Showing posts from July, 2013

No, NatGeo: Maranzano Organized the Mafia, Not Lucky Luciano

Adapted from our post New York's Original Five Families:
Back in the 1930s, after doing his part to end the war between Joe "The Boss" Masseria and Salvatore Maranzano, "Lucky" Luciano Americanized the Five Family set-up put in place by Maranzano; it is from Maranzano that we got the boss - underboss - consiglieri - capo - soldier pyramid structure, which self-described historian Maranzano based on the way the Roman Legionnaires had been organized.
The problem was that Maranzano had added an additional position, for himself: Boss of Bosses. It was his doom. Lucky did away with that title after doing away with Maranzano. It was agreed no one man would ever hold that title, though over the years, some bosses seemed to fit the bill on an informal basis nevertheless. I'd say Carlo Gambino was definitely one of them.

Reminder: Sunday, July 28, 'Inside the American Mob' Debuts

"Inside the American Mob" debuts on National Geographic tomorrow night, Sunday, July 28, at 9pm.
Delve into the secret underworld of the American Mafia, as told by the criminals who lived it and the law enforcers who hunted it. This dramatic six-part series chronicles the true-life story of the modern Mob in America, as former mobsters, informants, and FBI agents expose the takedown of the deadliest and most infamous organized crime ring in U.S. history. A combination of recently declassified files, first-person accounts by federal officials and the mafioso themselves, and rare archival footage sheds a new light on the raw, violent, and corrupt underworld that gripped America for decades.

'For Nothing' Mob Writer: Q&A with Nick Denmon

According to his profile, "Nicholas Denmon studied English at the University of Florida. He started story telling from the moment he could talk and has spent a lifetime perfecting the art. 

His life has been varied, giving him no shortage of material. Some of his unique experiences include growing up with a schizophrenic mother, having six brothers and sisters (of which he is the middle-younger child), a perfectionist father, an evil step-mother, a college life to rival Tucker Max, and working for politicians on the Presidential as well as local stage. He has been, at times, a devout Catholic, a closet atheist, and an honorary member of the Jewish tribe. Nick's joy of art knows little in the way of limitations, as he loves unique paintings, music, acting, film, and of course writing." Nicholas also writes some bad-ass Mafia fiction. Two entries in a promised trilogy have been published. I read the first entry, "For Nothing," and thought, finally, some …

'They Weren't the Same Wiseguys You See Today'

Mulling Nicholas "Nicky Mouth" Santora's latest legal troubles -- he is 71 and facing 25 years -- we thought it would be interesting to hear what his ex-girlfriend Belinda Rossetti had to say. Over cappuccinos in one of the few cafes left in Little Italy, she gave us some interesting insight into Nicky and his generation -- men from another age. A golden age, compared with today...

"I was a little taken aback when I heard...although still not terribly surprised. I'd been waiting for this day to come for 4 years. Nicky was always trying to pretend he would and could get out of that life. Back in 2008, he talked about and made plans for a "regular life". I believed at the time, it was more of an effort to try to convince me rather than convince himself. When we were together a few days after his release from prison in July, 2009, while still in a half-way house, Nicky was hustling again. Between the “I promise’s” the “I love yous” and the “I’m not…

Mob Boss Vito Rizzuto Continues to Solidify Power in Montreal

EXPANDED: While Vito Rizzuto was serving time in a U.S. prison for his participation in the infamous three-capo slaying, a move to abort a Bonanno civil war before it could get off the ground, both of his families were under attack: His blood family and his Mafia family.
The two overlapped in major ways.
On Nov. 10, 2010, less than a year before Vito would return home, his father was eating with his family at the dinner table when he was assassinated with what had to be a high-powered scope rifle, as if by sniper.

Phil 'Lucky' Giaccone Was the Power Behind the Throne

Phil Lucky Giaccone is an interesting figure in Mafia history, primarily known as one of the three capos blown apart by Joe Massino and a crew he put together to do the work; the team included Vito Rizzuto, current boss of Montreal.

Many major powers in the Bonanno family started out in his crew. That would include Tommy DiFiore, the current (or acting) boss of the under-siege Bonannos.

It has been written that Phil Lucky was the one his faction of the family was touting to be boss; he was actually the key target of that three-capo takedown.
 Giaccone, back in the 1970s, actually threw boss Tommy DiFiore out of his crew -- putting the destined for success gangster on the shelf.

300,00 Viagras, 500 Oxycodones, Weed, 200% Vig -- Just Mob Business as Usual

More details were recently released from the criminal complaint filed against the Bonanno crew indicted on Wednesday.
The Bonannos have sold more than 300,000 Viagra and Cialis pills, with prices ranging from $5 to $20 per pill, according to the criminal complaint filed Wednesday when nine Bonannos were indicted with enterprise corruption -- the state's version of RICO.

Massino Wins Freedom -- Could be Out in Two Months

The convicted former boss of the mob family that inspired the film "Donnie Brasco" -- and the TV reality show "Mob Wives" -- will no longer have to spend the rest of his life behind bars.

A federal judge on Wednesday reduced Joe Massino's life sentence to time served — which has been about 10 years.

Massino is expected to be in jail for another two months then remain under FBI supervision for the rest of his life, according to the AP.

The reduction was requested by prosecutors to reward Massino for testifying. He did less damage than others, more damage than some, but this move to back Massino seems to reveal that the Feds, ultimately, are pleased with the deal they made with the wily former Bonanno boss who flipped quickly after losing one trial (before he could lose the next and be sentenced to death, which was a possibility at the time).

