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Very often new historical data becomes available and causes our old assumptions to be revised or abandoned. Over time, many underworld legends appearing on these pages have given way to more defensible statements. Additional revisions are sure to be made in the months and years ahead. Articles presented here are the product of knowledge that was available to their authors at the time of their writing (article completion dates are noted below). Some of the articles - particularly older ones - may not reflect even the original author's current views on the subject matter.

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Joe Masseria's 1913 burglary conviction

Giuseppe Masseria

By Thomas Hunt, 2020

With this short article, we have provided source documents - prosecutor files and copyright-expired newspaper clippings - and some document transcriptions in order that readers may discover for themselves details of this early event in the underworld career of 'Joe the Boss' Masseria. "Sunday morning, April 13, 1913, police of New York's Twelfth Precinct were alerted to an attempted robbery at a Lower East Side pawnshop. Officers arriving at Simpson's Pawnshop, 164 Bowery near the intersection..."

1930 prizefight, press linked 'Lucky' and 'Joe the Boss'

Salvatore Lucania aka Charlie Luciano

By Thomas Hunt, 2019

A widely publicized south Florida prizefight led to the names of Salvatore "Charlie Luciano" Lucania and Giuseppe "Joe the Boss" Masseria appearing together in print in early 1930. Early Friday, February 28. Dade County Sheriff Lehman received a tip that out-of-town men were gambling in a top-floor suite of a Miami Beach hotel. Lehman and ten deputies raided the location. Warned that the gamblers might be armed, they burst inside with their weapons drawn...

Bagged by Brasco, 'Nicky Cigars' returned to Bonanno leadership

Nicholas Santora

By Thomas Hunt, 2019

Known as "Nicky Cigars" and "Nicky Mouth," Santora was a longtime member of New York's Bonanno Crime Family. His underworld leadership role was revealed by the FBI's "Donnie Brasco" undercover operation. Though sentenced to a long federal prison term, Santora regained his status in the Bonanno organization following his release. Born in New York City on November 19, 1942, Santora began getting in trouble with the law as a young adult in the 1960s...

Owner's killing is start of 'Murder Stable' legend

Pasquarella Spinelli

By Thomas Hunt, 2018

"In the late afternoon of March 20, 1912, Mrs. Pasquarella Mussone Spinelli was fatally shot in an East Harlem structure the New York press later dubbed 'the Murder Stable.' After Mrs. Spinelli's death, the lives of a number of stable-linked underworld figures also ended violently, and numerous legends about the building were born. Located at 334 East 108th and pushing southward through the block to emerge on East 107th Street...."

When 'Lucky Luciano' was locked up


By Thomas Hunt, 2018

"Less than five years after achieving gangland eminence, Lucania was taken into custody. He spent most of the next decade - from the prime years of his life into middle age - behind prison bars. Lucky, accustomed to the finest things, must have found most of his time in prison unbearably offensive, ordinary and dull. Yet, even during a lengthy prison stay, Lucania found a way to make himself important."

Mafia club robberies halted by Christmas Eve killings

Rosemarie and Thomas Uva

By Thomas Hunt, 2018

Thomas and Rosemarie Uva headed out on the morning of Thursday, December 24, 1992, to finish up their Christmas shopping. Holiday traffic was heavy. The Uvas, in a Mercury Topaz, were less than a mile from home at when they stopped for a traffic light at 103rd Avenue's intersection with Ninety-First Street. Bullets cracked in rapid succession through the Topaz's windshield. Three slugs struck Thomas in the head. Three others hit Rosemarie...

Additional articles on 'Writers of Wrongs' website (by subject state and subject date):


"Evidence of some lingering hostility" (04 Nov 2017)
1955 car bombing murder of former Chicago racketeer Willie Bioff


"Gunman in green car decimates Matranga" (18 Dec 2019)
1917 killing of Mafia faction leader Pietro Matranga

"SoCal boss DiGiorgio is gunned down" (13 May 2017)
1922 Chicago killing of Los Angeles-based Mafia boss Vito DiGiorgio

"Wealthy Los Angeles-area Mafia leader vanishes"(15 Oct 2019)
1931 disappearance of southern California Mafia boss Joseph Ardizzone.

"San Francisco boss succumbs to blood disorder" (14 Jun 2017)
1937 death of Francesca Lanza elevates Tony Lima to boss

"The end of 'Bugsy' Siegel" (20 Jun 2017)
1947 murder of gambling racketeer Benjamin Siegel in Beverly Hills

"Calamia caught, called killing conspirator" (23 Dec 2019)
Leonard Calamia in 1948 is linked with murder of Nick DeJohn

"SoCal Mafia tries (again) to take out Cohen" (20 Jul 2018)
1949 Mafia shooting of gambling racketeer Mickey Cohen

"Cali cops called for Caddy corpse" (12 Jan 2019)
1969 Los Angeles murder of Julius Petro

"Mafia executes SoCal informant Bompensiero" (10 Feb 2017)
1977 San Diego killing of Frank Bompensiero silences a longtime mob informant

"SoCal rackets bosses tried in federal court" (14 Oct 2019)
1980 racketeering trial of Los Angeles Mafia leaders


"Connecticut murder linked to NYC Mafia" (27 Jul 2017)
1909 killing of Giovanni Zarcone links to NYC Barrel Murder

"Top New England mobsters targeted" (16 Jun 2018)
1989 murder of Connecticut Mafia leader William Grasso


"Stroke complications take Capone" (25 Jan 2018)
1947 Al Capone death at his south Florida home.

