The Genovese family is the oldest and the largest of the "Five Families". Finding new ways to make money in the 21st century, the family took advantage of lax due diligence by banks during the housing bubble with a wave of mortgage frauds. Prosecutors say loan shark victims obtained home equity loans to pay off debts to their mob bankers. The family found ways to use new technology to improve on illegal gambling, with customers placing bets through offshore sites via the Internet.
Although the leadership of the Genovese family seemed to have been in limbo after the death of Gigante in 2005, they appear to be the most organized family and remain powerful. Unique in today's Mafia, the family has benefited greatly from members following the code of Omertà. While many mobsters from across the country have testified against their crime families since the 1980s, the Genovese family has only had 8 members turn state's evidence in its history.
One of Giuseppe Morello's strongest allies was Ignazio "the Wolf" Lupo, a mobster who controlled Manhattan's Little Italy. In 1903, Lupo married Morello's half sister, uniting both organizations. The Morello-Lupo alliance continued to prosper in 1903, when the group began a major counterfeiting ring with powerful Sicilian mafiosoVito Cascio Ferro, printing $5 bills in Sicily and smuggling them into the United States. New York police detective Joseph Petrosino began investigating the Morello family's counterfeiting operation, the barrel murders and the black handextortion letters. On November 15, 1909, Morello, Lupo and others were arrested on counterfeiting charges. In February 1910, Morello and Lupo were sentenced to 30 years in prison.
As the Morello family increased in power and influence, bloody territorial conflicts arose with other Italian criminal gangs in New York. The Morellos had an alliance with Giosue Gallucci, a prominent East Harlem businessman and Camorrista with local political connections. On May 17, 1915, Gallucci was murdered in a power struggle between the Morellos and the Neapolitan Camorra organization, which consisted of two Brooklyn gangs run by Pellegrino Morano and Alessandro Vollero. The fight over Gallucci's rackets became known as the Mafia-Camorra War. After months of fighting, Morano offered a truce. A meeting was arranged at a Navy Street cafe owned by Vollero. On September 7, 1916, Nicholas Morello and his bodyguard Charles Ubriaco were ambushed and killed upon arrival by five members of the Camorra gang. In 1917, Morano was charged with Morello's murder after Camorrista Ralph Daniello implicated him in the murder. By 1918, law enforcement had sent many Camorra gang members to prison, decimating the Camorra in New York and ending the war. Many of the remaining Camorra members joined the Morello family.
The Morellos now faced stronger rivals than the Camorra. With the passage of Prohibition in 1919 and the ban of alcohol sales, the family regrouped and built a lucrative bootlegging operation in Manhattan. In 1920, both Morello and Lupo were released from prison and Brooklyn Mafia bossSalvatore D'Aquila ordered their murders. This is when Joseph Masseria and Rocco Valenti, a former Brooklyn Camorra, began to fight for control of the Morello family. On December 29, 1920, Masseria's men murdered Valenti's ally, Salvatore Mauro. Then, on May 8, 1922, the Valenti gang murdered Vincenzo Terranova. Masseria's gang retaliated killing Morello member Silva Tagliagamba. On August 11, 1922, Masseria's men murdered Valenti, ending the conflict. Masseria won and took over the Morello family.
Masseria's strongest rival in New York was Salvatore Maranzano, leader of the Castellammare del Golfo-based Sicilian organization in Brooklyn. A recent arrival from Sicily, Maranzano had strong support from elements of the Sicilian Mafia and was a traditionalist mafioso. He recruited Sicilian mobsters only, preferably from the Castellammarese clan. Maranzano's top lieutenants included future family bosses Joseph "Joe Bananas" Bonanno, Joseph Profaci, and Stefano Magaddino. By 1928, the Castellammarese War between Masseria and Maranzano had begun, resulting in the murders of more than sixty mobsters on both sides. On April 15, 1931, Masseria was murdered in a Coney Island restaurant, reportedly by members of Luciano's crew. Angry over broken promises from Masseria, Luciano had secretly conspired with Maranzano to plot the assassination. On the day of the murder, Luciano was allegedly eating dinner with Masseria at the restaurant; after Luciano went to the restroom, his hitmen arrived and murdered Masseria. With Masseria's death, the Castellamarese War had ended.
Now in control of New York, Maranzano took several important steps to solidify his victory. He reorganized the Italian-American gangs of New York into five new families, structured after the hierarchical and highly disciplined Mafia families of Sicily. His second big change was to appoint himself as the boss of all the families. As part of this reorganization, Maranzano designated Luciano as boss of the old Morello/Masseria family. However, Luciano and other mob leaders privately objected to Maranzano's dictatorial role. Maranzano soon found out about Luciano's discontent and ordered his murder. Discovering that he was in danger, Luciano plotted Maranzano's assassination with Maranzano trustee Gaetano "Tommy" Lucchese. On September 10, 1931, Jewish gangsters provided by Luciano ally Meyer Lansky shot and stabbed Maranzano to death in his Manhattan office. Luciano was now the most powerful mobster in the U.S.
After Maranzano's murder, Luciano created a new governing body for the Cosa Nostra families, the Commission. The Commission consisted of representatives from each of the Five Families, the Chicago Outfit and the Magaddino crime family of Buffalo, New York. Luciano wanted the Commission to mediate disputes between the families and prevent future gang wars. Although nominally a democratic body, Luciano and his allies actually controlled the Commission throughout the 1930s. As head of the new Luciano family, Luciano appointed Genovese as his underboss, or second-in-command, and Costello as his consigliere, or advisor. With the new structure in place, the five New York families would enjoy several decades of peace and growth.
