A major video poker machine vendor named Joseph Procaccini took the stand in front of a federal jury in the ongoing Philadelphia mafia trial against reputed acting Philadelphia mafia boss Joseph “Uncle Joe” Ligambi and co-defendants. Procaccini said that the Philly mafia made him an offer that he couldn’t refuse. He testified that in 2001 Joe Ligambi and two associates Anthony Staino and Joseph “Mousie” Massimino forced him and his business partner to give up control of a lucrative distribution network of poker machines. The network contained 34 video poker machines located at 20 locations and Procaccini said that if they didn’t agree to deal with Ligambi and company they would just take it and him and his partner would be left with nothing. He also said that he was told by the Philly mobsters that of they didn’t cooperate with them they would get hurt but as long as they did they wouldn’t bother the rest of the guys business M&P Vending. Procaccini said they were forced to sell the route for $63,000 a small sum considering the routes annual revenue was between $85,000 – $125,000.
“Mob Boss Joseph Ligambi”
Procaccini said he and his partner were called to a meeting in 2001 to discuss a business proposal with Joseph Ligambi and Mousie Massimino that was set up by Joseph Malone father-n-law of mobster Steven Mazzone. He said he was aware of the violent reputation of the Philadelphia mafia and suggested that his company make a tribute payment to the mafia family rather then give up the lucrative poker machine route but was told no. He said at the meeting Massimino did most of the talking and frequently looking over to Ligambi for a nod of his head for a yes or a no. Prosecutors asked Procaccini if he thought he had a choice in agreeing to the sale and he said no , they had power over us to make us sell. Authorities allege that this type of takeover is a form of extortion.
Procaccini said that he began to work in the vending machine business in the 90′s and back then from time to time the company would make a “street tax” payment to the Philly mob. He also said that one of the founders of the company Anthony Milicia was gunned down back in 1996 after he balked at making a mob payment to then boss Ralph Natale. Milicia survived the shooting and after months of recovery the company began making the payments to the mob.
The machines began to be turned over to Staino said Procaccini during the summer of 2001. Staino would then change the locks on the cash boxes for the machines and they became his machines. Procaccini said that he found a small area to hold his ground on and declined to signing a sales agreement. He said from November of 2001 through March of 2003 M&P Vending recieved payments of around $3,000 from Staino in form of checks from a JMA a company that prosecutors say was set up by Ligambi, Staino, and Massimino in an attempt to make the takeover look legitimate. They received the payments which totaled the final sales price of $63,000. Authorities say the initials of company “JMA” stood for Joe , Mousie, and Anthony. Prosecutors asked Procaccini again if he wanted to sell the route and machines and he said absolutely not.