Mob History On This Day: Anthony “Tony Ducks” Corallo Dies in the Federal Penitentiary
Anthony Corallo (February 12, 1913 – August 23, 2000) was the former Lucchese crime family head who was arrested in 1985 after the feds heard him making incriminating statements, while riding in the bugged Jaguar of Salvatore Avellino Jr., talking about how the mafia was controlling the construction business of New York. Consequently, Corallo was sentenced to serve 100 years in prison for racketeering, including murder-for-hire and extortion at 73 years of age, along with several other major crime family figures. He died at the United States Medical Center for Federal Prisoners on August 23, 2000 at 87 years old. He was known to be the oldest living mafia member from New York City’s five major crime families.
At the time of his arrest, he was a member of what is known as "The Commission." His arrest and subsequent conviction sparked the infamous 1985-86 Commission Trial in which more than a dozen mob members were indicted on 151 racketeering counts; eight of the defendants were convicted on all counts. The 2-1/2 month trial ushered in a new crime era, bringing with it the rough and tough underbosses who were eager to take the reins. John Gotti, who was to become known as the "Teflon Don" was among them.
Also known as “Tony Ducks” due to his uncanny ability to “duck” convictions and court subpoenas, Anthonio Corallo was born in 1913 on Harlem’s eastside of New York. The stoic, quiet character began his lifelong trek, of what was to become a criminal career spanning 70 years, starting in the 1920’s when still just a teen as a member of the 107th Street Gang. By 30 years of age he had risen to capo, a made man of the Lucchese family, of which Tommy Lucchese was boss. Corallo rose to the crime family head position in 1967, when Lucchese died of brain cancer, but was then sentenced to prison the following year. He resumed position of boss upon his release in 1970.
He took pride in himself and was highly thought of as a trustworthy man of his word among his peers, a lover of pasta and gardening, from the old-time tradition when the mob consisted of suited “men of honor” of which Corallo considered himself an intricate, valuable part. And Corallo just loathed rats and loose-lipped men.
How ironic then is it that FBI agents obtained endless hours of incriminating discussions between his driver Salvatore Avellino Jr., and himself as they rode around in his car taking care of daily mob affairs. These conversations yielded damning evidence against several major mob figures and for the first time, there was indisputable evidence of the existence of a “Mafia Commission.” This led to the placing of 4 additional bugs by Feds and federal indictment of 11 mob members including Paul Castellano, Commission Chairman and Gambino Crime Family Head. Anthony "Fat Tony" Salerno, boss of Genovese Crime Family, and Gambino Family underboss, Aniello Dellacroce were among other notable crime figures indicted for the lengthy count list of racketeering offenses.
Corallo realized that as the trial continued, his fate was to die in prison. To ensure a smooth transfer of power and leadership, he named a successor from Christopher Funari's camp, protégé and capo Vittorio "Little Vic" Amuso. On November 19, 1986 Corallo, Funari and the others were convicted on all counts receiving lengthy sentences ranging from 40-100 years each. Antonio Corallo died of natural causes in prison, on August 23, 2000.
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