NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Joseph Massino was the highest ranking mobster ever to turn government informant, having served as boss of the infamous Bonanno family.
But on Wednesday, Massino's gamble paid off, as a former judge set him loose.
As 1010 WINS' Juliet Papa reported, Brooklyn U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis said the 10 1/2 years Massino served – during which time he wore a wire and testified against fellow mobsters — was time enough.
Massino, 70, wore the standard-issue track suit for his court appearance. He shook his lawyer's hand, thanked the judge, and said he prayed every night for those he hurt and their families.
Mob Boss Government Informant Set Free
Massino faced life in prison for eight murders and numerous other mob crimes.
He also gave up hundreds of gold bars hidden in his restaurant, and $7 million in cash hidden in his attic.
In becoming an informant, Massino betrayed his onetime associate Vincent Basciano, who was sentenced to two life terms.
Massino broke his family's sacred vow of silence – or "omerta" – and began talking with investigators after his 2004 conviction for orchestrating a quarter-century's worth of murder, racketeering and other crimes as he rose through the ranks of the Bonannos.
The bloodshed included the shotgun slayings of three rival captains and the execution of a mobster who vouched for FBI undercover agent Donnie Brasco in the 1980s. Brasco's story became a movie starring Johnny Depp and Al Pacino.
Massino's timed serve sentence came just one day after nine reputed members of the Bonanno crime family were indicted for what prosecutors called old-school mob activity: gambling, loan sharking, extortion and drugs.
Prosecutors charged a family captain, two capos, a soldier and several associates, two of whom were members of an International Brotherhood of Teamsters local union. They were accused of using their union positions to solicit members as clients for their criminal enterprises, including online gambling. The two union members were also charged with perjury, prosecutors said.
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