Major Bonanno Takedown Follows FBI Reduction

According to published reports, indictments were rolled out yesterday for nine reputed Bonanno gangsters.The Manhattan District attorney, who unveiled them, noted that they were the tender fruits of a two-year investigation into a $10 million scheme involving organized crime's infiltration of a labor union.
It seems the lead defendant is none other than brokester/former underboss Nicholas "Nicky Mouth" Santora, who is still linked to Donnie Brasco in nearly every newspaper article in which his name appears.

Santora and the others were charged with enterprise corruption, the state version of the federal crime of racketeering. The charge carries a maximum prison sentence of 25 years. Only eight names were released (full list of names at end of article); it turns out one arrest hasn't gone down yet. Someone's in the wind tonight. Godspeed to ya, sir, but you can't spend the rest of your life on the run...

Former Luchese Boss: Let Joe Massino Die Free

The NY Daily News quotes Alphonse "Little Al" D'Arco, former Luchese acting boss turned informant, saying that Joe Massino, another informant -- and one-time boss of the Bonanno family -- should be let out of prison. ASAP.

“I hate to play judge, but I think he should get time served,” said Alphonse (Little Al) D’Arco, who is described in the article as the second-highest-ranking defecting gangster after Massino.

“The government took his cooperation, he did what they asked,” D’Arco, 80, said in a statement provided to the Daily News. “They owe him. You can’t let him rot in prison for the rest of his life.”

Detroit Mob Family Alive and Well Under the Radar

Four major busts in six months and all of the investigations involve customary mafia locales: New York, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Providence and Newark. One of the traditional mob hotbeds absent from the recent slew of arrests and convictions was Detroit, a longstanding picture of stability and efficiency in an underworld landscape littered with defectors, dissidents and dim-bulb thugs....
The Detroit mafia lives in the shadows. It always has, now, more than ever.

“They don’t chase the news cameras like in other cities and a lot of them have been very adept of veiling themselves in legitimacy,” said former federal prosecutor and organized crime task force member Keith Corbett, of the area’s ruling mob powers. “In relative terms, it’s been a recipe for success, in that most of them have avoided long, if any, prison sentences and, for the most part, very few people have any idea who they are.”

NY Daily News Offers Crime Photos for Sale

We noticed the New York Daily News is offering for sale crime pics of organized crime figures, among other criminals, as well as murder scenes, etc.

Those interested:

Daily News Pix Crime: Murder Inc., the Five Families, John Gotti, 'Lucky' Lucchiano, Son of Sam... the Daily News has all the unforgettable crime photos you are looking for. Order yours today.

Here's a couple we thought were interesting...

Revisiting Atlantic City's Historical 1920s Crime Summit


As a historian, Marc Mappen doesn't like people who deal more in myths than facts when writing about the same subjects he does.

In Mappen's new book, "Prohibition Gangsters: The Rise and Fall of a Bad Generation," he raises serious doubts about a legend about Atlantic City that has survived for more than 80 years - the 1929 gangster conference that supposedly involved mobsters from multiple cities, including Al Capone from Chicago and Lucky Luciano and Frank Costello from New York.

Mappen, a Highland Park resident, believes only Capone and other Chicago underworld criminals were at the conference at that time in Atlantic City.

Manhattan Shooting Work of the Gambinos?

From the NY Times:

The brazen Monday morning shooting on a busy stretch of Ninth Avenue appeared at first to be a straightforward case of violent workplace retribution: a laid-off worker returning for revenge.

But the detectives’ understanding of the shooting, which left a 56-year-old construction foreman wounded in his contracting company’s van, grew more complicated on Tuesday with the police saying they were investigating two friends, one with ties to the Gambino crime family and to an earlier killing in Flushing, Queens. 
Detectives on Tuesday morning picked up one of the friends — a Queens man identified as Anthony Manco, 29 — as he was driving in the Rockaways in what the police characterized as the getaway car from Monday’s shooting. Surveillance video showed him on West 49th Street, moments after the shooting, getting into the same car — which the police said was stolen — and witnesses identified him as the man who fired the shot. Detectives had a part…

The Pre-Valachi Informer: The Mafioso the Feds Aided for Decades

From, an excerpt from "Deal with the Devil."

Gregory Scarpa Sr. was a study in complication. A peacock dresser, he carried a wad of $5,000 in cash at all times. He wore a seven-carat pinky ring and a diamond-studded watch. He made millions from drug dealing, hijackings, loan sharking, high-end jewelry scores, bank heists, and stolen securities. He owned homes in Las Vegas, Brooklyn, Florida, and Staten Island, and a co-op apartment on Manhattan’s exclusive Sutton Place. He was the biggest trafficker in stolen credit cards in New York and ran an international auto theft ring. A single bank robbery by his notorious Bypass Gang on the July 4 weekend in 1974 netted $15 million in thirteen duffel bags full of cash and jewels. His sports betting operation made $2.5 million a year. His crew grossed $70,000 weekly in drug sales. And yet, fifteen years after becoming a “made” member of the Colombo crime family, while he was a senior capo, Scarpa was arrested for “pilfering”…

NatGeo Chronicles American Cosa Nostra in New Series

From the National Geographic Channel (NGC) goes behind the scenes of the famed and enigmatic hidden empire of crime, money and violence known as the American mob to chronicle the real-life mobsters who would do anything to protect their family and the authorities fighting to bring them down.

Inside the American Mob, a new series premiering Sunday, July 28, at 9 and 10 p.m. ET/PT, delves into the world of the modern Mafia, as told by those who lived it and those who hunted it, to reveal the eye-opening, true-life saga of how U.S. law enforcement took down the deadly, corrupt and unforgiving crime ring known as the American mob. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter at @NGC_PR.

Each hour examines a pivotal time frame, beginning with 1970 and leading up to present day, unveiling the little-known yet crucial escapades, capers and cadavers that truly compose the history of the mob. Recently declassified files, first-person accounts by f…