In 1935, Luciano was indicted on pandering charges by New York district attorneyThomas Dewey. He was accused of being one of the ringleaders of "the Combination," a major prostitution ring. During the trial, Luciano made a tactical mistake in taking the witness stand, where the prosecutor interrogated him for five hours about how he made his living. In 1936, Luciano was convicted and sentenced to 30–50 years in prison. Many observers believed that Luciano would never have directly involved himself with prostitutes, and that the case was fraudulent. Given his strong belief in secrecy, it would have been significantly out of character for him to be directly involved in any criminal operation, let alone a prostitution ring. Indeed, at least two of Luciano's contemporaries denied that he was ever involved. In her memoirs, New York society madamPolly Adler wrote that she would have known if Luciano was involved with "the Combination." Likewise, Bonnano—the last surviving contemporary of Luciano who wasn't in prison—denied he was involved in the scheme in his book, A Man Of Honor.
Although in prison, Luciano continued to run his crime family, with Genovese now supervising the day-to-day family activities. In 1937, Genovese was indicted on murder charges and fled the country to Italy. After Genovese's departure, Costello became the new acting boss of the Luciano family.
During World War II, federal agents asked Luciano for help in preventing enemy sabotage on the New York waterfront and other activities. Luciano agreed to help, but in reality provided insignificant assistance to the Allied cause. After the end of the war, the arrangement with Luciano became public knowledge. To prevent further embarrassment, the government agreed to deport Luciano on condition that he never return to the U.S. In 1946, Luciano was taken from prison and deported to Italy, never to return to America. Costello became the effective boss of the Luciano family.
During Costello's reign, the Luciano family controlled much of the loansharking, illegal gambling, bookmaking and racketeering activities in New York. Costello wanted to increase the family's involvement in lucrative financial schemes; he was less interested in low-grossing criminal activities that relied on brutality and intimidation. Costello believed in diplomacy and discipline, and in diversifying family interests. Nicknamed "The Prime Minister of the Underworld", he controlled much of the New York waterfront and had tremendous political connections. It was said that no state judge could be appointed in any case without Costello's consent. During the 1940s, Costello allowed Luciano associates Lansky and Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel to expand the family business in Southern California and build the first modern casino resort in Las Vegas, Nevada. When Siegel failed to open the resort on time, his mob investors allegedly sanctioned his murder.
While serving as boss of the Luciano family in the 1950s, Costello suffered from depression and panic attacks. During this period Costello sought help from a psychiatrist, who advised him to distance himself from old associates such as Genovese and spend more time with politicians. In the early 1950s, U.S. SenatorEstes Kefauver of Tennessee began investigating organized crime in New York in the Kefauver hearings. The committee summoned numerous mobsters to testify, but they refused to answer questions at the hearings. The mobsters uniformly cited the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, a legal protection against self-incrimination. However, when Costello was summoned, he agreed to answer questions at the hearings and not take the Fifth. As part of the agreement to testify, the Special Committee and the U.S. television networks agreed not to broadcast Costello's face. During the questioning, he nervously refused to answer certain questions and skirted around others. When the Committee asked Costello, "What have you done for your country Mr. Costello?", he famously replied, "Paid my tax!". The TV cameras, unable to show Costello's face, instead focused on his hands, which Costello wrung nervously under questioning. Costello eventually walked out of the hearings.
The return of Genovese
Costello ruled for twenty peaceful years, but his quiet reign ended when Genovese was extradited from Italy to New York. During his absence, Costello demoted Genovese from underboss to caporegime, leaving Genovese determined to take control of the family. Soon after his arrival in the U.S., Genovese was acquitted of the 1936 murder charge that had driven him into exile. Free of legal entanglements, he started plotting against Costello with the assistance of Mangano family underboss Carlo Gambino. On May 2, 1957, Luciano mobster Vincent "Chin" Gigante shot Costello in the side of the head on a public street; however, Costello survived the attack. Months later, Mangano boss Albert Anastasia, a powerful ally of Costello, was murdered by Gambino's gunmen. With Anastasia's death, Gambino seized control of the Mangano family. Feeling afraid and isolated after the shootings, Costello quietly retired and surrendered control of the Luciano family to Genovese.
Having taken control of what was renamed the Genovese crime family in 1957, Genovese decided to organize a Cosa Nostra conference to legitimize his new position. Held on mobster Joseph Barbara's farm in Apalachin, New York, the Apalachin meeting attracted over 100 Cosa Nostra mobsters from around the nation. However, local law enforcement discovered the meeting by chance and quickly surrounded the farm. As the meeting broke up, Genovese escaped capture by running through the woods. However, many other high-ranking mobsters were arrested. Cosa Nostra leaders were chagrined by the public exposure and bad publicity from the Apalachin Meeting, and generally blamed Genovese for the fiasco. Wary of Genovese gaining more power in the Commission, Gambino used the Apalachin Meeting as an excuse to move against his former ally. Gambino, Luciano, Costello, and Lucchese allegedly lured Genovese into a drug-dealing scheme that ultimately resulted in his conspiracy indictment and conviction. In 1959, Genovese was sentenced to fifteen years in prison on narcotics charges. Genovese, who was the most powerful boss in New York, had been effectively eliminated as a rival by Gambino. Genovese would later die in prison.
