The Gambino crime family is one of the Five Families that dominates organized crime in America, and rules the United States underworld with an iron fist, within the United States phenomenon known as the American Mafia (or La Cosa Nostra). The organization is named after Carlo Gambino, boss of the family at the time of the McClellan hearings in 1963 when the structure of organized crime first gained public attention. Originated from Palermo, Sicily. Its legitimate and illicit activities include labor racketeering, protection racketeering, racketeering, waste management, construction, garbage hauling, labor unions, bombing, contract killing, murder, assassinations, arson, police corruption, political corruption, government corruption, judicial corruption, corporate corruption, tax evasion, market manipulation, white collar crimes, bribery, drug trafficking, weapons trafficking, gambling, loan sharking, numbers racket, extortion, money laundering, cigarette smuggling, wildlife smuggling, bootlegging, counterfeiting, bid rigging, vote rigging, witness intimidation, jury intimidation, kidnapping, bookmaking, skimming casinos, sports betting, stock fraud, insurance fraud, fraud, burglary, heists, bank robbery, truck hijacking, aircraft hijacking, pier thefts, chop shops, prostitution, pornography, conspiracy and fencing. At its peak, The Gambino crime family was the wealthiest and most powerful crime syndicate in America, and one of the most powerful crime syndicates in the world, making an astonishing and jaw-dropping $500 billion a year, a multi-billion dollar international organized crime empire, with vast political influence all over the world. Since its beginning the Gambino crime family has been widely known as the most powerful mafia family in America.
The rise of the largest and most powerful criminal organization the world has ever seen began in 1957, the day Albert Anastasia was assassinated while sitting in a barber chair at the Park-Sheraton Hotel in Manhattan. Experts believe Carlo Gambino helped orchestrate the hit to take over the family. Gambino partnered with Meyer Lansky to control gambling interests in Cuba. The family’s extraordinary wealth and power rapidly grew through 1976, when Gambino appointed his brother-in-law, Paul Castellano, as boss of the Gambino Crime Family and boss of all bosses. Castellano infuriated upstart capo John Gotti, who orchestrated Castellano's murder in December 16th, 1985. Gotti's downfall came in 1992, when his underboss Salvatore Gravano decided to cooperate with the FBI. Gravano's cooperation brought down Gotti, along with most of the top members of the Gambino family. The organization is now run by Domenico Cefalu.
Salvatore D'Aquila's crime family
The origins of the Gambino crime family can be traced back to the D'Aguila gang of Manhattan. Salvatore D'Aquila was an influential emigrant from Palermo, Sicily who joined the Morello gang of East Harlem. Founded in the 1890s, the Morellos were the first Sicilian (or Italian) criminal gang in New York. As other gangs formed in New York, they acknowledged Giuseppe Morello as their boss of bosses. In 1906, D'Aquila's name first appeared on police records for running a confidence scam.
In 1910, Giuseppe Morello and his second-in-command, Ignazio Saietta, were sentenced to 30 years in prison for counterfeiting. With the Morello family weakened, D'Aquila used the opportunity to break away from them and form his own gang in East Harlem. D'Aquila quickly used his ties to other Mafia leaders in the United States to create a network of influence and connections and was soon a powerful force in New York.
New York Gangs
By 1910, more Italian gangs had formed in New York City. In Brooklyn, Nicola "Cola" Schiro established a gang of Sicilians from Castellammare del Golfo in Sicily. A second Sicilian gang was formed by Alfred Mineo in Brooklyn. Finally, there were two allied Neopolitan Camorra gangs, one on Coney Island and one on Navy Street, in Brooklyn that were run by Pellegrino Morano and Alessandro Vollero.
In 1917, D'Aquila successfully absorbed the two Camorra gangs. A year earlier, the Camorra had assassinated Nicholas Morello, head of the Morello gang. In response, D'Aquila allied with the Morellos to fight the Camorra. In 1917, both Morano and Vollero were convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. With their leadership gone, the two Camorra gangs disappeared and D'Aquila took many of their rackets in Brooklyn. Soon after, Aquila also brought in the Mineo gang, making Alfred Mineo his first lieutenant. D'Aquila now controlled the largest and most influential Italian gang in New York City.
In 1920, the United States outlawed the production and sale of alcoholic beverages (Prohibition), creating an extremely lucrative illegal racket for the New York gangs. At this time two more Mafia gangs emerged in New York City. The first gang was a break-away faction from the Morello crime family based in the Bronx and was led by Gaetano Reina, who was formerly aligned with boss Ciro Terranova. The second gang formed in the late 1920s in Brooklyn and was led by Joe Profaci.
By 1920, D'Aquila's only significant rival Giuseppe Masseria. Masseria had taken over the Morello family interests, and began to amass power and influence to rival D'Aquila by the mid 1920s. By the late 1920s, D'Aquila and Masseria were headed for a showdown.
On October 10, 1928 Masseria gunmen assassinated Salvatore D'Aquila outside his home. D'Aquila's second-in-command, Alfred Mineo, and his right hand man, Steve Ferrigno, now commanded the largest and most influential Sicilian gang in New York City. On November 5, 1930, outside Ferrigno's home in the Bronx, both men were assassinated by Masseria gunmen. Masseria now controlled the Mineo gang.
In 1931. the Castellammarese War started between Giuseppe Masseria and Salvatore Maranzano, the new leader of Cola Schiro's Castellammarese gang. In April 1931, jalen Masseria was murdered in a restaurant by several of his gang members who had defected to Maranzano. Maranzano declared himself the boss of all bosses and with Maranzano's blessing, future boss of all bosses Lucky Luciano reorganized all the New York Italian criminal gangs into five criminal organizations known as the Five Families. Maranzano appointed Frank Scalise as head of the old D'Aquila/Mineo gang, now designated as one of New York's new five families.
