Joseph (Joe Beck) Lapi was born in 1910 at 27 Monroe Street in Lower Manhattan, NYC. He was aka “Joseph Lappi” and “Joseph Lopi”.
He resided many years in the 4th Ward in downtown NYC. He also resided at 78th Street in Jackson Heights, Queens and at 50-39 Francis Lewis Blvd., in Bayside, Queens as well as Woodmere, Long Island.
FBI #846239, NYPD #B-110003
A highly-respected elder statesman of the Vito Genovese Family, he was a senior “capo de decina” for many years.
His father, Angelo, who was murdered when Lapi was a child, and his son Angelo J., born on April 22, 1932, were both members — three generations!
He also had two brothers, Rosario and Frank. Law enforcement would later allege that Joe was partners with his brother Frank in narcotics trafficking.
A handsome, well-built man at 5-foot 11-inches and a compact 185-pounds with dark brown eyes and a full, solid head of prematurely grey hair, Joe Beck was a meticulous and dapper dresser. He always dressed to the nines with diamond-encrusted rings and watches.
Over the years, Lapi held ownership interests in many businesses including Pygmalion Restaurant at 1605 Second Ave., in NYC, Latona Undertaker at 236 Mulberry St., in NYC, Jomar Associates Construction Co., in Wilton, CT., Chemical Control Corp., in NJ, and various other real estate holdings.
He was a close associate of:
- Rosario (Saro) Mogavero
- Anthony (Tony Ducks) Corallo
- Michael Clemente
- Frank (The Bug) Caruso
- Joseph (Socks) Lanza
- Carmine (Gribbs) Tramunti,
- Ignazio (Joe Curly) Agone
- Frank (Funzi) Tieri
- Frank Lapi (brother)
- Angelo Lapi (son)
- …among many other mob luminaries.
He frequented the Alto Knights Social Club on Mulberry St, his social club/headquarters at 19 Monroe St., Gotham Health Club on E.54 St, and Pygmalion Rest, all in NYC, as well as the Sheepshead Bay and Bay Ridge sections of Brooklyn.
His arrest record dates to 1932 for homicide (vehicle), violation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Laws, assault and robbery (twice), violation of parole, vagrancy, possession and sale of heroin, and narcotics conspiracy.
He served a 9 to 18 year term for robbery, 6 months for anti-trust violations, and 7 years for narcotics conspiracy.
In 1965, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) conducted an undercover investigation, originally based in Manhattan.
After surveillance, they would trail a Rambler to the Jackson Heights section of Queens from midtown Manhattan suspecting that the car was carrying a narcotics shipment. The driver of the car exited and retrieved a brown paper bag from the trunk and entered a Jackson Heights apartment.
After several more days of intensive surveillance, the agents staged a raid on that said apartment after seeing one of the suspects enter.
They retrieved 3 pounds of heroin, and in a suitcase hidden within the apartment, retrieved an additional 9 pounds of heroin for an estimated street value of $1,500,000. Within hours, Lapi and associates Anthony Verzino (a known narcotics dealer) and Alvin Biegel (the reputed “mixer and chemist”) were all arrested.
After a trial in the Southern District, all were convicted of heroin distribution conspiracy and received stiff sentences. Verzino, as a repeat offender, got 12 years. Biegel and Lapi received 7.5 years each.
Lapi was reputedly active in policy, bookmaking, shylocking, extortion, narcotics, and waterfront rackets (Fulton Fish Market).
He is reputed to have been the “Capo” of the 4th Ward in lower Manhattan, controlling racket activity from a social club on Monroe Street where he was raised.
He was a very low-key, influential soldier for many years, rising to Capo status by the late 1960s to early 1970s. It is said that towards the end of his life, Lapi had been promoted to possible consigliere.
Whatever his “official” position, Lapi enjoyed an “elder statesman” status reserved for few.
He was felled early by cancer, and died in 1980 at the age of 70.
Shortly after his death, a huge investigation in New Jersey started after a major chemical explosion and fire engulfed the Chemical Control Corp., a toxic waster handler.
Authorities discovered that the company had been infiltrated by the Genovese Family who had illegally dumped tons of toxic waste into the area, or illegally stored it on their property.
Mob member John Albert was indicted among several others It was established that Joe Beck Lapi had been a hidden partner and leader in the scheme. Lapi beat the case by passing away! ….. a fitting end for a little known top mafioso!
“Riposa in Pace”,,,.RIP!