Jailed Mobster, his Associate Lose Federal Court Appeals Years After Racketeering Convictions

Written by:
Jagajeet Chiba
Published on:

A federal appeals court upheld the 30-year sentences for a member and associate of the Lucchese organized crime family, authorities said.


Nicodemo S. Scarfo, 57, of Galloway, New Jersey, and a member of the Lucchese organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra (LCN), along with Salvatore Pelullo, 55, of Philadelphia, also an associate of the Lucchese and Philadelphia LCN families, were each charged with racketeering in July of 2014.

The defendants challenged "almost every aspect of their prosecutions" in the consolidated appeal, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger said.

Two others, William Maxwell, 63, of Houston, Texas, and his brother, John Maxwell, 70, of Irving, Texas, were also convicted.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed all the convictions with the exception of a forfeiture portion of John Maxwell's sentence, in a precedential, 169-page opinion.

The four were convicted for using extortionate threats to take control of FirstPlus Financial Group, a publicly held mortgage company based in Dallas.  They would later go on to loot the company, resulting in losses of more than $14 million.

Prosecutors have previously linked the Philadelphia LCN families to gambling and bookmaking.

"A common method of operation of the Philadelphia LCN Family was the use violence and threats of violence to achieve its objectives, including extortionate credit transactions and illegal gambling," prosecutors had claimed in a previous matter tied to the crime family.

- Jagajeet Chiba, Gambling911.com

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