The Rochester Mob Wars
Piccarreto, Rene “The Painter”held the unique position of “Consigliore” in the mafia hierarchy, the number two spot under the Boss, in the Rochester Mafia when Frank Valenti was the Boss in the 60’s and 70’s. In 1972, he was one of three men, the other two were Samuel Russotti and Sammy Gingello, that overthrew the Valenti regime and forced Frank Valenti to retire. Piccarreto retained the same position of “Consigliore” when Samuel “Red” Russotti became the new “Boss” and Sammy Gingello became the “Underboss.” The “Consigliore” was responsible for being the spokesman of the Family when communication or cooperation with other Mafia Families is necessary. Rene was one of seven men, all the leaders of Rochester’s La Cosa Nostra, that were convicted in the 1984 RICO Indictment. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison. (25) Mr. Piccarreto, served nearly 24 years in prison and was released in 2007. Piccarreto was known by cops as a gentleman gangster — though not opposed to violence within the ranks if necessary. He died on March 26, 2014. He was 89. (26)
Torpey, Thomas was a bodyguard for Sammy Gingello. He was in the car with Sammy Gingello and Gingello’s other bodyguard, Thomas Taylor when it exploded in April of 1978 killing Gingello. Torpey and Taylor ran a gambling parlor on Lyell Avenue in the City of Rochester and they did not want to pay the typical “user fee” like everyone else, to the mob hierarchy for that privilege. That fee ran between $400 and $1800 weekly. Instead, they became active participants in Rochester’s mob wars, eventually becoming known as the “C Team”, when they hired Joseph Sullivan to kill “A Team” member John Fiorino.
Torpey was convicted of murder and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. He was paroled in 2008. Thomas Torpey was 68, when he was arrested again in August of 2015 by State Police Sunday during a visit to Albion Correctional Facility. He was charged with promoting prison contraband, criminal possession of a narcotic with intent to sell and criminal possession of a narcotic. According to State Police, he was trying to smuggle drugs into a women's prison in Orleans County. (59)
Taylor, Thomas was a bodyguard for Sammy Gingello. He was actually in the car with Gingello and Gingello’s other bodyguard, Thomas Torpey when it exploded in April of 1978 killing Gingello. Years later, Thomas Torpey and Thomas Taylor ran a gambling parlor on Lyell Avenue in the City of Rochester and they did not want to pay the typical “user fee” like everyone else, to the mob hierarchy for that privilege. That fee ran between $400 and $1800 weekly. Instead of paying up, they decided to fight the established hierarchy. They became known as the “C Team” in Rochester’s Mob Wars when they hired Joseph Sullivan to kill “A Team” "Captain" John Fiorino. Taylor was convicted of murder and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. He was paroled in 2009. (60)
Samuel "Red" Russotti
Pelusio, Gerald was murdered by Dominic Taddeo, a hit man for the “A” Team on August 27, 1982. He was the brother of Thomas Pelusio, who took over control of the “C” Team of the Rochester Mafia after Thomas Taylor and Thomas Torpey were both sent to prison. (56) The police at the time suspected that it was a case of mistaken identity and that the real target had been Thomas Pelusio. Apparently the two brothers looked alike.
