Joseph Rugnetta (occasionally Rugnetti), was born in Calabria, Southern Italy on March 16, 1896. After emigrating to the United States, he lawfully became a US citizen when he was 26 years old.
It’s thought Rugnetta became a ‘made’ member of the Philadelphia crime family some time in the 1930s, during the reign of boss John Avena. It’s believed that Rugnetta was running the Calabrian faction for a time, and he was looked upon by law enforcement as being an important figure in the Philly mob. Rugnetta apparently excelled at settling disputes, which was obviously a great asset for the family! His main racket was loansharking, which he was heavily involved in.
Some of Rugnetta’s arrests included assault and battery, carrying concealed weapons and attempted murder.
Joseph Rugnetta worked his way up the ladder in the family and became consigliere in 1946. It was to be a long reign for him, all the way up until his death in 1977. Unlike the fate that befalls many mobsters, Rugnetta died of natural causes.
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