|Born||Mariano Vincenzo Proetto
October 23, 1902
Castelbuono, Sicily, Italy
|Died||February 14, 2006
San Mateo, California, U.S.
|Other names||"Jimmy the Hat"|
|Parent(s)||Francesco Proetto ("Frank Lanza") and Caterina Albanese|
James "Jimmy the Hat" Lanza (October 23, 1902 – February 14, 2006) was an Sicilian-American mobster and boss of the San Francisco crime family. He was the son of the first known boss of the San Francisco crime family and took over in 1961. It is now probably extinct. He was first noticed when Life magazine published his photo in the late 1960s, identifying him as boss of the San Francisco crime family.
James Lanza was born Mariano Vincenzo Proetto on October 23, 1902 in Castelbuono, Sicily, to Francesco Proetto and Caterina Albanese. In 1905, the family immigrated to New York City, where Francesco adopted the alias "Frank Lanza" and joined a local mafia gang. In 1920, the family moved to San Francisco where Frank became the leader of the city's mafia family.
During the 1940s and 1950s, James Lanza was underboss of the San Francisco crime family, working under Michael Abati. He represented the San Francisco LCN family’s interest from the early 1940s to 1952 before being convicted of failing to report nearly $1 million in unpaid taxes. In 1957, he attended the infamous Apalachin Meeting, representing San Francisco, when the raid happened he was never caught, possibly escaping through the woods with other mobsters. Following the debacle at Apalachin, J. Edgar Hoover ordered FBI field offices to draft lists of "Top Hoodlums" in their areas of responsibility. and the San Francisco office designated Lanza as their contribution to this effort. Because of the Bureau's failure to cultivate informants close to Lanza or insert anyone into his circle, Hoover approved the use of the FBI's black bag squad to break into Lanza's place of business and install an illegal wiretap which ran from 1959 through 1965.
After Michael Abati was indicted and deported back to Italy, Lanza was named boss in 1961, making his underboss, Gaspare "Bill" Sciortino. Lanza soon became the most powerful and successful boss the family ever had, he started making gambling operations, contract hits, and more. Lanza became well connected throughout the country with other mob figures, as well in Las Vegas by his friend William "Bones" Remmer. Remmer was Lanza's link to Las Vegas and started their own casino skim. He became close friends with Joseph Civello, the boss of the Dallas crime family and to Joe Cerrito, the boss of the San Jose crime family. Lanza's picture was published in an article about Cerrito in 1968. His longtime underboss, Gaspare "Bill" Sciortino was the cousin to the underboss of the Los Angeles crime family Samuel Sciortino, making their connections down south stronger. He had close ties with former mayor of San Francisco, Joseph Alioto. In 1973, Los Angeles crime family member, Jimmy Fratianno moved to the Bay Area, whom Lanza didn't like at all, put a contract on him because he was bringing too much attention about the SF family in 1977. They're friendship quickly ended. Lanza was believed to have given permission for the murder of former New England crime family associate, turned government witness Joseph Barboza in 1976. As the family grew older, Lanza would watch as his small crime family grow to include 15-20 made members. Lanza had the misfortune of being one of the first mob bosses to garner media interest and was linked by Life to Mob boss Carlos Marcello and to Mayor Joseph Alioto. He was considered to be disliked by Jimmy Fratiano.
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