Organized crime in northeastern Pennsylvania was generally controlled by the Russell Bufalino Family which was headquartered in the town of Pittston. But because of the wide territory and far-flung operations they controlled, it was sometimes necessary for the borgata to “assign” a particular town or village over to a resident “soldier” or several key “associates” residing there to oversee those racket operations for the Family.
The town of Hazleton gave birth to a family of four young hoodlum brothers by the name of Scalleat, who, in future years, would rise to become the dominant racketeers and underworld powers in that section of Pennsylvania.
The Scalleats also dominated the nearby towns of Lancaster, Allentown, Bethlehem, Reading, Shamokin, Easton, Lebanon, and Harrisburg, among other areas. Back in Italy, their original family surname had actually been Scariati. But upon immigrating to the United States, they adopted the more American-sounding last name of Scalleat.
Dating to the late 1920s, into the 1930s, the Scalleat brothers and their gang of toughs operated bootlegging rackets and several houses of prostitution in Bethlehem and Allentown. Called “disorderly houses,” these locations also served as illegal speakeasies where you could drink booze as well as gamble on slot machines and dice and card games.