Internet 'Rat' Rumor Could Have Mobsters Reaching for Their Pistols

A rumor went around the Internet this week that said one of the leading gangsters in New England had flipped. Is it true or not? We have no way of possibly knowing, but there are many graves filled with the bodies of men who had been falsely labelled rats.

The recent sentencing of former Genovese acting boss and others was, in part, for the murder of a man who they believed -- incorrectly, it turns out -- was an informant.

"First it was just a whisper, but then it appeared on the Internet, posted by some guy with the moniker 'vinniegorgeous,' after a New York gangster," reports Howie Carr on

Specifically the rumor said, “Oh boy here we go again. Ladies and Gentlemen I am sorry to report that yet another Mafia informant has come out of the woodwork in New England, though it has not hit the newsstands yet.”

Writes Carr: "Is this true? I don’t know. I called a guy who’s close to the alleged rat and he says he saw him last weekend.

"'I don’t believe a word of it,' my friend said.

"Here’s the genesis of the rumor. The guy hasn’t been seen for a couple of weeks. Now, in the old days, everyone would have jumped to the same conclusion: Somebody whacked him. You’d ask around and some wiseguy would take the stogie out of his mouth, shake his head slowly and rasp, 'He’s gone to California.'

"Gone to California. Or, as they said in 'The Godfather,' 'He sleeps with the fishes.'

"Nowadays, though, if you go MIA, the wiseguys jump to a completely different conclusion. They figure you flipped and have vanished into the Witness Protection Program. You’re now a hardware store owner in Iowa.

"So “vinniegorgeous” says that this guy (who I’m not naming because I can’t nail down the story, if indeed there is a story) “will now testify against” another recently indicted mobster.

"Saying things like that is a good way to get somebody shot.

"Of course rumors didn’t start with the Internet. Remember Zip Connolly, the corrupt FBI agent now doing 40 years in Florida on a murder rap? He got Frank Salemme shot by (anonymously) predicting a gang war on the front page of this newspaper. Two days later, Salemme’s rivals struck first, gunning him down in the parking lot of the Saugus IHOP.

"But planting a newspaper story requires a middleman — a reporter. With the Internet, vinniegorgeous can just sit at home in front of his screen and create just as much havoc without talking to a single soul."

Read the full article, Rat rumor casts ‘Net for mobster -