In September 1931, Maranzano was himself assassinated in his office by a squad of contract killers. The main beneficiary (and organizer of both hits) was Charles Luciano. Luciano kept Maranzano's five families and added a Commission a mafia "government" to mediate disputes and prevent more Mafia warfare by sharing power and influence instead of one person controlling everything.
Also in 1931, Luciano replaced Frank Scalise with Vincent Mangano as head of the D'Aquila/Mineo gang, now the Mangano crime family. Mangano also received a seat on the new Commission. The modern era of La Cosa Nostra had begun.
The Mangano Brothers Era
now became the first boss of what 26 years later would be called the Gambino family. Vincent's brother Phil Mangano also became a family leader. Vincent Mangano still believed in the Old World Mafia traditions of "honor," "tradition," "respect," "integrity," and "dignity." However, he was somewhat more forward-looking than either Masseria and Maranzano. To compensate for loss of massive revenues with the end of Prohibition in 1933, Vincent Mangano moved his family into extortion, loan sharking, drug trafficking, labor racketeering, prostitution, and illegal gambling operations including horse betting, running numbers and lotteries.
Vincent Mangano also established the City Democratic Club, ostensibly to promote American values. In reality, the Club was as a cover for Murder, Inc., the powerful, brutal and much-feared elite death squad who performed tens of thousands of contract murders for the The Commission. The operating head of Murder, Inc. was Mangano crime family underboss Albert Anastasia, infamously known as the "Lord High Executioner", "The One-Man Army", and "Mad Hatter".
Vincent Mangano also had close ties with Emil Camarda, a vice-president of the International Longshoremen's Association (ILA). Through the Association, Mangano and his crime family completely controlled the Manhattan and Brooklyn waterfronts. From 1932 onward, the president of ILA Local 1814 was Anthony Anastasio, Albert Anastasia's younger brother (Anthony kept the original spelling of their last name). Anastasia was one of the family's biggest earners and deadliest killers, steering billions of dollars in kickbacks and payoffs into to the Mangano coffers. Anastasia's younger brother Anthony was a tremendous earner for the mob and he made no secret of his ties to the mob; he only had to say "my brother Albert" to get his point across.
Around this time, Carlo Gambino was promoted within the Mangano family, along with another future boss, Gambino's cousin Paul Castellano. Anastasia and the Mangano brothers were usually in conflict, even though they worked together for over 20 years. On numerous occasions, Albert Anastasia and Vincent Mangano came close to physical conflict. Vincent Mangano felt uncomfortable with Anastasia's close ties to Luciano and other top mobsters outside his family. Mangano was also leary of Anastasia because of he was a notorious for unspeakable acts of violence and he was also widely notorious for comitting brutal murders for the slightest reasons. Mangano was well aware and very familiar with Anastasia's terrifying reputation as a ruthless killer and highly efficient assassin, and Mangano knew Anastasia was a loose-cannon and considered him to be a homicidal maniac, but more than anything else, Mangano was jealous of Anastasia's immense fortune, and his extraordinary wealth and power, he felt Anastasia was becoming too powerful and would eventually go up against him, and try to take over the organization and his empire. Like a lot of gangsters, Mangano was afraid of Anastasia, and was also highly jealous of the fact that he controlled Murder Inc. and the waterfront unions. In April 1951, Phil Mangano was discovered murdered, while his brother disappeared without a trace. No one was ever charged in the Mangano brothers' deaths. However, it is generally believed that Anastasia murdered both of them, because he felt that Mangano would try to kill him first. Anastasia later to his own admission said that he personally murdered both Mangano brothers fearing they would of ordered a hit on him. He claimed he killed them because it was in his own words "kill or be killed".
Called to face the Commission, Anastasia refused to accept guilt for the Mangano murders, which infuriated the Commission However, Anastasia did claim that Vincent Mangano had been planning to kill him. Anastasia was already running the family in Vincent Mangano's "absence," and the Commission members were intimidated by Anastasia. With the support of Frank Costello, boss of the Luciano crime family, the Commission confirmed Anastasia's ascension as boss of what was now the Anastasia crime family. Carlo Gambino, a cunning man with designs on the leadership himself, maneuvered himself into position as underboss.
The founding member and leader of Murder, Inc. for years, Anastasia was the most ruthless and feared criminal in America, and one of the most dangerous people in the world. He was a cold-blooded killer and a notoriously brutal and ultra-professional executioner who inspired immense fear throughout the New York mafia families and the whole city. With Frank Costello as an ally, Anastasia came to control the Commission. Costello's bitter rival was Vito Genovese, a former underboss for Charles Luciano. Since 1946, Genovese had been scheming to remove Costello from power, but was not powerful enough to face Anastasia.
Anastasia's own brutal actions soon created a favorable climate in New York for his removal. In 1952, Anastasia ordered the murder of a Brooklyn man Arnold Schuster who had aided in the capture of bank robber Willie Sutton. Anastasia did not like the fact that Schuster had helped the police. The New York families were outraged by this gratuitous killing of an innocent civilian that raised a large amount of public furor. Anastasia also alienated one of Luciano's powerful associates, Meyer Lansky by opening casinos in Cuba to compete with Lansky's. Even though, Anastasia was extremely feared by gangsters around the country for his reputation as an ultra professional hitman and homicidal maniac, and was the deadliest assassin in the American Mafia, Genovese soon recruited Carlo Gambino to the conspiracy by offering him the chance to replace Anastasia and become boss himself.
In May 1957, Frank Costello escaped a Genovese-organized murder attempt with a minor injury and decided to resign as boss. However, Genovese and Gambino soon learned that Costello was conspiring with Anastasia to regain power. They decided to kill Anastasia.
