Joseph Ferriola was born on March 16, 1927. He had several nicknames, among them were ‘Mr. Clean,’ ‘Oscar‘ and ‘Joe Nagal‘. He helped to run the Chicago Outfit between 1985 and late-1988, whilst Joseph Aiuppa and John Cerone were behind bars for skimming casino profits.
He began his career as an apprentice of the late mobster Leonard ‘Fat Lennie’ Caifano – brother of Marshall Joseph Caifano, who himself went on to become a high-ranking member of the Outfit.
In 1970, Ferriola and four others were convicted for conspiring to operate an interstate gambling ring. He was sentenced to five years in federal prison, but was released after just three years. He later became one of the Outfit’s top enforcers, and was much used by Sam Giancana.
Ferriola was the boss of his own crew, the Cicero Crew, based in Cicero, Illinois. The crew was involved in such things as extortion, bookmaking and loansharking. They protected their ‘business’ with bribery, corruption, and the occasional murder if they felt it necessary.
In 1985, Ferriola became operations chief for the Chicago Outfit
After suffering numerous health problems, and also dealing with legal inquiries by the FBI and the IRS, Ferriola was replaced in 1988-89 by Sam Carlisi.
Ferriola died at the age of 61, on March 11, 1989, after undergoing his second heart transplant in a matter of weeks. It seemed his body had rejected the first heart and was in the process of rejecting the second when he passed away. It’s believed that Ferriola was the first gangster ever to have undergone a heart transplant. He died at The Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas.
At the time of his death, federal prosecutors were in the process of seeking to indict Ferriola on racketeering charges.
Ferriola fathered one son, Nicholas Ferriola who followed his father into organized crime.
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