Five Families

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Charles "Lucky" Luciano is considered the father of modern organized crime and is responsible for splitting New York into different criminal gangs.

The New York Mafia, the original Italian American Mafia of organized criminals, was first recognized in New York City in the United States in 1931.

The organized criminal groups are: Bonanno, Colombo, Gambino, Genovese and Lucchese.


The criminal organized crime groups originated out of New York City Sicilian Mafia gangs. They were formally organized in the summer of 1931 by Salvatore Maranzano after the April 15, 1931, murder of Giuseppe Masseria, in what has become known as the Castellammarese War. Maranzano also introduced the now-familiar Mafia hierarchy: boss (capofamiglia), underboss (sotto capo), advisor (consigliere), captain (caporegime), soldier (soldato), and associate; and declared himself capo di tutti capi (boss of bosses). By declaring himself "boss of bosses," Maranzano reneged on the deal he had made with Lucky Luciano. In that deal, it was agreed that after Luciano was to help murder Masseria, the two bosses were to be equals. When Maranzano was murdered just months after Masseria on September 10, 1931, the "boss of bosses" position was eliminated in favor of The Commission, a council which demarcated territory among the previously warring factions and governs American Mafia activities in the United States and Canada.


The criminal organized crime groups were publicly named in the 1963 Valachi hearings based on their bosses at the time: Tommy Lucchese, Vito Genovese, Carlo Gambino, Joseph Profaci and the recently deposed Joseph Bonanno. For the most part the names stuck, but the "Profaci group" would be renamed the "Colombo group", as a reference to boss Joseph Colombo.[1][2]

Mafia boss succession[edit]

Bonanno/Massino group:

  • 1931 – Salvatore "Caesar" Maranzano is murdered at the end of the Castellamarese War, and underboss Joseph "Don Peppino" Bonanno takes over his group.
  • 1979 – After a major power struggle, which involved Joe Bonanno's forced retirement by the Commission and the assassination of acting boss Carmine "Lilo" Galante, Philip "Rusty" Rastelli becomes boss.
  • 1991 – Rastelli dies of cancer and underboss Joseph Massino becomes boss. Massino eventually changes the group's name to the Massino crime group.
  • 2003–2004 – Massino is arrested and convicted of racketeering and murder charges. Massino became a federal witness, testifying against 60 fellow mobsters, so acting bosses Anthony "Tony Green" Urso and Michael "Mikey Nose" Mancuso, both of whom were themselves jailed, controlled the group briefly.
  • 2005–2009 – Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano moves up from acting boss to become boss. Basciano is currently serving two life sentences in Colorado for a 2006 murder and a 2011 murder.
  • 2009–2012 – Vincent "Vinny TV" Badalamenti, a Bonanno capo, becomes the new acting boss. Badalamenti is indicted in January 2012 along with other members. He was released on May 16, 2013.
  • 2013–present – Imprisoned capo Michael "Mikey Nose" Mancuso becomes boss and Thomas DiFiore becomes his acting boss.

Profaci/Colombo group:

  • 1931 – Joseph Profaci has his Brooklyn-based gang formally recognized as a group.
  • 1962 – Profaci dies of cancer, and underboss Joseph Magliocco succeeds him.
  • 1964 – Magliocco is forced to retire after taking part in Bonanno's plot to take over the Commission. Joseph Colombo becomes new boss with Commission support and changes the group's name.
  • 1971 – Colombo is shot and paralyzed at a civil rights rally he organized. Colombo's activism drew unwanted publicity and attention towards the Mafia, and made other Mafia leaders, such as Carlo Gambino, uneasy. The first rally Colombo organized attracted over 50,000 people with Gambino's support; the second rally barely drew 10,000 people without Gambino's blessing. It was theorized that the Commission authorized Colombo's murder to take pressure off of the Mob. The most likely candidate, though, was Joseph "Crazy Joe" Gallo.
  • 1972 – Carmine "the Snake" Persico becomes the new boss.
  • 1986 – Persico is convicted on racketeering charges and sentenced to life in prison.
  • 1986–2004 – Persico tries to run the group from prison until his son, Alphonse "Little Allie Boy" Persico, can succeed him. Persico's son is convicted and put in jail.[3]

