Joseph Valachi

Joseph Michael Valachi (September 22, 1904[nb 1] – April 3, 1971) was an American mobster in the Genovese crime family who is notable as the first member of the Italian-American Mafia to acknowledge its existence publicly in 1963. He is credited with the popularization of the term cosa nostra.[3]

Joseph Valachi
Joseph Michael Valachi

(1904-09-22)September 22, 1904[nb 1]
DiedApril 3, 1971(1971-04-03) (aged 66)
Resting placeGate of Heaven Cemetery, Lewiston, New York, U.S.
Other names"Anthony Sorge", "Charles Charbano", "Joe Cago", "Joe Cargo"
Known forFirst Italian-American Mafia member to acknowledge its existence publicly
Valachi hearings
Carmela Reina
(m. 1932)
RelativesGaetano Reina (father-in-law)
AllegianceGenovese crime family
Conviction(s)Drug trafficking (1959)
Murder (1962)
Criminal penalty15 years imprisonment
Life imprisonment

Valachi was convicted of drug trafficking in 1959, and sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment. In 1962 while he and Genovese family boss Vito Genovese were in prison together, he murdered an inmate he thought was a hitman sent by Genovese, and was sentenced to life imprisonment. Valachi subsequently became a government witness, and the next year testified before a U.S. Senate committee in what became known as the Valachi hearings. He disclosed previously unknown information about the Italian-American Mafia, including its structure, operations, rituals, and membership. His testimony was the first major violation of omertà, the Mafia's code of silence, and the first concrete evidence that the Italian-American Mafia existed to federal authorities and the general public. Valachi died in prison on April 3, 1971.

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