Mobster Monday: Greg Scarpa

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

The mobster known as the Grim Reaper was born on May 8, 1929, in New York, New York. His parents immigrated from Italy some years before and raised their family in Brooklyn. As a young man, he found work with his father in the coal mining industry. Fatefully, at some point, his older brother Salvatore is rumored to have introduced him to a life of crime. 

Scarpa married a young Connie Forest in the 1950s. They went on to have four children, three sons, and a daughter. One son, Greg JR., would eventually follow in his old man’s formidable footsteps. Like many gangsters, Scarpa was not faithful in his marriage to Connie. He fathered two children with his girlfriend, Linda, with whom he maintained a thirty-year romance.

Stylish and flashy, Scarpa loved money and violence. Scarpa’s crimes ranged from loansharking to hijacking. He was also involved with counterfeiting and robbery. In the 1960s, he was arrested for armed robbery. To save his skin and avoid spending time in the Big House, he chose to rat on other criminals. This incident began Scarpa’s third long-term relationship. His mistress? The FBI.

His reputation for confrontation and brutality perked ears at the agency. They allegedly approached him with an offer he couldn’t refuse. In 1964, agents in Mississippi hit Scarpa up. They wanted him to shake down a certain Klansman who had been rumored to know the whereabouts of three missing civil rights workers: Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, and Michael Schwerner. Allegedly, the FBI hooked him up with a gun and the cash to do the job. The target, a man named Lawrence Byrd, was kidnapped and beaten at Camp Shelby. Here, Scarpa himself is said to have extracted the information from Byrd by thrusting the pistol into his mouth. Byrd sang like a canary.

Although the FBI never confirmed this story, and after allegedly helping with another case involving the KKK, Scarpa and the agency had a falling out over reward money. They did not work with him again until the 1980s when Scarpa became involved with Lindley DeVecchio, an agent with the FBI. He and his wife, Connie, had separated in 1973. He allegedly gave the FBI minimal information on the Colombo Crime Family before ultimately being arrested by them for credit card fraud. To help him escape a lengthy sentence, DeVecchio reminded the agency how much information Scarpa had given over the years. It paid off, and Scarpa skated by with probation and tiny fine. 

Having lived such a stressful and dangerous life, Scarpa developed stomach ulcers. In 1986, during one of his many blood transfusions for this ailment, he contracted HIV. He tried to hide his illness by claiming he had cancer. 

Scarpa’s illness progressed. In 1991, he faced another deadly problem. Because he had ratted on the Colombo Crime Family during his time as an informant for the FBI, the Colombo boss, Victor Orena, decided to seek vengeance. While Scarpa was driving his car, he was ambushed by hitmen sent by Orena. He managed to escape and quickly sought revenge. Although he was quite ill by this time, he still hunted down his attackers. Deranged by anger and illness, he carelessly murdered several innocent people who he thought were involved.

In 1992, Scarpa was arrested on firearms charges. Not long after, he was also indicted for three murders. Right after Christmas that same year, he lost an eye while battling it out with a couple of Lucchese Family mob boys. They were out for Scarpa’s son, over drugs. 

After this incident, which landed him back in prison for defying his house arrest order, Scarpa quickly began losing the battle with his health. In 1993, he pleaded guilty to three murders and conspiracy. The feds sentenced him to life in prison. He didn’t suffer there for long. He died from AIDS-related complications on June 4, 1994.


THIS LIST OF LINKS IS NOT AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING SOURCE CITING. ALL OF THE INFORMATION USED IN THIS ARTICLE CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE. LINKS BELOW WERE USED AS SOURCES AND ARE RECOMMENDED READING FOR SYNOVA’S READERS. SYNOVA STRIVES TO CITE ALL THE SOURCES USED DURING HER CASE STUDY, BUT OCCASIONALLY A SOURCE MAY BE MISSED BY MISTAKE. IT IS NOT INTENTIONAL, AND NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IS INTENDED.


Further Reading: 

Wikipedia

National Crime Syndicate

Cosa Nostra News


Recommended Reading:

James Gandolfini: The Real Life of the Man Who Made Tony Soprano

Giovanni’s Ring: My Life Inside the Real Sopranos


More About Our Wonderful Guest Blogger:

Synova Ink would like to welcome our newest guest blogger. Karen Reep is a new true crime writer learning to spread her wings on our Mobster Monday posts. Look for more of her writing in the near future.


Support Synova’s Cause:

EACH WEEK SYNOVA HIGHLIGHTS OBSCURE COLD CASES ON HER BLOG AS A VICTIMS’ ADVOCATE WITH MISSOURI MISSING ORGANIZATION. SHE NEVER CHARGES FOR HER SERVICES. IF YOU’D LIKE TO SUPPORT HER IN THIS WORTHY CAUSE, PLEASE CHECK OUT THE AFFILIATE LINKS ON THIS PAGE. BY PURCHASING ONE OF HER BOOKS, OR USING THESE LINKS YOU WILL BE SUPPORTING SYNOVA’S WORK ON COLD CASES AND WILL ENSURE HER ABILITY TO CONTINUE TO GIVE A VOICE TO THE VICTIM’S FAMILY.


