17 Most Infamous Loan Sharks That Ever Lived

This list of loan sharks, and what they did, will send chills down your spine

17 Most Infamous and ruthless loan sharks

You’ve probably heard of loan sharks.  But do you know what they do to victims that don’t pay up?

Before you read the list of loan sharks, put yourself in the position of a borrower for a moment.

Have you ever been so desperate for money…that you’re scrounging for change in your junk drawers at home?

What about in your couch cushions? Car seats? Your laundry?

Most of the time, you’re not going to find anything.

Most people apply for a bad credit loan from multiple lenders.

But a surprisingly large number of people turn to, what they consider to be, their last option.

When they have nowhere else to go, they look for loan sharks.

Legally speaking, loan sharks are people who charge extremely high interest rates with too-good-to-be-true promises.  Nine times out of ten, it’s never worth it.

Forget debt collection agencies.  Loan sharks use excessive force to collect debts.  Sometimes even going so far as killing debtors.

Most small-time loan sharks will repo your car or property you own and call it a day.

But for these notorious 17, either you pay them what they’re owed, or they’ll come and take it, either in cash, assets, or your life.

Related:  If you are in heavy debt, read our guide on debt relief here.

Here are the 17 most infamous loan sharks that made lives a living hell.

Anthony Salerno

Anthony Salerno (Loan Shark)Tony Salerno, aka “Fat Tony” (for obvious reasons), was a New York mob boss in the 1960’s. He was rarely seen without a fedora on his head and a cigar in his mouth. While he never did the heavy lifting, he was constantly heard telling his enforcers who to go after and what to do to them.

Breaking limbs was most often his choice of orders. He got taken down in 1986. 11 counts of loan sharking, one count of conspiracy, and one count of criminal solicitation for telling his associate to break someone’s leg.

Born:  August 15, 1911
East Harlem, New York, U.S.

Died: July 27, 1992 (aged 80)
Springfield, Missouri, U.S.

Resting place: Saint Raymond’s Cemetery, The Bronx
Other names:Fat Tony”

Anthony Spilotro

Anthony Spilotro (Loan Shark)Remember the Martin Scorsese film, Casino It starred Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci.  Well, Joe Pesci is the actor that portrayed Anthony Spilotro.  If you haven’t seen the movie yet, go watch it!  And if you have, watch it again (it’s that good).

Joe Pes…I mean Anthony Spilotro was a ruthless American mobster, enforcer and loan shark for The Chicago Outfit in Las Vegas, NV during the 1970s and 1980s.  He oversaw the protection and profits of the mob’s casino operations.

Spilotro was so out of control, his mob bosses had no choice but to “whack him”.

He, along with his brother, were found savagely beaten to death in a farmer’s cornfield outside of Illinois on June 22nd, 1986.

Born: May 19, 1938
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.

Died: June 14, 1986 (aged 48)
Bensenville, Illinois, U.S.

Other names: “Tony the Ant”
Known for: Mobster of the Chicago Outfit

Fiore “FiFi” Buccieri

fiore fifi buccieri loan sharkAnother member of the earlier Chicago outfit, Fiore Buccieri specialized in being a loan shark. He would send his men off to office buildings to pass out business cards with his name listed as a loan officer.

If his borrowers couldn’t pay up, he would intimidate them enough to where they would steal themselves just to make up the debt.

He was involved with the murder of William “Action” Jackson, a 300 pound man accused of being an FBI informant.

Buccieri along with another man, who will show up in this list later on, threw Jackson on a meat hook and tortured him with blow torches and ice picks until he died of shock 3 days later.

He was dubbed the “Lord High Executioner” and was Sam Giancana’s right hand man. He died of cancer in 1973.

Born: December 16, 1907
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.

Died: August 17, 1973 (aged 65)
Bensenville, Illinois, U.S.

Other names: “FiFi”, “Lord High Executioner”
Known for: Mobster of the Chicago Outfit

Bobby Baccalieri

bobby baccalieri loan sharkBobby Baccalieri is a fictional character on the hit HBO series The Sopranos.  While not a real life loan shark, we felt it necessary to include Bobby on our list of most notorious loan sharks.

Bobby operated Junior Soprano’s loan shark business on the hit show.  Often a very shy and reserved person, Bobby was very loyal to the family and well-respected.  But don’t let the teddy-bear facade fool you…if you owed money, Bobby was coming for you…and he wouldn’t be shy about it.

Frank “Frankie Cheech” DeCicco

frank decicco cheech loan sharkProbably one of the more notorious sharks on this list, Frank DeCicco stacked up an impressive hit list throughout his career. Always on the mob scene, DeCicco would rob whoever’s path he crossed until mob boss Paul Castellano took him under his wing. He quickly became his protege.

Turning the tables, however, DeCicco and John Gotti Sr. planned to murder Castellano for becoming obsessed with the game. He publicly executed Castellano outside of his car in 1985. 6 months later, DeCicco was killed by a car bomb for taking down the boss.

Born: November 5, 1935
Bath Beach, Brooklyn, New York

Died: April 13, 1986 (aged 50)
Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, New York

Cause of death: Improvised explosive device


Frank “Frankie Breeze” Calabrese Sr.

frankie breeze calabrese loan sharkFrank Calabrese Sr was a capo for the Chicago outfit dating back to the 1950’s. He would order his crew to do whatever they needed to do in regards to collecting his debt, including murder.

Though seemingly apologetic in trial when pleading guilty to racketeering, threats, violence, and intimidation, it was later found out by his own nephew that he and other members of the outfit murdered many borrowers for not being able to pay back their debt.

