Talk:James Burke (gangster)

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Grammar etc.[edit]

The following sentence under the Jimmy the Gent heading bothers me: "Despite this being a rather innocent offense in comparison to narcotics dealing, loansharking, and murder; corrupt law enforcement officers, bribed by Burke, would tell him about any potential witnesses or informants." Armed robbery is hardly a "rather innocent offense" compared to narcotics or loansharking - I would reword this myself but I'm not a registered wikipedia user.

The article is well-sourced and mostly well-written, but there are a few serious? There are several plain made up words (such as "strewned"). Another issue is that there is a tendency toward sensationalist non-objective writing, along with misspelling of basic words such as the word "bigger". Also there are alot of unsourced quotes. 1337wesm 02:05, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

As far as the use of questionable grammar and words go, you're right. However, you got to realize this article is related to New York, or as New Yorkers say it, Noo Yawk. New Yorkers speak English differently, and they use words and phrases that people in the rest of the country don't. --LedAstray 17:05, 24 May 2007 (UTC)

Spoken language differs everywhere you go. "You got" to realize that reading bad writing is just bad.

Yeah well, one man's good reading is another man's bad writing. Many people believe Mario Puzo was a bad writer, yet his books were best sellers. "You got" to stop being a snob. --LedAstray (talk) 04:11, 1 January 2008 (UTC)

"You got" to stop sounding like a retard.

You are a retard. Get stuffed.--LedAstray (talk) 19:35, 21 March 2008 (UTC)


The tv movie Ten Million Dollar Getaway also covered Lufthansa.

Conway or Burke?[edit]

Shouldn't he be referred to as Conway, given the title of the article? It seems inconsistent to then refer to him as Burke throughout the article.

Conway wasn't his name, the title itself is wrong.
The situation appears to be this: James Burke was his real name, but in the movie Goodfellas his character was called Conway. (This was presumably because the real person was alive while the movie was being made.) By implying Conway and Burke are two names for the same person, editors (including myself) have blurred the line between fact and fiction. Clearly the article is in need of a major overhaul and renaming. -- FP (talk)(edits) 09:22, 18 November 2006 (UTC)
OK, I have made the move. This page was formerly called Jimmy Conway but is now Jimmy Burke (gangster) with a disambig page at Jimmy Burke. I have updated all links to this article as well. -- FP (talk)(edits) 03:48, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

Pair or three people?[edit]

"Burke was a mentor of Thomas DeSimone, Franky Fortuna and Henry Hill, who were both teenagers in the 1960s. They carried out errands for Burke, such as selling stolen merchandise. When they were older, the pair helped Burke with the hijacking of delivery trucks." <- this section is inconsistent, as it's either Thomas DeSimone, Franky Fortuna and Henry Hill or a pair. Or it's a trio. Or the pair consists of only two of the mentioned people. Anyway, it's not right. Does anyone know whether it was all three of them to help with the hijackings or just two? If two, which two? My only knowledge of this comes from Goodfellas.

Jimmy Burke hijacked trucks with his best friend Remo (who he later murdered), Tommy DeSimone, Angelo Sepe, and Henry Hill. --LedAstray 17:18, 24 May 2007 (UTC)

Henry Hill said that he mostly fenced the proceeds stolen from the trucks, and did not go on the hijackings himself very often, unless they were short of men for a job. This was in the book "Wiseguy" by Nick Pileggi, upon which Goodfellas was based. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:55, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

thought I would add a little information here, his real name was Jimmy burke, however for the film Jimmys daughter would not allow the name to be used, therefore they decided on jimmy conway. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:37, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

Conway/burke's daughter[edit]

burke's daughter is mentioned in this NYTimes story, if anyone knows how to add this to the Conway/Burke profile.

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company The New York Times February 17, 2006 Friday Late Edition - Final SECTION: Section B; Column 1; Metropolitan Desk; Pg. 7 LENGTH: 418 words HEADLINE: Mob Figure Is Charged in Plot To Kill a Rival Gangster BYLINE: By WILLIAM K. RASHBAUM BODY:

A man convicted 20 years ago in one of organized crime's most infamous assassinations was charged again yesterday with murder and racketeering.

This time, the mob figure, Anthony Indelicato, 58, of Howard Beach, Queens, is accused of plotting to kill a rival by masquerading as a police officer.

Mr. Indelicato is identified by prosecutors as a soldier in the Bonanno crime family. He was charged along with a Bronx man they say is the family's newly minted acting boss, Michael Mancuso, 52.

The two men were added yesterday to an indictment that already charges the crime family's previous provisional leader, Vincent Basciano, with killing another mob figure.

