Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa
Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa are two former New York Police Department (NYPD) police detectives who worked on behalf of the New York Mafia, principally the Lucchese crime family, while they committed various illegal activities. In 2006, they were convicted of labor racketeering, extortion, narcotics, illegal gambling, obstruction of justice, eight counts of murder and conspiracy to commit murder, charges stemming from the 1980s and the early 1990s in New York, and in the 2000s in Las Vegas. Both were sentenced to life in federal prison.
Early lives and careers
|New York Police Department|
|Place of birth||New York, New York, USA|
|Years of service||1969 - 1990|
|Rank||Sworn in as an officer - 1969
Detective - 1979
|Awards||Eppolito's claim to be the 11th most decorated officer in NYPD was found to be false during the appeal hearing as well as his own admittance that his two Medals of Honor were in actuality only "Honorable Mentions".|
|Other work||Actor, author, convicted on corruption, racketeering, and murder charges|
Louis Eppolito is the son of Ralph Eppolito, a member of the Gambino crime family. His paternal uncle and cousin, James Eppolito and James Eppolito Jr., were also both made Gambino members in capo Nino Gaggi's crew. Growing up, he became acquainted with several other mobsters. His uncle and cousin were eventually murdered by both Nino Gaggi and Gambino family soldier, Roy DeMeo, with the permission of Gambino family boss, Paul Castellano. When he applied for the NYPD in 1969, Eppolito falsely stated that he was unrelated to organized crime figures. He eventually rose to detective, a job which garnered him a number of headlines. He was first a suspect in a corruption case where he was suspected of passing New York Police Department intelligence reports on to Rosario Gambino, a distant relative of Carlo Gambino and Paul Castellano, the former leaders of the Gambino crime family, in 1983, but was cleared. Eppolito retired as a police officer in late 1990. In his book, he cites his tarnished reputation over the Rosario Gambino corruption case as a reason for leaving. Over the next decade, after meeting the actor, Joe Pesci, in a Manhattan bistro, Cafe Central, a restaurant which was frequented by celebrities, he had a minor career as an actor, with small roles in movies including Lost Highway, Predator 2 the gangster films Goodfellas and Ruby. In 1992, Eppolito wrote a book, Mafia Cop: The Story of an Honest Cop Whose Family Was the Mob, in which he spoke of his attempts to avoid being dragged into the criminal life and fight for his reputation as a result of the Rosario Gambino corruption case.
|New York Police Department|
|Place of birth||Brooklyn, New York, USA|
|Years of service||1969 - 1992|
|Rank||Sworn in as an officer - 1969
Detective - 1979
|Other work||Convicted on corruption, racketeering, and murder charges|
|This section requires expansion. (December 2009)|
Stephen Caracappa had worked in the NYPD's organized crime unit in Brooklyn, New York, since the late 1970s before he eventually retired on a disability pension in 1992. He subsequently worked as a private investigator and retired in the mid-1990s, moving to Las Vegas, Nevada, along with Eppolito, where he worked inside the Las Vegas Women's Correctional Facility as a correctional officer. While on trial in 2006, both he and Eppolito claimed that they were discriminated against during the proceedings.
Working for the Mob
By 1985, US authorities recognized Eppolito and Caracappa as associates and workers for the New York Mafia. Caracappa was at this point a member of the Organized Crime Homicide Unit within the Major Case Squad, based in Brooklyn, New York, and both their reputations were diminished as they were known to use highly inappropriate methods to get results in their line of work. According to Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso, the underboss of the Lucchese crime family, when he tried for Witness Protection in 1994, he and his boss Vittorio "Vic" Amuso had been paying Eppolito and Caracappa $375,000 in bribes and as payments for murder 'contracts' since 1985, after they were signed as NYPD detectives and partners. Among other things, Casso shared that, in 1986, the two police officers kidnapped and turned over an associate of the Gambino crime family named James Hydell to be murdered brutally by Gaspipe, on the orders of Casso and Amuso, as retaliation for an attempt on Casso's life. They also murdered Lucchese member Bruno Facciolo with assistance of Louis Daidone on the orders of Casso because they suspected him of being an informant for law enforcement. Facciolo's murder has been famous for the stuffed canary US law enforcement recovered in his mouth at the crime-scene, which was considered as a message to other informants. As the Genovese crime family boss Vincent "Chin" Gigante wanted to squeeze the rival John Gotti of the Gambino crime family during the late 1980s, Casso ordered Eppolito and Caracappa to put pressure on the Gambinos. Casso shared that he ordered the murder of Gambino captain Edward "Eddie" Lino as a favor for Gigante. On November 6, 1990, Lino was shot nine times as he was pulled over in his 1990 Mercedes-Benz by both Eppolito and Caracappa. The hit was in retaliation for the 1985 murder of Gotti's former boss and Gigante's ally, Paul Castellano, who was murdered on the orders of Gotti to protect himself from Castellano and become boss.
