Joseph Massino

American mobster Joseph Massino

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.
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Rizzuto snitch to be freed from U.S. prison
Calgary Sun - over 4 years
Joseph Massino, the former Mafioso turned snitch responsible for putting Vito Rizzuto in a U.S. prison, is scheduled to be released in a few weeks, even though Massino was found guilty of eight murders.
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 Calgary Sun article
Former New York mob boss wins early release from prison
Yahoo News - over 4 years
By Noreen O'Donnell NEW YORK (Reuters) - Joseph Massino, the first boss of a New York organized crime family to break the code of silence and testify against a former associate, will be released from prison early for helping the government, according to federal court documents. Convicted of eight murders, Massino, the 70-year-old former head of the Bonanno crime family, will be set free in 60 days, giving the government time to make arrangements for his safety, his lawyer Edward McDonald told Reuters on Thursday. U.S. ...
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 Yahoo News article
'Mikey Scars' Gets Repaid For Informing - Wall Street Journal
Google News - over 6 years
He noted the recent testimony of Joseph Massino, the former boss of the Bonanno crime family, who turned cooperating witness and became the first head of a Mafia family to testify against his associates. But Justice Koeltl appeared to side with
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 Google News article
NYC mobster Vinny Gorgeous gets 2nd life term - The Associated Press
Google News - over 6 years
The government's case relied on the testimony of former Bonanno boss-turned-cooperator Joseph Massino. Massino was the highest-ranking member of the city's five Italian crime families ever to take the witness stand for the government
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 Google News article
New England Mafia is weakened but still pursued - The Associated Press
Google News - over 6 years
"Because somebody is not a young man doesn't mean they are not dangerous and cannot order acts of violence," said Sallet, who arrested Bonnano family crime boss Joseph Massino in New York in 2003. Massino, who later was convicted of orchestrating a
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 Google News article
Finally! Mafioso Vincent "Chin" Gigante Appears In A Vicious Political Attack ... - The Smoking Gun
Google News - over 6 years
In addition to Gigante, Gambino, and Luciano, other wiseguys in the clip are Al Capone; Meyer Lansky; Bugsy Siegel; Abe Reles; ex-Bonanno boss Joseph Massino; and Liborio “Barney” Bellomo, the Genovese gang's reputed street boss
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 Google News article
Mobster Vinny Gorgeous avoids death penalty - Telegraph.co.uk
Google News - over 6 years
Prosecutors used the unprecedented testimony of former Bonanno boss Joseph Massino to try to portray Basciano as a stone-cold killer who deserved death. Massino - the highest-ranking member of the city's five Italian organised crime families to ever
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 Google News article
Mob boss Vincent (Vinny Gorgeous) Basciano dodges death penalty, sentenced to ... - New York Daily News
Google News - over 6 years
The former Bronx hair salon owner was spared the death penalty Wednesday by a federal jury that found his crimes less heinous than those of turncoat witness Joseph Massino - killer of a dozen people. ... - -
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 Google News article
NY judge troubled by testimony at mob trial - Wall Street Journal
Google News - over 6 years
The testimony came this week from ex-Bonanno head Joseph Massino at the trial of convicted mobster Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano. Jurors are deciding whether to give Basciano the death penalty. Massino alleged lawyers Murray Richmond and David
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 Google News article
Surprising testimony in Basciano case - Newsday (subscription)
Google News - almost 7 years
By AP By Anthony M DeStefano May 25--Former crime boss Joseph Massino unexpectedly testified Wednesday that he failed two FBI lie detector tests while he was trying to become a cooperating witness, an admission defense attorneys will use to attack his
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 Google News article
Ex-mob boss: 'Vinny' wanted to kill prosecutor - The Associated Press
Google News - almost 7 years
Testimony from ex-Bonanno head Joseph Massino ranged from a list of mob victims, claims that his underling Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano wanted to kill a federal prosecutor and talk of having to wash their own clothes in prison. ... -
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 Google News article
Mob rat Joseph Massino to take stand against Vinny Gorgeous in death penalty phase - New York Daily News
