Logo for podcast

Frank Morelli’s Journey: From Prison to Pasta

Retired Intelligence Detective Gary Jenkins brings you the best in mob history with his unique perception of the mafia. In this episode, we learn about Frank Morelli’s remarkable journey, from owning a successful restaurant to starting a pasta company that went public. Frank was imprisoned for 38 months due to his involvement in reverse mergers and taking companies public. From Success to Struggle: Frank shares his story of success in the food industry, which took a tumultuous turn when his ventures into reverse mergers and taking companies public landed him in a federal detention facility for over three years. Prison Life and Unexpected Friendships: Despite the challenges of incarceration, Frank’s resilience shines through as he shares his experiences of regular workouts, extensive writing, and even becoming a suicide companion in the psychiatric ward. His unlikely friendship with Nikki Scarfo Jr., son of a notorious Mafia figure, adds a fascinating layer to his narrative. Diverse Connections: Frank’s circle of friends spans a diverse spectrum, from former Mafia members to individuals involved in criminal activities like the Pagan Motorcycle Gang and the Crips. Despite their backgrounds, Frank emphasizes the genuine friendships formed through his efforts to help them. Life After Prison: Upon release, Frank faced the daunting task of rebuilding his life. He discusses his experiences working various jobs and starting the MOBB brand, which is dedicated to promoting second chances. Reflections on Rehabilitation: Frank illuminates the stark differences in incarceration rates between the US and countries like Japan, advocating for a more rehabilitative approach to justice. His journey is a testament to the power of redemption and second chances. Cooking, Connections, and Healthy Living: Frank’s unique cookbook, intertwined with anecdotes from his Mafia-connected background, receives acclaim for its entertainment value and easy-to-follow recipes. With a focus on healthy living, Frank and host Gary highlight the importance of embracing second chances and making positive lifestyle choices. Conclusion: Frank’s journey from prison to pasta is an inspiring testament to resilience, redemption, and the transformative power of second chances. His story reminds us of the value of empathy, rehabilitation, and the pursuit of a healthier, brighter future.
Support the Podcast
Subscribe to get new gangster stories every week.

Hit me up on Venmo for a cup of coffee or a shot and a beer @ganglandwire
Click here to “buy me a cup of coffee”

To go to the store or make a donation or rent Ballot Theft: Burglary, Murder, Coverup, click here

To rent Brothers against Brothers, the documentary, click here. 

To rent Gangland Wire, the documentary, click here

To buy my Kindle book, Leaving Vegas: The True Story of How FBI Wiretaps Ended Mob Domination of Las Vegas Casinos.

To subscribe on iTunes click here. Please give me a review and help others find the podcast.
Donate to the podcast. Click here!

