The former Philadelphia mafia underboss Philip Leonetti tells the inside story of his life inside the Philly Mafia and why he decided to turn against his fellow wiseguys in his new book “Mafia Prince: Inside America’s Most Violent Crime Family and the Bloody Fall of La Cosa Nostra.
Leonetti says that he pulled no punches in his book and goes into detail on everything from mob murders and dealings with other notorious mobsters like Vincent “The Chin” Gigante, Sammy “The Bull” Gravano, and John Gotti. He served as underboss in the Philadelphia crime family under his uncle and then boss Nicodemo “Little Nicky” Scarfo until they along with other members of mob family were convicted and received long prison sentences. Leonetti was convicted for his part in ten mob hits and sentenced to 45 years in prison. Instead of it being the end Leonetti decided to take a different path and break the mafia code or Omerta and become a turncoat.
He became a made man in the Philadelphia mafia at age 27 after he was proposed for membership by his uncle Nicky. Leonetti says he was made into the crime family by then boss Philip “The Chicken Man” Testa at a mob ceremony where he had his trigger finger pricked with a gold tie pen by his uncle and was handed a card of a saint lit on fire and repeated the words “May i burn like this saint if i betray my friends” and when fire burned out he was a made man. At the height of power for Scarfo and Leonetti known then as “Crazy Phil” they ran mob rackets including extortion , loan-sharking, illegal gambling and more in Philadelphia and Atlantic City. Leonetti says back then they were the real “Boardwalk Empire“. He said that they made millions of dollars as they sat atop the Philly mob and seemed untouchable until it all came crashing down.
Leonetti says he was raised around the mob life and at age eight he was used by his uncle as a decoy to help him following a murder he had committed. They two were driving in a truck that had just been used by Scarfo to deliver a body to a hole they had dug in woods and he told Leonetti why he had killed the man. He told Leonetti they had gone to a bar in Jersey and killed the guy because he had disrespected a powerful man of La Cosa Nostra. Scarfo told young Leonetti that in our life respect and honor meant everything and the dead man was not an honorable man so he had to be killed. Scarfo said he had stabbed the man repeatedly with an icepick until he was dead. Leonetti says that this was how he was raised and part of why he became a killer himself once he got older. Murder was just a part of life he said and he didn’t think twice about killing the men he had.
Now the 59 year old former mobster lives under a new name and has a new life inside of the witness protection program. Today he says he is a law-abiding citizen who works a 9-5 job and his friends and neighbors have no idea who he was and what he did in his previous life. Leonetti says there is still reports of a $500,000 dollar bounty on his head for anyone who can track him down and kill him.