Category: Mafia History

All about Robert’s Lounge and the Mafia

It was James Burke, popularly called ‘Jimmy the Gent’, who is said to be the owner of Robert’s Lounge, a bar saloon. He was considered to be Lucchese crime family’s associate. This place is known to have served as the criminal headquarters between 1957 and early 1979.

Significance of Robert Lounge

The lounge was said to be utilized as supermarket for selling t hose goods which was stolen by James Burke as well as his group. This lounge was a criminal hub, where different types of criminal activities were planned for being executed. One such plan that was said to be made sitting at Robert’s Lounge was the Lufthansa Heist, something that has gone down in history, although for the wrong causes.


The location of the saloon was near to J.F.K. International Airport’s, Air Cargo Center. There were also present other hangouts in the vicinity, which included Vesuvio Restaurant of Don Pepe, Bargain Auto Junkyard, Aqueduct Race Track and dress factory of Moo Moo Vedda.

About the Lounge

Initially, the saloon was a simple bar, where blue collar employees were said to be frequent visitors. However, with time, as James Burke including other members of Lucchese Family began to frequent the place, the other customers were driven away.  Slowly, it had become a criminal hangout.

Other essential facts about the lounge

The lounge was known notoriously for the ‘graveyard’ also. Dominick Cersani was killed by James Burke to seek revenge, since the former is said to have cooperated with the District Attorney of Queens and assisted in capturing the stolen cigarette load of Burke. The saloon’s backyard became Dominick’s grave after his murder. Also, another person had been murdered and buried within the saloon, who was Michael Gianco, popularly called the ‘Spider’. Gianco had worked as night manager and bartender. He was killed over an ordinary issue by Thomas DeSimone. His body was buried in the lounge’s basement. The worst part is that when the FBI had carried out thorough research of the Lounge and its basement, they were not able to find any of the bodies as has been claimed to be buried here. The reason for the bodies not to be found within the Lounge was because details of the search warrant were found out by Burke before the actual search was to be carried out by the FBI. Hence, he had the bodies taken out and displaced to another place.

RICO Law and the Mafia

The RICO is regarded to be an important tool that is used by the American government for fighting organized crime and the different mafia families. RICO is actually a law and not a special police branch or military wing. It stands for Racketeer Influenced & Corrupt Organizations, US Code, Sections 1961 – 1968, Title 18. It was during the year 1970 that the law was passed with an intention to fight the Mafias. The task is achieved by having the prosecutors to be enabled and permitting the law to take action against the whole organization, rather just few individuals.

What is Racketeering?

Racketeering is regarded to be accumulating money through unlawful means. Racketeering involves almost any type of crime. The person, under RICO, is an enterprise member, having committed any of the two crimes out of 35 with 8 being state crimes and 27 federal crimes, within a period of 10 years could placed under the racketeering case. People who were found to be guilty might be sentenced to prison for up to twenty years and/or fined around $25,000.  Besides it, the government confiscates and all the cash which the person earns from racketeering which he needs to forfeit. The Act also has provisions for extended penalties to cover performed criminal acts, for instance, killing uncooperative entrepreneur, bribing union leader, extorting money and the like, which amounted to racketeering. Even if the Mafia members were not involved in any individual crimes, they still could be prosecuted. This way, the Mafia Don’s basic and most common defense tactics got eliminated, since they used to send new recruits and low level soldiers for committing crimes to ensure that they never get prosecuted.

Meaning of racketeering activity under law

  • State statute violation against arson, kidnapping, murder, gambling, bribery, robbery, obscene matter, extortion, dealing with listed chemical or controlled substance.
  • Act of counterfeiting, bribery, embezzlement, theft, fraud, justice obstruction, dealing with obscene matter, racketeering, slavery, money laundering, gambling, murder-for–hire commissions, as well as numerous other offenses which Title 18 of Federal criminal code covers.
  • Union fund embezzlement
  • Securities Fraud or Bankruptcy
  • Drug Trafficking
  • Assisting, aiding or bringing aliens into the country illegally
  • Money laundering activities and related offenses
  • Terrorism act

Immense damage was caused to the Mafia families with the formation of the RICO Act. With RICO being seen as a threat, the defendant Mafia members assume to plead it guilty towards lesser charges, since their asset seizure would mean difficulty in having the lawyers paid for their services.