The Genovese family was soon rocked by a second public embarrassment: the U.S. Senate's McClellan Hearings. While incarcerated at a federal prison in Atlanta, Genovese soldierJoseph "Joe Cargo" Valachi believed he was being targeted for murder by the mob on the suspicion that he was an informant. On June 22, 1962, Valachi brutally murdered another inmate with a pipe. He told investigators that he thought the victim was Joseph "Joe Beck" DiPalermo, a Lucchese family soldier coming to kill him.
To avoid a capital murder trial, Valachi agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors against the Genovese family. He thus became the first Cosa Nostra mobster to publicly affirm the organization's existence. With information from prosecutors, the low-level Valachi was able to testify in nationally televised hearings about the Cosa Nostra's influence over legal enterprises in aid of racketeering and other criminal activities to make huge profit. Valachi also introduced the name "Cosa Nostra" into the public lexicon. Although Valachi's testimony never led to any convictions, it helped law enforcement by identifying many members of the Five families.
Front bosses and the ruling panels
After Genovese was sent to prison in 1959, the family leadership secretly established a "Ruling Panel" to run the family in his absence. This first panel included acting boss Thomas "Tommy Ryan" Eboli, underboss Gerardo "Jerry" Catena, and Catena's protégé Philip "Benny Squint" Lombardo. After Genovese died in 1969, Lombardo was named his successor. However, the family appointed a series of "front bosses" to masquerade as the official family boss. The aim of these deceptions was to protect Lombardo by confusing law enforcement about who was the true leader of the family. In the late 1960s, Gambino loaned $4 million to Eboli for a drug scheme in an attempt to gain control of the Genovese family. When Eboli failed to pay back his debt, Gambino, with Commission approval, murdered Eboli in 1972.
After Eboli's death, Genovese capo and Gambino ally Frank "Funzi" Tieri was appointed as the new front boss. In reality, the Genovese family created a new ruling panel to run the family. This second panel consisted of Catena, Lombardo and Michele "Big Mike" Miranda. In 1981, Tieri became the first Cosa Nostra boss to be convicted under the new RICO Act and died in prison later that year. After Tieri's imprisonment, the family reshuffled its leadership. The capo of the Manhattan faction, Anthony "Fat Tony" Salerno, became the new front boss. Lombardo, the de facto boss of the family, soon retired and Vincent "Chin" Gigante, the triggerman on the failed Costello hit, took actual control of the family.
In 1985, Salerno was convicted in the Mafia Commission Trial and sentenced to 100 years in federal prison. Shortly after the trial, Salerno's longtime right-hand man, Vincent "The Fish" Cafaro, revealed to the FBI that Salerno had never really been the boss, but was merely window dressing for Gigante. He also revealed that the Genoveses had been keeping up this ruse since 1969. However, Salerno had been convicted of specific acts and not merely of being a boss, so this disclosure would not have endangered his conviction. Even if that conviction had been overturned, he had been sentenced to 70 years in prison in a separate RICO case—meaning that he would have died in prison in any event.
Gigante was even more concerned about keeping law enforcement at bay than Lombardo had been. His best-known tactic to confuse law enforcement was by pretending insanity. Gigante frequently walked down New York streets in a bathrobe, mumbling incoherently. He succeeded in convincing court-appointed psychiatrists that his mental illness was worsening, and avoided several criminal prosecutions. The New York media soon nicknamed him "The Oddfather".
Gigante reportedly operated from the Triangle Social Club in Greenwich Village in Manhattan. He never left his house during the day, fearing that the FBI would sneak in and plant a bug. At night, he would sneak away from his house and conduct family business when FBI surveillance was more lax. Even then, he only whispered to keep from being picked up by wiretaps. To avoid incrimination from undercover surveillance, Gigante decreed that any mobster who spoke his name would face severe punishment. In the case of his own crime family, anyone who spoke his name would be killed on the spot. When necessary, mobsters would either point to their chins or make a "C" with thumb and forefinger when referring to him. In this way, Gigante managed to stay on the streets while the city's other four bosses ended up getting long prison terms.
Another evasive measure Gigante used from 1992 onward was a reformed "administration" structure. Gigante was unnerved by Salerno's conviction and long sentence, and decided he needed greater protection. However, the "front boss" ruse no longer protected him. To solve this problem, Gigante instituted two new posts, the "street boss" and the "messenger." The street boss ran the family's day-to-day operations under Gigante's remote direction. The messenger delivered Gigante's instructions to his capos and soldiers. As a result of these changes, Gigante did not directly communicate with other family mobsters, with the exception of his sons, Vincent Esposito and Andrew Gigante, and a few other close associates. While the public and media were watching Gigante, other family leaders were running the day-to-day operations of the family. Underboss Venero "Benny Eggs" Mangano operated out of Brooklyn and ran the family's window replacement rackets. ConsigliereLouis "Bobby" Manna operated out of New Jersey and supervised four capos around that area during the 1980s.
In 1985, Gigante and other family bosses were shocked and enraged by the murder of Paul Castellano, the Gambino family boss. An ambitious Gambino capo, John Gotti, had capitalized on discontent in that family to murder Castellano and his underboss outside a Manhattan restaurant and become the new Gambino boss. Gotti had violated Cosa Nostra protocol by failing to obtain prior approval for the murder from the Commission. Gigante—who had been the triggerman on the last unsanctioned hit on a boss with the failed attempt against Costello—now controlled the Commission and he decided to kill Gotti. Gigante, Lucchese boss Vittorio "Vic" Amuso and underboss Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso hatched a scheme to kill Gotti with a car bomb. On April 13, 1986, a bomb exploded in Gambino underboss Frank DeCicco's car, killing him. However, Gotti was not in the car that day and escaped harm. Although Gigante eventually made peace with Gotti, he remained the most powerful boss in New York. The Genoveses dominated construction and union rackets, gambling rackets, and operations at the Fulton Fish Market and the waterfront operations. During this period, Gigante used intimidation and murder to maintain control of the family.