Mangano/Gambino group:

  • 1931 – Vincent Mangano becomes boss of the newly formed Mangano crime group.
  • 1951 – Mangano disappears, presumably murdered by underboss Albert "the Executioner" Anastasia. With Commission support, Anastasia then assumes title of boss, and the group assumes his name. Vito Genovese, underboss of the Luciano group, believed that Anastasia had broken a cardinal Mafia rule by murdering Mangano. However, war was avoided between the two gangs due to the efforts of Joe Bonanno. Genovese still resented Anastasia, though, and Genovese would cultivate the sympathies of Anastasia's underboss Carlo Gambino.
  • 1957 – Anastasia is assassinated by gunmen in a barber shop, with Genovese and Gambino being prime suspects for orchestrating the murder. Gambino takes over as boss, and the group assumes his name.
  • 1976 – Gambino dies of a heart attack; he is succeeded as boss by his brother-in-law "Big" Paul Castellano.
  • 1985 – Castellano is gunned down and John Gotti, the man responsible for planning Castellano's assassination, becomes boss.
  • 2002 – Gotti dies of cancer in prison after being convicted of RICO charges in 1992. His brother, Peter, succeeds him as boss.
  • 2003–2004 – Peter Gotti is convicted on racketeering charges.
  • 2011–present – Sicilian mobster Domenico Cefalù is appointed boss in a return to tradition.

Luciano/Genovese group:

  • 1931 – Joe "The Boss" Masseria is murdered at the end of the Castellammarese War after his underboss, Charles "Lucky" Luciano, secretly betrays him. Luciano takes over the group.
  • 1937 – Luciano is convicted of compulsory prostitution charges; succeeded by Frank "the Prime Minister" Costello.
  • 1957 – Costello goes into retirement after a failed assassination attempt orchestrated by Vito Genovese. Genovese then replaces Costello and renames the group. Genovese's motive for removing Costello had to do with the fact that Genovese was Luciano's underboss and, in his mind, the rightful heir to Luciano's position. Genovese, however, fled to Italy to evade murder charges, making him an unsuitable candidate for the title of boss, which left Luciano no choice but to bestow the title on Costello.
  • 1969 – Genovese dies in prison still as boss after being convicted of narcotics trafficking charges in 1959, and Philip "Benny Squint" Lombardo becomes new Genovese boss.
  • 1981 – Lombardo retires and is replaced by Vincent "Chin" Gigante, the man who attempted to assassinate Frank Costello in 1957.
  • 1997–2005 – Gigante is convicted on racketeering charges and dies in prison.
  • 2005/2008–2013 – Loyal Genovese capo Daniel Leo leads the group as Acting Boss until his imprisonment.

Gagliano/Lucchese group:

  • 1922 – Gaetano "Tommy" Reina, a captain in the Morello group's East Harlem/Bronx faction, splits off to form his own crime group.
  • 1930 – Bonaventura "Joseph" Pinzolo takes over after Reina is murdered on February 26.
  • 1930 – Tommy Gagliano assumes the position as boss after the murder of Pinzolo on September 5.
  • 1951 – A very ill Gagliano appoints his underboss, Tommy "Three-Finger Brown" Lucchese, as the new leader and the group adopts his name.
  • 1967 – Lucchese dies of a brain tumor, temporarily leaving the group leaderless. The Commission selects Carmine Tramunti to fill in as acting boss until the leading candidate for the position of boss, Anthony Corallo, was released from prison.
  • 1970 – Anthony "Tony Ducks" Corallo becomes the new boss. Some contend that the position was not formalized until 1973, when Tramunti was imprisoned, and that between 1970 and 1973, Tramunti remained group boss, but only in name, with Corallo actually in control.
  • 1986 – Corallo implicates himself and many other mobsters in recorded conversations. He is convicted of RICO charges, along with top mobsters of the Genovese, Gambino, and Colombo criminal gangs, and sentenced to life in prison. Before being incarcerated, Corallo selected Vittorio "Little Vic" Amuso and Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso as the two candidates most deserving of the title of boss.
  • 1987 – Amuso becomes boss after being nominated by Casso, but Casso, as underboss, is viewed as the man who makes important decisions and has control of the group.
  • 1992 – Amuso is sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of racketeering charges.
  • 1998 – Casso is sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to racketeering and murder charges. Louis "Louie Bagels" Daidone becomes acting boss.
  • 2004 – When acting boss Daidone is convicted on murder charges and with Daidone's successor Steven "Wonderboy" Crea beginning a two-to-six year term for state charges, Amuso appoints a "Ruling Panel" of senior capos (Aniello "Neil" Migliore, Matthew "Matt" Madonna and Joseph "Joey Dee" DiNapoli) to control the group.
  • 2006 – Crea is released from prison after 34 months, but is precluded by the terms of his probation from associating with the mob again until 2009.
  • 2009 – Ruling Panel members Madonna and DiNapoli are indicted on labor racketeering, illegal gambling, and extortion charges, leaving Migliore reputedly the most powerful mobster in the group.
  • 2012 – Amuso resigns as boss from prison and Crea is named to succeed him.

