- 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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But Massino would not be enjoying fine meals for long.
On January 9, 2003, the FBI picked up Massino from his home in Howard Beach, Brooklyn, to face 19 federal charges. More charges soon followed. "Massino was the most powerful mobster in the country" when he was arrested, explained Pasquale J. D'Amuro, FBI assistant director.
When he went on trial in 2004, Massino faced charges related to seven murders, loan-sharking, arson, gambling, money laundering and extortion. The trial lasted for nine weeks and featured more than 70 witnesses, including his brother-in-law and six other members of the Bonanno family. They placed him at the scenes of four of the murders.
In July 2004, Massino was convicted on 11 counts, including the murders of the three captains and Dominick Napolitano. But the FBI still wasn't finished with him yet. Massino was going to be tried for the 1999 murder of a Bonanno captain named Gerlando "George from Canada" Sciascia. U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft wanted to seek the death penalty.
Now facing the death penalty, Massino began to reconsider his position on cooperating with the authorities. He also worried for his wife and daughters after the government sought to seize all of his assets, a move that might leave his family homeless and broke. In 2005, Massino decided to make a deal.
While in prison, Massino helped the authorities gather evidence against another inmate, Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano, who had become the acting head of the Bonanno family. He also reportedly told them where some of the mob's murder victims were buried. In 2005, Massino pled guilty to the Sciascia murder. He received a life sentence for that crime, and another life sentence for his previous convictions. The authorities lowered the amount of money they wanted to take from him, from over $10 million to $9 million.
In April 2011, Massino testified in a trial that Basciano behind bars and leaked various information about the elusive crime families of New York. Not only did he reveal crucial information about the Bonanno family—he also recorded prison conversations with the Bonanno family boss—but he also revealed the names of hundreds of people associated with the organized crime world in New York. For his extensive cooperation in catching some of New York's most sought after criminals, prosecutors were prompted to reduce Massino's two life sentences.
Massino's work with the government in revealing the plans of several prominent criminals paid off. In July 2013, a federal judge changed his sentence to time served—which would be 10 years total—and Massino was scheduled to be released from prison 60 days later. That time was used to make the proper accomodations to avoid the enemies that Massino had made throughout his testimony. Massino's whereabouts are unknown after being released from prison.
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