Joseph “Scoops” Licata (Born 1941) is a capo in the Philadelphia Crime Family. Licata has been described by state and federal law-enforcement authorities as a major gambling operative for the mob. He operates in the Newark, New Jersey area.
Licata has been involved in the Philly mob since the Angelo Bruno era. He got the nickname "Scoops" because of his penchant for spreading underworld gossip; he had something to say about nearly every major player in the organization.
In 1991 in a New Jersey State Police undercover operation dubbed Broadsword", Licata was a an acting capo in the Newark-based branch of the Scarfo organization, Licata was one of 38 alleged mob members and associates indicted. The investigation, which began in 1989 and ended in August 1990, was set in motion when George Fresolone, a member of the Newark branch of the Scarfo family, agreed to cooperate. Fresolone secretly recorded more than 400 phone calls and conversations with his mob associates.
In February 10, 1994 Licata was sentenced to 14 years in prison for heading a loan-sharking and gambling ring for the Scarfo organization in the late 1980s. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit racketeering and to being a leader of organized crime. Five other defendants, including Scarfo's son, Nicodemo Scarfo, Jr. also entered guilty pleas in the case, which centered around mob-run bookmaking, loan sharking and card games in the Newark area and a conspiracy to sell and distribute illegal video-poker machines. According to authorities, the bookmaking operation took millions of dollars in bets each week during the football season and generated annual profits of between $5 million and $6 million.
2011 racketeering conspiracy case and acquittal
In September of 2009 dozens of video poker machines belonging to the Philly mob were seized at Arbitman’s warehouse in South Philadelphia. The evidence found in the warehouses was turned over to the feds and then incorporated into a 2011 racketeering conspiracy against Licata, acting boss Joseph Ligambi, under boss Joseph Massimino, capos Anthony Staino and George Borgesi, mob soldier Damion Canalichio, and mob associate Gary Battaglini. Licata was charged with one count of racketeering conspiracy. He was held without bail during his trial. In 2012, the jury acquitted Licata of racketeering conspiracy.