Current bosses[edit]


The criminal organized crime groups operate throughout the New York Metropolitan area, but mainly within New York City's boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx and Staten Island. In the state of New York the gang have increased their criminal rackets in Long Island (Nassau and Suffolk) and the counties of Westchester, Rockland and Albany. The criminal organized crime groups maintain a strong presence in the state of New Jersey.[6] The crime organizations are also active in South Florida, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Las Vegas.

  • The Bonanno crime group operates mainly in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Long Island. The group also maintains influence in Manhattan, The Bronx, Westchester County, New Jersey, California, Florida and have ties to the Montreal Mafia in Quebec.
    • Bath Avenue Crew operated in Bensonhurst Brooklyn in New York.
  • The Colombo crime group operates mainly in Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island. The group also maintains influence in Staten Island, Manhattan, The Bronx, New Jersey and Florida.
  • The Gambino crime group operates mainly in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Staten Island and Long Island. The group also maintains influence in The Bronx, New Jersey, Westchester County, Connecticut, Grand Rapids Michigan, Florida and Los Angeles.
  • The Genovese crime group operates mainly in Manhattan, The Bronx, Brooklyn and New Jersey. The group also maintains influence in Queens, Staten Island, Long Island, Westchester County, Rockland County, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Florida.
  • The Lucchese crime group operates mainly in The Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and New Jersey. The group also maintains influence in Queens, Long Island, Staten Island, Westchester County and Florida.

In popular culture[edit]

Factual and fictional details of the history of the criminal organized crime groups have been used in a vast array of media, specifically;

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Capeci, Jerry (2004). The Complete Idiot's Guide To The Mafia (2nd ed.). New York: Alpha Books. pp. 48–49. ISBN 1-59257-305-3. 
  2. ^ Raab, p. 186
  3. ^ Raab, Selwyn. (2006). criminal organized crime groups: The Rise, Decline, and Resurgence of America's Most Powerful Mafia Empires. New York, N.Y.: St. Martin's Press. pp. 732–734. ISBN 978-0-312-36181-5. 
  4. ^ "Jerry Capeci: Mob Murder In Montreal Could Trigger Bloodshed In New York". 2010-01-11. Retrieved 2011-04-13. 
  5. ^ COLOMBO ORGANIZED CRIME group ACTING BOSS, UNDERBOSS, AND TEN OTHER MEMBERS AND ASSOCIATES INDICTED (archived from the original[dead link] on 2010-05-27), U.S. Department of Justice, June 4, 2008.
  6. ^ a b The Changing Face of Organized in New Jersey A Status Report. May 2004. (pg 105–114)
  7. ^ "New Charges for Mob group as U.S. Indictment Names 20", New York Times April 20, 2001
  • Raab, Selwyn. 'Resurgence of America's Most Powerful Mafia Empires. New York, N.Y.: St. Martins Press, 2006.

Five families is too broad. Families is based around a Hollywood movie, not facts