During the early 1990s, law enforcement used several high-profile government informants and witnesses to finally put Gigante in prison. Faced with criminal prosecution, Gambino underboss Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano agreed to testify against Gotti and other Cosa Nostra leaders, including Gigante. Philadelphia underboss Phil Leonetti also became a government witness and testified that during the 1980s, Gigante had ordered the murders of several Philadelphia associates. Finally, Casso implicated Gigante in the 1986 plan to kill Gotti, DeCicco and Eugene "Gene" Gotti. While in prison, Gigante was recorded as saying that he'd feigned insanity for forty years. In 1997, he was convicted on racketeering and conspiracy charges and sentenced to twelve years in federal prison. While Gigante was in prison, the Genovese family was run by acting boss Matthew "Matty the Horse" Ianniello, he received help from capos Ernest Muscarella, Dominick Cirillo, and Gigante's brother Mario.
Gigante was indicted in 2002 for running his family from prison and for delaying his initial trial by feigning insanity. Prosecutors also obtained evidence that he'd used his son, Andrew, to deliver instructions to his soldiers and had enlisted several members of his family to keep up the charade that he was insane. Had he been convicted, Gigante faced an additional twenty years in prison, which at his age would have effectively been a life sentence. Rather than risk having his relatives charged with obstruction of justice, Gigante pleaded guilty in April 2003 and accepted an additional three years in prison. On December 19, 2005, Gigante died in prison from heart disease.
Since the 1990s, infamous mobsters in top positions of the other Five Families have become informants and testified against many mobsters, putting bosses, capos, and soldiers into prison. The most prominent government witness was Bonanno crime family boss Joseph "Big Joe" Massino, who started cooperating in 2005. Mangano, Manna, capoJames "Little Jimmy" Ida and street boss Liborio "Barney" Bellomo received lengthy prison sentences on murder, racketeering and conspiracy convictions. U.S. law enforcement systematically broke down the Genovese crime family, as well as the other Mafia families. Despite these indictments, the Genovese family remains a formidable power with approximately 250 made men and fourteen active crews as of 2005, according to Selwyn Raab.
Current position and leadership
When Gigante died in late 2005, the leadership went to Genovese capoDaniel "Danny the Lion" Leo, who was apparently running the day-to-day activities of the Genovese crime family by 2006. That same year, Cirillo was reportedly promoted to consigliere behind bars and Mangano was released from prison. By 2008, the Genovese family administration was believed to be whole again. In March 2008, Leo was sentenced to five years in prison for loansharking and extortion. Underboss Venero Mangano is reportedly one of the top leaders within the Manhattan faction of the family. Former acting consigliereLawrence "Little Larry" Dentico was leading the New Jersey faction of the family until convicted of racketeering in 2006; he was released from prison in 2009. In December 2008, Bellomo was paroled after serving twelve years. What role Bellomo plays in the Genovese hierarchy is open to speculation, but he is likely to have a major say in the running of the family once his tight parole restrictions are over.
A March 2009 article in the New York Post claimed Leo was still acting boss despite his incarceration. It also estimated that the Genovese family consists of approximately 270 "made" members. The family maintains power and influence in New York, New Jersey, Atlantic City and Florida. It is recognized as the most powerful Cosa Nostra family in the U.S. Since Gigante's reign, the family has been so strong and successful because of its continued devotion to secrecy. According to the FBI, many family associates don't know the names of family leaders or even other associates. This information lockdown makes it more difficult for the FBI to gain incriminating information from government informants.
In October 2017, thirteen Genovese and Gambino soldiers and associates were sentenced after being indicted following an NYPD operation in December 2016. Dubbed "Shark Bait", the investigation was based on the involvement of a large illegal gambling and loansharking ring. Prosecutors claimed 76-year-old Genovese soldier Salvatore DeMeo was in charge of the criminal operation and had generated several million dollars from the enterprise. Soldier Alex Conigliaro was sentenced to four months in jail and four months' house arrest in late October 2017, with a fine of $5,000, after admitting that he supervised and financed a $14,000-per-week illegal bookmaking and sports betting operation between 2011 and 2014. Genovese associates Gennaro Geritano and Mario Leonardi were allegedly partners in selling untaxed cigarettes in New York, alleged to have sold over 30,000 packs.
According to the FBI, the Genovese family has not had an official boss since Gigante's death. Law enforcement considers Leo to be the acting boss, Mangano the underboss, and Cirillo the consigliere. The family is known for placing top capos in leadership positions to help the administration run day-to-day activities. At present, capos Bellomo, Muscarella, Cirillo, and Dentico hold the greatest influence within the family and play major roles in its administration. The Manhattan and Bronx factions, the traditional powers in the family, still exercise that control today.
In 2016, Eugene "Rooster" Onofrio, who is believed to be a capo largely active in Little Italy and Connecticut, was accused of operating a large multi-million-dollar enterprise that ran bookmaking offices, scammed medical businesses, smuggled cigarettes and guns. He was also alleged to have run a loan shark operation from Florida to Massachusetts. Other members of his reputed crew pleaded guilty to extortion and other crimes. Gerald Daniele, an associate, was sentenced to 2 years in prison in March 2018. On April 10, 2018, Genovese capo Ralph Santaniello was sentenced to 5 years in prison for extorting $20,000 of Craig Morel, the owner of one of the biggest towing and scrap metal companies in Western Massachusetts, including threatening his life and assaulting him. Morel managed to negotiate the extortion price from $100,000 to $20,000. Associate Giovanni "Johnny" Calabrese was sentenced to 3 years in prison.
