Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Colombo family underboss dies while serving 100 year prison sentence

Former Annadale resident Gennaro "Gerry Lang" Langella, 74, the convicted underboss in the Colombo crime family who was serving a 100-year prison sentence, died Sunday in the U.S. Medical Center for Prisons in Springfield, Missouri, a facility for federal inmates with chronic medical problems.

Langella was admitted to the medical center in December 2008, according to a spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, who declined to provide information about his medical condition and cause of death.

Langella was tried with seven others in a highly publicized case, known as the "Mafia Commission Trial," that started in September 1986 in Federal District Court in downtown Manhattan's Foley Square, at the time when former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani served as U.S. attorney.

Lead defendants in the trial included Anthony "Fat Tony" Salerno, 75, head of the Genovese crime family; Anthony "Tony Ducks" Corallo, head of the Lucchese family, and Carmine "Junior" Persico, the Colombo family boss.

Citing Racketeer-Influence and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) conspiracy violations, prosecutors built a successful case that the defendants belonged to a "commission" that had handled Mafia business since the 1930s, encompassing everything from loan-sharking and extortion to murder.

The trial lasted 10 weeks, and all eight defendants were found guilty in November 1986.

The chief prosecutor, Michael Chertoff, said after the verdict that the eight were "directing the largest and most vicious criminal business in the history of the United States."

Then-U.S. Attorney Giuliani commented: "The verdict reached today has resulted in dismantling the ruling council of La Cosa Nostra."

At the sentencing hearing in January 1987, U.S. District Judge Richard Owen addressed each defendant, individually. He started with Salerno, but said that his words applied to the other seven men as well: "You, sir, in my opinion, essentially spent all your lifetime terrorizing this community to your financial gain."

Seven of the defendants, including Langella, received 100-year sentences in federal prison.

Langella had already been sentenced to 65 years in November 1986 in a separate racketeering case so the judge ruled that he could serve the sentences concurrently.

"I can't say it's the end of the commission," Giuliani said after the sentences were handed down. "But it makes it much more difficult to operate that kind of an operation."

Former New York Times investigative reporter and crime writer Selwyn Raab described Langella as "a ruthless arrogant loan shark and drug trafficker" in his critically acclaimed book, "Five Families: The Rise, Decline and Resurgence of America's Most Powerful Mafia Empires."

Langella's speech "was peppered with expletives," Raab wrote. "He was considered a vain clotheshorse and unlike more contemporary Hollywood gangster attire he favored double-breasted blazers, sporty open collar shirts and wrap around sunglasses. He was a regular patron of the Casa Sorta restaurant in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, where he would hold meetings with associates".


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