Top woman mafia boss who inspired TV series Gomorrah is jailed in Italy

Maria Licciardi, 71, is sentenced to almost 13 years in prison after being found guilty of leading a Camorra clan

Maria Licciardi, who was listed among Italy's 30 most-wanted criminals, has been jailed. EPA / Shutterstock
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Maria Licciardi, one of Italy's most prominent female mafia bosses, has been sentenced to nearly 13 years in jail by an Italian court.

Licciardi — known as “the little one”, due to her diminutive stature — was convicted of leading a Camorra clan founded by her brothers.

She was previously among Italy's top 30 wanted fugitives. She was accused of running extortion rackets and is also accused of mafia-type association, extortion, and receiving stolen money.

The clan, based in the Naples suburb of Secondigliano, is part of a larger criminal organisation known as the Secondigliano Alliance, which is said to control a significant portion of organised crime in the Naples area.

Licciardi, 71, was arrested in August of 2021 while attempting to travel to Spain to visit her daughter.

She previously served eight years in jail and was found guilty of being the head of the Camorra clan, after taking over following the death of her brother in prison in 1994.

The ANSA news agency reported that Licciardi was sentenced to 12 years and eight months in jail.

Journalist Roberto Saviano, who wrote the book about the Naples mafia on which the TV series Gomorrah was based, said Licciardi served as the inspiration for the chain-smoking female mob boss depicted in the show.

Her conviction marks a significant blow to organised crime in the Naples region and serves as a reminder of the continued presence and influence of powerful mafia figures.

Updated: March 15, 2023, 3:25 PM