Frank “Punchy” Illiano has passed away at the age of 86, best known for his alleged associations with organized crime families. Read on for the fast facts on Illiano’s passing as well as the eventful life he led.
1. Illiano Died From an Infection
According to Page Six, Frank Illiano died from an infection while in the hospital this month. A source told the Cosa Nostra News that Illiano had a lot of ailments and that he will be cremated. His funeral will be this Saturday at St. Stephen Church in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.
Illiano once owned the Casa Rosa restaurant in Brooklyn, New York.
2. He Acquired the Nickname “Punchy” From a Short Career in Boxing
According to Wikipedia, Illiano had a brief career in boxing, which earned him the nickname “Punchy”. The name followed him throughout his life in organized crime. Allegedly, Illiano worked for a couple crime families throughout his life – the Profaci crime family (aka the Colombo family) and the Genovese family. Apparently, Illiano may have had a part in the murder of Mangano crime family boss Albert Anastasia. Wikipedia writes:
Anastasia’s underboss, Carlo Gambino, plotted with Joseph Profaci, boss of the Profaci family, to murder Anastasia while he was at a Manhattan barber shop. According to FBI and NYPD sources, Profaci delegated the job to Joey Gallo, who allegedly included Illiano in the assassination. Gallo allegedly referred to the hit squad, including Illiano, as his “barbershop quartet”.
Illiano is said to be the “last surviving capo” from New York crime boss “Crazy” Joey Gallo’s crew.
3. “Punchy” Lived Most of His Life With a Bullet In His Head
Despite his alleged crimes, Frank “Punchy” Illiano was quite the remarkable person. He actually lived most of his life with a bullet in his head. A friend told Page Six that he had sustained a bullet to the head during a gun fight.
As for a heroic moment in Illiano’s life, he helped rescue six children from a smoke-filled apartment after a mattress fire on January 29, 1962. No one was injured.
4. Frank Illiano Was Reportedly a Key Player in the Colombo Wars
The Colombo Wars, according to Wikipedia, first began in February, 1961. Apparently, the Gallos kidnapped family leaders to force boss Joseph Profaci to “distribute profits more fairly”. Profaci agreed to settle the dispute and then tried to murder Larry Gallo during a meeting at a bar. So, what did Illiano have to do with this? Wikipedia writes:
During the First Colombo War, Illiano allegedly wounded Profaci mobster Hugh McIntosh in a sniper attack. Illiano also allegedly planted a bomb underneath Carmine Persico’s car. The bomb exploded but Persico escaped death. After Profaci’s death in 1962, the conflict continued with Profaci’s successor, Joseph Magliocco, until his 1963 death. On June 12, 1963, Illiano narrowly escaped assassination by a Profaci sniper.
As a result of the first Colombo war, Illiano was arrested for illegal gambling, weapons charges, and assault, pleading guilty to misdemeanor assault. He was sentenced to six months in prison.
The second Colombo war, involved a big misunderstanding. Allegedly, after boss Joey Gallo was assassinated, Illiano and Albert Gallo hired a hitman to murder several Colombo crime family leaders at Manhattan restaurant Neopolitan Noodle. Unfortunately, the hitman got confused and shot four innocent men. Two of them died.
After the incident, a peace agreement was made among the New York crime families. The agreement made Illiano and Albert Gallo join the Genovese family, under Vincent “Chin” Gigante’s crew.
5. Recently, Illiano Was Supposedly Still Operating a Crew in Brooklyn
During the 1990s, Vincent “The Chin” Gigante, who was in prison, appointed Frank Illiano as a street boss. It was last reported in 2010 that Illiano was still running a crew with Albert Gallo in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, where his funeral is set to take place. Reportedly:
The crew runs gambling and loan sharking operations in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Staten Island.
On GangsterBB.net, a member left a comment about Illiano and Albert “Kid Blast” Gall saying:
These guys both still run Carroll Gardens for the Genovese family and are essentially Co-Capos. They are old and have so much clout that they probably do extremely little on their own.
Unfortunately, photos of Illiano are hard to come by. To view pictures of Frank “Punchy” Illiano, you can view them on Getty.