It should be noted in RealLife that there are in fact ''two'' Mafias: the '''Sicilian''' Mafia and the '''American''' Mafia. The first has operated in Sicily at least since the unification of Italy (and possibly much longer, though most of their history has been heavily romanticized). It limits its membership to Sicilian males with no police relatives, and despite massive prosecutions in Italy and starting from the [=1980s=], they still have a heavy presence in Sicily today. They accomplished this by sending politicians on their payroll straight to Parliament, and sadly the reveal of an MP sitting in the national anti-Mafia commission to have ties or suspected ties with Cosa Nostra is not that infrequent.

The American Mafia began with loosely-knit protection gangs known as ''Black Hands,'' taking orders from emigrated Sicilian mafiosi. Charles "Lucky" Luciano, both a member of the Sicilian Mafia (under Joe Masseria) and a graduate of the infamous Italian-American Five Points Gang, drew members from other parts of Italy (or rather other parts of ''Little'' Italy) under his umbrella, knocked off the old hats (known in the day as "Mustache Petes"), and reorganized the American Mafia along territorial lines. Each city in the country was given to one family, except for New York, which famously got five. This structure, along with the "Commission" (an executive body designed for resolving disputes, which included at its inception the Five Families, the boss from Buffalo, and Chicago boss Al Capone, and at times included other families such as Philadelphia and Detroit; the modern "Commission" now consists the five New York City Bosses and the Chicago Outfit) is generally believed to have held up today, despite heavy law enforcement pressure. Modern-day candidates for "made guys" must be "of Italian descent," which can mean varying things according to which family is making the decision; some families, such as the Chicago Outfit, do not heavily stress the "made guy" role and do a lot of business with associates of non-Italian ethnicity (indeed, the "Chicago Outfit" was originally a coalition of many ethnic gangs, including Irish, Italians, Jews, and Poles, under the leadership of Al Capone's predecessor Johnny Torrio, who all agreed not to interfere with the other gangs' bootlegging operations; the Italians, being the most organized and having connections to the massive operations in New York, were merely first among equals); other families such as the Bonanno family of New York have substantial "zip" (imported Sicilian mafiosi) crews and are more stringent in regards to who they do business with.

Both Mafias (and similar Italian groups such as the Camorra,[[note]]From Naples. Amusingly (unless you live in Naples), they actually ''are'' in the [[Series/TheSopranos waste-management business]]; the mismanagement of municipal waste collection under Camorra-linked contractors has been [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naples_waste_management_issue an ongoing issue in the city]].[[/note]] Sacra Corona Unita,[[note]]From Puglia, the "heel" and "Achilles' tendon" of the Italian "boot". The name means "United Sacred Crown."[[/note]] and the 'Ndrangheta[[note]]From Calabria, the "toe" of the "boot", particularly noted for its thuggishness, rusticity, and ludicrous influence since the early 1990s. Seriously, although their reputation is more or less "stupid, violent country bumpkins," ''this'' is the most powerful gang in all Italy--largely on account of their extreme measures taken to ensure that their members are indoctrinated young and extreme penalties for becoming a ''pentito''.[[/note]]) generally operate in the same manner: collection of protection money, "street taxes" on independent criminals, union racketeering, out-and-out larceny, and gambling make up most of the income, with drug money and prostitution being big moneymakers for some parts of the family. Each "rank" within the Mafia taxes the one below it (fixed sums for capos, a percentage for soldiers and associates); money only goes from downstream to upstream. Despite the law of ''omertà'' and considerable sanctions for speaking to law enforcement, a number of mafiosi in both countries (and one boss, Joe Massino) have turned state's evidence/become a ''pentito'' (Italian term for the same thing) to save themselves from long prison terms.

As a bit of a sidebar, different families have different reputations, accurate or not. These are particularly strong with the non-New York mob (the New York mob being seen as the "vanilla" Mafia): the Detroit Partnership is noted for its brutality and its connections with the unions (that whole Teamsters/Jimmy Hoffa business? Detroit), the Tampa Mafia for its complex relationship with Cubans and longing for the halcyon days of the '50s (when the Cubans were in Cuba as partners instead of being in Miami [[TheCartel as rivals]]), the Los Angeles mob is often seen as weak and incompetent (nicknamed the "Mickey Mouse Mafia"), the Chicago Outfit is inextricably linked in the public imagination to bootlegging and Al Capone, etc. The New York and Chicago mobs (particularly the latter) are often seen as having influence beyond their region. New York families have strong influence in Montreal, New Jersey, and Philadelphia--often playing kingmaker in these outfits (see, e.g.: Philip "The Chicken Man" Testa--you know [[Music/BruceSpringsteen the one they blew up in Philly last night]]--whose death was the result of tensions between pro- and anti-New York factions in the Philly mob; see also [[Series/TheSopranos the most famous depiction of a non-New York, non-Chicago American Mafia outfit]]). Meanwhile, Chicago has traditionally controlled everything west of it.

In addition to the traditional "bread-and-butter" crimes such as loansharking, bookmaking, armed robbery, illegal gambling, extortion, prostitution, peep shows, fencing, drug trafficking (since the 1940s) and murder-for-hire (see Murder Inc.), the American Mafia has even branched out to other areas, such as bootlegging and gunrunning, especially in the 1920s and 1930s. They even ventured out into other crimes such as labor racketeering (the ones in construction, food distribution, clothing, freight handling, airport services, and garbage disposal were prone to mob infiltration; union shakedowns, embezzling from workers' benefit plans, rigging union elections so they could place mob-friendly candidates, coercing companies into hiring mob-controlled union workers, and providing no-show jobs to mobsters; the Teamsters were very notorious for being a mob-controlled and influenced union for nearly 40+ years), political corruption (the Mafia had corrupt government officials and politicians on their payroll), white-collar crimes (financial crimes, confidence tricks, tax evasion, money laundering, mail and wire fraud), cybercrimes (identity theft, Internet fraud, cyber-extortion) and shaking down legitimate businesses such as restaurants, construction companies and waste disposal. What made the American Mafia different from other criminal gangs was their unique chain of command, which was set up to insulate the higher-ups from law enforcement attention AND that they were able to infiltrate ''legitimate'' institutions of society such as businesses and political institutions in a way no other criminal society has ever done before.

[[foldercontrol]]
!!The Mafia's History:

[[folder: American Mafia History]]
The American Mafia started out as street-level gangsters, originating as Black Hand loansharks and extortion rings in the early 1900s. The Five Points Gang became notorious in the 1910s and 1920s, and with the advent of Prohibition, many mafiosi became bootleggers thanks to a nationwide ban on alcohol sales. However, this also led to numerous gangland and turf wars, especially in New York and Chicago; in Chicacgo, Al Capone was duking it out with Bugs Moran. The New York war (known as the Castellammarese War because one of the warring factions came from Castellammare del Golfo, a small town in Sicily, and later became the Bonanno family) was different because it ultimately changed the course of the Mafia forever. The war began when Joe "the Boss" Masseria, head of the Morello (later Genovese) crime family began to shake down the other Italian gangs, enroach on their bootlegging rackets and coerce them to pay a hefty tribute ("street tax") to him, especially the Brooklyn-based Castellammarese Clan, which was led by Salvatore "Little Caesar" Maranzano. Soon enough, both sides went to war in 1929, with Masseria having a slight advantage in terms of manpower; the Castellammarese gang, however, was much more cohesive thanks to its military-style hierarchy and Maranzano's charismatic leadership. However, as the war dragged on, a new faction of younger, Americanized Italian mobsters emerged on both sides - the Young Turks. Led by an upstart gangster named Charles "Lucky" Luciano, they believed that the two Old World bosses (aka Mustache Petes) were too old-fashioned and were to be eliminated. First, Masseria was taken out in a Coney Island restaurant in April of 1931, allowing Maranzano to be the nominal victor; [[BigBadWannabe he became too power hungry]] by [[ScrewTheRulesIMakeThem declaring himself boss of all bosses]] at a meeting in upstate New York, rankling many of the Young Turks. They decided Maranzano had to go, and Luciano sent hitmen disguised as tax agents (Maranzano was facing a potential IRS audit like Capone, and was to be indicted on tax evasion charges) to Maranzano's office at the Helmsley Building in September of 1931 and eliminate Maranzano (despite putting up a fight, [[CruelAndUnusualDeath he was garroted, stabbed and shot multiple times]]).