On January 10, 2018, five members and associates, including the son of former boss Vincent Gigante, Vincent Esposito, were arrested and charged with racketeering, conspiracy, and several counts of related offenses by the NYPD and FBI. The charges include extortion, labor racketeering conspiracy, fraud and bribery. Genovese associate and Brooklyn-based United Food and Commercial Workers officer Frank Cognetta was also charged. Union official and associate Vincent D'Acunto Jr. was also involved and allegedly acted on behalf of Esposito to pass along threat messages and to also collect extortion money from the union, in particular from Vincent Fyfe, the President of a wine liquor and distillery union in Brooklyn. Fyfe was forced to pay $10,000 per year in order for him to keep his $300,000-a-year union job, which he achieved through the influence of the Genovese crime family. The labor union infiltration was alleged to have taken place for at least 16 years. Esposito allegedly extorted several other union officials and an insurance agent. At his home during a warranted search, authorities recovered an unregistered handgun, $3.8 million in cash, brass knuckledusters, and a handwritten list of American Mafia members. Esposito was granted bail for almost $10 million in April 2018 and has since plead not guilty.
The position of "front boss" was created by boss Philip Lombardo in efforts to divert law enforcement attention from himself. The family maintained this "front boss" deception for the next 20 years. Even after government witness Vincent Cafaro exposed this scam in 1988, the Genovese family still found this way of dividing authority useful. In 1992, the family revived the front boss post under the title of "street boss." This person served as day-to-day head of the family's operations under Gigante's remote direction.
Messaggero – The messaggero (messenger) functions as liaison between crime families. The messenger can reduce the need for sit-downs, or meetings, of the mob hierarchy, and thus limit the public exposure of the bosses.
1957–1969 — Michael "Mike" Genovese — the brother of Vito Genovese.
1997–2002 — Andrew V. Gigante — the son of Vincent Gigante, indicted 2002
If the official boss dies, goes to prison, or is incapacitated, the family may assemble a ruling committee of capos to help the acting boss, street boss, underboss, and consigliere run the family, and to divert attention from law enforcement.
ConsigliereDominick "Quiet Dom" Cirillo – former capo and trusted aide to boss Vincent Gigante. Cirillo belonged to the West Side Crew and was known as one of the Four Doms; capos Dominick "Baldy Dom" Canterino, Dominick "The Sailor" DiQuarto and Dominick "Fat Dom" Alongi. Cirillo served as acting boss from 1997 to 1998, but resigned due to heart problems. In 2003, Cirillo became acting boss, resigned in 2006 due to his imprisonment on loansharking charges. In August 2008, Cirillo was released from prison.
The Bronx faction
Daniel "Danny the Lion" Leo – a former member of the Purple Gang of East Harlem in the 1970s. In the late 1990s, Leo joined Vincent Gigante's circle of trusted capos. With Gigante's death in 2005, Leo became acting boss. In 2008, Leo was sentenced to five years in prison on loansharking and extortion charges. In March 2010, Leo received an additional 18 months in prison on racketeering charges and was fined $1.3 million. Leo was recently in a community corrections facility. He was released on January 25, 2013.
(Acting) Ernest "Ernie" Muscarella – capo of the 116th Street crew. He served as acting street boss for Vincent Gigante and Dominick Cirillo in 2002 until his racketeering conviction. He was released from prison on December 31, 2007.
Joseph "Joe D" Dente, Jr. – capo operating in the Bronx. In December 2001, Dente and capos Rosario Gangi and Pasquale Parrello were indicted in Manhattan on racketeering charges. Dente was released from prison on April 29, 2009.
Pasquale "Patsy" Parrello – born in 1945. He is a capo operating in the Bronx, he owns a restaurant on Arthur Ave called Pasquale's Rigoletto Restaurant. In 2004, Parrello was found guilty of loansharking and embezzlement along with capo Rosario Gangi, and was sentenced to 88 months. Parrello was released from prison on April 23, 2008. Parrello was charged and arrested in August 2016 among 46 other American Mafia members. In May 2017, he pled guilty to 3 counts of conspiracy to commit extortion. Prosecutors at his trial alleged that in June 2011 he ordered 2 of his soldiers to break the kneecaps of a man whom annoyed female patrons at his restaurant. He was sentenced to 7 years in federal prison in September 2017.
Dominick "Quiet Dom" Cirillo – former capo and trusted aide to boss Vincent Gigante. Cirillo belonged to the West Side Crew and was known as one of the Four Doms; capos Dominick "Baldy Dom" Canterino, Dominick "The Sailor" DiQuarto and Dominick "Fat Dom" Alongi. Cirillo served as acting boss from 1997 to 1998, but resigned due to heart problems. In 2003, Cirillo became acting boss, resigned in 2006 due to his imprisonment on loansharking charges. In August 2008, Cirillo was released from prison.
Conrad Ianniello – capo operating in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. On April 18, 2012 Ianniello was indicted along with members of his crew and was charged with illegal gambling and conspiracy. The conspiracy charge dates back to 2008, when Ianniello along with Robert Scalza and Ryan Ellis tried to extort vendors at the annual Feast of San Gennaro in Little Italy. Conrad Ianniello is related to Robert Ianniello, Jr., who is the nephew to Matthew Ianniello and the owner of Umberto's Clam House.