Mafia of the 1920’s

The Sicilian and Italian immigrants during the early 1920 had tried to establish their residence in the United States for forming a criminal organization. The immigrants had the intention to have their criminal organization to be reestablished from fresh palette. It is by forming the American Criminal Society that this group was able to succeed in its mission.

The American Mafia

They are regarded to be an Italian American criminal society and also popularly called Cosa Nostra or La Cosa Nostra. It was until the Prohibition was introduced, this group had very limited activities. Prohibition here is stated to be a law, which forbid sale of alcohol. An atmosphere was thus created upon passing this specific law, which only worsened the situation, thereby giving birth to some of the most exploited of all mafia related activities. The Prohibition within few years of its introduction was regarded to be a complete failure, while alcohol distribution entirely came into the hands of the Mafia members in the United States, as a whole.

Emergence of Mafia Families

The 1920 Prohibition Era is regarded to be a period when Mafia activities had been depicted to be at its peak. The U.S., in 1920s were said to have become provinces for various criminal organizations and the mafia leaders and members. Mafia activities got provoked across the globe after the Soviet bloc had opened up after the Second World War. This gave emergence to great Mafia leaders like Peter Licavoli, Bugs Moran, Al Capone, Johnny Torrio and Dutch Schultz, who had ruled the mafia world and criminal rackets of that period. They had formed own families to run organized crime and to smuggle liquor and to have an iron hand over their respective cities. Moreover, they also fought for power and command over a city or area against the other Mafia members, thereby leading to blood bath and death in most of the American cities.

Life of Al Capone

During the 1920s, he had ruled North-eastern part of the United States. He was given a nickname of ‘Scarface’. He has an important place in Mafia history and had ruled between 1920 and 1931 during the Prohibition Era. He had a made a name for himself as the most notorious Mafia gangster of the century. He had become a popular subject for several movies, games, articles and books. ‘The Godfather’, a famous movie provides a glimpse of the origin and culture of the Mafia world of the 1920s.

Mafia and the Ten Commandments

To make a positive impact on Mafia activities, it is necessary for the FBI and different legal organizations to understand about their activities and to derive inside information with regards to Caporegimes and the Dons. It is possible to have raids on illegal gambling rings, drug deals and to arrest involved people. However, there is a need to have the Capos, Underboss and the Don to be arrested for damaging the mafia family completely. Infiltrating into the family is the only way to achieve this, a task that is undertaken by undercover agents.

The undercover’s job

The job involving the FBI agent to work as an enforcer or mob associate and tackling the mafia members is incredible dangerous and risky. In case, the truth gets discovered or if caught during act of having information leaked out, without any remorse, he is to be executed, riddled with bullets or tortured to death.

Knowing the Mafia’s Ten Commandments

The ‘Ten Commandment’ list has been found by the Sicilian police in November 2007 at Salvatore Lo Piccolo, the mafia boss’ hideout. Italian investigators are of the opinion that Salvatore, who since 1993 was on the run, was in the race to be   the Sicilian Mafia’s subsequent ‘boss of bosses’. The Mafia’s Ten Commandments are considered to be quite similar to that of the Ten Commandments of the Bible, as they are supposed to be their guiding force as to how the mafia members are to be a respectable, honorable, good Mafioso.

A preamble is said to be found in the beginning of the list, stating the following, “I hereby swear to remain loyal to the Cosa Nostra. Lest I betray, shall my flesh burn’.