The murders of [[BadBoss Masseria]] and [[BigBadWannabe Maranzano]] in 1931 paved the way for Lucky Luciano's rise to power. He not only restructured the American Mafia (by introducing a Commission to resolve disputes among the families), but also branched out to work with other ethnic mobs (including the [[KosherNostra Jewish mafia]] and the Irish Mob) to form a National Crime Syndicate. To ensure that the other mobsters are falling in line, Luciano even formed a Brooklyn-based gang of Italian, Irish and Jewish hitmen called Murder Inc. to function as the Syndicate's murder-for-hire and enforcement arm; it was led by Albert Anastasia and Louis Buchalter, who were both notorious hitmen and labor racketeers. This group of hitmen and contract killers was estimated to have committed at least 500 and 900 contract killings between 1931 and 1951.

However, things did not go well for Luciano, and he was deported back to Italy in 1946 following his conviction for running a prostitution ring; he later formed ties with the Sicilian Mafia to distribute drugs in the United States. It was at this time that the Mafia started considering dealing in drug trafficking, and it immediately split into two camps; the pro-drug trafficking faction believed that it was a lucrative business, while the anti-drug trafficking faction thought drugs were bad for business and would bring attention. The pro-drug trafficking faction eventually won out, and many lower-ranking mobsters began to deal with the Sicilians and other drug traffickers to import narcotics into the USA. Joe Bonanno, the boss of the Bonanno crime family, had crews that were actively dealing in drugs, and even set up Montreal as an outpost for importing heroin into the United States. Carlo Gambino, boss of the Gambino family, used Zips (imported Sicilian mafiosi) to import heroin via his cousins, while Vito Genovese actively pushed for narcotics trafficking, but was imprisoned on presumably trumped up charges of drug dealing. Despite a ban on narcotics trafficking imposed in the 1950s, many families dealt drugs on the sly to avoid any heat from the law, and bosses such as Paul Castellano (Carlo Gambino's cousin and brother-in-law) turned a blind eye and generally tolerated it as long as no made man was caught dealing drugs.

The Kefauver hearings in 1951 determined that a vast criminal conspiracy operated by Italian mobsters did exist behind the scenes, and the Apalachin Meeting of 1957 really confirmed the existence of La Cosa Nostra in the United States. The meeting in Apalachin was set up by [[BigBadWannabe Vito]] [[TheStarscream Genovese, Luciano's former underboss]], who aimed to wrest control of the Genovese family from Frank Costello, his main rival and to become [[BigBadWannabe the Boss of all Bosses.]] Around 100 mobsters attended the meeting at this small town not far from Binghamton, New York, but it turned into a big disaster when a curious state trooper got wind of it (and sent in reinforcements). More than 60 mobsters were caught including Genovese himself; others nabbed include Carlo Gambino, Paul Castellano, Joe Profaci and Santo Trafficante; Tommy Lucchese and Sam Giancana themselves eluded capture, while Joe Bonanno claimed he was not there at the meeting despite being caught by state troopers in a nearby cornfield. Genovese was blamed for this debacle, and he ended up in prison for trumped-up charges on narcotics trafficking in 1959. Another blow to the mob came in 1963 when a low-level soldier named Joe Valachi became the first made man to flip by providing a glimpse into the inner workings of the Mafia. At this time, the FBI started to put more effort into organized crime activities, and the passage of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) in 1970 also helped federal prosecutors in building cases against individual mobsters and their families.

By the 1980s, the federal government was able to crack down on the Mafia's activities, culminating in the Mafia Commission Case (which was spearheaded by Rudy Giuliani, an ambitious US attorney and future mayor of New York City who viewed the Mafia with nothing but contempt). Also, with many of them facing lengthy prison sentences, an increasing number of mafiosi began to cooperate with the FBI in 1990s. Among the more notable [[TheStoolPigeon cooperating witnesses (or "rats", as the Mafia calls them)]] was Sammy Gravano, whose testimony helped take down John Gotti, Vincent Gigante and other bosses in the 1990s; Joe Massino was another example, when he became the first official boss to become an informant in 2005. Phil Leonetti, Jimmy Fratianno, Gaspipe Casso (though he was later thrown out) and Salvatore Vitale were also good examples of mobsters becoming informer. Despite these convictions and informants (and with the FBI now focusing more on homeland security since 9/11), the American Mafia remains a formidable force and is quietly rebuilding its lost power base, as it's rumored to earn between $50 and $90 billion a year; it now outsources some of its work to other gangs in order to avoid FBI attention.
[[/folder]]
!!Criminal Activities The Mafia Is Involved In:

The Mafia does love to get their hands dirty in any illegitimate activities, from construction to garbage hauling to labor racketeering to murder-for-hire