"Buckshot finishes Tampa big shot" (05 Jun 2018)
1950 killing of Tampa Mafioso James Luma


"Chicago gangland hit (long before Capone)" (21 Feb 2017)
1901 killing of political and underworld leader Salvatore DiGiovanni

"Chicago fatal shooting no surprise to U.S. agents"(07 May 2019)
1909 murder of Chicago Mafia leader Mariano Zagone

"White Sox players indicted for throwing Series" (28 Sep 2017)
1920 indictment of nine "Black Sox" players

"Eight 'Black Sox' players banned from baseball" (03 Aug 2018)
1921 disciplinary measures against 1919 White Sox players

"SoCal boss DiGiorgio is gunned down" (13 May 2017)
1922 Chicago killing of Los Angeles-based Mafia boss Vito DiGiorgio

"Torrio surrenders Chicago rackets after ambush" (24 Jan 2019)
Seriously wounded in front of his home in 1925, Torrio turns racket control over to Capone.

"Chicago's Genna is laid to rest" (29 May 2017)
1925 funeral of murdered Mafia boss Angelo Genna

"Shotgun takes out Chicago's 'Scourge" (15 Feb 2020)
1926 murder of Chicago Mafioso Orazio Tropea

"Rude guests pump bullets into their host" (08 Jan 2018)
1929 murder of Chicago underworld leader Pasqualino Lolordo

"Moran's men massacred" (14 Feb 2019)
The North Side gangsters who were victims of the 1929 St. Valentine's Day Massacre.

"Capone meets City of Brotherly Love" (16 May 2017)
1929 arrest in Philadelphia of Chicago Outfit boss Capone

"Eleven years and a fine for tax dodger Capone" (24 Oct 2018)
1931 Al Capone tax evasion sentencing

"Luciano, Lansky nabbed in Chicago" (19 Apr 2017)
1932 arrest of Charlie Luciano and Meyer Lansky with Paul Ricca and others in Chicago

"Out of prison, into hospital" (16 Nov 2016)
1939 release of Al Capone from prison begins his stay in a Baltimore hospital

"Chicago Outfit big shot shoots self" (19 Mar 2017)
1943 suicide of Outfit leader Frank Nitti

"Jury convicts six Outfit leaders, associate" (22 Dec 2019)
1943 extortion conviction of Ricca, Campagna, Rosselli, D'Andrea, Gioe, Maritote and Kaufman

"Stroke complications take Capone" (25 Jan 2018)
1947 Al Capone death at his south Florida home.

"Death of former Chicago gang chief goes unnoticed" 16 Apr 2019
1957 death of Chicago underworld organizer Johnny Torrio

"Outfit killer Calabrese dies on Xmas 2012" (25 Dec 2018)
2012 death of Chicago Outfit leader Frank Calabrese Sr.

"He fought the law, and the law lost" (31 May 2018)
2018 death of Chicago Outfit boss John DiFronzo


"Macheca and the Civil War black market" (28 Aug 2017)
1863 trial and conviction of Joseph Macheca for black market selling of stolen U.S. Army food

"New Orleans underworld boss murdered" (01 Apr 2017)
1869 killing of early New Orleans Mafia boss Raffaele Agnello.

"Vendetta killings at New Orleans' French Market" (22 Jul 2018)
1869 casualties in early American Mafia war.

"The murder of New Orleans boss Joseph Agnello" (20 Apr 2017)
1872 fatal shooting of Mafia faction leader Joseph Agnello

"White League revolt in New Orleans" (14 Sep 2017)
1874 effort to overthrow Reconstruction government

"Hennessys capture Sicilian brigand in New Orleans" (05 Jul 2017)
1881 arrest of Giuseppe Esposito by David and Michael Hennessy

"New Orleans killing linked to Mafia feud" (05 Jan 2020)
1888 murder of Antonio Bonora.

"Ambush reignites New Orleans feud" (06 May 2017)
1890 attack marks resumption of Matranga-Provenzano Mafia war

"New Orleans police chief ambushed, murdered" (15 Oct 2017)
1890 Mafia murder of Police Chief David Hennessy

"Disturbance at trial of Hennessy assassins" (02 Mar 2017)
1891 trial of nine accused of killing Police Chief Hennessy is interrupted by wild behavior of one defendant

"Grand jury indicts bribers, defends killers" (05 May 2018)
1891 investigation results in defense of lynchers

"$5000 awarded to family of lynch victim" (13 Jan 2017)
1894 federal verdict provides money for Rocco Geraci widow and children

"Deported to Guatemala due to fake birth record" (04 Apr 2019)
U.S. deports New Orleans crime boss Carlos Marcello.

"'Dandy Phil' exits in his pajamas" (16 Aug 2018)
1962 apparent suicide of gambling racketeer Philip Kastel

"NOLA mayor to offer apology for 1891 lynchings" (02 Apr 2019)
Mayor expected to issue Official Proclamation of Apology for 1891 lynchings of 11 Italian-American men.