Frank Morelli
Speaker: [00:00:00] Well, hey, welcome all you wiretappers out there back here in the studio of Gangland Wire. I have a guest today Frank Morelli. Now Frankie or Frank Morelli is a cook and, and, and a healthy lifestyle guy, but he also served a certain amount of time in a federal. Institution with some guys like Nicky Scarfo Jr.
And Frankie, the ice pick Narducci and guys like this now Mr. Morelli here Frank Morelli was not really a dyed in the wool criminal when he went in. We’re going to learn how he went in and learn about his cooking and his cookbook that has a lot of great Italian dishes. And, and I know we have lots of.
Lots of fans, lots of Italian guys on here, but we have lots of fans of Italian cooking and anything Italian. So there’s, there’s a huge bunch of you guys I know will be interested in this cookbook and I’ve seen excerpts from it. He’s going to get me some there and I’ll do some giveaways, but it’s got some great recipes [00:01:00] in it.
So welcome. Welcome. Welcome. Frank Morelli. How you doing today? I’m doing good. How you doing? I like that. How you doing? I’m doing great. Thank you. Really? So you know, your publicist with your publishing company got hold of me and, you know, I looked at your stuff and, and you have some, some Prison stories.
And my guys like prison stories. I know that. And they liked the mafia and you were in there with some mob guys in Philadelphia. But first I want to go back and get a little bit of your backstory. I think now you, where did you grow up?
Speaker 2: I grew up in Florence, Colorado. My mother was a librarian. My dad was a guidance counselor and coach, and I had a pretty normal upbringing.
I learned to cook at four years old from my grandmother and my mother who were outstanding cooks. And then, you know, I went to college. I worked my way through college. Then I started a restaurant called [00:02:00] Morelli’s Ristorante Italiano. We’d never been in any business before. But our restaurant got rave reviews from all over, even people from other states would drive to eat at our restaurant.
We won the Governor’s Award and we beat out several restaurants from Aspenville, Beaver Creek, and everywhere else, which was amazing because Florence, Colorado is a blue collar town. And then, I opened up a pasta company in Pueblo West, Colorado. And then we expanded to a bigger facility in Pueblo, Colorado, which was 26, 000 square feet.
We went from zero employees to 250 employees. We sold pasta in the United States and Canada. We were in everywhere from Sam’s Clubs to Kroger’s to Safeway’s. And we private labeled for two divisions of craft foods, budget gourmet and birdseye and it did quite well and we went public and we traded on the NASDAQ stock exchange under the symbol [00:03:00] Nona, N O N A
and we traded sometimes as the number one stock on the stock exchange. And I’d never been in the stock business, not a broker or nothing. But unfortunately, I took that to like a duck to water. So when I sold out my company, I got involved in reverse mergers and taking companies public, and I was pretty good at it.
And I got into one situation that four lawyers had signed off and said everything was kosher. Well, it wasn’t, and they didn’t go to prison, but I did. So I ended up in a maximum security facility, federal detention, Philadelphia for 38 months. And it was really, really rough. I’d never been in trouble a day in my life.
And there was everybody from mass murderers to rapists to child molesters, and I became quite depressed. So I had to see the prison [00:04:00] psychiatrist, Dr. Odomite, and the prison psychologist, Dr. Daniels. And they put me on Ramon for depression and, and it was really, really rough. But anyway, when I first got there, it was unbelievable.
It was surreal. But anyway, I started working out and, and, and, and a gentleman came up to me. Named Nicky Scarfo jr. If you Google him, he took eight bullets to the chest on Halloween night, 1989, eating at an Italian restaurant. And he left. Well, anyway. His father, Little Nicky Scarfault, was the head of the Mafia in Atlantic City in Philadelphia.
But Nicky checked me out with some guys in Colorado, I won’t say who, and I checked out good. So once I checked out good, He told the gangs and everybody to stay away from me, and I was kind [00:05:00] of under his protection, so to speak. And I started working out. I lost over 100 pounds, and I started writing. And because I was good with other people, they promoted me to the psych ward as a suicide companion.
And I started working out on the elliptical for over two hours a day. Every Sunday. up to seven hours and I lost over 100 pounds and I became a really good suicide companion. So I met other people such as Frankie the ice pick, Narducci, who they say whacked 28 guys, but maybe it was the real number was over 100.
When they brought him in, he had alcohol poisoning so bad that that they brought him in a wheelchair and it took us about 10 days to dry him out and I became friends with him. I also became friends with another gentleman who changed his name [00:06:00] named Tommy Guns in my book. These people let me put him in my book because they love me.
I helped them and Tommy’s family was really big in the mafia in Philadelphia. His brother was assassinated in a gang war. His dad was in federal prison. For 15 years, he decided to leave the mafia and change his name. Once his brother was assassinated, but roots don’t fall too far from the tree.
So he got involved selling marijuana in Philadelphia, and he was the number one marijuana dealer in the Philadelphia area. And he had all the cops on the take, so he never got into trouble. And although he never had a high school education, he was very street smart and laundered a lot of money, let’s just say.
