Reputed Philly Mob Boss Indicted

"Reputed mob boss Joseph 'Uncle Joe' Ligambi was all about money, not murder, say law enforcement and underworld sources who have tracked the surprisingly long tenure of Philadelphia's low-key, circumspect Mafia don," wrote George Anastasia in an article published in the Christian Science Monitor (of all places!).

Read the FBI's press release on the indictment.

CSM article continued: On Monday, in a move that could signal the end of Ligambi's run, the alleged mob kingpin, 71, and a dozen other reputed members and associates of his organization were named in a 50-count indictment built around gambling and loan-sharking operations that sources say may have generated millions of dollars over the last 10 years.
Ligambi departs courthouse in 2001.

But the indictment contains no alleged acts of violence: no murders, no beatings, no assaults. Instead, the allegations — centered on illegal sports betting and video-poker-machine businesses — allude to threats of violence, fear and intimidation, the tools that authorities allege Ligambi used to maintain order, solidify his control, and line his pockets.

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Ligambi was charged with heading a crime family that U.S. Attorney Zane Memeger said used the threats of "force and violence to instill fear and exert power in order to make money."

The arrests, which went off without incident early Monday morning in South Philadelphia and South Jersey, capped an investigation that dates back at least 10 years, when Ligambi took over as acting boss of the organization for jailed mob leader Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino.

Unlike the indictments that brought down mob bosses such as Merlino, John Stanfa, and Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo, the 50-count indictment unsealed Monday contains no charges of murder, attempted murder or assault. But it is replete with alleged threats of violence, several attributed to defendants who were secretly recorded during the investigation.

In one conversation, Anthony Staino Jr., a top Ligambi lieutenant, threatened to send "two gorillas" to deal with a deadbeat gambler.

Staino, who was arrested at his home in Woolwich Township, Gloucester County, headed the South Jersey operation of the crime family and was one of the few members of the organization who met regularly with Ligambi, investigators say.

On the tape, Staino, 53, demanded that a $48,000 debt be repaid and told an associate of the deadbeat, "I'm going to kill him, OK? I'm telling you right now, I'm going to kill him."