CARMINE SESSA—The one-time consigliere of the Colombo crime family surrendered to the FBI on the steps of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in 1993, giving law enforcement an insider’s look at a raging internal family war that was dropping bodies all over Brooklyn.
Freed from prison after only seven years, Sessa delivered an extraordinary apologia during his 2000 sentencing, deriding the Mafia life he’d led and watched in theaters. “The movie ‘Goodfellas’ explains it well—meaning everybody gets killed by a bunch of animals or so-called friends.” In the witness protection program, he was later arrested for beating up his wife.
Pictured: Carmine Sessa, in black jacket.
ANTHONY 'GASPIPE' CASSO—When Casso, underboss of the Lucchese crime family, became an informant in 1993, he was touted as a Rosetta stone of organized crime. He admitted involvement in 36 murders and revealed he’d had two NYPD detectives, Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa, on his payroll and leaking the names of informants and even committing murders for the mob.
The marriage did not work out as planned. Other informants contradicted Casso’s version of events, he became involved in altercations and smuggling inside various federal prisons, and, in the end, he was dropped from the program and sentenced to life.
MICHAEL 'MIKEY SCARS' DiLEONARDO--A longtime close friend of John A. “Junior” Gotti, DiLeonardo was godfather to one of Junior’s sons. In 2001, DiLeonardo was acquitted of racketeering and conspiracy charges in Atlanta, Georgia.
Two years later, he became an informant after deciding Gotti had reneged on his promise to take of his family while he was in prison. DiLeonardo then admitted he’d been guilty of all the criminal acts of which he had just been cleared by the Atlanta jury. He described Junior’s involvement in multiple mafia schemes, including an attempted hit on radio host Curtis Sliwa—an accusation that has yet to result in a conviction of the younger Gotti.
Pictured, left to right: Michael DiLeonardo, Steven Kaplan, John A. (Junior) Gotti, unidentified male at a restaurant.
SALVATORE 'SAMMY THE BULL' GRAVANO—Underboss of the Gambino crime family, Gravano agreed to cooperate with police in October, 1991, becoming a key to the conviction six months later of his boss, John “Dapper Don” Gotti. He admitted to involvement in 19 murders, but served only 5 years due to his assistance in catching his former boss.
After entering the witness protection program, Gravano moved to Phoenix, Arizona and earned hundreds of thousands of dollars from this book, “Underboss.” He then started up an Ecstasy ring with his family, was caught, and will likely die in prison.
PETER 'FAT PETE' CHIODO—In May, 1991, the Lucchese crime family made a mistake when they sent hit men to kill trusted soldier “Fat Pete” Chiodo and failed to finish the job. His 6’ 5” 435-pound body was riddled with 12 bullets and he sustained permanent internal damage, but Chiodo somehow survived, and with a changed attitude.
Turned informant, he exposed a lucrative mob scheme to skim profits from every window installed in New York City’s Housing Authority projects. After Chiodo flipped, the Lucchese family violated the so-called Mafia “rules” against harming mob kin by trying (but once again failing) to kill Chiodo’s sister.