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But when they get caught, they're using advanced age as a defense strategy. The New York Times cited the trend several months ago: Goodfellas have become "oldfellas," the paper reported, describing courtroom scenes in which mobsters with fierce reputations "can be found displaying catheter bags or discussing the state of their kidneys in hopes that a judge will agree to a short sentence." That's something that would never have happened two generations ago: Poor-me defenses were simply not the way of the wiseguy.Members of the American Mafia may be living longer, but the ancient code of conduct that once defined what it meant to be a man of honor is dying fast. from Sicily and was a mob soldier in the early 1900s; as a child, the younger Di Leonardo met legendary boss Carlo Gambino at his grandfather's house.
THEY SHARED A LONG LUNCH of filet mignon, yellowfin tuna, and chicken with broccoli rabe, washing it down with four bottles of expensive Tuscan red. Just ask these aging wise guys (illustrated from left): Thomas "Tommy Shots" Gioeli, Vincent "Vinny" Asaro, "Tommy D" Di Fiore, Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi and Joseph "Scoops" Licata.Outside on that May afternoon in 2010, the FBI had set up surveillance cameras.Gotti, who enjoyed the media spotlight, "turned 'this thing of ours' into 'this thing of mine.' " And modern mobsters who manage to reach an advanced age don't seem inclined to retire and play boccie.Consider these recent cases out of Providence, Chicago and Las Vegas.
"This is supposed to be a secret society," says Michael "Mikey Scars" Di Leonardo, 60, a third-generation wiseguy. Di Leonardo was brought up by tough guys who would never complain. "Omertà," the term for the mobster's code of silence, literally means "to be a man." And a man always took care of his own problems.