"Top New England mobsters targeted" (16 Jun 2018)
1989 attempt on the life of Francis Salemme

"Ex-boss Salemme, 84, convicted of murder" (23 Jun 2018)
2018 conviction of former boss Francis Salemme for killing federal witness

"Boston's Bulger is killed in federal prison" (30 Oct 2018)
2018 murder of James Bulger in prison

"Update: 'Whitey' Bulger killing" (04 Nov 2018)
2018 murder of James Bulger in prison - update


"Detroit gang feud claims Adamo brothers" (24 Nov 2018)
1913 killings of Vito and Salvatore Adamo

"Detroit fish market murders spark Mafia war" (31 May 2019)
1930 killings of Gaspare Milazzo and Rosario Parrino trigger Castellammarese War

"Michigan mobster Joe Tocco succumbs" (03 May 2017)
1938 assassination of Detroit's West Side gang leader


"KC's Lazia is gunned down at his home" (10 Jul 2018)
1934 murder of politically connected racketer John Lazia

"Bullets take KC political leader, aide" (06 Apr 2017)
1950 murders of Charles Binaggio and Charles Gargotta


"Flamingo opens with three-day gala" (26 Dec 2019)
Las Vegas casino financed through Benjamin Siegel opens in December 1946

New Jersey

"Trial of king's killer takes just one day" (29 Aug 2018)
1900 trial of New Jersey's Gaetano Bresci for King Umberto assassination

"Murders his pal on 'Good Killers' orders" (30 Jul 2018)
1921 killing in New Jersey reveals operation of Good Killers gang

"Dutch Schultz, aides, fatally shot in New Jersey" (23 Oct 2017)
1935 murder of gang leader Dutch Schultz

"Pals' pistols quiet garrulous gangster" (04 Oct 2018)
1951 Cliffside Park murder of Willie Moretti

"Joe Adonis deports himself" (03 Jan 2017)
1956 self-deportation of New York-New Jersey racketeer Giuseppe Doto

"'Longie' Zwillman takes his life" (26 Feb 2019)
The February 1959 suicide of long-time New Jersey rackets chief.

"Death of former Boardwalk boss" (09 Dec 2016)
1968 death by natural causes of longtime Atlantic City underworld boss Enoch Johnson

"Mafia infiltrates Federal Bureau of Investigation" (18 Jul 2018)
1975 admission by FBI clerk that she worked for NJ Mafia figure

"Exit of Hoffa foe, 'Tony Pro' Provenzano" (12 Dec 2019)
1988 passing of New Jersey Teamsters leader believed responsible for Jimmy Hoffa's demise

New York

"Brooklyn's 1902 'Sack Murder'" (23 Jul 2017)
1902 Brooklyn killing of "Joe the Grocer" Catania

"The Barrel Murder of 1903" (14 Apr 2017)
1903 discovery of a corpse within a barrel left on a city street

"Garvan battled radicals and Mafiosi" (09 Jul 2017)
1903 Barrel Murder investigation featured prosecutor Francis Garvan, later involved in U.S. action against radicals

"Future Buffalo mob boss arrives in NYC" (07 Feb 2017)
1909 arrival of teenage Stefano Magaddino, later Mafia leader in western New York

"NYPD head exposes Petrosino secret mission" (19 Feb 2018)
1909 statements of Commissioner Bingham about Petrosino trip to Italy

"Martyr to duty: Petrosino is slain" (12 Mar 2017)
1909 assassination of NYPD's Joseph Petrosino during investigation in Sicily

"Bad-bills bust" (15 Nov 2016)
1909 Secret Service arrest of Mafia boss of bosses Giuseppe Morello and his counterfeiting gang

"Extortion victim turns table on 'The Gimp'" (15 Dec 2019)
1912 slaying of Black Hand extortion gang leader Aniello Prisco

"Caught without his chain mail shirt" (09 Apr 2019)
1913 shooting death of gangster Amadeo Buonomo

"Lost his love and then lost his life" (28 Nov 2019)
1914 set up of William "Patsy Doyle" Moore by the Gophers Gang.

"Lucky's 1916 narcotics conviction" (27 Jun 2019)
1916 narcotics conviction of Salvatore "Charlie Luciano" Lucania.

"Two killed at Castellammarese colony in Brooklyn" (11 Nov 2019)
1917 double-murder of Antonino Mazzara and Antonino DiBenedetto.

"U.S. President commutes sentence of Mafia's Lupo" (29 Oct 2016)
1921 commutation of Ignazio Lupo sentence by President Harding

"Live by the sword..." (11 Aug 2017)
1922 murder of Mafia hit man Umberto Valente

"What happened to girl wounded by stray bullet?" (13 Aug 2018)
1922 killing of Umberto Valente wounded an eleven-year-old girl

"Gangland assassination in Brooklyn" (01 Jul 2017)
1928 murder of Brooklyn boss Frankie Yale

"'Schatz' follows Yale to wealth, influence, grave" (06 Oct 2018)
1928 murder of Frank Yale lieutenant Michael Abbatemarco

"Charlie Lucky's painful visit to Staten Island" (17 Oct 2018)
1929 beating suffered by Salvatore "Charlie Lucky Luciano" Lucania

"Vitale dinner holdup sparks investigations" (08 Dec 2019)
1929 Bronx robbery leads to magistrate's removal, mayor's resignation, Tammany Hall's defeat

"Turning point" (05 Nov 2016)
1930 Bronx ambush claims top Masseria allies Al Mineo and Steve Ferrigno

"Gangster 'Legs' Diamond shows up in Europe" (31 Aug 2018)
1930 Legs Diamond visit to Europe, possibly with Charlie Luciano.

