Edmond Valin in 2021 added four new articles to the growing Rat Trap collection. The articles are described below:

Chicago Outfit

Extortionist ‘Jukebox Smitty’ informed

(January 2021)

Fred “Jukebox Smitty” Smith’s brutality allowed him to dominate the jukebox industry in Chicago for decades. Secretly, he provided information about Chicago Outfit members, rackets and murders to the FBI beginning early in 1964.

https://mafiahistory.us/rattrap/infsmitty.html


Chicago Outfit

The politician, the singer and the Mob

(April 2021)

George Vydra, a businessman and local politician in the Chicago suburb of Berwyn, became obsessed with local singer Jane Darwyn. In an effort to aid Darwyn’s career, Vydra began dealing with Chicago racketeers. In 1962, he began providing information to the FBI.

https://mafiahistory.us/rattrap/infgeorgevydra.html


Chicago Outfit

Car-bomb corrected Cerone’s biggest mistake

(May 2021)

Louis Bombacino, Jr., was killed in an Arizona car-bomb explosion in 1975. He had been living in the Grand Canyon State under an assumed identity since betraying Chicago underworld bosses, talking to the FBI and taking the witness stand against crime boss John Cerone.

https://mafiahistory.us/rattrap/infbombacino.html


Kansas City Mafia

Member’s son guided Feds on KC Mafia

(November 2021)

Joseph Crapisi, son of Kansas City racketeer Salvatore “Charles” Crapisi, provided the FBI with information about local mob bosses. His cooperation with the feds may have made him a target for the mob.

https://mafiahistory.us/rattrap/infcrapisi.html

Valachi Memoirs

UPDATE (Oct. 25, 2020): The first 1,045 pages (and 1,078 pages in all) are available online. There are just 122 pages of Valachi’s text left to digitize and format.

  • Part 1 – Complete, 313 pgs, numbered 1 thru 299*.
  • Part 2 – Complete, 307 pgs, numbered 300 thru 599*.
  • Part 3 – Complete, 300 pgs, numbered 600 thru 899.
  • Part 4 – 158 pgs, numbered 900 thru 1025, 1096 thru 1103, 1106 thru 1115, 1138 thru 1140, 1158 thru 1163, 1165 thru 1168, 1179, 1180.

UPDATE (Feb. 18, 2020): The total number of Valachi manuscript pages online has reached 888, including the first 826 consecutive pages. Visit The Real Thing section of the Mafiahistory.us website to see what is available.


UPDATE (Jan. 7, 2020): Dozens of new pages have been added to Part 3 of the Valachi manuscript The Real Thing. The total number of available document pages is now 761. That includes the first 687 consecutive pages.

  • Part 1Complete, 313 pgs, numbered 1 thru 299*.
  • Part 2Complete, 307 pgs, numbered 300 thru 599*.
  • Part 3 – 108 pgs, numbered 600 thru 666, 670, 761, 762, 771, 772, 798 thru 801, 803 thru 805, 808, 809, 826 thru 830, 832 thru 853.
  • Part 4 – 33 pgs, numbered 1096 thru 1103, 1106 thru 1115, 1138 thru 1140, 1158 thru 1163, 1165 thru 1168, 1179, 1180.

*Note: Some page numbers are used more than once, causing the page count to disagree with the page numbers.


UPDATE (Dec. 12, 2019): Part 2 of the Valachi manuscript The Real Thing is now available in its entirety. There are 307 pages, numbered 300 through 599 (with some numbers used more than once). Visitors may now read the first 621 consecutive pages of the manuscript. An additional 77 pages are available in scattered portions of Parts 3 and 4. The total number of pages now online is 698.

  • Part 1 – Complete, 313 pgs, numbered 1 thru 299.
  • Part 2 – Complete, 307 pgs, numbered 300 thru 599.
  • Part 3 – 45 pgs.
  • Part 4 – 33 pgs.
  • Current overall – 698 pgs.

UPDATE (Dec. 5, 2019): Fifty-four pages have been added over the past ten days. These have all gone the second section of the Valachi manuscript, The Real Thing. That section now features a total of 247 pages, including the first 243 consecutive pages. With the first section already entirely in place, visitors can read through the first 556 pages of the memoirs (due to the insertion of information between already numbered pages, this includes from Page 1 through Page 535). An additional 77 pages are available in scattered portions of the third and fourth section, bringing the total number of pages now online to 637.


UPDATE (Nov. 25, 2019): Another fifty-six pages have been added to the second section of the Valachi manuscript, The Real Thing. Available page totals are shown here:

  • Section 1 – Complete – 313 pages, numbered 1 through 299*
  • Section 2 – 193 available, including the first 189 pages of the section (allowing visitors to read from numbered Page 1 through numbered Page 481 – a total of 502 consecutive pages*).
  • Section 3 – 44 available.
  • Section 4 – 33 available.
  • Current overall total = 583 pages.

(* Valachi inserted some pages between previously numbered pages, so total page count does not match the assigned page numbers.)


UPDATE (Nov. 15, 2019): Twenty-two more pages were added to the second section of the Valachi manuscript, The Real Thing, bringing its total to 137 available pages (Visit: https://mafiahistory.us/a023/therealthing2.html ) The total number of online document pages – all four sections – has reached 527. Consecutive available pages run from Page 1 through Page 407. Due to oddities in the page numbering (some sheets were inserted between previously numbered pages), this actually includes a total of 428 consecutive pages of the manuscript.


