Joseph Dippolito

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Joseph Dippolito
Joe Dippolito.jpg
Joseph Dippolito mugshot
Born(1914-12-18)December 18, 1914
New York City
DiedJanuary 14, 1974(1974-01-14) (aged 59)
NationalityItalian American
Other namesJoe Dip
Spouse(s)Frances Dippolito

Joseph Charles Dippolito (December 28, 1914 – January 14, 1974), also known as Joe Dip, was an Italian American Mafia member in the Los Angeles crime family. The son of fellow Mafioso Salvatore Charles Dippolito (known as Charlie Dip), Joe Dip rose to become underboss of the Los Angeles crime family. He was featured in the book The Last Mafioso by Ovid Demaris.

Biography[edit]

Joseph Dippolito was born on December 28, 1914, in Brooklyn, New York, to Salvatore Charles and Angelina Dippolito. His father was well known as Charlie Dip. During Prohibition, Joseph Dippolito served a one-year prison sentence for illegally transporting liquor. After his release from prison, Joe Dippolito moved to Fontana, near San Bernardino, California, where his parents had moved to. Eventually Joe Dippolito and his father owned several businesses, including a liquor store, a hotel, and extensive wine vineyards in Rancho Cucamonga. The Dippolitos became prominent and powerful men in the Inland Empire. The Dippolitos were involved in many real estate land deals and produced various grapes for winemakers in California.

Later, Joe Dippolito also proved to be a competent Mafia killer. He was a big, muscular man who Jimmy Fratianno said was "built like a heavyweight wrestler". In September, 1949, Fratianno was ordered by Jack Dragna to set up and kill Mickey Cohen loyalist Frank Niccoli. When first meeting Niccoli inside Fratianno's home, Dippolito shook his hand and then quickly wrapped him in a reverse bear hug. Fratianno and Sam Bruno then placed a rope around Niccoli's neck and choked him to death. Afterwards, Dippolito took the body and buried it with a sack of lime in his large vineyard, which was a popular place to bury dead bodies for the Los Angeles Mafia.[1] This method of killing was termed by the Mafia the "Italian rope trick", and a few years later this move was repeated on Louis Strauss ("Russian Louie") in April 1953, with Dippolito holding Strauss in a bear hug while Fratianno and Frank Bompensiero strangled Strauss with a rope.[2]

In 1952, Dippolito became a made man in the Los Angeles crime family underboss Jack Dragna. The swearing-in ceremony took place at the Dippolito vineyard in Ontario. He was now a soldier working in Fratianno’s crew. His father had been inducted into the family five years earlier. When Nick Licata became boss of the Los Angeles family in 1967, he promoted Dippolito to underboss.

On January 31, 1969, Joe Dippolito was indicted in a Los Angeles court on three counts of perjury for statements he made during a liquor license inquiry on May 16, 1968.[3] He was released on $10,000 bail and scheduled to be arraigned. On May 17, 1969, he was convicted on two of the three perjury charges. On June 10, 1969, Dippolito was sentenced to five years for each charge (10 years total).[4] A $10,000 bond allowed him to remain free pending appeal of his conviction. It was during this time that law enforcement recognized him as the underboss of the Los Angeles family. On April 16, 1971, his sentence was reduced from ten to five years by Judge Warren J. Ferguson, and he started serving his sentence. On December 13, 1971, Dippolito was paroled after serving eight months. Joe Dip was released after San Bernardino mayor Al C. Ballard, Police Chief Louis J. Fortuna, and California Superior Court Judge Joseph A. Katz vouched for Dippolito in letters written in 1969 to a probation officer.[5]

Dippolito died on January 14, 1974, from a heart attack at his daughter Josephine's wedding. He had been in poor health and had been hospitalized about three months earlier because of a heart condition. He was interred at Bellevue Cemetery and Mausoleum in Ontario, California.[6][7]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Sifakis, Carl. (2005). The Mafia Encyclopedia. (3rd. ed.). New York: Facts on File. p. 235
  2. ^ King, Gary C. (2001). An Early Grave. New York: St. Martin's Paperbacks. pp. 8-9
  3. ^ "Reputed Mafia Figure Seized in Perjury Case". Los Angeles Times. February 1, 1969. p. A3.
  4. ^ Gene Blake; Howard Hertel (November 26, 1969). "He Wants to Leave Office in January, US Attorney Says". Los Angeles Times. p. 3.
  5. ^ Jerry Cohen (July 25, 1970). "San Bernardino Officials Once Vouched for L.A. Mafia Figure". Los Angeles Times. p. B5.
  6. ^ Burial record at Belleview Memorial Park, Ontario, California
  7. ^ "Joseph Dippolito dies at Pomona". San Bernardino Sun. January 15, 1974.

References[edit]

American Mafia
Preceded by
Nick Licata
Los Angeles crime family
Underboss

1967-1974
Succeeded by
Dominic Brooklier