WANTED: Vito Genovese

1897-1969

Early Life

Vito Genovese was born November 21, 1897 in Campania Italy. At the age of 15 his family moved to Little Italy in New York. His first arrest came at the age of 20 in New York City for weapons possession. The coming of Prohibition was a stroke of luck for Genovese, as he graduated from being just a street gang member to professional killer. He worked his way up the ranks of organized crime, and by 1930 was partners with top gangster Lucky Luciano and Giuseppe Masseria -- aka "Joe the Boss" -- an old-timer who ran most of the crime in the city.

Genovese's flee to Italy

Shortly before World War II the authorities began looking into the murder of a Mafia gangster named Boccia -- a murder Genovese had contracted years before -- and he fled to Italy, where he promptly cozied up to Italian Fascist dictator Mussolini. During the invasion of Italy in World War II Genovese made himself invaluable to the American military police authorities by informing on local black market rings and drug and weapons dealers; what the MPs didn't know was that as these men were arrested, Genovese replaced them with his own.

Genovese's wrap sheet

Prostitution
Bootlegging
Racketeering
Murder
Genovese was charged with the murder of Boccia but coincidentally the only witness was found dead so he was aquitted.
Narcotics
He was convicted on narcotics charges and sentenced to 15 years in federal prison
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Vito Genovese: The Genovese Crime Family Boss (1897 - 1969)

Death

Bringing an end to a criminal era, Vito Genovese died of a heart attack at the Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri, on Valentine's Day in 1969.