William "Big Billy" D'Elia (b, June 24, 1946) was a Pennsylvania mobster and the last known leader of the Bufalino crime family. In 2008, D'Elia became an informant and testified against Louis DeNaples in an attempt at leniency after his own indictments.
D'Elia was born in Trenton, New Jersey and began working for the Bufalino family in the late 1960s as Russell Bufalino's driver. His sister was married to the only son of Bufalino underboss Dave Osticco. D'Elia's business background in solid waste brokering and other areas would later be useful in making contacts in New York, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh. Rising through the ranks, D'Elia was said to be a mediator among mob families, meeting frequently with mobsters from the Philadelphia crime family, Western Pennsylvania, and New York City. He was said to be a close associate of mob boss John Stanfa with whom he allegedly plotted to murder hitmen Philip Colletti and John Veasey for their failure to kill Joseph Merlino and for being suspected FBI informants. The two were allegedly to be lured to D'Elia's territory in Pennsylvania where they would have been killed and disposed of. Both later became government witnesses.
Boss of the Bufalino family
He succeeded Russell Bufalino as boss of the family upon his death in 1994 and the retirement of Acting boss Edward Sciandra around the same time. D'Elia expanded the organization into legitimate operations such as waste management and controlling shares of Spanel Transportation and the Newcastle Group, the latter of which is a suspected money laundering operation.
In 1990, Bufalino was involved in a money laundering operation involving the Exeter, Pennsylvania based newspaper The Metro. The IRS charged that over $3.0 million was laundered from drug and prostitution rings from which nonexistent advertisements and subscribers were purchased until the Metro's eventual closing in 1998. On May 31, 2001, IRS agents, US Postal Service Inspectors, and Pennsylvania State Police obtained search warrants for the homes of several Bufalino crime family members, including D'Elia and his mistress. They seized various records regarding a tax evasion investigation from which D'Elia claimed a loss of $6 million while reporting $8,000 in gambling operations in Atlantic City, New Jersey. On February 26, 2003, D'Elia was banned from entering Atlantic City casinos by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement.
On May 31, 2006 D'Elia was indicted on federal charges of laundering $600,000 in illegal drugs proceeds and trying to have a co-defendant in the case killed.
On March 12, 2008, D'Elia pleaded guilty to reduced charges of money laundering conspiracy and witness tampering. As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors dropped the 2008 indictments. In an attempt for leniency, D'Elia testified to a Dauphin County grand jury that indicted Mount Airy Casino Resort owner Louis DeNaples for perjury to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.
D'Elia was released from prison in February 2013. It is unknown if he is still active in organized crime.