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 and powerful family in the United States, with sources believing that Liborio "Barney" Bellomo is the current boss of the organization. Unique in today's Mafia, the family has benefited greatly from members following "Omertà," a code of conduct emphasizing secrecy and non-cooperation with law enforcement and the justice system. 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 25 and 30 years in prison, respectively.
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.
In early 1931, Luciano decided to eliminate Masseria. The war had been going poorly for Masseria, and Luciano saw an opportunity to switch allegiance. In a secret deal with Maranzano, Luciano agreed to engineer Masseria's death in return for receiving Masseria's rackets and becoming Maranzano's second-in-command.Joe Adonis had joined the Masseria faction and when Masseria heard about Luciano's betrayal, he approached Adonis about killing Luciano. However, Adonis instead warned Luciano about the murder plot. On April 15, 1931, Masseria was killed at Nuova Villa Tammaro, a Coney Island restaurant in Brooklyn. While they played cards, Luciano allegedly excused himself to the bathroom, with the gunmen reportedly being Anastasia, Genovese, Adonis, and Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel;Ciro "The Artichoke King" Terranova drove the getaway car, but legend has it that he was too shaken up to drive away and had to be shoved out of the driver's seat by Siegel. With Maranzano's blessing, Luciano took over Masseria's gang and became Maranzano's lieutenant, ending the Castellammarese War.
With Masseria gone, Maranzano reorganized the Italian American gangs in New York City into Five Families headed by Luciano, Profaci, Gagliano, Vincent Mangano and himself. Maranzano called a meeting of crime bosses in Wappingers Falls, New York, where he declared himself capo di tutti capi ("boss of all bosses"). Maranzano also whittled down the rival families' rackets in favor of his own. Luciano appeared to accept these changes, but was merely biding his time before removing Maranzano. Although Maranzano was slightly more forward-thinking than Masseria, Luciano had come to believe that Maranzano was even more greedy and hidebound than Masseria had been.
By September 1931, Maranzano realized Luciano was a threat, and hired Vincent "Mad Dog" Coll, an Irish gangster, to kill him. However, Lucchese alerted Luciano that he was marked for death. On September 10, Maranzano ordered Luciano, Genovese and Costello to come to his office at the 230 Park Avenue in Manhattan. Convinced that Maranzano planned to murder them, Luciano decided to act first. He sent to Maranzano's office four Jewish gangsters whose faces were unknown to Maranzano's people. They had been secured with the aid of Lansky and Siegel. Disguised as government agents, two of the gangsters disarmed Maranzano's bodyguards. The other two, aided by Lucchese, who was there to point Maranzano out, stabbed the boss multiple times before shooting him. This assassination was the first of what would later be fabled as the "Night of the Sicilian Vespers."
After Maranzano's murder, Luciano called a meeting in Chicago with various bosses, where he proposed a Commission to serve as the governing body for organized crime. Designed to settle all disputes and decide which families controlled which territories, the Commission has been called Luciano's greatest innovation. Luciano's goals with the Commission were to quietly maintain his own power over all the families, and to prevent future gang wars; the bosses approved the idea of the Commission.
The group's first test came in 1935, when it ordered Dutch Schultz to drop his plans to murder Special ProsecutorThomas E. Dewey. Luciano argued that a Dewey assassination would precipitate a massive law enforcement crackdown. An enraged Schultz said he would kill Dewey anyway and walked out of the meeting.Murder, Inc leader Albert Anastasia approached Luciano with information that Schultz had asked him to stake out Dewey's apartment building on Fifth Avenue. Upon hearing the news, the Commission held a discreet meeting at a to discuss the matter. After six hours of deliberations the Commission ordered Lepke Buchalter to eliminate Schultz. On October 23, 1935, before he could kill Dewey, Schultz was shot in a tavern in Newark, New Jersey, and succumbed to his injuries the following day.
On May 13, 1936, Luciano's pandering trial began. Dewey prosecuted the case that Carter built against Luciano. He accused Luciano of being part of a massive prostitution ring known as "the Combination". During the trial, Dewey exposed Luciano for lying on the witness stand through direct quizzing and records of telephone calls; Luciano also had no explanation for why his federal income tax records claimed he made only $22,000 a year, while he was obviously a wealthy man. On June 7, 1936, Luciano was convicted on 62 counts of compulsory prostitution. On June 18, he was sentenced to 30 to 50 years in state prison, along with Betillo and others.
Luciano continued to run his crime family from prison, relaying his orders through acting boss Vito Genovese. However, in 1937, Genovese fled to Naples to avoid an impending murder indictment in New York. Luciano appointed his consigliere, Frank Costello, as the new acting boss and the overseer of Luciano's interests.
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.