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ALL INFORMATION USED TO CREATE THIS CONTENT IS A MATTER OF PUBLIC RECORD AND CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE OR CAN BE VERIFIED BY THE GUEST BLOGGER. ANY PARTICIPATION OR ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT OF ANY PARTY MENTIONED WITHIN THIS SITE IS PURELY SPECULATION. AS THE LAW STATES, AN INDIVIDUAL IS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. I DO NOT OWN THE PHOTOS USED IN THIS POST. ALL PHOTOS ARE USED UNDER THE FAIR USE ACT. NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED. ANY AND ALL OPINIONS ARE THAT OF THE GUEST BLOGGER AND DON’T NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF SYNOVA INK©2017-2019. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


Mobster Monday: Albert Anastasia

Albert Anastasia Pic Courtesy of Wikipedia

He changed his name so he wouldn’t bring shame to his mother as a criminal, but he didn’t think twice about brutally slaying Joe Turino in front of a dozen people. Witnesses say the fury in his face while he stabbed and strangled Turino was terrifying. With the Mafia’s help and the disappearances of four main witnesses, Albert Anastasia was set free.


Umberto Anastasio was born on September 26, 1902, in Parghelia, Italy. His parents were Raffaelo Anastasio and Louisa Nomina De Filippi. Tragedy struck young Anastasio’s life early on. At the age of ten, Raffaelo died, leaving his wife and a dozen kids behind. Life was tough on the family, and soon, the older boys left home to find work elsewhere.


Umberto and his brother Antonio took jobs working on a ship. When the ship docked in New York, the two brothers jumped to shore and never looked back. The docks may have offered the brothers a place of employment, but it was back-breaking work run by the mob. It wasn’t long before Umberto’s temper overtook him in an argument with a fellow dock worker.


The young Italian brute slew Torino with fury. Witnesses say it was terrifying to watch the slaying. Torino was stabbed repeatedly and strangled in front of a dozen people. Umberto didn’t seem to care. It was almost as if he enjoyed the entire process. He was arrested and sentenced to death.


Unwilling to bring shame to his mother, Umberto changed his name to Albert Anastasia. It’s incredible how someone so vicious and brutal could care about such a thing. While Albert changed his name, his brother Tony did not. Tony would continue to rule the docks for the majority of three decades, although he never gained the notoriety of his psychopathic brother.


This murderous escapade landed the young illegal alien in Sing Sing prison. While there, he grabbed the attention of a fellow inmate with mob connections. Those connections would end up winning Albert a new trial. Unfortunately, by the time the new trial came around, four of the main witnesses had disappeared.

Anastasia now had connections with the likes of Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lanski, and Frank Costello. When Luciano wanted to take out his boss, he called in Anastasia as part of the hit squad. After Luciano re-structures the mob, Anastasia is set up as the head of the Mafia’s hit squad; Murder, Inc.


Anastasia ruled the elite team of assassins alongside Jewish mobster Louis “Lepke” Buchalter. Their headquarters was in the most unlikely of places. Down on the corner of Saratoga and Livonia Ave in Brooklyn sat a 24-hour candy store called Midnight Rose. This place was owned by a pleasant little elderly lady named Rosie Gold. Along the back wall of the shop was a row of payphones.


The team of mafioso killers would hang around the candy store, waiting for the next hit to be called in. Anastasia would take the call, make a plan, and send out a hit team. By the end of this decade of bloodshed, the FBI estimates the body count of this team was well over 1000.
Unlock most mob bosses, Anastasia wouldn’t pass off the dirty work to an underling. Anastasia enjoyed taking part in the actual murder. It wasn’t enough to plan it; he wanted to be involved. If he weren’t a part of the squad, he would witness the event from across the street. His bloodlust was disturbing and seemed to be growing.


1935: Dewey Wages War:
Special Prosecutor Thomas Dewey declared an all-out war on organized crime in New York. He took down the powerful Lucky Luciano, and then no one was safe. The next on his list was Louis “Lepke” Buchalter. Anastasia tried to hide his friend from the feds, but his attempts were futile. Dozens of witnesses were killed during this process, and now the mafia commission was wondering if Buchalter was worth the trouble
Finally, Anastasia received word from the commission. It was Buchalter or the Mob. Anastasia chose the mob and played a pivotal role in the double-crossing of Lepke Buchalter. During this time, one of Murder, Inc’s hitmen were arrested.


Abe “Kid Twist” Reles decided to turn state’s evidence in an attempt to save himself from the chair. Reles began telling everything he knew about Murder Incorporated. His testimony would send seven mobsters, including Lepke, to the electric chair. This landed the FBI’s target square on the back of the “Mad Hatter.”


