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Daily Archives: June 7th, 2009

organized crime mob mobsters boss mafia

Bodyguard Thomas Bilotti lies on the street next to car after he and crime boss Paul Castellano were shot to death outside East Side steakhouse.

Lucky Luciano

Lucky 

New York City’s Five Families owned the 20th Century. Now they must confront the 21st — still alive, still armed and still dangerous

Today’s traditional Mafia family has ventured far from its roots as an ultra-secret society formed in the streets of New York at the dawn of the Depression

The evolution has been epic.

To some, it appears a gang of criminals has turned into a popular culture commodity, spawning movies and TV shows that will long outlast the real-life story.In that version, the bosses are in jail, the gang is undone, and all that’s left is the book and movie deal.

n reality, the mob somehow survives, transforming, changing, adapting to the new economies and technologies — sometimes a jump quicker than law enforcement.

As the economy goes, these guys go,” said Michael Gaeta, supervisor of the New York FBI’s organized crime unit. “Despite our attacks, they’ve managed to adapt.”

Strategically, law enforcement sources say, the mob is closer to its roots, returning to the shadows, avoiding the public walk-talks that brought law enforcement to their door

They still reap ill-gotten gains from traditional sources. They still have some control over corrupt contractors and unions, and illegal gambling continues as a primary source of wealth.

They’ve also diversified, crafting new scams befitting a new century.

“They’re clearly not as visible as they used to be,” Gaeta said. “You’re not going to see the regular meetings you used to see. They’re much more compartmentalized.

“They’re smarter about the way they conduct business. At meetings, they make sure everybody leaves their cell phone at the door.”

sure everybody leaves their cell phone at the door.”

Today’s Mafia families no longer perform the ornate induction ceremonies in which a card depicting a saint is burned and a gun is displayed. They’ve ditched the saint and the gun.

Still, they induct new members when old ones die, and they find new ways to steal.

Several families, for instance, got in on the housing boom of 2002-2007 through corrupt construction companies and unions, court papers and sources say.

Records show mob-linked companies have been subcontractors on most of the major projects of the last few years, including highway repair, the midtown office tower boom, the massive water treatment plant in the Bronx, even the rebuilding of the World Trade Center.

They were taking full advantage of that — even if it was only removing waste from a construction site,” one source said. “They’d have their favorite companies getting jobs. If the union was a problem, they’d take care of it