Philadelphia mob captain Anthony Staino was released early from prison this month after serving six years of an eight-year sentence courtesy of a federal racketeering conviction. Award-winning investigative reporter and Bruno-Scarfo crime family insider Dave Schrawieser broke the news of Staino’s return home to New Jersey on his social media accounts Tuesday.
The 62-year old Staino is a crew chief in the South Jersey faction of the family and was the right-hand man to longtime acting boss Joseph (Uncle Joe) Ligambi before going to prison in February 2013. He was caught on an FBI wire bragging to an undercover agent of being the family’s “CFO” and threatening to hurt him if he didn’t pay back the $30,000 loan he had taken out.
Where Staino fits in as a player in the current cluttered Philly mob landscape remains unclear. Attaching his trailer to Ligambi’s rising star in the late 1990s, Staino maneuvered up the family’s ladder fast, going from associate to made man to capo to de-facto No. 2 in charge in a matter of two years.
Staino and Ligambi were indicted together in 2011 for bookmaking, extortion and loan sharking, but Ligambi, 79, beat the case at a pair of trials. The two mob leaders co-owned a video-poker machine business with Ligambi’s underboss Joe (Mousie) Massimino, indicted, convicted and incarcerated for racketeering in the years leading up to the Ligambi-Staino bust. The triumvirate were looking after the shop for then jailed mafia don Joseph (Skinny Joey) Merlino. Uncle Joe Ligambi is back manning the store for Merlino, who is once again away as a guest of the federal government for gambling offenses committed in Florida.
Staino’s uncle is retired Philly mob figure Ralph (Junior) Staino, a soldier during the family’s “Little Nicky Scarfo era,” and famous for his romance with showgirl-turned-club owner Lillian (Tiger ‘Lil) Reis. Junior Staino came up on the streets of Philly as a member of the mostly Irish K&A Gang prior to being inducted into the city’s Italian mafia by Scarfo in the early 1980s.
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