Joseph Massino

Born Jan 10, 1943

Joseph Charles Massino, also known as "Big Joey" or "The Ear", was the boss of the Bonanno crime family before he became a government witness in 2004. He was convicted in July 2004 of racketeering, seven murders, arson, extortion, loansharking, illegal gambling, conspiracy and money laundering. To avoid the death penalty Massino agreed to turn state's evidence and testify against his former associates. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2005.… Read More

related links

News + Updates

Browse recent news and stories about Joseph Massino.

  • Rizzuto Snitch To Be Freed From U.S. Prison
    Calgary Sun - Jul 12, 2013
  • Former New York Mob Boss Wins Early Release From Prison
    Yahoo News - Jul 11, 2013
  • 'mikey Scars' Gets Repaid For Informing Wall Street Journal
    Google News - Sep 10, 2011
  • Nyc Mobster Vinny Gorgeous Gets 2nd Life Term The Associated Press
    Google News - Jul 20, 2011


Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Joseph Massino.


1943 Birth Joseph Massino was born on January 10, 1943 in New York City. … Read More


1956 13 Years Old Massino first met his future wife Josephine Vitale in 1956, and married her in 1960. … Read More


1973 - 1975 3 More Events
1977 34 Years Old 1 More Event
Massino was scheduled to go on trial in 1977, but the charges were dropped after he successfully argued that he had not been properly mirandized, disqualifying statements Massino gave to police from being used in trial.
1979 36 Years Old The hit was approved and executed on July 12, 1979; Rastelli subsequently took full control of the family and rewarded Massino's loyalty by promoting him to capo. … Read More
1981 38 Years Old 1 More Event
The Commission initially tried to maintain neutrality, but in 1981, Massino got word from his informants that the three capos were stocking up on automatic weapons and planning to kill the Rastelli loyalists within the Bonanno family to take complete control. … Read More
Benjamin "Lefty" Ruggiero, who helped Pistone formally become a Bonanno associate, was also targeted, but was arrested en route to the meeting where he was expected to be murdered. On February 18, 1982, Anthony Mirra, the soldier who first "discovered" Pistone, was assassinated on Massino's orders. … Read More


1984 - 1985 3 More Events
1986 43 Years Old 1 More Event
The labor racketeering trial began in April 1986, with Massino as one of twelve defendants including Rastelli and former underboss Nicholas Marangello.
1987 44 Years Old 1 More Event
On January 16, 1987 Massino was sentenced to ten years imprisonment, his first prison term. … Read More
1991 48 Years Old 1 More Event
…  In 1991, while Massino was in prison for a 1986 labor racketeering conviction, Rastelli died and Massino succeeded him. … Read More


1996 53 Years Old He returned to his job at King Caterers, and in 1996 became co-owner of Casablanca, a well-reviewed Maspeth Italian restaurant. … Read More
1999 56 Years Old …  Vitale remained loyal, however, and helped Massino organize the March 18, 1999 murder of Gerlando Sciascia. … Read More
2000 57 Years Old …  In January 2000, however, Massino did preside over an informal Commission meeting with the acting bosses of the other four families. … Read More
2002 59 Years Old …  Graziano would assume Spero's duties, but he too plead guilty to racketeering charges in December 2002 and was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. … Read More


2003 60 Years Old On January 9, 2003, Massino was arrested and indicted, alongside Vitale, Frank Lino and capo Daniel Mongelli, in a comprehensive racketeering indictment. … Read More
2004 61 Years Old 1 More Event
Massino's trial began on May 24, 2004, with judge Nicholas Garaufis presiding and Greg D. Andres and Robert Henoch heading the prosecution. … Read More
2005 62 Years Old 1 More Event
By the end of January 2005, when Basciano was indicted for the Pizzolo murder, Massino was identified by news sources as the then-anonymous fellow mobster who secretly recorded his confession, to the public disgust of Massino's family. … Read More
2006 63 Years Old Massino was conspicuously absent from the prosecution witnesses at the 2006 racketeering trial of Basciano, the prosecution deciding he was not yet needed; he was also expected to testify against Vito Rizzuto regarding his role in the three capos murder, but the Montreal boss accepted a plea bargain in May 2007.
2011 68 Years Old He finally made his debut as a witness at Basciano's trial for the murder of Randolph Pizzolo in April 2011; Massino's testified both during the trial itself and, after Basciano was convicted, on behalf of the prosecution's unsuccessful attempt to impose the death penalty. … Read More
2012 69 Years Old Massino testified again in the 2012 extortion trial of Genovese capo Anthony Romanello, primarily to provide background as an expert on the American Mafia. … Read More
Massino was not replaced as Bonanno boss until 2013 when Michael Mancuso, who had replaced Basciano as acting boss, was reported to have formally assumed the title.
Original Authors of this text are noted on
Text is made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.