsburgh: U.S. District Court, Western District of Pennsvlvania), Criminal No. 64-415. Accounts of the testimony appear in the Pitisburgh Post-Gazette for the following days: June 6, 10, 12, and 15, 1965. Although Maloney was acquitted of the tax evasion charges, all government witnesses who testified passed polygraph tests relative to the payment of bribes to Maloney. See, Invasion of Privacy, pp. 1218-1219, 1221.

59 Invasion of Privacy, p. 1148.

60 Ibid., pp. 1160-1161.

61 U.S. vs. Stupak, et al. (Pittsburgh: US. District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No. 63-192.

62 U.S. vs. Stanizzo, et al. (Pittsburgh: U.S. District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No. 65304; also, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, February 6, 1965, p. 1.

63 U.S. vs. Harper (Pittsburgh: U.S. District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No. 69-19.

64 U.S. vs. Minker, et al. (Philadelphia: US. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No. 20368.

65 Annual Report of the Attorney General of the United States for Fiscal Year 1961, U.S. Department of Justice (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1962), p. 222.

66 U.S. vs. Fiorini, et al. (Philadelphia: US. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No. 21759.

67 U.S. vs. Joseph (Philadelphia: US. District Court, Fastern District of Pennsylvania), Criminal Nos. 16919 (income tax evasion), and 19768 (evasion of wagering taxes).

68 U.S. vs. Fedool (Philadelphia: U.S. District Court. Eastern District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No. 19715; and U.S. us. Sophy (Philadelphia: U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No. 19714.

69 Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph, January 3, 1959, p. 1; and Erie Times-News, January 4, 1959, p. 1.

70 Erie Daily News, October 1, 1959, p. 1.

71 U.S. vs. Alessi (Pittsburgh: U.S. District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No. 14806.

72 U.S. vs. Salamone, sup. n. 33.

73 U.S. vs. Parenti (Philadelphia: U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No. 23204, vol. 52: 1585 ff.

74 Reading Times, January 22, 1962, p. 2; see also, Reading Times, January 20, 1962, p. 1, for an account of the federal raid.

75 US. vs. Barrow, et al. (Philadelphia: US. District Court, Mastern District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No. 20997, vol. 219: 1 (Sentence Hearing).

76 U.S. vs. Capello, et al. (Philadelphia: U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No, 22279.

77 Statement by J. Edgar Hoover, Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, before the House Subcommittee on State, Justice, and Commerce Department Appropriations of the Committee on Appropriations Hearings, April 2, 1987, p. 568.

78 U.S. vs. DeCavalcante, et al. (Newark: U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey), Criminal No. 111-68; also, New York Times, March 22, 1968, p. 39.

79 Commonwealth vs. Mastrangelo (West Chester: Court of Quarter Sessions of Chester County), Bill No. 139, January, 1969 Term of Grand Jury.


Click to return to Contents page

80 Final Report of the Investigating Grand Jury, Court of Quarter Sessions of Northampton County, February, 1967.

81 Syndicated Gambling in New York State, Temporary Commission of Investigation of the State of New York (Albany, 1961), pp. 47-51.

82 Annual Report of the Attorney General of the United States for Fiscal Year 1956, U.S. Department of Justice (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1957), pp. 147-148.

83 U.S. vs. Ferrone, et al. (Pittsburgh: U.S. District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No. 67-284.

84 U.S. vs. Cole, et al. (Houston: US. District Court, Southern District of Texas), Criminal No. 69-H-246.

85 U.S. vs. Whitaker (Philadelphia: U.S. Distriet Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No. 21122.

86 Annual Report of the Attorney General of the United States for Fiscal Year 1966, U.S. Department of Justice (Washington, D.C.: US. Government Printing Office, 1967), p. 221.

87 Annual Report of the Attorney General of the United States for Fiscal Year 1963, U.S. Department of Justice (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1964), p. 206.

88 U.S. vs. LaGorga (Pittsburgh: Office of the U.S. Commissioner, Western District of Pennsylvania) ; Commissioner's Transcript No. 67-110; and Commonwealth vs. Janelli (Pittsburgh: Court of Quarter Sessions of Allegheny County), Bill No. 438, October, 1969 Term of Grand Jury, and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 20, 1969, p. 1.

89 U.S. vs. Malone, et al. (Philadelphia: US. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No. 20571.

90 U.S. vs. Rinaldi (Scranton: US. District Court, Middle District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No. 13540.

