Reputed mob boss Joseph “Uncle Joe” Ligambi was all about money, not murder, say law enforcement and underworld sources who have tracked the surprisingly long tenure of Philadelphia‘s low-key, circumspect Mafia don. On Monday, in a move that could signal the end of Ligambi’s run, the alleged mob kingpin, 71, and a dozen other reputed members and associates of his organization were named in a 50-count indictment built around gambling and loan-sharking operations that sources say may have generated millions of dollars over the last 10 years.
But the indictment contains no alleged acts of violence: no murders, no beatings, no assaults. Instead, the allegations — centered on illegal sports betting and video-poker-machine businesses — allude to threats of violence, fear and intimidation, the tools that authorities allege Ligambi used to maintain order, solidify his control, and line his pockets. Ligambi was charged with heading a crime family that U.S. Attorney Zane Memeger said used the threats of “force and violence to instill fear and exert power in order to make money.” The arrests, which went off without incident early Monday morning in South Philadelphia and South Jersey, capped an investigation that dates back at least 10 years, when Ligambi took over as acting boss of the organization for jailed mob leader Joseph “Skinny Joey” Merlino.
- Philly mob boss (reputed), others indicted (csmonitor.com)
- Alleged mob boss eschewed violence, shunned publicity, while making cash (philly.com)
- Reputed Mob Boss Busted: Feds Make Arrests in Philly (abcnews.go.com)