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American Mafia

American Mafia

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The American Mafia is an Italian-American criminal society. Much like the Sicilian Mafia, the American Mafia has no formal name and is a secret criminal society. Its members usually refer to it as Cosa Nostra or by its English translation "our thing" (or "this thing of ours"). The press
News media (United States)
Mass media are the means through which information is transmitted to a large audience. This includes newspapers, television, radio, and more recently the Internet. Those who provide news and information, and the outlets for which they work, are known as the news media.Some high-quality news media...

 has also coined the name "National Crime Syndicate
National Crime Syndicate
The National Crime Syndicate was the name given by the press to a loosely-organized multi-ethnic organized crime syndicate. Its origins are uncertain....

" to refer to the entirety of U.S. organized crime
Organized crime
Organized crime or criminal organizations are transnational, national, or local groupings of highly centralized enterprises run by criminals for the purpose of engaging in illegal activity, most commonly for monetary profit. Some criminal organizations, such as terrorist organizations, are...

, including the Mafia. The Mafia emerged in New York's Lower East Side
Lower East Side
The Lower East Side, LES, is a neighborhood in the southeastern part of the New York City borough of Manhattan. It is roughly bounded by Allen Street, East Houston Street, Essex Street, Canal Street, Eldridge Street, East Broadway, and Grand Street....

 and other areas of the East Coast of the United States
East Coast of the United States
The East Coast of the United States, also known as the Eastern Seaboard, refers to the easternmost coastal states in the United States, which touch the Atlantic Ocean and stretch up to Canada. The term includes the U.S...

 during the late 19th century following waves of Italian immigration
Italian diaspora
The term Italian diaspora refers to the large-scale migration of Italians away from Italy in the period roughly beginning with the unification of Italy in 1861 and ending with the Italian economic miracle in the 1960s...

, especially from Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

. It has its roots in the Sicilian Mafia, but is a separate organization in the United States. Neapolitan, Calabrian, and other Italian criminal groups merged with the Sicilians to create the modern pan-Italian Mafia in North America. Today, the American Mafia cooperates in various criminal activities with the Sicilian Mafia and other Italian organized crime
Italian organized crime
Since their appearance in the middle of the 19th century, Italian organized crime and criminal organizations have infiltrated the social and economic life of many regions in Southern Italy, the most notorious of which being the Sicilian Mafia, which would later expand into some foreign countries...

 groups, such as Camorra
Camorra
The Camorra is a Mafia-type criminal organization, or secret society, originating in the region of Campania and its capital Naples in Italy. It is one of the oldest and largest criminal organizations in Italy, dating to the 18th century.-Background:...

, 'Ndrangheta, and Sacra Corona Unita
Sacra corona unita
Sacra Corona Unita, or United Sacred Crown, is a Mafia-like criminal organization from Apulia region in Southern Italy, and is especially active in the areas of Brindisi, Lecce and Taranto .-Background and activities:...

.

Although the Mafia is currently active in the New York metropolitan area, Philadelphia, New England
New England
New England is a region in the northeastern corner of the United States consisting of the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut...

, Detroit and Chicago, for most of the 20th century there were 26 cities around the United States with Cosa Nostra families, with many more offshoots, splinter groups and associates in other cities. There are five main New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 Mafia families, known as the Five Families
Five Families
The Five Families are the five original Italian-American Mafia crime families which have dominated organized crime in America since 1931. The Five Families in New York remain as the powerhouse of the Italian Mafia in the United States.-History:...

: the Gambino
Gambino crime family
The Gambino crime family is one of the "Five Families" that dominates organized crime activities in New York City, United States, within the nationwide criminal phenomenon known as the Mafia . The group is named after Carlo Gambino, boss of the family at the time of the McClellan hearings in 1963...

, Lucchese
Lucchese crime family
The Lucchese crime family is one of the "Five Families" that dominates organized crime activities in New York City, United States, within the nationwide criminal phenomenon known as the Mafia . The family originated in the early 1920s with Gaetano "Tommy" Reina serving as boss up until his murder...

, Genovese
Genovese crime family
The Genovese crime family , is one of the "Five Families" that dominates organized crime activities in New York City, United States, within the nationwide criminal phenomenon known as the Mafia . The Genovese crime family has been nicknamed the "Ivy League" and "Rolls Royce" of organized crime...

, Bonanno
Bonanno crime family
The Bonanno crime family is one of the "Five Families" that dominates organized crime activities in New York City, United States, within the nationwide criminal phenomenon known as the Mafia ....

 and Colombo
Colombo crime family
The Colombo crime family is the youngest of the "Five Families" that dominates organized crime activities in New York City, United States, within the nationwide criminal phenomenon known as the Mafia ....

 families. At its peak, the Mafia dominated organized crime in the U.S. It used to maintain control over much of the organized crime activity in the country. While each crime family operates independently, nationwide coordination is provided by the Commission
The Commission (mafia)
The Commission is the governing body of the American Mafia. Formed in 1931, the Commission replaced the "Boss of all Bosses" title, with a ruling committee, consisting of the New York Five Families bosses and the boss of the Chicago Outfit...

, which consists of the bosses of each of the strongest families.

Law enforcement still considers the Mafia the largest organized crime group in the United States. Today most of the Mafia's activities are contained to the Northeastern United States and Chicago where they continue to dominate organized crime despite the increasing numbers of street gang
Gang
A gang is a group of people who, through the organization, formation, and establishment of an assemblage, share a common identity. In current usage it typically denotes a criminal organization or else a criminal affiliation. In early usage, the word gang referred to a group of workmen...

s and other organizations that are not of Italian origin.

Usage of the term Mafia


The term Mafia was originally used in Italy by the media and law enforcment to describe criminal groups in Sicily. The origins of the term are debatable. Like the Sicilian Mafia, the American Mafia didn't use the term Mafia to describe itself. Neither group has a formal name for itself and instead used the term Cosa Nostra (Italian for our thing) when referring to themselves. When Italian immigrants started forming organized crime groups in America, the American press borrowed the term Mafia from Italy and used it to describe Italian organized crime groups.

Mafia properly refers to either the Sicilian or American Mafia. In modern usage, when referring to the Mafia, there may be several meanings, including a local area's Italian organized crime element, the Mafia family of a major city, the entire Mafia of the United States, or the original Sicilian Mafia. Widespread recognition of the word has led to its use in the names of other criminal organizations, such as Russian Mafia
Russian Mafia
The Russian Mafia is a name applied to organized crime syndicates in Russia and Ukraine. The mafia in various countries take the name of the country, as for example the Ukrainian mafia....

, Mexican Mafia
Mexican Mafia
The Mexican Mafia , also known as La Eme , 13 is a Mexican American criminal organization, and is one of the oldest and most powerful prison gangs in the United States.-Foundation:...

 or Jewish Mafia, as well as non-criminal organizations, such as the term Irish Mafia (not to be confused with the Irish Mob
Irish Mob
The Irish Mob is one of the oldest organized crime groups in the United States, in existence since the early 19th century. Originating in Irish American street gangs of the 19th century — depicted in Herbert Asbury's 1928 book The Gangs of New York — the Irish Mob has appeared in most...

, also referred to as the Irish Mafia), applied to John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

's political team.

Origins: The Black Hand


Mafia groups in the United States first became influential in the New York City area, gradually progressing from small neighborhood operations in poor Italian ghettos
Little Italy
Little Italy is a general name for an ethnic enclave populated primarily by Italians or people of Italian ancestry, usually in an urban neighborhood.-Canada:*Little Italy, Edmonton, in Alberta*Little Italy, Montreal, in Quebec...

 to citywide and eventually international organizations. The Black Hand was a name given to an extortion method used in Italian neighborhoods at the turn of the 20th century. It has been sometimes mistaken for the Mafia itself, which it is not. Giuseppe Esposito was the first known Sicilian Mafia member to emigrate to the United States. He and six other Sicilians fled to New York after murdering eleven wealthy landowners, and the chancellor and a vice chancellor of a Sicilian province. He was arrested in New Orleans in 1881 and extradited to Italy.

New Orleans was also the site of the first Mafia incident in the United States that received both national and international attention. On October 15, 1890, New Orleans Police Superintendent David Hennessy was murdered execution-style. It is still unclear whether Italian immigrants actually killed him or whether it was a frame-up against the reviled underclass immigrants. Hundreds of Sicilians were arrested on mostly baseless charges, and nineteen were eventually indicted for the murder. An acquittal followed, with rumors of bribed and intimidated witnesses. The outraged citizens of New Orleans organized a lynch
Lynching
Lynching is an extrajudicial execution carried out by a mob, often by hanging, but also by burning at the stake or shooting, in order to punish an alleged transgressor, or to intimidate, control, or otherwise manipulate a population of people. It is related to other means of social control that...

 mob after the acquittal, and proceeded to kill eleven of the nineteen defendants. Two were hanged, nine were shot, and the remaining eight escaped. The lynching was the largest mass lynching in American history.

