Steven “Handsome Stevie” Mazzone, the underboss of the Philadelphia mob, has been sentenced to five years in prison on charges of racketeering conspiracy, extortion, and illegal gambling.
“Handsome Stevie” Mazzone, left, leaves a Philadelphia courtroom with his lawyer in June 2020. He was taped taking part in a Mafia induction ceremony in 2015. (Image: Philadelphia Inquirer)
Mazzone was indicted in November 2020, along with 15 other alleged members of the notorious crime family, with names like “Tony Meatballs,” “Joey Electric,” and “Louie the Sheep.” Also indicted was Domenic “Baby Dom” Grande, allegedly Mazzone’s capo.
Mazzone directed a vast network of criminal activity that spanned Philadelphia and parts of New Jersey, prosecutors said.
He pleaded guilty in June 2022 to conduct that involved financing high-interest loans to sportsbook customers who were unable to pay their debts. This would result in the collection of interest rates on loans of as much as 264%, according to court documents.
His henchmen made several threats of violence to debtors who did not pay, including one threat to make a victim “disappear” for nonpayment.
Look Out, Atlantic City
Prosecutors built the case against Mazzone with evidence gathered through wiretaps, surveillance footage, and witness testimonies.
One such wiretap records Mazzone’s participation in a Mob initiation ceremony in which the underboss’ brother and others are turned into made men. They are made to swear they will “burn in hell forever if I betray my friends.”
We got to get a hold back on Atlantic City, buddy! That’s what I want. That’s what I want. We have to get that back. I mean we have a few guys out there, you know, right now. You’re going to have a couple more guys out there with you … I want you, I want you to do something.”
The Philly Mob was a dominant force in the casino resort town in the 1970s and 1980s under former bosses Angelo Bruno and Nicky Scarfo.
Among other rackets, Scarfo intimidated many of the city’s casino developers, including Donald Trump, into using his cement contracting company, and made a fortune from its new gaming industry.
But the family’s influence has waned in general in the ensuing years because of infighting and the successful prosecution of leaders like Scarfo, John Stanfa, Ralph Natale, and Joseph “Skinny Joey” Merlino, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
Merlino is reputedly still the boss of the family. He was released from prison in October 2019, having served a sentence of two years in prison for illegal gambling. That was after a jury failed to find a verdict on racketeering charges.
Mazzone was incarcerated for nine years in 2001, along with Merlino, for racketeering and illegal sports bookmaking.
“When he got out, he went right back to the same streets and same old rackets — overseeing loansharking, illegal gambling, and extortion,” Jacqueline Maguire, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division, said in a news release.
“Mazzone and co. need to accept that the FBI is just as committed to shutting down organized crime here as ‘the family’ has been to sustaining it,” she added.
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