Reputed mob enforcer turned restaurateur Philip Narducci pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal loan-sharking charges — and in an unusual move, asked a judge to end his bail early and allow him to return to prison right away.
As part of a deal with prosecutors, the bald and burly 56-year-old agreed to serve 12 months and one day behind bars.
Should the judge accept that agreement at a sentencing hearing scheduled for September, the alleged mobster — better known these days as co-owner of the Washington Avenue gastropub Chick’s — will have dodged a maximum prison term of 20 years on each of the two counts he faced.
“They made him an offer he couldn’t refuse,” said Narducci’s lawyer, Brian J. McMonagle.
Still, Narducci’s unusual request to begin serving that sentence before it even was imposed initially left U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Savage perplexed.
“How would that work with the Bureau of Prisons?” the judge asked. “He’d show up, and they’re going to throw him out.”
Eventually, it was determined that Narducci could surrender Monday and begin earning credit for time served.
“The sooner he goes in, the sooner he gets out,” McMonagle said. “He wants to get back to work.”
Narducci’s guilty plea comes less than four months after prosecutors accused him and a codefendant of repeatedly threatening violence against a South Philadelphia barber who owed him hundreds of thousands of dollars. Many of their efforts to collect were caught on an FBI wire.
From the start, the defense vowed that Narducci’s chief accuser faced serious credibility issues that could sink his testimony at trial. They revealed in court filings last month that the man was a Lebanese national and frequent federal informant who once was found by a judge to have lied about his association with a group linked to the Iran-backed terror group Hezbollah.
Prosecutors declined to say Wednesday whether the prospect of exposing their star witness to cross-examination on his past influenced their deal with Narducci. But McMonagle said the offer came within hours of a hearing last month on how much he would be allowed to delve into that history at trial.
The deal shaved roughly five years off what Narducci might have faced under federal sentencing guidelines had he lost at trial. Even then, his sentence could have been greater considering his extensive criminal history.
A former member of Nicodemo “Little Nicky” Scarfo’s crew, Narducci has spent more than half of his life in prison for Mafia-related crimes. Prosecutors say they have tied him to at least three notorious gangland slayings, including the 1985 hit on Frank “Frankie Flowers” D’Alfonso.
A jury convicted him of that murder in 1989, but the verdict was overturned on appeal, and a second trial ended in acquittal. Narducci vows he has gone straight since his release from prison on racketeering charges in 2012.
These days, he says, he spends most of his time managing Chick’s, named after his father, purported mob captain Frank “Chickie” Narducci Sr.
It was there that he first met his accuser in his current loan-sharking case.
Narducci maintains the man conned him and played on his sympathies by asking for money for an organ transplant for his mother, which he actually frittered away through gambling. When he couldn’t repay his debts, the man turned to the FBI to bail him out.
But regardless of the circumstances of that loan, Narducci admitted Wednesday to a string of assaults and threats to collect what he was owed.
In late 2018, he dragged the borrower into the back room at Chick’s and began shouting and shoving him around. When the victim tried to leave, Narducci threw him against a car, shoved his face into the windshield, accused him of being “a rat,” and told him to go cry to the FBI.
The man did, and over the next several months recorded several threats made by a Narducci associate, James Gallo, 44, who also pleaded guilty Wednesday.
“He’s a killer, you … idiot,” Gallo said of Narducci on one of the recordings quoted in court filings. “He’s killed … eight people.”
As Narducci left the courtroom Wednesday, his lawyer said he was ready to move on from his past.