From the 1890s to the 1900s in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, the Sicilian Mafia developed into the Five Points Gang
Five Points Gang
Five Points Gang was a 19th-century and early 20th-century criminal organization, primarily of Italian-American origins, based in the Sixth Ward of Manhattan, New York City. Since the early 19th century, the area was first known for gangs of Irish immigrants...

 and were very powerful in the Little Italy of the Lower East Side. They were often in conflict with the Jewish Eastmans of the same area. There was also an influential Mafia family in East Harlem. The Neapolitan Camorra was very active in Brooklyn, too. In Chicago, the 19th Ward, which was an Italian neighborhood, became known as the "Bloody Nineteenth" due to the frequent violence in the ward, mostly as a result of Mafia activity, feud
Feud
A feud , referred to in more extreme cases as a blood feud, vendetta, faida, or private war, is a long-running argument or fight between parties—often groups of people, especially families or clans. Feuds begin because one party perceives itself to have been attacked, insulted or wronged by another...

s, and vendettas.

Although the Black Hand was not a secret society, there were many small Black Hand gangs. Black Hand extortion was often viewed as the activity of a single organization because Black Hand criminals in Italian communities throughout the United States used the same methods of extortion.

Prohibition era




Mafia activities were restricted until 1920, when they exploded because of the introduction of Prohibition
Prohibition in the United States
Prohibition in the United States was a national ban on the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol, in place from 1920 to 1933. The ban was mandated by the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution, and the Volstead Act set down the rules for enforcing the ban, as well as defining which...

. An example of the spectacular rise of the Mafia due to Prohibition is Al Capone
Al Capone
Alphonse Gabriel "Al" Capone was an American gangster who led a Prohibition-era crime syndicate. The Chicago Outfit, which subsequently became known as the "Capones", was dedicated to smuggling and bootlegging liquor, and other illegal activities such as prostitution, in Chicago from the early...

's syndicate that "ruled" Chicago in the 1920s. Similar scenarios occurred in other US cities as Italian gangs fought each other and other ethnicities for control in the lucrative bootlegging rackets. Victorious factions would go on to dominate organized crime in their respective cities, setting up the family structure of each city. Despite alcohol production and consumption being made illegal, there was still a high demand for it from the public. This created an atmosphere that tolerated crime as a means to provide liquor to the public, even amongst the police and city politicians. The high demand and consumption made bootlegging the most lucrative crime and turned local criminal gangs into large crime syndicates. While illegal still
Still
A still is a permanent apparatus used to distill miscible or immiscible liquid mixtures by heating to selectively boil and then cooling to condense the vapor...

s were used to make alcohol, most of the country's illegal alcohol was imported from Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

. Further expanding the Mafia's power was Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....

 ruthlessly cracking down on the Mafia in Sicily during the 1920s, which led to many Mafiosi fleeing to the United States.

In New York City, by the end of the 1920s, two factions of organized crime had emerged to fight for control of the criminal underworld: one led by Joe Masseria
Joe Masseria
Giuseppe "Joe the Boss" Masseria was an early Mafia don in the United States. He was boss of what is now called the Genovese crime family, one of the New York Mafia's Five Families, from 1922 to 1931.-Early days:...

 and the other by Salvatore Maranzano
Salvatore Maranzano
Salvatore Maranzano was an organized crime figure from the town of Castellammare del Golfo, Sicily, and an early Cosa Nostra boss in the United States. He instigated the Castellammarese War to seize control of the American Mafia operations, and briefly became the Mafia's "Boss of Bosses"...

. This caused the Castellammarese War
Castellammarese War
The Castellammarese War was a bloody power struggle for control of the Italian-American Mafia between partisans of Joe "The Boss" Masseria and those of Salvatore Maranzano. It was so called because Maranzano was based in Castellammare del Golfo, Sicily...

, which led to Masseria's murder in 1931. Maranzano then divided New York City into five families
Five Families
The Five Families are the five original Italian-American Mafia crime families which have dominated organized crime in America since 1931. The Five Families in New York remain as the powerhouse of the Italian Mafia in the United States.-History:...

. Maranzano, the first leader of the American Mafia, established the code of conduct for the organization, set up the "family" divisions and structure, and established procedures for resolving disputes. One unique creation of Maranzano's was setting himself up as Boss of All Bosses
Capo di tutti capi
Capo di tutti capi or capo dei capi is Italian for "boss of all bosses" or "boss of bosses". It is a phrase used mainly by the media, public and the law enforcement community to indicate a supremely powerful crime boss in the Sicilian or American Mafia who holds great influence over the whole...

 and requiring all families to pay tribute to him. Such a position had never been done before in America or Sicily. This was received negatively by his men and Maranzano was himself murdered within six months, on the orders of Charles "Lucky" Luciano
Lucky Luciano
Charlie "Lucky" Luciano was an Italian mobster born in Sicily. Luciano is considered the father of modern organized crime in the United States for splitting New York City into five different Mafia crime families and the establishment of the first commission...

. Luciano was a former Masseria underling who had earlier worked with Maranzano to assassinate Masseria and switched sides to Maranzano.

The Commission



Instead of ruling as Boss of All Bosses, Luciano set up the Commission
The Commission (mafia)
The Commission is the governing body of the American Mafia. Formed in 1931, the Commission replaced the "Boss of all Bosses" title, with a ruling committee, consisting of the New York Five Families bosses and the boss of the Chicago Outfit...

, where the bosses of the most powerful families would have equal say and vote on important matters and solve disputes between families. This group ruled over the National Crime Syndicate
National Crime Syndicate
The National Crime Syndicate was the name given by the press to a loosely-organized multi-ethnic organized crime syndicate. Its origins are uncertain....

 and brought in an era of peace and prosperity for the American Mafia. By mid-century, there were 26 official Commission sanctioned Mafia crime families, each based in a different city (except for the Five Families
Five Families
The Five Families are the five original Italian-American Mafia crime families which have dominated organized crime in America since 1931. The Five Families in New York remain as the powerhouse of the Italian Mafia in the United States.-History:...

 which were all based in New York). Each family operated independently from each other and generally had exclusive territory they controlled. As opposed to the older generation of "Mustache Pete
Mustache Pete
Mustache Petes was the name given to members of the Sicilian Mafia who came to the United States as adults in the early 1900s.-History:...

s" such as Maranzano and Masseria, who usually only worked with fellow Italians, the "Young Turks" lead by Luciano were more open to working with other groups, most notably the Jewish-American criminal syndicates
Jewish-American organized crime
Jewish-American organized crime , emerged during the late 19th century and early 20th century....

 to achieve greater profits. The Mafia thrived by following a strict set of rules that called for an organized hierarchical structure and a code of silence that forbade its members from cooperating with the police (Omertà
Omertà
Omertà is a popular attitude and code of honour and a common definition is the "code of silence". It is common in areas of southern Italy, such as Sicily, Apulia, Calabria, and Campania, where criminal organizations defined as Mafia such as the Cosa Nostra, 'Ndrangheta, Sacra Corona Unita, and...

). Failure to follow any of these rules is punishable by death.

The rise of power that the Mafia acquired during prohibition would continue long after alcohol was made legal again. Criminal empires which had expanded on bootleg money would find other avenues within to continue making large sums of money. When alcohol ceased to be prohibited in 1933, the Mafia diversified its money-making criminal actives to include (both old and new): illegal gambling operations, loan sharking, extortion, protection racket
Protection racket
A protection racket is an extortion scheme whereby a criminal group or individual coerces a victim to pay money, supposedly for protection services against violence or property damage. Racketeers coerce reticent potential victims into buying "protection" by demonstrating what will happen if they...

s, drug trafficking, fencing
Fence (criminal)
A fence is an individual who knowingly buys stolen property for later resale, sometimes in a legitimate market. The fence thus acts as a middleman between thieves and the eventual buyers of stolen goods who may or may not be aware that the goods are stolen. As a verb, the word describes the...

, and labor racketeering through control of labor unions. In the mid-20th century, the Mafia was reputed to have infiltrated many labor unions in the United States, most notably the Teamsters
Teamsters
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters is a labor union in the United States and Canada. Formed in 1903 by the merger of several local and regional locals of teamsters, the union now represents a diverse membership of blue-collar and professional workers in both the public and private sectors....

 and International Longshoremen's Association
International Longshoremen's Association
The International Longshoremen's Association is a labor union representing longshore workers along the East Coast of the United States and Canada, the Gulf Coast, the Great Lakes, Puerto Rico, and inland waterways...

. This allowed crime families to make inlays into very profitable legitimate businesses such as construction, demolition, waste management, trucking, and in the waterfront and garment industry. In addition they could raid the unions' welfare, health and pension funds, extort businesses with threats of a workers strike and participate in bid rigging
Bid rigging
Bid rigging is a form of fraud in which a commercial contract is promised to one party even though for the sake of appearance several other parties also present a bid. This form of collusion is illegal in most countries...

. In New York City, most construction projects could not be performed without the Five Families
Five Families
The Five Families are the five original Italian-American Mafia crime families which have dominated organized crime in America since 1931. The Five Families in New York remain as the powerhouse of the Italian Mafia in the United States.-History:...

' approval. In the port
Port
A port is a location on a coast or shore containing one or more harbors where ships can dock and transfer people or cargo to or from land....

 and loading dock
Loading dock
A loading dock is a recessed bay in a building or facility where trucks are loaded and unloaded. They are commonly found on commercial and industrial buildings, and warehouses in particular....

 industries, the Mafia bribed union members to tip them off to valuable items being brought in. Mobsters would than steal these products, pay off security, then sell the stolen merchandise
Fence (criminal)
A fence is an individual who knowingly buys stolen property for later resale, sometimes in a legitimate market. The fence thus acts as a middleman between thieves and the eventual buyers of stolen goods who may or may not be aware that the goods are stolen. As a verb, the word describes the...