Mad Hatter? Let me explain this nickname. When Lucky Luciano took over the Mafia, he structured it like a giant corporation and put down some basic ground rules. Breaking these rules came with the penalty of death.


The commission was supposed to sanction the hits before anyone was killed, but Anastasia had his own ideas about that. Public figures and civilians were off-limits. If they were killed, they would bring too much publicity. There was one more rule that Albert would break. You weren’t supposed to kill your boss. Anastasia would break all of these rules. His blood lust would give him the name The Mad Hatter, and his complete disregard for mob rule would sign Albert Anastasia’s death warrant.


On October 25, 1957, Anastasia walked in to see his barber at the Park Sheraton Hotel. His driver parked the car and went for a stroll. While the Mad Hatter had his face covered in a warm towel, three gunmen barged into the room. Albert Anastasia was hit with ten bullets and died on the floor next to his barber chair.


THIS LIST OF LINKS IS NOT AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING SOURCE CITING. ALL OF THE INFORMATION USED IN THIS ARTICLE CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE. LINKS BELOW WERE USED AS SOURCES AND ARE RECOMMENDED READING FOR SYNOVA’S READERS. SYNOVA STRIVES TO CITE ALL THE SOURCES USED DURING HER CASE STUDY, BUT OCCASIONALLY A SOURCE MAY BE MISSED BY MISTAKE. IT IS NOT INTENTIONAL, AND NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IS INTENDED.

Further Reading:

The Candy Shop

Here are a few books about Albert Anastasia on Amazon.


Support Synova’s Cause:

EACH WEEK SYNOVA HIGHLIGHTS OBSCURE COLD CASES ON HER BLOG AS A VICTIMS’ ADVOCATE WITH MISSOURI MISSING ORGANIZATION. SHE NEVER CHARGES FOR HER SERVICES. IF YOU’D LIKE TO SUPPORT HER IN THIS WORTHY CAUSE, PLEASE CHECK OUT THE AFFILIATE LINKS ON THIS PAGE. BY PURCHASING ONE OF HER BOOKS, OR USING THESE LINKS YOU WILL BE SUPPORTING SYNOVA’S WORK ON COLD CASES AND WILL ENSURE HER ABILITY TO CONTINUE TO GIVE A VOICE TO THE VICTIM’S FAMILY.


If you enjoy this content don’t forget to sign up for Synova’s Weekly True Crime Newsletter. You will receive exclusive content directly in your inbox. As a gift for joining you will also receive the Grim Justice ebook free.

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SIGN UP HERE


If you’d like to check out Synova’s true crime books follow this link to her Amazon Author Page.


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ALL INFORMATION USED TO CREATE THIS CONTENT IS A MATTER OF PUBLIC RECORD AND CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE OR CAN BE VERIFIED BY THE GUEST BLOGGER. ANY PARTICIPATION OR ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT OF ANY PARTY MENTIONED WITHIN THIS SITE IS PURELY SPECULATION. AS THE LAW STATES, AN INDIVIDUAL IS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. I DO NOT OWN THE PHOTOS USED IN THIS POST. ALL PHOTOS ARE USED UNDER THE FAIR USE ACT. NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED. ANY AND ALL OPINIONS ARE THAT OF THE GUEST BLOGGER AND DON’T NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF SYNOVA INK©2017-2019. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


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Ex-Gangster & True Crime Writer Appearing in Joplin

changing hands book shoppe

Ex-Gangster & True Crime writer

to appear at the

Changing Hands Book Shoppe

 

 

Ex-gangster, Sidney Heard and true crime writer, Synova Cantrell will be making an appearance at the Changing Hands Book Shoppe on May 13th at 11 a.m. The pair will be autographing copies of the thrilling biography titled “Unorganized Crime.” Copies will be available to purchase at the event, or pre-orders can be purchased through Amazon.com.

 

Changing Hands Book Shoppe is located at 528 S. Virginia Ave. Joplin, MO 64801. Store hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10AM – 7PM. Phone: (417) 623-6699

 

Pre-purchase link:

https://www.amazon.com/Unorganized-Crime-Redemption-Synova-Cantrell/dp/1539389324/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1494253587&sr=8-1&keywords=unorganized+Crime

 

 

 

 

Introduction to UNORGANIZED CRIME.

He was a serial arsonist, a bank robber, a counterfeiter of gold coins and a drug dealer. Sidney Heard ran cons ranging from selling fake watches to dealing in hot cars. His criminal resume officially began at the age of thirteen, and it continued for over fifty years. To top it all off he escaped from prison successfully three times and lived a life on the run for almost half a year.

Sidney’s Life of Crime continued until recently when he came to the Ozarks to start a new life.

A short list of Sidney’s crimes:

  • Bank Robbery
  • Counterfeiter
  • Forgery
  • Burglary
  • Serial Arsonist
  • Armed robbery
  • drug dealer
  • escape from prison
  • dealing in stolen merchandise
  • and more

To find out more about this thrilling gangster biography log onto Amazon and get a copy today!