On October 25, 1957, four masked hitmen with pistols and shotguns murdered Anastasia while he was sitting in the barber shop at the Park Sheraton Hotel in Manhattan. As Anastasia sat in the barber's chair, the three assailants rushed in, shoved the barber out of the way, and started shooting. The wounded Anastasia allegedly lunged at his killers, but only hit their reflections in the wall mirror. Anastasia died at the scene. Many historians believe that Gambino ordered caporegime Joseph Biondo to kill Anastasia and Biondo gave the contract to a squad of Gambino drug dealers led by Capo Stephen Armone and Steven Grammauta. Joseph Biondo was rewarded with the Underboss position. Steven Grammauta eventually became a caporegime in the 1990s.
Gambino promotes the family
Vito Genovese was sent to prison for 15 years, where he died in 1969. The Gambino family soon became the largest and most powerful criminal organization in the world, with close ties to Meyer Lansky's offshore gaming houses in Las Vegas, Cuba, England, Russia, China, Japan, Poland, Germany, Australia, Iran, India, Mexico, Costa Rica and the Bahamas, an incredibly lucrative business for the Mafia. The failure of Joseph Bonanno, the head of the Bonanno crime family and Gambino's top rival, to kill off Gambino and the heads of other New York crime families in the aftermath of the Bonanno War, saw Carlo Gambino become the most powerful dictator of the Commission and Five Families.
Gambino allegedly stretched his immense power and reach as far as to organize the shooting of Joseph Colombo, boss of the Colombo crime family, on June 28, 1971. More likely, Colombo shooter Jerome Johnson was a lone nut attracted to Colombo for his Italian civil rights movement. Or as Michael Franzese, a former captain in the Colombo Crime Family later said, it was set up by corrupt police officers in Gambino's pocket. Colombo survived the shooting but remained in a coma until his death in 1978. He was buried next to Joe Gallo. Johnson was killed by Colombo's bodyguard.
In either case, Gambino's influence stretched into behind-the-scenes control of the Lucchese crime family, led by Carmine Tramunti. Gambino also allegedly influenced the selection of Frank Tieri as boss of the Genovese crime family, after the murder of Thomas Eboli, whom Gambino, allegedly, had killed over a $4 million drug debt.
On October 15, 1976, Gambino died of a heart attack, and control of the family passed not to the obvious choice, Underboss Aniello Dellacroce, but to Paul Castellano, whose sister was married to Gambino. Allies of Dellacroce were thoroughly unhappy about that move, but Dellacroce himself kept his men in line, and was kept on as Castellano's Underboss.
The FBI closes in on Castellano
The Dellacroce faction remained displeased, believing that Castellano had inherited the role rather than earning it. Castellano did retain a huge degree of muscle and a massive army of ruthless killers and professional assassins to keep Dellacroce's allies in check, including the Irish criminal gang The Westies, the Sicilian assassin organization known as the Cherry Hill Gambino's, and the notorious and much-feared hit squad run by Gambino family Captain Anthony Gaggi and Soldier Roy DeMeo, which was believed to have committed more than 250 murders during Castellano's regime from the late 1970s and mid 1980s. While Castellano was still the boss, most of the family affairs were run and controlled unofficially by a ruling-panel made up of capos which included powerful Gambino family Captain/Garment District leader Thomas Gambino, Manhattan Capo Vincent Corrao, Castellano's bodyguard/personal hitman/chauffeur and later Underboss Thomas Bilotti, and powerful Queens faction-leaders Daniel Marino and James Failla, all top rivals of John Gotti.
It was not a time for the family to be embroiled in inner turmoil and argument, as the Federal Bureau of Investigation had targeted the Gambino family as the easiest of the five families to infiltrate FBI tapes obtained from a bug planted in a lamp on Castellano's kitchen table caught him discussing illegal deals with his subordinates, and by the early 1980s Castellano was up on a number of charges and faced with conviction. He let it be known that he wanted Carlo Gambino's son Thomas Gambino to take over the family should he be sent to jail, with Thomas Bilotti (Castellano's chauffeur and bodyguard) as his Underboss, which further enraged the Dellacroce faction, particularly John Gotti.
In 1983, a federal indictment charged 13 members of the Gambino family with drug trafficking. This group included John Gotti's brother, Gene Gotti, and his best friend, Angelo Ruggiero, who got his nickname Quack Quack for his non-stop talking. The feds had in fact been listening in on his home phone conversations since 1980 they had Ruggiero on tape discussing family business, making drug deals, and expressing contempt for Castellano. If Castellano knew they were dealing drugs, in violation of his no-drug policy, Ruggiero would have been killed. By law, the accused were allowed transcripts of wiretap conversations to aid their defense, and Castellano demanded to be shown them, though Dellacroce did his best to put him off.
Aniello Dellacroce was by this time suffering from cancer, but with Ruggiero desperate for help, his friend John Gotti stood up for him. All the same, Castellano maintained that he wanted the transcripts, or he would have Ruggiero and Gotti removed. Gotti realized he had to act fast, and the death of his mentor Dellacroce on December 2, 1985, paved the way for him to take out Castellano.
John Gotti takes overOn December 16, 1985, Bilotti and Castellano were heading for a meeting with capo Frank DeCicco at the Sparks Steak House on 46th Street, when they were gunned down by four Gotti Faction members disguised as Communist Russians in the middle of rush hour. The Gambino crime family was then taken over by John Gotti.