"'Joe Baker' gunned down on Belmont Ave.," (03 Feb 2020)
1931 Bronx murder of "Joe the Baker" Catania

"'Joe the Boss' murder befuddles press" (15 Apr 2019)
1931 assassination of Mafia boss of bosses Giuseppe "Joe the Boss" Masseria

"Iamascia funeral is 'glittering pageant'" (22 Jun 2018)
1931 Bronx funeral of Mafioso Daniel Iamascia

"Valachi recalls assassination of boss of bosses" (10 Sep 2018)
1931 assassination of Mafia boss of bosses Salvatore Maranzano

"'Death Valley' end for ambitious gangster" (12 Sep 2019)
1931 murder of Brooklyn gang leader Joseph Manino

"Luciano, Lansky nabbed in Chicago" (19 Apr 2017)
1932 arrest of Charlie Luciano and Meyer Lansky with Paul Ricca and others in Chicago

"Death of the Mafia's 'Buffalo Bill'" (21 Dec 2016)
1932 death of longtime western New York Mafia leader Benedetto Angelo Palmeri

"Stroke takes the 'Artichoke King'" (20 Feb 2019)
Ciro Terranova succumbs to a 1938 stroke, only one of four brothers to die of natural causes.

"Murder Inc. turncoat Abe Reles falls to his death" (12 Nov 2016)
1941 death of informant Reles is officially labeled accidental

"'Lucky' transferred at request of spy agencies" (12 May 2018)
1942 Luciano transfer to Comstock prison was requested by U.S. spy agencies

"He did it, but they couldn't prove it" (11 Jan 2019)
1943 Carmine Galante murder of Carlo Tresca

"Death chair takes Lepke, two aides" (04 Mar 2019)
1944 electrocution of "Murder Inc." chief Louis Buchalter and aides Mendy Weiss and Louis Capone.

"'Lucky' out of prison, held at Ellis Island," (02 Feb 2020)
Salvatore "Lucky Luciano" Lucania is released from prison in 1946 so he can be deported.

"Peers salute Genovese after murder acquittal" (24 Jun 2019)
1946 gathering of Mafiosi in New York to welcome home Vito Genovese

"Mafia leader's corpse found at Brooklyn marsh" (19 Apr 2017)
1951 discovery of the body of murdered Mafioso Philip Mangano

"Frank Costello: 'Somebody tried to get me'" (02 May 2019)
1957 attempt to assassinate Mafia leader Frank Costello

"Fruits, vegetables may be hazardous to your health" (17 Jun 2017)
1957 assassination of Bronx boss Frank Scalise

"Anastasia delayed, did not escape death in 'chair'" (25 Oct 2019)
1957 murder of New York crime boss Albert Anastasia.

"Bosses meet on eve of Apalachin convention" (13 Nov 2018)
1957 meeting between Joseph Bonanno and Stefano Magaddino

"Apalachin party-crashers expose Mafia network" (14 Nov 2017)
1957 state police roundup of Mafiosi fleeing Apalachin convention

"Profaci infuriates McClellan Committee" (02 Jul 2018)
1958 Joseph Profaci appearance before U.S. Senate Committee

"Magaddino's wrath" (23 Nov 2016)
1961 discovery of Albert Agueci's charred remains

"Awaiting airport arrival, Lucky departs" (26 Jan 2019)
The 1962 death of Salvatore "Charlie Luciano" Lucania at a Naples airport.

"Mob mayhem on a Monday morning" (29 Jan 2019)
Two Brooklyn men, associates of the Gallo gang, are shot and wounded as they change a car tire in 1962.

"Brooklyn's Gallo mobsters become heroes" (31 Jan 2017)
1962 apartment fire turns gangsters into neighborhood heroes

"Mafia boss leads protests at FBI headquarters" (30 Apr 2017)
1970 anti-FBI protest is organized by Mafia boss Joseph Colombo

"'Sally Bugs' is killed to ensure his silence" (21 Mar 2019)
Teamsters official suspected of involvement in Jimmy Hoffa's disappearance is murdered in Manhattan's Little Italy in March 1978.

"Murder of Rochester's Sammy G" (11 May 2018)
1978 car bombing of Sammy Gingello

"Bonanno boss shot down in Bushwick eatery" (12 Jul 2017)
1979 Brooklyn assassination of Bonanno leader Carmine Galante

"Dellacroce's death" (02 Dec 2016)
1985 death of Aniello Dellacroce had serious consequences for Gambino Crime Family

"Jury selected as Mafia bosses head to trial" (08 Sep 2018)
1986 start of Mafia Commission trial in Manhattan

"Eight guilty of serving on Mafia ruling council" (19 Nov 2019)
1986 federal jury verdict in Mafia Commission case.

"Crime bosses receive hundred year sentences" (13 Jan 2020)
1987 sentencing of Commission case defendants.

"Buffalo mobster Sam DiCarlo dies in Florida" (27 Mar 2019)
The 1987 death in Florida of longtime Buffalo, NY, Mafioso Sam DiCarlo.

"Murdered on Christmas Eve" (23 Dec 2018)
Summary of 1992 murders of Thomas and Rosemarie Uva

"'Chin' Gigante dies in prison hospital" (19 Dec 2018)
2005 death of Genovese boss Vincent Gigante

"Mafia leader's corpse discovered in Long Island" (07 Oct 2017)
2008 discovery of the remains of Colombo underboss William Cutolo

"Murdered at McD's" (06 Oct 2018)
2018 Bronx murder of Bonanno associate Sylvester Zottola

"Gambino chief shot, killed at his home" (14 Mar 2019)
The 2019 murder of "Franky Boy" Cali outside his Staten Island home

"'Mafia Cop' Eppolito dies in federal custody" (05 Nov 2019)
2019 prison death of former NYPD Detective Louis Eppolito.

"Centenarian mobster 'Sonny' Franzese passes" (24 Feb 2020)
2020 death of Colombo big shot John Franzese.