Google News - almost 7 years
Joseph Massino (right) will try to convince jury that Vinny Gorgeous (left) deserves death penalty. The mob's fat man sang - and now he's coming back for an encore. Joseph Massino, the highest ranking Mafia canary to ever testify in a
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 Google News article
Mobster Convicted in Case That Featured Boss's Testimony - New York Times
Google News - almost 7 years
The federal trial of Mr. Basciano featured testimony by a former Bonanno boss, Joseph Massino, the highest-ranking member of the city's five Italian organized crime families to testify against one of his own. Mr. Massino, 68, began talking with ... - -
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 Google News article
Jurors ask to hear tapes again in 'Vinny Gorgeous' murder trial - New York Post
Google News - almost 7 years
The jury in the death penalty murder trial of former Bonanno crime family boss Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano listened to tapes made by longtime boss Joseph Massino, which contains a segment where Basciano uttered the phrase "let
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 Google News article
Jury deliberates in murder trial of Bonanno mob boss Vincent (Vinny Gorgeous ... - New York Daily News
Google News - almost 7 years
Basciano's lawyer has argued that he was lying to Mafia chieftain Joseph Massino about giving the order to kill Pizzolo when he was secretly taped in prison. Jurors requested a playback of the Massino tape and transcripts of mob rats who testified
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 Google News article
Vincent (Vinny Gorgeous) Basciano confessed role in murder plot on tape ... - New York Daily News
Google News - almost 7 years
Let's go," Basciano said in a conversation taped by his boss Joseph Massino in jail. That says it all, Frank said in his closing argument. "Those are the words of a cold-blooded, remorseless killer," Frank said. "The words of a man that would let
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 Google News article
Mafia Boss Says in Court Gotti Plotted to Kill Him
NYTimes - almost 7 years
John J. Gotti plotted with the No. 2 figure in the Bonanno crime family to assassinate Joseph C. Massino, the former Bonanno boss, Mr. Massino testified on Monday. The plot was interrupted in December 1990 when Mr. Gotti, the Gambino boss, was arrested on murder and racketeering charges, Mr. Massino said in Federal District Court in Brooklyn, where
Article Link:
 NYTimes article
At Mafia Murder Trial, Federal Judge Criticizes Defense Lawyers' Actions
NYTimes - almost 7 years
A federal judge in Brooklyn chided defense lawyers on Friday for their actions during the trial of a Mafia boss accused of murder. The trial of the defendant, Vincent Basciano, who is charged with ordering the 2004 murder of a fellow mobster, Randolph Pizzolo, has gained widespread attention because a former leader of the Bonanno family, Joseph C.
Article Link:
 NYTimes article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Joseph Massino
    LATE ADULTHOOD
  • 2013
    Age 70
    In June 2013 the U.S. Department of Justice filed a request to Judge Garaufis for a reduction of Massino's sentence; prosecutors cited both the impact of Massino's unprecedented cooperation and his failing health as reasons for a reduction of his sentence.
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    Massino had also been considered as a witness in the 2013 murder trial of Colombo acting boss Joel Cacace, but was dropped after he was unable to fully remember the meeting where he claimed Cacace indicated his involvement in the murder of NYPD officer Ralph Dols.
    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.
  • 2012
    Age 69
    Massino testified again in the 2012 extortion trial of Genovese capo Anthony Romanello, primarily to provide background as an expert on the American Mafia.
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  • 2011
    Age 68
    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.
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  • 2006
    Age 63
    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.
  • 2005
    Age 62
    In a hearing on June 23, 2005, Massino finalized his deal and plead guilty to ordering the Sciascia murder.
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    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.
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  • 2004
    Age 61
    After deliberating for five days the jury found Massino guilty of all eleven counts on July 30, 2004.
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    Massino's trial began on May 24, 2004, with judge Nicholas Garaufis presiding and Greg D. Andres and Robert Henoch heading the prosecution.
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  • 2003
    Age 60
    On January 9, 2003, Massino was arrested and indicted, alongside Vitale, Frank Lino and capo Daniel Mongelli, in a comprehensive racketeering indictment.