Rosario "Ross" Gangi – capo operating in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and New Jersey. Gangi was involved in extortion activities at Fulton Fish Market. He was released from prison on August 8, 2008.
James "Jimmy from 8th Street" Messera – capo of the Little Italy Crew operating in Manhattan and Brooklyn. In the 1990s, Messera was involved in extorting the Mason Tenders union and was imprisoned on racketeering charges. He was released from prison on December 12, 1995.
Alphonse "Allie Shades" Malangone – capo operating from Brooklyn and Manhattan. Malagone was very powerful in the 1990s, controlling gambling, loansharking, waterfront rackets and extorting the Fulton Fish Market. Malangone also controlled several private sanitation companies in Brooklyn through Kings County Trade Waste Association and Greater New York Waste Paper Association. Malagone was arrested in 2000 along with several Genovese and Gambino family members for their activities in the private waste industry.
Anthony "Tico" Antico – capo involved in labor and construction racketeering in Brooklyn and Manhattan. In 2005, Antico and capos John Barbato and Lawrence Dentico were convicted of extortion charges. In 2007, he was released from prison. On March 6, 2010, Antico was charged with racketeering in connection with the 2008 robbery and murder of Staten Island jeweler Louis Antonelli. He was acquitted of murder charges, but found guilty of racketeering. He was released from prison on June 12, 2018.
Charles "Chuckie" Tuzzo – capo operating in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Tuzzo was involved in pump and dump stock schemes with capo Liborio "Barney" Bellomo. Tuzzo and acting street boss Ernest Muscarella infiltrated an International Longshoreman's Association (ILA) local in order to extort waterfront companies operating from New York, New Jersey and Florida. On February 2, 2006, Tuzzo was released from prison after serving several years on racketeering and conspiracy charges.
Anthony "Rom" Romanello – capo operating from Corona Avenue in Corona, Queens Romanello took over Anthony Federici's old crew. In January 2012, he pleaded guilty to illegal gambling after the cooperating witness died from a heart attack before testifying in the case.
The Genovese crime family is operating in New Jersey with five crews.
(Acting) Stephen Depiro – was the last acting capo of the "Fiumara crew". Depiro was overseeing the illegal operations in the New Jersey Newark/Elizabeth Seaport before Fiumara's death in 2010. It is unknown if Depiro still holds this position.
Joseph N. LaScala – capo operating from Hudson County waterfronts cities of Bayonne and Jersey City. LaScala had been Angelo Prisco's acting capo before he took over the crew. In May 2012, LaScala and other members of his crew were arrested and charged with illegal gambling in Bayonne.
Ludwig "Ninni" Bruschi – capo operating in South Jersey Counties of Ocean, Monmouth, Middlesex, and North Jersey Counties of Hudson, Essex, Passaic and Union. Bruschi was indicted in June 2003 and paroled in April 2010.
Silvio P. DeVita – Sicilian born capo operating in Essex County. He is currently believed to be controlling Newark. He has prior convictions of first-degree murder, robbery and several other offenses. DeVita has also been excluded from visiting any casino in New Jersey.
Lawrence "Little Larry" Dentico – capo operating in South Jersey and Philadelphia. Dentico was acting consigliere from 2003 through 2005, when he was imprisoned on extortion, loansharking and racketeering charges. He was released from prison on May 12, 2009.
Salvatore "Sammy Meatballs" Aparo – a former acting capo. His son Vincent is also a made member of the Genovese family. In 2000, Aparo, his son Vincent, and Genovese associate Michael D'Urso met with Abraham Weider, the owner an apartment complex in Flatbush, Brooklyn. Weider wanted to get rid of the custodians union (SEIU Local 32B-J) and was willing to pay Aparo $600,000, but Aparo's associate D'Urso was an FBI informant and had recorded the meeting. In October 2002, Aparo was sentenced to five years in federal prison for racketeering. On May 25, 2006, Aparo was released from prison.
Ralph Anthony "the Undertaker" Balsamo (born in 1971) – a soldier operating in the Bronx and Westchester. Balsamo pleaded guilty in 2007 to narcotics trafficking, firearms trafficking, extortion, and union-related fraud and was sentenced to 97 months in prison. He was released from prison on March 8, 2013.
Louis DiNapoli – soldier with his brother Vincent DiNapoli's 116th Street crew.
Anthony "Tough Tony" Federici – former capo in the Queens. Federici is the owner of a restaurant in Corona, Queens. In 2004, Federici was honored by Queens Borough President Helen Marshall for his community service. Federici has since passed on his illicit mob activities to Anthony Romanello.
John "Little John" Giglio (April 11, 1958) – also known as "Johnny Bull" is a soldier involved in loansharking.
Federico "Fritzy" Giovanelli – soldier who was heavily involved in loansharking, illegal gambling and bookmaking in the Queens/Brooklyn area. Giovanelli was charged with the January 1986 killing of Anthony Venditti, an undercover NYPD detective, but was eventually acquitted. One known soldier in Giovanelli's crew was Frank "Frankie California" Condo. In 2001, Giovanelli worked with soldier Ernest "Junior" Varacalli in a car theft ring.
Alan "Baldie" Longo – former acting capo of the Malangone crew, he was involved in stock fraud and white-collar crimes in Manhattan and Brooklyn. He was imprisoned on loansharking and racketeering charges, sentenced to 11 years, released in June 2010.
