Sanctioned stoolie

Tommy Lucchese, sanctioned stoolie for Lucky Luciano
Tommy Lucchese, sanctioned stoolie for Lucky Luciano

The mob has frequently used informers as double agents to infiltrate other crime families and groups, including the police, in hope of discovering useful intelligence. In the assassination of Paul Castellano, head of the Gambino crime family and reputed boss of bosses, Frank DeCicco was a sanctioned stoolie for the Gotti group inside Castellano's inner circle and was the key man in setting up the godfather's rubout. (Four months later DeCicco was blown up in a car bombing).

A much honored sanctioned stoolie was Tommy Lucchese, also known as Three-Finger Brown, who was Lucky Luciano's favorite killer in the Mafia wars of the 1920s and 1930s. Later in the war between Joe the Boss Masseria and Salvatore Maranzano, Lucchese sided with Maranzano while Luciano was with Joe the Boss.

Actually Lucchese was the inside spy for Luciano, who was determined to depose both bosses. Luciano accomplished half his goal by having Masseria murdered and then made a temporary peace with Maranzano, waiting his moment to strike. That came when Lucchese informed him of Maranzano's plan to have Luciano assassinated by non-mob gangsters.

Luciano struck first as four men pretending to be police officers entered Maranzano's headquarters just as Lucchese "happened" to enter. Lucchese's presence was necessary because the hit men did not know their intended victim by sight.

Maranzano was dispatched and the new de facto boss of bosses, Luciano, named Lucchese the head of one of New York's five crime families, which even after the latter's death in 1967 continued to bear his name.