|Los Angeles|  Jimmy - The Weasel - Fratianno

Birth: November 14, 1913

Death: June 30, 1993

Jimmy "The Weasel" Fratianno was a leading member of the Los Angels Dragna family during the 60's and 70's. He would become one of the most known turncoats in America.

Growing up
Aladena "Jimmy" Fratianno was born in 1913 in a town near Naples, Italy. Still a youngster his family moved to America and settled down in Clevelands Little Italy. In school Fratianno didn't expose himself as a good student, but more as a troublemaker. It didn't take long for him to get expelled. His nickname "the weasel" was earned when he used to steal fruit at stands as a kid and then ran away "like a weasel" from the police. During his early teens he started working for a gambler who taught him the tricks of the profession. In following he started robbing other gambling games which would lead to his arrest and conviction of 8 years in an Ohio Penitentiary. After his release in 1945 he left Cleveland and headed for Los Angeles.

Los Angeles
Once settled in Los Angeles he set up a succesfull bookmaking operation and teamed up with men such as Giolamo Adamo and Frank Bompensiero, who were both members of the Jack Dragna organization. Fratianno eventually became a made member of the Dragna family in 1947. Later he would state to a journalist how he loved the life and benefits of being a made guy. "You can go into various businesses and people will deal with you because of what you represent. See, you've got all this power. Nobody fucks with you. We can get things done nobody else can."

Next of running bookmaking and gambling rackets Fratianno was also a killer. During his membership he was involved in the murders of 11 men, in which he committed 5 himself. One of his victims was Frankie Niccoli, an associate of Mickey Cohen who'm he murdered in order of Dragna. In 1954 Fratianno was jailed and wasn't released again until 1960. By that time boss Jack Dragna had passed away and was succeeded by Frank DeSimone. The new leadership however didn't fit for everybody and unhappy with how business went both Fratianno and Bompensiero wanted to switch families with the Chicago Outfit. With help from John Roselli Fratianno was permitted as a new member during the 1960's. He still however remained active in the Los Angeles area. Together with his wife he started a trucking company from which he grossed about 1,4$ million a year. In 1966 a California newspaper however made story that the company was in "Mafia Control" and an investigation soon followed. Although he was acquitted they did loose the company.

Switching families
After several years of bad leadership Dominick Brooklier took over the Dragna family in 1974. Soon the families health increased again and after Brooklier's imprisonment Fratianno returned to the Dragna family to help Louis Dragna as the new acting boss. However, Fratianno's old pal Frank Bompensiero had been an FBI informant for a while and was asked to set Fratianno and several others up in a fake pornographic company called Forex. Through Michael "Mike Rizzi" Rizzitello he found out that Forex was in fact run by FBI agents and by this he knew Bompensiero was working both sides. Fratianno then told Bompensiero he didn't trust the company and asked him where he got his information. Bompensiero then replied he would go check out the guy who told him about it.
Jimmy Fratianno 1981.
© Bettmann/CORBIS
Two days later Bompensiero told Fratianno he had murdered the guy, but Fratianno didn't fall for it. After seeing Brooklier both descided that Bompensiero had to go. On February 10, 1977, Frank Bompensiero was shot dead at a telephone boot.

FBI informer
Not long after Bompensiero's murder Fratianno learned there was also a murder contract dangeling over his head. He didn't hesitate and turned government witness. The FBI couldn't be happyer, Fratianno was an immensive source of information. From 1978 on he helped them in prosecuting several high ranking mobsters such as Funzie Tieri, Tony Salerno, Joseph Aiuppa, Carmine Persico and Dominick Brooklier. After a couple of years in jail he and his wife Jean entered the witness protection program in 1981, which provided him bodyguards and the necessary financial means. He also starred in documentary's and together with Ovid DeMaris wrote his life story dubbed "The Last Mafioso". However, several years later the FBI let him go, stating that "The program was never intended to be a retirement plan for former mobsters". In all Fratianno helped in convicting 30 men, including 6 bosses. He eventually died in his sleep at the age of 79.

(Source: "The Last Mafioso" by Ovid DeMaris, "Aladena Fratianno, Mobster-Informer, 79" NYtimes July 2, 1993; "Mafia Killer to Lose Federal Protection Of Witness Program" NYtimes August 20, 1987;,,

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