The How the Mafia work.


How does the Mafia work?

The Mafia is one of the widest-known organizations in the world yet still is one that is cloaked in mystery. The vast majority of most people’s knowledge on the Mafia comes from television shows and movies, where generally only the violent and glorified aspects of this crime organization are the ones that are seen. The Mafia seems to have a hand in everything, from the drugs that are being sold on the street to having contacts in the highest government offices, all so that they can continue to be one of the most powerful and feared organizations in the entire world. Money is what drives the Mafia to do the things that they do and all branches of the Mafia, including the horrible crimes that they are involved in, can be traced back to a need to gather as much money as possible. However, the day-to-day operations of the Mafia may not seem to be directly related to money including how one becomes a member of the Mafia, if they are allowed to leave, their run-ins with law enforcement agencies, and the fierce loyalty that all the members have to each other. Here we will take a deeper look inside the Mafia and examine exactly how it works.

The Structure of the Mafia

The term ‘The Mafia’ has branched out to include several different organizations, and although some of these are not involved in crime of any kind, most Mafias are considered to be organized crime groups, which is the kind that we will be discussing here. Before understanding the ins and outs of the Mafia, one must first understand how the members relate to each other and how they are thought of. The Mafia is much like a family tree with each ‘branch’ representing one member. Although the members are not actually related by blood, the loyalty between the members extends beyond that which they have for their actual blood relatives. The Mafia, in fact, holds their members in higher regard than even God or The Bible, meaning that members are to stay true to the Mafia before their religious beliefs, even though The Mafia is not a religious organization. The majority of the members are Roman Catholic, due to the Italian Mafia roots but this is not always the case and is certainly not a requirement to become a member. One Mafia family refers to one group, which will have interactions with each other on a day-to-day basis and sometimes conflict will arise between the different Mafia families. Most of the time however, the different families do not bother each other. The person at the top of the ‘family tree’ will be the highest ranking Mafia member, often called the ‘Mafia Boss’, and will have all final say on any dealings within that particular family.

La Cosa Nostra is a term that was used by the Mafia when it first began in Sicily. The term actually means ‘our thing’ and was used by old-world members to secretly talk about what they were doing and who they were. When the Mafia came to America, this term was heard when government spies were tapping their phones and overheard this expression being used. It then became the term used by the American government to refer to all the Mafia families and it is this term that is applied to how the Mafia family tree works. Each member of the Mafia has specific responsibilities and these are all clearly understood between the members of the Mafia. Here is a listing of the members that make up the family and what they are each responsible for.

The Boss: This is the highest rank within the Mafia and it is the Boss that will oversee all happenings within a certain family. The Boss collects most of the money that is made by the Mafia and all decisions relating to one family will be made by him. He is also sometimes called the don.

The Consigliere: This is the member of the family that is considered the Boss’ right-hand man. He will advise the Boss on what is right for the family and is often the only one who will not fear telling the Boss something that they don’t want to hear. Not all families have a Consigliere and although they are a very important of the family, and extremely important to the Boss, this rank is not always included in the family. The Consigliere should also not be mistaken for second-in-command, as that title belongs to the Underboss.

The Underboss: This is the member of the family that is just below the Boss. His role will vary from family to family and sometimes while he is there to handle disputes without the involvement of the Boss, he is also often being trained to take over the position of Boss when the current leader can no longer fill the position, which is generally only upon his death.

Capos: These positions are under the underboss and the number of Capos within a family will depend on how big the Mafia family is. They are given their own department so to speak of the Mafia to oversee. While one may be responsible for all illegal drug trade, one may be responsible for all aspects pertaining to illegal gambling. Sometimes a capo’s responsibilities can also be divided up geographically within the location of where the Mafia is. In a large city, Bruno ‘The Shark’ may have everything north of 14th Street while Tony ‘The Key’ may be responsible for everything south of the same street. The capo’s biggest responsibility is to make money for the Mafia. Most of this money will be given to the Boss but the capos’ usually keep some of their earnings for themselves as well. Each capo will have a certain number of soldiers that report to them.

Soldiers: This is no doubt the dirtiest rank to hold within the Mafia. They do all of the ugly work, including collecting outstanding payments, tracking down people who have wronged the Mafia, and doing whatever it takes to protect the higher-ranking members. While they may seem to have the most difficult and grittiest work, they actually don’t make a lot of money and don’t have much power within the family.

Associates: Associates are not actually members of the Mafia or part of the family. They are useful however in that the Mafia can call on them when need be to help them with particular goings-on. Associates help the Mafia carry out their illegal activities and can be anyone from a common burglar to a high-ranking politician or lawyer.

