Nicholas "Nicky" Bianco (March 21, 1932 – November 14, 1994) was a Rhode Island mobster who became an influential member of the Patriarca crime family of New England.
Bianco was born and raised in Providence, Rhode Island. In later years, he lived with his wife and children in Barrington, Rhode Island He sent his children to private schools and one of his sons later became a lawyer.
As a young man, Bianco moved to Brooklyn, New York to work for the Colombo crime family. In the early 1960s, the Colombo family was being torn apart by an internal war between boss Joseph Magliocco and Capo Joey Gallo. In 1963, Bianco asked New England crime boss Raymond Patriarca if Patriarca could serve as mediator between the two factions. Patriarca agreed and also inducted Bianco, then just a Colombo associate, as a made man in the Patriarca crime family. Bianco continued to serve as a liaison to the Colombo crime family.
In 1982, Bianco allegedly participated in the murder of Anthony Mirabella. A Patriarca associate, Mirabella had incurred disfavor with the family because he was hard to control. Mirabella was shot to death in a Providence restaurant.
In July 1984, the Patriarca crime family entered a period of instability with the death of boss Raymond Patriarca. After a period of jockeying, his son Raymond Patriarca, Jr. became the new official boss. However, the younger Patriarca was not a strong boss; the family would be controlled over the next few years by a succession of powerful underbosses. It also signaled a growing rivalry between the Patriarca mobsters in Boston, Massachusetts, and the family leadership in Providence.
In 1985, Bianco was indicted on charges of conspiracy and aiding and abetting in the 1982 Mirabella murder. However, soon after the trial began, the judge dismissed all charges against Bianco due to lack of evidence.
In June 1989, Bianco became the new unofficial boss of the Patriarca crime family. On June 16, the body of current underboss William Grasso was discovered on a river bank with a bullet wound to the head. Grasso was murdered by members of the Boston faction who wanted more control over the family. Bianco essentially had control now of the Providence-based family operations.
In 1989, Bianco attended a Patriarca ceremony in a Massachusetts house in which four mob associates were admitted to the family. Unknown to the participants, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had placed electronic surveillance devices in the room. Bianco's presence at this ceremony served as evidence that he was a member of the family in an upcoming indictment.
In March 1990, Bianco and other top Patriarca family members were indicted on charges of conspiracy to murder, loan sharking, illegal gambling, wire fraud and interstate travel in aid of racketeering. With the aid of government witness John Castagna, Bianco was convicted on August 8, 1991, of two counts of racketeering in Hartford, Connecticut. On November 25, 1991, Bianco was sentenced to 11 and half years in federal prison.
On November 16, 1994, Nicholas Bianco died of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, otherwise known as Lou Gehrig's disease at the Federal Medical Center (FMC) in Springfield, Missouri.