Anthony M. DeStefano's lengthly career as a New York City newspaper reporter has spawned a number of books about organized crime and criminal justice. His electic interests have also resulted in a bilingual biography of Latino music icon Gloria Estafan, as well as an enlighting book about Latino folk medicine published in separate English and Spanish editions.
Published by Kensington Publishing, Top Hoodlum chronicles the tale of Frank Costello, one of the most important Mafia figures in American history. From a dirt poor childhood in southern Italy, Costello rose through the ranks of New York's Mafia and became its most public face. Yet, throughout his life, like F. Scott Fitzgerald's Jay Gatsby, Costello sought respectability, and to belong. His move to Sand's Point, Long Island (Gatsby's fictional East Egg) best illustrates that desire.
The Big Heist
One of the biggest scores in Mafia history, the Lufthansa Airlines heist of 1978 has become the stuff of Mafia legend—and a decades-long investigation that continues to this day. Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Anthony DeStefano sheds new light on this legendary unsolved case using recent evidence from the 2015 trial of eighty-year-old mafioso Vincent Asaro, who for the first time speaks out on his role in the fateful Lufthansa heist. This blistering you-are-there account takes you behind the headlines and inside the ranks of America’s infamous Mafia families—with never-before-told stories, late-breaking news, and bombshell revelations:
Gangland New York: The Places and Faces of Mob History
Get a taste of New York’s underworld by seeing where mobsters lived, worked, ate, played, and died. From the Bowery Boys and the Five Points Gang through the rise of the Jewish “Kosher Nostra” and the ascendance of the Italian Mafia, mobsters have played a major role in the city’s history, lurking just around the corner or inside that nondescript building. Bill “the Butcher” Poole, Paul Kelly, Monk Eastman, “Lucky” Luciano, Carlo Gambino, Meyer Lansky, Mickey Spillane, John Gotti—each held sway over New York neighborhoods that nurtured them and gave them power. As families and factions fought for control, the city became a backdrop for crime scenes, the rackets spreading after World War II to docks, airports, food markets, and garment districts. The streets of Brooklyn, swamps of Staten Island, and vacant lots near LaGuardia Airport hosted assassinations and hasty burials for the unlucky. The bloodlettings, arrests, and trials became front-page fodder for tabloids that thrived on covering Mulberry Street. Chinese, Russian, and Greek mobsters rose to prominence and wrought bloody havoc as well. Each of the book’s five sections—one for each borough—traces criminal activities and area exploits from the nineteenth century to now. Everyone knows about Umberto’s Clam House in Little Italy, but now you can find Scarpato’s restaurant in Coney Island where Joe Masseria was killed by henchmen of Salvatore Maranzano, who in turn died in a Park Avenue office building at the hands of “Lucky” Luciano a few months later. From the Bronx to Brighton Beach, from New Springville to Ozone Park, here is a comprehensive, on-the-ground guide to mob life in the Rotten Apple.
A vain man of good looks, small means, and no family links to the mob, Vincent “Vinny Gorgeous” Basciano steadily worked his way up to acting boss of the Bonanno crime family, becoming its leader when official boss Joseph Massino went to the clink in 2003. But at a time when the Mob was crawling with secret operatives and informants caving to government pressure to flip, Basciano obeyed the code of La Cosa Nostra. “I got faith in one guy,” he told a group of mobsters during a secretly taped meeting. That man was Joseph Massino, head of the Bonanno borgata. But for all his loyalty, Basciano was still a hot-headed, cold-blooded killer, which led to his arrest. Then, in a remarkable betrayal that shook the Five Families to their foundation, Massino secretly cooperated with the FBI—the first official boss ever to roll over. As a result, Basciano faced the death penalty, but a federal jury, disturbed by the prosecution's use of criminal informants, reached a surprising verdict. Veteran crime author Anthony M. DeStefano tells the riveting story of the last true believer in the Mob’s cult of brotherhood and how he was betrayed by the only man he ever trusted.
Mob Killer: The Bloody Rampage of Charles Carneglia, Mafia Hit Man
A Crazed Killer
He dissolved the bodies of some of his victims in acid and poured them down the sewer. He hung grisly souvenirs on nails in his junkyard.
La Costra Nostra
Charles Carneglia was a stone-cold killer who fell in with the bloodthirsty John Gotti crew. As the infamous crime family rose to power with their murderous trail of sex, jealousy, greed, and revenge, Carneglia rose with them.
Mafia, Madness And Murder
This is the horrifying story of a misfit who fit perfectly into the New York mafia. In a harrowing journey inside a ruthless criminal underworld, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Anthony M. DeStefano chronicles one man’s life in a world of depraved acts of violence and the horrors that went with being a member of the Gambino family.
King of the Godfathers
For more than twenty years, Joseph "Big Joey" Massino ran what was called the largest criminal network in the U.S., employing over two hundred and fifty made men and untold numbers of associates. The Bonanno family was responsible for over thirty murders, even killing a dozen of its own members to enforce discipline and settle scores. He would be brought down by Salvatore "Good Looking Sal" Vitale, the underboss who was not only Massino's closest and most trusted friend, but also his brother-in-law. In the end, facing the death penalty and the prospect of leaving his family penniless, Massino started talking to the FBI - the first Mafia Godfather to break the sacred code of omerta, and the end of a centuries-old tradition.
The War on Human Trafficking: U.S. Policy Assessed
The United States has taken the lead in efforts to end international human trafficking-the movement of peoples from one country to another, usually involving fraud, for the purpose of exploiting their labor. Examples that have captured the headlines include the 300 Chinese immigrants that were smuggled to the United States on the ship Golden Venture and the young Mexican women smuggled by the Cadena family to Florida where they were forced into prostitution and confined in trailers.
The public's understanding of human trafficking is comprised of terrible stories like these, which the media covers in dramatic, but usually short-lived bursts. The more complicated, long-term story of how policy on trafficking has evolved has been largely ignored. In The War on Human Trafficking, Anthony M. DeStefano covers a decade of reporting on the policy battles that have surrounded efforts to abolish such practices, helping readers to understand the forced labor of immigrants as a major global human rights story.
DeStefano details the events leading up to the creation of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, the federal law that first addressed the phenomenon of trafficking in persons. He assesses the effectiveness of the 2000 law and its progeny, showing the difficulties encountered by federal prosecutors in building criminal cases against traffickers. The book also describes the tensions created as the Bush Administration tried to use the trafficking laws to attack prostitution and shows how the American response to these criminal activities was impacted by the events of September 11th and the War in Iraq.
Parsing politics from practice, this important book gets beyond sensational stories of sexual servitude to show that human trafficking has a much broader scope and is inextricable from the powerful economic conditions that impel immigrants to put themselves at risk.