The Rochester Crime Family was an Italian-American criminal organization based in Rochester, New York. It was considered a part of the Italian-American Mafia, also known as the La Cosa Nostra.
The Rochester family's first well known official boss was Constenze Valenti. In 1957, after the Apalachin Conference, Stan and his brother Frank were both jailed for civil contempt, because they refused to answer questions about the meeting. In 1958, Stan was sentenced to 16 months in prison, and Jake Russo became the next boss.
Splitting from Buffalo
In 1964, Frank Valenti returned to Rochester with his brother Stan, and Pittsburgh associate Angelo Vaccaro. Frank became an associate in the Pittsburgh crime family under John Sebastian LaRocca's reign. Stan Valenti was married to Antonio Ripepi's daughter, who was a capo in the Pittsburgh family. This time, Frank Valenti was taking over the Rochester family. By the end of the year, Russo went missing and his body has never been found. In 1970, Valenti wiped out the last Russo soldier Billy Lupo. Frank Valenti then told Buffalo crime family boss Stefano Magaddino that Rochester would become an independent family. Prior to this, Rochester was just a crew which answered to the Maggadino's Buffalo crime family.
The Valenti regime
Valenti created a well organized crime family by promoting Samuel Russotti to underboss, Rene Piccarreto to consigliere and Salvatore Gingello, Dominic Celestino, Thomas Didio, Angelo Vaccaro and Dominic Chirio as his capos. His most trusted ally was capo Chirio, who he gave special tasks to carry out. He divided up the family's illegal activities of gambling, extortion, loan sharking, insurance fraud, arson, narcotics and weapon trafficking among his capos to ensure peace.
Valenti created a master plan in 1970 called "The Columbus Day Bombings". He set up a special crew to bomb various churches and public buildings to draw the heat away from the family. In 1972, Valenti was approached by his underboss Samuel "Red" Russotti, his consigliere Rene Piccarreto, and highly powerful capo "Sammy G" Salvatore Gingello. The three accused Valenti of skimming profits and asked him to step down as boss; he refused. Valenti felt that the Pittsburgh crime family would back him and the Chirico crew up with muscle. Unknown to him was that his consigliere Picarreto had made a secret alliance with members of the Bonanno crime family. Valenti's most trusted capo and bodyguard, Domenic Chirico, was shot and killed. Instead of fighting he was allowed to move to Phoenix, Arizona and retire. After retiring Valenti was arrested and convicted of extortion, he later died on September 20, 2008.
The Russotti era
After Valenti fled the city, Samuel Russotti became boss, Piccarreto remained as consigliere, and Gingello became the underboss. The family was strong until January 1977 when the police fabricated evidence to indict all the upper echelon. The convicted put Russotti, Piccaretto, Gingello, Thomas Marotta and Eugene DeFrancesco away for murdering Vincent Massaro with a 25 years to life sentenced. When this happened, Thomas Didio became the acting boss. Russotti thought he would be able to manipulate Didio, but he really just created a monster. Didio began demoting all the Russotti loyalist while receiving advice from imprisoned former boss Valenti. When the truth came out about the fabricated evidence, all the top guys got out of prison. This created an "A team and B Team" war. Part of the "A team" was Russotti, Piccarreto, Gingello, Richard Marino, Thomas Marotta and others. Part of the "B Team" was Thomas Didio, Rosario Chirico (Domenic's brother), Stan Valenti, Angelo Vaccaro and others.
On April 23, 1978, Salvatore "Sammy G" Gingello was killed when a bomb was detonated when he entered his car. On July 6, 1978 Thomas Didio was murdered by a gunman who was using a machine gun. After these two murders the FBI decided it was time to crack down on the situation, with RICO coming into play they took down most of the remaining key players. In 1988, Angelo Amico and Loren Piccarreto were both indicted under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). Angelo Amico was the acting boss, and Loren Piccarreto (son of Rene Piccarreto) was the underboss.
After the conviction of the top members in 1988 the family's criminal activity declined. In 1993 imprisoned boss Samuel Russotti died. Months later Angelo Amico and Loren Piccarreto were released from prison. There has been no further evidence that the Rochester crime family is still active.
Bosses (official and acting)
?–1958 – Constenze "Stanley" Valenti – imprisoned
1958–1964 – Jake Russo – murdered
1964–1972 – Frank Valenti – retired, died on September 20, 2008
1972–1993 – Samuel "Red" Russotti – imprisoned in 1984; died in 1993
Acting 1977–1978 – Thomas Didio – murdered July 1978 during the "A & B Wars"
Acting 1977–1978 – Salvatore "Sammy G" Gingello – murdered April 23, 1978 during the "A & B Wars"
Acting 1988 – Angelo Amico – arrested in 1988; released in 1993
Acting 1988 – Loren Piccarreto – son of Rene Piccarreto; arrested 1988; released in 1994
1964–1972 – Samuel "Red" Russotti – promoted to boss
1972–1978 – Salvatore "Sammy G" Gingello – promoted to acting boss
1978–1984 – Richard Marino – convicted imprisoned for murder
1984–1988 – Loren Piccarreto – promoted acting boss
1964–1984 – Rene Piccarreto – imprisoned in 1984; released in 2007; died March 2014.
Acting Boss – Angelo Amico – arrested in 1988; released in 1993
Acting Boss – Loren Piccarreto – son of Rene Piccarreto; arrested 1988; released in 1994
Street Boss - Ricky L. Sprague, Jr. aka Ricky "Sonny " Luciano Sprague, Jr. Great nephew of Samuel "Red" Russotti; Relocated back to Pittsburgh in 2006
Billy Barton. Commonly did hits and other violent crimes for the family.
Dominick Alloco, "The Deacon". Muscle man for family with bad gambling problem. Ended up being hit in 1965 for being an informant to the police.
Robert H Schreiner, David Scheiffer, attempted murder.