- Angelo John Sepe a.k.a. "Angie" (January 14, 1941 South Ozone Park, Queens – July 18, 1984 New Utrecht, Brooklyn) was an Italian gangster in the Lucchese crime family. He is a suspect in the 1978 Lufthansa heist, a petty thug, and ex-brother-in-law of Lucchese crime family associate Tony Rodriguez.
Family History and Lineage
Angelo Sepe's ancestors "Philipe Sepe" and "Josephine Marino" were both villagers from outside Marigliano, in the province of Naples, Campania Caserta, Italy. The couple married and immigrated to the U.S.A. in the 19th century via ocean liner. Upon their arrival Phillipe and Josephine settled in Brooklyn, New York and raised 6 children; Vincenzo born c.a. (1871), Rose born c.a. (1872), John (a.k.a Jack), Anthony, Marie and Florence (dates of birth for the latter 3 are unknown). Through marriage, Angelo Sepe could boast that he was in fact, literally, part of a "true" organised crime family: Sepe was a nephew to both Colombo crime family capo Ralph Spero (December 17, 1925 - 1970's) and Shorty Spero (December 28, 1923 - February 1980) who served as an early mentor to Salvatore Gravano as well as a being a cousin to Colombo crime family member Thomas Spero, and was also a brother-in-law to Colombo crime family associate Tony Rodriguez. Filmmaker Ralph Sepe Jr. (known for YouTube channel RalphTheMovieMaker) is Sepe's nephew.
Born and raised in South Ozone Park, Queens, New York, Sepe was known to have attended Shallow Junior High School and New Utrecht High School. Possessing an unkempt appearance and short temper, Sepe was expelled from Shallow Junior High School for truancy and violent behavior. Later, Sepe reportedly attended New Utrecht High School where he was again expelled for the same behavior. During the same period, Sepe began his criminal career as a juvenile delinquent by committing petty crimes and other small crimes with the street gang The Rampers, eventually amassing 14 recorded arrests by the age of 18. It was also during this time, that Sepe was introduced to organized crime through Thomas and Ralph Spero, his uncles by marriage, and Colombo family members themselves.
As Sepe grew into adulthood, he became engaged, and subsequently wed, the sister of Colombo family associate, Tony Rodriguez. Despite a turbulent and often violent marriage in which Sepe was the aggressor, he began courting Joanna Lombardo, aged 17, of Long Island City, Queens. Despite an unwritten La Cosa Nostra protocol to remain with your spouse, Sepe divorced his wife and eventually took up residence with Ms. Lombardo - scraping together a living from transport truck and hijackings Regardless of Sepe's financial status, he was reported to have been a heavy cocaine user, indulging in more than 2 grams a day.
Allegiance to the Lucchese Crime Family
Much later, the late 1970s Angelo aligned himself with the Lucchese crime family to be with his friend Thomas DeSimone. Angelo met Thomas at Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary where Thomas was serving a 10-year sentence after being convicted of a transport truck hijacking. He himself was sentenced to five years in prison after being arrested for bank robbery in 1973. Angelo first came under attention of Jimmy Burke with the help of Thomas DeSimone.
Jimmy Burke and Paul Vario were always looking for a young man who knew how to be brutal when the moment demanded drastic action. Jimmy began giving Angelo odd jobs and was promised by Jimmy that he would introduce him to his capo Paul Vario. After his "transfer" to the Lucchese crime family, Sepe became a member of the crew headed by Paul Vario. From being raised under the guidance of his surrogate father figure, his uncle Ralph Spero, he learned the omerta and learned the old style ways of the Mustache Petes. After Ralph was executed by Salvatore Gravano years later in 1980 for becoming a FBI informant, Angelo was very distraught and angered over his uncle's brutal gang land style execution. This severed all his personal and business ties with the Colombo crime family. Later, Paul Vario's counterpart Jimmy Burke took Sepe under his wing and taught him many valuable lessons about dealing with people.
Angelo was not well liked by the rest of the Vario Crew including Jimmy Burke, Paul Vario and Henry Hill. Angelo and Thomas DeSimone were both told to stay clear of The Suite, The Bamboo Lounge and Robert's Lounge because of the constant police survelliance they brought onto themselves, but they blatantly disobeyed the order. Both he and Thomas DeSimone were considered by Henry Hill to be "young and crazy." He was so obsessed with taking care of stray animals that to fellow mobsters he seemed odd and reclusive. He lived in a truncated emotional world with extremely limited social relationships, other than with his fellow criminals. Even with his mere height Sepe had a presence about him that made him a feared freelance contract killer for the Colombo crime family and later the Lucchese crime family.
