Milwaukee crime family

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Milwaukee crime family
Frank Balistrieri, the most influential boss of the Milwaukee crime family.
Founder Vito Guardalabene
Founding location Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
Years active 1918–present
Territory Greater Milwaukee and some cities in all Wisconsin (as Madison)
Ethnicity Italians, Italian Americans are made men. Other ethnicities as "associates".
Membership Around 20 "made men", around 15-20 associates
Criminal activities Skimming, gambling, narcotics, racketeering, murder, prostitution, extortion, bookmaking, bribery, and loan sharking
Allies Chicago and Bonanno crime families
Rivals various street gangs in Milwaukee.

The Milwaukee crime family or Balistrieri crime family is an American Mafia crime family based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.[1] The crime family was considered a branch of the Chicago Outfit. The family's most influential boss was Frank "Mr. Big" Balistrieri, who was greatly involved in the Las Vegas skimming casinos.[2] Today, the crime family is nearly extinct, since Balistrieri died in 1993, and the Chicago Outfit gaining control over some of the illegal rackets in the area.[3]

Historical leadership[edit]

Boss (official and acting)[edit]

  • 1918-1921 — Vito Guardalabene — died on February 6, 1921 from natural causes.[3]
  • 1921-1927 — Peter Guardalabene — the son of Vito Guardalabene was boss until 1927.[3]
  • 1927 — Joseph Amato — died of natural causes on March 28, 1927.[3]
  • 1927-1949 — Joseph Vallone — the Commission decided that the Milwaukee family would answer to and remain under the Chicago Outfit's power. Vallone retired in 1949 and died on March 18, 1952 from natural causes.[3]
  • 1949-1952 — Salvatore "Sam" Ferrara — in 1952 he was voted out by his family and members of the Chicago Outfit forced him to step down.[3]
  • 1952-1961 — John Alioto — trained his son-in-law Frank Balistrieri.[3]
  • 1961-1993 — Frank "Mr. Big" Balistrieri — imprisoned March 1967-June 1971. In the late 1970s, with his two sons Joseph and John worked with Bonanno crime family capo Michael Sabella. He was imprisoned from 1983-1991 for his involvement in Las Vegas skim racket. He died of natural causes on February 7, 1993.[3]
    • Acting 1967-1971 — Joseph "Joey Bal" Balistrieri Sr. — Frank's son and capo, became underboss in 1993.
    • Acting 1983-1993 — Peter "Pete Bal" Balistrieri — Frank Balistrieri's brother and underboss.[3]
  • 1993-1997 — Peter "Pete Bal" Balistrieri — he died of natural causes on August 17, 1997 [3]
  • 1997–2014 — Joseph "Joe Camel" Caminiti — he was Frank Balistrieri's consigliere Died January 2014.[3]
  • 2014–present — Peter "Pitch" Picciurro


  • 1927-1949 — Stephen "Steve" DiSalvo — demoted in 1949, retired in the 1980s, deceased in the 1990s.
  • 1949-1961 — Joseph Gumina — moved to Kansas City, deceased in the 1970s.
  • 1961-1993 — Peter Balistrieri — became boss.
  • 1993-2010 — Joseph "Joey Bal" Balistrieri Sr. — Frank's son, deceased in 2010.


  • 1927-1952 — Vito Seidita — stepped down, retired in 1971, deceased in 1978.
  • 1952-1961 — Carmelo "Charles" Zarcone — demoted in 1961, deceased in 1969.
  • 1961-1997 — Joseph "Joe Camel" Caminiti — became underboss.
  • 1997-2014 — Peter "Pitch" Picciurro — became boss.
  • 2014–present — John "Johnny Bal" Balistrieri

Current family members[edit]


  • Boss Peter "Pitch" Picciurro — Picciurro had served as the consigliere for Peter "Pete Bal" Balistrieri during his brief reign, and he continued his role during Caminiti's leadership. From 2014 he has taken the position of the defunct Caminiti as boss.
  • Underboss vacant/unknown
  • Consigliere John "Johnny Bal" Balistrieri — the Frank Balistrieri's son, John has served as lawyer until 1984, when he was suspended and each was later disbarred. John Balistrieri's application to get his law license back was rejected by the Wisconsin Supreme Court in August, 2014.[4]


  • Angelo "Big Angelo" Alioto
  • Ricco "the Killer" Bono


  • Frank Alioto — Angelo Alioto's son.
  • Carlo "Connie" Balistrieri
  • Joseph "Baby Joe" Balistrieri Jr. — Joseph Balistrieri Sr.'s son.
  • John Basile
  • Joseph "Joey V" Basile — John's brother.
  • Ralph "Junnie" Brocca
  • Michael Brieno
  • Thomas "Big Tom" Cannizarro
  • Louis "Milwaukee Louie" Caputo
  • Anthony "Tony" Cimino
  • Michael "Dr. Mike" Dentice
  • Paul M. "Paul Dannis" Dentice — Dentice's relative.
  • Joseph "Joe E." Enea
  • Michael "Mike" Enea — Joe's brother.
  • Christopher White
  • Andrew "Andy" Marconi
  • Frank "Frankie Palms" Palmisano
  • Anthony "Tony Pipe" Pipito
  • John "Giovanni" Safina
  • Nicholas "Nick the Spic" Sansone
  • Richard Sansone — Nick's brother.
  • Jack "Jackie" Turrene
  • Joseph "Joe Vali" Volpe


  1. ^ Peter J. Devico The Mafia Made Easy: The Anatomy and Culture of La Cosa Nostra. (pg.154-156)
  2. ^ United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin Searches Conducted on March 8, 1980
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Jay C. Ambler. "Milwaukee, WI Crime family" (2000) Rick Porrello's American
  4. ^ Wisconsin Supreme Court rejects crime boss' son John Balistrieri bid to practice law, Journal Sentinel, August 12, 2014

Further reading[edit]

  • Schmitt, Gavin. Milwaukee Mafia. Arcadia, 2012.

External links[edit]