"Caught in Cleveland" (05 Dec 2016)
1928 assembly of Mafia leaders at the Hotel Statler in Cleveland

"Vendetta ends life of 'Black Sam' Todaro" (11 Jun 2017)
1929 killing of Mafia boss Salvatore Todaro by young Angelo Lonardo

"Youngstown racketeer Farah killed at his home" (10 Jun 2017)
1961 shotgun death of gambling racketeer Mike Farah


"Chased from Boston to Chicago to Pittsburgh" (04 Dec 2017)
1904 Camorra attack against Peter Scalise

"NYC Barrel Murder suspect killed in Pennsylvania" (21 Oct 2019)
1905 murder of Luciano Parrino, a.k.a. Tommaso Petto, in Browntown neighborhood of Pittston.

"Tried to 'take the money and run'" (21 Jan 2017)
1919 assassination of double-dealing Pittsburgh boss Gregorio Conti

"Explosion in Pittsburgh produce district" (18 Feb 2017)
1925 massive explosion in city produce district is linked with Mafia

"The Pittsburgh machine gun murder that wasn't" (19 May 2019)
1927 murder of Luigi Lamendola at his Pittsburgh restaurant

"Zanghi 'squeals' after brother's murder" (30 May 2017)
1927 killings in South Philadelphia lead Anthony Zanghi to cooperate with police

"Capone meets City of Brotherly Love" (16 May 2017)
1929 arrest in Philadelphia of Chicago Outfit boss Capone

"Unlucky date for Steel City underworld bosses" (06 Aug 2018)
1929 and 1932 killings of Pittsburgh bosses on August 6.

"Mafia boss shot down at Philly's 'Bloody Angle'" (17 Aug 2018)
1936 drive-by killing of Mafia boss John Avena

"Death of powerful NE Pennsylvania boss" (25 Feb 2020)
1994 death of Rosario "Russell" Bufalino.


"Dallas gambling chief ends his own life" (10 Aug 2018)
1932 apparent suicide of Dallas gambling racketeer Warren Diamond

Washington D.C.

"Embryo of the FBI" (26 Jul 2017)
1908 creation of a Bureau of Investigation in the Justice Department

DiFronzo: Fought the law, and the law lost


By Thomas Hunt, 2018

John DiFronzo, reputed Chicago Outfit boss, died May 28, 2018, at his home in River Grove. DiFronzo was referred to as "No Nose," due to a 1949 tangle with police that cost him a portion of his nose. Family Secrets trial testimony named him as one of the mobsters who beat to death Anthony and Michael Spilotro in 1986, but DiFronzo was never charged with the murders. Asked about DiFronzo's greatest achievement, a criminal defense attorney replied, "Beating the G."

Two Gambino informants had very different fates

FBI report

By Edmond Valin, 2018

"On July 11, 1963, two men wearing makeup disguises entered the Flowers By Charm flower store in Brooklyn, New York, and fired five bullets at the owner before fleeing. Lying dead on the floor was forty-year-old Gambino Crime Family member Alfredo Santantonio. The murder had the hallmarks of a professional killing... An informant told the FBI that 'it was common talk in Brooklyn that [Santantonio] was killed because he was cooperating with the Government...'"

Willie the Tile Maker passed Mafia secrets to Feds

William Dara

By Edmond Valin, 2018

"In the late 1960s, a Florida-based member of the Bonanno Crime Family began to cooperate with the FBI. He shed light on gangland murders, spilled secrets about LCN members and gave the FBI a front row seat to the turmoil within the Bonanno organization. His cooperation was never suspected by his crime family, and he died a member in good standing. Now, clues found in declassified FBI documents may help to reveal his identity for the first time....."

Jack Ruby's 1959 visit to Havana

Jack Ruby

By Thomas Hunt, 2009

"Jack Ruby of Dallas appears to have played a role in the departure of American racketeers and the removal of their money from Cuba in 1959. How big a role he played remains uncertain. Some believe he secured the release of Mafia boss Santo Trafficante by the Fidel Castro government and later may have been part of a Castro-Mafia plot against U.S. President John F. Kennedy..."

CIA joins with Mafia in effort to kill Castro

Castro targeted

By Thomas Hunt, 2017

"Some Kennedy assassination-related documents released through the National Archives last week (October 26, 2017) and earlier this year (July 24, 2017) discussed CIA cooperation with American organized criminals in an effort to assassinate Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. The documents revealed little about CIA-underworld interaction that was not already known to historians through other sources, but..."

Two inducted members provided info on Philly Mob

Harry Riccobene

By Edmond Valin, 2017

"By the early 1960s, the Federal Bureau of Investigation was able to persuade two members of the Philadelphia Crime Family to reveal confidential information about La Cosa Nostra. The informants were the sons of prominent LCN members who could trace their crime family connections to the 1920s. They provided federal agents with an inside look at the history, structure and membership of the Philadelphia Crime Family back to its earliest days..."

Post-Giancana Outfit was fertile soil for FBI informants

Louis Fratto

By Edmond Valin, 2017

"Declassified FBI documents show that more than ten Chicago Outfit members began to "talk" soon after Sam Giancana was deposed as boss and fled Chicago. The turnaround, up from virtually zero high-value informants in 1965, was due primarily to a more aggressive approach by law enforcement and the ongoing turmoil within the Outfit after a succession of bosses were quickly jailed..."