Rallo, Vince was indicted on April 7, 1976 (United States vs. Piccarreto), along with 7 others, on two counts of racketeering involving an "arson-for-hire" ring operating in the Rochester area. The Indictment alleged that he was part of an arson-for-hire team, which operated as part of a larger organization (Mafia) engaged in illicit activities in the Rochester area and had been responsible for at least eight fires that occurred there between 1970 and 1973. The arson ring allegedly agreed with the property owners to destroy their buildings in return for a share of the insurance proceeds. The government charged that insurance companies had been defrauded of about $480,000 as a result of the eight fires. Rallo was convicted and given a three year suspended sentence. (64)
Rossi, Joseph R. “The Hop” was a member of the “A Team” of the Rochester Mafia. He was indicted and convicted in the 1984 RICO trial which was conducted against the leaders of the Rochester Mafia. Rossi was sentenced to 40 years in prison. (27) Joseph was released from prison on December 11, 2007. He would be 80 years old in 2017. (50)
Paone, Donald J. was a member of the “A Team” of the Rochester Mafia. He was considered by the FBI to be a “made” member. (87) He was indicted and convicted of conspiracy and murder in the 1984 RICO Indictment along with 6 other members of the upper echelon of the Rochester Mafia. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison. Paone maintained ties to Teamsters Local #398 in Rochester, New York by having his daughter employed there as the Local’s secretary. (24) Donald was released from prison on February 19, 1998. He would be 73 years old in 2017. (54)
Joseph "Mad Dog" Sullivan
Who's Who Part 2
The Rochester Mafia Membership List Part 2: P-Z
Members, Associates and Murder Victims
Russotti, Samuel “Red” was the “Underboss” of the Rochester Mafia under Frank Valenti in the 60’s and early 70’s. In 1972, Russotti, Rene Piccarreto and Sammy Gingello confronted Frank Valenti about his “skimming the profits” and not properly sharing with the entire "organization." They forced him to retire after murdering his bodyguard, Dominic Chirico. Samuel Russotti then became the new “Boss” of the Rochester Mafia and Sammy Gingello became his “Underboss.” Russotti was indicted and convicted along with six others, in the 1984 RICO trial against the leaders of the Rochester Mafia. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison. (28) He died June 25, 1993 in Federal prison. He was 81 years old. He would have been eligible for parole in October of 1994. (29)
Tiraborelli, Joey “Joey Tubes” was Samuel “Red” Russotti’s stepson. He was the set up man for the conspiracy meeting of Rochester’s mafia bosses in 1973, where the death of Jimmy “The Hammer” was planned. He left before the meeting started. (82) Joseph F. "Joey Tubes" Tiraborelli died in Irondequoit on Feb. 5, 2016, at age 73. (91)
Pelusio, Thomas was a “C” Team member. After Torpey and Taylor were arrested, control of the insurgents was passed to Thomas Pelusio of Perinton, police say. He served a five-year prison term on a federal weapons conviction. On Aug. 27, 1982, Pelusio's brother, Gerald, was gunned down in front of a townhouse in Irondequoit. (57)
Starkweather, Rodney was a member of the “B Team” He was the proprietor of an after hours bar. On July 30, 1978, Rodney Starkweather, who was out on bail on pending Federal charges of illegally storing explosives, was ambushed by two unidentified men wearmg ski masks, who approached him on a dark street and shot him three times. Starkweather was rushed to Strong Memorial Hospital in serious condition and eventually recovered from his wounds. The attempt on his life, and the awareness of the Government's case against him, convinced Starkweather to provide testimony against his co-conspirators. Starkweather subsequently pled guilty to the pending Federal charges and he was relocated into the Federal Witness Protection Program.
Taddeo, Dominic of Rochester, N.Y., described by authorities as an organized crime figure, was a “hit-man” for the Rochester Mafia Crime Family, the “A Team.” He was indicted on two racketeering counts that linked him to three homicides and two attempted homicides in the Rochester area. Taddeo, was also involved in a plot to use guns and camouflage gear stored in rented lockers in the Lehigh Valley to bust Colombian cocaine lord Carlos Lehder out of federal prison and sell him back to the Medellin drug cartel. That plan was interrupted with Taddeo's March 1989 arrest in Cleveland and the subsequent seizure of the weapons and cash stored in lockers in Bethlehem and Wescosville, police said. Taddeo was serving a 17-year federal sentence for possession of illegal weapons and bail jumping.