.

Meyer Lanksy made inroards into the casino industry in Cuba during the 1930s while the Mafia was already involved in exporting Cuban sugar and rum. When his friend Fulgencio Batista
Fulgencio Batista
Fulgencio Batista y Zaldívar was the United States-aligned Cuban President, dictator and military leader who served as the leader of Cuba from 1933 to 1944 and from 1952 to 1959, before being overthrown as a result of the Cuban Revolution....

 became president of Cuba in 1952, several Mafia bosses were able to make legitimate investiments in legalized casinos. One estimate of the number of casinos mobsters owned was no less than 19. However, when Batista was overthrown following the Cuban Revolution
Cuban Revolution
The Cuban Revolution was an armed revolt by Fidel Castro's 26th of July Movement against the regime of Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista between 1953 and 1959. Batista was finally ousted on 1 January 1959, and was replaced by a revolutionary government led by Castro...

, his successor Fidel Castro
Fidel Castro
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz is a Cuban revolutionary and politician, having held the position of Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976, and then President from 1976 to 2008. He also served as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from the party's foundation in 1961 until 2011...

 banned American investment in the country, putting an end to the Mafia's presence in Cuba. Las Vegas
Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Nevada and is also the county seat of Clark County, Nevada. Las Vegas is an internationally renowned major resort city for gambling, shopping, and fine dining. The city bills itself as The Entertainment Capital of the World, and is famous...

 was seen as an "open city" where any family can work. Due to Nevada legalizing gambling, the casino industry became very popular in Las Vegas and mobsters were quick to take advantage. Since the 1940s, Mafia families from New York, Cleveland, Kansas City, Milwaukee and Chicago had interests in Las Vegas casinos. They got loans from the Teamsters
Teamsters
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters is a labor union in the United States and Canada. Formed in 1903 by the merger of several local and regional locals of teamsters, the union now represents a diverse membership of blue-collar and professional workers in both the public and private sectors....

' pension fund, a union they effectively controlled, and used legitimate front men to build casinos. When money came in to the counting room
Count room
A count room or counting room is a room that is designed and equipped for the purpose of counting large volumes of currency. Count rooms are operated by central banks and casinos, as well as some large banks and armored car companies that transport currency.A count room may be divided into two...

, hired men skimmed
Skimming (casinos)
"In May of 1963...the FBI turned over to the Justice Department a two-volume document called "The Skimming Report," which detailed the illegal siphoning off of gambling profits by Las Vegas casinos to avoid taxes." The report documented how pre-tax profits from casinos were being routed to various...

 millions of dollars in cash before it was recorded, then delivered it to their respective bosses. This money went unrecorded, but the amount is estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Operating in the shadows, the Mafia faced little opposition from law enforcement. Local law enforcement agencies did not have the resources or knowledge to effectively combat organized crime committed by a secret society they were unaware existed. Many people within police forces and courts were simply bribed, while witness intimidation was also common. In 1951, a U.S. Senate committee called the Kefauver Hearings determined that a "sinister criminal organization" known as the Mafia operated in the nation. Many suspected mobsters were subpoenaed for questioning, but few testified and none gave any meaningful information. In 1957, New York State Police uncovered a meeting and arrested major figures from around the country in Apalachin, New York
Apalachin, New York
Apalachin is a census-designated place within the Town of Owego in Tioga County, New York, United States. The population was 1,126 in the 2000 census. It is named after the Apalachin Creek. Apalachin means From where the messenger returned in the Lenape.Apalachin is in the southeast part of the...

. The event (dubbed the "Apalachin Meeting
Apalachin Meeting
The Apalachin Meeting was a historic summit of the American Mafia held on November 14, 1957, at the home of mobster Joseph "Joe the Barber" Barbara in Apalachin, New York. The meeting was attended by roughly 100 Mafiosi from the United States, Canada, and Italy...

") forced the FBI to recognize organized crime as a serious problem in the United States and changed the way law enforcement investigated it. In 1963, Joe Valachi
Joe Valachi
Joseph "Joe Cargo" Valachi , Italian American, also known as "Charles Chanbano" and "Anthony Sorge" was the first Mafia member to publicly acknowledge the existence of the Mafia. He is also the person who made Cosa Nostra a household name.-Career:Joseph Valachi was born in East Harlem, New York...

 became the first Mafia member to turn state's evidence
Turn state's evidence
To turn state's evidence is when an accused or convicted criminal testifies as a witness for the state against his associates or accomplices. Turning state's evidence is occasionally a result of a change of heart or feelings of guilt, but more often is done in response to a generous offer from the...

, and provided deatailed information of the its inner workings and secrets. More importantly, he revealed Mafia's existence to the law, which enabled the Federal Bureau of Investigations to begin an aggressive assault on the Mafia's National Crime Syndicate. Following Valachi's testimony, the Mafia could no longer operate completely in the shadows. The FBI put a lot more effort and resources into organized crime actives nation-wide and created the Organized Crime Strike Force
United States Organized Crime Strike Force
The United States Organized Crime Strike Force was created in the late 1960s for the purpose of finding and stopping illegal racketeering. It was formed in a congressional effort led by Robert Kennedy....

 in various cities. However, while all this created more pressure on the Mafia, it did little to curb their criminal activities. Success was made in the beginning of the 1980s, when the FBI was able to rid Las Vegas casinos of Mafia control and made a determined effort to loosen the Mafia's stronghold on labor unions.

RICO Act



When the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act
Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act
The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly referred to as the RICO Act or simply RICO, is a United States federal law that provides for extended criminal penalties and a civil cause of action for acts performed as part of an ongoing criminal organization...

 (RICO Act) became federal law, it became a highly effective tool in prosecuting mobsters. It provides for extended criminal penalties for acts performed as part of an ongoing criminal organization. Violation of the act is punishable by up to 20 years in prison per count. The RICO Act has proven to be very powerful weapon, because it attacks the entire corrupt entity instead of individuals who can easily be replaced with other organized crime members. Between 1981 and 1992, 23 bosses from around the country were convicted under the law while between 1981 and 1988, 13 underbosses and 43 captains were convicted. While this significantly crippled many Mafia families around the country, the most powerful families continued to dominate crime in their territories, even if the new laws put more mobsters in jail and made it harder to operate. With Sammy Gravano
Sammy Gravano
Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano is a former underboss of the Gambino crime family. He is known as the man who helped bring down John Gotti, the family's boss, by agreeing to become a Federal Bureau of Investigation informant and turn state's evidence.Originally a mobster for the Colombo crime...

 agreeing to cooperate with the FBI and turn state's evidence in 1991, he helped the FBI convict top Mafia leaders in New York. Although not the first Mafia member to testify against his peers, such a powerful mobster agreeing to do so set a precedence for waves of mobsters thereafter to break the code of silence to do the same; giving up information and testifying in exchange for immunity from prosecution for their crimes. Aside from avoiding long prison stretches, the FBI could put mobsters in the United States Federal Witness Protection Program
United States Federal Witness Protection Program
The United States Federal Witness Protection Program is a witness protection program administered by the United States Department of Justice and operated by the United States Marshals Service that is designed to protect threatened witnesses before, during, and after a trial.A few states, including...

, changing their identities and supporting them financially for life. This led to dozens of mobsters testifying and providing information during the 1990s, which led to hundreds of mobsters put in prison. As a result, the Mafia saw a major decline in power and influence in organized crime since the 1990s.

In the 21st century, the Mafia has continued to be involved in a broad spectrum of illegal activities. These include murder, extortion, corruption of public officials, gambling, infiltration of legitimate businesses, labor racketeering, loan sharking, tax fraud schemes and stock manipulation schemes. Another factor contributing to the Mafia's downfall is the assimilation
Cultural assimilation
Cultural assimilation is a socio-political response to demographic multi-ethnicity that supports or promotes the assimilation of ethnic minorities into the dominant culture. The term assimilation is often used with regard to immigrants and various ethnic groups who have settled in a new land. New...

 of Italian Americans, which left a shallower recruitment pool of new mobsters. Although the Mafia used to be nationwide, today most of its activities are confined to the Northeast and Chicago. While other criminal organizations such as Russian Mafia
Russian Mafia
The Russian Mafia is a name applied to organized crime syndicates in Russia and Ukraine. The mafia in various countries take the name of the country, as for example the Ukrainian mafia....

, Chinese Triad, Mexican drug cartel
Drug cartel
Drug cartels are criminal organizations developed with the primary purpose of promoting and controlling drug trafficking operations. They range from loosely managed agreements among various drug traffickers to formalized commercial enterprises. The term was applied when the largest trafficking...

s and others have all grabbed a share of criminal activities, the Mafia continues to be the dominant criminal organization in these regions, partly due to its strict hierarchical
Hierarchy
A hierarchy is an arrangement of items in which the items are represented as being "above," "below," or "at the same level as" one another...

 structure. Law enforcement is concerned with the possible resurgence of the Mafia as it regroups from the turmoil of the 1990s and the FBI and local law enforcement agencies focus more on homeland security and away from organized crime since the September 11 attacks. In 2002 the FBI estimated that the Mafia earns $50–$90 billion a year. To avoid FBI attention and prosecution, the modern Mafia also outsources a lot of its work to other criminal groups, such as motorcycle gangs.