And how he got into prison was he got involved in a, a scam with some [00:07:00] doctors and the pagan motorcycle gang. Well, one of the doctors got greedy, you know, writing these scripts. And he had his wife whacked, and then he had my friend’s friend whacked, and tried to, you know, take over all of his territory.
Well, my friend, who was not a rat you know, kept dealing with them, and they even sent an enforcer called the Grim Reaper from the pagans to take him out. And my friend wasn’t very big, but he was quite an athlete. He was like 40 something, and always an amateur boxer. So he knocked that monster out. And then they put a 100, 000 contract on him and they went after his family.
Once they went after his family and you know, the police couldn’t protect him anymore. It became a federal situation. Yeah. And he didn’t have any juice with the feds, so he turned state’s evidence. So he ended up in the psych ward more for protection because there was a contract out of him. Wow. And [00:08:00] that’s how we became friends.
And then I also was friends with Eddie, the racer. Who was a collector for the family. And so I had an Irish Joe Meehan who got three life sentences. In prison. In fact, I talked to him about three weeks ago and his mother just wrote me a letter two days ago. So I’m still in contact with him. And then I was also good friends with a couple of black gangsters.
One was Tyree, the gangster Scott. Who was in for 16 years. He was a crypt ever since he was eight years old. Now he’s completely turned his life around into the manners for inner inner city use another guy who was a shot caller for the crypts really like me, and he’s a rapper now. Going under the label get paid spade.
So That’s quite a cast of characters there frank Yeah, [00:09:00] and also jimmy the beast and jeremy the jet and anthony that are a couple of my other friends
Speaker: Man now I have to ask We’ve all seen the movie Goodfellas and there’s a kind of a famous scene where they’re all in Lewisburg and kind of the Italian guys all get together and I’ve got a friend who’s been in some of these systems who was connected to the Italian guys and they all like sit together in the yard or wherever and they were actually selved in a kind of the same general area there in Lewisburg according to that movie and then they they go out and steal food from the commissary and bring it back and or buy it or, or get it from some connection they’ve got in the kitchen.
And, and they do some of their own cooking because, you know, Italians are famous for wanting good food. Now, was there any scenarios like that? Did they get you to help them cook up nice meals?
Speaker 2: A hundred percent. I cooked when I finally got transferred to the camp, on top of working in the kitchen, I cooked [00:10:00] for all the corrections officers, and they took a quite a bit of food home that I cooked.
In fact, one of the women corrections officers said she would love to marry me. But I had a beautiful wife at home that was far further here and I’ve been together with her for 43 years. So but they, they smuggled in extra virgin olive oil and garlic and other things like that for me. And so I was cooking for all the mafia guys, some of the other inmates, and a considerably Considerable number of corrections officers.
They probably won’t get into trouble now because they don’t know who, but I probably cook for at least 10 different correctional officers.
Speaker: I tell you that, that penitentiary life, that’s, that’s this little subculture that we really don’t know anything about. And it, it, it has its own pecking order, its own rules.
It’s it, and it’s something that you had to learn to navigate. It sounds like.
Speaker 2: Yeah, it was really, really rough [00:11:00] because you know, when I first went in, you know, on top of seeing. A psychologist and psychiatrist, they put me on ramrod for depression. I was suicidal. And then, and there I said, well, if I’m ever going to see my family again, because I was 2000 miles from home.
I needed to work out and get a positive attitude on life. Okay. So to think positive. So I started working out quite a bit on elliptical, usually a minimum of two hours a day. And some days I went as much as seven hours. I lost over a hundred pounds and I started helping people as a suicide companion. And that made me feel good.
In fact, when I finally got sensed in Philadelphia. Three of the families of people who I helped save their lives showed up to testify on my behalf. Unfortunately, I got a hangin judge and he, he gave one guy 30 years for tax evasion. [00:12:00] So I ended up going, in my opinion, way too much time because I had no restitution.
You know, I was in there almost five years, sentenced for seven, but got out early under the Second Chance Act by Donald Trump. But, you know, when 130 people write you letters for the good that you’ve done in your lifetime, even before I went to prison, you have no restitution, you just have a fine, and you’re in prison, maximum security for 38 months, and then another year beyond that.
In my estimation, that’s too much. You know, in the United States, we have more prisoners per capita than any country in the world. We have more inmates than Russia, China, and the Soviet Union combined. And so it’s scary.
Speaker: Yeah, it’s a huge, big industrial prison complex, a lot of jobs, you know, out in the country I could see examples right here up by my hometown, [00:13:00] they put two prisons close to my hometown where, and it creates all these jobs and, and it becomes, you gotta then have inmates to fill those prisons and, you know, so it’s yeah, it’s I don’t know, it seems like there’s gotta be a better way sometimes.
Speaker 2: Well, there is. I’ll give you an example. Japan has 10 times less inmates per 100, 000 population than we do. 10 times or 1, 000 percent less, yet their crime rate is lower. And the reason it’s lower, because they rehabilitate people. If you make everybody live prisoners, then if they try to get back on their feet, they go back to what they did in the past.
