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Anthony Casso is a member of the Lucchese crime family who was the first major crime boss to be kicked out of the witness protection program.
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At one point, the duo even wanted to execute the family's entire New Jersey constituency.
Tipped off by an FBI informant, Casso learned in May 1990 that he and Amuso were soon going to be indicted. He, Amuso and 13 associates were facing charges of racketeering and extortion in relation to their operation to rig contracts with the New York City Housing Authority for replacing windows,
later known as The Windows Case.
Both Casso and Amuso decided to flee before they could be arrested. For more than 30 months, Casso helped run the Lucchese organization while in hiding. Al D'Arco served as the official acting leader of the family for a time, but Casso was pulling the strings from behind the scenes. Casso ordered the killing of Gambino capo Edward Lino, who was reportedly shot by Stephen Caracappa and Louis Eppolito.
Another attempted murder would prove to be Casso's undoing. He thought that hitman Fat Pete Chiodo had turned informant and ordered his murder. In May 1991, a three-man team tried to eliminate Chiodo while he was trying to fix his car at a service station on Staten Island. They shot Chiodo 12 times and left him for dead. Despite the severity of his injuries, Chiodo actually survived the attack. He had previously refused to cooperate with the authorities, but he changed his mind after the shooting.
After Amuso's capture in 1991, Casso became the acting boss of the Lucchese family. He ordered the death of Al D'Arco after he learned that D'Arco was skimming money from him. Afraid for his life, D'Arco ended up becoming an informer in exchange for government protection.
In January 1993, the authorities closed in on Casso. They arrested him as he got out of the shower of the Mount Olive, New Jersey, home he was hiding in with a girlfriend he had known since childhood. Casso was found to have approximately $340,000 in cash and a stash of FBI confidential documents with him at the time of his arrest.
Held without bail, Casso tried several times to escape and even plotted to have the judge on his case murdered. He reportedly had a falling out with Amuso. According to one report, Amuso believed that Casso had turned him in and refused to help Casso in any way.
Now on his own, Casso decided to become something he detested -- an informant. He admitted his involvement in at least 36 murders. In March 1994, Casso pleaded guilty to numerous crimes, including racketeering, extortion and 14 counts of murder. For his testimony against other mob figures, he was offered a recommendation for leniency in his sentencing.
Unfortunately for him, Casso only knew how to be a mobster, not a cooperating witness. While in prison, he got into fights and bribed guards to bring him special food and drinks. Casso also got into trouble for talking badly about two other key FBI informants: Al D'Arco and Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano. Longtime associates, Casso claimed that Gravano had been involved in more crimes that he had admitted to, including drug dealing and additional murders.
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Bootleggers, smugglers, drug dealers, hit men—all these occupations are the provenance of mobsters, who operate in ethnic, family and business networks. Mobsters' real life crimes, and Hollywood's fascination with them, has earned them a special place in the American imagination. From Al Capone's Chicago crime ring to Bugsy Siegel's Las Vegas racket, these mobsters have made their names notorious from coast to coast.
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