By David Amoruso
Longtime mobster Vincent “Jimmy” Caci passed away on August 16, 2011. He was 86 and died of natural causes. Caci’s criminal career started in the 1940s and led him from Buffalo to Los Angeles where he would become a captain in the local La Cosa Nostra Family headed by Peter Milano.
Born on August 1, 1925 in Westfield, NY to Alfonzo and Josephine Caci, “Jimmy” got his start on the streets of Buffalo, New York. By the 1980s, he had transformed himself into a West Coast mobster though, becoming a made member of the Los Angeles Crime Family.
The move is not an uncommon one. According to a 1996 report on organized crime by the State of California’s Department of Justice:
“In recent years, several top leaders and soldiers on the East Coast have been indicted. As a result, many LCN members are relocating to California to avoid publicity and to conduct their illicit activities. Representatives of these East Coast LCN families are attracted to California for several reasons. Probably the most lucrative, in terms of making money, is the infiltration of legitimate businesses by crime family members. The Southern California Crime Family, along with their East Coast counterparts, often muscle their way into legitimate businesses using the ultimate LCN threat; the application of force or violence. Additionally, California is considered “open territory” allowing some members to “make a name for themselves.” Finally, the glamour of the entertainment industry possesses an unique magnetic allure which attracts wealthy business entrepreneurs, organized crime figures, prostitutes, and drug traffickers.”
Operating out of Palm Springs, Caci ran a large bookmaking business and was also involved in other criminal endeavors. In February 1996, Caci and most of his crew were convicted on federal charges for conspiracy, wire fraud, and interstate transportation of fraudulently obtained money for their role in a telemarketing scheme that victimized over one hundred people from the Midwest, most of whom were elderly. In August of that year, he was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison.
Two years later, authorities hit Caci with new racketeering charges. Three years later he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to participate in an enterprise engaged in racketeering activity. According to journalist Carri Geer Thevenot that count embodied a plan to sell counterfeit traveler's checks for fraudulent use. Caci was sentenced to six to twelve months in prison.
After being released, Caci remained quiet. Though it is generally accepted by both mobsters and the public that you do not retire from the Mafia, it seems Caci did just that. His old age and numerous ailments made it increasingly difficult to hang with the new breed of gangsters.
But don’t think Caci wasn’t ready to bring it if he was confronted. He was from the old school, did his time as a stand up guy, and never backed down. As the following recorded voice message shows:
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