Mobster Confessions uncovers the redemption of one mob son who broke the family cycle of mafia violence.
On Monday night, the Discovery Channel series, Mobster Confessions, featured Billy Cutolo Jr., son of “Wild Bill” Cutolo, underboss of the Colombo crime family in New York City.
“He was my hero,” said Cutolo Jr. “He was a good man, he was a fair man. But, he was a gangster. No way around it.”
“If you didn’t know who “Wild Bill” Cutolo was and just saw him in the streets of New York, you could very well take him for a Wall Street banker,” said Dennis Griffin, a former investigator-turned-mob-specialist-author.
“Wild Bill was really two different people. He was Wild Bill the mobster and Wild Bill the business man.”
Still, Wild Bill had hoped that Billy Jr., after graduating from college, would pursue a life outside of the mafia; it didn’t happen. After graduation, he told his father he wanted to work for him.
“The big smile on his face turned into a frown,” said Billy Jr., describing his father’s reaction to the news that he wanted into the action. But, he didn’t turn his son away from the crime family life.
In 1991, a power struggle broke out in the Colombo family. Unfortunately, Wild Bill chose to support the losing side of the family.
Although no action was taken by the winning side immediately, six years later, he was brutally killed by the new boss of the Colombos, “Allie Boy.”
Billy Jr. wanted revenge.
When it came down to it, however, and Billy Jr. had the chance to kill the crime boss right outside of his home, a photo of Billy Jr.’s wife and son hanging around the rear-view mirror changed his mind.
“To this very day, I still thank my son. I tell him, ‘You saved my life,’” Billy Jr. said.
Billy Jr. still wanted revenge, but killing was not an option. Staying with the mafia was also not an option. What then?
Turning over information was his best option.
Three weeks after his father disappeared, he agreed to help the FBI.
“He decided to break the cycle of violence, and do what he felt was the right thing, and let the law handle it,” Griffin explained.
After turning over his father’s papers, he wears a wire and approaches the Colombo family once again.
He was able to record more than 100 different mob conversations, including Jackie DeRoss, the friend who betrayed Wild Bill and helped Allie Boy kill him.
Billy Jr. worked for the FBI for 18 months; his family was shocked to learn that he had been working with the Feds, and was going into the Witness Protection Program.
Billy Jr. was surprised when his family turned on him, labeling him a rat. But, knowing that they weren’t safe, they packed up and went into the program, as well.
“The sad part about it all is that I don’t have a relationship with them anymore,” Billy Jr. said.
Breaking Cycle Of Mafia Violence
More than a dozen of the Colombo family members were arrested; his father’s killers were finally convicted of planning his father’s murder, even though his body was not recovered at that time.
They were given life sentences, which they are still serving to this day.
His father’s body was recovered in 2008, to his son’s relief.
The mob never forgets, however.
“I feel like I will always be hunted,” he said, knowing that coming out of hiding to tell his story could mean his life is once again in danger, but he feels that the price he has paid to avenge his father has been worth it.
“I did the right thing. And, most importantly, I broke the cycle. You know, the father’s a gangster, the son’s a gangster, and the son’s son—I wasn’t going to allow that to happen, not to my son.”