Joseph Olivieri – soldier, operating in the 116th Street Crew under capo Louis Moscatiello. Olivieri has been involved in extorting carpenters unions and is tied to labor racketeer Vincent DiNapoli. He was convicted of perjury and was released from Philadelphia CCM on January 13, 2011.
Ciro Perrone – a former capo. In 1998, Perrone was promoted to captain taking over Matthew Ianniello's old crew. In July 2005, Perrone along with Ianniello and other members of his crew were indicted on extortion, loansharking, labor racketeering and illegal gambling. In 2008, Perrone was sentenced to five years for racketeering and loan sharking. Perrone ran his crew from a social club and Don Peppe's restaurant in Ozone Park, Queens. In 2009, Perrone lost his retrial and was sentenced to five years for racketeering and loan sharking. Perrone was released from prison on October 14, 2011. Perrone died in 2011.
Charles Salzano – a soldier released from prison in 2009 after serving 37 months on loan sharking charges.
Carmine "Pazzo" Testa — a soldier heavily involved in firearm trafficking along with, union fraud, money laundering, narcotic trafficking and illegal gambling charges. He pleaded guilty for firearm trafficking and has served 72 months with a 5,000 dollar fine.
Joseph Zito – soldier in the Manhattan faction (the West Side Crew) under capo Rosario Gangi. Zito was involved in bookmaking and loansharking business. Law enforcement labeled Zito as acting underboss from 1997 through 2003, but he was probably just a top lieutenant under official underboss Venero "Benny Eggs" Mangano. In the mid-1990s, Zito frequently visited Mangano in prison after his conviction in the Windows Case. Zito relayed messages from Mangano to the rest of the family leadership.
Anthony "Tony D." Palumbo – is a former acting capo in the New Jersey faction. Palumbo was promoted acting boss of the New Jersey faction by close ally and acting bossDaniel "Danny the Lion" Leo. In 2009, Palumbo was arrested and charged with racketeering and murder along Daniel Leo and others. In August 2010 Palumbo pleaded guilty to conspiracy murder charges. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison and his projected release date is November 22, 2019.
Frankie "Frankie Ariana" DiMattina – an associate convicted January 6, 2014 on extortion and a firearms charge and sentenced to 6 years in prison.
The Genovese family operates primarily in the New York City area; their main rackets are illegal gambling and labor racketeering.
New York City – The Genovese family operates in all five boroughs of New York as well as in Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland, and Orange Counties in the New York suburbs. The family controls many businesses in the construction, trucking and waste hauling industries. It also operates numerous illegal gambling, loansharking, extortion, and insurance rackets. Small Genovese crews or individuals have operated in Albany, Delaware County, and Utica. The Buffalo, Rochester and Utica crime families or factions traditionally controlled these areas. The family also controls gambling in Saratoga Springs.
Dominick "Dom The Sailor" DiQuarto – former member of Vincent Gigante's Greenwich Village Crew.
Giuseppe Fanaro – was a member of the Morello family, who was involved in the Barrel murder of 1903. In November 1913, Fanaro was murdered by members of the Lomonte and Alfred Mineo's gangs.
Rosario "Saro" Mogavero – A hitman by the age of 15, Mogavero was a powerful capo and close ally of Vito Genovese. He was the vice president of the International Longshoreman's Association until his arrest for extortion and drug dealing in 1953. Mogavero controlled gambling, loan sharking and drug smuggling along the Lower East Side of Manhattan waterfront in the 1950s and 1960s along with Tommy "Ryan" Eboli, Michael Clemente and Carmine "The Snake" Persico.
Eugene "Charles" Ubriaco – was a member of the Morello family, he lived on East 114th Street. Ubriaco was arrested in June 1915 for carrying a revolver and was released on bail. On September 7, 1916 Ubriaco along with Nicholas Morello meet with the Navy Street gang in Brooklyn and they both were shot to death on Johson Street in Brooklyn.
Government informants and witnesses
Joseph "Joe Cargo" Valachi – he exposed the inner workings of the American Mafia in 1963. Valachi was active since the Castellammarese War during the early 1930s, as an associate of the Lucchese crime family; however; after the murder of Salvatore Maranzano in 1931, he joined sides with the Genovese family. Valachi was a soldier in the crew of Anthony Strollo. In 1959, Valachi was sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment for narcotics involvement. He feared that crime family boss and namesake, Vito Genovese, ordered a murder-contract on him in 1962. Valachi and Genovese were both serving prison sentences for heroin trafficking. On June 22, 1962, he murdered another prisoner in the yard with a steel pipe, whom he mistook for Joseph DiPalermo, a Mafia member he believed was tasked to kill him. Facing the death penalty, Valachi testified before the United States Senate Committee in 1963. He died in 1971 of a heart attack while imprisoned at FCI La Tuna.
Giovanni "Johnny Futto" Biello – born in 1906. He was a former capo who was active in the Miami area. He ran the Peppermint Lounge during the 1960s for Matthew Ianniello. Biello was a very good friend to Joseph Bonanno, the namesake and former Bonanno crime family leader. He claimed he was close friends with John Roselli, a high-ranking member of the Chicago Outfit. Biello, along with Joseph Colombo, were supposed to participate in Bonanno's 1962 plot to murder New York crime family bosses, Tommy Lucchese and Carlo Gambino; however, the plan was revealed to the Mafia Commission. Colombo was awarded with his own crime family, the Profaci family—now the Colombo crime family; however, Biello was later murdered. He was shot to death on 17 March 1967, by future Genovese capo George Barone, who would later confess to the murder and become an informant in 2001. His murder was either ordered by Joseph Bonanno or Anthony Salerno and Matthew Ianniello. Before his murder, he allegedly transferred to the Patriarca crime family. In 2012, his son-in-law released a book about Biello's life, named the Peppermint Twist.
