Sunday, February 22, 2015

The last of the Old Time Gambinos

Arnold “Zeke” Squitieri and Alphonse “Funzi” Sisca go way back to the days before John Gotti was made in the Gambino Family.  They worked with Gene Gotti, Sal Ruggiero and Angelo Ruggiero selling heroin.  They were given long sentences just like Gene Gotti, so they missed most of the John Gotti mess.   Zeke was made Underboss in 1999 by John Gotti and in 2002 when Peter Gotti went away he was bumped up to Acting Boss.  Zeke was still on parole for his 1989 heroin conviction so he relied heavily on Funzi to be his eyes and ears on the street.  He would use him to pass orders to the lower ranks.  

They committed all the usual crimes that gangsters commit, like extortion of construction companies, restaurants and nightclubs.  One that I had not heard about in a long time was the illegal numbers business.  Numbers or Policy games are an illegal lottery that used to be played in poor or immigrant neighborhoods.  In Florida the Cuban version was called Bolita.

The other term policy came from old time cheap life insurance policy that was seen as a long term gamble.  To play the game a bettor would pick a three digit number and at the end of the day the operator would take the last three digits of the “Handle” the amount of the total bets at a racetrack that was published in the racing form everyday.  These Gambinos ran a numbers game up to 2005 where they took in 2k a day in bets.  

The Sportsbook they ran made them 155k just on the Superbowl one year.  This goes back to what I've written in the past about gambling being the lifeblood of the Mafia.  

They didn't stop there either.  They were stealing money from the Union and extorting trucking companies.  

Shylocking was a huge earner for them as it always made money.  It is very similar to the way today’s payday loan places operate.  As long as shylockers who call themselves payday loan businesses give the government their cut, they are free to operate.

Things were moving along and the family seemed to be recovering from the succession of Gottis that held the top spot.  Junior Gotti had not yet gone in for his proffer session. The session that he now claims he lied during.  He wants us to forget that he broke Omerta the number one rule of Cosa Nostra.  He needs to accept that he is the same as John Alite, Mikey Scars and all the rest of us.  The only problem?  All those guys built their success in the mafia themselves and were not born with a Mafia silver spoon in their mouths.

Enter Joaquin “Jack” Garcia or as he was known on the street: Jack Falcone.   In the FBI it was known as Operation Jack Falcone.  Jack was an undercover FBI Agent who posed as Sicilian drug dealer and jewel thief from Miami. It seems a bit close to the Donnie Brasco Operation but if it isn’t broken, why fix it.  Jack hooked up with Greg DePalma a long time Gambino Soldier who was a sometime Capo.  DePalma became famous in the 1970s when he and the Gambinos infiltrate the Westchester Premier Theater.  There is a famous picture that includes DePalma, Carlo Gambino, Frank Sinatra, Jimmy Fratianno and others.  

DePalma liked to talk and that was good for Jack because he was a good listener.  The operation would end in 2005 when FBI supervisors shut it down.  This was after DePalma wanted to make Jack Falcone a Gambino.  

Today Alphonse Sisca is the Boss of the New Jersey Faction of the Gambino Family.  

The family is run by the Sicilians and most of the Gotti Era guys are locked up or laying low.

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