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FBI surveillance photo
October 30, 1938 |
Gravesend, Brooklyn, New York, United States
Lino was born in a house on West Eight Street. The marriage of his mobster father Robert A. Lino, Sr. and his mother was arranged by Genovese crime family patriarch and founder Vito Genovese during the 1930s. Frank attended Lafayette High School but dropped out in tenth grade. His father died in 1989, according to what Michael DiLeonardo said during testimony against John A. Gotti. Almost every male member of his family was involved in La Cosa Nostra.
After dropping out of high school in the 1950s he joined a violent street gang called the "Avenue U Boys". As a member of the "Avenue U Boys" Lino was involved in robberies. Lino first became associated with the La Cosa Nostra at the age of seventeen, and operated the local floating card games controlled by a Genovese crime family made soldier. He was a close business associate of Rosario Gangi.
His cousin Edward Lino and brother Robert A. Lino, Jr. are both capos in the Gambino crime family. He is the father of successful New York City Wall Street stockbroker Michael, and father of Joseph, who became a made member of the Bonanno family. He is cousin-in-law to Grace Ann Scala-Lino, the sister of Gambino crime family capo Salvatore Scala and father of Colombo crime family mob associate Robert X. Grace Ann Lino was a customer of drug dealer Michael (Mikey Bear) Aiello. Frank was enraged over Aiello selling drugs to her and arranged for his murder, which he was supposed to witness, but the murder attempt was botched.
He is the father of two sons, one Joseph Lino born c. 1961 who became a made member of the Bonanno family and Michael Lino. He is a son-in-law to Genovese crime family mob associates Francis Consalvo and Carmine Consalvo and distant uncle to Louis Consalvo. He is a first cousin of Bonanno family capo Robert Lino, Sr. and a paternal uncle of Bonanno crime family capo Robert A. Lino, Jr. He is the godfather to Michael Lino and Frank Coppa, Jr., the sons of former Bonanno family capo and childhood friend Frank Coppa. He is a cousin-in-law to Gambino crime family capo Salvatore Scala. He is a close friend of the New York Mets pitcher John Franco and an avid baseball fan.
Frank had dark brown hair, and a round face with a ruddy complexion and later a bald head that "looked like a dirty tennis ball". He had a toothy smile and droopy eyes that were set too close together. Frank was a no-show school bus driver for the Local 1181 of the Amalgamated Transit Union and employed by a mob-owned bus company Atlantic Express Transportation Corporation in located at 7 North Street in Port Richmond, Staten Island which is still in operation.
He became a made man of the Bonanno crime family on October 30, 1977, on Elizabeth Street in Little Italy, Manhattan at his capo Alphonse "Sonny Red" Indelicato's apartment. It was his 40th birthday. As he grew older Frank became more and more obese. He gained a tremendous amount of weight and began to suffer from high blood pressure. During his 40-year career in organized crime he was under the Genovese family in 1956, switched to the Colombo crime family in 1962 and switched to the Gambino family in 1969 before in 1977 his friend Frank Coppa helped him join the Bonanno crime family.
On May 18, 1962, he was arrested for the shootings of two Brooklyn police detectives, Luke J. Fallon and John Finnegan from the 70th Detective Squad. The detectives, aged twenty-eight and fifty-six, were shot dead during the holdup of a tobacco store, where Lino and the robbers netted $5,000. Lino was charged in the murders after he supplied a getaway vehicle for one of the stickup men so he could flee to Chicago, and was one of the five men charged after being taken to the 66th Precinct for an interrogation.
During the interrogation Lino claimed the police drove staples into his hands and a broomstick up his rectum. He was left with a broken leg and arm. Lino was let off with three years probation after he threatened to sue the city for police brutality. One of his eyes blinked uncontrollably which he claimed was the result of injuries that occurred during the 1962 police beating at the hands of the NYPD. His two accomplices were convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to death. Their death sentences would later be converted to life imprisonment by governor Nelson Rockefeller in 1966. One suspect died in prison while the other remains in prison as of 2006.
Troubled family life
By the 1990s he had fathered two sons and three daughters and was the grandfather of twelve. He would later distance himself from the son from his second marriage, Joseph Lino. His first wife and mother of Joseph and Michael has never been publicly identified. He would later confide to his mistress Andrea Giovino that he was "unlucky" and that his son Michael "is a big gambler and has lost a significant amount of money." He was also mad when Bonanno member Ronald Filocomo had his son Joseph help dispose of Dominick Napolitano's corpse in 1981.
His son Joseph was one of the many mobsters he would later testify against in court on charges of extortion and racketeering. His long-term common-law wife and mistress Andrea Giovino who started dating him at the age of 21 would later become a cooperating witness to several members of the Bonanno family and author her autobiography "Divorced from the Mob" including Frank. During the peak of his power in the 1980s and 90s, Lino had a number of family soldiers reporting directly to him, including Edward Garafola, Joseph Polito, Daniel Persico, Eugene Lombardo and Ernest Montevecchi; all earning money for Lino. He worked under Anthony "Bruno" Indelicato and Alphonse Indelicato.
