Steven Mazzone, the underboss of the Philadelphia mafia family, was sentenced to five years in prison on Thursday. Photo by Meihe Chen, Wikimedia Commons
Dec. 15 (UPI) -- The underboss of the Philadelphia mafia was sentenced Thursday to five years in prison for illegal loansharking and running an illegal gambling business.
Steven Mazzone, 59, of Philadelphia, was the underboss of the Philadelphia organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra. The Justice Department said that Mazzone set rules for the LCN members and collected profits from illegal activity.
"The Department of Justice has long been committed to dismantling LCN across the country and reducing its reach and influence," said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department's Criminal Division. "In this case, the defendant used his role as the underboss of the Philadelphia organized crime family to try to revive its fortunes, extorting victims in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. As this prosecution demonstrates, the department remains steadfast in its commitment to eradicating organized crime from our communities."
Mazzone financed high-interest loans to customers of an illegal sportsbook. Some of the loans had interest rates as high as 264%. LCN members and associates threatened debtors who did not pay with violence, including one threat to make a victim "disappear" for nonpayment on a loan.
Last month the Justice Department charged a plethora of members who worked under Mazzone. They were charged with bookmaking and loan sharking in Philadelphia and Atlantic City beginning in October of 2015.
Some of the defendants are accused of conspiring to kidnap and kill an associate who sold them fake drugs in Philadelphia, prosecutors said.
"The Philadelphia mob isn't what it used to be, and thank God for that," said U.S. Attorney McSwain in a statement last month. "But it is still a problem and is still allegedly committing serious federal crimes, which is why we at the Department of Justice are focused on stamping it out. We will not rest until the mob is nothing but a bad memory."