[[folder:White-collar crimes]]
* '''Labor racketeering''': The Mafia is very notorious for infiltrating unions, especially in the construction, garbage hauling, food services, cargo/airport services and clothing. Tommy Lucchese had a hand in controlling the Garment District, while the Detroit mafia was involved with Jimmy Hoffa and the Teamsters; Albert Anastasia had control of the Brooklyn docks, and had ties to the International Longshoremen's Association through his younger brother Anthony. The New York families even had enough power within these unions to bring construction activities within the city to a standstill, if they didn't get the right payoffs. The crimes involved in labor racketeering included union shakedowns, embezzling from workers' benefit plans, rigging union elections so they could place mob-friendly candidates, coercing companies into hiring mob-controlled union workers, and providing "no-show" jobs to mobsters.
* '''Garbage hauling''': One area that is very notable for mob infiltration is garbage hauling. The Mafia got into this industry when cities outsourced their garbage hauling activities to outside contractors, and that meant potential for the mob to infiltrate these garbage hauling companies. The so-called “garbage mobsters” who ran these operations often falsified paperwork and tampered with waste scales, sometimes to skim profits from the business, and sometimes to hide dirty money in it. Crew bosses and members often got no-work, no-show “consulting” positions at the firms, which gave them a legitimate reason to explain their income. They also divvied up routes in cities, rigged contract bids to favor mob-controlled garbage haulers, and strong-arm non-mob controlled haulers and customers in order to quash any outside competition and keep their prices high. The Genovese family still has some control over garbage hauling, through Alphonse "Allie Shades" Malangone, a capo who also has some control over the Genovese family's interests in the Fulton Fish Market.
* '''Construction''': Another area that is rife with mob activity is construction. Most major construction projects in New York City could not go ahead without the Five Families' approval, especially if the contract was above $2 million; also many mobsters in major cities were provided with "no-show" jobs in mob-controlled construction companies to explain their income to the IRS. The Mafia paid-off or threatened union leaders in order to obtain a piece of the action whenever they got a construction project, and in some cases, took over the union leadership themselves. Once the Mafia had its grip on a union, it could control an entire industry, and could halt or slow down a project if contractors and developers didn't make the right pay-offs. These pay-offs to mob-controlled contractors and unions often forced non mob-controlled contractors to pass these costs down the chain, including developers, brokers, etc., and in turn, forcing real estate prices to skyrocket.
* '''Cargo services''': Another area that's rife with mob infiltration is in cargo services, especially in the trucking, airport services and dockyards. Albert Anastasia, in addition to being a mob-hired hit-man, also had a great degree of control over the unions at the Brooklyn docks, while the Five Families had crews at Idlewild (now JFK) Airport, committing crimes such as truck hijacking and infiltration of unions, among other activities. The Teamsters were mob-influenced, especially during Jimmy Hoffa's tenure; he even had connections with the Detroit mafia. The mob would oftentimes infiltrate and shake down unions and businesses servicing this industry, and coerce them into placing mob-friendly candidates. The Lucchese family has had a stranglehold on the Garment District, through their infiltration of various businesses and unions.
* '''Infiltration of legitimate businesses''': The mob would often infiltrate legitimate businesses through various means, from running protection rackets, shaking them down, providing legitimate "no-show" jobs to mobsters, forming shell companies, and as a cover for illicit activities. Restaurants, waste haulers, bars, construction companies, clothing and airport services were rife with mob infiltration.
* '''Food distribution''': This area was also rife with mob activity. Paul Castellano used his Dial Meat Purveyors as a way to strong-arm poultry distributors and supermarkets into stocking his products, thanks to his prior experience as a butcher early in his mob career, while the Bonanno family used pizza joints as a cover to smuggle and distribute imported heroin in the United States; Joe Bonanno even had behind-the-scenes interests in the cheese industry during his 60+ years in the mob. The Fulton Fish Market is still rife with mob activity, especially with the Genovese and Bonanno families forcing non-mob affiliated competitors to pay a "tax" in order to sell their fish. Mobsters even infiltrated and shook down restaurants, bars and nightclubs if their owners could not pay back the loan they owed, or if they failed to pay the extortion "tax".
* '''Financial crimes''': Why else would the mob ignore this area? From tax evasion and counterfeiting in the 1920s and 1930s, to money laundering in the 1960s, to "pump-and-dump" stock scams during the Internet boom, the Mafia has been involved in many financial crimes. They were also involved in confidence tricks such as Ponzi schemes, advance-fee fraud and are now making a foray into identity theft and cybercrimes, oftentimes with other organized crime groups. The Bonanno family was heavily involved in stock market scams during the Internet bubble of the 1990s, where they would coerce stockbrokers into selling fraudulent penny stock to unsuspecting investors. During the late 2000s recession, mobsters took advantage of the ongoing crisis by participating in mortgage scams, whether through predatory lending schemes or mortgage fraud.
* '''Political/governmental corruption''': American politics is rife with corruption, especially in cities and small towns, where machine politics still has a sway over the locality's budget. New York and Chicago were great examples of machine politics, and mobsters would take advantage of this in exchange for political favors and to rig contracts in favor of mob-controlled businesses; Tommy Lucchese and Frank Costello often jockeyed with one another over who would control Tammany Hall. The mob would sometimes offer bribes to politicians and crooked officials to turn a blind eye to organized crime activities. In the 1990s, two NYPD officers were revealed to be working for the Mafia as mob-hired hitmen and contract killers, and were on the Lucchese family's payroll for years.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Blue-collar crimes]]
* '''Illegal gambling''': Gambling has always been a very important business in the Mafia. From card games and numbers running to betting on horses and other sports, the Mafia has earned cash from all of them. They operated many illegal and luxurious gambling operations throughout the United States, while police officers and politicians turned a blind eye to these gambling rackets in exchange for payoffs. Las Vegas, Cuba and Atlantic City became gambling meccas, and the mob took notice. Though the Mafia has a diminished influence in Las Vegas, its long-lasting impact on the gambling mecca's development will be felt for decades to come.
* '''Sports betting''': The mob was also heavily involved in sports betting, especially in horse racing, college sports and boxing. Several mafia members associated with the Lucchese crime family participated in a point shaving scandal involving Boston College basketball team. Rick Kuhn, Henry Hill, and others associated with the Lucchese crime family, manipulated the results of the games during the 1978–1979 basketball season. Through bribing and intimidating several members of the team, they ensured their bets on the point spread of each game would go in their favor. Frankie Carbo and Tommy "Ryan" Eboli were deep into rigging boxing matches, and even became the mafia's unofficial commissioners for boxing.
* '''Loansharking/shylocking''': Illegal gambling also led to the rise of a new activity - loansharking. One of the key moneymakers for the Mafia is to provide loans to degenerate gamblers, drug addicts and those with a bad credit history at high interest rates, and often with the threat of violence if they did not pay back. By the 1960s, loan sharks grew ever more coordinated, and could pool information on borrowers to better size up risks and ensure a borrower did not try to pay off one loan by borrowing from another loan shark.
* '''Pornography''': Prostitution became another moneymaker for the mafia, as they began to infiltrate peep show booths, porn distributors and child pornography, especially around Times Square, during the decline of New York City in the 1970s. The Gambino family had interests in that area, especially through Robert DiBernardo, who was one of the very few thought to have become 'made' in the Mafia without committing a murder. His name was later used to discredit Geraldine Ferraro's run for the US Senate in the 1990s, when her ties with the mobster were questioned. Lucky Luciano was accused of pandering and deported back to Italy, despite little or no evidence that he was actually running prostitution rings. Michael "Mikey Z" Zaffarano, a now-deceased capo in the Bonanno family, even had interests in adult-only movie theaters.
* '''Extortion''': The Mafia has been involved in extortion of various types from the start, as it started out as Black Hand extortion rings in the early 1900s. Eventually, mobsters began infiltrating businesses, unions, and freelance criminals, strong-arming them down via a "street tax" in exchange for operating in territories the Mafia controlled in a given area. They could shake down businesses and individuals in many ways, including loansharking, confidence tricks, protection rackets, and shakedowns. Often, the ominous threat of assault or murder was often employed in many of these rackets, to ensure that these businesses, individuals, etc. are falling in line.
* '''Narcotics trafficking''': This became the mob's biggest moneymaker after bootlegging declined in the 1930s, as the Mafia began to dabble into the drug trade. However, this split them into two groups, with the pro-drug faction advocating in favor of it, while the anti-drugs faction believed it would bring in law enforcement heat on them. Eventually they pro-drugs faction won out, and many low-ranking mobsters began to deal extensively with the Sicilians and other organized crime groups. Bosses such as Paul Castellano, Carlo Gambino and others often turned a blind eye to drug dealing, as many of them took a cut in exchange for dealing it on the sly. The Bonannos became notorious for heroin trafficking, especially under Joe Bonanno, who sent his underboss Carmine Galante to set up Montreal as an outpost for importing drugs into the United States from Sicily.
* '''Murder-for-hire''': The Mafia would have failed if it did not employ any threat of violence in regards to its illicit activities. Murder, Inc., a Brooklyn-based band of Italian and Jewish hit-men, became the National Crime Syndicate's enforcement arm, and committed as many as 800 hits to ensure mobsters are falling in line. Bugsy Siegel and Albert Anastasia began their careers as hit-men, as did many of the mobsters in the 1920s, becoming bodyguards and enforcers for more powerful bosses. Many made men usually begin their careers as hit-men, committing murders on behalf of their mob superiors. The Sicilian Mafia is very notorious in this, as they not only killed rival members, but they also went after law enforcement officials, judges, politicians and anti-Mafia activists who dared to cross them; even women and children of made members were not spared, especially if a made man decided to cooperate with authorities. Paolo Borsellino and and Giovanni Falcone, two government prosecutors who led an anti-Mafia crusade in the 1980s, learned this the hard way when both were killed in separate car bombings in 1992, forcing the Italian government to crack down on the Sicilian mob's activities.
* '''Armed robbery''': Many mobsters began their mob careers serving as enforcers and armed robbers, and by the 1970s, mobsters were hijacking trucks coming out of JFK Airport, and then selling the stolen merchandise to known fences across New York City. John Gotti, Joe Massino and Sal Vitale began their mob careers as truck hijackers in the 1960s, as did many of the Young Turks in the 1920s, trying to hijack their rivals' trucks containing alcohol.

[[/folder]]
!!How the Mafia is Structured:

The Mafia is structured in a way so the higher-ups cannot be traced back to a single crime. This also allows the higher-ups to pass the orders down the line, while the grunts kick in a piece of whatever they earned to their capos and so on.

