April 17, 2020 — Retired Cleveland mafia boss Joseph (Joe Loose) Iacobacci passed away this week at the age of 70, more than a decade removed from hanging up his mob spurs. The Cleveland mob today is a shadow of the organization the burly, broad-shouldered Iacobacci joined over 35 years ago. FBI documents allege he rose through the ranks of the mob on Cleveland’s eastside pulling off burglary scores, dealing drugs and doing high-priority collection assignments for mafia administrators.

Iacobacci led the Cleveland crime family from 1993 to the mid-2010s, bringing the borgata back from a series of crushing federal indictments by dipping into white-collar scams, developing strong ties to the Chicago Outfit and DeCalvacante crime family in New Jersey and reestablishing the family’s connection to the Detroit mob. These days, the Cleveland crime family is a small group of mostly old-timers, bookies and loansharks.

As a young Goodfella in Cleveland’s Collinwood neighborhood during the 1970s, Joe Loose fought on the front lines of the mafia’s war against the city’s Irish mob boss Danny Greene and his Celtic Club crew. Mafia don James (Jack White) Licavoli took a special liking to Iacobacci and used him for his toughest enforcement duties, per Cleveland Police Department records. Greene was slain in an October 1977 car bombing attack in a dentist’s office parking lot in suburban Lyndhurst.

Joe Loose, nicknamed by Licavoli for “having a screw loose in his head,” was convicted in a federal cocaine trafficking case in 1988 and did three years in prison. He was nailed in 1995 for defrauding three New Jersey banks of $3,000,000 and did two more. Licavoli, who came to Ohio from Detroit following Prohibition, died of a heart attack behind bars in 1985.

Leave a Reply