Alphonse "Little Al" D'Arco, also known as "The Professor" (born July 28, 1932 died March 28th 2019) was a New York mobster with the Lucchese crime family who was involved in labor racketeering and the construction business before becoming a major government informant.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, D'Arco's criminal career started at age 14, when he beat another boy with brass knuckles. At age 15, he dropped out of high school. D'Arco became a low level Lucchese associate during the 1950s when the family was headed by boss Gaetano Lucchese. D'Arco was eventually convicted on drug-related charges and spent several years in prison. After his release, D'Arco returned to the Lucchese family, which was then run by Anthony Corallo. In 1982, D'Arco became a "made man" in the Lucchese family and a soldier in the Brooklyn-based crew of caporegime Paul Vario. D'Arco became involved in bookmaking, loansharking, occasional drug deals, and other criminal activities. During his criminal career, D'Arco would be involved in ten murders.
In 1986, Victor Amuso took control of the Lucchese crime family. In 1988, D'Arco was promoted to caporegime of the old Vario Crew. In 1990, D'Arco was selected by Amuso to organize a "construction panel". A committee of Lucchese family members, the panel would oversee the Lucchese-controlled unions and construction companies and co-ordinate joint business ventures with the other four mafia families in New York.
In January 1991, Amuso and Lucchese underboss Anthony Casso received an early warning about an upcoming federal indictment and went into hiding, leaving D'Arco as the acting boss. Within a few months, D'Arco was demoted as Acting Boss; instead a "Lucchese Ruling Panel/Committee", including D'Arco, ran the day-to-day activities of the Lucchese family.
Through their poor management styles, Vittorio Amuso and Anthony Casso generated many internal conflicts in the Lucchese family and broke down the unity and loyalty of its members. Family members felt the two bosses were greedy and paranoid, ordering too many murders to make themselves feel secure. D'Arco began fearing that Amuso and Casso had lost trust in him and were going to have him killed. On September 18, 1991, at a meeting of Lucchese leaders in Manhattan's Kimberly Hotel, D'Arco became convinced that Lucchese Capos Anthony Baratta and Frank Lastorino and soldier Mike DeSantis were planning to shoot him. D'Arco noticed that the Lucchese soldier was hiding a gun in his waistband.
Convinced his life was threatened, D'Arco rushed out of the hotel and went immediately to the federal authorities. He became a government witness, testifying in several Cosa Nostra trials for over ten years. His testimony would help convict Amuso, acting Colombo crime family boss Vittorio Orena, Bonanno crime family consigliere Anthony Spero, Genovese crime family consigliere James Ida, and Genovese boss Vincent Gigante.
D'Arco is presumably participating in a Witness Protection Program. According to government sources, D'Arco has been an excellent witness and has not committed any more criminal acts. At one of his trials in 1997, a prosecutor asked D'Arco if the mob life was worth it, and received this reply:
"No, I'm 65 years old. What has it gotten me? Nothing, absolutely nothing. Yes, I have my wife and I have my son. But I was the one who got my son into the Mafia. And what did I accomplish by doing that? My son is a drug dealer. No, I've got nothing to show for it. What a waste of my life."