The federal grand jury indicted Taddeo under the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act. . Count one of the indictment alleged that Taddeo, was part of the Rochester La Cosa Nostra organized crime family, participated in the May 25, 1982, murder of Nicholas Mastrodanoto, the Aug. 27, 1982, murder of Gerald Pelusio, the April 12 and Nov. 10, 1983, attempted murders of Thomas Marotta, the Aug. 2, 1983, murder of Dino Tortatice, and a conspiracy to murder Thomas Taylor, Vacco said.
It also alleged Taddeo conducted an illegal gambling business in Rochester and used extortion to take over a gambling business, then ran a gambling operation from that business. Count two charges Taddeo with conspiring to conduct affairs named in the first count. (30)Taddeo was sentenced to two concurrent 20 year terms or the RICO offences to be served consecutively with previously imposed sentences plus three 48 month sentences for weapons possession that are to run concurrently with each other but consecutively to other sentences. (31)
Dominic Taddeo is currently incarcerated at Coleman Medium FCI and is scheduled for release on March 29, 2023.(42)
Stebbans, Leonard was a member of the “A Team in the Rochester Mafia. Like most mobsters, he had an extensive arrest record. He was once in a vehicle with Loren Piccarreto that was shot at by members of the “B Team.”
Stebbins was also once the topic of a conversation that was recorded on surveillance tapes by the FBI. The conversation was between Loren Picaretto and Angelo Amico. They were discussing Stebbin's refusal to pay his "juice" money for the gambling parlor that he operated, and what the consequences of that refusal would be.
Leonard Stebbins seemed to have a falling out with the organization and was assaulted by an alleged mob hitman for insulting the wife of reputed mob soldier Donald Paone. He was eventually incarcerated for one of his many crimes. He was released from prison on August 25, 1997. (51
Russo, Jake was a top "Lieutenant" and enforcer for Frank Valenti when Valenti was "Boss" of the Rochester Mafia. Valenti was indicted for election law violations in 1961, he was put on three years probation, which ran until 1964, as part of a plea agreement. A condition of that probation, was that he was not allowed to live in the Rochester area during that period. During the exile period, Valenti placed Jake Russo in charge of the gambling business which included settling disputes among gamblers as well as overseeing day to day activities.
Russo remained the “Boss” of the Rochester Mafia until 1964 when Frank Valenti returned to Rochester reclaiming the top spot in Rochester’s Mob. Coincidently Jake Russo disappeared on the exact same day that Valenti began announcing that he was now " the man to see in Rochester." Jake Russo's body has never been found.
Piccarreto, Loren is the son of Rene Piccarreto. Loren became “Acting Underboss” of the Rochester Mafia after the December 1984 Rico convictions removed all the previous top leaders of the Rochester Mafia. Angelo Amico was appointed as “Acting Boss.” Loren was indicted and convicted in 1987 in the second Rico indictment against the Rochester Mafia Crime Family. He was sentenced to four years in prison.
Sullivan, John Joseph “Mad Dog” was born on March 31, 1939, in Queens, New York. He was a Mafia hit man. Sullivan committed his first murder during a bar fight in 1965 and was sentenced to 20-30 years at Attica State Prison. It was in Attica prison that he earned his nickname “Mad Dog”, apparently due to a lifelong salivary gland disorder. In 1971, he was noted as being the only person to escape Attica’s maximum security prison. He was recaptured and, somehow managed to be released on parole in 1975.
He had an extensive career working as a Hit man for the Genovese Crime Family in New York City, killing several Irish mobsters and he was considered a suspect in the murder of Irish Mob Boss Micky Spillane. It is believed that Mad Dog Sullivan murdered between 20 and 30 people.(72)
In 1981, he was hired by Thomas Torpey and Thomas Taylor to murder “A” Team “Capo”, John Fiorino. He was eventually imprisoned again on three murder convictions, including the killing of Teamsters Local #398 Vice-President John Fiorino at the Blue Gardenia Restaurant in Irondequoit, New York in 1981. Sullivan is serving three life sentences. (43)