Known as the "Dapper Don," Gotti was well-known for his $10,000 hand-tailored Brioni suits and hand painted silk ties and his willingness to throw out sound bites to the media in a way unlike any Mafia boss before him. Unlike most of his colleagues, he made almost no effort to hide that he was a mob boss. He appointed Frank DeCicco as his Underboss and promoted Angelo Ruggiero to Caporegime in charge of his old crew. At that time, Salvatore Gravano was allegedly elevated to Underboss. Gotti favored holding meetings while walking in public places so that surveillance equipment could pick up visual images, but not the matters being discussed. His home in Howard Beach, Queens, was frequently seen on television. One of his neighbours during that time was John Favara, who disappeared after hitting Gotti's 12-year-old son with a car while he was riding his bike, killing him instantly. Another neighbor was Gotti's dear friend and associate, Joseph "Big Joe" Massino, who was during the late 1980s recognized as the Underboss of the Bonanno crime family, and a strong candidate for leadership, for the imprisoned Boss Philip "Rusty" Rastelli.
Many mafia leaders across the nation disapproved of his high-profile style, particularly Genovese crime family boss Vincent Gigante, a former ally of Castellano. Ironically, Gigante had been the triggerman in the last unsanctioned hit on a Mafia boss, when he nearly killed Frank Costello in 1957. Gigante allegedly conspired with Lucchese crime family leaders Vittorio Amuso and Anthony Casso, to put out a contract on Gotti's life. On April 13, 1986, a car bomb meant for Gotti instead killed DeCicco.Eventually, Gotti's overconfidence, brash demeanor and belief that he was untouchable (he was acquitted on federal charges three times, earning the nickname the "Teflon Don") proved his undoing. The FBI had managed to bug an apartment above the Ravenite Social Club in Little Italy, where an elderly widow let mobsters hold top-level meetings. Gotti was heard planning criminal activities and complaining about his underlings. In particular, he complained about Gravano, portraying him as a "mad dog" killer. Gravano responded by turning state's evidence and testifying against Gotti.
The family since Gotti
Gotti continued to rule the family from prison, while day-to-day operation of the family shifted to capos John D'Amico and Nicholas Corozzo. The latter was due to take over as acting boss but was himself sentenced to eight years in prison on racketeering charges. Gotti's son, John "Junior" Gotti, took over as head of the family, but in 1998 he too was convicted of racketeering and sentenced to 77 months in jail.When John GottiSr died in prison in 2002, his brother Peter Gotti took over as boss, allegedly alongside John D'Amico, but the family's vast and extraordinary fortunes have dwindled to a remarkable extent given their enormous power and international influence a few short decades ago, when they were the wealthiest and most powerful criminal organization on the planet. Peter Gotti was imprisoned as well in 2002, as the leadership allegedly went to the current administration members, Nicholas Corozzo, John D'Amico and Joseph Corozzo.
As former rivals of John Gotti took completely over the Gambino family, mostly because the rest of Gotti's loyalists were either dead, jailed or under indictments, and that John Gotti died in prison in 2002, then-current head of white collar crimes and caporegime, Michael DiLeonardo turned state's evidence due to increased law enforcement and credible evidence toward his racketeering trial, and was forced to testify against mobsters from all of the Five Families. One of the last Gotti supporters, DiLeonardo testified against among others Peter Gotti and Anthony Ciccone from 2003 to 2005, and disappeared into the Witness Protection Program. At the same time, Salvatore Gravano, Gotti's former Underboss, had evaded the program in 1995 and was arrested and jailed for operating an Ecstasy-ring that stretched from Arizona to New York City in 2003. During that same year, he was sentenced to 19 years in prison, ironically due to informants amongst his associates.
In 2004, capos Nicholas Corozzo and Leonard DiMaria were released from prison after serving ten years for racketeering and loansharking charges in New York and Florida. That same year, US law enforcement recognized Corozzo as the Boss of the Gambino crime family, with his brother Joseph Corozzo as the family Consigliere, and John D'Amico as a highly regarded member with the Corozzo brothers.In July 2011, Domenico Cefalu became the official boss of the Gambino crime family. His ascension was seen as a return to the old-fashion way of running a Mafia family. He replaced Peter Gotti, who had been sentenced to life imprisonment in 2002.
Retired FBI agent, Joaquin Garcia infiltrated the Gambino crime family under the alias of Jack Falcone beginning in 2002. Gregory DePalma, the Gambino family capo, offered Garcia the position of made man. However, the FBI investigation ceased in 2005 when Garcia's cover was in danger of being blown. But, with sufficient evidence to convict DePalma and several other high-ranking mafiosi, DePalma was arrested and convicted to twelve years in federal prison thanks in large part to Garcia's efforts.
Operation Old Bridge
On Thursday, February 7, 2008, an indictment and four-year-long FBI investigation only known as Operation Old Bridge was issued, leading to 54 people affiliated with the Gambino crime family being arrested that very day in New York City and its northern suburbs, New Jersey and Long Island. A federal grand jury later that day accused 62 people of having ties to the Gambino crime family and offenses such as murders, conspiracy, drug trafficking, robberies, extortion and other crimes were included in the indictment. By the end of the week, more than 80 people were indicted in the Eastern District of New York. The case is now referred to as United States of America v. Agate et al. It was assigned to Judge Nicholas Garaufis. The FBI was able to collect the needed information through informant Joseph Vollero, the owner of a truck company on Staten Island, who secretly recorded several conversations between him and members of the Gambino family about three years prior to when the indictment was handed out.
Among the arrested were the current Gambino crime family leaders John D'Amico, Joseph Corozzo and Domenico Cefalu, including Gambino family caporegimes Leonard DiMaria, Francesco Cali, Thomas Cacciopoli. However, recognized captain and co-acting boss Nicholas Corozzo, one of the main indicted in the case, fled his home on Long Island, acting on prior knowledge, and was considered a fugitive by US law enforcement until his arrest before turning himself in on May 29, 2008 after almost four months on the run.