From May 1950 to May 1951, the U.S. Senate conducted a large-scale investigation of organized crime, commonly known as the Kefauver Hearings, chaired by SenatorEstes Kefauver of Tennessee. Costello was convicted of contempt of the Senate and sentenced to 18 months in prison. Senator Kefauver concluded that politician Carmine DeSapio was assisting the activities of Costello, and that Costello had become influential in decisions made by the Tammany Hall council. DeSapio admitted to having met Costello several times, but insisted that "politics was never discussed". In 1952, the government began proceedings to strip Costello of his U.S. citizenship, and he was indicted for evasion of $73,417 in income taxes between 1946 and 1949. He was sentenced to five years in prison and fined $20,000. In 1954, Costello appealed the conviction and was released on $50,000 bail; from 1952 to 1961 he was in and out of half a dozen federal and local prisons and jails, his confinement interrupted by periods when he was out on bail pending determination of appeals.
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 at mobster Joseph Barbara's estate in Apalachin, New York, the Apalachin meeting attracted over 100 Cosa Nostra mobsters from around the nation. However, local law enforcement discovered the meeting and quickly surrounded the estate. As the meeting broke up, the police stopped a car driven by Russell Bufalino, whose passengers included Genovese and three other men, at a roadblock as they left the estate.Cosa Nostra leaders were chagrined by the public exposure and bad publicity from the Apalachin Meeting, and generally blamed Genovese for the fiasco. All those apprehended were fined, up to $10,000 each, and given prison sentences ranging from three to five years, however, all the convictions were overturned on appeal in 1960. 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 15 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 soldier, Joe Valachi was convicted of narcotics violations in 1959 and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Valachi's motivations for becoming an informer had been the subject of some debate: Valachi claimed to be testifying as a public service and to expose a powerful criminal organization that he had blamed for ruining his life, but it is also possible he was hoping for government protection as part of a plea bargain in which he was sentenced to life imprisonment instead of the death penalty for a murder, which he had committed in 1962 while in prison for his narcotics violation.
Valachi murdered a man in prison who he feared mob boss, and fellow prisoner, Vito Genovese had ordered to kill him. Valachi and Genovese were both serving sentences for heroin trafficking. On June 22, 1962, using a pipe left near some construction work, Valachi bludgeoned an inmate to death who he had mistaken for Joseph DiPalermo, a Mafia member who he believed had been contracted to kill him. After time with FBI handlers, Valachi came forward with a story of Genovese giving him a kiss on the cheek, which he took as a "kiss of death." A $100,000 bounty for Valachi's death, had been placed by Genovese.
Although Valachi's disclosures never led directly to the prosecution of any Mafia leaders, he provided many details of history of the Mafia, operations and rituals; aided in the solution of several unsolved murders; and named many members and the major crime families. The trial exposed American organized crime to the world through Valachi's televised testimony.
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. In 1986, shortly after Salerno's conviction in the Commission Trial, Salerno's longtime right-hand man, Vincent "The Fish" Cafaro, turned informant, and told the FBI that Salerno had been the front boss for head Gigante. Cafaro also revealed that the Genovese family had been keeping up this ruse since 1969.
Gigante built a vast network of bookmaking and loansharking rings and from extortions of garbage, shipping, trucking and construction companies seeking labor peace or contracts from carpenters', Teamsters and laborers' unions, including those at the Javits Center, as well as protection payoffs from merchants at the Fulton Fish Market. Gigante also had influence in the Feast of San Gennaro in Little Italy, operating gambling games, extorting payoffs from vendors, and pocketing thousands of dollars donated to a neighborhood church—until a crackdown in 1995 by New York City officials. During Gigante's tenure as boss of the Genovese family, after the imprisonment of John Gotti in 1992, Gigante would come to be known as the figurehead capo di tutti capi, the "Boss of All Bosses", despite the position being abolished since 1931 with the murder of Salvatore Maranzano.
Gigante was reclusive, and almost impossible to capture on wiretaps, speaking softly, eschewing the phone and even at times whistling into the receiver. He almost never left his home unoccupied because he knew FBI agents would sneak in and plant a bug. Genovese members were not allowed to mention Gigante's name in conversations or phone calls; when they had to mention him, members would point to their chins or make the letter "C" with their fingers.
On May 30, 1990, Gigante was indicted along with other members of four of the New York crime families for conspiring to rig bids and extort payoffs from contractors on multimillion-dollar contracts with the New York City Housing Authority to install windows. Gigante attended his arraignment in pajamas and bathrobe, and due to his defense stating that he was mentally and physically impaired, legal battles ensued for seven years over his competence to stand trial.In June 1993, Gigante was indictment again, charged with sanctioning the murders of six mobsters and conspiring to kill three others, including Gambino boss John Gotti. At sanity hearings in March 1996, Sammy "The Bull" Gravano, former underboss of the Gambino crime family, who became a cooperating witness in 1991, and Alphonse "Little Al" D'Arco, former acting boss of the Lucchese family, testified that Gigante was lucid at top-level Mafia meetings and that he had told other gangsters that his eccentric behavior was a pretense. Gigante's lawyers got testimony and reports from psychiatrists that from 1969 to 1995 Gigante had been confined 28 times in hospitals for treatment of hallucinations and that he suffered from "dementia rooted in organic brain damage".