Structure



The American Mafia operates on a strict hierarchical structure. While similar to its Sicilian origins, the American Mafia's modern organizational structure was created by Salvatore Maranzano in 1931. All inducted members of the Mafia are called "made" men
Made man
A made man, also known as a Mafioso , made guy, man of honor, or uomo d'onore , is someone who has been officially inducted into the Sicilian or American Mafia . They may also be referred to by some as a goodfella or wiseguy...

. This signifies that they are untouchable in the criminal underworld and any harm brought to them will be met with retaliation. With the exception of associates, all mobsters are "made" official members of a crime family. The three highest positions make up the administration. Below the administration, there are factions each headed by a caporegime (captain), who lead a crew of soldiers and associates. They report to the administration and can be seen as equivalent to managers in a business. When a boss makes a decision, he rarely issues orders directly to workers who would carry it out, but instead passed instructions down through the chain of command
Chain of Command
Chain of Command may refer to:* Chain of command, in a military context, the line of authority and responsibility along which orders are passed* "Chain of Command" , the fifth episode of the first season of Beast Wars...

. This way, the higher levels of the organization are insulated from law enforcement attention if the lower level members who actually commit the crime should be captured or investigated. This provides what the intelligence community
United States Intelligence Community
The United States Intelligence Community is a cooperative federation of 16 separate United States government agencies that work separately and together to conduct intelligence activities considered necessary for the conduct of foreign relations and the protection of the national security of the...

 calls plausible deniability
Plausible deniability
Plausible deniability is, at root, credible ability to deny a fact or allegation, or to deny previous knowledge of a fact. The term most often refers to the denial of blame in chains of command, where upper rungs quarantine the blame to the lower rungs, and the lower rungs are often inaccessible,...

.

More recently, some families have used two new positions in the family leadership: the family messenger and street boss. These positions were created by former Genovese leader Vincent Gigante
Vincent Gigante
Vincent Gigante was a short lived professional light heavyweight boxer who was known as "The Chin" Gigante. He fought 25 matches and lost four, boxing 121 rounds. On February 19, 1945, he fought Pete Petrello in Madison Square Garden and won by a knock out in the second round. During his successful...

.
  • Boss — The boss
    Crime boss
    A crime boss or boss is a person in charge of a criminal organization. A boss typically has absolute or near-absolute control over his subordinates, is greatly feared by his subordinates for his ruthlessness and willingness to take lives in order to exert his influence, and profits come from the...

     is the head of the family, usually reigning as a dictator, sometimes called the Don or "Godfather". The boss receives a cut of every operation taken on by every member of his family. Depending on the family, the boss may be chosen by a vote from the Caporegimes of the family. In the event of a tie, the Underboss must vote. In the past, all the members of a family voted on the boss, but by the late 1950s, any gathering such as that usually attracted too much attention. In practice many of these elections are foregone conclusions such as that of John Gotti
    John Gotti
    John Joseph Gotti, Jr was an American mobster who became the Boss of the Gambino crime family in New York City. Gotti grew up in poverty. He and his brothers turned to a life of crime at an early age...

     in 1986. According to Sammy Gravano
    Sammy Gravano
    Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano is a former underboss of the Gambino crime family. He is known as the man who helped bring down John Gotti, the family's boss, by agreeing to become a Federal Bureau of Investigation informant and turn state's evidence.Originally a mobster for the Colombo crime...

     a meeting was held in a basement during which all capos were searched and Gotti's men stood ominously behind him. He was then proclaimed boss.
  • Underboss — The underboss
    Underboss
    Underboss is a position within the leadership structure of Sicilian and American Mafia crime families. The underboss is second in command to the boss...

    , usually appointed by the boss, is the second in command of the family. The underboss often runs the day-to-day responsibilities of the family or oversees its most lucrative rackets. They usually get a percentage of the family's income from the bosses cut. The underboss is usually first in line to become acting boss if the boss is imprisoned, while also frequently seen as a logical successor.
  • Consigliere — The consigliere
    Consigliere
    Consigliere is a position within the leadership structure of Sicilian and American Mafia crime families. The word was popularized by Mario Puzo's novel The Godfather , and its film adaptation...

     is an advisor to the family and sometimes seen as the Boss's "right-hand man". They are used as a mediator of disputes, representatives or aides in meetings with other families. In practice the consigliere is normally the third ranking member of the administration of a family and was traditionally a senior member familiar with how the organization is run. A Boss will often appoint someone close to him who they trust as their consigliere.
  • Caporegime (or capo) — A caporegime
    Caporegime
    A caporegime or capodecina, usually shortened to just a capo, is a term used in the Mafia for a high ranking made member of a crime family who heads a "crew" of soldiers and has major social status and influence in the organization...

     (also captain or skipper) is in charge of a crew; a group of soldiers who report directly to him. Each crew usually contains 10-20 soldiers and many more associates. A capo is appointed by the boss and reports to him or the underboss. A captain gives a percentage of his (and his underlings) earnings to the boss and is also responsible for any tasks assigned, including murder. In labor racketeering it is usually a capo who controls the infiltration of union locals. If a Capo becomes powerful enough he can sometimes wield more power than some of his superiors. In cases like Anthony Corallo
    Anthony Corallo
    Anthony "Tony Ducks" Corallo was a New York City mobster and boss of the Lucchese crime family.-Early life:...

     they might even overstep the Mafia structure and lead the family when the boss dies.
  • Soldier (Soldato in Italian) — A soldier
    Soldato
    A Soldato is the lowest level of the formal Mafia hierarchy, both in America and in Sicily. However, a soldier is much greater in rank and prestige than any ordinary associate of the crime family. In order to become a soldier, the primary requisite for an associate is to become a made man...

     is a member of the family, and traditionally can only be of full Italian background (although today many families require men to be of only half Italian descent on their father's side). Once a member is made he is untouchable, meaning permission from a soldier's boss must be given before he is murdered. When the books are open, meaning that a family is accepting new members, a Capo (or several Capos) may recommend an up-and-coming associate to be a new soldier. Soldiers are the main workers of the family, usually committing crimes like assault, murder, extortion, intimidation, etc. In return, they are given profitable rackets to run by their superiors and have full access to their family's connections and power.

  • Associate — An associate is not a member of the Mafia, but works for a crime family none-the-less. An associate can include a wide range of people who work for the family. This is where prospective mobsters ("connected guys") start out to prove their worth. Once a crime family is accepting new membership, the best associates are evaluated and picked to become soldiers. An associate can have a wide range of duties from virtually carrying out the same duties as a soldier to being a simple errand boy. They are usually a go-between or sometimes deal in drugs to keep the heat off the actual members, or they can be people the family does business with (restaurant owners, etc.) In other cases, an associate might be a corrupt labor union delegate or businessman. Non-Italians will never go any further than this, although many like Meyer Lansky
    Meyer Lansky
    Meyer Lansky , known as the "Mob's Accountant", was a Polish-born American organized crime figure who, along with his associate Charles "Lucky" Luciano, was instrumental in the development of the "National Crime Syndicate" in the United States...

    , Murray Humphreys
    Murray Humphreys
    Llewelyn Morris Humphreys , was a Chicago mobster of Welsh descent who was the chief political and labor racketeer in the Chicago Outfit during Prohibition...

    , and James Burke wielded extreme power within their respective crime families.

Rituals


The initiation ritual emerged from various sources, such as Roman Catholic confraternities and Masonic Lodges
Freemasonry
Freemasonry is a fraternal organisation that arose from obscure origins in the late 16th to early 17th century. Freemasonry now exists in various forms all over the world, with a membership estimated at around six million, including approximately 150,000 under the jurisdictions of the Grand Lodge...

 in mid-nineteenth century Sicily and has hardly changed to this day. The Chief of Police of Palermo in 1875 reported that the man of honor to be initiated would be led into the presence of a group of bosses and underbosses. One of these men would prick the initiate's arm or hand and tell him to smear the blood onto a sacred image, usually a saint. The oath of loyalty would be taken as the image was burned and scattered, thus symbolising the annihilation of traitors. This was confirmed by the first pentito
Pentito
Pentito designates people in Italy who, formerly part of criminal or terrorist organizations, following their arrests decide to "repent" and collaborate with the judicial system to help investigations...

, Tommaso Buscetta
Tommaso Buscetta
Tommaso Buscetta was a Sicilian mafioso. Although he was not the first pentito in the Italian witness protection program, he is widely recognized as the first important one breaking omertà...

.

A hit, or assassination, of a "made" man had to be approved by the leadership of his family, or retaliatory hits would be made, possibly inciting a war. In a state of war, families would "go to the mattresses" — an Italian phrase which roughly meant to go into battle.

Mafia rules and customs


In order to be invited into the American Mafia and become a member one must perform a series of tasks, such as committing murder for the family and not for one's own personal benefit. When the boss decides to let a member into the family one will be part of a ceremony, involving the drawing of blood, swearing an oath over a gun or holy picture, and obeying the rules of the organization. In New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, the Mafia created customs and traditions which the members have to follow. If one breaks any of the rules they can be killed by another member of the family and usually the murder is committed by the people closest to that person.Rabb, Selwyn. "Five Families: The Rise, Decline and Resurgence of Americas Most Powerful Mafia Empires." (pg. 7-8) books.google.com
  1. "Omertà
    Omertà
    Omertà is a popular attitude and code of honour and a common definition is the "code of silence". It is common in areas of southern Italy, such as Sicily, Apulia, Calabria, and Campania, where criminal organizations defined as Mafia such as the Cosa Nostra, 'Ndrangheta, Sacra Corona Unita, and...