Death of Benny Eggs severs tie to family's past

Venero Mangano

By Thomas Hunt, 2017

"Venero Frank 'Benny Eggs' Mangano, one of the Genovese Crime Family's oldest and strongest remaining links to its traditional Lower West Side foundation, died of natural causes in Manhattan's Greenwich Village on August 18, 2017. The Greenwich Village area was a stronghold of the organization that became known as the Genovese Family since a young Vito Genovese joined forces with Giuseppe "Joe the Boss" Masseria in the Prohibition Era..."

Roemer's men in the Outfit: 'Sporting Goods' and 'Romano'

William Roemer

By Edmond Valin, 2017

"According to Roemer, the three 'best' informants... were Richard Cain, a former Outfit member gunned down in 1973, and two others who, to this day, are known only by their codenames, 'Sporting Goods' and 'Romano.' But who were 'Sporting Goods' and 'Romano'? A careful reading of Roemer’s books, especially his memoir and his biography of Outfit boss Tony Accardo, provides compelling clues. It appears the identities of these underworld informants can finally be revealed..."

Just How Organized Was Calabrian Crime?

Rocco Racco

By Thomas Hunt, 2015

"There are a number of unanswered questions related to the American Mafia's incorporation of Calabrian gangsters - those who trace their origins to the southernmost portion of the Italian mainland. We may ask: How did this combination occur? Precisely when did it occur? Was it the result of a decision of the American Mafia as a whole or did it result from decisions of individual crime families?..."

Underworld boss, FBI informant Bompensiero

Frank Bompensiero

By Thomas Hunt, 2017

"Frank "Bomp" Bompensiero was a longtime high-ranking southern California Mafioso assassinated in 1977 for providing information to the FBI. Born in Milwaukee, WI, on Sept. 29, 1905, Bompensiero was an active part of the southern California underworld in the Prohibition Era. He settled in San Diego with his wife Thelma Sanfilippo (Thelma had also been born in Milwaukee). Early in 1931, he was convicted of violating the National Prohibition Act..."

Sinistro: The Underworld Career of Giuseppe Morello

Giuseppe Morello

By Thomas Hunt, 2015

Giuseppe Morello was the first known boss of bosses of the American Mafia. While he was a unifying force initially, he later became a central figure in underworld conflicts and was an early casualty of the Castellammarese War. Morello was born on May 2, 1867, to Calogero and Angela Piazza Morello in Corleone, Sicily. A sister, Maria, was born several years later. Calogero Morello died in the early 1870s, and Angela subsequently married Bernardo Terranova...

The Barrel Mystery (1919)

William Flynn

By W.J.Flynn, 1919

"The Barrel Mystery" book by William J. Flynn is presented here as a window into the operations of the Turn-of-the-20th-Century Morello Gang. Giuseppe Morello, boss of bosses of the U.S. Mafia, oversaw extensive counterfeiting operations, "Black Hand" extortion and other illegal rackets. His gang was responsible for the brutal 1903 Barrel Murder, from which the book gets its name...

The Capone of New Jersey: Abner Zwillman

Abner Zwillman

By Thomas Hunt, 2014

One of the more powerful and influential New Jersey underworld figures of the Prohibition Era and beyond, Abner "Longie" Zwillman became known as the "Al Capone" of his state. A political powerhouse in the Newark area, Zwillman amassed a fortune through rum-running, gambling and coin-operated machines. He was regarded as generous with friends and underworld associates. But his downfall was his stinginess with Uncle Sam...

Gangland Profile: Frank Bonomo

Frank Bonomo

By J.Dugard, 2013

"Frank Bonomo was a long-time member of the Bonanno Crime Family, who briefly may have served as a capodecina (group leader) during the late 1970s. Equally adept at avoiding the attention of law enforcement and the wrath of rivals, he survived the New York gangland "Banana War" and lived to the age of 86. Bonomo was born in the spring of 1901 in Castellammare del Golfo, Sicily, to Francesco and Giovanna Lananna Bonomo..."

What Do We Know About Frankie Yale?

Frank Yale

By Thomas Hunt, 2013

Frankie Yale was a Brooklyn gangster and businessman with ties to Giuseppe "Joe the Boss" Masseria and Al Capone. His 1928 assassination coincided with dramatic changes in the Brooklyn underworld and the Mafia of the United States. Yale apparently was born Jan. 22, 1893, in Longobucco, a town in the southern mainland Italian region of Calabria. The original spelling of his surname was probably "Ioele"...

Autobiography: 'The Real Thing'

Joe Valachi

By Joe Valachi, 1964

Portions of the famous Mob informant's life story in his own words. Valachi recalls his early career as a burglar, his participation in the Castellammarese War, his induction into the American Mafia and more. Valachi's recollections, originally written at the urging of the United States government, formed the basis of the Peter Maas book, The Valachi Papers, but differ significantly from the Maas account.

Bay-Area informants proved crucial for FBI

Joseph Cerrito

By Edmond Valin, 2018

As the FBI entered the fight against organized crime on a national level, it benefited from membership data and organizational history obtained through confidential informants from a small Mafia family in northern California. For a brief period in the 1960s, there may have been more member-informants active in San Jose than any other LCN crime family. Their cooperation left the FBI better informed about the Bay Area underworld than its boss.

'Banana War' Informant

Bill Bonanno

By Edmond Valin, 2017

During the Banana War of the 1960s, law enforcement benefited from data provided by an informer within the Bonanno Crime Family. Researcher Edmond Valin argues that, based upon the timing, the circumstances and the information conveyed to the authorities, the informer could only have been boss Joseph Bonanno's son, Salvatore "Bill" Bonanno.