And then they get into trouble all over again. So it’s a vicious cycle to be honest with you.
Speaker: Where, where was that? I couldn’t quite make out that first word. I said it’s a vicious cycle. The, where this penitentiary system is criminal justice system you were talking about.
Speaker 2: Oh, I just said it’s [00:14:00] crazy.
It doesn’t make
Speaker: any sense. Was that in England or Britain? Japan. Japan. Okay, alright. That’s why I couldn’t make out that first word. Yeah, Japan has
Speaker 2: 10 times less prisoners for 100, 000 and a lower crime
Speaker: rate. Yeah. So you got into this more healthy lifestyle, you know, emotionally, psychologically, and physically.
Yeah. And now you’ve got, you get out and, and you start, you are going to use this as your next career. It seems to me like in healthy eating, healthy living, healthy cooking, healthy thinking. So how did you start making that transition? Once you got out? Well, I had
Speaker 2: written my book. In fact, I wrote three books in prison and I had helped a lot of people in my past life.
So all these people that I helped came to help me, even though for over a year, You know, I worked as a cook, even at McDonald’s just to get back on my feet. I, I, I worked resetting [00:15:00] grocery stores all over the Colorado and Wyoming, and I was working 80, 85 hours a week cause I’m not afraid of work.
And then we started the mob brand and mob, even though it connotates mafia. M. O. B. B. actually stands for Mercy and Optimism Beyond Borders. Everyone deserves a second chance in life. including those such as myself who have fallen down. So that is why Mob is so popular. We have several really good reviews on Amazon.
If you go look at Amazon and on our site, my previous book, we had over 235 star reviews, one four star and the rest were all five star and people love it. Because this book is different than any book on the market, even a Bobby Flay or Giada or Pioneer Woman book. What separates it from any other, first of all, it’s a coffee table book that’s 12 [00:16:00] inches by 12 inches, hardback, very quality, it weighs 5 pounds, thick paper, and the font is easy to read even for kids to people that are older.
And, and every recipe tells a story. And the recipes are easy to make. So if you can’t even boil water or you’re a gourmet chef there’s a lot of secrets in there that most people don’t even know. And a lot of chefs don’t want to tell you. And we’ve got, like I said, very, very good reviews. Plus we have entertaining stories about all the mafia guys that I know, including Nikki Scarfo, Frankie the Ice Pick, Tommy Guns, and even my grandfather, who wasn’t mafia, but he was friends with the mafia and he made Dago Red wine during the prohibition.
And where we lived, it was heavy in Ku Klux Klan. But there were more [00:17:00] Italians per capita than anywhere in the United States, which was Southern Colorado. Because if you go to the Mob Museum, you’ll see New York, Kansas City, St. Louis, and Pueblo, Colorado, because we had the Rocky Mountain Mafia. And but anyway, my grandpa helped get the Ku Klux Klan booted out of our county, let’s just say.
So, we have some history that way. And, and my father, yeah. And in Pueblo, I’ll tell you one quick story. There was a guy that got whacked and the guy that whacked him got indicted and they had a big trial and he got off because 40 witnesses didn’t see the bullet leaving the gun. That’s that’s a true
Speaker: story.
Yes I have heard a story somewhat similar to that that the witness who saw the murder Didn’t actually see the finger on the trigger pull the trigger So and [00:18:00] your your witnesses did not see the bullet leave the gun. So not guilty exactly Yeah, you just need a jury a little something to justify their vote and and they got it in that case You Exactly.
So interesting, really interesting, you know, kind of a cookbook that’s going to tell you about healthy living and going to entertain you with mob stories and true crime stories. And it’s going to have great recipes and healthy recipes for you know, those of us that are getting to a certain age which a lot of of our listeners are getting to a certain age and primarily men.
And, and we need to like, you know, You know, start eating better and start taking care of ourselves because all of a sudden we realize, you know, we’re swirling around the drain and we’re swirling faster and faster. So this would be a great addition for any of you guys libraries out there. Yeah,
Speaker 2: and the other thing about the book is it on top of everything else.
It’s about hope and inspiration. First of all, diet [00:19:00] exercise. And most of all is positive thinking, because if you want to change, you have to think positive and positive thinking makes you feel better all over. And our book also has stories about other people that were abused as kids and ended up in prison because they were on drugs, and they turned their lives around, and there’s very positive, entertaining stories about people such as them, other people that have bought my previous book.
And one lady, lady was a diabetic, and her husband was a diabetic, and they’re in their 70s. Well, she lost 45 pounds, her husband lost 25, she’s no longer a diabetic. She’s in the book, her name’s Carol Fall Jean. We have another story. about a young lady who’s half Italian. She was diagnosed with autism at three years old, but through positive thinking she was in the Miss America pageant.
She’s been featured [00:20:00] in several magazines. She’s had her picture on the marquee at Times Square. She sang opera twice at Madison Square Garden. And now she’s been featured in a movie about people with autism and she’s highly articulate. And of course, beautiful. Her name’s Rachel Barcelona.
She’s in our book. So our book doesn’t discriminate. It’s basically the messages. Everybody falls down in life, just like Frank Sinatra, you know everybody has to pick themselves back up and it’s all a matter of mindset. Wanting to do something and actually doing it. Nobody is perfect in my estimation.