    "
    - is the oath or "code of silence", never talk to the authorities.
  2. "Ethnicity" - only men of Italian descent are allowed to become full members (made man
    Made man
    A made man, also known as a Mafioso , made guy, man of honor, or uomo d'onore , is someone who has been officially inducted into the Sicilian or American Mafia . They may also be referred to by some as a goodfella or wiseguy...

    ) Associates, partners, allies etc. have no ethnic limits
  3. "Family secrets" - members are not allowed to talk about family business to non-members.
  4. "Blood for blood" - if a family member is killed (by another member) no one can commit murder (in revenge) until the boss gives permission.
  5. "No fighting among members" - from fist fights to knife fights.
  6. "Tribute" - every month; member must pay the boss; also giving the boss a cut on any side deals.
  7. "Adultery" - members are not allowed to commit adultery with another family member’s wife.
  8. "No facial hair" - members were not allowed to grow mustaches; part of the Mustache Pete
    Mustache Pete
    Mustache Petes was the name given to members of the Sicilian Mafia who came to the United States as adults in the early 1900s.-History:...

     way.


Homosexuality
Homosexuality
Homosexuality is romantic or sexual attraction or behavior between members of the same sex or gender. As a sexual orientation, homosexuality refers to "an enduring pattern of or disposition to experience sexual, affectional, or romantic attractions" primarily or exclusively to people of the same...

 is reportedly incompatible with the American Mafia code of conduct. In 1992, John D'Amato
John D'Amato
John "Johnny Boy" D'Amato was a New Jersey mobster and former Acting boss of the DeCavalcante crime family. After being recruited by Gambino crime family Boss John Gotti to take over the family, and amidst rumors that he was homosexual, D'Amato was murdered in January 1992.- Captain :After being...

, acting boss of the DeCavalcante family, was killed when the family learned of his sexual relationships with other men.

Symbolism in murders

  • For allowing undercover FBI agent Joseph D. Pistone
    Joseph D. Pistone
    Joseph Dominick Pistone, alias Donnie Brasco, , is a former FBI agent who worked undercover for six years infiltrating the Bonanno crime family and to a lesser extent the Colombo crime family, two of the Five Families of the Mafia in New York City...

     to infiltrate the Bonanno crime family
    Bonanno crime family
    The Bonanno crime family is one of the "Five Families" that dominates organized crime activities in New York City, United States, within the nationwide criminal phenomenon known as the Mafia ....

     caporegime Dominic Napolitano had his hands severed after he was killed. This was because he had Pistone shake hands and introduced to others as a "friend of ours" or a made man when he was not.
  • In the murder of Lucchese crime family
    Lucchese crime family
    The Lucchese crime family is one of the "Five Families" that dominates organized crime activities in New York City, United States, within the nationwide criminal phenomenon known as the Mafia . The family originated in the early 1920s with Gaetano "Tommy" Reina serving as boss up until his murder...

     soldier Bruno Facciolo, a dead canary was stuffed into his mouth after he was shot to death.
  • On April 18, 1980, Philadelphia Mafia Consigliere Antonio Caponigro
    Antonio Caponigro
    Antonio Rocco Caponigro , also known as Tony Bananas, was the consigliere of Angelo Bruno in the Bruno crime family. He is known for ending the peaceful Bruno regime by ordering his murder over a dispute concerning the methamphetamine trade.-Early life:Caponigro was born in Chicago, Illinois on...

     had Angelo Bruno killed without the approval of The Commission
    The Commission (mafia)
    The Commission is the governing body of the American Mafia. Formed in 1931, the Commission replaced the "Boss of all Bosses" title, with a ruling committee, consisting of the New York Five Families bosses and the boss of the Chicago Outfit...

    . Caponigro and his brother-in-law Alfred Salerno were taken to an isolated house in upstate New York and tortured before being killed. Salerno had been shot three times behind the right ear and once behind the left ear. The autopsy showed that a rope had been tied around his neck, wrists, and ankles, and most of his neck and face bones shattered. Caponigro had been suffocated, beaten, repeatedly stabbed and shot, and was found in a garbage bag. Around $300 was stuffed up Caponigro's rectum as a sign that he had become greedy.

List of Mafia families


Note that the Mafia has members, associates, and families in others region as well. The organization is not limited to these regions. Many of these families have influence in other U.S. states, cities, and areas also.
  • Buffalo, New York
    Buffalo, New York
    Buffalo is the second most populous city in the state of New York, after New York City. Located in Western New York on the eastern shores of Lake Erie and at the head of the Niagara River across from Fort Erie, Ontario, Buffalo is the seat of Erie County and the principal city of the...

     (Buffalo crime family
    Buffalo crime family
    The Buffalo crime family, also known as the Magaddino crime family and The Arm, is an Italian American criminal organization based in Buffalo, United States. As part of the American Mafia the family operates throughout Western New York and Canada.The Buffalo crime family, gained power during the...

    )
  • Chicago, Illinois
    Chicago
    Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

     (Chicago Outfit
    Chicago Outfit
    The Chicago Outfit, also known as the Chicago Syndicate or Chicago Mob and sometimes shortened to simply the Outfit, is a crime syndicate based in Chicago, Illinois, USA...

    )
  • Cleveland, Ohio (Cleveland crime family)
  • Dallas, Texas (Dallas crime family
    Dallas crime family
    The Dallas crime family is an American Mafia crime family based in Dallas, Texas. It was one of the member families of The Commission, the network of American Mafia families organized by Charles "Lucky" Luciano in 1931.-Early history:...

    )
  • Detroit, Michigan (Detroit Partnership
    Detroit Partnership
    The Detroit Partnership, also known as the Detroit crime family, Detroit Combination, Detroit Mafia, Detroit Outfit or Zerilli crime family is an American Mafia crime family based in Detroit, Michigan...

    )
  • Kansas City, Missouri
    Kansas City, Missouri
    Kansas City, Missouri is the largest city in the U.S. state of Missouri and is the anchor city of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area, the second largest metropolitan area in Missouri. It encompasses in parts of Jackson, Clay, Cass, and Platte counties...

     (Kansas City crime family
    Kansas City crime family
    The Kansas City crime family, also known as the Civella crime family, is a Mafia family based in Kansas City, Missouri.-Early history:...

    )
  • Los Angeles, California
    Los Ángeles
    Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

     (Los Angeles crime family
    Los Angeles crime family
    The Los Angeles crime family is an Italian American criminal organization based in Los Angeles, as part of the American Mafia . Since its inception in the early 1900s, it has spread throughout Southern California. Like most Mafia families in the United States, the L.A. family gained power...

    )
  • Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Milwaukee crime family
    Milwaukee crime family
    The Milwaukee crime family is an American Mafia crime family based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The crime family was considered a branch of the Chicago Outfit. The family's most influential boss was Frank "Mr. Big" Balistrieri, who was greatly involved in the Las Vegas skimming casinos...

    )
  • New England
    New England
    New England is a region in the northeastern corner of the United States consisting of the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut...

     (Patriarca crime family
    Patriarca crime family
    The Patriarca crime family, also known as the New England crime family and the Providence crime family, is an Italian-American organized crime syndicate based in New England, specifically Providence, Rhode Island and Boston, Massachusetts, and is part of the Italian-American Mafia or "La Cosa Nostra"...

    )
  • New Jersey
    New Jersey
    New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

     (DeCavalcante crime family
    DeCavalcante crime family
    The DeCavalcante crime family is an organized crime family that controls organized crime activities in Elizabeth, New Jersey and surrounding areas in the state, despite operating on the other side of the Hudson River in New York, within the nationwide criminal phenomenon known as the American Mafia...

    )
  • New Orleans, Louisiana (New Orleans crime family
    New Orleans crime family
    The New Orleans crime family is one of the oldest American criminal organizations in activity. It is based in New Orleans and parts of southern Louisiana in the United States. Its status today is unknown, as it remained in the shadows since 1993...

    )
  • New York, New York
    New York City
    New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

     (The Five Families
    Five Families
    The Five Families are the five original Italian-American Mafia crime families which have dominated organized crime in America since 1931. The Five Families in New York remain as the powerhouse of the Italian Mafia in the United States.-History:...

    )
    • Bonanno crime family
      Bonanno crime family
      The Bonanno crime family is one of the "Five Families" that dominates organized crime activities in New York City, United States, within the nationwide criminal phenomenon known as the Mafia ....

    • Colombo crime family
      Colombo crime family
      The Colombo crime family is the youngest of the "Five Families" that dominates organized crime activities in New York City, United States, within the nationwide criminal phenomenon known as the Mafia ....

    • Gambino crime family
      Gambino crime family
      The Gambino crime family is one of the "Five Families" that dominates organized crime activities in New York City, United States, within the nationwide criminal phenomenon known as the Mafia . The group is named after Carlo Gambino, boss of the family at the time of the McClellan hearings in 1963...