As a child Angelo developed a fondness for animals: his first of many pets included fancy rats, fancy mice, and Syrian hamsters. He had an especially profound affectional bond towards stray, abandoned or wounded animals - although not for humans, this latter effect a likely by-product of his reactive attachment disorder. His attachment to animals was so intense that his home - located at 8861 on 20th Avenue in Bath Beach, Brooklyn - became known by friends and neighbors as an animal shelter and sanctuary for stray and abandoned animals, including rabbits, birds, ferrets, raccoons, turtles and whatever else he came upon or that wandered in from nearby Gravesend Park. Unfortunately Angelo had a limited education and a paucity of knowledge about animals; consequently he eschewed spaying and neutering, vaccinations and other standard veterinary care and in fact for the most part did not clean up or maintain the animals he sheltered, instead letting them roam wild in his home. Angelo's attachment to animals is unique because many sociopaths demonstrate their psychotic tendencies by torturing and brutalizing small animals, whereas Angelo's sociopathy took the opposite tack: he happily murdered humans while displaying strong ethical beliefs about conservationism and environmentalism and likely practicing veganism or vegetarianism as well.
Angelo was a friend and fellow hitman of Thomas DeSimone, whom he met while incarcerated at Leavenworth where the two worked in the kitchen. While there they would perform contract killings and were known to leave the bodies in the prison's industrial-sized bread batter mixing vats. After his release Sepe helped murder Parnell Edwards with Tommy DeSimone and allegedly helped in the murder and at least the first attempt to murder Martin Krugman. This attempt was later called off by Burke. Jimmy Burke was convinced by Henry Hill to spare him because of the money Krugman was earning through his successful bookmaking and loansharking racket. Jimmy Burke and Tommy DeSimone would later follow through with their plan and murder Krugman a short while later. Shortly before Sepe's murder he bought a 1979 Thunderbird for $15,000 cash. This attracted the attention of the police for his role in the murder. He is also suspected of being involved in helping Jimmy Burke murder his front-man and con-artist Richard Eaton. Before he was murdered he was being charged for having possession of a concealed weapon. Following the Lufthansa Heist it is alleged that he accompanied Tommy DeSimone to the apartment of gofer Stacks Edwards, where Tommy DeSimone fired 6 bullets into the head and chest of Edwards on the orders of Jimmy Burke. He also helped DeSimone murder Martin Krugman, Theresa Ferrara, Paolo LiCastri and supposedly Louis Cafora (and his wife Joanna) on the orders of Jimmy Burke including a warehouse foreman with DeSimone in Morristown, New Jersey.
The Lawrence Gennino Situation
While incarcerated at Leavenworth in 1972, Angelo Sepe and Thomas DeSimone wanted to murder Lawrence Gennino, who was a street soldier affiliated with the Patriarca crime family in Boston, Massachusetts. The two men wanted to murder Lawrence because the Boston mobster had sucker-punched Henry Hill one day in the gut. Lawrence was indebted to Henry over drugs that he was selling inside the prison and refused to pay up, while they were discussing the matter, he punched Henry when he wasn't looking. After the incident his two fellow incarcerated capos Johnny Dio and Paul Vario told Henry to forget about the incident and that the two of them would deal with Gennino after they were released. Henry had a sit-down with Gennino in his cell and told the mobster to forget about paying back the drug debt. After hearing of this settlement Angelo and Thomas became infuriated. Angelo got so mad at Henry because he wouldn't murder Gennino that he told him, "Fuck it, I'll kill him." Henry warned Angelo, "No! No one is killing him." Henry told Thomas and Angelo, "I ain't a punk. I was told to leave the guy alone, and you mother fuckers better leave the guy alone." The two of them answered, "Yeah, yeah, yeah- you're still a punk." The prison guards would later find Lawrence Gennino murdered, his corpse was placed in one of the large industrial bread batter mixing vats. Thomas and Angelo were never implicated in the murder and the murder officially remains unsolved. Later, after Angelo was released from Leavenworth in 1978, he confronted Jimmy Burke and told Jimmy that he did not trust Henry Hill after the Lawrence Gennino incident. Angelo was the second member of the Robert's Lounge allegedly involved in the Lufthansa heist that had ill feelings towards Henry Hill. The other member was Louis Cafora. Burke disregarded the comments made by Angelo and told Henry not to worry about being involved in the Lufthansa heist.
