Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Feds arrest Nicky Scarfo Jr and twelve others for $12 million dollar mortgage fraud

Nicodemo S. Scarfo, 46, was one of more than a dozen individuals named in the indictment handed down Tuesday. He was arrested at his Atlantic County home.
Nicodemo S. Scarfo, 46, was one of more than a dozen individuals named in the indictment handed down Tuesday. He was arrested at his Atlantic County home. 

The son of jailed Philadelphia mob boss Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo was arrested this morning on racketeering and fraud charges tied to what federal authorities allege was a massive scheme to defraud a Texas-based financial firm out of millions of dollars.
Nicodemo S. Scarfo, 46, was one of more than a dozen individuals named in the indictment announced by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Camden. He was arrested at his home in Atlantic County.
Scarfo's father and fellow mobster Vittorio Amuso, another jailed mob boss, were named as unindicted coconspirators in what the indictment charges was a mob-linked criminal enterprise set up to siphon millions of dollars from FirstPlus Financial, the Texas-based company.
The elder Scarfo and Amuso, one-time head of the Lucchese crime family, are serving lengthy jail sentences on racketeering charges in a federal prison in Atlanta.
Former Elkins Park businessman Salvatore Pelullo, South Jersey criminal defense attorney Donald Manno and several former officials with FirstPlus Financial were among the 13 defendants named in the indictment. Scarfo's wife, Lisa, was also charged.
Other defendants include accountants, lawyers and company officials who the indictment alleges were all part a scheme set up by Pelullo and Scarfo to loot FirstPlus.
Paul Fishman, the U.S. Attorney attorney said in announcing the indictment that the alleged scheme gave "new meaning to the term corporate takeover."
FBI Special Agent Mike Ward said the case was an example of organized crime going "from the back alley to the boardroom."
The 25-count indictment includes allegations that Scarfo and Pelullo lined their own pockets while siphoning cash and assets out the company.
Authorities say the pair used the money to purchase a $750,000 yacht they christened Priceless.
Pelullo also purchased a Bentley automobile worth over $200,009, officials said. Scarfo bought a home valued at more than $500,000 in Galloway, Atlantic County, a brand new Audi and a diamond engagement ring and tennis bracelet each valued at more than $15,000 for his wife.
Scarfo, according to authorities, also was receiving $33,000 a months a consultant.
The indictment capped a three-year investigation by the FBI that became public after search warrants were issued in May 2008 for businesses and homes in Philadelphia, New Jersey, Florida and Texas.
Authorities allege that Pelullo and Scarfo were behind-the scenes operatives who orchestrated a series of business deals in which FirstPlus bought or invested in companies the two had set up in Philadelphia and South Jersey.
Authorities allege those companies were shells that performed little or no work, but were set up to allow Scarfo and Pelullo to take more than $12 million out of FirstPlus.
The indictment charges the defendants with being part of a mob-connected racketeering enterprise that engaged in wire fraud, mail fraud, bank fraud, securities fraud, money-laundering, extortion and obstruction of justice.
The charges could land Scarfo in jail for the next 20 years.

The indictment details a telephone call intercepted by law enforcement on Dec. 5, 2007, that illustrates the corrupt nature of Scarfo and Pelullo’s control of FPFG. Pelullo called Scarfo to tell him about the sudden death of a former FPFG executive described in the Indictment as “Individual #4,” who had provided information to Pelullo and William Maxwell that they used extort control of FPFG. At the time of his death, Individual #4 was employed by FPFG as a member of its “compliance team.” During the conversation, Scarfo and Pelullo expressed relief regarding Individual #4’s death. After laughing about how he was “crushed” that “the rat is dead,” Pelullo acknowledged that Individual #4 was “the only connection, the only tie to anything.” As the news sunk in to Scarfo, he stated, “Oh boy. Yeah, Sal, you wanna know something though? . . . That’s one that I know you can’t take credit for . . . [laughter] . . . and that’s the natural best thing. You know what I mean? . . . That is so like Enron-ish. You know what I mean? Kenneth Lay, he bailed out and took a heart attack.”
In a twist, the indictment comes almost 22 years to the day when Scarfo was the target of hit.
On Halloween night 1989, Scarfo was having dinner in Dante&Luigi's Restaurant in South Philadelphia when a man wearing a mask and carrying a trick-or-treat bag walked up to Scarfo's table, pulled out a gun and shot the young wiseguy six times.
The brazen mob hit came in the midst of one of the most turbulent periods in the history of the Philadelphia Mafia. The younger Scarfo survived the assassination attempt, but the shooting marked the end of the reign of his father, Little Nicky, whose tenure as mob boss was marked by violence, bloodshed and treachery.
From 1981, when the elder Scarfo took control of the crime family, through 1989 when his son was gunned down, more than 20 members and associates of the crime family were killed. And about 25 more were indicted and subsequently convicted.
Little Nicky Scarfo was in jail when his son was shot, serving the 55-year racketeering sentence that still keeps him behind bars.
Several years later, Philip Leonetti, Scarfo's nephew and underboss, had this to say about his family:
"My uncle (Little Nicky) is going to get my cousin (Nicodemo S.) killed or indicted."
The younger Scarfo, twice married and with two young children, has already served two jail sentences for gambling and racketeering charges since Leonetti made that prediction.
He is currently under indictment in Morris County in a mob-connected gambling case.
The indictment unsealed this morning described the alleged $12-million dollar financial fraud case as part of a mob-linked criminal enterprise. Authorities allege that the elder Scarfo, from prison, and his fellow inmate, jailed New York mob boss Vittorio Amuso, took part in the scheme from behind bars.
Adding to the twist of timing of the indictment is that one of those dining with Scarfo the night he was shot was another cousin, John Parisi.
Parisi also is charged in the financial fraud case.



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