    • Genovese crime family
      Genovese crime family
      The Genovese crime family , is one of the "Five Families" that dominates organized crime activities in New York City, United States, within the nationwide criminal phenomenon known as the Mafia . The Genovese crime family has been nicknamed the "Ivy League" and "Rolls Royce" of organized crime...

    • Lucchese crime family
      Lucchese crime family
      The Lucchese crime family is one of the "Five Families" that dominates organized crime activities in New York City, United States, within the nationwide criminal phenomenon known as the Mafia . The family originated in the early 1920s with Gaetano "Tommy" Reina serving as boss up until his murder...

  • Northeastern Pennsylvania
    Northeastern Pennsylvania
    Northeastern Pennsylvania is a geographic region of Pennsylvania that includes the Pocono Mountains, the Endless Mountains and the industrial cities of Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Pittston, Hazleton and Carbondale....

     (Bufalino crime family
    Bufalino crime family
    The Bufalino crime family, also known as the Pittston crime family, or the Scranton Wilkes-Barre family, was an American Mafia crime family active in Northeastern Pennsylvania cities of Scranton, Wilkes-Barre and Pittston...

    )
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Philadelphia crime family
    Philadelphia crime family
    The Philadelphia crime family, also known as the Scarfo crime family, Bruno crime family, Philadelphia Mafia, or Philly Mob, is an Italian American criminal organization based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is one of the most active American Mafia families outside of the Five Families of New York...

    )
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh crime family
    Pittsburgh crime family
    The Pittsburgh crime family, also known as the LaRocca crime family, is an American Mafia crime family based in Pittsburgh, United States.-Prohibition era:...

    )
  • Rochester, New York
    Rochester, New York
    Rochester is a city in Monroe County, New York, south of Lake Ontario in the United States. Known as The World's Image Centre, it was also once known as The Flour City, and more recently as The Flower City...

     (Rochester crime family
    Rochester Crime Family
    The Rochester crime family was a criminal organization based in Rochester, New York. It was considered a part of the American Cosa Nostra, also known as the Mafia.-History:...

    )
  • St. Louis, Missouri
    St. Louis, Missouri
    St. Louis is an independent city on the eastern border of Missouri, United States. With a population of 319,294, it was the 58th-largest U.S. city at the 2010 U.S. Census. The Greater St...

     (St. Louis crime family
    St. Louis crime family
    The St. Louis crime family, also known as the Giordano crime family, is an American Mafia crime family based in St. Louis, Missouri, United States.-Prohibition era:...

    )
  • Tampa, Florida
    Tampa, Florida
    Tampa is a city in the U.S. state of Florida. It serves as the county seat for Hillsborough County. Tampa is located on the west coast of Florida. The population of Tampa in 2010 was 335,709....

     (Trafficante crime family
    Trafficante crime family
    The Trafficante crime family better known as the Tampa Mafia, is the only original Mafia crime family in the state of Florida.-Tampa's underworld:...

    )

During World War II


U.S. Naval Intelligence entered into an agreement with Lucky Luciano
Lucky Luciano
Charlie "Lucky" Luciano was an Italian mobster born in Sicily. Luciano is considered the father of modern organized crime in the United States for splitting New York City into five different Mafia crime families and the establishment of the first commission...

 to gain his assistance in keeping the New York waterfront free from saboteurs after the destruction of the SS Normandie
SS Normandie
SS Normandie was an ocean liner built in Saint-Nazaire, France for the French Line Compagnie Générale Transatlantique. She entered service in 1935 as the largest and fastest passenger ship afloat; she is still the most powerful steam turbo-electric-propelled passenger ship ever built.Her novel...

.

Plots to assassinate Fidel Castro


In August 1960, Colonel Sheffield Edwards, director of the Office of Security of the Central Intelligence Agency
Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

 (CIA), proposed the assassination of Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

n head of state Fidel Castro
Fidel Castro
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz is a Cuban revolutionary and politician, having held the position of Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976, and then President from 1976 to 2008. He also served as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from the party's foundation in 1961 until 2011...

 by Mafia assassins. Between August 1960 and April 1961, the CIA, with the help of the Mafia, pursued a series of plots to poison or shoot Castro. Those allegedly involved included Sam Giancana
Sam Giancana
Salvatore Giancana , better known as Sam Giancana, was a Sicilian-American mobster and boss of the Chicago Outfit from 1957-1966...

, Carlos Marcello
Carlos Marcello
Carlos "The Little Man" Marcello was a Sicilian-American mafioso who became the boss of the New Orleans crime family during the 1940s and held this position for the next 30 years.-Early life:...

, Santo Trafficante, Jr.
Santo Trafficante, Jr.
Santo Trafficante, Jr. was one of the last of the old-time Mafia bosses in the United States. He allegedly controlled organized criminal operations in Florida and Cuba, which had previously been consolidated from several rival gangs by his father, Santo Trafficante, Sr...

, and John Roselli
John Roselli
John "Handsome Johnny" Roselli , sometimes spelled John Rosselli, was an influential mobster for the Chicago Outfit who helped them control Hollywood and the Las Vegas Strip. Roselli was also involved with the Central Intelligence Agency plot to kill Cuban leader Fidel Castro in the early 1960s...

.

Recovery of murdered Mississippi civil rights workers


In 2007, Linda Schiro testified in an unrelated court case that her late boyfriend, Gregory Scarpa Sr.
Gregory Scarpa Sr.
Gregory Scarpa, Sr. also known as "The Grim Reaper" and "The Mad Hatter", was a capo for the Colombo crime family and an informant for the FBI. During the 1970s and 80s, Scarpa was the chief enforcer for Colombo boss Carmine Persico...

, a capo in the Colombo family, had been recruited by the FBI to help find the bodies of three civil rights workers murdered in Mississippi in 1964. She said that she had been with Scarpa in Mississippi at the time and had witnessed him being given a gun, and later a cash payment, by FBI agents. She testified he told her he had threatened a Klansman
Ku Klux Klan
Ku Klux Klan, often abbreviated KKK and informally known as the Klan, is the name of three distinct past and present far-right organizations in the United States, which have advocated extremist reactionary currents such as white supremacy, white nationalism, and anti-immigration, historically...

 by placing a gun in his mouth, forcing him to reveal the location of the bodies. Similar stories of Mafia involvement in the case had been circulating for years, and had been previously published in the New York Daily News, but had never before been introduced in court.

Law enforcement and the Mafia


In several Mafia families, killing a state authority is forbidden due to the possibility of extreme police retaliation. In some rare strict cases, conspiring to commit such a murder is punishable by death. The Jewish mobster Dutch Schultz
Dutch Schultz
Dutch Schultz was a New York City-area Jewish American gangster of the 1920s and 1930s who made his fortune in organized crime-related activities such as bootlegging alcohol and the numbers racket...

 was reportedly killed by his Italian peers out of fear that he would carry out a plan to kill New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 prosecutor Thomas Dewey
Thomas Dewey
Thomas Edmund Dewey was the 47th Governor of New York . In 1944 and 1948, he was the Republican candidate for President, but lost both times. He led the liberal faction of the Republican Party, in which he fought conservative Ohio Senator Robert A. Taft...

. The Mafia did carry out hits on law enforcement in its earlier history. New York police officer Joe Petrosino
Joe Petrosino
Giuseppe "Joe" Petrosino was a New York City police officer who was a pioneer in the fight against organized crime...

 was shot by Sicilian mobsters while on duty in Sicily. A statue of him was later erected across the street from a Lucchese hangout.

Kefauver Committee


In 1951, a U.S. Senate special committee, chaired by Democratic Tennessee Senator Estes Kefauver
Estes Kefauver
Carey Estes Kefauver July 26, 1903 – August 10, 1963) was an American politician from Tennessee. A member of the Democratic Party, he served in the U.S...

, determined that a "sinister criminal organization" known as the Mafia operated around the United States. The United States Senate Special Committee to Investigate Crime in Interstate Commerce (known as the "Kefauver Hearings"), televised nationwide, captured the attention of the American people and forced the FBI to recognize the existence of organized crime. In 1953, the FBI initiated the "Top Hoodlum Program". The purpose of the program was to have agents collect information on the mobsters in their territories and report it regularly to Washington to maintain a centralized collection of intelligence on racketeers.

Apalachin Meeting


In 1957, the New York State Police uncovered a meeting of major American Cosa Nostra figures from around the country in the small upstate New York
Upstate New York
Upstate New York is the region of the U.S. state of New York that is located north of the core of the New York metropolitan area.-Definition:There is no clear or official boundary between Upstate New York and Downstate New York...

 town of Apalachin
Apalachin, New York
Apalachin is a census-designated place within the Town of Owego in Tioga County, New York, United States. The population was 1,126 in the 2000 census. It is named after the Apalachin Creek. Apalachin means From where the messenger returned in the Lenape.Apalachin is in the southeast part of the...

 (near Binghamton, New York
Binghamton, New York
Binghamton is a city in the Southern Tier of New York in the United States. It is near the Pennsylvania border, in a bowl-shaped valley at the confluence of the Susquehanna and Chenango Rivers...

). This gathering has become known as the Apalachin Meeting
Apalachin Meeting
The Apalachin Meeting was a historic summit of the American Mafia held on November 14, 1957, at the home of mobster Joseph "Joe the Barber" Barbara in Apalachin, New York. The meeting was attended by roughly 100 Mafiosi from the United States, Canada, and Italy...

