The Cat meows no more. Former New England mafia higher-up Francesco (Frankie the Cat) Angiulo died this week at the ripe old age of 94.
He was a top advisor to his older brother, Jerry Angiulo, the deceased Patriarca crime family underboss and Boston gangland overlord from the 1960s until the 1980s. They were both convicted in 1986 on racketeering charges, alongside their two siblings and fellow mob lieutenants Mike and Danny, much of the evidence against them gathered via infamous FBI informant and Irish crime boss James (Whitey) Bulger and a bug placed in their headquarters nicknamed “The Office” or “The Dog House,” located in the heart of the city’s North End Little Italy neighborhood on Prince Street. At the time it occurred, the Angiulo brothers’ trial was the longest mob-related legal proceeding in American history, lasting over a year in the courtroom.
Nicky Angiulo, the New England mafia’s consigliere and eldest Angiulo brother, was nabbed in the case, but died of kidney failure before he made it in front of a jury. A sixth brother, Tony, an enforcer in the Patriarca organization, had died prior to the 1983 indictment.
Frankie the Cat served a decade and a half behind bars and was released in 2000, at which point he is said to have went into “mafia retirement” in the North End. In his time at the forefront of mob affairs in Beantown, the Cat was the Patriarca clan’s de-facto business manager, keeping track of the Angiulos’ gambling and loansharking portfolio and running all the Family’s illegal numbers business. He’s the final Angiulo brother to die. Mike died in 2006, Danny in 2009 and Jerry in 2009, two years after being freed and getting the chance to spend the final days of his life back with family and friends in his old North End digs.
All the Angiulos died living in the same homes they had lived in prior to their stints in prison (Frank, a lifelong bachelor, lived in the apartment above the Dog House on Prince Street and drove his favorite brand of car – a Cadillac of which he always had two – up until the day he bit the dust). Back in the late-1970s and early-1980s, Frank and Jerry Angiulo made a proverbial killing operating a series of “charity” casino nights at establishments around the North End, where they would get businesses in the area to front legitimate philanthropic causes and then skim the profits.
The New England mafia has traditionally been broken down between two regional factions, Boston and Providence, Rhode Island. The Angiulos were the face of the Italian mob in Massachusetts for more than 20 years, looking after things in the Boston wing of the crime family on behalf of syndicate namesake and Rhode Islander Raymond Patriarca, Sr., the legendary New England don who passed away while under indictment for a pair of underworld murders in 1984.