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Saint Lou? Ex-mobster saw the light, feds say

Former mob associate Louis "Bent Finger Lou" Monacello was sentenced to time served. He had faced five years in prison.

Louis "Bent-Finger Lou" Monacello: Has this wiseguy wised up and gone legit?
Louis "Bent-Finger Lou" Monacello: Has this wiseguy wised up and gone legit?Read more

HIS NICKNAME is "Bent Finger Lou."

Philly mobsters call him "Rat Finger Lou" and other unprintable variations.

Jurors didn't believe him. One called him a "slimeball."

But if you were in court yesterday, you might have thought that Louis Monacello Jr. and his bent index finger had been canonized over the weekend alongside former popes John Paul II and John XXIII.

Monacello, 47, a mob turncoat who once split a guy's head open with a baseball bat and offered cash to have a rival mobster beaten to a pulp, was set free with no additional jail time on racketeering conspiracy and loan-sharking charges.

"The life of a gangster is not the final chapter of his life," said Assistant U.S. Attorney John Han, praising Monacello's "remarkable cooperation" as a government witness who testified against reputed Philadelphia mob boss Joseph Ligambi, his nephew George Borgesi and others.

Han said Monacello had "reveled in the misguided prestige" of being a mobster, but flipped three days after he was indicted in May 2011 and ultimately provided "substantial, extensive and continuous" information to the feds, including more than 30 briefings about mob activity. He served less than two months in prison in 2011.

It wasn't just Han who lauded Monacello's turnaround yesterday. So did his lawyer, his sister, his boss, a state police trooper and even U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno.

"He managed to take a look at his life and realized it was time to get out of what we consider 'the life,' " defense attorney Robert Mozenter said of Monacello's decision to walk away from La Cosa Nostra.

Monacello, who has a 6-year-old daughter, is a regional director for ACN Inc., a multilevel-marketing company where he has racked up several promotions despite years of media publicity surrounding his arrest and testimony at two mob trials.

"He blew everybody's minds," said Leanne Gabriel, a senior vice president at ACN. "He broke so many records at our company."

Monacello, wearing a gray three-piece suit and his trademark slicked-back Andy Garcia haircut, declined to comment after he was sentenced to time served. He told Robreno that he accepted responsibility for his crimes and had decided years ago that he wanted nothing to do with "the mob or anything illegal."

"I've seen my brother totally transform his life," said Lisa Monacello, a school psychologist who called racketeering and gambling "addictive disorders."

The judge seemed impressed.

"I think," Robreno concluded, "there is reason for optimism."