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Joe Valachi
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    (September 22, 1903-April 3, 1971)
    Born in New York City, New York
    'Soldier' in the Genovese crime family
    First mobster to publicly testify about the Mafia (1963)
    With journalist Peter Maas, wrote 'The Valachi Papers' (1968)
    He was nicknamed Joe Cago; 'cago' means 'shit.'
    He chain smoked.
    While serving time for dealing heroin, he beat another prisoner to death with an iron pipe.
    He began talking to the feds to escape the death penalty.
    He unsuccessfully tried to hang himself in his cell.
    Despite its notoriety, his testimony did not result -- at least directly -- in any mafiosi being arrested.
    He identified over 300 mobsters.
    Attorney General Robert Kennedy called his testimony 'a significant addition to the broad picture' of organized crime.
    Vito Genovese put a $100,000 price on his head.
    In his will, he left the royalties from 'The Valachi Papers' to a woman he had never met who became his pen pal while he was incarcerated.

Credit: C. Fishel

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