The only person that was perfect got crucified. Everybody else has flaws, whether it’s chocolate, drinking, gambling, whatever. Everybody can change for the good if they really want to. And [00:21:00] that’s the message in our book, is about self help, self change. And even if you’re in good shape, Positive thinking can make you even better.
Speaker: Yeah, for sure. It can make you more money guys. Also, these kinds of things will help you in every way in your life. I’m a firm believer in that. I had some big changes in my life over the years and, and everything’s been on the, the like the Dow Jones average, it was like up and down. And then it’s been pretty much a steadily up and up and up after I’ve made some of those positive changes in my own life, so, but guys, you gotta get this book.
It’s Bob. Diet and cookbook.
Speaker 2: Yeah, and you can get it on Amazon. You can read our reviews on Amazon and everybody that’s bought it has liked it because of the fact that it’s quality. It’s a great gift for somebody. Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas a lot of the people put it on their coffee tables because of the quality.[00:22:00]
We spent a lot of years Getting a cookbook that would open flat stand up straight and be good looking enough to give as a gift because a lot of cookbooks have ring binders that open flat and I got a special Smith’s own binding. So the quality is unmatched by any cookbook anywhere. And I’m not just saying it, take a look at it.
In fact, you’ll have 16 of them to give away to your listeners.
Speaker: And, you know, I just, I I really, I never thought about that. You talked about it open flat and that kind of went by me. And I see now I think about the cookbook that I might use as old Betty Crocker. That is a ring binder and opens out flat.
But the other cookbooks, you gotta hold ’em or you gotta put something on top of ’em. So this book will, has a special binding that you can open it out flat and just lay there. without laying something on top of it or holding it with your hand all the time. Exactly. Plus
Speaker 2: it will stand up [00:23:00] straight and it’s big.
It’s 12 inches by 12 inches. So if you’re cooking in the kitchen, you can either lay it down on flat or it’ll stand up straight, but more impressive. It’s beautiful. So once you put it on your coffee table, People love it. I mean, a lot of our people that have reviewed it said they couldn’t put the book down because it was entertaining.
And most cookbooks are boring. We have a lot of humor in it.
Speaker: And
Speaker 2: it’s simple. And simplicity is the secret to Italian cooking.
Speaker: Yeah, really say we got mob M O B B cookbook and diet, healthy Italian cookbook for weight loss and self care, you know, we kind of, I think about going to Italian restaurant here and that really don’t think about.
Healthy eating. I think about, you know, having a lot of pasta and a lot of food, but if you do it right and, and see your recipes, why you can you can have that great Italian taste, those great Italian flavors with [00:24:00] fresh vegetables and, and fresh spices and, and oh, I can’t even think like basil and those kinds of things that that you guys use and and still have a healthy food, right?
Yeah, it’s Mob, M O B B, Mercy and Optimism Beyond Borders. That’s Frankie Spice Morelli. Frank, I really appreciate you coming on and telling the guys about your life and about your cookbook.
Speaker 2: Well, thank you. And please go to Amazon and look at our reviews. And like I said, you’ll have 16 of them to give away to your listeners.
Speaker: All right. Great. Hey guys, I’ll have a link in the show notes. Just go down in the show notes and you’ll find a link guys directly to that Amazon. Page where you can get this book. And, and like I said, like Frankie said, I’m going to have some of those. So I’ll be doing a giveaway of some kind. I can’t quite get it in my mind how I’m going to do this, but, but we’re going to do this so some of y’all can get this book.
So I really appreciate you coming on Frankie. And it’s a pleasure to [00:25:00] meet you. Well, thank you for your time. You have a great day. Okay. Hey, hey, Frank, I’m gonna, I’m gonna do a little in bit and then let’s talk a minute guys that guys, that was a heck of a story. Wasn’t it? Now, don’t forget. I like to ride motorcycles.
So watch out for motorcycles when you’re out there on the streets. And if you have a problem with PTSD and you’ve been in the service, be sure and go to that. VA website and get that hotline number. And we just talked a lot about there’s help available out there, whether you’ve been in a service or not, you just got to reach out and ask for it.
And if you’ve got a problem with drugs or alcohol, you know, a former Gambino soldier, Anthony Ruggiano, better do that over again. Now you guys, you know, with PTSD, many times comes alcohol and drug addiction and warmer. Gambino soldier, Anthony Ruggiano. He’s a drug and alcohol counselor down in Florida.
And he also has a hotline number on his website and on his YouTube page. So link out, link to that or, or find [00:26:00] Anthony. And you know, if you go down there and have him as your drug and alcohol counselor, let me know about it when you come back and don’t forget to like, and subscribe. I appreciate all the positive comments that guys make on the YouTube page and the reviews that you give me on the Apple podcast and, and keep doing that and, and share it with your friends.
Cause we have a fun show here and you get a lot of Bob history, but you also get stories like this uplifting stories. You know, I’ve had other guys that come on that have done their time and come out and had a better life when they came out. And, and Frankie Morelli is, is a perfect example of that.
So thanks a lot guys.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top