Ten Commandments

  • A third person is required to be present, when presenting to another friend, something that is not to be done directly.
  • Presence along with cops is to be avoided.
  • Friends’ wives are never to be looked at.
  • Clubs and pubs are to be avoided.
  • Appointments need to be respected fully.
  • It is a duty to be present always for Cosa Nostra, even if wife is to give birth to the child.
  • Wives are to be treated with equal respect.
  • Money is not to be appropriated, in case, it belongs to other families or others.
  • Answer is to be clear, honest and complete if information is asked for.
  • Who cannot be in the group: people having close relative as police, two timing relative present within the family, those not holding to moral values and behaving badly.

Knowing more about the 1900’s Mafia

Irrespective of the name that they are called, be it La Cosa Nostra or Gangster, it is without doubt that Italian criminal societies are popularly called the Mafia. They are said to be an ingredient of Italy’s economic and social recipe and even of the entire world.

Popularity of the Mafia Families

The Mafia Families are known to be a highly dangerous organization as well as lethal. People in general refrain from crossing the path of any of the members of the group. It is because of their organized way to commit crime, being led by a Boss or the Don and their stylish nature of functioning is what has compelled the organization to be glorified in books and movies. Although they are on the wrong side of the law, they have become interesting subjects among the common people, who are eager to know more about them. This is what has compelled game developers to come up with variety of mafia games to provide the kind of thrill and adventure that the gamers have been looking for.

How the Mafia evolved?

Even though, they are heard about in newspapers, magazines, books and movies, the fact is that very few people do know the actual story about them. Gangster movie fans have always been asking themselves as to how the Mafia began and its history.

In the beginning, the Mafia is said to have not began as an organization of deceit and betrayal. Rather it served a noble purpose. Historians state that the Mafia had been formed in 1282 for the purpose of helping those who were less fortunate. Even though they started with a noble purpose, the way they achieved their objectives were not. Generally they made use of terrorists like methods for gaining fear and respect of the public. Over the years, they started to grow as a powerful organization. But, in 1900 Benito Mussolini had threatened to have it ripped apart and destroy the group in Italy, which forced the members to move to the U.S., where they took refuge in different cities like Chicago, Philadelphia and New York.

Mafia activities in the U.S.

In America, the Mafia had grown much powerful. Although they were imprisoned for some time, being mistaken for political prisoners, they were set free and even appointed in important positions in the law department, thereby giving them more access to authority and power. It is during this period that it has been marked as Mafia Renaissance.

Knowing about the Vendetta indulged by the Mafia Families

Feud that takes place between two groups or more than this is considered to be a Vendetta. The group referred to here is entire clans and families.  The vendetta is said to begin when a family incorrectly or correctly tends to have this belief of being insulted, wronged or attacked by another group. The initial retaliation which is noticed is feeling of resentment, leading to similar feelings emerging from the other group along with vengeful and anger. It is regarded to be a retaliatory violence that is long running cycle. It is this specific retaliation and provocation continual cycle that makes it quite impossible for having the vendetta to be ended peacefully. Generally, vendettas tend to involve all the family members, associates and relatives and could actually last for several generations. The mafia families were also involved in such vendettas, which led to violence and bloodshed and killing of each other. Unfortunately, in the crossfire between two groups, even the innocents perished.


Vendettas until the 1900s was regulated by law to some degree and hence, considered to be a legitimate legal instrument. But nowadays, its violent form has become completely illegal. Still there are present several Families who are known to have a very strong dislike for one another and may cross all limits to cause the other party grief and pain, making life difficult for their family or the concerned person.

About Vendetta

‘Vendetta’ as a term is regarded to be an Italian word which has a Latin origin from the word ‘vindicta’ stands for ‘Vengeance’. The word today is at times extended towards meaning any feud that is of long standing nature, not involving bloodshed necessarily.

Often it is with the insulting, maiming, dishonoring and killing of the person that Vendettas often gets started. The said person’s relatives may feel that revenge has to be extracted and therefore, declare a vendetta on their enemy. This is done by physically punishing people who are culprits as well as their relatives or to torture and kill them, to seek revenge.