UPDATE (Nov. 12, 2019): Twenty-two pages were added for the second section of the Valachi manuscript, The Real Thing, bringing its total to 115 available pages. (Visit: https://mafiahistory.us/a023/therealthing2.html ) The total number of online document pages – all four sections – has reached 505. The second section includes discussions of the Castellammarese War, Salvatore Maranzano and the post-Maranzano Mafia. There are nearly 400 consecutive available pages from the start of the document.


UPDATE (Nov. 9, 2019): With the addition of 65 more pages, the first section of the Valachi manuscript, The Real Thing, is now all set. (Visit: https://mafiahistory.us/a023/therealthing1.html ) The pages are numbered 1 through 299. However, some of the page numbers are duplicated. The actual total number of pages available in this section totals 313. In the section, Valachi describes his home life, friendships, his career as a burglar, time in prison and his early associations with Mafia organizations in East Harlem and the Bronx. The manuscript has been divided into four sections. The total number of pages – all sections – now available online is 483.


Nov. 8, 2019 – About 100 pages were recently added to the Joseph Valachi memoirs on the website, bringing the total pages to 418. It is our goal to make all pages of Valachi’s The Real Thing manuscript – the source material for a book entitled, The Valachi Papers – available to our web visitors.

The document, which runs well over one thousand pages in length, has been divided into four sections. We now have available 248 pages of the first section, 93 of the second section, 44 of the third section and 33 of the fourth section.

We have added an introductory “Contents” page with direct links to all available pages.

The latest article by Edmond Valin examines the FBI’s fairly abrupt adoption of the term “La Cosa Nostra” in the early 1960s to refer to traditional Sicilian-Italian organized crime. Valin digs through FBI records to turn up the earliest sources of the term and considers the reasons it may have been preferred by federal authorities over the traditional term, “Mafia.”

http://mafiahistory.us/rattrap/mafialacosanostra.html

 

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The FBI makes every effort to hide the identities of its confidential underworld informants, even long after the informants have passed away. Unlike the famous Joe Valachi and other Bureau cooperating witnesses, who exchange public testimony for government protection, confidential informants continue in their dangerous underworld roles while secretly feeding information to investigators.

In reports, the FBI refers to its informants only by code numbers. Before any reports are made available to the public, revealing details about the informants are deleted. But subtle clues to their identities may remain within the text.

For years, Toronto-based crime historian Edmond Valin has been combing through publicly available information, including declassified files of the FBI, for these clues. He has shown a remarkable ability to discover the identities of some of the most important and most secret Mafia turncoats by comparing seemingly insignificant details from different documents.

Valin has consented to allow the American Mafia history website to publish a collection of his ground-breaking articles online. These articles, grouped under the heading of “Rat Trap,” deal with informants from major U.S. Mafia organizations, including the Chicago Outfit, the Philly Mob, the Bonanno Crime Family and the Gambino Crime Family. Six articles are in the collection at this time, and more are on the way.

Valin’s often shocking conclusions are painstakingly defended through document citations (many of the related documents can be accessed online through links provided in the articles’ endnotes).

Visit Edmond Valin’s Rat Trap articles.

‘Rat Trap’

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The website recently added a collection of articles by writer (and history detective) Edmond Valin.

Based in the Toronto area, Valin’s specialty is deducing the identities of confidential underworld informants through clues left in government documents, such as FBI files, and other sources. We are calling the article collection, “Rat Trap.” At the moment, there are three articles, and we hope to add more soon.

Valin’s articles all provide source citations. And we have tried to include web links to online source material and book purchase sites whenever possible.

Click here to check out the Rat Trap articles on the site.

I’m very pleased to announce that Edmond Valin has provided the American Mafia history website with a short article discussing a 1960s-era informer within the Bonanno Crime Family of New York. That informer provided law enforcement with a good deal of background information on crime family members during the period of the so-called “Banana War.” Edmond Valin argues that crime boss Joseph Bonanno’s son Salvatore “Bill” Bonanno was the informer. (Click here to read the article.)

Bill Bonanno
Bill Bonanno

I agree with Valin’s assessment and actually reached the same conclusion through some independent research. I found it interesting that the initial claim that Joseph Bonanno was kidnapped by Buffalo boss Stefano Magaddino reached law enforcement and the media at approximately the same moment, in December 1964. At that time, Bill Bonanno was leading a shrinking group of Bonanno loyalists against the interference of Magaddino and the Mafia Commission.

The story of Magaddino’s involvement in the alleged kidnapping (I am one of those who believe the kidnapping was staged by Bonanno, by the way) was first mentioned in a column by Hearst newspaper personality Walter Winchell. (Winchell is believed to have had a role in leading Lepke Buchalter to the FBI a generation earlier.)
After just a few days, Joseph Bonanno’s attorney William Maloney confirmed the Winchell report, citing details provided to him in a telephone conversation with Bill Bonanno.

(BTW: Maloney really stuck his neck out for the Bonannos, and he probably regretted doing so. When Joseph Bonanno reappeared a year and a half later than Maloney told law enforcement he would, he did so with brand new legal counsel. Maloney no longer represented the crime boss.)