[[folder:Mafia Ranks]]
* '''Capo di tutti i capi''' - the Boss of all Bosses in a particular area. More a media title than anything of significance in the American or Sicilian Mob; crime family bosses are seen as ''peers'' and don't pay tribute to or take orders from each other. The only boss to ever claim this title for himself was [[BigBadWannabe Salvatore Maranzano]] after [[WonTheWarLostThePeace "winning"]] the Castellammarese War in 1931, and he got to enjoy it for less than six months. Before long, Maranzano's nominal [[TheStarscream second-in-command]] [[MagnificentBastard Lucky Luciano]] and his fellow Young Turks thought [[ItsAllAboutMe Maranzano]] was much [[EntitledBastard greedier and hidebound than Masseria]], and they decided to [[DeadlyEuphemism retire]] the title, and [[ChronicBackstabbingDisorder Maranzano along with it]]. An older term, ''capo consigliere'', denoted the first among equals of the New York bosses, who would arbitrate disputes between families, this went by the wayside during the Castellammarese War and was never reestablished afterwards.
* '''The Commission''': Luciano's answer to the ''capo di tutti i capi'' title. Originally consisted of the bosses of the Five Families in New York, the boss of the Buffalo family, and UsefulNotes/AlCapone, with [[TheManBehindTheMan substantial input]] from "associates" such as Meyer Lansky. Other cities, such as Detroit and Philadelphia, once had seats on the Commission, but later lost it. Later pared down to just the Five Families (the Bonannos were thrown out the Commission in the 1980s due to their generally disruptive behavior in the Mafia), with Chicago doing its own thing, but it still has a seat on the Commission; the idea worked so well that the Sicilian Mafia was encouraged to form a similar body. The Commission is headed by a nominal Chairman, who was not seen as the '''capo di capi''' as law enforcement usually claimed it to be; in the mob, crime bosses are viewed as peers, and having one boss reign supreme over the others runs contrary to this idea (Luciano saw what happened to Masseria and Maranzano - [[WithGreatPowerComesGreatInsanity the power went into their heads, and they immediately became arrogant in treating their subordinates]]). Luciano became the first Chairman of the Mafia Commission after establishing it in 1931. Contrary to popular belief, the Commission does not "rule" the Mafia (see above re: bosses, orders, and tribute), it's intended to be a body for settling disputes that might otherwise lead to violations of "honor" and all-out turf wars--think more of a UnitedNations of the Underworld or a board of directors of mob bosses rather than a King of the Mafia (or even a Parliament of the Mafia). Only the Commission can approve a new boss before he could take over officially, allow who can become a made man and who can't, and vote on issues (such as the narcotics trade) that might require inter-family cooperation. Though the bosses used to meet more often, greater law enforcement scrutiny in the 1980s and an increasing number of informants, notably Sammy "the Bull" Gravano, have forced the Commission underground, and the families now send lower-level members such as capos to disciss business and resolve inter-family disputes. Also, the five New York City bosses have not met with each other since Paul Castellano was killed in late 1985, as the last meeting took place a month before his death (though there was a mini-Commission meeting in 2000, most of the attendees at the time were acting bosses with the lone exception of Joe Massino of the Bonanno family, who was the last full-fledged boss remaining on the streets; most of the official bosses were imprisoned by this time).

In each family:
* '''Capofamiglia/Representante''' (Boss) - Crime boss of a particular family. "Don" is an honorific, not a title: in today's Italy it's reserved to ''priests''. Since Mafia families in Sicily are more numerous and smaller than those in the United States, the title is not as distinguished, although the boss still has paramount authority within his region. "Hits" on individuals under his family's protection are at the sole discretion of the boss, and the boss also decides who is allowed to become a formal member of the family ("opening the books" is a term used by the Cosa Nostra to induct new members into a family). Much of the boss's duties consist of settling disputes (holding "sit-downs") between family members and other crime families, relaying orders down the line to the soldiers, and receiving a tribute from the family's captains (and rarely, soldiers and associates serving directly under him). He can also promote or demote ("knock down" or "break") family members at will. Murdering (or attempting to murder) an official boss is a big no-no in the Mafia, as the Commission would order the usurper's death for killing his own boss without explicit permission (only the Commission can authorize a hit on a boss).
* '''Capobastone/Sottocapo/Vicecapo''' - The Underboss is the second in command of a mafia family and usually inherits the Boss title if the official boss is unavailable (death, prison, on the lam, etc.). The underboss's power varies: some are mere figureheads, while others could be very influential, sometimes running a faction within the family or in rare cases, being the ''de facto'' or effective head of the family even if the official boss is free. The former types are often "knocked down" (demoted), or "whacked" (take a guess) when their patron is no longer guiding their fortunes or if they fall out of favor with the boss. Will collect tribute from most of the family's captains (some, known as "king's men" have the honor of handing theirs directly to the boss), taking a hefty cut before passing it up, and may be in charge of larger rackets requiring citywide coordination (for example, sports betting, which requires bookies across an urban area to hedge each other's bets to collect profit with minimum risk). It should be noted that ''Capobastone'' is used mainly within the 'Ndrangheta, though.
* '''Acting Boss/Street Boss''' - A rank unique to the American Mafia, appearing in response to the increase in the number of racketeering convictions since the 1980's, rendering most "official" bosses and underbosses no longer at liberty to control the day-to-day operations of their families. This responsibility usually ends up being delegated to a capo (who still operates his own crew in the meantime), who can send a "messenger" to receive orders from the boss and pass along tribute. Even when bosses are free, this structure is at times maintained as a facade to prevent law enforcement from determining where exactly orders are coming from - the Genovese family is a notable user of this tactic since the 1970s and have been [[BaitAndSwitchBoss playing bait-and-switch with law enforcement]] using this tactic, as they would oftentimes prop up "dummy bosses" (usually high-ranking capos) while the official boss remains hidden from law enforcement scrutiny. May sometimes in fact be the ''de facto'' boss in ''all but name'', especially if the official boss is old, ill, or kept incommunicado in prison, and if the Street Boss would rather keep a lower-profile. (Note: This, essentially, was the rank [[Series/TheSopranos Tony Soprano]] occupied for most of the series.)
* '''Ruling Panel''' - A rank also unique to the American Mafia, this also appeared in response to greater law enforcement scrutiny in the 1980s, as most of the "official" bosses faced long prison sentences. The boss sometimes delegates a group of high-ranking capos (who still operate their own crews at the same time) to run the day-to-day operations of the family while the boss retains ultimate control of the family from behind bars, and usually relays his orders to the family via a "messenger", who could then send orders down the chain of command to avoid suspicion. The families can also use these ''ruling panels'' to shield the higher-ups to fool law enforcement as to who [[TheManBehindTheMan the official boss is]] (this tactic is used by the Genovese family since the 1970s to hide the real boss).
* '''[[TheConsigliere Consigliere]]''' - The adviser/right hand man, only third (or fourth counting the Godfather) is that the adviser keeps the legal face of the family and sometimes acts as the family lawyer. In theory, he is the only one allowed to argue with the Boss, when he thinks what the boss is doing could destroy the family. Most "consigliere" types in media (such as [[TropeMaker Tom Hagen]]) are actually based on Mob ''lawyers''. Though the Commission specified a counselor in each family to act as their eyes and ears, most RealLife mob bosses treated it as a lower-level position. Many families use the position for an experienced member who knows the ins and outs of the family's power, but does not wish to rise to the boss or underboss position for whatever reason. Chicago would be a subversion, with the "consigliere" being a sort of "boss emeritus" (mobsters Tony Accardo and Paul Ricca held this title, and exercised [[TheManBehindTheMan ''de facto'' behind-the-scenes control]] of the Chicago Outfit for nearly 50 years while letting lower-level capos such as Sam Giancana or Joey "Doves" Aiuppa hold the title of boss). Nicodemo Scarfo was another subversion, as he became the boss of the Philly Mob when the previous boss, Phil Testa, was assassinated while the underboss, Peter Casella, was banished to Florida. At the time of Phil Testa's death, Scarfo was the consigliere. A consigliere generally has one soldier underneath him as an aide-de-camp and source of additional income; the lack of attachment to a crew supposedly makes him more "impartial" and obviously makes him less powerful.
* '''Capodecina/Caporegime''' - Also known as a captain, skipper, ''capo'', or "crew chief," the ''capo'' may oversee a ''borgata'' or crew of soldiers as he can efficiently control in a certain territory assigned to him. Grants permission for all criminal activities in his crew (unauthorized activities may run afoul of another crew or another family's rackets), collects a share of every score, and passes a fixed sum on to the boss of the family. Capos are, in effect, the family's "middle management." Their control over the family's earners and shooters gives them a great deal of power, and they are often the kingmakers if the boss position becomes vacant (if the official boss dies, retires or is incapacitated). The latter title is unique to the Italian-American Mafia. Sometimes, if a capo is in good graces with the boss (especially if they're a good earner and is respected by the other wiseguys), then the official boss may promote the capo to street or acting boss (while running their own crew), especially if the boss is imprisoned, ill, semi-retired or just wants to lay low.
* '''Soldato/Picciotto''' - a soldier, "wiseguy", "button man", or "made guy." This is the lowest level of mobster or gangster who is considered a full member of the "family". A "soldier" must have taken an oath in which he has sworn to follow the rules of the Mafia (such as the ''omertà''), and in some organizations must have killed a person in order to be considered "made."[[note]]Since talking about killings is considered verboten, there's a bit of leeway with this requirement.[[/note]] This entitles them to the full protection of the family in question. Killing or assaulting a soldier, or even infringing on their rackets without explicit permission of their higher-ups, is a big no-no in the mob, as the offender will meet a violent end. American mafiosi may refer to a made man among other made men (as in introducing them; two made men must always be formally introduced by a third party known to both, even if they're father and son) as "a friend of ours." ''Picciotto'' is used within the Sicilian Mafia and indicates someone of a lower rank than that of ''Soldato''. In the American Mafia, only males of Italian descent can become a made man, and must trace their lineage through their father's side.
* '''Associates''' - "''Giovane d'onore''" (man of honor), "''cugino''" (cousin), or "connected guy". An associate is a person who is not a soldier in a crime family, but works for them and shares in the execution of and profits from the criminal enterprise. In Italian criminal organizations, "associates" are usually members of the criminal organization who are not of Italian descent, or junior members who may someday rise to become soldiers for the family; this process can take a decade or longer depending upon the family and the individual's qualifications. This can be tricky sometimes; associates with a history of making serious money often command respect beyond their title (Jimmy Burke of ''Wiseguy'' and ''Film/{{Goodfellas}}'' fame, barred from being made on account of being Irish and not Italian, was a de facto ''capo'' for the Lucchese family in the '60s and '70s due to his high-dollar heists). Distinctions are usually drawn between those associates loosely associated with the family, and those who have gone "on record" with a specific soldier or captain; the latter are more tightly controlled in their dealings and are usually candidates for membership. American mafiosi may refer to an associate as "a friend of mine" (rather than "a friend of ours," a quiet warning to watch what is said in their presence). ''Giovane d'onore'' is unique to the Camorra. Non-Italians will never go beyond this rank, but many of them, such as Meyer Lansky, Bugsy Siegel, Bumpy Johnson and Mickey Cohen were widely respected and even commanded the respect of actual Mafia members.
** Note: At one time, one had to be a full-blooded Italian to be a full member of the American Mafia, but the rules seem to have become a touch more flexible as time went on. Despite this, some of the Mafia families may be more stringent than others as to who they want to induct.
[[/folder]]

