NEW YORK — Three of the Mafia's top bosses were sentenced Tuesday to prison terms of 100 years each by a federal judge who said that he wanted to give their would-be successors something to think about.
The bosses of the Colombo, Genovese and Lucchese organized crime families received the terms for membership on a commission that has reportedly settled disputes, divided loot and occasionally ordered murders for the Mafia since Prohibition.
U.S. District Judge Richard Owen said he had to send a message "to those out there who are undoubtedly thinking about taking over the reins of power." Authorities also cautioned that the convictions and sentencings did not mean the end of the mob in America.
Not a 'Final Victory'
"The worst mistake we can make is to declare a final victory," FBI official Thomas L. Sheer said after the sentencing of the bosses and five mob underlings at federal court in Manhattan.
"I can't say it's the end of the commission," U.S. Atty. Rudolph W. Giuliani said. "But it makes it much more difficult to operate that kind of an operation."
Owen sentenced the defendants one at a time and said his comments to the first, Genovese crime family boss Anthony (Fat Tony) Salerno, 76, applied to all.
"You, sir, in my opinion, essentially spent all your lifetime terrorizing this community to your financial gain," he told Salerno.
The other top bosses sentenced were Carmine (Junior) Persico, 53, head of the Colombo family, and Anthony (Tony Ducks) Corallo, 73, the boss of the Lucchese organization.
Owen sentenced four of the five mob underlings convicted with the others last November to 100 years each. Bonanno crime family soldier Anthony Indelicato, 38, was charged with two racketeering counts but received the maximum 40 years for those crimes.
The others sentenced to 100 years were Colombo underboss Gennaro Langella, 48; Lucchese underboss Salvatore Santoro, 72; Lucchese consigliere, or counselor, Christopher Furnari, 62; and Ralph Scopo, 58, a Colombo soldier and former labor leader.
All eight men are appealing the verdicts.
Prosecutors maintained that the commission was established in 1931 to settle disputes, authorize killings and rule the underworld's loan-sharking, hijacking, gambling and union racketeering operations after the jailing of Al Capone, the Chicago gangster who was convicted of income tax evasion.