Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa

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Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa are two former New York Police Department (NYPD) police detectives who worked on behalf of the New York Mafia, principally the Lucchese crime family, while they committed various illegal activities. In 2006, they were convicted of labor racketeering, extortion, narcotics, illegal gambling, obstruction of justice, eight counts of murder and conspiracy to commit murder, charges stemming from the 1980s and the early 1990s in New York City, and in the 2000s in Las Vegas. Both were sentenced to life in federal prison.

Police careers[edit]

Eppolito[edit]

Louis Eppolito
Born 1948 (age 68–69)
New York City, New York, United States
Other names Louie
Awards Eppolito's claim to be the 11th most decorated officer in NYPD was found to be false during the appeal hearing as well as his own admittance that his two Medals of Honor were in actuality only "Honorable Mentions".
Police career
Department New York Police Department
Country United States
Years of service 1969 - 1990
Rank Sworn in as an officer - 1969
Detective - 1979
Other work Actor, author, convicted on corruption, racketeering, and murder charges

Louis Eppolito (born 1948) is the son of Ralph Eppolito, a member of the Gambino crime family. His paternal uncle and cousin, James Eppolito and James Eppolito Jr., were also both made Gambino members in capo Nino Gaggi's crew. Growing up, he became acquainted with several other mobsters. His uncle and cousin were eventually murdered by both Nino Gaggi and Gambino family soldier, Roy DeMeo, with the permission of Gambino family boss, Paul Castellano. When he applied for the NYPD in 1969, Eppolito falsely stated that he was unrelated to organized crime figures.

Eppolito eventually rose to detective, a job which garnered him a number of headlines. In 1983, he was suspected of passing New York Police Department intelligence reports to Rosario Gambino, a distant relative of Carlo Gambino and Paul Castellano, the former leaders of the Gambino crime family. He was cleared in this case. Eppolito retired as a police officer in late 1990. In his book, he cites his tarnished reputation over the Rosario Gambino corruption case as a reason for leaving.

After meeting actor Joe Pesci in a Manhattan bistro called Cafe Central, a restaurant frequented by celebrities, he had a minor career as an actor, with small roles in movies including Lost Highway, Predator 2, Goodfellas, and Ruby.

In 1992, Eppolito wrote a book, Mafia Cop: The Story of an Honest Cop Whose Family Was the Mob, in which he spoke of his attempts to avoid being dragged into the criminal life and having to fight for his reputation as a result of the Rosario Gambino corruption case. He moved to Las Vegas around 1994 and sold automobiles at the Infiniti dealership, where he would entertain fellow salesmen with NYC crime scene photos.

Caracappa[edit]

Stephen Caracappa
Born 1942 (1942)
Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died April 8, 2017(2017-04-08) (aged 74–75)
Other names The Stick
Police career
Department New York Police Department
Country United States
Years of service 1969 - 1992
Rank Sworn in as an officer - 1969
Detective - 1979
Other work Convicted on corruption, racketeering, and murder charges

Stephen Caracappa (1942–2017) had worked in the NYPD's organized crime unit in Brooklyn, New York, since the late 1970s before he eventually retired on a disability pension in 1992. He subsequently worked as a private investigator and retired in the mid-1990s, moving to Las Vegas along with Eppolito. Caracappa worked inside the Las Vegas Women's Correctional Facility as a correctional officer. While on trial in 2006, both he and Eppolito claimed that they were discriminated against during the proceedings.

Mafia careers[edit]

By 1985, Federal authorities recognized Eppolito and Caracappa as associates with the New York Mafia. Caracappa was at this point a member of the Organized Crime Homicide Unit within the NYPD Major Case Squad based in Brooklyn. Both were known for using inappropriate methods to get results in their police work.

Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso role[edit]

According to Lucchese crime family underboss Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso, when trying to enroll in Witness Protection in 1994, he and his boss Vittorio "Vic" Amuso had paid Eppolito and Caracappa $375,000 in bribes — and payments for murder contracts — since 1985. Casso stated that in 1986 that, as retaliation for an attempt on Casso's life — and on the orders of Casso and Amuso — the two police detectives kidnapped and handed over James Hydell, an associate of the Gambino crime family, to be murdered by Casso.

Again on Casso's orders, this time with the assistance of Louis Daidone, Eppolito and Caracappa murdered Lucchese member Bruno Facciolo — because Casso suspected him of being an informant. Facciolo's murder is famous for the stuffed canary Federal agents discovered in his mouth at the crime scene; considered to be a message to other informants.

At least partially in retaliation for the 1985 murder of Gambino crime family boss Paul Castellano, arranged by John Gotti, Casso ordered Eppolito and Caracappa to kill Gambino captain Edward "Eddie" Lino. On November 6, 1990, the detectives pulled Lino over in his 1990 Mercedes-Benz and shot him nine times.

