Nickodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo, the boss of the Philadelphia-South Jersey La Cosa Nostra crime family in the 1980s, has been described by law enforcement officers and former criminal associates as ruthless, homicidal, greedy and paranoid — even by organized-crime standards.
Today, Scarfo, 83, sits in federal prison in large part because of Philip “Crazy Phil” Leonetti, his close nephew and criminal underboss, who became a witness against him.
Scarfo will not be happy with this book.
In “Mafia Prince,” Leonetti tells the inside story of his uncle’s rise to the leadership of the crime family and his violent seven-year reign. Leonetti also writes about his own criminal acts, which include 10 murders
... I spoke recently to Philip Leonetti, who called me from an undisclosed location, as his uncle has placed a $500,000 contract on his life. Leonetti told me he wrote the book because, first, it is a great story. Second, he wrote the book so his son will understand his life in organized crime and how he was schooled in La Cosa Nostra from an early age by his uncle.
“From when I was little he would tell me we don’t talk about our life to anybody,” Leonetti told me. “We’re different; we don’t live by the same rules like everybody else. If somebody bothers us, we’ll kill the guy ourselves. We don’t rat to the police. This is the environment I grew up in.”
He described his uncle as smart, devious, calculating and psychopathic. Leonetti admitted to committing murders and said he tried to be a good soldier for his uncle by killing — and he was good at it — but he didn’t enjoy the act like his uncle did.
“All the crimes I committed, like the murders I was involved in, were all against bad people, guys that were involved in our life, so I didn’t think anything of it,” Leonetti explained. “They were looking to kill us, and we were looking to kill them. We weren’t looking to kill no legitimate people.”
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