Genovese Family Crew Still Running Springfield, Mass.?

A Springfield, Mass., man with a last name that harkens back to local mob royalty has been nailed for assaulting a wire-wearing informant described in court papers as a debtor.

Anthony J. Scibelli
Skyball's descendant? Anthony J. Scibelli of Springfield.

Anthony J. Scibelli, 51, of Springfield, was arrested on July 2 and was held at the Wyatt Detention Facility in Rhode Island until his release to home confinement on Monday by a federal judge.

He is a “ruthless mobster,” federal prosecutors say, who used violence to collect debts for a loan shark. Scibelli faces one charge for extortionate loan collection from an incident during which he allegedly assaulted a debtor while he wore a wire for the Massachusetts State Police and FBI. (The debtor had been wearing the wire since May.)

Scibelli also allegedly used mace and a taser to collect debts, and spat on another man who reportedly died shortly after the incident, whatever that means (court documents don’t specify).

He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years, and his next scheduled court date is Sept. 16.

Scibelli apparently has been working for Albert Calvanese, who multiple law enforcement sources have identified as the Genovese mobster running the Springfield crew.

Calvanese has apparently been holding down the fort while a slew of hardcore crew members, including Ralph Santaniello, were arrested in major roundups, including for the high-profile assassination of former Springfield crew chief Adolfo Bruno, who was killed in 2003 by Anthony (Bingy) Arilotta and others. Calvanese also successfully evaded a major multi-state mob probe in 2016.

In all likelihood, no members of the Springfield crew have been made since 2010, owing to the Genovese family's historical wariness kicking in when word spread about law enforcement infiltrating the crew and the greater Springfield area. Even seemingly senior Springfield crew members in management were last known to be associates. 

Ralph Santaniello, who had been running the crew with the support (and love, even) of the Genovese capo overseeing things from the Bronx, and crew member Francesco Depergola were both teed up for buttons -- when the Genovese crime family shut down membership sometime after Bingy Arilotta flipped in 2010.  Bingy had been made in New York by Bronx-based Genovese capo Arthur Nigro, who was overseeing the Springfield crew. Nigro and others would get life sentences after Arilotta testified at trial against them about Bruno and other crimes.

Also spooking the wary New York-based Genovese bosses: news that Springfield had been overrun by moles. It would emerge in the courtroom that mobster John Bologna and local knockaround guy James Santaniello had been on the payroll of the FBI as informants.

Even the gunman who killed Bruno later testified. Frank Roche was the first to be arrested, in 2004; he pleaded guilty in federal court in 2008, and was a star witness at two racketeering and murder trials conducted in federal court in New York City.

Put it all together and, as FBI agent Robert Zanolli testified during pretrial bail hearings in 2016: "(T)he books are closed with the Genovese crime family. ... no one is being made."

The Genovese family's stalled membership (and Santaniello himself) also were discussed in a secretly recorded conversation between wired informant John (JR) Rubeo and Genovese capo Eugene (Rooster) Onofrio, who apparently inherited the Springfield crew from Nigro, who died this year while serving his life sentence for the Bruno murder.

As per transcripts of the discussion also disclosed during courtroom proceedings in 2016:

Onofrio: "Everything's shut down."

Rubeo: "He doesn't put anyone up."

Onofrio: "Yeah he does."

Rubeo: "Never."

Onofrio: "I do."

Rubeo: "He don't." (apparently referring to Danny Leo, a top Genovese boss)

Onofrio: "I already put a guy up from Springfield, Mass. ... You know, Springfield was given to me."

Rubeo: "Yeah, you told me."

Onofrio: "I got four, five guys up there. One I love to death."

Rubeo: "Why don't you move me up there? Can I make money?"

Onofrio: "I know he is a gangster, I know he's got balls, he's got heart. He, his name is already in. When they open up, I'm definitely putting him in, because I can't travel from New Haven to Springfield all the time."

Eugene Rooster Onofrio
Eugene Rooster Onofrio

The judge in the current Springfield case isn’t buying much of what prosecutors are selling. She noted in her ruling that she was unconvinced that Scibelli is a leader, or a member, of an organized crime family.

As per audio recording transcripts between Scibelli and “Victim One,” the two repeatedly refer to someone as “the kid.” The kid is also known in an FBI agent’s affidavit as “Individual One.” Individual One is who Scibelli was allegedly working for. In one recorded conversation detailing what happens to those in Individual One’s debt, Scibelli blurted out Individual One’s first name: “Albert.”

Calvanese, a convicted loan shark, reportedly has money on the street in Springfield. He’s also alleged to run the Mount Carmel Society Club in Springfield’s South End. That’s the location where Scibelli allegedly beat a victim for late payments. And it’s also where Bruno was shot multiple times (he was murdered in the parking lot outside the club).

Historically considered to be one of the deadliest and most dangerous loansharks in the region, Calvanese managed to defeat heavy surveillance that put a slew of others in the area away.

As per the indictment, Scibelli – who has the same name (and we’d bet is related to) Francesco (Frankie Skyball) Scibelli, a capo in the Genovese crime family and boss of the Springfield, Massachusetts faction, until his 2000 death—extorted an unnamed person from 2017 to June 20, 2019. He also attempted to collect “extensions of credit and to punish Victim 1 for nonpayment thereof.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office, in a statement about the arrest, said “Victim 1” had been paying Scibelli $1,300 a month for an extended period of time. Scibelli beat the debtor and threatened him to make sure to satisfy his monthly obligation “on the first” in front of four law enforcement officers in plainclothes. As per local reports, it is unknown why plainclothes cops just stood around and watched a cooperating witness be beaten.

Albert Calvanese
Springfield crew chief? Albert Calvanese.

Calvanese was released from prison in 2011. He later emerged as the leader of the Springfield crew.

Calvanese uses his hands. As recently as 2015, Calvanese allegedly was involved in a brawl at Tony's Famous barbershop in Springfield's South End during which Calvanese went toe to toe with barber (and convicted loan shark) Carmine Manzi. The fight reportedly spilled out onto the sidewalk in broad daylight.