According to the testimony provided by Vincent Palermo, the later Acting Boss of the DeCavalcante crime family, Amari was a prominent and ruthless captain before being promoted to the acting Underboss after the imprisonment of longtime family boss, Giovanni Riggi, who had been put on trial for racketeering and extortion charges after developing a great influence inside most of the unions in New Jersey together with Amari. Amari was reportedly a powerful labor racketeer of Newark, New Jersey during the 1980s, and was almost charged with Riggi in extorting the unions into ripping of their welfare and pension funds in the early 1990s.
After reputed captain John D'Amato stepped up as Acting Boss for Giovanni Riggi in 1991, Amari developed a great partnership with reputed Consigliere Stefano Vitabile, who was also one of the most powerful figures in the DeCavalcante crime family at the time. After longtime official Underboss Louis LaRasso disappeared in the summer of 1991, Amari was reportedly promoted to LaRasso's position and fully in charge of all labor and construction racketeering operations, as well as AMI Construction, from Elizabeth, New Jersey.
While serving as a "consultant" for Local 394 in the "International Association of Laborers and Hod Carriers", Amari would soon be promoted again, as then-current Acting boss John D'Amato was recruited by Gambino crime family boss John Gotti into take over the DeCavalcante crime family, and put Riggi aside, however, after an alleged fight with his girlfriend, rumors started going around that D'Amato was homosexual, and as Anthony Capo heard this, he shared it with current administration members Amari and Stefano Vitabile, who quickly acted on prior knowledge and decided to have D'Amato murdered while informing the incarcerated Riggi. In 1992, D'Amato was shot to death in his car, as Amari meant it would have been an embarrassment if an homosexual represented their family of Cosa Nostra. His body was never recovered. It was around this time that Amari was promoted within the organization and placed as Acting Boss of the DeCavalcante crime family in 1992.
Sitdown with New York
During the mid 1990s, Amari and Stefano Vitabile, now the most powerful members of the family, were present in a sitdown with representatives of the Gambino and Colombo crime families in New York City, as the DeCavalcante crime family had been recruiting reputed Mafia associates Louis Consalvo and Gregory Rago, who together operated a social club on Mott Street and held criminal interests in New York City. The only problem was that, since these two mobsters were based in New York, their profit and activities should have gone to one of the Five Families, in this instance, either the Gambino crime family or the Colombo crime family. Reputed Gambino family captain Nicholas Corozzo and Colombo family Consigliere Vincenzo Aloi were present during the sitdown. The conflict was eventually resolved peacefully when it was ruled the DeCavalcante crime family could no longer 'make' members outside of New Jersey and South Philadelphia, which was another area that the DeCavalcantes had traditionally recruited from.
In 1995, it was reported that Amari was diagnosed with stomach cancer, and could no longer run the family as much as he could before. It was around this time that prominent family capos Vincent Palermo, Girolamo Palermo (no relation to vincent) and Charles "Big Ears" Majuri were promoted into the family Ruling Panel as Street bosses in aide to Amari, who slowly began to die. Jake Amari, the most powerful member of the DeCavalcante crime family at the time, died of stomach cancer in 1997.
However, after Amari's sudden death, there were three faction leaders who were eager to gain control of the DeCavalcante crime family, as a massive power vacuum was being developed into the crime family. Two attempts on the lives of both Vincent Palermo and Charles Majuri were conspired and hatched by the one and another, but none of the assassination plots succeeded, and the Ruling Panel kept controlling the family throughout the 1990s, as massive indictments were put up against the DeCavalcante crime family in 2000, and eventually led to Vince Palermo and captain Anthony Rotondo becoming state's evidence.
Strong assemblement shows that the fictional character Giacomo "Jackie" Aprile, Sr. of the HBO hit-series The Sopranos, was loosely based on Amari. Especially when they both become acting boss of the New Jersey crime family, only to die of cancer and spark a massive power vacuum between rival factions within their crime families.