On April 13, 1991, Caracappa and Eppolito provided information that led to the murder of Gambino crime family soldier and Gotti's friend Bartholomew "Bobby" Boriello on the orders of Frank "Big Frank" Lastorino, a captain in the Lucchese crime family who was the central suspect in Boriello's murder for years. Lastorino, acting on Casso's orders in the early 1990s while he was on the run, was reportedly promoted consigliere of the family for his work. As the relations between the Gambino and Lucchese crime families got even worse, Lastorino reputedly ordered Eppolito and Caracappa to murder former Gambino mobster and then-current Lucchese made man Patrick Testa in 1992, and make it look like the Gambinos did it, in an attempt to start a war with Gotti, who was jailed on federal racketeering and murder charges which he was sentenced to life imprisonment for in 1992. Although never convicted of Testa's murder, US law enforcement estimates Lastorino was present during the shooting. Anthony Casso was still a reported fugitive at the time.
After massive indictments were issued on almost every crime family in New York City during the mid-1990s, both Eppolito and Caracappa retired to Las Vegas, Nevada. However, Casso has later confirmed that both of the "Mafia Cops" were still much in business although considered in retirement, as they had been contacted in 1993 by Frank Lastorino, now one of the most powerful members in the Lucchese crime family, to murder then-current head of the Gambino crime family John "Junior" Gotti, son of imprisoned John Gotti, and Gotti's rival Nicholas "Little Nick" Corozzo, another top member of the Gambinos, a plot which never succeeded. They were also contacted when Lastorino conspired to murder the underboss of the Lucchese crime family, Stephen "Wonderboy" Crea, a plot that also didn't succeed due to indictments brought against the family at the time. It has also been proven that in the late 1990s both Eppolito and Caracappa conspired to kill former Gambino crime family underboss Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano, who had entered the Witness Protection Program in 1992 after testifying against his boss John Gotti, in order to collect the reward that was placed on his head by Gambino boss Peter Gotti. (Gravano was later arrested and convicted of drug trafficking in 2003 and was sentenced to serve 19 years in prison.)
After a long investigation, highlighted by Burton Kaplan's decision to testify against his former confederates, both Eppolito and Caracappa were arrested in March 2005 and charged with counts of racketeering, obstruction of justice, extortion and eight counts of murder and conspiracy, including the murders of James Hydell, Nicholas Guido, John "Otto" Heidel, John Doe, Anthony DiLapi, Bruno Facciolo, Edward Lino and Bartholomew Boriello, and the murder conspiracy on Sammy Gravano, hatched by Peter Gotti.
On April 6, 2006, Eppolito and Caracappa were convicted on all charges. Kaplan, a businessman and career criminal, who had been the link between Casso and the two policemen, was the chief accuser, giving two days of riveting testimony. On June 5, 2006, Eppolito and Caracappa were sentenced to life imprisonment.
On June 30, 2006, a judge threw out a racketeering murder conviction against the two detectives on a technicality - the five-year statute of limitations had expired on the key charge of racketeering conspiracy. (Although there is no statute of limitations for murder in the State of New York, the case had been prosecuted in federal court because it was thought more likely to yield a conviction.) On September 17, 2008, their racketeering convictions were ordered reinstated by a federal appeals court.
On March 6, 2009, Eppolito was sentenced to life plus 100 years. Caracappa received life plus 80 years. Each was fined more than $4 million. As parole has been abolished in the federal prison system, Eppolito and Caracappa will almost certainly die in prison.
On July 23, 2010, Eppolito and Caracappa's convictions were upheld by a New York City appeals court. As of April 2012, Eppolito was incarcerated at USP Tucson (Arizona, 10 miles from Tucson) and Caracappa was incarcerated at USP Coleman II (Florida); both are high security institutions.
- Carlo, Philip (2008). Gaspipe: Confessions of a Mafia Boss. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 9780061429842.
- Mafia Cop: The Story of an Honest Cop Whose Family Was the Mob. ISBN 1-4165-2399-5.
- The Brotherhoods: The True Story of Two Cops Who Murdered for the Mafia. ISBN 978-0-7432-8944-3.
- "Dan Ackman, "Dispatches from a Mob Trial"". Slate.com, March 17, 2006.
- Weiser, Benjamin (September 18, 2008). "Convictions Reinstated in Mob Case". The New York Times. Retrieved May 11, 2010.
- Marzulli, John (March 6, 2009). "'Mafia Cops' Louis Eppolito, Stephen Caracappa sentenced to life in prison". New York Daily News. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
- "Appeals court upholds NY 'Mafia cops' conviction". Associated Press. July 23, 2010. Retrieved July 23, 2010.
- "BOP: Inmate Locator Main Page". Bop.gov. 2005-01-27. Retrieved 2012-04-18.
- New York Daily News article relating to the arrests
- Transcript of the indictment against both men - courtesy of ISPN.org
- Report of conviction
- "Mafia Cops Facing Life in Prison", AP, June 5, 2006
- 60 Minutes
- Fox News Conviction thrown out, 2006-06-30.
- Recorded Podcast of Barry Gibbs 2006. First Person Narrative of Barry Gibbs, one of the men exonerated after the detectives helped convict him of murder. Barry served 19 years on a 20-year murder charge before having his conviction reversed.
- Internet Movie Database entry to Louis Eppolito