Stefan Cicale Testimony - U.S. v Joseph Young

Stefan Cicale

Edited By J.Dugard, 2010

A gruesome murder in a reportedly haunted, old, Staten Island mansion provides a window into the operation of the Bonanno Crime Family of New York. Turncoat witness Cicale testifies in the October 2008 case United States v. Joseph Young.

Super Bowl Shakedown


By Clarence Walker, 2010

Around the globe, billions of dollars will be gambled on this single game, much of it will be wagered online. Last year, the Internet gambling industry generated in an estimated $10 billion to $12 billion, according to Capital HQ gaming analyst Michael Tew. About half of those revenues came from Americans.

Gangsters in Southwest Michigan

Buster Domingo

By David Critchley, 2008

Historians have neglected the role played by Berrien County, Michigan, in the history of Chicago and New York organized crime. The Berrien cities of Benton Harbor and St. Joseph were linked to three significant incidents in American organized crime history.

Revenge Killing in Miami: George Byrum

Clockwise from bottom: DeMeo, Castellano, Gaggi

By J. Dugard, 2007

Elizabeth Bethel, a chambermaid at Miami's Ocean Shore Motel, unlocked the door to Room 23 at about noon on July 14, 1976. After setting a fresh batch of towels down on a chair, she began making one of the room's two beds. It was the only piece of furniture noticeably disturbed.

The Man in the Shadows: Sam Pollaccia

Pollaccia and Yale

By T. Hunt and L. Cafiero, 2008

Some underworld legends, often repeated in mob history books and long cherished by Hollywood, will have to be revised or discarded due to continuing discoveries related to a shadowy Mafia figure named Saverio "Sam" Pollaccia.

New Orleans Mafia Feud, 1868-72

Jackson Square heart of the French Quarter

By T. Hunt and M. Sheldon, 2008

On Wednesday evening, Oct. 28, 1868, the Innocenti political brigade suspended its violent Presidential election season rampages through Republican neighborhoods and headed indoors. Members held a large rally at the Orleans Ballroom on Bourbon and Orleans Streets.

Badges in Little Italy: New York's Italian Squad

Joseph Petrosino

By Thomas Hunt, 2007

After completing an evening meal of fish and pasta at the Cafe Oreto on March 12, 1909, Joseph Petrosino walked into the Piazza Marina, a wooded, public square just to the south of the busy docks of Palermo, Sicily. Petrosino, a New York police lieutenant, leader and founder of the Italian Squad, was in Italy to gather evidence against Italian fugitives living in New York.

The Good Killers: 1921's Glimpse of the Mafia

Wounded Magaddino

By T. Hunt and M.A. Tona, 2007

"Diu miu!" The shout drew Michael Fiaschetti's attention to the figure silhouetted in the dim gray light passing through the hotel window. Fiaschetti was on self-imposed guard duty, ostensibly protecting barber Bartolo Fontano from gangsters who wished him dead.

Gambino Family Chronicles, 1980-2002


Feb. 2006 testimony of Michael DiLeonardo

Paul Castellano had sent some emissaries to talk to me about it. My brother Robert was with the Colombo family, and being he was with that family, we have no say and no influence on their politics or anything that they do. So this is a way to tell me this is Cosa Nostra. This is the way the rules are. Your brother was there. They killed him and that's it. There's no questions to be asked.

Wrongly Executed? The Case of Charles Sberna

Journalist Walter Winchell

By Thomas Hunt, 2006-07

Patrolman John H. A. Wilson, an 11-year member of the New York Police Department, was on strike-duty in front of the E. J. Barry drug warehouse at 54 Fulton Street in lower Manhattan. Employees of the warehouse had walked off the job, and Wilson was sent to ensure picketers behaved themselves.

White-Collar Mafioso: Tommy Lucchese

Tommy Lucchese

By Thomas Hunt, 2006

Despite running one of New York's smaller underworld units, Gaetano "Tommy" Lucchese was one of the more successful American Mafia bosses of the post-Prohibition era. Abundant evidence of his business acumen suggests he was among the few mob chiefs who could have succeeded in life without underworld ties.

King of the Brooklyn Docks: Albert Anastasia

Albert Anastasia

By Thomas Hunt, 2005

Few gangsters have cast a greater shadow on American society than Albert Anastasia of Brooklyn. For much of three decades, the man who was called "The Mad Hatter" and "The Lord High Executioner" helped to shape the organized underworld in the United States

Chicago's Man in Vegas: Anthony Spilotro

Anthony Spilotro

By Thomas Hunt, 2006

Anthony Spilotro wasn't much to look at. His build certainly wasn't threatening. He stood just five feet, six inches tall and weighed in the neighborhood of 160. His small stature led underworld colleagues to call him "Tony the Ant" and "The Little Guy."

The Disappearance of Teamster Boss Jimmy Hoffa

Jimmy Hoffa

By Thomas Hunt, 2005-06

The disappearance of former Teamster President James Riddle Hoffa in 1975 sparked a public debate that continues to this day. Despite claims to the contrary, no one knows for sure what became of Hoffa or who was responsible.

Remembering "Boo Boo": Max Hoff

Max Hoff

By Parry Desmond, 2003

Max "Boo Boo" Hoff was born in 1893 in South Philadelphia, a son of poor Russian-Jewish, immigrants. After quitting school, Boo Boo worked for several years as a cigar store clerk. His salary allegedly was raised from $12 a week to $15 after the proprietor noticed how Boo Boo's amiable personality appealed to customers.

