Jake Russo was the Boss of the Rochester Mafia in the early 1960’s. Jake gave Benny and his associates permission to shake down the Hamza numbers racket. Russo was later murdered and replaced by Frank Valenti as Boss of the Rochester Mafia.
Samuel (Red) Russotti
Red Russotti would eventually become Boss of the Rochester Mafia in 1972, replacing Frank Valenti. When Benny was invited to a sitdown with him and Rene Piccarreto to discuss the Hamza ordeal, he was Underboss.
Freddie "The Wolf" Randaccio
Frederico Randaccio was known as "Lupo" or "Freddie the wolf". He was a high ranking mobster and one time Acting Boss of the Buffalo Crime Family. He was one of the prisoners that Benny hung with while serving time at Danbury FCI.
Tommy Taylor was one of Benny Morganti's associates in the Hamza case. He was arrested with Benny and Al Mancuso and found guilty of extortion. Taylor would later be a bodyguard for Sammy Gingello and was in Gingello’s car when it blew up in 1978.
Frank Valenti was the head of the Rochester Mafia until 1972. He had an illicit relationship with Lucian DiGiovanni, the head of the Rochester Vice-Squad. Benny was once invited to Valenti’s residence called “The Farm” by Lucian DiGiovanni .
Hy "The Printer" Levin
Benny Morganti's story includes a 1964 arrest for extortion with cohorts Al Mancuso and Thomas Taylor.
There is a chapter about local radio personality "Bother Wease's" father, Hy Levin, who used to print football parleys for the mob and did a little counterfeiting on the side.
Al Mancuso, Benny's associate, was charged with the murder of Benjamin Oken in 1963. He was acquitted of that charge. He was arrested and convicted with Tommy Taylor and Benny Morganti for the Hamza extortion.
G. Gordon Liddy in 1964
Gordon Liddy was the infamous Watergate criminal. He was imprisoned with Benny at Danbury prison. Liddy would occasionally be invited to sit with members of organized crime when the prisoners split into groups.
Hy “The Printer” Levin
Hy “The Printer” Levin used to print football parlay sheets and policy slips for the Rochester Mafia. (33) Hy was also the printer of the $1,000,000 in counterfeit $20 bills that Benny went to prison for.
Rene Piccarreto was the Consigliore for the Rochester Mafia for many years. When Benny met him he had the position of Underboss. In the early 1970’s, Benny was asked to attend a sitdown with Rene and Red Russotti to discuss the Hamza incident.
Benny Morganti met Joey Pagano at Danbury FCI. Joey was the prisoner responsible for bringing in the strippers.
Who's Who in "Life on The Edge"
Lucien Di Giovanni
Lucien DiGiovanni was head of the Rochester Vice-Squad. He was the Hamzas connection in the police force. DiGiovanni was charged with several crimes including stealing money from a police raid, failure to turn in a gun from a raid, extortion and more.
Joey Gallo 1961 Mugshot
Benny Morganti was in prison with Joey Gallo both in Dannemora and Clinton Prisons.
Pasquale (Patsy) Forgione
Patsy was the friend of Mikey Coldcuts. Patsy and Benny were both charged with and convicted of counterfeiting after Coldcuts turned states evidence and testified against them. Coldcuts entered into the Federal Witness Protection Program.
Abe was a numbers kingpin in the city of Rochester for many years. He operated unscathed by police for over 25 years without an arrest. Unbeknownst to Benny and his associates, when they were arrested for attempting to extort him, Abe was allegedly protected by both the police and the Mob.
Norman Huck was Al Mancuso’s and Benny Morganti's long time associate. Norm disrespected a table full of Rochester Mob members by pouring a bottle of wine they had purchased, on the floor. Norm was murdered on Dec. 20, 1967, less than three weeks after being released from prison.
“Life on the Edge” is the riveting true life story of Benny Morganti, told in the first person, as he shares his experiences with local mobsters, spurious indictments, prison, and much more, including an expose on some current, modern day, offshore betting scams. With the recent advent of legalized gambling this book is a must read.
Al Mancuso, Thomas Taylor and Benny Morganti.
The Rochester Mob Wars
Life on The Edge The Life and Times of Benny Morganti
"Life on The Edge - The Life and Times of Benny Morganti" is no longer available in paperback form. An E-book version is available on Amazon.