That case is expected to go to trial next year in United States District Court in Brooklyn. Mr. Mancuso and Mr. Basciano, who is known as Vinny Gorgeous because he used to own a beauty salon called Hello Gorgeous, are both eligible for the death penalty. Mr. Indelicato faces life in prison.

That case, in which Mr. Basciano is also accused of plotting to kill a federal prosecutor, is among two murder trials with which Mr. Basciano must contend. A jury is being selected in the same courthouse to weigh charges in the killing of another mob figure. One of his co-defendants and close associates, Dominick Cicale, recently began cooperating with prosecutors.

At his arraignment yesterday before Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis, Mr. Indelicato pleaded not guilty. He was ordered held without bail. His lawyer, Robert Blossner, would not comment on the case.

Mr. Indelicato is no stranger to organized crime accusations. He and some members of his family have played a range of roles in some of the most cinematic moments in mob history. He was convicted in 1986 of being one of the three masked gunmen who shot Carmine Galante, then the boss of the Bonanno crime family, from close range in the garden of a Brooklyn restaurant. A widely published photograph showed Mr. Galante, dead and bloodied on the floor, a cigar still clenched in his teeth. It came to symbolize the chilling brutality of Mafia discipline.

Anthony Indelicato's father, Alphonse Indelicato, was also the victim of an infamous mob murder, and his wife, Cathy Burke, is the daughter of James Burke, a legendary figure known as Jimmy the Gent, who masterminded the multimillion dollar Lufthansa robbery in 1978.

Robert De Niro portrayed Mr. Burke in the film Goodfellas. The younger Mr. Indelicato and Ms. Burke met in a federal prison, when she was visiting her father. LOAD-DATE: February 17, 2006

Burke's daughter Catherine and her husband Anthony Indelicato actually live in Jimmy Burke's former home in Howard Beach, N.Y. --LedAstray 18:27, 24 May 2007 (UTC)


I'm just curious but how did you find a mugshot of Burke, because I'm searching for one of William 'Billy Batts' DeVino from his 1964 arrest in Connecticut.

To get a federal mugshot, make a Freedom Of Information Act request to the FBI, the U.S. Marshalls Service or the Bureau of Prisons. You may have to pay a small fee. Requesting a mugshot from a State, County, or City agency is trickier. They may or may not oblige you depending on their laws. It won't hurt to ask. --LedAstray 19:02, 24 May 2007 (UTC)

To add onto this, the individual you are requesting records on must be deceased, otherwise the agency you are requesting the records (files, photos, etc.) from will more often than not deny your request on the grounds that it would invade the personal privacy of the individual in question. You can always try to provide reasons in your request why you feel the records can be released but it usually will end in a denial regardless.

If the individual is deceased, you will need to provide proof of death. One easy source of proof of death is the United States Social Security Death Index. You can access the Index through multiple sites, is a good one. You could also provide a newspaper article/obituary as well.

One last thing, even if you have proof of death it doesn't guarantee you will be able to successfully request a mugshot. In the case of the US Marshals, even when I provided the exact date and case number of the arrest in question they were unable to find the relevant records. With the FBI it's really hit or miss. Some of their records from as recent as 1978 have already been destroyed.

When it comes to State Agencies, it varies drastically. Florida has the best FOI laws. New York's is much more strict. Many people feel that the NYPD is one of the worst agencies to obtain records from. Due to the large volume of records the agency produces on a daily basis it's extremely difficult to locate older case files. In the case of the Nassau Police, even with proof of death they refuse to release law enforcement records without the notarized signature of the head of that deceased individual's estate.

Burke's US Marshals mugshot was taken from the book Gangsters and Goodfellas by Henry Hill.Dugrad 20:05, 24 May 2007 (UTC)

His prison whackings[edit]

In Gangsters and GoodFellas Hill says that he was involved in some murders whilst in prison, at a very young age. Has anyone got any idea of any of the victims.

Who has editted off the 'Child Murders' section[edit]

This is a highly relevant and important character index to portray the true brutality and borderline insanity of Burke and doesn't refer to specific incidents.

I would like to indicate that Burke was truly formidable and incredulously disturbed person and that the source of the information about his murder of infants is just as substantiated as any other pieces of evidence in this article.

If I do not receive correspondence within 2 weeks I'm re-instating the Child Murders section because a person who truly knew aboyt Burke and thus had justification to remove this information will be visiting the page within that time. If they don't I presume that they either have no justification or it was pure malice.

Next time someone's work is deleted could a proper explaination please be provided.