It is because of the law being weak or where mediating such type of dispute is not held responsible by the state, where kinship and family ties are main authority source that vendetta is prevalent. For one crime that is committed by a particular person, the entire family or clan is regarded to be responsible for the action and hence has to face the brunt of vengeance from the victim’s family.

Understanding all about Mafia history and its origins

The origin of the Mafia family is considered to be a disputed topic. There are several people who are of the belief that this group has originated during the medieval period. This group according to them was actually a secret society that was sworn to provide protection to the Sicilian people, who were then oppressed during the 15th century by Catalan marauders. But very little historical facts and evidence is present to suggest this. Legends involving the ‘Robin Hood’ might have associated with this group at that point of time. It is quite feasible that this group had existed as means for those honorable and righteous rebels, whose mission was to defend the Sicilians from the then oppressive Northern Italian and Roman control as well as external invasion by the barbarians. However, this theory has less importance with many modern scholars.

Formation of the mafia family

Several historians and experts are of the belief that this group had been formed during the later stage of Feudalism. The then aristocratic feudal lords, who lived generally in their big country mansions, had their land to be looked after and managed by their local managers known as the Gabelloti. These men were known to have compelled poor people to work for the estates, but offered them extremely poor wages. A possible method used by them was to have local intermediaries to be employed, presently regarded as the local mafia bosses. Many of the Gabelloti had become minor barons, however, few of the corrupted ones often had refused the post, to become well known Mafioso.

However, with Feudalism being abolished, it had become much more essential for the group to have the peasants intimidated for paying taxes to Barons and also had a share of it. However, the group did even represent the local tradesmen, farmers and common people’s will. Often they were paid-off by them for justice or settling scores that was to be obtained through maiming or killing someone. It is for this reason that misconception of the Mafioso being ‘Knights’ or ‘Robin Hood’ arose. From being ‘friend of friends’, they went on to become ‘men of honor’. The Sicilians’ clannish nature and dislike for oppressive hereditary aristocratic law enforcement, is said to have developed a favorable climate towards the formation of the mafia members and group. This group might not have been created by the nobility, however, unwillingly allowed creation of social conditions, facilitating their macabre growth.

Mafia family: Knowing the divisions and terminologies

The mafia is not an individual head or an organization. Rather, this term is said to refer to different gangster groups of Families that are involved in organized criminal activities. Many Families of the group can have their heritage traced back to Sicily, Italy.


It is into five major groups that the mafia family has been divided into, based upon their operative region or their place of origin. The major gangs which are involved in different types of criminal activities across the globe, do boast of having bases in several nations.

The different major groups

  • Sicilian Mafia of Sicily origin
  • Calabrian Mafia of Clabrian province origin
  • Cammora Mafia Of Naples origin
  • La Cosa Nostra, an American Mafia having its roots in Italy and Sicily
  • Sacra Corona Unita group operating in Italy’s Puglia region

When naming the mafia family is concerned, no clear naming conception is present. Generally, families were named after the province or town of their arrival. At times, names were changed to their Don’s name, if he has influenced tremendous power and ruled for a long time. Few families also derived their name from city of operation.

Almost 200 Mafia families are present in Sicily. Few of them are Corleoneis family, Motisi family and Greco family, while many had emigrated to the US and other places.

There are few families in the US also, with the prominent ones being Colombo, Bonanno, Genovese, Gambino, Buffalo crime family, Lucchese, Los Angeles crime gang, Scarfo crime family, etc.

Rank terminology

The traditional mafia members’ terminologies are as follows:

  • Boss of Bosses – Capo di-tutti capi
  • King Boss of all Bosses – Capo di-Capi Re (respect title given to retired or senior member)
  • Crime Boss or Don – Capo Crimine
  • Club Head or Underboss – Capo Bastone
  • Advisor – Consigliere
  • Regime Head or the captain – Caporegime (commander of group of 20 or more soldiers or Sgarriste
  • Soldier – Soldato or Sgarrista (group members serving as foot soldiers)
  • Little Man – Picciotto (low ranking member serving as ‘enforcer’)
  • Associate Member – Giovane D’Onore (not belonging to Italian ancestry)


  • Boss/Don – Capofamiglia
  • Right hand man / Advisor / Counselor – Consigliere
  • Second in command / underboss – Sotto Capo
  • Capo / Captain – Capodecina
  • Soldiers / Made Men / ‘Men of Honor’ – Uomini D’onore

Mafia history is seen to be interesting and although negative has been glorified in movies, comics and television series. Hence taking this opportunity and demand for online mafia game, developers have been creating numerous titles, every now and then.