Vincent "Fish" Cafaro – former capo and close associate of Tony Salerno. Cafaro was a heroin dealer before joining the Genovese family. He was a protegee of Genovese high-ranking member Anthony Salerno. Cafaro was inducted into the Genovese crime family in 1974. He was assigned to Salerno's crew and operated out of East Harlem. For over a decade, Cafaro had influence within the N.Y.C. District Council of Carpenters. Along with Genovese and Gambino members, he received kickback payments. After fellow conspirator and Genovese capoVincent DiNapoli was sentenced to prison, Cafaro became even more powerful and wealthy; however, he was eventually forced to give DiNapoli some custom within the Carpenter Council. After his 1986 indictment, he wore a wire for five months for the FBI. In 1990, he testified against Gambino boss John Gotti, who ordered the shooting of a Carpenter Council official in 1986.
George Barone – former soldier. He was allegedly a founding member member of the real-life Jets street gang. In February 1954 while working as a longshoreman recruiter, Barone and a few friends caught and cornered William Torres, who was dissatisfied that he was not hired. Barone repeatedly hit Torres with a metal bar. Police charged him with felonious assault; however, it was later dropped to disorderly conduct. At a meeting with the Gambino crime family in the late 1960s, it was agreed upon that the Gambino family would own the Brooklyn and Staten Island waterfronts, and the Genovese family would control the Manhattan and New Jersey waterfronts. By the early 1970s, Barone was the official Genovese representative for the Genovese-owned waterfronts and was a soldier for the family. By the late 1970s, he controlled the Florida waterfront. In 1979, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison for racketeering; however, he only served 7 years behind bars. Shortly after his 2001 indictment for extortion and racketeering, Barone decided to cooperate in April 2001 after being "put on the shelf" by the Genovese hierarchy. He testified against Gambino captain Anthony Ciccone in 2003. He had participated in nearly 20 murders. In 2009, he testified against Genovese capoMikey Coppola. Barone died in December 2010 at the age of 86.
Louis Moscatiello Sr. – former acting capo and soldier active in the Bronx. He was in charge of the Genovese infiltration of the drywall and construction industry. In 1991, he was convicted of bribing a labor official. He took a plea deal in 2004 and cooperated with the government. He was set to testify against Joseph Olivieri, a Genovese family soldier; however, he died in February 2009.
John "JB" Bologna – former associate. He began cooperating in 1996 as a tipster for the FBI. He was predominately active in the Springfield, Massachusetts area and served as an associate to Genovese capo Adolfo Bruno. Bologna was sentenced to 8 years in prison, some of his charges included murder conspiracy, illegal gambling, extortion and racketeering. He died in prison on 17 January 2017.
Felix Tranghese – former capo and soldier. Tranghese was proposed for membership into the Genovese family in 1982 by Adolfo Bruno. He cooperated with the government in 2010, as a result of being "shelved" in the year of 2006. He admitted to receiving the message of the murder contract on Western Massachusetts capo Adolfo Bruno from high-ranking members of the Genovese family in New York, and to delivering the message to Bruno's crew. He also admitted to carrying out extortion and several shootings on behalf of former Genovese street boss, Arthur Nigro. In 2011 and 2012, he returned to New York to testify in 2 separate murder trials, alongside Anthony Arillotta.
Anthony "Bingy" Arillotta – former soldier who became a government witness in 2010, alongside Felix Tranghese, a fellow Genovese-Springfield crew member. He admitted to his involvement in the 2003 murders of capo Adolfo Bruno and Gary Westerman, his brother-in-law. He also plead guilty to the attempted murder of a New York union boss, which also occurred in 2003. Like Tranghese, he was sentenced to 4 years' imprisonment and both had relocated to Springfield after their release.
Renaldi Ruggiero – former captain who headed the South Florida crew. It is noted that in 2003, he gave the approval to extort $1.5 million from a South Florida businessman, who was kept ransom in the office of Genovese associate, Francis J. O'Donnell, and a gun was held to his head, in October 2003. The South Florida businessman was beaten up and had all of his fingers broken, one of his hands were severely damaged and he was then threatened to pay the money by the following week, implying that he would be murdered if he failed to follow through. It was also noted that Ruggiero was active in loan sharking, and was charging 40 of his customers between 52 and 156 percent interest. He was arrested in 2006 alongside 6 other Genovese members and associates, including Albert Facchiano who was aged 96 at the time, for several crimes, including extortion, armed robbery and money laundering. He faced 120 years in prison, if convicted. Ruggiero cooperated with the government in February 2007 and broke his Omerta by admitting his involvement with the American Mafia and that he served as a capo for the Genovese family, as part of his plea deal. In February 2012, he was sentenced to 14 years' imprisonment; however, prosecutors recommended that Ruggiero should serve half of the sentence because of his cooperation, which the judge accepted.
In popular culture
The Genovese crime family has a long history of portrayal in Hollywood as the subject of film and television.
^"Silvio P. DeVita". State of New Jersey. Attorney General State of New Jersey. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
^Lawrence Dentico Indicted - US Attorney's Office: Fourteen Arrested with Unsealing of RICO Indictment Against Genovese Crime Family Members, Associates. - 2005/08/17 -- Dentico, Lawrence et al. -- Indictment -- News Release