The San Francisco Crime Family (also known as the (Lanza crime family), is an Italian-American organized crime syndicate which operated in San Francisco. The syndicate was highly organized in the early 1930s by Francesco "Frank" Lanza. The San Francisco family is an extremely secretive and small mafia family with fewer than 100 made members and 500 associates.

Early years

The San Francisco Family was formed after a large gang war, which started on April 28, 1928, on which bootlegger Jerry Feri, San Francisco's leading crime lord, was murdered in his apartment. His suspected murderer, Alfredo Scariso, was an accomplished bootlegger as well, and he too was murdered on December 19 of that year. His body was found with multiple gunshot wounds and dumped in the area of Fair Oaks. On December 23, Mario Filippi, a suspect behind the Scariso murder, was found shot to death. Frank Boca, another suspect in Scariso's death, was found murdered in his car on July 30, 1929.[1]

The Lanza gang proved to be the strongest after murdering San Francisco gang leader Luigi Malvese on May 18, 1932, who was shot while walking through an Italian neighborhood in the middle of the day.[1]. Francesco Lanza was the leader of the Lanza gang and became the first real crime boss of San Francisco. He divided his income from loansharking, gun running, prostitution, gambling and narcotics. Lanza founded the famous Fisherman's Wharf along with his partner Giuseppe Alioto. Lanza passed away of natural causes on July 14, 1937. He was 57 years old.

Anthony J. Lima

Anthony J. Lima was succeeded as the next crime boss following Lanza's death. Lima was involved in the murder of Chicago mobster Nick DeJohn in 1947. DeJohn was strangled and his body stuffed into the trunk of a car parked on a San Francisco street.. It was believed that Lima and his underboss, Michael Abati, ordered his murder. On April 27, 1953 Lima was sentenced to the California State Prison for grand theft.. Lima lost control of his crime family and was replaced by Abati.

Michael Abati

Michael Abati took over as boss in 1953. As boss he attended the famous Apalachin mob convention. There, dozens of top mobsters from accross the country had attended a failed crime meeting. Abati was deported to Italy on July 8, 1961. He died of natural causes on September 5, 1962.

James Lanza

James Lanza would rise to become the most successful don the San Francisco mob ever had. Lanza had a close friendship with San Francisco mayor Joseph Alioto. This allegation has been denied by Alioto.[2] He was well connected in Las Vegas by his friend William "Bones" Remmer, a Jewish associate with ties to the Genovese crime family of New York. Remmer was Lanza's link to Las Vegas. [3] Lanza became wary of the serious damage that defectors could cause and took precautions against the risk of turncoats like Joseph Valachi, a soldier in the Genovese crime family that agreed to cooperate with the federal government in 1963. As a result, he brought very little new blood into the San Francisco mob as the membership aged. Lanza also made solid ties with other bosses, including Joseph Civello of Dallas and Joseph Cerrito of San Jose. His longtime underboss, Gaspare "Bill" Sciortino was the cousin to the underboss of the Los Angeles crime family Samuel Sciortino.[3]

Lanza paved the way for Los Angeles family capo Aladena "Jimmy the Weasel" Fratianno to open operations based out of San Francisco. He later told Los Angeles crime boss Dominick Brooklier that he wanted Fratianno out of the Bay Area. It was over Fratianno bringing heat to the San Francisco mob. Fratianno would later testify against mobsters in California, Ohio and New York. Lanza was suspected of giving permission for the murder of former New England family associate Joseph Barboza in 1976.[3] In his book, Fratianno] said he reported to Lanza in 1973 when he moved to the Bay Area after his release from prison. A few years later, Lanza ended his friendship with Fratianno. [3]

Later Years

By the start of the 1990s, there were only a few made men left in the San Francisco mob, one was Sergio Maranghi, who was involved in cocaine and heroin trafficking. Maranghi moved to the United States from Florence, Italy in 1973 and eventually settled in San Francisco in 1978. He first began working as an employee of Starfish Co., a small fish processing company, which did a lot of business with Alioto's Restaurant. In 1980 Maranghi opened the Anchor Bay Cafe in North Beach. Lanza quickly noticed Maranghi's ability as a moneymaker and soon made him a member of the crime family. Maranghi was spotted many times meeting with Lanza and other San Francisco mob figures at the Anchor Bay Cafe until it closed down in 1983. He was one of many involved in a cocaine bust in October 1991. Maranghi decided to become an informant instead of facing a long prison sentence and told federal agents of cocaine transactions he had with his associates over a period of several years. Another member still living at the time was Steve Trifiro, who ran a small gambling operation in Sacramento, CA. On February 14, 2006, James Lanza died of natural causes at the age of 103. [3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 San Francisco, CA..
  2. The Times News, September 6, 1969
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 James J. Lanza. (February 22, 2006). (dead link=July 2018)

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