Ferdinand Boccia

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Ferdinand "The Shadow" Boccia (March 18, 1900 – September 19, 1934) was a New York mobster and gambling racketeer who was killed by Vito Genovese, who would become a mob boss. Boccia's murder would force Genovese to flee the United States to Italy to avoid prosecution. He is the father-in-law of Andrew Ruggiano Sr. and brother-in-law of Andrew Ruggiano Jr.


Boccia was an early victim of Vito Genovese's killing spree that aimed to increase his power in the Luciano crime family. Boccia had assisted Genovese in setting up a rigged card game for a rich Italian businessman that Boccia introduced to Genovese. Boccia later demanded a third of the profits from the scam. Genovese refused to pay Boccia and hired hitmen Willie Gallo and Ernest "The Hawk" Rupolo to murder him.

On May 11, 1937, the body of Ferdinand Boccia was pulled from the Hudson River in New York City. It was widely believed that Boccia was shot to death three years earlier, either on February 9, 1934 or September 19, 1934, in Brooklyn and then dumped in the river. Following the recovery of Boccia's body, Genovese offered Rupolo $175 to murder Gallo. After escaping two attempts on his life, Gallo went to the police and implicated both Rupolo and Genovese in the Boccia murder. While Rupolo was sentenced to twenty years for attempted murder, Genovese fled the country to Italy to avoid prosecution. In 1946, Genovese was extradited back to New York and jailed on the Boccia murder charge. However, lacking enough evidence, the government later released Genovese from custody.


Ferdinand Boccia is a paternal blood relative of Gambino crime family mob associate Frank (Geeky) Boccia from Queens, New York, who was the brother-in-law of Gambino crime family capo Anthony Ruggiano, Sr. Frank Boccia was murdered by Dominick Pizzonia, Freddy DiCongilio, son-in-law Anthony (Fat Andy) Ruggiano, Jr., Thomas (Tommy Flash)Morea, and Anthony (Tony Lee) Guerrieri in June 1988, for having assaulted his mother-in-law Jennifer Ruggiano, the wife of Andrew Ruggiano for refusing to pay for his daughter's $500 baptism.

Anthony Ruggiano Jr. had lured Boccia to Cafe Liberty in Ozone Park, Queens on the ruse of an upcoming planned heist, following which they called him into a back room for the alleged clandestine meeting and Pizzonia shot him in the head repeatedly. According to Ruggiano Jr., Pizzonia paused midway to reload, said "this guy don't want to fucking die", and then shot him a few more times. They gutted Boccia's like a fish so that his body would not float, and threw the body into the waters off Merrick, New York. Although prosecutors Joseph Lipton and Paige Petersen presented an eyewitness who implicated Pizzonia as the shooter, jurors said they could not convict without a corpse; the body of Frank Boccia was never found. His suspected murderers were all acquitted, although his alleged killer Pizzonia would later be indicted for two other murders. Dominic became a made member of the Gambino crime family for committing the murder. Boccia left behind a wife and a daughter.


Further reading[edit]

  • United States Congress. Senate. Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce. Waterfront Investigation: Hearings Before a Subcommittee of the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce. 1953. [1]
  • United States. Congress. Senate. Select Committee on Improper Activities in the Labor or Management Field. Investigation of Improper Activities in the Labor Or Management Field. 1959. [2]
  • United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Governmental Affairs. Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Organized Crime: 25 Years After Valachi: Hearings Before the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Committee on Governmental Affairs. 1988. [3]