The Genovese Family

The Genovese Family is one of the Five Families of organized crime in America. Originating in Italy, it is regarded as the “Ivy League” of the American Mafia.


As it developed into the strongest borgata, the Genovese Family had origins in several different towns in Sicily and later mainland Italy, making it the most diversified of the Five Families of New York City. Giuseppe (The Clutch Hand) Morello and Ignazio (Lupo the Wolf) Saietta were two early powers of what would eventually morph into the Genovese Family. Emigrating from Corleone and Palermo, Sicily, one settled in East Harlem’s “Little Italy” and the other settled in the Lower East Side in the Mulberry Street section of “Little Italy” in Manhattan. They ran a gang active in extortion, strong-arming, the Italian lottery, and a huge counterfeiting operation for its time.

Soon, a Sicilian strongman would come to power named Giuseppe Masseria who would look to dominate the Italian underworld. This would lead to the so-called Castellammarese War,” pitting Masseria’s forces and allies against those of Salvatore Maranzano and his allies. The war raged for over a year and a half with Maranzano and his allies claiming victory with Masseria’s assassination in a Coney Island restaurant in 1931. Within months, Maranzano would also be killed in a purging of several old-guard Sicilians, making way for the formulation of the Five Families as we know it today and the formation of The Commission, a regulatory body of the strongest bosses across the country.

Salvatore (Charlie Lucky) Luciano would rise to be a first among equals with Vito Genovese serving as underboss and Francesco (Frank Costello) Castiglia as consigliere. This Family welcomed many men of Neapolitan and Calabrian heritage as well as Jewish hoodlums setting the stage for what would become the most diversified, pervasive, and powerful Cosa Nostra Family in America to this very day.

A Powerhouse Lineup

With a roster topping 225 formally inducted members and over 2000 associates, The Genovese Crime Family boasted a powerhouse lineup of top mafiosi such as (Joe Adonis) Doto, (Little Augie Pisano) Carfano, (Trigger Mike) Coppola, Jerry Catena, and (Richie the Boot) Boiardo, among many other of the mob’s glitterati. With power bases in the Fulton Fish Market, the garment district, the New York-New Jersey waterfront through the (ILA) International Longshoreman’s Union, trucking, slot machine and jukebox vending, and hidden ownership in several Las Vegas casinos. The Family had satellite regimes in Massachusetts, Florida, and California and worked in tandem with Families in Chicago, Pittsburgh, New England, and elsewhere representing some of them before the Commission.

With Luciano’s jailing and eventual deportation back to Sicily in the 1940s, the leadership reins fell to Costello. And with Genovese returning from a self-imposed exile to Italy, he looked to seize the Family throne for himself which led to Costello’s attempted assassination in 1957 and a purging of several Costello loyalists. Vito’s view from the top was short-lived with his arrest and imprisonment for 15 years in 1959 for a huge heroin smuggling conspiracy.

And although the current road is not paved with gold for Cosa Nostra, the venerable Genovese Crime Family has held its own against law enforcement’s best efforts to crack its mafioso egg. The Genovese Crime Family now operates, more than ever, in a surreptitious manner allowing for their continued success!

Below is a listing of bios and snapshots on Genovese Family members and associates. They are generally listed in alphabetical order. New and updated bios will be highlighted under the Genovese Family Spotlight tab in the sidebar column.

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