Insiders of the American Mob: Philip Leonetti, Former Philadelphia Mafia Underboss

Video highlights from The American Mob

Photograph by National Geographic Channels / David Smoler

Philip Leonetti, former underboss of the Philadelphia mafia grew up under the guidance of his uncle and future Philadelphia mafia boss, Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo. By the age of 23, Philip Leonetti had committed his first murder and, in less than a decade, rose to be one of the most powerful and feared names in the underworld. Scarfo and Leonetti, nicknamed “Crazy Phil” by a local radio talk-show host, ruled over one of the most violent and bloodiest crime families in American history. In 1988, Scarfo, Leonetti, and a dozen other top-ranking members of the Philly mob were arrested on RICO charges. Leonetti was sentenced to 55 years in prison. After spending nearly his entire life involved in organized crime, he decided to turn government informant, becoming the highest-ranking member of an organized crime family in the United States at that time to flip. Leonetti went on to provide damaging testimony in a number of cases against the Philadelphia and New York crime families, including the infamous “Windows Case.” In 2012, Leonetti co-authored the book, Mafia Prince, a semi-autobiographical story of his life. He currently lives under secret identity in an undisclosed location.

Discuss this article

Newsletter

Never miss a Nat Geo moment

Your email address
Submit