I don't know if this is what you're referring to, but: I came to this article tracking other "contributions" by a mindless vandal who hit one of the pages I monitor. He/she made this edit, which I have just reverted. --A. B. 19:45, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

It's true. Sometimes when Burke had a problem collecting money he was owed, and the unfortunate debtor had children, he would pick the child up in his huge arm, open the refrigerator with the other, and put the child inside and would say "if you don't do whatcha supposed to do, I'm gonna lock your kid inside the f**ckin refrigerator". Needless to say, the debtor paid up fast. How would I know this you may ask? I was a teenager in Howard Beach, NY at the time and this was common knowledge. Burke and his crew were crazy.

As far as the vandal's go, you're right. They are bastards for doing that. As for me, the best way to combat vandals is to copy an article that interests you on your computer hard drive so if it get's vandalized, all you have to do is repost it exactly the way it was. If more people did this, the vandals would be frustrated. Don't give them the satisfaction. --LedAstray 17:38, 24 May 2007 (UTC)

Confirmation of his murders[edit]

Although the FBI has confirmed it's estimates that he killed upwards of 50 people we need names, we can only say William DeVino, Remo, the 13 Lufthansa people and that's really about it, we need to start working to get some actual names. I don't know if there's a database of deceased lcn- related criminals (lol, it would make putting these articles together a lot easier) but it would help out the article. I've read just about every mob book I can find relating to Burke but it just seems that Henry Hill likes to exaggerate and I think it could, in hindsight, be a little unfair to him to call him a child- killer without any confirmed victims.

Opinions anyone? He was gangster, and is dead, so people can say anything. In all probablility, stories are untrue. If he had threatened so many people' children, soeone would have turned him in sooner. It 's just sensationalizing, as is the 50 person body count attributed to him, but with no names to get near thhat figure.

JBAK 21:56, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

You have to understand, even pre-Lufthansa, dead bodies were commonly found all over New York. Some dumped in lots, others found in trunks of cars, and there were people that simply vanished, never to be heard from again. They were all mostly mob related. Did Burke have a hand in some of these murders and disappearances? Absolutely. It was part of his lifestyle and line of work. From the fifties to the seventies, that's twenty years, Burke most definitely killed 50 people, maybe more. Even before Lufthansa, Burke's reputation was known in New York: "Jimmy Kills". I never heard of Burke kiling a child, but he did lock the children of his debtors in refrigerators to get them to pay up.

As for Henry Hill, anybody that read the book Wiseguy could tell that Hill limited his involvement in crimes he took part in. He held back on a lot of things, especially murders he committed. Also, in the mob world, truth is relevant. Lies and deceit are commonplace. And to make matters worse, Hill's brain was fried by all the drugs he took when he was trafficking. Hill definitely exaggerates. But most of what he said about his life in the mob and Burke is true. --LedAstray 18:09, 24 May 2007 (UTC)

The two preceding paragraphs also bring up a good point made by Ed MacDonald (of The Eastern District Organised Crime Strike Force who used Hill as an informant and got him into the witness protection program) in the audio commentary he did with Hill for the Goodfellas DVD. MacDOnald said that for months after Lufthansa, any apparent mob related disappearance, or body that was discovered, the media would pounce on it and call it "Another Lufthansa link severed," or similarly sensationalise the cases, even when they clearly were not in any way related to Lufthansa, or even the Lucchese family generally. It is clear that because of the publicity of the robbery, many attendant facts (such as the subsequent death toll) were exaggerated by the media. And, although this is unsupported opinion, Hill had one obvious motive in himself exaggerating the murders by others and remaining reticent about his own possible involvement in them; murder is often the only crime for which prosecutors refuse to offer immunity. Although there are notable exceptions like Aladena Frattiano, it is rare for OC material witnesses to be granted indemnity against prosecution in murder cases. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:18, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

Air France Robbery (1967)[edit]

I've seen in that article this paragraph: "It was carried out by Hill, Robert McMahon and Jimmy Burke, on a tip off from McMahon." But I can't keep wondering why there is no single mention about this robbery in this article about Jimmy Burke. --Vlad|-> 10:19, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

It's of limited significance to Burke, if you've read Wiseguy and Gangsters and Goodfellas and watched The Real GoodFella it raised Henry's reputation among his mobster associates, it was in all ways, definitely in terms of structure and planning, the work of Hill. We could pull out hundreds of similar crimes for Burke, on the commentary by Henry Hill and his Special Agent at the FBI, Hill comments that two or three trucks were hijacked a day, besides, at the time, his share of $420,000 was a lot for Hill, Burke had been making money for a long time.