. Many of the attendees were arrested, and this event was the catalyst that changed the way law enforcement battled organized crime.

The establishment of the United States Organized Crime Strike Force
United States Organized Crime Strike Force
The United States Organized Crime Strike Force was created in the late 1960s for the purpose of finding and stopping illegal racketeering. It was formed in a congressional effort led by Robert Kennedy....

 facilitated efforts to prosecute members of the Mafia. The Strike Force was established in the 1960s through a joint congressional effort led by Robert Kennedy. It was under the Office of the Inspector General
Office of the Inspector General
Office of the Inspector General is an office that is part of Cabinet departments and independent agencies of the United States federal government as well as some state and local governments. Each office includes an Inspector General and employees charged with identifying, auditing, and...

 in the Department of Labor
United States Department of Labor
The United States Department of Labor is a Cabinet department of the United States government responsible for occupational safety, wage and hour standards, unemployment insurance benefits, re-employment services, and some economic statistics. Many U.S. states also have such departments. The...

. It was later disbanded at the national level, but continues at the state and local level today. It was responsible for investigating and eventually helping to bring down high-level Mafiosos such as Joseph Aiuppa
Joseph Aiuppa
Joseph John Aiuppa , also known as "Doves," "Mourning Doves," "O'Brien," or "Joey Doves," was a Chicago mobster who became a leader of the Chicago Outfit.-Early career:...

 of the Chicago Outfit, Anthony Salerno
Anthony Salerno
Anthony "Fat Tony" Salerno was a New York mobster who served as front boss of the Genovese crime family to family boss Vincent "The Chin" Gigante from the 1970s until his conviction in 1986...

 of the Genovese crime family
Genovese crime family
The Genovese crime family , is one of the "Five Families" that dominates organized crime activities in New York City, United States, within the nationwide criminal phenomenon known as the Mafia . The Genovese crime family has been nicknamed the "Ivy League" and "Rolls Royce" of organized crime...

 of New York and Paul Castellano
Paul Castellano
Constantino Paul "Big Paul" Castellano , also known as "The Howard Hughes of the Mob" and "Big Paulie" , was an American Mafia boss in New York City. He succeeded Carlo Gambino as head of the Gambino crime family, at the time, the nation's largest Mafia family...

 of the Gambino Family. Also, the Strike Force eliminated much of the organized crime in the Teamsters
Teamsters for a Democratic Union
Teamsters for a Democratic Union is a rank-and-file union democracy movement organizing to reform the International Brotherhood of Teamsters , or Teamsters. TDU was created out of the merger of the Professional Drivers Council and TDU in 1979...

 across the country.

Valachi hearings



In 1963, Joe Valachi
Joe Valachi
Joseph "Joe Cargo" Valachi , Italian American, also known as "Charles Chanbano" and "Anthony Sorge" was the first Mafia member to publicly acknowledge the existence of the Mafia. He is also the person who made Cosa Nostra a household name.-Career:Joseph Valachi was born in East Harlem, New York...

 became the first American Cosa Nostra member to provide a detailed look at the inside of the organization. Having been recruited by FBI special agents, and testifying before the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the U.S. Senate Committee on Government Operations
United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
The United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs has jurisdiction over matters related to the Department of Homeland Security and other homeland security concerns, as well as the functioning of the government itself, including the National Archives, budget and...

, Valachi exposed the name, structure, power bases, codes, swearing-in ceremony, and members of this organization. All of this had been secret up to this point.

RICO Act


The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act
Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act
The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly referred to as the RICO Act or simply RICO, is a United States federal law that provides for extended criminal penalties and a civil cause of action for acts performed as part of an ongoing criminal organization...

 (RICO Act) passed in 1970 made it a crime to belong to an organization that performed illegal acts, and it created programs such as the witness protection program. Frequent use of the act began during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Charges of racketeering were successfully pressed against scores of mobsters, including three of New York's Godfathers, Anthony Corallo
Anthony Corallo
Anthony "Tony Ducks" Corallo was a New York City mobster and boss of the Lucchese crime family.-Early life:...

, Carmine Persico
Carmine Persico
Carmine John Persico, Jr. also known as "Junior", "The Snake" and "Immortal", has been the de-facto boss of the Colombo crime family since the early 1970s. Persico has overseen gang wars, murders, and major rackets, most of the time from prison. He has been serving life imprisonment without...

 and Philip Rastelli
Philip Rastelli
Phillip "Rusty" Rastelli was a New York mobster and former boss of the Bonanno crime family.-Biography:...

 during the Mafia Commission Trial
Mafia Commission Trial
The Mafia Commission Trial was a criminal trial in New York City, USA. Using evidence obtained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, eleven organized crime figures, including the heads of New York's so-called "Five Families," were indicted by United States Attorney Rudolph Giuliani under the...

 in 1985. Others like Anthony 'Fat Tony' Salerno
Anthony Salerno
Anthony "Fat Tony" Salerno was a New York mobster who served as front boss of the Genovese crime family to family boss Vincent "The Chin" Gigante from the 1970s until his conviction in 1986...

, was thought of as the Genovese
Genovese crime family
The Genovese crime family , is one of the "Five Families" that dominates organized crime activities in New York City, United States, within the nationwide criminal phenomenon known as the Mafia . The Genovese crime family has been nicknamed the "Ivy League" and "Rolls Royce" of organized crime...

 Godfather but was only a front-boss while Gambino boss Paul Castellano
Paul Castellano
Constantino Paul "Big Paul" Castellano , also known as "The Howard Hughes of the Mob" and "Big Paulie" , was an American Mafia boss in New York City. He succeeded Carlo Gambino as head of the Gambino crime family, at the time, the nation's largest Mafia family...

 was murdered before the trial began. The act continues to be used to great effect today and has hurt the Mob severely.

2011 indictments


On January 20, 2011 the United States Justice Department issued 16 indictments against northeast American Mafia families resulting in 127 charged defendants and more than 110 arrests. The charges included murder, murder conspiracy, loansharking, arson, robbery, narcotics trafficking, extortion, illegal gambling and labor racketeering. It has been described as the largest operation against the Mafia in US history. Families that have been affected included the Five Families
Five Families
The Five Families are the five original Italian-American Mafia crime families which have dominated organized crime in America since 1931. The Five Families in New York remain as the powerhouse of the Italian Mafia in the United States.-History:...

 of New York as well as the DeCavalcante crime family
DeCavalcante crime family
The DeCavalcante crime family is an organized crime family that controls organized crime activities in Elizabeth, New Jersey and surrounding areas in the state, despite operating on the other side of the Hudson River in New York, within the nationwide criminal phenomenon known as the American Mafia...

 of New Jersey and Patriarca crime family
Patriarca crime family
The Patriarca crime family, also known as the New England crime family and the Providence crime family, is an Italian-American organized crime syndicate based in New England, specifically Providence, Rhode Island and Boston, Massachusetts, and is part of the Italian-American Mafia or "La Cosa Nostra"...

 of New England.

In popular culture



The Mafia has provided the setting and characters for many well-regarded films. Early gangster films depicting organized crime in America include Little Caesar
Little Caesar (film)
Little Caesar is a 1931 Warner Bros. Pre-Code crime film. It tells the story of a hoodlum who ascends the ranks of organized crime until he reaches its upper echelons. Directed by Mervyn LeRoy, the film stars Edward G. Robinson and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.. The story was adapted by Francis Edward...

(1931) and Scarface
Scarface (1932 film)
Scarface is a 1932 American gangster film starring Paul Muni and George Raft, produced by Howard Hughes, directed by Howard Hawks and Richard Rosson, and written by Ben Hecht based on the 1929 novel of the same name by Armitage Trail...

(1932), the latter loosely based on the story of Al Capone
Al Capone
Alphonse Gabriel "Al" Capone was an American gangster who led a Prohibition-era crime syndicate. The Chicago Outfit, which subsequently became known as the "Capones", was dedicated to smuggling and bootlegging liquor, and other illegal activities such as prostitution, in Chicago from the early...

.

Arguably the most popular and most praised Mafia films are The Godfather
The Godfather
The Godfather is a 1972 American epic crime film directed by Francis Ford Coppola, based on the 1969 novel by Mario Puzo. With a screenplay by Puzo, Coppola and an uncredited Robert Towne, the film stars Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall, Sterling Hayden, John Marley, Richard...

and its sequel The Godfather Part II
The Godfather Part II
The Godfather Part II is a 1974 American gangster film directed by Francis Ford Coppola from a script co-written with Mario Puzo. The film is both a sequel and a prequel to The Godfather, chronicling the story of the Corleone family following the events of the first film while also depicting the...

. Both films were based on Mario Puzo
Mario Puzo
Mario Gianluigi Puzo was an American author and screenwriter, known for his novels about the Mafia, including The Godfather , which he later co-adapted into a film by Francis Ford Coppola...

's novel The Godfather
The Godfather (novel)
The Godfather is a crime novel written by Italian American author Mario Puzo, originally published in 1969 by G. P. Putnam's Sons. It details the story of a fictitious Sicilian Mafia family based in New York City and headed by Don Vito Corleone, who became synonymous with the Italian Mafia...