He first became involved with mistress turned state's evidence witness criminal attorney Andrea Giovino he was 45 years old and a divorced father of five at the time. He lived in Marine Park, Brooklyn alone. He did not want any more children with Andrea but was a responsible and kind father to his own children and was a surrogate father in helping Andrea support her son from a previous marriage, Tobias, Jr. He was extremely generous in nature. As a gift for their first Valentine's Day together he bought her a 1978 Mercedes Benz 450 SL convertible. He taught her a lot about clothing brands, materials and designs and would go shopping with her on Fifth Avenue and have her chauffeured by a limo. He bought themselves matching platinum Presidential Rolex watches. He never wore pinkie rings or neck chains.
Lino's one legitimate business venture was a school bus company he started with his son Joseph in the late 1970s after winning a contract from the New York City Department of Education. Lino hardly knew anything about buses, but was listed as an "advisor" on the company tax records. By the late 1990s after being promoted to capo, he was taking home earnings of more than $200,000. Although he was a major earner for the family he was not very good at maintaining his finances. Between his children and grandchildren, and his own lavish lifestyle, he would often be in debt of $50,000 by the end of each year, but somehow he always managed to come up on top.
The three capos murder
Frank had done everything from selling illegal pornography to running pump and dump schemes on Wall Street. Over the years he had been a loanshark, bookmaker, drug trafficker and contract killer for which he took part in the gangland slayings of six men including his cousin's drug dealer Michael "The Bear" Aiello and the notorious murders of Bonanno captains Alphonse Indelicato, Dominick Trinchera and Philip Giaccone. On May 5, 1981, Frank Lino drove Dominick Trinchera in his car to the Sage Diner located at 80-26 Queens Boulevard in Elmhurst, Queens for a peace meeting. Trinchera, Giaccone and Indelicato were attempting to take control of the Bonanno family during a period of factional infighting.
The capos asked Lino to accompany them, fearing there might be shooting. Their suspicions were right when Trinchera, Giaccone and Indelicato were gunned down. Lino who was not a target but was unaware of this, fled out the door just as he saw Giaccone up against a wall and killed. Lino fled so quickly that no one was able to stop him. Running for his life, Lino ran away, jumping over fences and eventually coming to a home where he placed a call to his son Frank Lino, Jr., to come and pick him up.
After Lino disappeared, Massino and Dominick "Sonny Black" Napolitano discussed what was to happen to him. Salvatore Vitale had let Lino flee the scene and Benjamin "Lefty" Ruggiero who waited in a car outside on the street was not able to stop him. Lino had the option of going to the police, or he could inform the rest of Alphonse Indelicato's crew which would endanger Massino and Napolitano. Indelicato had ordered his crew and his son Bruno to retaliate if anything happened to them.
In a meeting, Aniello Dellacroce explained to Lino that the only reason he was not told about the hit was because Alphonse Indelicato might have found out. Lino in the same conversation lied about knowing the whereabouts of Bruno Indelicato, who was also an intended victim who had not been present at the meeting. The Gambino family was willing to offer Frank an ironclad insurance policy on his own life. They had a lone job for the only survivor of "The Red Team" and the only person Bruno trusted. They wanted Lino to murder Bruno.
The contract killing would later be handed down to Joseph "Donnie Brasco" Pistone, but was never carried out and Indelicato went back to work for the Bonannos many years later. Lino was involved in the murder of "Sonny Black" Napolitano. Lino picked up Napolitano and drove him to Ernest "Kippy" Filocomo's home, where Lino pushed Napolitano down the basement stairs and Filocomo shot him to death. Napolitano was murdered on orders by Massino for the Donnie Brasco infiltration.
In September 1999, Lino began serving a 57-month sentence in prison. In 2003, Frank became an informant after he was faced with a racketeering conviction and testified against Bonanno boss Joseph Massino. Lino said that his decision came after he found out that Sal Vitale had turned informant. He felt that he had no chance to win his case now that the Bonanno underboss had turned. Lino's dramatic testimony implicated Massino in four homicides and featured the first full eyewitness account of the murder of the three captains.
- Crittle, Simon, The Last Godfather: The Rise and Fall of Joey Massino Berkley (March 7, 2006) ISBN 0-425-20939-3
- DeStefano, Anthony. The Last Godfather: Joey Massino & the Fall of the Bonanno Crime Family. California: Citadel, 2006.
- Giovino, Andrea Divorced from the Mob: My Journey from Organized Crime to Independent Woman
- Pistone, Joseph D.; & Woodley, Richard (1999) Donnie Brasco: My Undercover Life in the Mafia, Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 0-340-66637-4.
- Pistone, Joseph D.; & Brandt, Charles (2007). Donnie Brasco: Unfinished Business, Running Press. ISBN 0-7624-2707-8.
- Raab, Selwyn. Five Families: The Rise, Decline, and Resurgence of America's Most Powerful Mafia Empires. New York: St. Martin Press, 2005. ISBN 0-312-30094-8