One of the quietest and least publicized organized crime networks was headed by a shadowy mafioso named Francesco (Frank I) Iaconi who ruled over the City of Worcester, Massachusetts beginning in the early 1920s.
With a population of 185,000 residents, Worcester is the second most populated city in all of New England after Boston. With the greater metropolitan area considered, its total population exceeds 900,000 residents.
Located smack dab in the middle of the state, Worcester was, and is, one of the most vibrant sections of Massachusetts.
Technically, Frank Iaconi was a “Capo di Decina” of New York’s Luciano/Genovese Family.
He was but one of a dozen or so sub-leaders who controlled various “regimes” within the Family. But because he was given sole control over the entire City of Worcester, Iaconi was generally viewed as a Mafia “boss” in his own right.
Frank Iaconi – From Bootlegging to Gambling
Iaconi started bootlegging whiskey during Prohibition in the early 1920s and continued until The Volstead Act was finally repealed in 1933.
Thereafter, Iaconi and his men seamlessly transitioned full-time into the gambling rackets. This included a large-scale illegal lottery operation as well as floating dice and card games, bookmaking, and Las Vegas-style slot machines placed all over Worcester through a coin-vending machine company he owned which served as a “front.”
Through the years, law enforcement authorities generally thought New England Mafia boss Raymond L.S. Patriarca had total control over all organized crime in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire.
Patriarca was a notorious underworld figure who attracted most of law enforcement’s attention. That suited the shadowy “Capo” of Worcester just fine.
But in fact, several other underworld “regimes” operated within Massachusetts over the years that were allied with New York. Mafiosi connected to the iconic Salvatore (Charlie Lucky) Luciano were active in Massachusetts since the early 1920s.
One crew was based in the City of Springfield and headed by the Calabrian-born “Capo di Decina” Salvatore (Big Nose Sam) Cufari and his top assistant Francesco (Frankie Skyball) Scibelli. A second smaller independent regime operated in Worcester under the control of fellow Calabrian, Francesco Iaconi.
Largely operating from the shadows, Frank Iaconi ran a regime consisting of approximately seven inducted “soldiers” and over a dozen or so “associates.”
He lead his men quietly but very successfully for almost fifty years until his death from natural causes in July 1956. Thereafter, one of his most capable men, soldier Carlo Mastrototaro, reportedly took over as crew leader.
The Frank Iaconi Regime Leadership Chart shown below lists their FBI documented membership, and better-known associates from the mid-1920s until the mid-1980s – a nearly sixty-year underworld history.