Vincent Charles "Fat Vinnie" Teresa (1930 – 1990) was an American mobster in the Boston faction of the Patriarca crime family. He was an alleged lieutenant of infamous Providence-based crime boss Raymond Patriarca.
Teresa was once described as a top Mafia figure, number three man and top money-maker for the New England crime family. He was reportedly acquainted with many of America's top mafiosi during his time in the mob. Teresa was an eight grade drop out. In 1969, Teresa turned government witness after being jailed for a million-dollar stock swindle. He reportedly decided to turn on the mafia after they deserted his family while he was jailed and stole $4,000,000 that he had gained through other crimes. Teresa's testimony led to the indictment or conviction of more than 50 crime figures who put out a $500,000 contract on him. Normally, to be come a 'made' member in the Italian-American mafia, one must first perform a murder at the direction of the mob. Teresa claimed that while he reached the position of lieutenant in the Patriarca crime family, this was mainly due to his prowess as a money maker for Raymond Patriarca, and that he never murdered anyone, the government had no evidence to the contrary and he was a very valuable witness, so he was taken at his word. Teresa was once allegedly ordered by Patriarca to murder mob turncoat, Joseph Barboza and used his recently purchased pleasure cruiser yacht to try to carry out the hit at Thatcher Island using high powered rifles, but Teresa and his companion, prolific hitman, Maurice "Pro" Lerner decided to call off the hit once out on the sea close off Thatcher Island. Teresa was also allegedly associated with Meyer Lansky, to whom he claimed he payed a percentage of the profits gained from running gambling junkets from Boston to the Colony Club in London. Whether Teresa ever became an officially inducted member of the Patriarca crime family or remained a high ranking associate has remained unsubstantiated.
Books and Later years
Teresa authored three books, the first being 'My Life In The Mafia', which chronicles Teresa's path to a life in organized crime, his time as a lieutenant for Raymond Patriarca, the 1960s Boston Irish Mob Wars, his fall in the Patriarca crime family, and the circumstances that led him to seek the protection of the Federal government and the Federal Witness Protection Program. Intelligent and personable, Teresa was as good a federal witness as he was a criminal. First and foremost, though, one gets the impression that Teresa was always looking out for Teresa.
His second book, 'Vinnie Teresa's Mafia' chronicles his's time as a government witness and subsequent life, with a number of anecdotes on his former life in the mob. It is said that Teresa would have been a very sharp and successful businessman even if he never entered a life of crime, and, despite claimed government indifference, he seemed to succeed in making a life for himself and his family once out of witness protection. He was very bitter against the Federal government for his 'treatment' in the Federal Witness Protection Program, feeling they used him with no regard to his safety, or an appreciation of his value. Thomas C. Renner implies this may have been more melodramatics then reality.
Teresa's final book and fictional novel, Wiseguys, was written solely by Teresa. The story is of one Johnny Forza, a very thinly disguised doppelganger of Teresa. It chronicles Forza's life as a betrayed government witness, his battles with a former friend mob member "Butch" (again, a thinly disguised doppelganger for New Jersey mob member Frank "Butch" Miceli), his life on the lam with his girlfriend and his final confrontations with everyone who has done him wrong. Written poorly in the first person it is more a revenge fantasy than a novel.
Teresa always lived in fear of being murdered by the Patriarca crime family but seems to have out-lived anyone in the mob that would have wanted him dead. In February 1990, Vincent Teresa died of kidney failure in Seattle, Washington.