In August 1996, senior judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Eugene Nickerson, ruled that Gigante was mentally competent to stand trial; he pleaded not guilty and had been free for years on $1 million bail. Gigante had another cardiac operation in December 1996. On June 25, 1997, Gigante's trial started Gigante stood trial in a wheelchair. On July 25, 1997, after almost three days of deliberations, the jury convicted Gigante of conspiring in plots to kill other mobsters and of running rackets as head of the Genovese family. Prosecutors stated that the verdict finally established that Gigante was not mentally ill as his lawyers and relatives had long maintained. On December 18, 1997, Gigante was sentenced to 12 years in prison and fined $1.25 million by judge Jack B. Weinstein, a lenient sentence due to Gigante's "age and frailty", who declared that Gigante had been "...finally brought to bay in his declining years after decades of vicious criminal tyranny". While in prison, he maintained his role as boss of the Genovese family, while other mobsters were entrusted to run the day-to-day activities of the family; Gigante relayed orders to the crime family through his son, Andrew, who would visit him in prison.
On January 23, 2002, Gigante was indicted with several other mobsters, including his son Andrew, on obstruction of justice charges due to a him causing a seven-year delay in his previous trial by feigning insanity. Several days later, Andrew was released on $2.5 million bail. On April 7, 2003, the day the trial began, Prosecutor Roslynn R. Mauskopf had planned to play tapes showing him "fully coherent, careful and intelligent," running crime operations from prison, but when Gigante pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice, judge I. Leo Glasser sentenced him to an additional three years in prison. Mauskopf stated, "The jig is up...Vincent Gigante was a cunning faker, and those of us in law enforcement always knew that this was an act...The act ran for decades, but today it's over." On July 25, 2003, Gigante's son Andrew, was sentenced to two years in prison and fined $2.5 million for racketeering and extortion.
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. 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 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.
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.
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 pleaded 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.
2015–2018 – Peter "Petey Red" DiChiara – died on March 2, 2018
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.
Street Boss – Michael "Mickey" Ragusa – born June 22, 1965. Ragusa is a former soldier in Bellomo's Harlem/Bronx crew. In January 2002, Ragusa was indicted along with acting boss Ernest Muscarella, capo Charles Tuzzo, members Liborio Bellomo, Thomas Cafaro, Pasquale Falcetti and associate Andrew Gigante on the infiltration of the International Longshoreman's Association.
Underboss – Unknown
Consigliere – Unknown
The Bronx faction
Pasquale "Uncle Patty" Falcetti – capo of the 116th Street Crew with operations in the Bronx. In September 2014, Falcetti was sentenced to 30 months in prison for loan sharking. During Falcetti's trail former Genovese family associate Anthony Zocolillo testified against and claimed that Falcetti made him a $34,000 loan for a marijuana trafficking operation. On January 13, 2017 Falcetti was released from prison.
Joseph G. "Joe D" Denti, Jr. – (sometimes spelled Dente) is a capo operating in the Bronx and New Jersey. His father Joseph Denti Sr. was a Bronx loan shark during the 1970s until moving in the early 1990s to Beverly Hills. In 1996, his father died from a heart attack his Bronx funeral was attended by many famous Hollywood figures which included Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Cher and Cathy Moriarty. In 2000, Denti Jr. and Chris Cenaitempo became suspects after Chris's brother John Cenatiempo was identified by the police as a accomplice of Christopher Rocancourt who had stole from homes in the Hamptons. On December 5, 2001 Denti Jr. along with capos Rosario Gangi and Pasquale Parrello and 70 other associates were indicted in Manhattan on racketeering charges. The charges were brought against Denti Jr. and the others after it was revealed that an undercover NYPD detective had infiltrated Parrello's Arthur Ave crew. On April 29, 2009 Denti Jr. was released from federal prison. On March 16, 2016 Denti Jr. along with Joseph Giardina, Ralph Perricelli Jr., and Heidi Francavilla were indicted and charged with defrauding investors in medical ventures out of $350,000.
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. In August 2016, Parrello was indicted along with Genovese family capo Conrad Ianniello and Genovese family acting capo Eugene O'Norfio and Philadelphia family boss Joseph Merlino and forty two other mobsters on gambling and extortion charges. 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.