91 U.S. vs, Migliazza, et al. (Philadelphia: US. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No. 22907; and U.S. v. Mosiello, et al. (Philadelphia: U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No. 22755.

92 Commonwealth vs. Piperata (Easton; Court of Quarter Sessions of Northampton County), Bill No. 19, June, 1969 Term of Grand Jury.

93 Gambling and Organized Crime, U.S. Senate, Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Committee on Government Operations Hearings, 1961, Exhibit 30-C, introduced on p. 333.

94 Ibid., p. 320.

95 Ibid., p. 717.

96 Ibid., p. 166.

97 U.S. vs. D'Amato, et al. (Philadelphia: U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No. 22434.

98 Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, February 6, 1966, sec. 1, p. 1.

99 Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, February 21, 1966, p. 4.

100 Ibid.

101 Measures Relating to Organized Crime, p. 132.

102 Investigation of Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce, Pt. 19, p. 125 ff.

103 Scranton Times, August 6, 1960, p. 1.

104 Results of an investigation conducted by the Pennsylvania State Police, 1964-1965.

104 U.S. vs. Giacolone, et al. (Flint: U.S, District Court, Eastern District of Michigan), Criminal Nos. 43149, 43332.

106 U.S. vs. Ciancutti, et al. (Pittsburgh: US. District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No. 62292.

107 Measures Relating to Organized Crime, p. 180.

108 J. Edgar Hoover, Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, 1969 FBI Appropriation (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, 1968), p. 85.

109 John M. Seidl, "Upon the Hip - -A Study of the Criminal Loan Shark Industry" (Washington, D.C.: Law Enforcement Assistance Administration, U.S. Department of Justice, 1969).


Click to return to Contents page

110 Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, February 16, 1967, p. 6.

111 Information contained in a statement submitted to the Office of the District Attorney of Philadelphia in 1967.

112 Ibid.

113 Ibid.

114 U.S. vs. Konigsberg, et al. (Philadelphia: US. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No. 21559.

115 See Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, November 15, 1966, and April 20 and 21, 1967; also, The 1968 Report to the People of Philadelphia from the Office of the District Attorney, Office of the District Attorney of Philadelphia County (Philadelphia: 1969), pp. 33-34.

116 For an account of the incidents, see the Philadelphia Inquirer, October 14, 1963, p. 39; and October 15, p. 31.

117 The 1967 Report to the People of Philadelphia from the Office of the District Attorney, Office of the District Attorney of Philadelphia County (Philadelphia: 1968), pp. 112-113.

118 Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, May 16, 1968, p- 9.

119 Impact of Crime on Small Business: 1968, U.S. Senate, Select Committee on Small Business Hearings (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1968), p. 5.

120 Organized Crime and Illicit Traffic in Narcotics, Pts. 3-5.

121 Ibid., p. 918.

122 Annual Report of the Attorney General of the United States for Fiscal Year 1958, U.S. Department of Justice (Washington, D.C.: US. Government Printing Office, 1959), pp. 224-225; also, Organized Crime and Illicit Traffic in Narcotics, Pt. 4, p. 1057.

123 Traffic in Opium and Other Dangerous Drugs for the Year Ended December 31, 1958, Bureau of Narcotics, U.S. Treasury Department (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1959), p. 23.

124 Organized Crime and Illicit Traffic in Narcotics, Pt. 4, p. 1016.

125 U.S. vs. Riccobene, et al. (Philadelphia: U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No. 69-459.

126 Organized Crime and Illicit Traffic in Narcotics, Pt. 4, p. 1052.

127 U.S. vs. Riccobene, et al. (Philadelphia: US. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No. 15905.

128 U.S. vs. Poliafico, et al. (Cleveland: US. District Court, Northern District of Ohio), Criminal No. 21275.

129 Philadelphia Inquirer, August 22, 1956, p. 1.

130 Commonwealth vs. Riccobene (Philadelphia: Court of Quarter Sessions of Philadelphia County), Bill Nos. 1366-1370, August 1956 Term of Grand Jury.

131 Traffic in Opium and Other Dangerous Drugs for the Year Ended December 81, 1958, pp. 20-21; U.S. vs. Casella, et al. (Camden: U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey), Criminal Court No. 151-58; U.S. us. Santore, et al. (Camden: U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey), Criminal No. 58-58; U.S. vs, Valli (Philadelphia: U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No. 19550.

