Joe Valachi Biography - Biography

Joseph Valachi Biography

Organized Crime (1904–1971)
Joseph Valachi was a part of Lucky Luciano's mob family from the 1930s through the 1950s.

Who Was Joseph Valachi?

Joseph Valachi was a New York City gangster turned informant. As a star witness at a government inquiry, he confirmed the existence of crime families in New York and New Jersey.

Infamous Mobsters: Mafia member turned government informant Joseph Valachi testifies before the Senate Rackets Committee in Washington D.C., 1963.

Mafia member turned government informant Joseph Valachi testifies before the Senate Rackets Committee in Washington D.C., 1963.

Where Did Joe Valachi Die?

Valachi died on April 3, 1971, at La Tuna Federal Correctional Institution in Texas.

Wife

Valachi wed Carmela "Mildred" Reina in 1932. Reina was the oldest daughter of Lucchese Family founder Gaetano Reina.

Lucky Luciano's Mob Family

Born Joseph Michael Valachi on September 22, 1904 in New York City, Valachi was a mafia gangster turned informant. One of seventeen children, only six of whom survived, Valachi grew up in a world of poverty and despair. While in prison for neighborhood thievery, Valachi met up with old-time mobster Alessandro Vollero, who taught him the intricate workings of the Mafia underworld.

After his release, Valachi launched his career in organized crime. A member of Lucky Luciano's mob family from the 1930s through the 1950s, Valachi was primarily involved in rackets and gambling.

Testimony

In 1959 Valachi was convicted of narcotics violations and sentenced to 15 years in prison. In September 1963, he appeared as the star witness before "The McClellan Committee," a government inquiry into the mob. Valachi revealed graphic details of mob life and confirmed the existence of five crime families in New York and one in New Jersey.

'The Valachi Papers'

After returning to prison, Valachi teamed with appointed writer Peter Maas to publish his memoirs, The Valachi Papers, in 1968. The book also produced a 1972 film by the same name and starred Charles Bronson.

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