Patrick Testa hit

On April 13, 1991, Caracappa and Eppolito provided information that led to the murder of Gambino crime family soldier Bartholomew "Bobby" Boriello on the orders of Frank "Big Frank" Lastorino, a captain in the Lucchese crime family. Lastorino was reportedly promoted consigliere of the family for this hit. As relations between the Gambino and Lucchese crime families worsened, Lastorino reputedly ordered Eppolito and Caracappa to murder Lucchese "made man" Patrick Testa in 1992. Testa was a former Gambino mobster and Lastorino wanted to make it look like the Gambinos arranged the hit in an attempt to start a war between the rival families.

Las Vegas "retirement"[edit]

After wholesale indictments came down for almost every crime family in New York City in the mid-1990s, Eppolito and Caracappa retired to Las Vegas. Casso later confirmed that both of the "Mafia Cops" were still involved in crime family business from Nevada. They were contacted in 1993 by Lastorino to murder the new head of the Gambino crime family, John "Junior" Gotti, whose father was imprisoned for life in 1992. The plot failed.

Lastorino also wanted the detectives to murder the underboss of the Lucchese crime family, Stephen "Wonderboy" Crea. This plot failed due to indictments brought against the family. In the late 1990s, both Eppolito and Caracappa conspired to kill former Gambino crime family underboss Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano, who had entered the Witness Protection Program in 1992 after testifying against his boss John Gotti. A reward had been placed on Gravano's head by Gambino boss Peter Gotti. Gravano was later arrested and convicted of drug trafficking in 2003 and was sentenced to serve 19 years in prison.

Indictments[edit]

After a long investigation, highlighted by Burton Kaplan's decision to testify against his former confederates, both Eppolito and Caracappa were arrested in March 2005 and charged with counts of racketeering, obstruction of justice, extortion and eight counts of murder and conspiracy. These included the murders of James Hydell, Nicholas Guido, John "Otto" Heidel, John Doe, Anthony DiLapi, Bruno Facciolo, Edward Lino, and Bartholomew Boriello — and their involvement in the conspiracy to murder Gravano.

On April 6, 2006, Eppolito and Caracappa were convicted on all charges. Kaplan, a businessman and career criminal, who had been the link between Casso and the two policemen, was the chief accuser, giving two days of riveting testimony.[1] On June 5, 2006, Eppolito and Caracappa were sentenced to life imprisonment.

On June 30, 2006, a judge threw out a racketeering murder conviction against the two detectives on a technicality — the five-year statute of limitations had expired on the key charge of racketeering conspiracy. On September 17, 2008, their racketeering convictions were ordered reinstated by a Federal appeals court.[2]

On March 6, 2009, Eppolito was sentenced to life plus 100 years and Caracappa to life plus 80 years. Each was fined more than $4 million.[3] On July 23, 2010, their convictions were upheld by a New York City appeals court.[4] As of April 2012, Eppolito was incarcerated at United States Penitentiary, Tucson and Caracappa at United States Penitentiary, Coleman in Florida; both are high security institutions.[5]

Caracappa was transferred to a federal prison in North Carolina before dying of cancer on April 8, 2017.[6][7]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Carlo, Philip (2008). Gaspipe: Confessions of a Mafia Boss. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 9780061429842. 
  • Eppolito, Lou; Drury, Bob (1992) Mafia Cop: The Story of an Honest Cop Whose Family Was the Mob. ISBN 1-4165-2399-5.
  • Lawson, Guy; Oldham, William (2006) The Brotherhoods: The True Story of Two Cops Who Murdered for the Mafia. ISBN 978-0-7432-8944-3.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Dan Ackman, "Dispatches from a Mob Trial"". Slate.com, March 17, 2006. 
  2. ^ Weiser, Benjamin (September 18, 2008). "Convictions Reinstated in Mob Case". The New York Times. Retrieved May 11, 2010. 
  3. ^ Marzulli, John (March 6, 2009). "'Mafia Cops' Louis Eppolito, Stephen Caracappa sentenced to life in prison". New York Daily News. Retrieved 14 April 2012. 
  4. ^ "Appeals court upholds NY 'Mafia cops' conviction". Associated Press. July 23, 2010. Retrieved July 23, 2010. 
  5. ^ "BOP: Inmate Locator Main Page". Bop.gov. 2005-01-27. Retrieved 2012-04-18. 
  6. ^ "NYPD cop who worked as mob hitman dies in prison". Retrieved 12 April 2017. 
  7. ^ "NYPD Cop Turned Mafia Hitman Dies In Prison". Retrieved 12 April 2017. 

External links[edit]