Mafia family in the United States

The American Mafia is considered to be an American-Italian criminal society as well as the Sicilian Mafia’s offshoot. This group in the States is also popularly called Italian American gang or American Cosa Nostra. It was during the later part of the 19th century that its United States chapter began in the East Coast, especially with emigration of Sicilians and people from South Italy.

Reasons for the growth of Mafioso in the U.S.

Most of the Sicilians including other Italians living in horrible and below poverty conditions in their state were tired and treated by their government with contempt. With dreams of having a wonderful American life, they started to emigrate to the U.S. during the 1800s. However, it was in the early part of the 20th century that sudden increase was noticed among the Italians to emigrate to the United States. While majority of the Italians chose the path of an honest life to earn their living, few had plans to have Sicilian ways of gangs to be brought to this new place.

Introducing organized crime

Right from its inception, until today, the American Mafia is said to dominate the U.S. organized crime, maintaining a greater control over the regions of Providence, Philadelphia, Boston and Chicago, including the organized criminal activities in the city of New York and other cities along the North East and all over the country like New Orleans and Las Vegas. Mafia history of America had been etched in the popular American culture and portrayed in video games, books, TV shows, movies, etc. Mafia game Developers have tried to cash in on the growing craze among gamers to come up with variety of Mafioso related games for people of all ages.

In the metropolitan area of New York, New England, Detroit, Chicago and Philadelphia, the American-Italian Cosa Nostra is considered to be more active. The US currently ‘boasts’ of having about 26 mafia families and splinter groups located all over the United States.

The beginning

It was in the city of New York that the mafia members became first active. They started their operations from those poor Italian neighborhood ghettos and slowly progressed to city regions and later in international activities. It was with ‘The Black Hand’ or ‘La Mano Nera’ that American Mafioso started with, extorting Italians as well as other immigrants around the city of New York. Their activities until the 1920’s were largely limited, after which they expanded.

Mafia family and its structure

It is of different gangs or families that the regional Mafia family is made of. It is depending on the region that their numbers could range, which could be over 100 to a handful. Every family enjoyed dealing separate business and stayed out of the other’s way. Often, the business enterprises could come across that of the other to a huge extent, which depended entirely upon the nature of business and their proximity to one another.


It was an effective structure that this group had, which prevented the families’ higher ranked members to be held responsible for criminal enterprises undertaken. The judges were bribed and the lower ranked Mafioso’s records were cleaned and have him bailed out from jail. The group’s payroll also had some of the cops on their payroll, who were said to look the other way, in activities that were indulged by the group.

  • Every family had a leader called the Don or Boss. It was he who made all important decisions and was the gainer of all income made by the group. He is the ultimate decision maker and his authority is complete. He had full control over the mafia members.
  • The Underboss is next to the Don, who was second-in-command. However, his power varied with the families. He had enormous power in some cases, and in few less. Few of them were trained enough to succeed the Boss/Don, due to retirement or death.
  • The Consigliere was in between the Underboss and the Don, who acted as the latter’s advisor and made impartial decisions for the Mafia’s good, instead of relying on personal vendettas. Either the members of the group elect this position or the Don. The Consigliere may also act as the Don’s mouth and is respected immensely. However, he does not get involved directly with the Mafia’s criminal enterprises.
  • The Capos are next to the Underboss and their numbers vary with the Families and its group size. The Capo acts as captain or lieutenant, leading an own section. Specific activities are taken care by him and have to earn huge amounts.
  • Soldiers and made-men are guided by the Capo. They are actually the Family’s ultimate enforcers, who have to command respect from fellow Mafioso and prove their worth.
  • Associates are lower down the level. Although not being the Mafia’s actual members, they are those who get involved with criminal enterprises.