. Since their release, many other films have been produced, like Martin Scorsese
Martin Scorsese
Martin Charles Scorsese is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, actor, and film historian. In 1990 he founded The Film Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to film preservation, and in 2007 he founded the World Cinema Foundation...

's films Goodfellas
Goodfellas
Goodfellas is a 1990 American crime film directed by Martin Scorsese. It is a film adaptation of the 1986 non-fiction book Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi, who co-wrote the screenplay with Scorsese...

and Casino
Casino (film)
Casino is a 1995 crime drama film directed by Martin Scorsese. It is based on the non-fiction book of the same name by Nicholas Pileggi, who also co-wrote the screenplay for the film with Scorsese...

, which were based on true stories. Other such films include The Untouchables
The Untouchables (1987 film)
The Untouchables is a 1987 American crime-drama film directed by Brian De Palma and written by David Mamet. Based on the book The Untouchables, the film stars Kevin Costner as government agent Eliot Ness. It also stars Robert De Niro as gang leader Al Capone and Sean Connery as Irish-American...

, Mobsters
Mobsters
Mobsters is a 1991 crime-drama film detailing the creation of the The Commission. Set in New York City, taking place from 1917 to 1931, it is a semi-fictitious account of the rise of Charles "Lucky" Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Frank Costello, and Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel.-Plot:This highly dramatized...

, Donnie Brasco
Donnie Brasco (film)
Donnie Brasco is a 1997 crime drama film directed by Mike Newell, starring Al Pacino, Johnny Depp and Michael Madsen. It is loosely based on the real-life events of Joseph D. Pistone, an FBI agent who infiltrated the Bonanno crime family, one of the Mafia's Five Families based in New York City...

and the made-for-TV film Gotti.

Other films portraying the Mafia include Once Upon a Time in America
Once Upon a Time in America
Once Upon a Time in America is a 1984 Italian epic crime film co-written and directed by Sergio Leone and starring Robert De Niro and James Woods. The story chronicles the lives of Jewish ghetto youths who rise to prominence in New York City's world of organized crime...

, A Bronx Tale
A Bronx Tale
A Bronx Tale is a 1993 American crime drama film set in The Bronx during the turbulent era of the 1960s. It was the directorial debut of Robert De Niro, and follows a young Italian-American teenager as his path in life is guided by two father figures, played by De Niro and Chazz Palminteri...

and comedies like Analyze This
Analyze This
Analyze This is a 1999 gangster comedy film directed by Harold Ramis, who co-wrote the screenplay with playwright Kenneth Lonergan and Peter Tolan. The film stars Robert De Niro as a mafioso and Billy Crystal as a psychiatrist...

. American Mafiosi also appear in supporting roles in other films, such as True Romance
True Romance
True Romance is a 1993 American romance crime film written by Quentin Tarantino and directed by Tony Scott. The film stars Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette with an ensemble cast consisting of Christopher Walken, Dennis Hopper, Gary Oldman, Chris Penn, Tom Sizemore, Samuel L. Jackson, Kevin...

, Carlito's Way
Carlito's Way
Carlito's Way is a 1993 crime film directed by Brian De Palma, based on the novels Carlito's Way and After Hours by Judge Edwin Torres. The film adaptation was scripted by David Koepp. It stars Al Pacino, Sean Penn, Penelope Ann Miller, Luis Guzman, John Leguizamo, Jorge Porcel, Joseph Siravo, and...

, The Departed
The Departed
The Departed is a 2006 American crime thriller film, fashioned as a remake of the 2002 Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs. The film was directed by Martin Scorsese and written by William Monahan...

, and American Gangster.

While many TV shows like The Untouchables
The Untouchables (1959 TV series)
The Untouchables is an American crime drama that ran from 1959 to 1963 on ABC. Based on the memoir of the same name by Eliot Ness and Oscar Fraley, it fictionalized the experiences of Eliot Ness, a real-life Prohibition agent, as he fought crime in Chicago during the 1930s with the help of a...

(1959–1963), Crime Story
Crime Story (TV series)
Crime Story is an NBC TV drama created by Gustave Reininger and Chuck Adamson. The executive producer was Michael Mann, who had left Miami Vice to oversee Crime Story and direct the film Manhunter. The show premiered with a two hour pilot — a movie which had been exhibited theatrically —...

(1986–1988), and Wiseguy
Wiseguy
Wiseguy is an American crime drama series that aired on CBS from September 16, 1987 to December 8, 1990 for a total of four seasons. Starring Ken Wahl, the series was produced by Stephen J...

(1987–1990) have told fictional accounts of the Mafia, by far the most popular TV series has been HBO's The Sopranos
The Sopranos
The Sopranos is an American television drama series created by David Chase that revolves around the New Jersey-based Italian-American mobster Tony Soprano and the difficulties he faces as he tries to balance the often conflicting requirements of his home life and the criminal organization he heads...

(1999–2007). The show, set in Northern New Jersey, portrays fictional New Jersey Mafia boss Tony Soprano
Tony Soprano
Anthony John "Tony" Soprano, Sr. is an Italian-American fictional character and the protagonist on the HBO television drama series The Sopranos, on which he is portrayed by James Gandolfini. The character was conceived by The Sopranos creator and show runner David Chase, who was also largely...

 and the Soprano crime family he heads. HBO followed up this hit series with Boardwalk Empire, also based in New Jersey.

The Mafia is also the topic of many popular novels, most notably in the work of author Mario Puzo, which include The Godfather, The Sicilian
The Sicilian
The Sicilian is a novel by Italian-American author Mario Puzo. Published in 1984 by Random House Publishing Group , it is based on Puzo's most famous work, The Godfather. It is regarded as The Godfathers literary sequel....

, The Last Don
The Last Don
The Last Don is a novel by Mario Puzo, best known as the author of The Godfather.The story alternates between the movie industry and the Las Vegas casinos, showing how the Mafia is linked to them both.-Plot:...

, and Omertà
Omertà (novel)
Omertà is a novel by Mario Puzo, published posthumously in 2000. It was first published by Ballantine Books. Omertà follows the story of Don Aprile's adopted "nephew" Astorre Viola. This is the final book in Puzo's mafia trilogy...

, as well as James Ellroy
James Ellroy
Lee Earle "James" Ellroy is an American crime fiction writer and essayist. Ellroy has become known for a so-called "telegraphic" prose style in his most recent work, wherein he frequently omits connecting words and uses only short, staccato sentences, and in particular for the novels The Black...

's L.A. Quartet
L.A. Quartet
The L.A. Quartet is a sequence of four crime fiction novels by James Ellroy. The novels, set in the late 1940s through the late 1950s in Los Angeles, are:* The Black Dahlia* The Big Nowhere* L.A. Confidential...

 and Underworld USA Trilogy.

See also

  • Albanian mafia
    Albanian mafia
    The Albanian Mafia or Albanian organized crime are the general terms used for criminal organizations based in Albania or composed of ethnic Albanians. Albanian organized crime is active in Albania, the United States, and the European Union countries, participating in a diverse range of criminal...

  • Atlantic City Conference
    Atlantic City Conference
    The Atlantic City Conference held in 1929 was a historic summit of leaders of organized crime in the United States. It is considered by most crime historians to be the earliest organized crime summit held in the US...

  • Chechen mafia
    Chechen mafia
    The Chechen mafia is one of the largest organized crime groups operating in the former Soviet Union next to established Russian mafia gangs, which originally consisted of criminals of Chechen ethnicity who later also tried to recruit former Russian special military forces, police and army officers...

  • Havana Conference
    Havana Conference
    The Havana Conference of 1946 was an historic meeting of United States Mafia and Cosa Nostra leaders in Havana, Cuba. Supposedly arranged by Charles "Lucky" Luciano, the conference was held to discuss important mob policies, rules, and business interests. The Havana Conference was attended by...

  • Sicilian Mafia Commission
    Sicilian Mafia Commission
    The Sicilian Mafia Commission, known as Commissione or Cupola, is a body of leading Mafia members to decide on important questions concerning the actions of, and settling disputes within the Sicilian Mafia or Cosa Nostra...

  • Timeline of organized crime
    Timeline of organized crime
    This is a timeline of the history of organized crime.Note: Sources included are Carl Sifakis's The Mafia Encyclopedia, Herbert Asbury's The Gangs of New York and others. Online references also include Thomas P...

  • Triad ("Chinese Mafia")
  • Unione Corse
    Unione Corse
    The Unione Corse is a secretive criminal organization operating primarily out of Corsica and Marseilles in France. Unlike the Sicilian Mafia, it has not attempted to gain a foothold in the United States, and thus does not have the other organization's notoriety...

     ("Corsican Mafia")

Further reading

  • Capeci, Jerry
    Jerry Capeci
    Gerald "Jerry" Capeci is an American journalist and author who specializes in coverage of the Five Mafia crime families of New York City. Capeci has been described by news organizations, such as CNN and BBC, as an expert on the American Mafia.-Gang Land:Capeci writes a column called Gang Land...

    . The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Mafia. Indianapolis: Alpha Books, 2002. ISBN 0-02-864225-2
  • United States. Congress. Senate. Select Committee on Improper Activities in the Labor or Management Field Publication. 1959.
  • United States. Congress. Senate. Commerce. 1972.
  • United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Governmental Affairs. Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. 1980.
  • United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Governmental Affairs. For sale by the Supt. of Docs., Congressional Sales Office, U.S. G.P.O., 1988.

External links