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  • FIFTIES
  • 2002
    Age 59
    Graziano would assume Spero's duties, but he too plead guilty to racketeering charges in December 2002 and was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.
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  • 2000
    Age 57
    In January 2000, however, Massino did preside over an informal Commission meeting with the acting bosses of the other four families.
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  • 1999
    Age 56
    Vitale remained loyal, however, and helped Massino organize the March 18, 1999 murder of Gerlando Sciascia.
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  • 1996
    Age 53
    He returned to his job at King Caterers, and in 1996 became co-owner of Casablanca, a well-reviewed Maspeth Italian restaurant.
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  • FORTIES
  • 1992
    Age 49
    Upon his release on November 13, 1992 Massino retained Vitale as his messenger during his probation and promoted him to underboss.
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  • 1991
    Age 48
    However, in the spring of 1991, Massino ordered Vitale to "make me boss" as soon as Rastelli died.
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    In 1991, while Massino was in prison for a 1986 labor racketeering conviction, Rastelli died and Massino succeeded him.
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  • 1987
    Age 44
    On April 1987, Massino and Vitale went on trial for truck hijacking and conspiracy to commit the triple murder, defended by Samuel H. Dawson and Bruce Cutler respectively.
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    On January 16, 1987 Massino was sentenced to ten years imprisonment, his first prison term.
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  • 1986
    Age 43
    While Massino protested in confidence to other mobsters he never had the opportunity to profit from the racket, he was implicated by both Pistone and union official Anthony Gilberti, and on October 15, 1986 was found guilty of racketeering charges for accepting kickbacks on the Bonannos' behalf.
    The labor racketeering trial began in April 1986, with Massino as one of twelve defendants including Rastelli and former underboss Nicholas Marangello.
  • 1985
    Age 42
    In 1985 Massino was indicted twice more, first as a co-conspirator with Rastelli in a labor racketeering case for controlling the Teamsters Local 814, then with a conspiracy charge for the Pastore murder that was added to the original three capos indictment.
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  • 1984
    Age 41
    Through Gotti associate Angelo Ruggiero, Massino was able to meet with defense attorney John Pollok in 1984 to negotiate his surrender.
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    In 1984, Rastelli was released from prison, and he and Massino ordered the murder of Bonanno soldier Cesare Bonventre.
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  • THIRTIES
  • 1982
    Age 39
    On March 25, 1982, Massino was also charged with conspiracy to murder Indelicato, Giaccone and Trinchera and truck hijacking.
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    In March 1982, Massino was tipped off by a Colombo-associated FBI insider that he was about to be indicted and went into hiding in Pennsylvania with Leisenheimer.
    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.
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  • 1981
    Age 38
    Massino, Napolitano and Gerlando Sciascia, a Sicilian-born capo linked to the Montreal Rizzuto crime family, arranged a meeting at a Brooklyn social club with the three capos for May 5, 1981.
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    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.
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  • 1979
    Age 36
    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.
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  • 1977
    Age 34
    On June 14, 1977, Massino was inducted into the Bonanno family along with Anthony Spero, Joseph Chilli, Jr. and a group of other men in a ceremony conducted by Carmine Galante.
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    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.
  • 1975
    Age 32
    In March 1975, Massino was arrested at the scene of the arrest of one of his hijackers, Raymond Wean, and charged with conspiracy to receive stolen goods.
    In 1975, Massino and Vitale participated in the murder of Vito Borelli, who Massino claimed was primarily executed by Gotti, at the behest of Paul Castellano of the Gambino crime family.
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  • TWENTIES
  • 1973
    Age 30
    Massino's mentor Rastelli was expected to become Bonanno boss upon the 1973 death of Natale Evola, but he had been convicted the previous year of loansharking and then of extortion in 1976, leaving him imprisoned.
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  • TEENAGE
  • 1956
    Age 13
    Massino first met his future wife Josephine Vitale in 1956, and married her in 1960.
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  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1943
    Age 0
    Joseph Massino was born on January 10, 1943 in New York City.
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Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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