The Gambino Crime Family

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“This life of ours, this is a wonderful life. If you can get through life like this and get away with it, hey, that’s great. But it’s very unpredictable. There’s so many ways you can screw it up” said Paul Castellano, boss of one of the biggest mobs in American history. Stemming from the enormous crime syndicate called Cosa Nostra, meaning “our thing” in Sicilian, the Gambino family and Cosa Nostra became a national menace. La Cosa Nostra, as it was referred to by law enforcement¬ and members, was a title for the American Mafia. The Mafia emerged during the late 1900’s and early 20th Century in New York's Lower East Side, then in many other areas of the East Coast and in several other major cities. The mob was greatly populated by the wave of Italian immigration. Many of immigrants came from economically downtrodden southern Italy, with many Mafia members in Sicily and Naples who were fleeing the rule of fascist Benito Mussolini, who began to crackdown on the Mafia in Italy. Although it became a separate coalition, the Cosa Nostra can trace its roots to the Sicilian Mafia, and other Italian criminal groups. The Mob, at its height, stretched from coast to coast, but was most active in New York, the crown-jewel of organized crime. It was a huge influence in other major metropolitan cities like New Jersey, Philadelphia, Detroit, Chicago, Florida, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Texas. In New York five families reigned supreme: the Gambino, Lucchese, Genovese, Bonanno and Colombo families. They “generated a toxic effect on the lives of all New Yorkers and untold millions of Americans...” (Raab). The Gambino Crime Family, the most powerful of the five, sank it tentacles into virtually every aspect of American life from its beginning during...

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... stamps many corrupt OPA officials started selling them in bulk to the gangsters. Gambino realized that just buying them from the officials was much safer than robbing safes and began distributing the illegal rations through his old bootlegging channels. Cosa Nostra informer said that Gambino often collected over $1 million on a single deal alone. His liquor and ration deals soon amassed a huge fortune for Gambino, allowing him to invest in an immense range of legal and illegal businesses. In fact “he came to own meat markets, fat-rendering companies, importers of olive oil and cheese, bakeries, restaurants, nightclubs…” ( Raab 67) making his influence on the lives of everyday New Yorkers and Americans even greater. These illegal activities allowed for Mangano, and his other New York Cosa Nostra counterparts, to prosper in the foul economy of the Great Depression.
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