!!The Mafia Families:

There were, at one point, 20+ Mafia families in the United States, though many have since become defunct or are in decline because of law enforcement scrutiny, internal warfare, or old age.

New York City Mafia Families:

[[folder:Bonanno Crime Family]]
* '''Bonanno crime family''' - Has a huge presence in northern Brooklyn (especially Williamsburg, Bushwick, Knickerbocker Avenue and Greenpoint), Queens (especially Ridgewood, Maspeth, Middle Village, Sunnyside and Metropolitan Avenue) and Staten Island with smaller crews and factions in Manhattan, the Bronx, Westchester, South Brooklyn, New Jersey, Florida and Canada (the family had a crew in Tucson, AZ until Joe Bonanno's forced retirement in the 1960s); the family also has a "Zip" faction. Though a mid-sized family (its manpower has hovered between 150 and 200 made men), it sometimes held the number one spot, especially with the feds hammering down indictments on the other families in the 1990s. Oftentimes the unruliest of the Five Families (owing to its independent streak stemming from the Castellammarese War; the family's disorderly behavior even threw them out of the Commission in the 1980s), this crime family originally hailed from Castellammare del Golfo, a small seaside town in western Sicily. Many of its earliest members came from this town and settled down in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (including family namesake Joe Bonanno, who took over after Maranzano's death in 1931); the family was very tight-knit and considered to be the most Sicilian of the Five Families. Eventually, the family came under the control of Salvatore Maranzano (he came to the United States after escaping from Mussolini's death squads in the 1920s), who fancied himself as a mob version of Caesar; Joe Masseria (the boss of the Genovese family and a very greedy man) soon noticed him, saw Maranzano as a growing threat to his power, and tried to violently take over the Castellammarese gang's bootlegging rackets. Maranzano resisted, and this led to a turf war that only ended with Masseria's death in 1931. With Masseria out of the way, [[BigBad Maranzano]] declared [[BigBadWannabe himself to be the Boss of all Bosses aka the king of the underworld]], [[TheStarscream reneging on the peace deal]] he made with Lucky Luciano prior to Masseria's death to ensure peace between the two sides. [[WithGreatPowerComesGreatInsanity The power went into his head,]] and he too was eliminated by Luciano in late 1931, who sent hitmen to his office posing as IRS agents (Maranzano was facing an IRS audit like Al Capone before him, and using this info, Luciano makes a move before Maranzano gets him). With Maranzano eliminated, [[DragonAscendant his protege and ambitious underboss Joe Bonanno]] took over in late 1931. Bonanno even forged close ties with Joe Profaci, boss of the Profaci (now Colombo) crime family and with Steve Magaddino (his cousin and boss of the Buffalo family); he even became a major drug trafficker despite denying any involvement. But, [[BigBadWannabe Bonanno]] had bigger ambitions and sought to become [[TheChessmaster the boss of bosses]] (after Vito Genovese failed in his own bid to become the Mafia's kingmaker) by eliminating several of his rivals (notably Gambino and Lucchese) on the Commission in the 1960s; however, this plot was exposed when [[TheStarscream Joe]] [[DragonWithAnAgenda Colombo]] (a capo in the Profaci family and the designated gunman) [[ChronicBackstabbingDisorder told about Bonanno's plot to Gambino and the rest of the Commission.]] Bonanno was ordered to come forward several times but each time, he was a no-show, and simply fled New York by faking his own kidnapping in late 1964 (at the same time, he was facing a grand jury subpoena). The Commission replaced him with one of his capos, Gaspar DiGregorio, but DiGregorio's position as boss was not acknowledged by Bill Bonanno (Joe Bonanno's son), triggering an internal war that only ended when Bonanno and his son Bill were banished to Tucson, Arizona in 1968. The family's troubles (it was known to have a revolving door of weak and ineffectual bosses in the 1970s) did not end as [[AxCrazy Carmine Galante]], a former [[DragonAscendant underboss]] to Joe Bonanno and known drug pusher (the Bonannos were infamous for dealing drugs since the 1950s, when Bonanno sent Galante to Montreal so that they could import heroin into the United States from Bonanno's contacts in Sicily), attempted to become the boss but he was eliminated in 1979, allowing Philip Rastelli to regain control of the family (he was originally installed as boss in 1973, but faced a lengthy prison sentence for racketeering). Rastelli then faced another challenge from [[AvengingTheVillain several Galante loyalists]] who thought he was too ineffectual to run the family and wanted to avenge Galante's death; they too were eliminated by Rastelli loyalists led by [[TheDragon Joe Massino, his protege and underboss.]] The Donnie Brasco incident (in which an FBI agent infiltrated one of the crews and almost got made), however, did throw the Bonannos out of the Commission for most of the 1980s (Sonny Black Napolitano, whose crew was unwittingly infiltrated by Joe Pistone aka "Donnie Brasco", ended up dead and his hands were chopped off as a warning to others to never shake hands with law enforcement; several other wiseguys connected to Sonny Black were either dead, demoted in rank or imprisoned); by this time, they were largely regarded as a [[IncompetenceInc joke]] by both the FBI and wiseguys in the other families. However, being stripped of their Commission seat actually worked to the [[NotSoHarmlessVillain Bonannos']] favor as they were the only one of the Five Families to avoid an indictment on the Mafia Commission Trial, thus allowing them to quietly rebuild their lost power base while the other families were hammered down with indictments, lengthy prison sentences and [[ChronicBackstabbingDisorder mobsters flipping to save their skin.]] [[DragonAscendant Massino]], Rastelli's underboss, took over as boss in 1991, and he quickly worked to rebuild the family to its former glory by the dawn of the millennium by adding new made members (bringing the family membership to between 150 and 170 made men), and expanding into Wall Street scams, union racketeering and white-collar fraud. However, several of his button men [[TheStoolPigeon flipped]] (especially [[NobleTopEnforcer Salvatore "Good-Looking Sal" Vitale]], who regarded Massino as a older brother-like figure to him; but once Massino gets out of jail in 1992, their relationship becomes starts to become shaky to the point that Massino wants to eliminate him, and this becomes the ultimate catalyst for Vitale to [[TheInformant flip]] in 2003), and he faced a lengthy prison sentence; the penalty was upgraded to the death penalty in 2004 after one of the murders was linked to him. Fearing the death sentence, he became the [[TheStoolPigeon first]] [[TheInformant official boss of a crime family to turn state's evidence in 2005.]] Once again, the Bonannos are now in shambles after [[TheInformant Massino flipped]] against his former mob colleauges and are still struggling to rebuild themselves in the aftermath.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Colombo Crime Family]]
* '''Colombo crime family''' - Big presence in western Brooklyn (notably Red Hook, Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, Park Slope, Gowanus and Carroll Gardens) and Staten Island, with smaller crews and factions in Manhattan, Queens, Long Island and Florida; also has a crew based in Los Angeles (the family used to have a faction in New Jersey, but that has been disbanded since the 1990s). Currently the weakest of the Five Families thanks to numerous informants, ineffectual and/or publicity-hungry bosses and internal wars since the 1960s (this family used to be much stronger thanks to its ties with the Bonannos). Originally a small and fairly-well organized gang of Sicilian mafiosi hailing from the town of Villabate (not far from Palermo, Sicily), the crime family was originally known as the Profaci crime family after the first boss, Joseph Profaci, who established good ties with Joe Bonanno, the boss of the Bonanno crime family at the time. [[BadBoss But, he was known to be miserly]] [[ScrewTheRulesIMakeThem and notoriously greedy (he even demanded a $25 monthly tribute to be kicked up to him), and his tightfisted attitude]] led to the first family war in the late 1950s. This war was ignited by Joe Gallo, a capo with violent tendencies and wanted a greater share of the loot Profaci kept for himself; at first, it seemed that Gallo would win this battle, but most of the family's 150+ wiseguys sided with Profaci. [[TheStarscream Carmine Persico]], a Gallo loyalist, later