JBAK88 10:09, 19 May 2007 (UTC)

In reality, Burke had nothing to do with Air France robbery. Based on a tip from Air France employee Robert "Frenchy" McMahon, Hill planned and carried the robbery out with Tommy DeSimone. Hill was able to copy most of a Air France security guard's keys and just walked in, unlocked the door to the strongroom, and walked out with $420,000 in cash. Hill paid money to Paul Vario and Burke as tribute, but that's as far as Burke's involvement in the robbery was. --LedAstray 18:22, 24 May 2007 (UTC)

Reliance upon the unreliable[edit]

I've just gone back to reading my mob books again and once again I've found that Hill, for whom we are relying immensely upon the word of for this article, is contradictory and confusing and unexplanatory, he never provides the entire picture. It wasn't until Gangsters and GoodFellas was released that the true reasons for Billy Batts' death became apparent, until then, under the guidance of GoodFellas the film and Wiseguy, it was thought that only DeSimone's outburst was responsible.

JBAK88 10:14, 19 May 2007 (UTC)

I agree with your assessment on Hill. In Wise Guy by Nicholas Pileggi, Hill talks about numerous murders and other crimes. But miraculously, he was involved in only a handful. Yeah right. --LedAstray (talk) 04:26, 1 January 2008 (UTC)

Again I must agree with whoever wrote the first paragraph in this section, because although Hill did provide much useful information for the Wiseguy book and Goodfellas movie, it still sometimes takes years for other facts to emerge. Many would question why Burke, a man aware of Mafia codes regarding made men, would recklessly participate in the murder of DeVino considering his status and conections within the Gambino family, merely on the pretext that he had insulted DeSimone. Only years later does it emerge that the murder was personally convenient for Burke, who had come to dominate a lucrative policy racket while DeVino (who had once managed it himself) was in prison. Therefore to protect his source of revenue from Devino's "muscling in" upon his release from prison, it was logical that Devino's murder would safeguard Burke's control of the racket. This is again mentioned in the DVD commentary, and was actually fleetingly referred to in the Goodfellas movie, as Billy Batts put his arm over Jimmy Conway's shoulder he said "I gotta get what's mine -I've got mouths to feed, you know what I mean?" Likewise, there is the suggestion in the main article on DeSimone that he killed the young man "Spider" as much out of a sense of rivalry as it was due to offense taken at being insulted. Supposedly a relative of DeSimone's was an informer and Tommy DeSimone had a chip on his shoulder about this, that made him constantly seek to prove himself as a tough guy. As a result of his hyper agression it was becoming known that Paul Vario did not wish to associate himself with Tommy DeSimone and avoided DeSimone or had him excluded from social gatherings he attended. These problems, combined with the fact that "Spider" was supposedly an up and coming young man who might compete with DeSimone for favours and status among the Vario crew, combined and resulted in DeSimone acting upon a single slight as an excuse to have "Spider" killed". Although I have not seen proof for any of this and it might seem way off topic for an article about James Burke, it is relevant to Burke's role in the DeVino murder, because such acts can be more cynical and self interested than just a "short temper". —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:41, 30 January 2008 (UTC)


Both Jesse James Burke and Frank James Burke have birthyears listed as 1960. There's no indication that they were twins, so unless one was born at the start of the year and the other at the end, there's a problem. The original version of Frank's article lists his year of birth as 1954, but that doesn't seem to agree with his age mentioned at various points in his life in other places. Can somebody clear this up? Clarityfiend 16:43, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

Gave the head as a present?[edit]

That doesn't make any sense. With all the police attention on these guys, do you really think he would've given a human head to the woman? That's something out of a horror movie, not reality. It's unsourced too, so I think it can be deleted. 10:28, 17 August 2007 (UTC)

You are quite correct. Burke only killed and dismembered the man who was bothering his fiance. He never mentioned that he actually did so to her, nor gave her his had. That's absolutely ridiculous and totally untrue. Wiseguys are known for keeping their business out of their family life. --LedAstray 03:07, 2 November 2007 (UTC)


Added details on the Lufthansa robbery based on what I read in various books and newspapers from that time and made changes to reflect the chronological order of the robbery. —Preceding unsigned comment added by LedAstray (talkcontribs) 03:12, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

Expunged text and boy is this article in bad shape[edit]

Here is what i expunged: When he was thirteen, Burke's foster father died in a car crash—he lost control of the car when he turned around to hit Burke, who was riding in the back seat. The deceased man's widow, who was in the car as well but survived, blamed Burke for the accident and gave him regular beatings until he was taken back into care. This time he was finally adopted by the "Burke" family. Jimmy lived with them in a boarding house located on Rockaway Beach Boulevard and Ocean Promenade in Rockaway Beach, Queens. His time spent there during the beginning of his adolescence was a time of peace and calm. A rumor was spread later that in 1978 Jimmy buried his share of the Lufthansa heist, including that of his murdered accomplices in the vacant lot where the Burke's family homestead used to be. He remained close to the Burke family visiting his adoptive mother and father each Mother's Day, Christmas and on his adoptive parent's birthdays. On a monthly basis he would send them several thousand dollars in an unmarked envelope as appreciation for their attempt at raising him.