The federal operation broke up a growing alliance between the Gambinos and the Sicilian Mafia, who wanted to get further into the drug trade. One of those arrested in the raids in the US was Francesco Cali, a captain in the Gambino family. He is allegedly the "ambassador" in the US for the Inzerillo crime family.
Operation Pure Luck
On November 18, 2009, the NYPD arrested 22 members and associates of the Lucchese and Gambino crime families as part of "Operation Pure Luck". The raid was a result of cases involving loan sharking and sports gambling on Staten Island. There were also charges of bribing New York City court officers and Sanitation Department officials.
On April 20, 2010, Gambino capo Daniel Marino and thirteen other members/associates were arrested and indicted for numerous criminal activities. In addition to the racketeering charges, the fourteen defendants were charged with murder, jury tampering, extortion, assault, wire fraud, narcotics trafficking, loan-sharking and gambling. All the defendants pleaded guilty to lesser charges.
Historical leadership of the Gambino crime family
- 1900s–1910 – Ignazio "the Wolf" Lupo – imprisoned in 1910.
- 1910–1928 – Salvatore "Toto" D'Aquila – took over the Brooklyn Camorra in 1916 and merged with Al Mineo's gang forming the largest family in New York. He was killed on orders of boss Joe Masseria in 1928.
- 1928–1930 – Manfredi "Alfred" Mineo – killed in Castellammarese War in 1930.
- 1930–1931 – Frank Scalice – demoted after murder of boss of all bosses Salvatore Maranzano.
- 1931–1951 – Vincent Mangano – disappeared in April 1951, allegedly killed on orders of underboss Albert Anastasia.
- 1951–1957 – Albert Anastasia – murdered in October 1957 on orders of Carlo Gambino.
- 1957–1976 – Carlo Gambino – died of natural causes 1976.
- 1976–1985 – Paul Castellano – murdered in December 1985 on orders of capo John Gotti.
- 1985–2001 – John Gotti – imprisoned in 1990, died in 2002.
- 2001–2011 – Peter Gotti – imprisoned in 2002, serving life sentence.
- 2011–present – Domenico "Italian Dom" Cefalu
- 2015–2019 – Frank Cali – murdered in a non-Mafia related incident
From Gotti's imprisonment in 1990, several capo committees have periodically replaced the underboss and consigliere positions, allowing an imprisoned boss better control of the family.
Underboss was traditionally the number two position in the family (after don). With the appointment of John D'Amico as "street boss" in 2005, it is currently the number three position.
- 1928–1930 – Stefano Ferrigno – killed in 1930.
- 1930–1951 – Albert Anastasia – became official boss in 1951.
- 1951–1957 – Salvatore Chiri
- Acting 1953–1957 – Frank Scalise – murdered in 1957.
- Acting 1957 – Antonino "Nino" Conte
- 1957–1965 – Joseph Biondo – removed by Gambino in 1965.
- 1965–1985 – Aniello Dellacroce – died of natural causes in 1985.
- Acting 1974–1976 – James Failla – replaced by Dellacroce after release from prison.
- 1985 – Thomas Bilotti – murdered in 1985 on orders of capo John Gotti after 11 days.
- 1985–1986 – Frank DeCicco – murdered in 1986 by Luchese family hitmen.
- 1986–1990 – Joseph Armone – sentenced to 15 years in prison in 1987, became consigliere.
- Acting 1988–1990 – Frank LoCascio – later acting consigliere.
- 1990–1991 – Salvatore Gravano – turned government witness in 1991.
- 1999–2012 – Arnold Squitieri – arrested in 2005, released in 2012.
- 2011–2019 – Frank Cali – Cali was shot and killed in a non-Mafia related incident
- 2019–Present – Lorenzo Mannino
Consigliere is one of the top four positions in the organization. Together, the boss, street boss, underboss and consigliere are referred to as "the administration." In Italian, consigliere means "advisor."
- 1931–1957 – Joseph Biondo
- 1957 – Carlo Gambino – became boss.
- 1957–1975 – Joseph Riccobono – retired in 1967, deceased in 1975.
- Acting 1967–1975 – Joseph N. Gallo – became official consigliere.
- 1975–1987 – Joseph N. Gallo – retired in 1987, jailed in 1988, deceased in 1995.
- Acting 1987–1988 – Salvatore Gravano - became official consigliere.
- 1988–1990 – Salvatore Gravano – became underboss.
- 1990–1992 – Joseph Armone – former underboss, died in prison 1992.
- Acting 1990–1992 – Frank LoCascio - convicted 1992.
- 1999–2011 – Joseph Corozzo – imprisoned since 2008, released January 5, 2016.
- 2011–2017 – Bartolomeo "Bobby Glasses" Vernace - arrested 2011, convicted 2013, died in prison 2017.
- 2019–present – Michael Paradiso
Present Day Administration
Boss: Domenico Cefalù – despite rumours and speculation over the years, Cefalu has continued his reign as acting boss since 2011. Born in Palermo in 1947. He became involved through the drug trade. Not much is known about Cefalù due to his deliberate "low-key" presence other than his 1982 heroin trafficking sentence; he served 6 years. He was inducted by John Gotti in 1991. In 1992 and 1993, he refused to testify against Pasquale Conte and was given an 18-month imprisonment; released in February 1994. Around 1995 or 1996, he was sentenced to 33 months for criminal contempt. In the mid-2000s, Jackie D'Amico promoted Cefalù as acting underboss, until his succession of boss in 2011.
Underboss: Lorenzo Mannino - suspected of being part of the top administration since a few years ago, atleast regarded as a former respected and powerful captain in Brooklyn. Mannino was implicated by Sammy Gravano in the 1988 killing of Francesco Oliveri. He was formerly part of the "Sicilian faction" and also an acquaintance of John Gambino. In 1994, he was sentenced to 15 years and fined $25,000 for drug trafficking & racketeering.