Each Mafia family will belong to a different division of the Mafia. The name of the family usually comes from the location where the Mafia is or the boss’ name. Families that are named after the boss are not very common anymore and those that are still around are families that have become famous through their doings or through trial. The La Costa Nostra Mafia family refers to the Mafia within the United States, although there are many different families within this umbrella such as the Philadelphia family, the Buffalo family, and the New York family. There is also the Sicilian Mafia, which originally began in Sicily; the Camorra Mafia, which started in Naples; and the Calabrian Mafia, which began in the area of Italy by the same name. A family that has recently formed is the Sacra Corona Unita family, which originates from the Puglia area of Italy. Famous Mafia families that have been named after their bosses are: the Bonanno family, the Genovese family, the Gambino family, the Luchese family, and the Profaci family. Although some of these bosses have been incarcerated due to their illegal activity, these families are still around today.

Induction to the Mafia

If a person should wish to join the Mafia, there are a number of criteria that first must be met. Only men of Italian heritage are allowed to become members of a family. Some families will require that both parents of the inductee are Italian whereas others will only require the father to be Italian. The inductee must also prove that they are earnest to make money by any means and that they are even willing to commit illegal acts of the worst kind, such as murder, to do so. To prove this, it usually requires an act of murder that will either settle a score the family has with another person or that will make the Mafia money. Once these acts have been completed, they will then have to pass the Commission.

The Commission is part of the Mafia that was created in the 1930s to put an end to members of one family killing members of another family. This was a common occurrence in the Mafia in the 1920s and 1930s when Mafia members would quickly induct a new member and have that new member kill someone from another family. This could happen quite easily as the member of the other family that was to be killed could be easily approached by the unknown member and killed. The Commission was then formed and every prospective member was to be made known to the Commission. The Commission would then compile all of the names on a list and the list would be distributed to all of the families so that prospective members were known by all families. This helped put an end to the destruction caused within the different families of the Mafia.

Once the inductee has committed the act of murder and has passed the Commission, it is then time for the official inducting ceremony. In this ceremony, the inductee will be told to ‘dress up.’ He will then be taken to an undisclosed location and will sit at a long table directly next to the Boss. The other members will make up the other seats around the table and they will all hold hands and give oaths of loyalty. The inductee will then hold a piece of burning paper and vow to be a member of the family for life. At this time, the inductee will then sometimes be assigned to a ‘godfather’ which is a long-standing member of the family that will guide and teach the new member during the first initial period of becoming part of the family. After a godfather has been assigned, the inductee will then have his trigger finger pricked so that blood may be drawn.

The Mafia and the Law

It goes without saying that due to their illegal activities, the law is constantly striving to take down the Mafia and its families. While controlling all of the Mafia families is practically impossible, the United States invented the law of RICO to specifically help control and capture members of the Mafia. RICO is actually short form for the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, which was established in 1970. The law allowed those trying to clamp down on Mafia activity to go after the entire organization, or family, instead of just certain individuals within the organization. The term ‘racketeering’ comes from the Mafia word for ‘rackets’ which is a description of any one of the different schemes that the Mafia may have on the go at once. In order for a racketeering charge to be applied, two or more crimes must be committed within a 15-year time period and these crimes must be related to each other although they can be related to each other in very broad terms. When a racketeering charge is applied to all the other crimes the member has committed, it adds a great amount of jail time onto the original sentence. In addition, when a racketeering charge is added to the others, the entire organization can be held responsible. This brought an end to the problem law enforcement officials were having with the main bosses hiring lower level criminals to do the dirty work without ever having to be responsible for it themselves. Although racketeering is still sometimes used in Mafia cases, prosecutors today use it most often when trying to pin charges on large corporations.

Actually getting to the family in order to lay charges is a very dangerous and sometimes, very long job. This is because in order to know what to charge the family with, the law enforcement agency must first know exactly what they’re doing and how they’re doing it, so that they may catch them. For this reason, someone from law enforcement must go undercover and work to be admitted into the family, just as any other inductee would. They will then work alongside the different family members and the Boss all the while reporting back to the agency that they are working for. Being found out by the Mafia while working undercover would certainly result in death of the law enforcement official and for this reason alone, is an extremely dangerous job. It’s also dangerous simply because of the nature of the work the Mafia is involved in and the fact that the official could be killed while completing any of this work. Donnie Brasco is perhaps the most well-known undercover official that helped to bring a very large Mafia family to justice.

the Mafia.

 The How the Mafia work of the Mafia.

Page Sponsored By:: Audio Editor