The group has become an interesting subject with mafia game developers and several games have been released which has went on to become a huge hit with the online and offline gaming mass.

How mafia members are inducted into the group?

The induction ceremony of the mafia members has been a well guarded secret for several decades. However, the general public had discovered it after few defectors like Tommaso Buscetta and Joseph Valachi had leaked to the FBI, police and the media valuable information about the different activities of the Mafioso. The ceremony of induction was carried out by many Sicilian and American Mafia families. However, the ceremony could be altered which depended upon the particular circumstance. For instance, it could be done without the rituals swiftly, if the group is engaged in a gang war.

The ritual

It is with the dressing of the potential inductee that the actual ceremony begins. Once he gets ready, the person is taken into some private home. There he is seated just next to Don at a table. The other members of the mafia family present in the ritual join hands to chant oaths of honor, loyalty and respect to the mafia family. Then a burning paper piece is to be held by the inductee, who has to withstand its heat and pain and is required to pass it to the others, until the paper consumes completely. While performing this action, he is to swear loyalty and uphold the group’s principles. He is also to make a promise to become the family’s member for life. For this oath, he is expected to place drop of blood from the trigger finger. The inductee, in some families may get paired with other member of the group of higher rank and experience, who would guide and help him to become a successful Mafioso.

Other important aspects

Besides the drop of blood, ceremony and the oath, the potential candidate needs to belong to Italian heritage for joining any of the conservative families. Few may require just the father to be Italian, while others need both parents. At the same time, the potential candidate is expected to display uncanny skill towards making huge money or inclination towards committing violent acts, if ordered to. A test is to be qualified by the inductee and qualified for joining the group. They are required to commit a murder act of enemies of the Don to become Made Men. Furthermore, The Commission has to consider them.

Mafia history is really interesting and has been captivating readers in huge numbers across the globe. These days, one can come across mafia game of different types that they can engage with and enjoy playing it.

An insight into the Omerta Law of the mafia family

Omerta is considered to be Code of Silence that is followed when the government is to be dealt with. Literally, it stands of ‘manhood’ and tends to refer the idea of the man trying to deal his own problems, not taking any assistance of any law body. Besides this, the term is said to have become quite synonymous with code of silence of the mafia family. Omerta is considered to be a well known attitude, especially in southern Italy regions such as Sicily, where this group is quite strong.

Mafia history

It is during the sixteenth century AD that the group said to have formed for opposing Spanish rule. In the Mediterranean, the largest island is Sicily and hence, has influenced several countries to conquer and invade it for making most of its riches. The conquering party had often enslaved the local people and treated them inhumanely. It is in such circumstances that the mafia was born, which had offered the oppressed civilians with stability, protection and a sense of ‘pride’. The group’s vendetta is said to have become the justice system of Sicily and the ruling body was not approached by anyone for assistance.

Continuous invasions by the foreigners had left Sicilians with a feeling of mistrust, helplessness and range at local government. It was their belief that the government instead of helping them out only made things all more difficult and miserable. It is because of this that Mafia’s Omerta golden rule was born. It went on to become an unwritten law for keeping out the government out of private affairs. The government was no more consulted and crime was considered to be personal, while justice was achieved through personal vendetta and vengeance.

The worst stain possible on manhood was to be accused of being an informant. It was the duty of each and every individual to have his manliness proved by not trying to redress personal grievances to the legally constituted authority. If the person is victimized by someone, then he is anticipated to have his revenge taken by himself or to find a patron to get it done on his behalf. At that time, it was regarded to be shameful for betraying one’s worst and deadliest enemies to authorities. It was a serious case for breaking the Omerta Code, where the mafia is concerned. In such cases, the informant could be led to assassinations by the group.