Consigliere: Michael Paradiso – reportedly promoted in 2019. He has been active since the 1960s. In the 1970s, he assaulted John Gotti and was appointed as captain by Gotti in the mid-1980s. Paradiso has been suspected of hiring Jimmy Hydell and two other associates in the failed September 1985 murder of Lucchese crime family underboss Anthony Casso. By 1986, he completed his 8-year sentence of the hijacking of two trailer-trucks containing 500 bags of Colombian coffee and was released on $500,000 bail, when he was convicted of operating a major heroin-distribution network at Lewisburg Penitentiary. It has been alleged Gotti ordered a contract on his life around late 1987 as retribution for Casso. In 1989, he was acquitted of murder after his own brother accused him of committing a January 1978 murder among 9 others. He was paroled in 1998, returned to prison in 1999 on a parole violation then released in 2000. Paradiso was released in 2011 for an unknown crime. In 2016, he and 21 other members and associates of the Gambino, Bonanno and Genovese crime families were indicted as part of an illegal gambling and $15 million marijuana and oxycodone drug operation which stretched from California to New York.
Current family Capos
During the 1980s and 90s, the Gambino crime family under the regime boss John Gotti. had 24 active crews operating in New York City, New Jersey, South Florida, and Connecticut. After 2000, the Gambino family had approximately 20 crews. However, according to a 2004 New Jersey Organized Crime Report, the Gambino family had only ten active crews.
Brooklyn/Staten Island faction
Joseph Juliano – Capo of a Brooklyn crew that operates illegal gambling, loansharking, fraud and wire fraud activities. Juliano previously managed a multimillion dollar illegal gambling ring in 30 New York City locations.
Carmine Sciandra – Capo of a crew in Staten Island who also co-owns three "Top Tomato" vegetable and fruit markets. In December 2005, Sciandra was shot and wounded by a retired policeman while working at his Staten Island market. On March 25, 2010, Sciandra plead guilty to state charges of enterprise corruption and grand larceny for running a massive sports betting and loan shark operation and was sentenced to serve between 1½ to 4½ years in prison. He was released on January 5, 2012.
Dominick "Big D" Cefalu – Capo of a Brooklyn crew, Cefalu is the son of family boss Domenico Cefalu.
Frank Camuso – Low- key capo who allegedly runs a powerful crew in Staten Island. He owns Bella Mama Rose, an Italian restaurant in Staten Island.
John Rizzo Jr. – Capo with crews in both Brooklyn and Staten Island.
Thomas Cacciopoli – Capo of a crew in Queens, New Jersey, and Westchester. Released from prison on April 4, 2011.
Michael Paradiso - Capo of a crew in Brooklyn and Queens. Paradiso has been involved in illegal gambling, loansharking, extortion and narcotics activities. Released on May 15, 2011.
Thomas Sassano- Capo since 2012.
John "Jackie the Nose" D'Amico – Capo of a Manhattan crew, D'Amico is the former Acting Boss and has remained a powerful member of the family for decades.
Salvatore "Mr. Sal" Franco- Capo of a Manhattan crew.
Pasquale Marsala – Capo of a Manhattan crew with additional operations in Staten Island.
Salvatore "Tore" Locascio – Bronx capo and son of former consigliere Frank Locascio. Locascio was indicted in 2004 for his role in a credit card fraud scheme involving pornography sites. He was released in 2008.
Louis Ricco – Capo of a crew in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and New Jersey. The crew controls half of the illegal gambling, loansharking and racketeering activities in the Bronx.
Louis Mastrangelo – Long Island capo, Mastrangelo pleaded guilty to extortion in 2012.
The Sicilian faction of the Gambino crime family is known as the Cherry Hill Gambinos. Gambino Boss Carlo Gambino created an alliance between the Gambino family and three Sicilian clans: the Inzerillo's, the Spatola's and the Di Maggio's. Carlo Gambino's relatives controlled the Inzerillo clan under Salvatore Inzerillo in Passo di Ragano, a neighborhood in Palermo, Sicily. Salvatore Inzerillo coordinated the major heroin trafficking from Sicily to the US, bringing his cousins John Gambino, Giuseppe and Rosario Gambino to the US to supervise the operation. The Gambino brothers ran a Cafe on 18th Avenue in Bensonhurst and took their name "Cherry Hill Gambinos" from Cherry Hill, New Jersey. The Gambino family in America began increasing in size with more Sicilian members.
In Northern New Jersey, the Gambino family operates crews in Bergen, Passaic, and Essex Counties. In Southern New Jersey, the family operates crews in South Trenton, and Atlantic City. The two Gambino crews operating in New Jersey are the Mitarotonda crew and the Sisca crew. Other capos operating in New Jersey include John D'Amico, Louis Ricco, Francesco Cali, and Thomas Cacciopoli.
Alphonse Sisca – Capo of a crew in New Jersey. He was a John Gotti ally and a former drug dealing partner of Angelo Ruggiero and Arnold Squitieri. Prior to being convicted in 2006, Sisca had spent 20 of the past 30 years in prison. He was released from prison on September 27, 2010.
Nicholas Mitarotonda – capo of a crew in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Mitarotonda was released from federal prison on March 1, 2011.
(Acting) Louis "Bo" Filippelli – acting capo for Alphonse Sisca, Filippelli is the nephew of former underboss Arnold Squitieri.
The Gambino family's Florida faction operates in Tampa and the South Florida counties of Broward, Palm Beach and Dade.
Freddy Massaro – Capo of a South Florida crew. Massaro also owns Beachside Mario’s, a restaurant in Sunny Isles Beach.
