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Joseph Biondo

Joseph Biondo (April 16, 1897 – June 10, 1966), (pronounced "bee-ON-doh") also known as "JB", "Joe Bandy", "Joe the Blonde", and "Little Rabbit", was a New York mobster with the Gambino crime family who was heavily involved in gambling activities. Biondo was also the family underboss for approximately eight years.

Background

Born in Barcellona Pozzo di Gotto in Sicily, Biondo emigrated to New York City. He lived on New York's Lower East Side, where he became involved with future top Cosa Nostra members. Biondo stood at 5'4 and weighed 150 pounds. Biondo lived in the Jackson Heights section of Queens and owned a summer cottage in Long Beach, New York. He was married to Louise Volpe

Criminal career

Biondo's early criminal record included arrests for extortion, homicide, and illegal firearms possession. In 1919, Biondo was convicted on a narcotics charge. In August 1922, Biondo was indicted on murder charges from a gang fight in which another gangster died, but the charge was later dismissed. In 1930, he was convicted of possessing a revolver and received a sentence of probation.

During the Prohibition era, Biondo became involved in bootlegging. Biondo became close associates with bootlegger Dutch Schultz and mobster Charles Luciano, and frequently served as an intermediary between them. In 1931, Biondo assisted Luciano in the assassination of Cosa Nostra boss Salvatore Maranzano. With the repeal of Prohibition, Biondo moved into labor racketeering in the taxi cab industry. During the 1930s, Biondo was close to the top, but stayed away from top position. Biondo owned a shipping business in Queens, a real estate office in Long Beach, and an automobile dealership in Flatbush, Brooklyn.

In early 1938, Biondo was indicted on charges of extorting payments from taxicab companies. On July 13, 1938, a New York Police Department (NYPD) detective arrested Biondo in Queens after observing him driving with a female companion. Biondo cooperated in the arrest and was sent to jail. On June 24, 1942, a judge dismissed Biondo's 1938 indictment because none of the indicted men had been brought to trial.

In 1957, Biondo and underboss Carlo Gambino conspired to assassinate family boss Albert Anastasia in a Manhattan barber shop. When Gambino took over after Anastasia's death, he appointed Biondo as underboss.

In 1965, Gambino became dissatisfied with Biondo's independence and replaced him as underboss with capo Aniello Dellacroce. Working with Sam DeCavalcante boss of the DeCavalcante crime family, Biondo had gained a share of revenues from a sanitation landfill in New Jersey. However, Biondo had hid this new revenue from Carlo Gambino to avoid sharing it with the family. DeCavalcante later revealed the deception to Gambino, who then sacked Biondo as underboss.

Death

Joseph Biondo died in New York of natural causes June 10, 1966. He is buried at the Maple Grove Cemetery in Queens.

Family

Joseph Biondo was the paternal uncle of Gambino associate Sebastian Biondo. Sebastian "Benny" Biondo was born in 1933 in New York City. He lived at 41 Argyle Drive in Shirley, Long Island, operated a restaurant and was a “self-styled” nightclub singer, playing at his own restaurant and other venues. He was also involved in criminality, operating a sizable shylock book in Suffolk County with others including Michael "Big Mike" LaBarbara, Gaetano Tedesco and Andrew Preli.

Following his uncle's death he stayed involved in the mafia and was arrested twice on loansharking charges in 1968. The Suffolk Rackets Squad repeatedly questioned him, hoping that he would crack and implicate others, to no avail.

He was eventually tried and convicted on 18 counts of usury and conspiracy and sentenced to 3 to 8 years in prison serving his term in Sing Sing and Auburn in upstate NY. When he was paroled, he seemed to have faded from the mob scene and was believed to have moved off Long Island and into Westchester County. Within a few years he had reinvented himself. While in Auburn prison, he took college courses and achieved a degree in business management. When he was paroled, he enrolled full time at Bronx Community College.

Then, following his love of music, singing, and entertaining people, he started getting gigs at different show spots and eventually appeared on Broadway doing impressions of famous people such as Al Jolson and Sophie Tucker, also playing various instruments. He was never arrested again.

It is unknown if he was also related to Genovese associate Andrew Biondo (b. 1918, Williamsburg, Brooklyn) who was considered a close aide to Vincent Napoli, a Genovese capo and arguably one of the largest policy racketeers in the country.

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