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Francesco “Skyball” Scibelli

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — From the Godfather….to the Sopranos…to the mob wives of today…there seems to be an ongoing fascination with the mob or mafia.

Boston Herald columnist and radio talk show host Howie Carr has written a number of books on the mob in New England including his latest, “Hitman.” He says, “I think true crime is a very big genre right now in books and in movies. Look at “The Town” and “The Fighter”, actually was almost the same sort of thing. These are the kind of books people are looking to make movies out of.”

There’s even more interest lately, following the recent convictions of brothers Ty and Fotios Geas and Arthur Nigro for the 2003 murder of mobster big Al Bruno. Bruno was gunned down by the Genovese crime family he helped lead.

Springfield has been a Genovese territory since the family’s earliest days in the early 1930s.  Mark Karanjekis, the FBI’s senior resident agent in the Springfield office, says the organization  has ruled through a combination of murder, extortion and intimidation. 

The most influential Genovese leaders from Springfield were Salvatore “Big Nose Sam” Curfari, Francesco “Skyball” Scibelli and Al Bruno. Curfari reportedly controlled betting and racketeering from Vermont into western Massachusetts and also into central Connecticut for decades. He was succeeded by Skyball Scibelli in 1977, who continued to control betting and racketeering in this area. 

When Scibelli stepped aside in 1998, Bruno was passed over in the hierarchy by Anthony Delevo of Westfield. In 1996, Bruno was sentenced to 15 months in prison after pleading guilty to a racketeering charge. By 2003, Anthony Delevo was headed off to prison on racketeering charges and Bruno was set to assume the number one spot. But he didn’t enjoy it for long. On November 23rd, a day before his 58th birthday, Bruno was killed outside Mount Carmel Society. Ironically, just days after Bruno’s murder Delevo was sentenced to three years in federal prison, where he died in 2005. The man who took Bruno’s place was Genovese soldier Anthony Arilotta. Arilotta admitted he had arranged the hit on Bruno. Arilotta became the star government witness, leading to the convictions of the Geas brothers and Artie Nigro earlier this year.

As for the Springfield area mob in 2011, Howie Carr says, “Just people who are mainly cocaine dealers fighting over scraps. A handful of bars maybe being shaken down. It’s nothing compared to what it used to know Skyball, Big Nose Sam and those guys. They’re gone, they’re not comin’ through the door again.” 

read more  Click here: A Look Back on the Mob in Springfield – WGGB abc40/FOX 6: News, Weather, Sports: Springfield, MA

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