Leonard DiMaria Capo of a South Florida crew. released from Jail August 31st 2012.
Steven Kaplan, a family associate was the manager of the Gold Club a strip club in Atlanta, he employed women to provide sexual services in his club.
Blaise Corozzo – Soldier and another of the Corozzo brothers. He is serving a one to three year sentence in state prison for a 2008 illegal gambling operation. His son Nicholas Corozzo, also involved with the Gambino family, was arrested in 2004.In 2009, Blaise Corozzo was released from prison.
Michael Murdocco – Soldier in Carmine Sciandra's crew. Murdocco and his son-in-law Sanitation Deputy Chief Frederick Grimaldi, rigged bids to help a New Jersey firm win a sanitation contract. In exchange for kickbacks, Grimaldi allegedly leaked bid information to Murdocco in May 2009. Currently serving two to six years in state prison after pleading guilty in March 2010 to enterprise corruption, grand larceny and receiving bribes. Murdocco was paroled on July 7, 2012.
Rosario Spatola – member of the Cherry Hill Gambinos. His cousin is Capo John Gambino and his brother-in-law was Salvatore Inzerillo.
Andrew Merola – former acting capo of the Mitarotonda crew. Merola is connected to Lucchese crime family Jersey faction leader Martin Taccetta. Merola's crew operates illegal gambling, loansharking, extortion and labor racketeering. Pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy and was sentenced to 11 years in prison. His projected release date is June 5, 2020.
Daniel Marino – Capo of a Queens crew involved in labor and construction racketeering. A rival of John Gotti, Marino was involved in the 1986 murder conspiracy that accidentally killed Frank DeCicco instead of Gotti. he recieved a 5 year jail sentence in trail following operation old bridge in 2010.
Bartolomeo "Bobby" Vernace – Capo of a Queens crew. Vernace allegedly operates out of his Vita Cafe in Flushing, Queens, running illegal gambling activities. Vernace is currently being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn while awaiting trial.
Vincent "Little Vinny" Artuso – capo of a crew in Broward County, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach County, Boca Raton and Palm Beach Island. Artuso lives in South Palm Beach, Florida. On January 22, 2008 in Fort Lauderdale, Artuso was charged with racketeering. In September 2008, Artuso was charged with racketeering, mail and wire fraud, and money laundering. Artuso is currently imprisoned at the Coleman Federal Correctional Complex in Florida; his projected release date is August 28, 2016. His son, John Vincent Artuso, is also imprisoned at Coleman; his release date is July 29, 2016.
Anthony Ciccone – Capo of the Gambino crew on the Brooklyn waterfront. Currently imprisoned on several extortion charges. His projected release date is April 24, 2013.
Louis Vallario – Capo of a crew in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn since the 1980s. From 1996 to 2002, Vallario served as acting boss in the family's 'Ruling Committee/Panel. One of the last aides to John Gotti His projected release date is October 15, 2013.
Anthony Megale – Capo of the Connecticut faction and co-leader with Domenico Cefalu of the Sicilian faction. In 2002, Megale was named acting underboss after Peter Gotti went to prison. His projected release date is July 18, 2014.
Augustus Sclafani – former acting capo of the Corrao crew. Sclafani was the overseer of the crew while Corrao was imprisoned, but Sclafani came under indictment in 2008 Operation Old Bridge and is currently in prison.
Nicholas Corozzo – Capo. Brother of Consigliere Joseph Corozzo, uncle of Joseph Jr. and currently the most influential caporegime in the crime family. Became a fugitive for almost four months, currently incarcerated on a 13 year sentence. His projected release date is March 2, 2020.
Dominick Pizzonia – Capo of a crew in Queens. An enforcer and hitman with John Gotti, Pizzonia is currently serving a 15-year-sentence for gambling and loansharking conspiracy. His projected release date is on February 28, 2020.
Ronald Trucchio - Capo of a crew in Queens. an enforcer and hitman with John Gotti, Trucchio is currently serving a life sentence for Murder, Armed Robbery, Racketeering and Extortion. he has no projected release date.
The Ozone Park Boys (headed by Ronald Trucchio in the 1990's)
Bergin Crew (headed by John Gotti in the early 1980's)
Cherry Hill Gambinos "Sicilian Zips" (headed by John Gambino)
Howard Beach crew
Criminal allied organizations
The Gambino-Lucchese-Genovese alliance (1953–1985) between Carlo Gambino, Gaetano Lucchese, and Vito Genovese began with a plot to take over the Mafia Commission by murdering family bosses Frank Costello and Albert Anastasia. At that time, Gambino was Anastasia's new underboss and Vito Genovese was the underboss for Frank Costello. Their first target was Costello on May 2, 1957. Costello survived the assassination attempt, but immediately decided to retire as boss in favor of Genovese. Their second target was Anastasia on October 25, 1957. The Gallo brothers (from the Colombo family) murdered Anastasia in a Manhattan barber shop, opening the was for Gambino to become the new boss of the now-Gambino crime family. After assuming power, Gambino started conspiring with Lucchese to remove their former ally Genovese. In 1959, with the assistance of Luciano, Costello, and Meyer Lansky, Genovese was arrested and Gambino assumed full control with Lucchese of the Mafia Commission. Under Gambino and Lucchese, the Commission pushed Bonanno boss Joseph Bonanno out of power, triggering an internal war in that family. In the 1960s, the Commission backed the Gallo brothers in their rebellion against Profaci family boss Joe Profaci. In 1962, Gambino's oldest son Thomas Gambino married Lucchese's daughter, strengthening the Gambino and Lucchese family alliance. Lucchese gave Gambino access into the rackets at the New York airports rackets he controlled and Gambino allowed Lucchese into some of their rackets. After Lucchese death in July 1967, Gambino used his power over the Commission to make Carmine Tramunti the boss of the Lucchese family. Gambino continued the alliance with Tramunti's successor, Anthony Corallo. After Gambino's death, the new Gambino boss Paul Castellano continued the alliance with Corallo. The original Gambino-Lucchese alliance dissolved in 1985 after John Gotti ordered the assassination of Castellano without Commission approval.
