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Bookie's Gamble Pays Off

2 October 2001

PHILADELPIA, Pennsylvania – Oct. 2, 2001 –As reported by the Philadelphia Daily News: "A former bookmaker who helped the feds win extortion convictions against a high-ranking South Philadelphia mobster and two underlings was rewarded yesterday for his testimony.

"Instead of going to prison for up to 16 months for running his own illegal gambling business, meat wholesaler John Mazzola was placed on three years' probation by a federal judge.

"…Mazzola's trial testimony earlier this year convinced a jury to convict George Borgesi of several counts of extortion, operating an illegal gambling business and collection of unlawful debts, Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven D'Aguanno, a city prosecutor on loan to the feds, told the judge.

"Mazzola's testimony also led to the conviction of Angelo `Fat Ange' Lutz, a mob associate, for the same crimes, the prosecutor said.

"…For more than a decade, Mazzola had his own `little' illegal bookmaking business on the side, he testified in June at the racketeering trial of reputed mob boss Joseph `Skinny Joey' Merlino, Borgesi, Lutz and three other defendants.

"..In 17 years of taking bets, he'd won about $100,000, he estimated. But several years ago, the South Philly mob horned in on Mazzola's sideline, prosecutors contended.

"Lutz and Borgesi asked politely for a piece of his action, and Mazzola reluctantly started `edging off work' - turning over bets that came in to him, when too many gamblers wagered on the same team…"

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