He was responsible for 7 of the 18 murders, and took part in 6 others (13 out of 18 in total).

Born: March 17, 1937
Chicago, Illinois

Died: December 25, 2012 (aged 75)
Federal Medical Center, Butner, North Carolina

Other names: Frankie Breeze

Gennaro “Jerry Lang” Langella

gennaro langella loan sharkAccording to crime writer Selwyn Raab, Gennaro Langella was a ruthless and arrogrant loan shark who quickly rose up the ranks of the Colombo Crime Family.

Born: December 30, 1938
Brooklyn, New York City, New York, U.S.

Died: December 15, 2013 (aged 74)
Springfield, Missouri, U.S.

Other names: “Gerry Lang”, “Jerry Lang”

John “Johnny Boy” Kiely

john kiely loan sharkJohn Kiely, aka Johnny Boy, is a 36 year old British loan shark. Convicted of blackmail and money laundering, Kiely rounded up 1200 clients, 900 of which could not or did not pay him back.

He would personally drive to their houses, bang down their doors and at one point even throw cinderblocks through their windows until they paid up.

He drove this one woman out of town because she was so afraid of him. If he doesn’t pay his fine in full, he’s facing up to 5 years in prison.

Sam “Mad Sam” Destefano

mad sam destefano loan sharkSam DeStefano was one hell of a psychopathic killer and loan shark.  DeStefano was hired into Battaglia and Giancana’s crew, who wasn’t allowed to be a made man. For good reason. He would give gold watches to his borrowers as presents so that when the police found their bodies, he could say how close they were as friends, throwing them off his scent.

He would often kill off smaller borrowers for the sole purpose of scaring the bigger ones into paying their debts on time.

DeStefano was known to get extremely excited when debtors didn’t pay on time so he could take them into his basement and torture them.

Other mobsters said that he would actually foam at the mouth when toruting his victims because of how excited he got.

The outfit wanted to distance themselves from him because of how crazy he was, but because he brought in so much money, they kept him on a very long leash.

Born: September 13, 1909
Streator, Illinois, U.S.

Died: April 14, 1973 (aged 63)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.

Occupation: Loan shark

Nicholas Calabrese

nicholas calabrese loan sharkFrom 1978 until 1992, Nicholas Calabrese helped his brother Frank Calabrese, Sr run a lucrative loan shark “business” for The Chicago Outfit.  He has openly admitted to committing 14 murders for the gang, with most of those murders tied to victims not paying their debts.

Nick “Nicky Cigars” Marangello

nick marangello loan sharkNick Marangello operated a lucrative bookmaking and gambling criminal enterprise out of Brooklyn and Manhattan. He was the underboss for the Bonanno crime family.

Nicky “Old Man” Licata

nicky licata loan sharkNicky Licata was an Italian-American mobster and boss of the Los Angeles Crime Family.  He owned several bars in Los Angeles, and in addition, was a prolific bookie and loan shark.

Born: February 20, 1897
Camporeale, Sicily, Italy

Died: October 19, 1974 (aged 77)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.

Rex Cunningham and Brian Hoyle

rex cunningham brian hoyle loan sharksBoston natives and literal partners in crime, Cunningham and Hoyle have a history of being loan sharks. In the 90’s, both of them were taken to prison for racketeering conspiracy. Cunningham (66) served 16 years and Hoyle (60) served 12.

Failing to learn their lessons, they partnered up and started their very own loan sharking ring in the Springfield area, which of course they were charged for in 2016 along with witness intimidation.

They were heard on a recording smashing the hands of a client for not paying up, and then stating “you still owe me that money” as they walked off.

Richard Moseley

richard moseley loan sharkMr. Moseley is a 73 year old scam artist, to say the least. He ripped off an astounding 620,000 people throughout his shark-infested career racking up an impressive $227 million. He lived very lavishly after charging a 700% interest rate to his victims.

He even went as far as signing up people for loans they didn’t ask for and couldn’t get out of. While no harm ever came to these people, a 700% interest rate would surely put me on my death bed.

Salvatore “Sam” Battaglia

salvatore sam battaglia loan sharkAt the age of 16, Battaglia was in with some pretty famous company. He worked alongside Al Capone against the Irish North Side Gang. By the 1930’s, he was already an established Chicago outfit member.

He was known to bring debtors who couldn’t pay up to the back of his restaurant and beat them senseless (sometimes to death). He was a suspect in 7 homicides and charged with 12 counts of burglary, robbery, and of course murder.

William “Willie Potatoes” Daddano Sr.

William Daddano Sr loan sharkYet another fan of blow torches and ice picks, Daddano was well-known for his “specialty.” He could keep his victims alive for hours, even days, while torturing them constantly. He was recruited by Sam Giancana and our list’s very own Sam Battaglia.

He was ruthless with his killings. So much so that even the mob said that he couldn’t become a “made man” (a fully initiated mob member). 

Vincent Dominic “Jimmy” Caci

vincent-dominic jimmy caci loan sharkVincent Dominic “Jimmy” Caci was a member of the Los Angeles Crime family and a Caporegime (Captain) in the family.  He was a ruthless loan shark operating out of Palm Springs, CA and Las Vegas, NV.

Born:  August 1, 1925
Westfield, New York, U.S.

Died: August 16, 2011 (aged 86)
Rancho Mirage, California, U.S.

Well, that wraps up our list of the most notorious loan sharks that ever lived.  Did we miss anyone?  If so, comment below and we will add them!

17 Most Infamous Loan Sharks That Ever Lived

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