switched sides and rejoined the Profaci faction when he realized Gallo was the wrong horse to bet upon; he was nicknamed the "Snake" as a result of his treachery towards the Gallo crew (he tried to strangle Joe Gallo's younger brother Larry to death at a bar, but Larry survived thanks to a police officer timely intervention; Persico was forced to flee). Profaci died of cancer in 1962, but his underboss [[DragonAscendant Joe]] [[DragonInChief Magliocco]] continued the battle against the remaining Gallo crew. The war ended with Gallo's arrest in 1963, but [[DemotedToDragon Magliocco]] soon became embroiled in an audacious plot hatched by [[BigBadWannabe Joe Bonanno]] to eliminate several of their rivals and take over the Commission. However, their plans sputtered to an abrupt halt when [[MagnificentBastard Joe]] [[TheStarscream Colombo]], another capo in the Profaci family, [[TheStoolPigeon exposed the plot to launch a coup d'etat on the Commission.]] For his reward, Colombo took over the family in 1963 after Magliocco was forced to retire (since the other bosses knew that Magliocco suffered from high blood pressure and would die anytime soon, they let him go but ordered him to step down and pay a $50,000 fine; Bonanno was also ordered to come forward several times but was a no-show despite being asked to explain, and he fled to avoid being killed in 1964 by faking his own kidnapping); with Carlo Gambino's backing, he changed the family name from Profaci to Colombo. However, much to the dismay of Gambino and the other bosses, Colombo was too publicity-friendly, as he claimed the FBI was falsely targeting Italian-Americans (he even formed a political group to decry the FBI's actions, and allied with Meir Kahane and the Jewish Defense League). Colombo was later gunned down and put in a coma (that he never recovered from and died as a result of it in 1978) in 1971 during a rally at Columbus Circle. This led to another internal war, and the family blamed it on Joe Gallo; he was later shot to death in 1972 while dining with his family (the remaining Gallo loyalists later joined the Genovese family). [[DragonAscendant Carmine Persico]] took over the family in 1972, but spent most of his reign while imprisoned (he used a series of acting bosses and ruling panels to run the family from prison). Persico and his acting boss, [[DragonInChief Gennaro "Jerry Lang" Langella]], were later indicted on the Mafia Commission Case in 1986, facing 100+ year life sentences; to ensure that he remains as the official boss, Persico even groomed his son [[MookLieutenant Alphonse]] to become the acting boss, but Allie Boy was convicted in a separate trial. He then nominates Victor Orena, his cousin and a capo to become the [[MookLieutenant street boss]], [[ChronicBackstabbingDisorder but]] [[TheStarscream Orena had]] [[BigBadWannabe bigger]] [[DragonWithAnAgenda ambitions.]] The family would split again for a 3rd time in the early 1990s when Orena, who felt Persico was out of touch and was planning to do a TV interview (much like how Joe Bonanno did one in 1983 after writing a book about his life, and how the TV interview was used in the Mafia Commission Trial), tried to take over as boss. While Persico won the battle after [[WonTheWarLostThePeace 12 deaths (including three innocent bystanders), 18 associates missing and 12 of his members turning informer (and still runs the battered family from behind bars)]], the Colombos have been weakened because of numerous informants and more government crackdowns in the 2000s.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Gambino Crime Family]]
* '''Gambino crime family''' - Big presence in southern and western Brooklyn (notably Bay Ridge, Bath Beach, Gravesend, Bensonhurst and the Brooklyn docks), Queens (especially Howard Beach, the Rockaways and JFK Airport), Long Island and Staten Island, with smaller crews and factions in Manhattan, the Bronx, Westchester, New England, New Jersey and Florida (the family once had a crew based in Baltimore until the 1990s); the family also has a big "Zip" faction (the Cherry Hill Gambinos). Once the biggest crime family (under [[TheChessmaster Carlo Gambino's]] reign, it had around 400 made men, but the family membership has since dipped to approx. 225-250 made men), it is now a former shell of itself due to [[ItsAllAboutMe John Gotti's high media profile]] and subsequent imprisonment in 1992. The family had its origins in the large Brooklyn wing of the Morello crime family, which eventually split off into its own family. It first came to prominence under the Mangano brothers (Phil and Vincent), who held an iron fist over the Brooklyn waterfront, thanks to their underboss [[DragonWithAnAgenda Albert]] [[TheStarscream Anastasia]] (the relationship between Anastasia and the Mangano brothers was an uneasy one from the start). Anastasia later took over as boss after eliminating the Mangano brothers in 1951 (Phil's body was found in a swamp in Brooklyn, while Vincent vanished without a trace), and was known to be a ruthless boss (thanks to his prior experience as the head of Murder, Inc. in the 1930s). However, his past would come back to bite him (as his rival [[BigBadWannabe Vito Genovese]] would use his violent past against him - [[AxCrazy Anastasia]] had murdered his own boss without the Commission's approval), and he was assassinated in a famous gangland hit in 1957 (orchestrated by [[BigBadDuumvirate Carlo Gambino and Vito Genovese]]). [[TheStarscream Carlo Gambino]], the family's namesake and Anastasia's underboss, took over as boss and led it to prosperous times, thanks [[VillainousFriendship to his ties with Tommy Lucchese, the boss of the Lucchese family]]; he later became the Mafia's '''de facto''' [[TheChessmaster boss of all bosses]] as the other bosses in New York were facing various troubles, such as illness, internal warfare and legal problems. But Gambino's biggest mistake (prior to his death in 1976) was naming his cousin Paul Castellano as his successor over his underboss, [[TheDragon Neil Dellacroce]] (who was the most likely candidate for succeeding Gambino, but was imprisoned at the time for tax evasion); splitting the family into two factions (the pro-Dellacroce faction, which was led by [[MookLieutenant John Gotti]], believed that Castellano did not earn his stripes on the street, and was seen as a yes-man for Gambino despite being a big earner for the family). Though he disapproved of Gambino's choice of picking his cousin as boss, Dellacroce still managed to keep the peace between his protege, Gotti, and Castellano for the next 9 years until his death in 1985. After Dellacroce's death from cancer, Castellano was gunned down outside Sparks Steak House a few weeks later; the hit was ordered by Gotti, who was reportedly angry that Castellano was a no-show at his mentor Dellacroce's funeral. Gotti took over as boss following Castellano's assassination, but his reign as boss was marred by frequent indictments, assassination attempts by rival families (notably the Genovese and Lucchese families, whose bosses were outraged at the unsanctioned hit on Castellano), and was [[ItsAllAboutMe too publicity-hungry like Joe Colombo.]] By the early 1990s, [[DragonWithAnAgenda Sammy Gravano (his underboss)]], [[DefectorFromDecadence fed up]] with Gotti's antics, [[TheStoolPigeon decided to]] [[TheInformant cooperate with the FBI.]] Gotti was imprisoned for life in 1992 after ducking several attempts by federal prosecutors to have him indicted, and subsequently died of cancer 10 years later; his brother Peter took over as boss in 2002, but he too was imprisoned for life, and still runs the family from behind bars. Since then, the family has been quietly rebuilding its former shell after John Gotti's demise.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Genovese Crime Family]]
