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

Friday, August 11, 2023

Jailed Lucchese Boss denied compassionate release


Vittorio “Little Vic” Amuso, the notorious Lucchese crime family boss convicted of ordering nine deadly mob hits, was denied compassionate release from federal prison on Thursday. 

A federal judge said Amuso, convicted in 1991 on racketeering charges and for nine murders, had sent too many people to their graves, and caused too much destruction and mayhem, to deserve a premature end to his life sentence. 

In June, the now 88-year-old mafioso requested his release on time served due to suffering a hodgepodge of age-related ailments, most notably debilitating osteoarthritis that has left him wheelchair-bound.

He also argued that he’s had a flawless behavior record while incarcerated at Federal Correctional Complex, Butner in North Carolina.

But on Aug. 10, senior District Court Judge Frederic Block denied Amuso’s petition, asserting that the scope of his crimes was “simply too serious, too disrespectful of the law, and too destructive to the fabric of society to warrant anything other than a life sentence.”

The court also contends that Amuso has continued to run the Lucchese family from prison, which he denies. 

Amuso was dubbed “the Deadly Don” by an assistant US attorney, and the Lucchese family under his tenure “enjoyed a particularly bloody reputation” even by the standards of the mob. During his reign in the late 80s and early 90s, Amuso directly ordered the murders of at least a dozen individuals, nine of whom were successfully whacked by his underlings.

They include Michael Pappadio, a soldier in the outfit accused of skimming off the top of the Luccheses’ textile interests. He was bludgeoned to death with a length of metal cable and shot on Amuso’s orders at a Queens bagel shop in May 1989.

The following year, another soldier, Bruno Facciola, was lured to an autobody shop and executed on the orders of Amuso, who suspected him of squealing to the feds. After shooting him between the eyes, the killer placed a dead canary in the victim’s mouth as a warning to others thinking of cooperating with prosecutors.

The man who killed Pappadio, Al D’Arco, would later become acting boss but ultimately turned state’s witness and, with capo Peter “Fat Pete” Chiodo, helped put Amuso behind bars with his testimony. Chiodo survived an assassination attempt after Amuso suspected he had turned, while D’Arco defected after narrowly escaping what he suspected to be the setup of a hit.

In addition to the murders, Amuso was also convicted on charges of labor racketeering, tax fraud, and extortion. He was a central figure in a massive scheme to defraud the New York City Housing Authority by inflating the cost of window installations, pocketing about $1 million in kickbacks from vendors.

Amuso continued to run the family from his prison cell, but insists he is no longer in charge and is not involved in Lucchese affairs. The feds contest this, however, noting testimony from a former soldier that Amuso orchestrated an internal leadership change from his cell as recently as 2017.



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