Monday, April 12, 2010

A Look Back

Historic underworld events from the month of April:
  • 01 Apr 1869 - New Orleans Mafia boss Raffaele Agnello is shot to death.
  • 02 Apr 1973 - New York Mafioso Frank "Funzi" Tieri is arrested and charged with loansharking.
  • 03 Apr 1941 - Harry Maione and Frank Abbandando are convicted - in their second trial - of the murder of George Rudnick.
  • 04 Apr 1927 - Chicago Detective Dan Healy shoots and kills North Side gangster Vincent "the Schemer" Drucci.
  • 04 Apr 1931 - After hiding out for 10 weeks, Dutch Schultz shows up for questioning by the NYPD related to a Jan. 24 nightclub brawl.
  • 05 Apr 1884 - The lifeless body of Camillo Farach is found in a field on Staten Island.
  • 06 Apr 1890 - Provenzano-Matranga feud erupts with a Provenzano attack on a wagon carrying Matranga workers. Two men are seriously injured.
  • 06 Apr 2009 - Federal agents arrest reputed Bonanno boss Salatore Montagna and plan to deport him to his native Canada.
  • 07 Apr 1972 - Renegade New York Mafioso "Crazy Joey' Gallo is shot and killed at Umberto's Clam House in Manhattan.
  • 08 Apr 1962 - New York mobster Anthony "Tony Bender" Strollo disappears.
  • 09 Apr 1913 - Amadeo Buonomo, believed to be a member of Aniello Prisco's East Harlem gang, dies from a gunshot wound to the head.
  • 09 Apr 1974 - In Detroit, Anthony and Vito Giacalone are acquitted of income tax evasion.
  • 09 Apr 1984 - Four hundred law enforcement agents raid homes and businesses from New York to the Midwest to break up the Pizza Connection heroin ring.
  • 10 Apr 1959 - Santo Trafficante-backed Sans Souci nightclub in Havana is closed due to financial problems.
  • 10 Apr 1977 - John Lardiere, out of prison on a two-day Easter furlough, is found shot to death at the Red Bull Inn in Bridgewater NJ.
  • 11 Apr 1974 - Anthony Russo wins release from prison after agreeing to testify before NJ crime commission.
  • 11 Apr 1920 - Counterfeiter Giuseppe Calicchio is paroled from Atlanta Federal Prison.
  • 12 Apr 1914 - On Sumner Street in East Boston, Antonio Messina is shot three times but claims he did not see the gunman.
  • 14 Apr 1887 - Believed responsible for an 1881 Mafia killing, Antonio Flaccomio is attacked in New York but escapes.
  • 14 Apr 1903 - The body of Benedetto Madonia is found within a barrel left at New York's 11th Street and Avenue D.
  • 15 Apr 1931 - Giuseppe "Joe the Boss" Masseria is assassinated during lunch at Coney Island's Nuova Villa Tammaro restaurant, 2715 W. 15th Street.
  • 16 Apr 1912 - Calogero Morello, son of jailed Mafia boss of bosses Giuseppe Morello, is shot to death in an East Harlem gunfight.
  • 16 Apr 1957 - Former Chicago underworld boss Johnny Torrio dies of natural causes in New York.
  • 17 Apr 1959 - Genovese crime family leaders are convicted of narcotics trafficking. Vito Genovese is sentenced to 15 years.
  • 19 Apr 1951 - The body of New York Mafioso Philip Mangano is found in a marsh near Jamaica Bay.
  • 22 Apr 1907 - Trial of 13 Italians accused of Black Hand society membership begins in Wilkes Barre, PA.
  • 23 Apr 1918 - Vito Genovese is arrested for felonious assault in Queens, NY.
  • 24 Apr 1903 - Chicago Mafioso Anthony D'Andrea is sentenced to 13 months in Joliet for counterfeiting.
  • 24 Apr 1965 - Former New York gang leader Owen Madden dies of natural causes in a Hot Springs, AR, hospital.
  • 27 Apr 1951 - Kings County District Attorney's office questions Mafia boss Frank Costello about the murder of Philip Mangano.
  • 27 Apr 2009 - Angelo Prisco, 69, reputed Genovese Crime Family lieutenant, is convicted of conspiring to kill his first cousin on orders from boss Vincent Gigante.
  • 28 Apr 1906 - Anthony Accardo, future Chicago crime boss, is born.
  • 28 Apr 2009 - Chicago jury convicts former deputy U.S. Marshal John T. Ambrose of leaking information about a federal racketeering witness.
  • 29 Apr 1914 - "Johnny Dio" Dioguardi, future New York labor racketeer, is born.
  • 29 Apr 1960 - Dioguardi, 46, is sentenced to four years in prison for tax evasion.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Vol. 3, No. 2: April 2010

Vol. 3, Issue 2, April 2010 Contents

One hundred years ago, the U.S. government scored an impressive victory over an interstate counterfeiting operation administered by New York-based Mafia boss of bosses Giuseppe Morello.
A mountain of evidence gathered over a period of years by Secret Service agent William Flynn secured the conviction of Morello, his lieutenant and brother-in-law Ignazio Lupo and a number of their associates. The 1910 counterfeiting case revealed the methods, the hierarchy and the influence of the American Mafia. In this expanded issue, we look at that landmark case as well as at the incarceration of the Sicilian underworld leaders.