132 Organized Crime and Illicit Traffic in Narcotics, Pt. 3, p. 774.

133 U.S. vs. Sindone (Philadelphia: US. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No. 16214.

134 Traffic in Opium and Other Dangerous Drugs for the Year Ended December 31, 1958, Bureau of Narcotics, U.S. Treasury Department (Washington, DC.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1954), p. 11.

135 Traffic in Opium and Other Dangerous Drugs for the Year Ended December 31, 1956, Bureau of Narcotics, U.S. Treasury Department (Washington, DC.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1957), p. 51.

136 Traffic in Opium and Other Dangerous Drugs for the Year Ended December 31, 1957, Bureau of Narcotics, U.S. Treasury Department (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1958), p. 28.


Click to return to Contents page

137 Traffic in Opium and Other Dangerous Drugs for the Year Ended December 31, 1967, Bureau of Narcotics, U.S. Treasury Department (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1968), p. 6.

138 Organized Crime and Illicit Traffic in Narcotics, Pt. 4, p. 927.

139 Annual Report of the Attorney General of the United States for Fiscal Year 1959, U.S. Department of Justice (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1960), p. 222.

140 U.S. vs. Caponigro (Philadelphia: U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No. 19754.

141 DeCavalcante transcripts, vol. 5: 208.

142 Annual Report of the Attorney General of the United States for Fiscal Year 1961, p. 225.

143 U.S. vs. Cerulli, et al. (Scranton: U.S. District Court, Middle District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No. 14016.

144 Information supplied by the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms Division, Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Treasury Department; also, Commonwealth vs. Santora et al. (Wilkes-Barre: Court of Quarter Sessions of Luzerne County), Bill No. 85, April, 1961 Term of Grand Jury.

145 U.S. vs. Rubino, et al. (Philadelphia: U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No. 22254.

146 U.S. vs. Rubino (Scranton: US. District Court, Middle District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No. 14628.

147 U.S. vs. Lagana, et al. (Philadelphia: US. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No. 15687.

148 U.S. vs. Heller, et al. (Philadelphia: US. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania), Criminal Nos. 16246, 16774.

149 U.S. vs. Casella, et al. (Philadelphia: U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No. 16071.

150 U.S. vs. Ippolito, et al. (Philadelphia: US. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania), Criminal Nos. 17496 and 18023.

151 U.S. vs. Monte, et al. (Philadelphia: U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No. 19431.

152 Measures Relating to Organized Crime, p. 137.

153 DeCavalcante transcripts, vol. 13: 1-3 and 43; vol. 8: 81.

154 Ibid., vol. 8: 81.

155 U.S. vs. M. Maggio and Co. (Philadelphia: US. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No. 17582.

156 U.S. vs. Mannarino, et al. (Pittsburgh: US. District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No. 63-137, and Annual Report of the Attorney General of the United States for Fiscal Year 1963, p. 219.

157 U.S. vs. Correale, et al. (Scranton: US. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No. 14601.

158 U.S. vs. Bruno, et al. (Philadelphia: US. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No. 70-12.

159 Final Report, U.S. Senate, Select Committee to Investigate Improper Activities in the Labor or Management Field (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1960), Pt. 3, pp. 503-507.

160 Welch vs. Stokes, et al. (Pittsburgh: Allegheny County Court of Commen Pleas), No. 2686, April, 1964; also, "Notice of Suit," addressed to the Sheriff of Allegheny County by the Prothonotary, Daniel B. Roberts, filed on March 3, 1964.

161 Report of the Attorney General of Pennsylvania on Vice Conditions in Berks County, quoted in the Reading Times, November 16, 1967, p. 1; also, Commonwealth vs. Fudemun, et al. (Reading: Court of Quarter Sessions of Berks County), Bill Nos. 32-34, 37-A, 38-42, March, 1958 Term of Grand Jury.

162 For an account of Murschetz' statements to the press, see Pittsburgh Press, January 8, 1959, p. 1.

163 DeCavalcante transcripts, vol. 7: 168-181.


Click to return to Contents page

164 U.S. vs. DiLorenzo, et al. (Manhattan: U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York), Criminal No. 69-158; and New York Times, August 1, 1969, p. 167.