Counterfeit Capone? A Puzzle

Al Capone

By Thomas Hunt, 2010

"Al Capone's ten-month imprisonment in Philadelphia gave rise to a number of conspiracy theories. The most complex theory was advanced by Real Detective magazine in 1931. That periodical charged that the real Al Capone was dead and the man who had served time for carrying a deadly weapon in Philadelphia was an imposter. Real Detective charged that, at the time of his imprisonment, Capone's eye color changed from brown..."

Retired big shot provided glimpse into Pittsburgh Mafia


By Edmond Valin, 2018

Samuel Mannarino was a prominent La Cosa Nostra figure in Western Pennsylvania for decades until his death in 1967. He met with FBI agents throughout the mid-1960s after being forced into retirement from the rackets. He engaged in conversation with the agents mostly out of boredom and a slight sense of disappointment over the abrupt end to his criminal life. His revelations to the agents never went very far, but he did shed light...

Former San Francisco boss supplied info to federal agents

Anthony Lima

By Edmond Valin, 2018

In 1965, Anthony Lima, former boss of the San Francisco Crime Family, began to share confidential information with federal law enforcement. The veteran LCN member provided an insider's view of organized crime from the highest levels. Lima told federal agents about his induction ceremony, provided details about the history of the Pittsburgh Crime Family, and identified LCN members, many for the first time.

Memoirs of a Murder Man - The Barrel Murder

Arthur Carey

By Arthur Carey, 1930

"Italians who came to this country at the beginning of this century had a penchant for grouping into small colonies. They came in great numbers to New York City and settled in districts which became known as Little Italys. The colonization laid them open to attacks by various criminal organizations from the Old World who brought with them much experience in murder and blackmail. In 1902 and 1903 members of these colonies were terrorized..."

Vinnie Teresa cooperated much earlier than he let on

Vincent Teresa

By Edmond Valin, 2018

Vincent "Fat Vinnie" Teresa achieved notoriety in the 1970s after he became a cooperating witness against the mob. The former New England Crime Family mobster testified at more than a dozen mob trials and made a televised appearance before a United States Senate committee investigating organized crime. Teresa's tales of mob life and his distinctive appearance - a large head, massive frame and gravely voice...

Salvatore Piscopo: The man who betrayed Johnny Roselli


By Edmond Valin, 2018

Salvatore Piscopo was a longtime member of the Los Angeles Crime Family and a close associate of mob legends Johnny Roselli and Jimmy Fratianno. Piscopo ran a large-scale gambling operation for the mob. Although he never rose higher than soldier, Piscopo had a front row seat to organized crime's infiltration of the movie industry and the gang wars that boiled over in Southern California in the 1940s and 1950s.

Sicilian vendetta in Missouri and Texas

Vito Campanella Jr.

By Thomas Hunt, 2018

The force of Sicilian vendetta was observed in the United States between 1918 and 1921, during a long and bloody family feud in Texas and Missouri. It is uncertain whether the immigrant families involved, the Restivos and the Campanellas, were at all connected with the Mafia criminal society. However, their determination to destroy each other rivaled anything seen in Mafia history. It was reported that the families were bitter enemies in Sicily...

Murdered at McD's: Bonanno associate Zottola


By Thomas Hunt, 2018

Sylvester "Sally Daz" Zottola, 71, was shot and killed Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018, while waiting at a McDonald's drive-thru lane in the Bronx. Zottola, a reputed associate of the Bonanno Crime Family and once a trusted friend of former Bonanno boss Vincent J. "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano, apparently had been targeted by rivals for the past year. Zottola, alone in his maroon Acura SUV, visited the McDonald's restaurant drive-thru, 1625 Webster Avenue...

Gambino chief Frank Cali shot, killed at his Staten Island home

Francesco Cali

By Thomas Hunt, 2019

The reputed boss of New York's Gambino Crime Family was shot to death Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in the street outside his Staten Island home, according to newspaper and broadcast reports. Shortly after nine o'clock that night, emergency dispatchers received a 9-1-1 call from No. 25 Hilltop Terrace off Four Corners Road in the Todt Hill section. Fire department medics and police responded. They found Francesco "Franky Boy" Cali, 53, had suffered multiple gunshot wounds...

'Joey G' drops a dime and a body or two

Joseph Gurera

By Edmond Valin, 2019

In 1967, Kansas City Outfit member Joseph Gurera began to share confidential information with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Gurera cooperated for only a few months before he passed away, but in that short time, he helped federal agents to identify La Cosa Nostra members in three states, provided Intel about organized crime history in Kansas City and Milwaukee going back decades and cleared up numerous mob murders...

Wherefore art thou Frank Romeo?

New Orleans tomb

By Thomas Hunt, 2018

"His deeds forgotten and his remains misplaced, 'Nine-Fingered Frank' Romeo is a mysterious figure in New Orleans underworld history. Recalled by history merely as one of eleven men murdered in an 1891 lynch mob assault on Orleans Parish Prison, Romeo, also known as Romero, actually served a key, longtime role in the evolution of organized crime in southern Louisiana, bringing together businessmen, labor, politicians and racketeers in the earliest days of the American Mafia....

The Italian mobster who wasn't


By Edmond Valin, 2020

In the late 1920s, a young hoodlum from New York City moved to Chicago and became associated with the local Mafia organization called the 'Outfit.' He made a living as a 'confidence man,' a jewel thief, and a heroin dealer. He acted as 'muscle' for mobsters Fifi Buccieri and Ralph Pierce and rubbed elbows with bosses Frank Nitti and Paul Ricca. In 1963, he got jammed up and turned to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for help....