* '''Genovese crime family''' - Large presence in Manhattan (notably Little Italy, 116th Street/East Harlem, Lower East Side, Greenwich Village and the Manhattan/New Jersey waterfronts), the Bronx (primarily in Morris Park, Pelham Bay and Arthur Avenue), Westchester, northern New Jersey and Connecticut, with smaller crews and factions in Queens, Brooklyn and Florida (the family also has a small crew in Springfield, Massachusetts). Regarded as the Ivy League of the Mafia, the family is still the strongest and biggest of the Five Families (the family size has varied from 300 to 450 made men). The oldest of the New York families, it was known as the Morello crime family and eventually came under the control of Morello capo [[BadBoss Giuseppe "Joe the Boss" Masseria]], who had a penchant for violence and was notoriously greedy. His heavy-handed attempts to strong arm and control the other Italian gangs, especially the Williamsburg-based Castellammarese gang, led to a bloody turf war in 1928; the Castellammarese War, as it was known, claimed at least 150+ lives and dragged on until Masseria was gunned down at a Coney Island restaurant in 1931. Sal Maranzano, now the nominal victor of this turf war, [[ItsAllAboutMe immediately wasted no time into reorganizing the Five Families under his control by declaring himself the boss of bosses;]] the Young Turks, led by an upstart gangster named [[MagnificentBastard Charles]] [[DragonWithAnAgenda "Lucky" Luciano]](the Young Turks were a younger generation of Americanized mafiosi, and were swayed by Maranzano into fighting for him), realized that Maranzano was much [[ScrewTheRulesIMakeThem greedier]] [[ItsAllAboutMe than they thought.]] So, they decided that the boss of all bosses had to go, and Luciano takes over in September of 1931 after Maranzano was eliminated. With the old guard (Mustache Petes, as they were called) of mobsters out of the way, Luciano can now consolidate his own power. Luciano then revolutionized the American Mafia by forming a Mafia Commission (and becoming its 1st chairman) to settle disputes and encouraging the other bosses to work with each other instead of "hitting the mattresses". However, he faced an indictment from Thomas Dewey for running a prostitution ring in 1937 and was deported back to Italy in 1946, where he worked with the Sicilian mafia to establish an international drug ring. The family was taken over by Frank Costello, Luciano's consigliere and a key political fixer; he had huge gambling rackets in New York City and was craving to go legitimate. But he was faced with a growing threat from [[DragonWithAnAgenda Vito Genovese]], who was Luciano's former underboss and was silently eliminating allies of Costello after returning to the United States in 1945 (notably Albert Anastasia and William "Willie Moore" Moretti). Genovese, with the sufficient backing of [[CoDragons Carlo Gambino and Tommy Lucchese]], then ordered a hit on Costello in May of 1957; Costello manages to survive the hit (thanks to the gunman's unintentional warning, he managed to get away with only a scalp wound) and steps down to avoid further bloodshed. Later that year, Genovese ordered a hit on [[AxCrazy Albert Anastasia]] and called a meeting of major mob leaders to explain the bloodletting that's going on in New York since the attempted hit on Costello earlier that year. The Apalachin Meeting proved to be a big debacle as it exposed the LCN to law enforcement, media and public scrutiny, and the other bosses (notably [[TheStarscream Gambino and Lucchese,]] who switched sides and supported Costello, Luciano and Lansky) had him falsely implicated on a drug charge. Later, in 1963, a low-level soldier in his family named [[TheStoolPigeon Joe Valachi]] became the first made man to [[TheInformant flip and testify about the American Mafia's inner workings;]] Valachi feared Genovese ordered a hit on him, hence his reason to cooperate with federal authorities. Genovese continued to rule the family from prison (via ruling panels) until his death in 1969. Though the family was run by a series of acting bosses and ruling panels after Genovese's death, Phil "Benny Squint" Lombardo (the family's street boss since 1962) was regarded as the [[TheChessmaster ''de facto'' boss and had the final say in family matters, especially after 1969.]] Ill health forces Lombardo to step down and name [[DragonAscendant Vincent "Chin" Gigante]] (the alleged gunman behind the Costello hit) as his successor in 1981; Gigante later names [[TheManBehindTheMan Anthony "Fat Tony" Salerno as his "dummy" boss]]. He further shielded himself from law enforcement scrutiny by [[ObfuscatingDisability feigning]] [[ObfuscatingInsanity insanity]] and [[ObfuscatingStupidity pretending to have a low IQ]]; this feigned insanity fooled law enforcement for years and worked until 1997, when he was imprisoned for racketeering and murder charges. He ran the family from prison until his death in 2005, and since his death, it is implied the family now uses a ruling panel of capos to manage its daily affairs and to avoid FBI attention.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Lucchese Crime Family]]
* '''Lucchese crime family''' - Has a large presence in the Bronx (especially Morris Park, Arthur Avenue, Pelham Bay and Throggs Neck), East Harlem, Westchester, New England and northern New Jersey, with smaller crews and factions in lower Manhattan, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Long Island, Queens and Florida. The family began as a splinter crew of the Morello family, taking over its rackets in the Bronx. It was something of the Franz Ferdinand of the Castellammarese War, as Masseria's attempt to violently replace the family's boss ended up throwing the rest of the family under the sway of Maranzano and starting open conflict between the two groups. Widely reckoned as the smallest (The family manpower has often hovered between 120 and 160 made men) and most peaceful family of the Five Families (until the 1980s), the family's first official boss was Tommy Gagliano, who preferred to keep a low profile. He expanded the family's grip on the Garment District and used his underboss, [[DragonInChief Tommy Lucchese]] to do business with the other families. Gagliano died in 1951, but [[DragonAscendant names Lucchese as his successor]] before dying. Lucchese continued to maintain the family's grip on the Garment District, and soon controlled trucking rackets at the new Idlewild (now JFK) Airport; he also built close relations with Tammany Hall (the local Democratic Party political machine) and with politicians such as Carmine DeSapio, Robert F. Wagner and Vincent Impellitteri while jockeying with Frank Costello over the control of Tammany Hall. [[DragonInChief Lucchese]] also backed [[BigBadWannabe Vito Genovese]] and Carlo Gambino in their fights to take control of their respective families, but chose to build a closer relationship with [[VillainousFriendship Gambino]] after the Apalachin Meeting of 1957 (Gambino's son married his daughter in 1962, and in return, [[BigBadDuumvirate Lucchese gave Gambino access to rackets at JFK Airport]]). Lucchese later died of cancer in 1967, and was replaced by Carmine Tramunti, who had a good relationship with the other bosses; Tramunti later branched out in construction and narcotics trafficking. Tony "Ducks" Corallo took over as boss in 1973 after Tramunti was indicted and convicted for narcotics trafficking in the French Connection case. Under Corallo's reign, one of the most infamous robberies took place - the Lufthansa Heist. It occurred when several truck hijackers linked to Jimmy "the Gent" Burke and Paul Vario ran off with nearly $6 million in cash and jewelry. Corallo, facing life imprisonment following the Mafia Commission trial, named [[BadBoss Victor Amuso]] and [[DragonInChief Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso]] as the new boss and underboss, respectively, in 1987, but it proved to be one of the biggest succession mistakes, as [[BigBadDuumvirate Amuso and Casso]] were known to be [[AxCrazy violent hitmen and drug traffickers]] (the two of them came from the Brooklyn faction; the previous bosses came from the Bronx-East Harlem faction). [[BadBoss Soon enough, they ordered anybody that was a purported informant to be marked for death]] (this forced ''actual'' [[DefectorFromDecadence wiseguys in the family to flip]] because of the increasingly erratic behavior of Amuso and Casso); Amuso even ordered the [[ScrewTheRulesIMakeThem whacking of the entire New Jersey faction (aka the Jersey Crew)]] when they failed to show up for a meeting and [[BadBoss pay a hefty tribute]] (they actually demoted the Jersey Crew's head capo, Anthony Accetturo, to the mere rank of a soldier and replaced him with an Amuso loyalist; Accetturo later [[TheInformant flipped]] when [[MoralEventHorizon Amuso ordered a hit on his wife,]] [[EvenEvilHasStandards despite the Mafia's longtime ban on harming women]]), but never went through with it because of massive indictments against many mafiosi at the time. Both were captured in 1993, but Casso decided to [[TheInformant flip]] [[TheStoolPigeon in 1994]], revealing that [[DirtyCop two NYPD officers]] named [[LawmanGoneBad Louis Eppolito and Steven Caracappa]] were on the Lucchese family's payroll for several years, working as [[KillerCop contract killers]] for the Mafia (Eppolito even had relatives who were in the mob, but could never get inducted because he was a cop). Both of them were sentenced to life imprisonment, but Casso was thrown out of the Witness Program in 1998 for numerous infractions. Amuso still runs the battered Lucchese family to this day via the help of ruling panels and acting bosses, a trait shared with the other Mafia families in New York.
[[/folder]]