It is not sourced and the first part is very confusing. This whole article needs some sources in a very bad way. (talk) 05:55, 20 March 2008 (UTC)


The article claims that he was born in 1931 and yet also: " ... he died from this disease on April 13, 1996, aged 69, while being treated at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York. Had he lived he would have been eligible for parole in 2004, aged 78." Doing the math, that's impossible. The last sentence about him being eligible for parole in 2004 at age 78 seems like a verbatim statement from the end of the film Goodfellas, which might not be a reliable source. Harry Yelreh (talk) 04:10, 1 March 2009 (UTC)

Asking Gambinos for Permission to do the Lufthansa Heist[edit]

I am a bit unclear regarding this. Paul Vario, a capo of the Lucchese Family controlled the JFK airport terminals. Burke was affiliated with Vario, so why would he have to go and ask Gambinos for their blessing? Wouldn't that be the responsibility of Paul Vario to square that away with his fellow Italians? I have a hard time picturing a paranoid man like Burke informing a rival crew from a different family about a multi-million dollar heist.

"I come to let you, Tony the Blade, Frankie the Axe and Vinny the Bat know that at 12.30 our boys from the Lucchese Family will steal a few million dollars from Terminal 3, Locker 25. Is that ok with you guys or should we reschedule?"

The only references I can find regarding this supposed event all lead back to Wikipedia statements that are unreferenced. Meishern (talk) 13:10, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

Burke's direct involvement in the post Lufthansa murders highly unlikly[edit]

I beeive the "Murders that followed the Lufthansa Heist" section of the main page to be misleading and innaccurate, and should be edited or eliminated. The idea of a mid level non Italian associate taking it upon himself to murder numerous higher level Luccese Italian-American associates is virtually impossible, and in fact there are sources (Gaspipe: Confessions of a Mafia Boss for example) which say that indeed Tony "Ducks" Corallo was responsible for most of the killings. (talk) 18:51, 11 February 2011 (UTC) Cosand (talk) 18:54, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

Casso was a pathalogical liar. That book os filled with false bravado bullshit by casso and carlo. Casso said he turned down boss so thats why vic got it lol. Vic became boss and moved casso up to acting capo not underboss. Vic was a captain who took over ticks brooklyn crew which was a power house. Plus vic was feared and earner and quiet. Groomed to be a boss since he got his button. Only later on he bumped up casso to familyn administration because every boss needs feared men close to them and casso was one of the most feared guys in lcn at that time. Jimmy burke was one of the most feared gangsters to ever live and amuso new him and respected him as did all with a brain

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In what way is Jimmy Conway the antagonist of Goodfellas? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:45, 11 December 2013 (UTC)

Maybe you should watch the movie. Majinsnake (talk) 12:21, 24 January 2014 (UTC)

Davey Blue-Eyes[edit]

"Burke has a second, unidentified, daughter and third son known to Lucchese family associates as "Davey Blue-Eyes".[citation needed]" - Interestingly, a former NYPD detective published a memoir about 3 years back in which he describes trying to nail a dealer named Davey Blue-Eyes. See - I haven't read the book as yet. If anyone else has, is there any indication that the individual to whom Codella refers is Burke's reputed third son? Irish Melkite (talk) 04:02, 24 January 2014 (UTC)

New arcticle on the lufthansa heist[edit]

I am surprised this is not up yet.

Majinsnake (talk) 12:32, 24 January 2014 (UTC)

The other Burke girl[edit]

At the top of the article, it says his second daughter is "unidentified" but later in the article, she's identified as "Robin". Which is it? (talk) 22:09, 13 March 2017 (UTC)

Cause of death[edit]

The article currently says that James Burke died of stomach cancer. Most other sources I've found speak of lung cancer. Can anyone verify what's correct? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:37, 13 March 2020 (UTC)

Changed to “cancer” as that’s all the New York Times source states. Vaselineeeeeeee★★★ 15:28, 13 March 2020 (UTC)