Federal Prosecutors Trying To Keep Scarfo Behind Bars
PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ The arrest of reputed organized-crime boss Nicodemo ″Little Nicky″ Scarfo on extortion and conspiracy charges represents a chance to ″take the mob apart″ in Philadelphia and southern New Jersey, the FBI says.
Scarfo, 57, remained in federal custody today after pleading innocent Friday to conspiring with City Councilman Leland Beloff to extort $1 million from a riverfront developer.
Calling Scarfo a danger to the community, prosecutor Ronald Cole asked a magistrate to deny bail. A detention hearing was delayed until Wednesday after Scarfo’s lawyer said he needed more time to prepare.
A government motion to deny bail cited ″serious risks that (Scarfo) may atempt to obstruct justice″ and said he participated in four murders, ordered four other slayings and served time for voluntary manslaughter and illegal possession of a firearm.
″We are hoping we have made a major step in dismantling the present mob,″ saidWayne Davis, chief of the FBI’s Philadelphia office.
″What will fill the vacuum we don’t know yet. The fact that we have two defectors, who have agreed to testify, is the best chance to take the mob apart. This is dynamite.″
Scarfo was arrested by FBI agents Thursday night at the Atlantic City, N.J., airport en route to his home there after a flight from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He was charged in a federal indictment unsealed Friday.
The indictment supersedes one returned in October naming Beloff, his chief legislative aide, Robert Rego, and former Scarfo lieutenant Nicholas ″Nicky Crow″ Caramandi in the alleged $1 million conspiracy.
Caramandi was dropped from Friday’s indictment because he has pleaded guilty and will testify against Scarfo, Cole said.
Thomas DelGiorno, another Scarfo lieutenant, pleaded guilty to racketeering charges in U.S. District Court on Monday, admitting his role in five gangland murders and one attempted killing. He implicated Scarfo.
Beloff, 44, and Rego, 42, pleaded innocent earlier.
The $1 million was sought from Rouse & Associates, a developer that has built a hotel in the Penn’s Landing area along the Delaware River and is planning office buildings, condominiums and a marina.
Developer Willard Rouse III told federal authorities of the alleged extortion attempt.
Beloff and Rego were charged additionally with extorting at least $25,000, construction repairs on the councilman’s home and a two-year lease on a deluxe apartment from two other developers.
Beloff agreed to introduce and secure passage of zoning ordinances in exchange for payoffs, the indictment said.
Scarfo also is under indictment in New Jersey, where he was arrested in November on chargs of being a leader of organized crime and conspiracy to commit racketeering. He had been free on $400,000 bail.
Charles ″Charley White″ Iannece, identified as another mob ″soldier,″ was added to Friday’s indictment and charged with extortion. Iannece, 51, of Philadelphia, was still at large today.
If convicted, Beloff and Rego face maximum sentences of 140 years in jail and $1.75 million in fines, while Scarfo and Ianecce each face a maximum of 40 years in prison and $500,000 in fines.