Joseph Charles Dippolito (born December 28, 1914 - January 14, 1974) who was also known as "Joe Dip", was an Italian American Mafioso and member of the Los Angeles crime family. Joseph was the son of fellow Mafioso Salvatore Dippolito (known as "Charlie Dip"). Joseph rose to become underboss of the Los Angeles family. Joe Dip remained an rather obscure figure in the Los Angeles Mafia until being featured in Jimmy "the Weasel" Fratianno's book 'The Last Mafioso', written by author Ovid Demaris.
Joseph Dippolito was born on December 28, 1914 in Brooklyn, New York to Angelina and Salvatore Dippolito. During Prohibition, he served a one-year prison sentence for illegally transporting liquor. After his prison release, Dippolito moved to San Bernardino, California where his parents lived. Eventually in the Inland Empire area Joe Dippolito and his father Charlie owned several businesses, including a hotel, and a liquor store/market called Charlie's Market, and vineyards in the Ontario and Rancho Cucamonga areas. The Dippolito Family became prominent and powerful men in the Inland Empire. They were involved in many real estate deals and produced grapes for many winemakers in California.
Working with the L.A. Family, Dippolito also proved to be a competent mob killer. He was a big, muscular man who was "built like a heavyweight wrestler" acording to Jimmy Fratianno. When Aladena "Jimmy" (The Weasel) Fratianno set up Mickey Cohen loyalist Frank Niccoli to be killed, Dippolito came by Jimmy's House in Westchester, Calif. Introduced to Niccoli he shook his hand. Joe Dip then quickly wrapped Niccoli in a reverse bear hug. Fratianno and Sam Bruno wrapped a rope around Niccoli's neck and choked him to death. Afterwards, Dippolito took Niccoli's body and buried it in his vineyard, which was a popular place to bury murdered bodies for the Los Angeles Mafia.
In 1952, Joe Dippolito became a made man in the Los Angeles crime family under boss Jack Dragna. The ceremony took place at a winery in Los Angeles. He was now a soldier working in Jimmy Fratianno's crew. His father Charles had been inducted into the family five years earlier. When Nick Licata became boss of the Los Angeles crime family in 1967, he promoted Dippolito to caporegime.
On January 31, 1969, Joe Dippolito was indicted in a Los Angeles court on three counts of perjury for statements he made during a liquor license ownership inquiry on May 16, 1968. When Charlie Dippolito died in 1961, he had left the Ontario liquor store, Charlie's Market, to his wife. However, the actual new owner-operator of the store was his son Joe Dippolito. In a 2 month sting operation, the California Liquor Board and it's undercover agents cited many cases where Joe Dippolito was running the store as an owner, in violation of California Liquor Laws. After being charged, Joe Dip was released on $10,000 bail and scheduled to be tried. On May 17, 1969, Joe Dip was convicted on two of the three perjury charges. On June 10, 1969, he was sentenced to five years for each charge (10 years total). A $10,000 bond allowed Dippolito to remain free pending appeal of his conviction. During this time law enforcement finally recognized Joe Dip as the underboss of the Los Angeles family. On April 16, 1971, his sentence was reduced from ten to five years by Judge Warren J. Ferguson and he started serving his sentence. On December 13, 1971, Dippolito was paroled after only serving eight months. He was released after San Bernardino mayor Al C. Ballard, Police Chief Louis J. Fortuna, and California Superior Court Judge Joseph A. Katz vouched for Dippolito in letters written in 1969 to a probation officer.
In failing health for several years, Joe Dippolito died on January 14, 1974 after being stricken by a second heart attack at his daughter Josephine's large wedding. He was interred at Bellevue Cemetery and Mausoleum in Ontario, California.