Other crime families outside New York City:

[[folder:Northeastern Crime Families]]
Northeastern United States:

* '''Buffalo/Magaddino crime family''' - Nicknamed the Arm, this family ran much of upstate New York, with satellite crews in Rochester, Youngstown (Ohio), Toronto and southern Ontario. Originally founded by Stefano Magaddino (Joe "Bananas" Bonanno's cousin), this family is now largely in decline because of internal warfare, a dispute with Bonanno in the 1960s and the death of Stefano Magaddino in 1974.
* '''De Cavalcante crime family''' - the inspiration behind the Sopranos, this family runs rackets in Newark and Trenton (Atlantic City is under the Philly Mob's control, while northern New Jersey is under the influence of the Five Families).
* '''Scarfo/Philadelphia crime family''' - Also nicknamed the Philly Mob, this family has control of Philadelphia, the Delaware Valley, South New Jersey and Atlantic City. The Philly mob was once a peaceful crime family, but is now very notorious for its violent succession of bosses and multiple gangland wars in the 1980s and early 1990s. It even inspired [[Music/BruceSpringsteen Bruce Springsteen to write something about Philip "Chicken Man" Testa - the one they blew up in Philly last night.]] [[AxCrazy Nicodemo Scarfo]] ran the family for most of the 1980s, but was infamous for having a penchant for violence, causing many of his wiseguys to turn state's evidence against him, notably his nephew and underboss Phil Leonetti.
* '''Patriarca/New England crime family''' - Nicknamed the Office, it controls much of New England and is split into two factions - Boston and Providence. Was once very powerful under Raymond Patriarca, the family's namesake between the 1950s and 1980s, but internal disputes and a war with James "Whitey" Bulger (who was actually an FBI informant) and his Winter Hill Gang nearly led to this family's decline, although it has been quietly building back its lost power base.
* '''Pittsburgh crime family''' - has control of Pittsburgh, Western Pennsylvania and portions of Eastern Ohio. The family has been largely in decline since the death of John LaRocca in 1984.
* '''Bufalino/Scranton-Wilkes-Barre crime family''' - Largely in decline, the family controlled NE Pennsylvania, the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre area and the southern tier of New York. Joe Barbara, one of the earlier bosses of this family, was involved in the infamous Apalachin Meeting of 1957 following Albert Anastasia's death.
* '''Rochester crime family''' - This family broke off from the Buffalo crime family in the 1960s to become its independent group. Like the Pittsburgh and Scranton families, the family has receded much of its criminal activities following the convictions of its top members in the 1990s.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Southern United States Crime Families]]
Southern United States:

* '''Tampa Bay/Trafficante crime family''' - controls much of southern Florida (including Tampa Bay), except for Miami, which is an open territory. They reached their peak strength under Santo Trafficante Jr., who had gambling rackets in Cuba and had ties with Fulgencio Batista, then the president of Cuba in the 1950s. When the Cuban Revolution came by, he lost his gambling rackets and was involved in a botched CIA plot to rub off Castro; he was also presumably involved in a plot to kill JFK, though this has been disputed. Since his death, the family has been in decline, allowing the New York mafia to take control of rackets in the area.
* '''New Orleans crime family''' - Once controlled Louisiana, this family (also nicknamed the Combine) has been largely defunct due to Carlos Marcello's death in 1993. If the Genovese and Gambino families are the Yankees and Mets, the New Orleans family would be the Cincinatti Reds; they were the first known Mafia organization in the company (controlling groups of Italian stevedores in the aftermath of the American Civil War), before, too sure in their own power, they killed a police chief and were all but wiped out by an angry lynch mob. Marcello was aligned with Sam Giancana and Santo Trafficante, and was allegedly involved in a plot to kill JFK. In the 1980s, due to a string of convictions, the family has now receded much of its activities.
* '''Dallas crime family''' - Once controlled Dallas, Houston and Austin, this family is now largely defunct since the 1990s. May have been involved in the plot to kill JFK, as Jack Ruby had been known to meet Joseph Civello, the boss of Dallas Mafia at the time.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Midwestern United States Crime Families]]
Midwestern United States:

* '''Chicago Outfit''' - Apart from producing Al Capone, the Chicago Outfit also had influence over many of the Midwestern mafia families. The 1920s were marked with bloody turf wars, and the Outfit started to work behind the scenes following the St. Valentine's Day massacre. In 1932, Capone was charged with tax evasion, and was replaced by bosses (notably Paul Ricca and Tony Accardo, who had ''de facto'' control of the Outfit for nearly 50 years) who hated the spotlight. Soon enough, they expanded into Las Vegas and Hollywood, where they had begun to shake down labor unions and controlled gambling rackets. Sam Giancana, the street boss in the 1960s, was allegedly involved in a plot to kill Castro, and later, JFK; he was pushed out of power because of his too high-profile behavior. In the 1980s, the government managed to rid Las Vegas of mob influence, thereby diminishing the Outfit's hold on casinos. Though diminished in power, the Outfit still remains one of the more active Mafia families alongside the Philly Mob and the Five Families.
* '''Detroit Partnership''' - One of the more active Mafia families, this family has control over the Detroit metro area and parts of southern Ontario. It was involved with the Teamsters, notably with Jimmy Hoffa in the 1950s and 1960s; it is alleged that Joe Zerilli may have been involved in Hoffa's disappearance. Despite federal indictments, the family remains one of the more active Mafia families.
* '''Cleveland crime family''' - Nicknamed the Mayfield Road Mob, it was once one of the more active mafia families and had control over much of Ohio. In the 1970s, it was involved in a turf war with Irish mobster Danny Greene over control of union rackets; the war ended when Greene was killed in a car bomb planted by rival mobsters. In 1983, Angelo Lonardo, a high-ranking member of the Cleveland mob, decided to turn informer and give state's evidence against his fellow mobsters; this ultimately diminished the power of the Cleveland Mafia, still recovering from the war with Danny Greene and is now largely defunct.
* '''Kansas City crime family''' - has control of Greater Kansas City and Nebraska. It was involved in gambling rackets in Las Vegas with the backing of the Outfit. Operation Strawman, a sting operation that included wiretapping phones of reputed mobsters, revealed that Kansas City mafia was involved in the skimming of gambling profits at the Tropicana Casino.
* '''St. Louis crime family''' - once an arm of the Kansas City Mafia, it broke off in the 1960s to become a separate crime family. Largely in decline since the 1990s.
* '''Milwaukee crime family''' - controls Milwaukee and Madison, it is largely in decline since the death of Frank Balistrieri in 1993. He was known to use car bombs to wipe out his enemies, and was once involved in a sting operation set up by the FBI (who had sent Joe Pistone), but declined to set up a vending machine operation with Pistone.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western United States Crime Families]]
Western United States:

* '''Los Angeles crime family''' - Has control of Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego. It used to be much more powerful until the 1950s; the family has been in decline since Frank DeSimone's death in 1967. For this reason, the family is nicknamed the Mickey Mouse mafia because of DeSimone's incompetence (he never expanded the crime family). Jack Dragna, the previous boss, had earned a seat on the Commission thanks to his strong ties to the Five Families; he was also involved in a brief war with Mickey Cohen in the 1950s. In the 1980s, Jimmy Fratianno, a former underboss, decided to flip after he feared his rivals might order a hit on him; this ultimately diminished the power of the LA crime family, which has never recovered since then.
* '''Denver crime family''' - This family once controlled rackets in Denver, Boulder and Pueblo in Colorado. Defunct since the 1990s.
* '''San Francisco crime family''' - This family once controlled Northern California and San Francisco. Defunct since the 1990s.
* '''San Jose crime family''' - This family once controlled San Jose, the Bay Area and Santa Clara County. Like the other West Coast Mafia families, it is defunct since the 1990s.
[[/folder]]

[[http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1c/Mafia_family_structure_tree.en.svg It looks like this]]
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