165 U.S. vs. Lippi, et al. (Scranton: US. District Court, Middle District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No, 13711; and Annual Report of the Attorney General of the United States for Fiscal Year 1964, U.S. Department of Justice (Washingion, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1965), p. 223.

166 US. us. Cristina, et al. (Pittsburgh: U.S. District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No. 68-242.

167 U.S. vs. Stein, et al. (Philadelphia: U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No, 22044; also, Gaeton Fonzi, "Bankruptcy for Fun and Profit," Philadelphia Magazine, May, 1968.

168 U.S. vs. Secouler, et al. (Philadelphia: U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No. 21897.

169 U.S. vs. Basen, et al. (Philadelphia: U.S. Distriet Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No, 22842; and U.S. vs. Karasow, et al. (Philadelphia: US. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No. 21898.

170 Fred J. Cook, "The Jackals at J.F.K," New York Times Magazine, April 12, 1970.

171 For a summary of the legally wiretapped conversations, see Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, December 10, 1954, p. 3; July 10, 1956, p. 3; and August 19, 1956, sec. 2, p. 1.

172 U.S. Senate Select. Committee to Investigate Improper Activities in the Labor or Management Field Hearings, Pt. 53, p. 18736.

173 Ibid., p. 18742.

174 Philadelphia Inquirer, October 15, 1949; and New York Times, October 15, 1949, p. 30.

175 Annual Report of the Attorney General of the United States for Fiscal Year, 1959, p. 227.

176 Ibid., pp. 227-228.

177 U.S. vs. Stirone, et al. (Pittsburgh: U.S. District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No. 14871.

178 See Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board vs. Local Union 830 (Philadelphia: Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board), Cases C-31428-E to C-31430-5, September 20, 1967.

179 U.S. vs. D'Agata (Philadelphia: U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No. 70-99; U.S. vs. Lanni, et al. (Philadelphia: U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania), Criminal Nos. 70-126 and 70-289.

180 Second Interim Report, US. Senate Select Committee to Investigate Improper Activities in the Labor or Management Field (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1959), Pt. 2, p. 513.

181 Ibid., p. 514.

182 Annual Report of the Attorney General of the United States for Fiseal Year 1960, U.S. Department of Justice (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1961), p. 312.

183 Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, September 1, 1959, p. 1.

184 Commonwealth vs. Cohen et al. (Philadelphia: Court of Quarter Sessions of Philadelphia County), Bill No. 520, August, 1959 Term of Grand Jury.

185 Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, March 30, 1967, p. 24.

186 The 1967 Report to the People of Philadelphia from the Office of the District Attorney, p. 112-113.

187 Frank McDevitt, "Five Arrested, Three Sought in Bank Loan Racket ...," Philadelphia Inquirer, December 5, 1967, p. 1.

188 Philadelphia Inquirer, October 24, 1967, p. 41; also, Commonwealth vs. McGreal (Philadelphia: Court of Quarter Sessions of Philadelphia County), Bill nos. 2380 and 2381, January, 1968 Term of Grand Jury,

189 U.S. vs. McGreal, et al. (Camden: U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey), Criminal No. 157-70.


Click to return to Contents page

190 U.S. vs, Alaimo, et al. (Scranton: U.S. District Court, Middle District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No. 13225; also, Annual Report of the Attorney General of the United States for Fiscal Year 1959, p. 216.

191 U.S. vs. Gelso, et al. (Scranton: US. District Court, Middle District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No. 13435; also, Annual Report of the Attorney General of the United States for Fiscal Year 1964, U.S. Department of Justice (Washington, D.C.: US. Government Printing Office, 1965), p. 213.

192 U.S. vs. Pecora, et al. (Pittsburgh: US, District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania, Criminal No. 14875.

193 See Deeds, Office of the Prothonotary, Allegheny County Courthouse, Pittsburgh, vol. 4251: 227; vol. 3256: 136, for an account of real estate transactions between LaRocca and Sam Mannarino, and LaRocca and Thomas Pecora.

194 Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph, August 19, 1939. Nicholas Stirone, former President of Local 1058 (who was later convicted of extortion) was also arrested with LaRocca and Pecora.

195 Investigation of Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce, vol. 11: 43.

196 DeCavalcante transcripts, vol. 13: 65.

197 For an account of the bombings, see McKeesport Daily News, September 15 and 16, 1968.

198 Annual Report of the Attorney General of the United States for Fiscal Year 1960, pp. 216-217.

199 Donald Cressey, Theft of the Nation (New York: Harper and Row, 1969), p. 83.

200 Commonwealth vs. Fina (Philadelphia: Court of Quarter Sessions of Philadelphia County), Bill No. 402, November, 1965 Term of Grand Jury.

