Saturday, August 07, 2010

Martin Angelina, Mob Underboss, Sentenced to Probation for Aggravated Assault

Nearly a year after spitting in the face of a Margate police officer, mob underboss Martin Angelina was sentenced Friday to a year's probation and fined $1,000 for aggravated assault.

Angelina, 48, said little during the sentencing hearing before Atlantic County Superior Court Judge Bernard DeLury. Neither he nor his lawyer, M.W. "Mike" Pinsky, would comment as they left the third-floor courtroom.

Dressed in a blue striped polo shirt and jeans, the once roly-poly wiseguy appeared tan and fit as he stood before DeLury at his brief court appearance.

Asked by the judge if he had anything to say, Angelina replied, "Nothing."

DeLury described Angelina's confrontation with Police Officer Christopher Taroncher as "boisterous and profane," but said he would accept a plea deal between Pinsky and the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office.

The South Philadelphia resident formally entered his guilty plea in June.

The fact that Taroncher was not injured apparently played a role in the prosecution's decision to downgrade the charge to a fourth-degree offense that did not require a jail sentence.

Angelina, DeLury pointed out, has 12 prior arrests and six convictions. He also has a driving-while-intoxicated charge pending in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court. His most serious offense was a conviction for racketeering in 2001. Angelina served nearly six years and was twice jailed for probation violations after his release because he associated with organized-crime figures.

The current probation sentence includes a similar prohibition for the mobster. He also will be required to attend weekly counseling sessions at Alcoholics Anonymous or a similar organization.

Pinsky told DeLury that the current charge was not connected with organized criminal activity. He said it grew out of a domestic dispute.

Angelina was arrested early on Sept. 1, 2009, at an apartment in Margate where he was staying with a girlfriend, according to police. Neighbors had complained about shouting. He and the girlfriend had been arguing while drinking at some local bars and the dispute continued at home, police said.

Angelina spent several hours in the Margate lockup and was being released around 8 a.m. when, officials said, he got into an argument with Taroncher, who was in the process of freeing him. He then spit in Taroncher's face. Angelina was rearrested on an assault charge and remained in the lockup for two more hours before $2,500 bail was posted.

Once described by a federal prosecutor as a "bully running with a gang of misfits," Angelina was a close associate and enforcer for jailed mob boss Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino, who ruled the Philadelphia mob family in the late 1990s. Merlino, Angelina, and five codefendants were convicted in the 2001 racketeering case in Philadelphia.

Angelina, according to federal and local police, was named underboss, the number-two man, in the local mob by reputed boss Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi after Angelina completed his prison sentence. The move was seen in law enforcement and underworld circles as a favor to Merlino. Angelina is not considered a close associate of Ligambi's.

Ligambi, 70, has taken a low-key approach to running the crime family and frowns on actions - like spitting on a police officer - that attract media attention.

Angelina, Ligambi, and nearly a dozen other mob figures are the focus of a racketeering investigation being conducted by the FBI and U.S. Attorney's Office in Philadelphia, according to witnesses and investigators involved in that probe.

Thanks to George Anastasia

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