Ron “Big Ron” Previte is a former federal witness, Philadelphia police officer and former mafia member of the Philadelphia crime family.
In this epsiode of Mob Talk we have an Exclusive with Organized Crime experts George Anastasia and Dave Schratwieser. Also joining in is The former head of the (Mob Squad) Squad One John Terry, The FBI’s elite Organized Crime Unit in Philadelphia, he breaks down the career of former cop, turned Mobster, and then FBI informant Big Ron Previte. Previte just passed away at the age of 73, but left his mark both in and out of the life, putting away three Mob bosses and several other Wiseguys.
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Previte was born in West Philadelphia and later grew up in Hammonton, New Jersey to a first-generation Sicilian-American father and a first-generation Neapolitan-American mother, his earliest memories are of gangsters.
After leaving the Air Force, he joined the Philadelphia Police Department. During a 2004 60 Minutes interview, Previte proclaimed, “I had a good work record. Except I was a crook. But most of the [cops] I worked with were crooks, I never learned about crime ’til I went in the police department. I always said that I really became an adept thief when I went in the Philadelphia Police Department. It was a nice life…And plus, I had the badge. I couldn’t get any trouble…”. Previte learned how to extort from pimps, drug dealers, bookmakers and mobsters, pocketing thousands of dollars a week in addition to his regular paycheck.
Previte left police work and began working security for Atlantic City casinos in 1981, where he says he ran poker games and prostitution on the side, while also stealing from guests’ safe deposit boxes and the casinos’ warehouses. In the early 1990s, Previte began working directly for the Mafia and also became a paid informant for both the New Jersey State Police and the FBI. His testimony and undercover work helped convict over 50 members of the mafia.
Previte is the subject of the book The Last Gangster by George Anastasia. He had been a resident of Hammonton before his arrest on bookmaking charges and remained in the Hammonton area after being convicted and sentenced to probation. He passed away at age 73 on August 21, 2017
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