Acting boss of the Philadelphia crime family
1964 (age 57), South Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Steven mazzone top 25 facts
Steven Mazzone (born 1964) is an American mobster believed to be a high ranking member of the Philadelphia crime family. Mazzone's rise in power through the Philadelphia underworld began as a protege of former boss turned informant, Ralph Natale. After the family was decimated by prosecutions during the Nicodemo Scarfo and John Stanfa eras, Natale was released from prison in 1994 and shortly thereafter became the new boss of the crime family. Natale partnered with the "Young Turks" faction that was one of the few remnants left of the Philadelphia crime family, and their leader, Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino. After Natale assumed the top position as boss, he positioned Merlino as underboss and Ronald Turchi as the consigliere in the new hierarchy. This administration is still in question to this day, as many now believe that Merlino was running the family behind the scenes, letting Natale have the boss position to deter law enforcement from himself.
Mazzone is a childhood friend of Merlino. They both grew up in South Philadelphia and started there criminal careers together. Natale inducted Mazzone into the crime family in 1995 and made him a caporegime in 1996. Following Natale's 1998 arrest for drug trafficking, Merlino officially took over the family and become the new boss. He named Mazzone as his underboss and another childhood friend, George Borgesi, as consigliere. However their reign would be short. Mazzone would be indicted and held without bail in June 1999 along with Merlino, George Borgesi and others for racketeering and murder. A year earlier, Natale feeling slighted, and now realizing he may have been a puppet for Merlino all along, decided to end his life as a criminal. Facing the rest of his life in prison for drug trafficking, he decided to cooperate with the government in 1999 and agreed to testify against his former friends. Natale testified that Mazzone was the shooter in the death of mobster "Little Felix" Bocchino on January 29, 1992. Natale also testified that Mazzone was one of the shooters in the failed murder attempt on Joseph Ciangalini, Jr. on March 2, 1993. Mazzone and his co-defendants were acquitted of all murder charges at trial in 2001, largely due to credibility issues with the government witnesses.
The defendants were found guilty of racketeering and illegal bookmaking. Mazzone was acquitted of murder, murder conspiracy and attempted murder but convicted of racketeering, extortion and illegal bookmaking and was sentenced to nine years in prison. The upper echelon of the family was once again decimated. Following the indictment and imprisonment of the family's hierarchy, Merlino would remain in control from prison, while installing Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi as the acting boss of the family.
After serving nearly the whole length of his nine-year prison term, Mazzone was transferred to a halfway house then released from federal custody on February 2, 2008. Following his release, Mazzone was to have no contact with other convicted criminals or known mobsters, and he was placed on federally supervised release for three years. Coincidentally, in the months following the expiration date of his parole restrictions, Joseph Ligambi, the acting boss of the family, was arrested himself in May 2011 following a sweeping racketeering indictment that threatened to eradicate the hierarchy of the family once again. Just prior to the indictment, Joseph Merlino was released from federal prison and into a halfway house in Florida. Merlino would also have to serve three years of supervised release until September 2014.
With Ligambi and others were denied bail and forced into waiting out their trial in the federal detention center in Philadelphia, Mazzone was elevated to acting boss. Shortly after, Philadelphia TV station Fox 29's news team caught Mazzone on video (without audio) angrily yelling at two alleged crime family associates. After two federal trials in which the government failed to convict him, Ligambi was released in January 2014 and reputedly went into semiretired. Although Ligambi's imminent retirement is questionable, Mazzone continues to hold a leadership position in the Philadelphia crime family. Local law enforcement, prosecutors, and the FBI all believe that Merlino remains the boss of the family while partially residing in Florida.