Two ‘Reformed’ Massachusetts Mobsters Return To Old Ways

A pair of former Massachusetts wiseguys both had recent run-ins with criminal affairs reminiscent of their gangster-life past.

Edward (Eddie Mack) MacKenzie, a one-time Boston Irish mob enforcer was sent to prison for 12 years earlier this month for bilking a Beacon Hill, Massachusetts church out of over a million dollars in a decade-long shakedown from the inside, where the 57-year old MacKenzie, who claimed to be a reformed Goodfella that had seen the proverbial light, was the director of operations from 2003 until his arrest and pleading guilty in 2014.

MacKenzie – seen in this article’s feature image – was a strong arm in the notorious Winter Hill Gang in the 1980s and 1990s, serving as a leg-breaker and drug peddler under legendary Boston Irish crime lord and FBI informant James (Whitey) Bulger, currently in prison for the rest of his life for committing a series of gangland murders and overseeing a large chunk of the Beantown underworld for roughly two decades. Bulger was apprehended in 2011 in California following 16 years on the run from the law.

In 2004, MacKenzie released a book entitled “Street Soldier,” (optioned for a film by Hollywood actor Peter Facinelli) recollecting his days working for Bulger and racking up an arrest record that includes collars for robbery, assault and narcotics trafficking, among other felonies.

He recounted one incident in his book in which he threw hot coffee on a sleeping indebted gambler he was collecting from on Bulger’s behalf. A witness intimidation case against him in the early 2000s featured him threatening to kill his wife. “I’m  gonna chain a cinderblock to her leg and throw her dead body over a bridge,” were his exact words.

Just last week, a 2000s-era western Massachusetts Mafioso named Armando Botta was found dead in Florida of an apparent suicide after trying to strangle his seven-year old daughter to death. Botta, 40, had moved down to Florida in 2006 after his acquittal at a racketeering trial, where he had been accused of being a loan shark and debt collector for Springfield, Mass mob chief Adolpho (Big Al) Bruno.

Armando Botta
Armando Botta

Springfield has long been an outpost of the Genovese Crime Family in New York. Bruno was tapped capo of the Genovese’s western Massachusetts regime in the early 2000s and endured a troubled reign, ending in his own slaying in the fall of 2003, the victim of a power play by his own protégé Anthony (Bingy) Arillotta.

Botta was alleged to have worked for Bruno and Bruno’s close friend and fellow wiseguy and restauranteur Frank (Frankie D) Depergola in the 1990s and early 2000s. Depergola

was with Bruno the night he was killed on November 23, 2003 after leaving his weekly Sunday card game at his headquarters, the South End’s Our Lady of Mount Carmel Social Club, shot to death by Frankie Roche, a fearless independent hit man Arillotta had hired to take his mob mentor out.

Bruno, 58 at the time of his passing, died in Depergola’s arms that night in the parking lot outside the social club. Arillotta eventually turned government informant and is currently in the Federal Witness Protection Program.

Two years following Bruno’s murder, Depergola and Botta were indicted side-by-side, charged by the feds with running a loan sharking operation under the Bruno crew banner. While Botta was acquitted, Depergola was convicted at their 2006 trial and served two and a half years in prison. Frankie D has been a free man since October 2008.