Sam DeCavalcante

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Simone Rizzo "Sam" DeCavalcante (March 3, 1912 – February 7, 1997), known as "Sam the Plumber", was a member of the New Jersey Mafia. Claiming descent from the Italian royal family, DeCavalcante was nicknamed "The Count".[1] The Kefauver hearings later named his crime family the DeCavalcante crime family since he was the boss of the family current to those hearings.

New Jersey Mob Boss[edit]

DeCavalcante oversaw illegal gambling, loansharking, and labor racketeering in New Jersey. Living in the Lawrenceville section of Lawrence Township, Mercer County, New Jersey, but working in Newark, DeCavalcante commanded around 60 mafiosi. His legal business front was a plumbing supply store in Kenilworth, New Jersey. After the retirement of family boss Nicholas Delmore (real name Nicholas Amoruso)[2] between 1960 and 1964, DeCavalcante replaced him. Shortly after that, he acted as a liaison between the Mafia Commission and the Bonanno crime family after the beginning of the Bonanno War between the New York Five Families.

From 1961 to 1965, DeCavalcante was the subject of a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigation known as the "Goodfella Tapes". This investigation confirmed claims by informant Joe Valachi, provided crucial information on La Cosa Nostra, and revealed the existence of the Mafia Commission. However, since no court order was issued for the wire tap, none of tapes could be used to indict DeCavalcante. In 1969, after compiling almost 2,300 transcript pages of taped conversations, the FBI released them to the public.[3]

Later in 1969, DeCavalcante was convicted of extortion-conspiracy and sentenced to fifteen years' imprisonment. In 1976, he was released from prison.


In 1980, DeCavalcante passed control of the family to Giovanni "John the Eagle" Riggi and retired to Miami Beach, Florida. He starting planning to build a legitimate resort casino in South Florida; however, the project died when voters rejected casino gambling in a 1986 referendum.[4] While officially "retired", many suspected that DeCavalcante was still involved with the crime family, providing advice to Riggi through his son Simone Junior.

On February 7, 1997, DeCavalcante died of natural causes due to age, in Miami, Florida. He is buried at Greenwood Cemetery in Hamilton, New Jersey.[5]


  1. ^ "Sam DeCavalcante" Intellius People Search
  2. ^ Mafia: the government's secret file on organized crime By United States. Dept. of the Treasury (pg. 284)
  3. ^ Taping the Mafia, Time Magazine, June 20, 1969
  4. ^ Tampa Bay Times, Nov 25, 2009: "A Timeline of Gambling in Florida" by Mary Ellen Klas
  5. ^ "Simone DeCavalcante" Find a Grave

Further reading[edit]

  • Zeigler, Henry A. Sam the Plumber, Signet Books, 1970.
  • Kelly, Robert J. Encyclopedia of Organized Crime in the United States. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 2000. ISBN 0-313-30653-2
  • Sifakis, Carl. The Mafia Encyclopedia. New York: Da Capo Press, 2005. ISBN 0-8160-5694-3

External links[edit]