The Lufthansa Heist
When Jimmy Burke was looking to bring together a team to pull off the Lufthansa heist, Angelo suggested his ex-brother-in-law, the convicted loanshark and drug trafficker Anthony Rodriguez. In January 1978, Rodriquez had been arrested with Angelo in his Bridgehampton, New York home where Angelo lived with his long-time girlfriend Joanna "Hope Barron" Lombardo in 1979, the FBI recovered cocaine, heroin and firearms. Angelo and Anthony both went free though when it was discovered that the search warrants were not properly executed by the FBI. His brand new Cadillac was bugged by the FBI and they had attempted to implicate him in the death of Richard Eaton. He was also seen before the robbery by witnesses to be in possession of a revolver. Angelo was a suspected "stick up" man for the Lufthansa heist. He was brought on by the suggestion of his former Leavenworth cell mate Thomas DeSimone in 1977. Kerry Whalen, the Lufthansa cargo agent who had been hit across the forehead when he first encountered the masked gunmen, picked out a mugshot of Angelo, who he said resembled the man who hit him. After rounding up the hostages Angelo had taken his mask off to wipe his sweaty brow and therefore revealing his identity. Following the heist he bought a brand new 1979 Ford Thunderbird for $9,000 in cash in $50 and $100 bills. The police bugged Sepe's Thunderbird and managed to record him talking to an unidentified man about "....a brown case and a bag from Lufthansa..." This alone was not enough to convict him for the robbery. Kerry Whalen, the Lufthansa employee who was pistol whipped, was so disgusted with the behavior of the FBI and the Federal District Attorneys office in Brooklyn, that he complained to federal judges. Mr. Whalen kept notes on his meetings with law enforcement and had them copyrighted in April, 2012. The title of his work is, "The FBI has a lot to hide - The LUFTHANSA HEIST."
Sepe and his girlfriend (The Real Goodfellas documentary states that Angelo and Joanna were legally married at the time) Veterinarian apprentice Joanna Lombardo were murdered on July 18, 1984 in Sepe's basement apartment located at 8861 on 20th Avenue in Bath Beach, Brooklyn. In the book The Heist it is claimed that a week prior to Sepe's death, Sepe had robbed a Lucchese crime family-affiliated drug trafficker. They claim that two Mafia killers with pistols equipped with silencers came for revenge. Volkman and Cummings say that “Before he could ask the hoods not to harm his girlfriend, they put three bullets into his head. Then they walked into a tiny sleeping alcove. One of the gunmen put his gun into the open mouth of the sleeping girl and pulled the trigger.” It is also suspected that the Gambino crime family may have ordered his murder. He was seeking revenge for the murder of his mobster uncle Ralph "Shorty" Spero who was murdered by Salvatore Gravano in 1980. He is one of the suspects in the heist who had outlived the aftermath of the robbery. The other fortunate survivors included fellow criminal associates, Jimmy Burke (incarcerated and died in prison), Henry Hill (turned states evidence and was relocated), he helped set up the robbery, and Tommy DeSimone who would later be killed by the Gambino crime family in an unrelated situation. Angelo most likely survived the immediate aftermath because he did not agree to cooperate with the FBI, unlike Louis Cafora or threaten Burke like Martin Krugman. After Hill became an informant the FBI had recorded conversations with Sepe and Anthony Stabile under the orders of Jimmy Burke to murder Hill.
The character Frank "Frankie" Carbone was based on Sepe and was portrayed by actor Frank Sivero in the movie Goodfellas. In the film Frankie is involved in the Lufthansa heist and accompanies Tommy DeSimone on the murder of Parnell Edwards and Morrie Kessler (Martin Krugman).
For legal reasons some of the characters in the movie Goodfellas had their names changed. Angelo Sepe's name is changed to Frankie Carbone. The character's name may have been derived from real life Lucchese crime family soldier Frankie Carbo.