We start with excerpts from the story told by informant Antonio Comito to Secret Service investigators (preview). An out-ofwork printer, Comito claimed that Morello’s Mafia forced him to work at the production of counterfeit American and Canadian currency. Comito was the prosecution’s key witness at the Morello-Lupo trial.

A timeline (preview) shows the significant events during the imprisonment of the Morello counterfeiters. The courtroom testimony of several defense witnesses, including Ignazio Lupo himself, is presented next (preview). Morello’s long prison sentence dethroned him as Mafia boss of bosses and also sent him into a deep depression. We look within surviving correspondence and other prison records for evidence of the jailed underworld leader’s emotional struggle (preview).

Finally, we examine the life and career of William Flynn, whose detective work made him the nemesis of counterfeiters and also the terror of American radicals (preview).

The issue also includes an early Gambino Crime Family membership chart by Bill Feather (preview), Ask the Informer (preview), and A Look Back (preview).

Eighty pages including cover and advertisements
Published April 2, 2010.

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Comito's story

Vol. 3, Issue 2, April 2010 Contents
Feature article

Trapped into working for a band of counterfeiters,
an immigrant printer lived and toiled alongside Mafiosi
and came face-to-face with boss of bosses Giuseppe Morello
Comito's story
By Antonio Comito

"The reader will pardon me, if, in reading this story of my life in New York, there are errors of language and periods not well expressed. During the latter part of 1908 and a good part of 1909, I had occasion to know many malefactors who horrified me from the very start, and whom I gradually came to fear as I studied their brutal character. I refrained from denouncing these men to the police because I was constantly in danger of losing my life had I done so."

Ten pages
Seven images

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Imprisonment timeline

Vol 3, Issue 2, April 2010 Contents

Imprisonment Timeline

Nov 15 - Secret Service agents from William Flynn's New York office arrest Giuseppe Morello and a number of his associates, charging them with counterfeiting.
Nov 17 - New York Police arrest Ignazio Lupo for extortion."

Four pages

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Witnesses for the defense

Vol 3, Issue 2, April 2010 Contents
Feature article

Giuseppe Morello and Ignazio Lupo hoped alibis
would save them from counterfeiting convictions
Witnesses for the defense

"Confronted with the prosecution's mountain of evidence against them, counterfeiting defendants Ignazio "the Wolf" Lupo and Giuseppe Morello attempted in early February 1910 to establish alibis... Excerpts from trial testimony held in the National Archives."

Sixteen pages
including one and a half pages of notes
Four images and one map

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Boss of bosses despairs in prison

Vol 3, Issue 2, April 2010 Contents
Feature article

Morello prison correspondence, health records
reveal him as brooding, sickly and suspicious

Mafia boss of bosses
despairs in prison
By Thomas Hunt

"Convicted of counterfeiting, Giuseppe Morello and Ignazio Lupo were incarcerated within the United States Penitentiary at Atlanta, Georgia, on February 21, 1910. They were assigned consecutive numbers in the prison register. Morello, whose reign as boss of bosses of the American Mafia was brought to an end by his conviction, became Prisoner No. 2882. His brother-in-law and Mafia lieutenant Lupo became No. 2883. The two men were locked away in separate cells and had very different experiences while in prison."

Twelve pages
Six images
Correspondence chart

Nemesis of counterfeiters: William Flynn

Vol. 3, Issue 1, April 2010 Contents
Feature article

The dismantling of the Morello Mafia leadership
was one highlight in a long law enforcement career

Nemesis of Counterfeiters:
William J. Flynn
By Thomas Hunt

In 1910, much of the early Mafia network in New York was dismantled through the efforts of a tenacious and resourceful Secret Service agent named William J. Flynn. Flynn had spent years building a counterfeiting case against Mafia boss of bosses Giuseppe Morello and his henchmen. While Flynn won great notoriety for the successful conclusion of the Morello counterfeiting trial and related prosecutions, that case was just one highlight in a law enforcement career that spanned a quarter-century and included all levels of government.

Twenty-three pages
including four and a half pages of notes
Thirteen images

Ask the Informer: Morello crime family descendant

Vol. 3, Issue 2, April 2010 Contents
Ask the Informer

Question: What became of the Morello-Lupo Mafia organization? Is there a current crime family in New York that can claim to be a direct descendant?

A Look Back

Vol. 3, Issue 2, April 2010 Contents
A Look Back

50 years ago:
  • A labor racketeer is sentenced to four years for income tax evasion.
  • Lewis McWillie becomes a pit boss for a Trafficante-run casino in Havana.
25 years ago:
  • Leaders of NYs crime families are indicted for racketeering.

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Gambino Mafia Membership, 1910s-40s

Vol. 3, Issue 1, April 2010 Contents
Membership Chart

Researcher Bill Feather provides a chart including 150 known and suspected members of the Gambino Crime Family from the 1910s-40s era. Names, aliases, birth-death-immigration years, birthplaces and underworld ranks are shown.

Six pages