The Gambino-Lucchese alliance (1999–present) was initiated by acting Lucchese boss Steven Crea in 1999. The two families extorted the construction industry and made millions of dollars in bid-rigging. In early 2002 Lucchese Capo John Capra worked with Gambino family member acting Boss Arnold Squitieri, acting underboss Anthony Megale and Bronx based acting Capo Gregory DePalma. The group was involved in illegal gambling and extortion activities in Westchester. The members were arrested in 2005 leaving to reveal that Gambino acting Capo DePalma had allowed an FBI agent Joaquin Garcia (know as Jack Falcone) work undercover with his crew since 2002. In late 2008 Gambino family New Jersey based acting Capo Andrew Merola teamed with Lucchese’s Jersey faction acting Boss Martin Taccetta in an illegal gambling ring, shaking down Unions, and extorting car dealerships. Merola was indicted in 2008 and Taccetta was sent back to prison in 2009.
The Gambino-Genovese alliance (1962–1972) was between Carlo Gambino and Genovese family acting boss/front boss Thomas Eboli. The alliance was short lived because Eboli borrowed Gambino money that he spent on a drug deal and then lost. The alliance ended with the July 16, 1972 murder of Eboli.
The Gambino-Bonanno alliance (1991–2004) started with John Gotti and new Bonanno family boss Joseph Massino. As a member of the commission John Gotti helped the Bonanno family boss Massino regain the lost commission seat for his family that occurred in the early 1970s. The Gambino family helped reorganize the Bonanno family by advising them to stay away from drugs and steer the family toward a more traditional mafia crimes (loan sharking, gambling, stock fraud and other crimes.) With the reorganization of the Bonanno Family they have become almost as strong as the Gambino family in the late 1990s.
The Gambino-Westies alliance (1970s-present), The alliance started when the Genovese family went to war with the Westies over control of construction at the Jacob Javits site which Genovese family front boss Anthony Salerno wanted to control. The Genovese family ordered murders of all top Westies to gain the control over the Westside. When the new boss James Coonan took control over the Hell's Kitchen, Manhattan Irish-American group decided to teamed with Gambino family capo Roy DeMeo and end the war.
Salvatore Gravano, Underboss
Michael DiLeonardo, Caporegime
Dominic "Fat Dom" Borghese, Soldier
Frank "Frankie Fap" Fappiano, Soldier
Wilfred Johnson, Associate murdered in 1988.
Dominick LoFaro, Associate
Frank "Red" Scollo, Gambino-associated union official
Andrew DiDonato Associate
Robert Mormando, Soldier (later stated in court that he is gay)
Lewis Kasman, associate, and self-described "adopted son" of John Gotti who first became an informant in 1996. Was dropped from testifying against John Gotti Jr. for unreliability, but nevertheless received only probation for his offenses at sentencing.
Primo Cassarino associate. an enforcer for the gambino crime family who tried to extort money from Steven Seagal with Boss Peter Gotti and Capo Anthony Ciccone.
In popular culture
Witness to the Mob - A made-for-television movie about the life of Gambino underboss turned FBI informant Salvatore Gravano.
In the 2001 TV movie, Boss of Bosses, actor Chazz Palminteri portrays the Gambino boss Paul Castellano.
In the 1996 TV movie Gotti, actor Armand Assante portrays Gambino boss John Gotti.
In the movie Goodfellas, Gambino family made member William Devino (played by Frank Vincent) was killed in a fight with Thomas DeSimone (portrayed as "Tommy DeVito" by Joe Pesci) a Lucchese crime family associate.
In the video game GTA IV, in which the setting is based on New York and New Jersey, the Gambetti family is a reference to the Gambinos. Also during the mission "Waste Not Want Knots" on route to a Mafia controlled waste management plant Michael Keane (a character) mentions the Gambinos while reciting numerous fictional and real mafia families.
Law & Order commonly references the Gambinos as a literary flourish but does not involve actual persons except to allude to them by the court cases that were inspired by actual events, commonly 'Ripped from the headlines'.
"Mr. Moran" is a song about Salvatore Gravano on the album A Jackknife to a Swan by the ska-core group The Mighty Mighty Bosstones.
Rapper Raekwon recasts the Wu-Tang Clan as an Italian mafioso family dubbed the "Wu-Gambinos" on his debut album Only Built 4 Cuban Linx...
In his song "Last Real N*gga Alive," Nas raps about his infamous feud with Jay-Z. In one line he says "...'Cause in order for him to be the don/ Nas had to go/ the Gam-b-i-n-o rules, I understood..."
In Frasier season 4 episode 23, Frasier tells Daphne and Martin "It's like Christmas morning in the Gambino's household", at the end of their argument regarding their exchange of gifts.
The song "Shiksa Goddess" from the musical The Last Five Years contains a line about the "Gotti clan," another name for the Gambino crime family.
In the anime Phantom ~requiem for the phantom, Azuma Reiji kills a member of the Gambino crime family while working under Inferno.
A hip hop group formed in 1998 called Gambino Family (group), had a few songs but the group has not been around since.
On the social networking site, Gaia Online, the most powerful and richest NPC family in the site are the Gambinos.
Actor and comedian Donald Glover gained prominence with his rap career under the name Childish Gambino, which he got from a Wu-Tang Name Generator.
A Documentary shown on the Biography channel which was made about The Gambino Crime Family.