Michael "Mickey Boy" Paradiso (born 1940) is a Capo in the Gambino crime family, leading a crew based in Brooklyn and Queens. He became a capo in the 1980's and was once a close ally of John Gotti and Angelo Ruggiero.
Michael Paradiso was born in New York. Not much is known about his early life before becoming a member of the Gambino crime family sometime in the 1960s and joining up with the Bergin crew run by Carmine Fatico.
Like many Bergin crew members, Paradiso was involved in hijacking, illegal gambling, loansharking, extortion and drugs trafficking and worked in partnership with Angelo Ruggiero and John Gotti, whom he reportedly punched in the face in the 1970s.
In 1978 Paradiso was sentenced to 8 years in prison for the hijacking of two trailer-trucks containing 500 bags of Colombian coffee.
Promotion to Capo & Heroin Trafficking Scheme
When family boss Paul Castellano and underboss Thomas Bilotti were murdered on December 16th 1985, John Gotti became the new boss and promoted most of the Bergin crew. Paradiso became a caporegime and was placed in charge of a crew made up of his brother Phillip, George Milo, Frankie Romano, James Hydell, Nicholas Guido and Angelo Ruggiero Jr.
In a 1986 discussion with his brother Philip, who was wearing a wire for authorities then investigating several Brooklyn slayings, Mickey Boy blurted out that he had killed a low-level hood named Frank Morici eight years earlier because Morici had informed on Philip.
"This morning," Mickey Boy told his brother, "they showed me a piece of paper. There's 10 names there. I killed every one of them, starting with Frank Morici for you."
In February 1986, while serving the eight year sentence for armed robbery, he and fellow prisoner Oreste "Ernie Boy" Abbamonte were charged with conspiracy to possess and distribute and heroin inside Lewisburg penitentiary. Authorities alleged that they had facilitated the sale of the drug from a payphone inside the facility in spite of a sign warning inmates that their conversations were recorded. Using the phone, they had placed collect telephone calls to arrange the sales for a narcotics agent outside the prison who had persuaded the men that he was a trustworthy drug buyer. Through the course of an 18-month investigation, with the undercover agent pressing for a continuing supply of heroin, the prisoners unwittingly led the Drug Enforcement Administration to eight men said to be major heroin dealers in New York and a dozen others in Newark and Atlanta.
According to a law-enforcement source, the investigation began when an informer arranged telephone contact between the undercover agent and a prisoner at Lewisburg who was serving time on a narcotics conviction but not charged in the case. The unidentified prisoner turned to Mr. Abbamonte and Mr. Paradiso for help in filling the agent's requests for heroin. Over time, the prisoners contacted about a dozen New York heroin organizations and succeeded in setting up 11 deals. Federal agents bought a total of five pounds of heroin for about $300,000. Most of the undercover transactions, agents said, were carried out by Mark DeLeonardis, a 24-year-old Port Washington, Long Island man who delivered heroin to agents at doughnut shops, motels and on street corners. The phone conversations from Lewisburg were conducted in a simple code that the prisoners apparently believed would shield them from prosecution.
Attempted Hit on Casso
On April 13, 1986, while approaching his car after leaving a meeting at the Veterans & Friends Social Club on 86th St. in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, Underboss Frank DeCicco was killed by an improvised explosive device placed underneath his Buick Electra. DeCicco's murder was organised by Genovese crime family boss Vincent Gigante and Lucchese crime family leaders Vittorio Amuso and Anthony Casso.
To avenge the death of DeCicco, Angelo Ruggiero decided to have Casso murdered, a task entrusted to Michael Paradiso, one of his and John Gotti's oldest friends. Paradiso, in turn, assigned the actual task of killing to three members of his crew including Nicholas Guido and James Hydell, a nephew of Gambino crime family capo Daniel Marino.
Sometime in May, Nicholas Guido, an unknown man and James Hydell were out driving their Plymouth Fury. When they spotted Anthony Casso's Lincoln Town Car, they pulled over and Hydell shot Casso five times with a 12 gauge shotgun as he sat in his car. Casso staggered into a restaurant, asked the owner to call the police and then hid in the meat locker.
Casso ultimately survived the assassination attempt and shortly thereafter, as a warning to Ruggiero and Paradiso, James Hydell was kidnapped by corrupt NYPD detectives Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa. Hydell was hideously tortured by Anthony Casso, who shot him for twelve hours in an attempt to find out who else was involved, before killing him.
In November 1986, John Gotti marked Paradiso for death after learning that he had sent his three cohorts to kill Casso as part of a long-running feud between Casso and Ruggiero. At the time, Paradiso had just finished his eight-year stretch for hijacking, and was free on $500,000 bail, awaiting trial for operating the major heroin-distribution network at Lewisburg Penitentiary. When FBI agents alerted a federal judge about the contract put on his life by Gotti, the judge immediately revoked Paradiso's bail.
On December 25th 1986 police discovered the body of Nicholas Guido, an innocent telephone engineer who was murdered by mistake because he shared the same name as a member of Paradiso's crew involved in the assassination attempt on Anthony Casso. It later emerged that he had been murdered by Caracappa and Eppolito.
In 1987 Michael Paradiso was sentenced to 19 years in prison for Drugs Trafficking, based on the evidence gathered by his brother Philip. In 1989, he was acquitted of the murder of Frank Morici and 9 others. He was paroled in 1998, returned to prison in 1999 on a parole violation, then released again in 2000.
In May 2006, Paradiso was indicted by a federal grand jury in Brooklyn for loansharking and was soon charged with various other crimes including drug dealing, gambling and extortion.
In the lead up to the indictment Paradiso had been recorded boasting of his thirst for violence and murder to get what he wants, stating:
"If I use my hands, I might kill somebody. I'll kill him. I'll stab him. I'll cut his fucking throat... When I get mad, I'm just a different person. I don't rationalize, and I don't like to get like that."
In December 2005 he also reportedly stated to a cohort that he wanted to whack his daughter and son-in-law because they had not shown him enough respect.
"I told her," Paradiso said, "I did 19 years with n***ers, and I had better Christmases, Thanksgivings, or any holiday in there than I had here, because every time I'm here your husband got a fucking attitude and one day I'm going to shoot him in his fucking head and you're going to make me so crazy that I'll end up shooting you too."
Paradiso also promised to sever the head of one "little old man" who ducked his obligations. Insisting that, unlike other less-committed mobsters, he's not afraid to carry out his threats, even if it means a prison term.
He was quoted as saying:
"I'll shoot a guy in the head. I don't know who else is going to do that. In other words, they won't pull that tough guy shit when the time comes. Me, I'll do what I say. I don't give a fuck if I go to jail."
Paradiso was eventually released on May 15th, 2011. 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.
In 2019, Paradiso was allegedly elevated to a position within the Gambino family's ruling panel, with some sources claiming that he is the current consigliere.