Sunday, March 2, 2014

Nicodemo Scarfo & Lucchese Scams

Halloween night 1989.  A lone man walks into Dante & Luigi's restaurant in South Philly wearing a Batman mask.  He walks straight towards a table of three men pulls out a Mac 10 and opens fire.  He fires five times at one man, striking him in the chest twice, the neck and arm, until he falls on the floor in a pool of blood. The masked man quickly exits the restaurant and drops the Mac 10 on the sidewalk outside.

Nicodemo Scarfo Jr.
Lying in the pool of blood: Nicodemo Scarfo Jr.  Luck was on his side that night because none of the wounds were life threatening.  In fact he didn't even need a blood transfusion. The bullets missed vital organs and blood vessels.  That is the way hits go sometimes.

The shooting gave the FBI an inside look into the mind of the 24 year old up and coming Mobster.  He had thrown his weight around because his father was the boss and one of the most violent in the country. Times had changed and  Nicodemo Scarfo Sr was now locked up in Federal Prison for the rest of his life.  They recovered a laptop computer belonging to the young Scarfo and they soon discovered bookmaking and shylocking records.  This was new because very few Mobsters even knew what a computer was at the time.

The shooter would be identified in court years later as Skinny Joey Merlino, the son of imprisoned Underboss Salvatore "Chuckie" Merlino.  Skinny Joey and Nicodemo Jr had been close friends at one time, but when the elder Scarfo had a falling out with the Merlinos they stopped being friends.  Joey was tired of Nicodemo Jr acting like he was the new boss of Philly and he was trying to lead his young turks into a power position.  Nicodemo Jr was also collecting street tax and bringing messages from his father at the time, so this could have been a message to his father.

Nicodemo not only survived, but thanks to a close friendship that his father has with Lucchese Family boss Vic Amuso, he was Made into the Lucchese Family.  He quickly left Philly and started working with the Lucchese New Jersey crew.  The Lucchese Family has always had a strong presence in New Jersey so it was a good choice.  

The FBI would would also install a key logger system on Nicodemo Jrs computer so they could monitor his usage and passwords.  They had to use this "Bug" because he was using an encryption software called PGP and they could not get into his files.  Nicodemo would challenge this in pretrial motions, but like all things FBI they claimed that after the 9-11 attacks they had to use software like this and keep it secret.  They would use the information to indict him on racketeering charges.

Once he was out of prison, he was right back at things with Lucchese family in New Jersey.  He was promoted to Capo and he helped run the Lucchese's New Jersey factions Gambling business.  They went online and started taking action using the website BIGACTIONSPORTS.COM.  They also had a wireroom in San Jose, Costa Rica, with more than 20 people working the room and processing the bets.  In 2007 Nicodemo Jr was no longer in charge because he had moved on to bigger things. He would brag to people that he could steal more with a computer than 10 guys with guns.  They started calling him “Nick Promo”, “Mr. Apple” and “Mr. Macintosh” for his computer skills.

The state would launch an investigation aimed at taking down the Lucchese Family in New Jersey.  It would last a  year and was called Operation Heat.  This time they took down 34 people on gambling charges.  In the 15 months they were watching the crew they recorded 2.2 billion dollars in wagers!  Just so Operation Heat would get even more headlines, the State also indicted Edwin and Dwayne Spears , Edwin Spears is a high ranking member of the Nine Trey Gangster set Bloods.  They called it an alliance but it was just two Lucchese guys: Joseph Perna and Michael Cetta, financing an operation with a corrections officer to smuggle cellphones and drugs into prison. So much for the Mafia Bloods connection.

Nicodemo Scarfo Sr
Nicodemo was working on something much bigger at this time.  He and Sal Pellulo decided to target a company in Texas called First Plus Financial Group, a publicly traded company.  First Plus Finacial Group was a Texas Based Mortgage company.   In April of 2007 they replaced its management and board of directors with their own people.  They then had the board purchase two corporations owned by Nicodemo Jr and Sal Pellulo for millions of dollars and thousands of shares of stock..  The problem was the two companies had little or no value.  They then had the board pay out huge amounts of cash that went to them as consultants.  Nicodemo Jr bought a huge house using $250,000 he got from the scam.  He set up trusts for his kids that were used to launder the cash from the scam.  Sal Pellulo bought an $800,000 jet to travel to Texas and Florida. Then the best part of the scam is that they then helped the stock price rise and they sold their shares for a profit!  Nicodemo Scarfo Sr and Vic Amuso were on the indictment as indicted co conspirators in the whole scam.  They were called Uncle Nicky, Mr MacArthur and Uncle Vic or Papa.  They were helping him, calling shots, two bosses that were locked up for life!

We shall see soon what happens because they are set to begin trial and neither Nicodemo Jr nor Sal Pellulo ever had their names on any of the paperwork.


  1. George zappola is out..up next goggles !!!

  2. Does conte get out on the 10th ?