The Bufalino Crime Family is a criminal organization based in Scranton, Pittston and Wilkes-Barre in Pennsylvania USA within the nationwide criminal phenomenon known familiarly as the Mafia (also known as Cosa Nostra). The Bufalino Crime Family exercises influence in Northeastern Pennsylvania, Northwestern New Jersey, Southern and Western New York while maintaining strong contacts with mafia counterparts in New York City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and New England.
Impact of the Bufalino Crime Family
The impact of organized crime is generally regarded as a global phenomenon, and the Italian Mafia in the United States is seen as having connections to other ethnic criminal organizations operating within the United States (including Asian gangs, Russian Mafia, Albanian Organized Crime, Biker Gangs, etc.), to their counterparts in Sicily and southern Italy, as well as to other international criminal organizations including stolen car rings abroad.
The Bufalino Crime Family has been connected to labor racketeering, counterfeiting, prostitution, loansharking and extortion, illegal gambling, cartage theft, fraud, and automobile theft among other criminal operations that bring in hundreds of millions of dollars in profit each year, in addition to many legitimate enterprises over which they exercise control. While the Bufalino may be one of the smaller criminal organizations within the Mafia phenomenon, the extent of its influence and strength has often been underestimated by observers in law enforcement and the media.
However, many reports claim that a large portion of the organization's income is through "sweetheart contracts" obtained through government bidding in the area of construction and waste management and through money laundering. In the early days, much of the family's income was derived by its control of the coal industry, especially through its manipulative influence over the labor unions governing coal miners.
Law enforcement estimates that the Bufalino family consists of approximately 30 members, and an unknown (but presumably large) number of associates, operating chiefly in the area of Northeastern Pennsylvania, Northwestern New Jersey, Southern and Western New York while maintaining strong contacts with mafia counterparts in Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and New England.
History of the Bufalino Crime Family The Barbara Era to Apalachin Joe Barbara's estate off Highway 17 was the scene of a big meet to peacefully divide up assassinated Albert Anastasia's Brooklyn rackets including lucrative Pier One in 1957. New York State Trooper raid caught either the heads of families or in odd case his deputy, but prosecutions and convictions for lying to them about why they were there were thrown out by the Federal Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
The Bufalino Era
During Barbara's reign he made one brilliant move by naming Russell Bufalino as his underboss. Bufalino took over the family after Barbara's death in 1959 and ran it until a conviction in the 1980s, after which the aging boss retired. Besides being Boss of his crime family, Bufalino was rumored to have also been "Acting Boss" of one of the New York "Five Families" sometime during the 70's.
When Bufalino was imprisoned, Edward Sciandra, the family's consigliere, became the acting boss.
Recent Years William "Big Billy" D'Elia, boss of the Bufalino crime family since 1994Since Russell Bufalino's death in 1994, and Edward Sciandra's "retirement" to Florida, William D'Elia became the new boss of the crime family in Northeastern Pennsylvania. D'Elia, born in 1946, started his career in the Bufalino family in the late 1960s and 1970s as Russell Bufalino's driver.
D'Elia's background in solid waste brokering, and keen business sense made him a valuable asset and aided in developing close connections with counterparts in New York City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Los Angeles. Regarded as a peacemaker, he has helped resolve disputes over territory and business interests that could have erupted into bloodshed.
Over the last decade, William D'Elia has attempted to better his image and avoid prosecution by engaging in more legitimate enterprises. In addition to the solid waste business, D'Elia maintains an active presence in the management of Spaniel Transportation, a trucking concern, and an equity share in the Newcastle Group, possibly from money laundering. However, he continues to earn income from traditional criminal activities: drug trafficking, loansharking, illegal gambling and bookmaking, securities fraud, and cartage theft.
In the 1990s D'Elia's name was linked to a money laundering scheme that involved a weekly newspaper in Exeter, Pennsylvania called The Metro. Internal Revenue Service investigators from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania claim that $3.0 million, the proceeds of a drug and prostitution ring, were laundered through the newspaper. The Wilkes-Barre Citizen's Voice reported, "The money is believed to have purchased bogus advertisements and subscribers that never existed. The publication ceased operation in 1998."
However, many mafia observers have pointed out that D'Elia's days as a free man may be numbered. D'Elia was at one time involved in gambling junkets to Atlantic City, New Jersey, recording almost six million dollars in losses in a three year period where he reported $8000 per year in income to the IRS. On May 31, 2001 agents from the Criminal Investigation Division of the IRS, US Postal Inspectors and Pennsylvania State Police executed search warrants at the homes of D'Elia, his mistress, and three others, seizing records in an ongoing investigation. On February 26, 2003, D'Elia was banned for life from stepping foot in casinos in Atlantic City, New Jersey by New Jersey's Division of Gaming Enforcement based on information shared by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the now defunct Pennsylvania Crime Commission. D'Elia was indicted in a sealed indictment on 29 May 2006.