Leonetti Blames the Father for the Son's Crimes

BAD OLD DAYS: Phil Leonetti, back in his prime.
Leonetti Rips Uncle, Says Cousin Didn't Have A Chance | Big Trial | Philadelphia Trial Blog: "The younger Scarfo never had a chance, said his cousin, mobster-turned-government witness Philip Leonetti.

"He's really not a gangster," Leonetti, 61, said in a telephone interview with Bigtrial this week. "His father had him under his spell...I used to tell him, 'Nicky, get away from these guys.' And when he was talking to me, he would agree' But then he would talk to his father and..."

The words trail off, but the point is clear. Leonetti, the one-time underboss of the Scarfo crime family, followed his cousin's trial from afar.

He has been living in another part of the country with a new identity since his release from prison in the early 1990s. Considered one of the best mob witnesses to ever take the stand, Leonetti testified at nearly a dozen trials following his own conviction, along with his uncle and a dozen others, in a 1988 racketeering-murder case.

"I was very good at doing some bad things," Leonetti said of his life in the mob and under his uncle's influence, "but it's not who I was."

Leonetti's decision to cooperate sent shockwaves through the underworld. Among other things, his defection was a major factor in the decision of Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano, the Gambino crime family underboss, to flip and help the government convict mob boss John Gotti a few years laterr.

Gravano, however, couldn't stop being Sammy the Bull and after his release from prison returned to drug dealing. He ended up back in jail. Leonetti on the other hand has carved out a new and better life for himself and his family, far removed from the underworld where he was once a major player.

Life, he says, has been good.

He wishes his younger cousin had the chance to experience it."


  1. R.I.P. Mr. Tocco.

  2. I live just south of Detroit and just north of Grosse Ile where major bootlegging took place. Amazing history in my town. On Grosse Ile there are boat houses with tunnels to the houses where they would bring it in by boat carry it through the tunnels to the houses load up the cars and off they went. There are many stories of Al Capone visiting my area presumably on business with the partnership.

  3. That sounds exactly what the book is about. I'm gonna pick up a copy as soon as my pile of books I'm reading gets a little smaller.

  4. Sounds like a smaller version of the Genovese family.

  5. I wish I could have met this guy.

  6. I would appreciate it a great deal if you would ask Mr. Leonetti about the large amount of money that he allegedly stole from his Uncle Nick Scarfo, along with the large amount of money he was allowed to keep after cooperating with Federal Authorities.

  7. bet his life would make one hell of a movie.

  8. He is a lowest firm of life ! That's all I can say about Phil. ,

  9. Ed you knew you would of blew john d'mato if u had the chance ;p

  10. I had the opportunity to meet Tony Giacalone (Tony Jack) and his brother Vito Giacalone (Billy Jack) when I was younger. Billy Jack was good friends with my great uncle who lived in Hamtramck, Mi, a city inside Detroit. He (my great uncle) was with the U.A.W. or the teamsters I can't remember which one during the Hoffa era and even knew him. My great uncle's name was Joseph Precopio. I was just a kid and don't remember how they were but is still pretty cool I think. Keep the great stories coming.

  11. Same things going on in Massachusetts except for the horse racing bit, although we have 'race horse owners' involved with the State workers. I'm meeting with Mike Gill Monday to discuss. It's not only NH

  12. hi ed philly it said 12 comm is this a carry over from big trial? Philly

  13. Yep -- see top of story. I pulled out some of what I thought to be among the more interesting stuff from the article.

  14. Oh, I forgot. You can't answer me. Too bad...

  15. Good riddance you ffukking scumbag.


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