- NAME: Joseph Massino
- OCCUPATION: Organized Crime Boss
- BIRTH DATE: January 10, 1943 (Age: 70)
- Did You Know?: Of New York's five crime families, Joseph Massino was the first crime boss to break the code of silence and testify against a fellow mafia member.
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Queens, New York
- AKA: Joey Massino
- Nickname: Big Joey
- Nickname: The Last Don
- Full Name: Joseph Charles Massino
- AKA: Joseph Massino
- ZODIAC SIGN: Capricorn
Best Known For
Mobster Joseph Massino became boss of the Bonanno crime family when other crime bosses were being sent to jail for life. The press called him "the Last Don."
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Born on January 10, 1943, in New York, Joseph Massino became boss of the Bonanno crime family when other crime bosses were being sent to jail for life. The press called him "the Last Don." On January 9, 2003, the FBI picked up Massino at his home in Howard Beach, Brooklyn, to face 19 federal charges. More charges soon followed. In July 2004, he was convicted on 11 counts. In 2005, he made a deal and avoided the death penalty. He testified in a trial against the mafia in 2011,
"I'm hoping to see a light at the end of the tunnel."
"I pray every night for all of the people I hurt, especially the victims' families."
becoming the first of New York's crime bosses to break the honored code of silence.
Mobster Joseph Charles Messino was born on January 10, 1943, and grew up in the working-class neighborhood of Maspeth in Queens, New York. His parents were both second-generation Italian-American. His father worked as a fruit vendor while his mother stayed at home to raise their three children.
A poor student, Massino had more street smarts than book smarts and, in the neighborhood, he developed a reputation for being a tough guy. He did reportedly do well in math, a subject he would later use in his illegal endeavors, but he dropped out before finishing high school. Massino eventually started up a lunch wagon business, selling food and drinks at factories and other sites. His operation soon grew to include gambling, selling stolen goods and loan-sharking—all done from his trucks.
In 1960, Massino married Josephine Vitale. The couple had two daughters, Adeline and Joanne, together. Through Josephine, Massino developed a tight bond with his brother-in-law, Salvatore. Salvatore "Good Looking Sal" Vitale became Massino's right-hand man in both his legal and illegal activities. He also made friends with a number of important players within the world of organized crime, and was especially close to Philip "Rusty" Rastelli, a capo in the Bonanno crime family.
In addition to his growing food service operation, Massino also got into hijacking trucks. He landed his first indictment for one of these heists in 1975. His partner in crime, Ray Wean, was convicted of possessing stolen property, but Massino got off the hook on a technicality in 1977. Around this time, Massino became an official "made" man, or Mafia member, and was accepted into the Bonanno crime family.
The Bonanno crime family went through a number of power struggles over the years. In 1979, the group's leader, Carmine Galante, was assassinated. Massino's close friend Rastelli took over as boss, ruling the family from prison. When someone started to complain about the family's leadership, Massino soon took drastic steps to eliminate any opposition.
In May 1981, Philip Giaccone, Alphonse "Sonny Red" Indelicato and Dominick "Big Trin" Trinchera went to a meeting at a Brooklyn social club. They were there to try to work out the power struggle within the family, but it proved to be a trap. Massino was on hand to make sure these three mutinous Bonanno captains never saw the light of day again.
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