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

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Longtime Detroit mob boss dead at 87

Reputed Detroit mob boss Jack W. Tocco, who was convicted of racketeering in 1998 in a federal crackdown on organized crime, has died. He was 87.

Tocco, who said he fought his entire life to clear his name, died Monday at home in the Detroit suburb of Grosse Pointe Park, according to Bagnasco & Calcaterra Funeral Home, which is handling arrangements. A cause of death wasn't released.

Tocco, whose family had a linen business, grew up in suburban Detroit and repeatedly proclaimed his innocence. He was convicted of racketeering and conspiracy to commit extortion in 1998. He served nearly three years behind bars in the case and paid $950,000 to the government.

Attorney James Bellanca Jr., whose firm represents Tocco, said he learned of Tocco's death from his family. In an email, he said Tocco lived his life "under the scrutiny of the government and the subject of public accusation." He said Tocco tried to clear his name.

"Individuals familiar with his conviction in 1998 believe it was based more on the reputation that had been created for him than any evidence of wrongdoing presented against him at trial," Bellanca said. "He served his sentence quietly and with the same dignity he lived his life."

A federal jury in 1998 convicted Tocco of taking part in a 30-year racketeering conspiracy that included loan-sharking, illegal gambling, obstruction of justice and attempts to gain hidden interests in Nevada casinos. The FBI labeled him the Detroit crime family's boss in an organizational chart released in 1990.

Tocco was included in a 1996 indictment targeting alleged organized crime figures in Detroit. At a news conference about the case at the time, FBI Special Agent Joseph Martinolich Jr., who headed the Detroit office, said: "Here in Detroit, we believe we've driven a stake through the heart of La Cosa Nostra."

Tocco initially was sentenced to one year and a day, but that sentence was later invalidated by the appeals court after the government argued the penalty was too lenient. In 2000, a federal judge in Detroit imposed a new sentence of 34 months.

Tocco, who completed his 34-month sentence, that year thanked relatives and friends for their support and criticized former associates who testified against him.

"All my adult life, I've been fighting to clear my name," he said at a court hearing. "And I will continue that fight to clear my name until the time I die."



  1. A mob boss dies at home, a rearity!

  2. The funny thing is he got his law degree when he graduated from UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT MERCY with his cousin.He was just another Italian who worked hard to get the american dream and then gets labeled a mobster.I havent heard of many mafioso who get law degrees from real university.Im from the Detroit area&for the past 40 years the FBI has harassed this man and his relatives saying theyre all involved in the Mob etc.After 40years of investigations you would think the feds could come up with more than a 3year gambling charge with info provided by a strung out snitch!! Rest in Peace Mr. Tocco.

    1. I knew Jack Tocco and his family in the 1960s. They were mafia, without doubt, and much of what is written in these closing news obits is true. That he was able to stay out of jail for most of his working career is simply a measure of how sophisticated and smart (Business degree, Univ of Det., not law) he was. He was an impressively kind and classy guy in my experience, which was social not business.

  3. First he got a finance degree not law degree and please harassed the man, he was mobbed up, that's the reality if you chose that life

  4. Mr. Tocco is a kind and generous man. He personally helped my mother in the early 80's when we were emigrants to the U.S. Regardless of what was publicized of him as well as what was alleged...I can tell you he is a man of great courage, excellent judgment, and exceptional resolution...A family man of the highest degree and standard. God bless him and the family.