201 Philadelphia Post, June 17, 1942.

202 U.S. vs. Perrone, et al. (Pittsburgh: U.S. District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No. 67-284.

203 U.S. vs, Caponigro (Philadelphia: US. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No. 19754.

204 U.S. vs, DiRugeris, et al. (Philadelphia: US. District Court, Easton District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No. 22969; also, Philadelphia Hvening Bulletin, May 20, 1967, p. 3.

205 U.S. vs. Heller (Philadelphia: U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No. 22814.

206 Task Force Report: Organized Crime, p. 6.

207 Third Interim Report, p. 46.

208 Commonwealth vs. Illgas, sup. n. 51, and Commonwealth vs. Monzelli, sup. n. 50.

209 DeCavalcante transcripts, vol. 13: 79.

210 Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, September 25, 1955, p. 1.

211 U.S. vs. Jaskiewicz (Philadelphia: U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No. 22701, transcript, p. 3234.

212 U.S. vs. Maloney, sup. n. 38.

213 Final Report of the Investigating Grand Jury, Court of Quarter Sessions of Northampton County, February, 1967.

214 John A. Gardiner, "Wincanton: The Politics of Corruption," Task Force Report: Organized Crime, Appendix A, and The Politics of Corruption: Organized Crime in an American City (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1970).

215 Final Report, US. Senate Special Committee to Investigate Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1951), p. 61.

216 Report of the Attorney General of Pennsylvania on Viee Conditions in Berks County, quoted in the Reading Times, November 16, 1967, p. 1; also, Commonwealth vs. Fudeman, et al. (Reading: Court of Quarter Sessions of Berks County), Bill Nos. 32-34, 37-A, 38-42, March 1958 Term of Grand Jury.

217 Annual Report of the Attorney General of the United States for Fiscal Year 1959, p. 222.


Click to return to Contents page

218 U.S. vs. Minker, et al., sup. n. 64.

219 U.S. vs. Minker, et al. (Philadelphia: WS. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania), Criminal No. 21760.

220 See U.S. vs. Barrow, et al. sup. n. 75; and "Top Citizens Go to Bat for Rackets Kingpin in Bid to Cut Term," Philadelphia Inquirer, March 19, 1967, sec. 2, p. 1.

221 An account of former Judge Bonnelly's testimony can be found in the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, April 10, 1964, p. l.

222 US. us. Jaskiewicz, sup. n. 211, "Sentence Hearing."

223 Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, July 15, 1963, p. 1.

224 US. vs, Maloney, sup. n. 58.

225 U.S. v. Minker, et al, sup. n. 64.

226 Matter: Petition for Naturalization of Giaocchino Parisi (Harrisburg: U.S. District Court, Middle District of Pennsylvania), No. 2846-P-5558, Hearing, May 22, 1969.

227 An account of former Councilman Alexander's testimony may be found in the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, September 27, 1956, p. 1. Riccobene was supported in his unsuccessful request for a commutation of sentence by former State Senator Vincent Scarcelli. Scarcelli's announcement of support may be found in the Philadelphia Inquirer, December 27, 1961, p. 10.

228 Ripepi Extradition Case, Court of Common Pleas, Allegheny County; Hearings on February 3, 1967.

229 Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, May 16, 1968, p. 9.

230 US. vs. Barrow, et al, sup. n. 75.

231 Philadelphia Inquirer, sup. n. 129.

232 Pardon of Felix Bocchicchio, issued in May 1949; (Pennsylvania Board of Pardons, Harrisburg, Pa.), File No. 9769.

233 Commutation of the sentence of Leo Kaminski in September 1055, (Pennsylvania Board of Pardons, Harrisburg, Pa.), File No. A-3209.

234 Commutation of the sentence of Louis Barish, File No. A-397.

235 Commutation of the sentence of John Wittig, File No. 836.


Click to return to Contents page


An index is found in the original report on Pages 129 through 136. Visitors to this web version are encouraged to use their web browser's "Find" feature (often accessed by pressing Ctrl + F) to locate subjects of interest within the text. The original document index can be viewed by clicking here.


Click to return to Contents page