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.
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. In August 2016 Ianniello was indicted along with Genovese family capo Pasquale Parrello and Genovese family acting capo Eugene O'Norfio and Philadelphia family boss Joseph Merlino and forty two other mobsters on gambling and extortion charges.
Thomas "Figgy" Ficarotta – protégé of Little Itlay Crew capo James Messera. He has operations in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Charles "Chuckie" Tuzzo – capo operating in New Jersey, Brooklyn and Manhattan. In 2002, Tuzzo was indicted with Liborio Bellomo, Ernest Muscarella and others for infiltrating the 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. On October 21, 2014 Tuzzo along with soldier Vito Alberti were indicted in New Jersey on loansharking, gambling and money laundering charges.
Alan "Baldie" Longo - capo of a Brooklyn crew who formerly served under "Allie Shades" Malangone and ran rackets out of a social club that he owned in Brooklyn. Longo was involved in stock fraud and white-collar crimes in Manhattan and Brooklyn. On April 25, 2001, Longo was indicted on racketeering charges along with Colombo acting boss Alphonse Persico, based on the work of undercover informant Michael D'Urso. Longo was convicted and sentenced to 11 years. He was released on November 24, 2010.
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.
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.
According to the 2004 report from the New Jersey Commission of Investigation, the Genovese crime family is operating in the state of New Jersey with five crews.
Imprisoned – Michael "Mikey Cigars" Coppola – capo of the "Fiumara-Coppola crew", although he is currently imprisoned, Coppola is still seen by law enforcement and experts as a leading captain in the New Jersey faction. He is currently serving his time at the United States Penitentiary, Atlanta for two counts of racketeering and his projected release date is March 4, 2024.
(Acting) Michael "Tona" Borelli - New Jersey mobster and former acting co-capo of Tino Fiumara's crew, along with Lawrence Ricci. Borelli controls construction and illegal gambling rackets in NJ, and formerly oversaw the Teamster's Union.
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.
Springfield, Massachusetts faction
(Acting) Eugene "Rooster" O'Nofrio – a mobster from East Haven, Connecticut. O'Nofrio served as acting capo of the "Mulberry Street crew" in Manhattan's Little Italy and acting capo of the "Springfield, Massachusetts crew". In 2016 Onofrio was indicted along with Genovese family capo's Pasquale Parrello and Conrad Ianniello and Philadelphia family boss Joseph Merlino and Springfield gangsters Ralph Santaniello and Francesco Depergola and forty other mobsters on gambling and extortion charges.
Ernest "Ernie" Muscarella – former acting boss and former 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.
Stephen Depiro – former acting capo of the "Fiumara-Coppola 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.
Lawrence "Little Larry" Dentico – former 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.
Rosario "Ross" Gangi – former 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 – former 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.
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.
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.
Alphonse "Allie Shades" Malangone – was a former capo in the 1990s, controlling gambling, loansharking, waterfront rackets and extorting the Fulton Fish Market. He 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.
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 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 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.
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. Aparo died on May 12, 2017 at the age of 87.
Vincent "Vinny" DiNapoli – soldier and former capo with the 116th Street Crew. DiNapoli was heavily involved in labor racketeering and had reportedly earned millions of dollars from extortion, bid rigging and loansharking rackets. DiNapoli dominated the N.Y.C. District Council of Carpenters and used them to extort other contractors in New York. DiNapoli's brother, Joseph DiNapoli, is the former consigliere of the Lucchese crime family.
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.
Joseph N. "Pepe" LaScala – former New Jersey 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. LaScala died on February 3, 2019 at the age of 87.
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.
Arthur "Artie" Nigro – former member who served as the family's Street Boss from 2002 to 2006, Nigro was sentenced to life in prison in 2011 for ordering the 2003 murder of Adolfo Bruno. Nigro died on April 24, 2019 at the age of 74
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 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 primarily active in the Springfield, Massachusetts, area and served as an associate to Genovese capo Adolfo Bruno. Bologna was sentenced to eight 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.
^Jerry Capeci. (2002) "The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Mafia", Alpha Books. p. 200. ISBN0-02-864225-2
^Rudolf, Robert (1993). Mafia Wiseguys: The Mob That Took on the Feds. New York: SPI Books. p. 41. ISBN978-1-56171-195-6.
^Dietche, Scott M. (2009). The Everything Mafia Book: True-life accounts of legendary figures, infamous crime families, and nefarious deeds. Avon, Massachusetts: Adams Media. pp. 188–189. ISBN978-1-59869-779-7.
^"Killers in Prison", Time, October 4, 1963. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 16, 2009. Retrieved January 5, 2020.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link).
^"The Smell of It", Time, October 11, 1963. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 16, 2009. Retrieved January 5, 2020.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link).
^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