While most of us have grown up reading stories of mafias, mobsters and gangsters, it’s not surprising that these seemingly fictional characters were inspired from real life people. Emigrants from Italy brought the advent of mafias into the American Crime scene. Oppressed Sicilians took to crime for achieving justice and also supporting their livelihood. Soon, crime evolved into a family business and mobsters accumulated wealth and riches from it. Here’s an account of the top 10 Real Life Italian Mobsters. But beware! There is nothing inspirational about them. They could have chosen the right ways of life but they chose not to.
10. Vito Rizzuto (active from 1960s to late 2000s):
Vito Rizzuto is one of the most fierce and lethal crime bosses in Canada. He heads the largest drug trafficking business in the country, despite the fact that he has been behind the bars for more than decade now for his involvement in three murders planned by the Bannano Family of United States. He’s the boss of the Sicilian Mafia in Canada, and is wanted in Italy to answer for the construction of a bridge across the Strait of Messina.
9. Carlo Gambino (active from 1920s to 1970s):
Known as one of the most intelligent and shrewd Sicilian Mobsters ever, Carlo Gambino assembled a wealthy empire worth hundreds of billions through mafia activities. He was the founder and the boss of the Gambino family, one of the prominent names in the Five Families. At the age of 74 he died of a massive heart attack after which his brothers get married and end the mafia history of the family.
8. Giuseppe Falsone (active from 1991 till his arrest in 2010):
One of youngest Italian mobsters ever, Giuseppe Falsone became a mafia gangster when he was 20 after his father and brother were brutally killed by another mafia gang from Sicily. He immediately ordered the murder of the gang boss, Salvatore Ingaglio. Since then there has been no looking back. Falsone is famous for his repeated plastic surgeries that successfully kept him away from the eyes of the authorities.
7. Giacomo Tocco (active from late 1970s to date):
Giacomo Tocco, also fondly known as the “Black Jack”, is the boss of the most organized of the crime families outside Detroit. The gang members of Tocco have always been able to veil their acts as legitimate and this is the reason why there haven’t been many arrests. Also, Giacomo has advocated that members of the clan only marry within the family to avoid betrayal or disintegration.
6. Al Capone (active from 1920 to early 1930s):
Many call him the “Modern Day Robin Hood” but Al Capone is one of the most ruthless mob bosses in history. Capone got involved in gang activities when he was expelled from school at the tender age of 14. Soon, he got a chance to deliver alcoholic beverages to Chicago during the Prohibition Era under a smuggling project that would earn him good money. This is how his rise began and soon Capone became involved in bootlegging liquor, smuggling and prostitution. He died at the age of 48 due to neurosyhilis, which he had contracted when young. Capone remains the face of the Italian mobsters even though there are many who are far more notorious.
5. Lucky Luciano (Active from 1930s till his death in 1962):
Salvatore Luciano aka Charles “Lucky” Luciano was the mastermind behind the creation of the Five Families that rein over the American crime scene till date. He was a simple street urchin, and with time became one of the greatest mobsters ever. He wiped away the traditional Sicilian Mafia and replaced it with a well organized American syndicate of crime. And, despite being caught on 25 different occasions for a series of crimes between 1916 and 1936, he always escaped sentencing. That perhaps earned him the nickname Lucky.
4. John Gotti (active from early 1960s to early 2000s):
A victim of dire poverty, John Gotti and his brothers soon took refuge in crime. Eventually, Gotti rose to become the head of the Gambino crime family. Just before he took the reins as the family boss, he and his crew members were indicted for selling narcotics which got him in trouble with the then family head Paul Castellano. He took advantage of the ongoing family disputes and killed Paul to become the head of the family. He was later arrested and imprisoned. He died in 2002 while serving sentence.
3. Steven Crea (active from 1980s to date):
The “Wonderboy” of crime, Steven is known for his enterprising criminal ideas that are totally unique and always translate into profit. He started controlling the operation of the Lucchese family in 2009, and became the official head in 2012. Till date his forte of operations remains labor racketing and a major chunk of the family income is attributed to that.
2. Vito Genovese (active from 1920s to late 1950s):
Vito Genovese was rightly called the “Boss of Bosses.” Initially he became popular for his peculiar style of murder. If anyone would come to him aggrieving about injustice, Vito would first kill the culprit and then the complainant for telling on the former. Genovese rose to power after his participation and success in the War of Castellammarese. Eventually he led many crime operations as the underboss with Maranzano, who had organized all Italian mafia groups into Five Families. Later, Vito earned himself the position of head of the Genovese family.
1. Frank Costello (active from early 1900s to late 1950s):
Famously known as the “Prime Minister of the underworld,” Frank Costello rose to become America’s top Italian Mobsters, ultimately becoming part of one the Five Families by becoming head of the Lucianos now called Genovese crime family. Interestingly, Frank Costello is believed to be the inspiration for Mario Puzo’s novel Godfather and the character of Vito Corleone.