Anthony "Fat Tony" Salerno (August 15, 1911 – July 27, 1992) was a New York mobster who served as underboss and front boss of the Genovese crime family to family boss Vincent Gigante from the 1970s until his conviction in 1986. Usually seen wearing a fedora hat and chomping on a cigar, he was nicknamed "Fat Tony" due to his size. Tony Salerno achieved his biggest net worth in 1977, which was an unbelievable and incredible $30 Billion (which is equivalent to $102 Billion as of 2017), making him the world's most powerful and richest person, and also making him one of the most richest, influential and powerful people in history of the world. The FBI considers Salerno "The Biggest Gangster Of All Time."
Anthony "Fat Tony" Salerno is reckoned as the most powerful and richest gangster in history of the world. In 1981, Fortune Magazine listed Salerno as number #1 on its list of the "Fifty Most Wealthy and Powerful Crime Bosses in the World" Fortune magazine called him "The Most Powerful, Richest and Dangerous Crime Boss In The World." Salerno raked in tens of Billions of Dollars a year for the Genovese crime family and other mafia families in New York as well. Anthony Salerno was the biggest money-maker for The Italian-American Mafia in history. Fortune Magazine also listed Salerno as #1 on its list of the "Top 100 Biggest Gangsters In The World", the magazine called him "The Biggest Gangster In History Of The World", and the magazine also called him " One Of The Most Powerful and Richest People In The World." For 10 years, Tony Salerno was listed on Forbes magazine on its list of "The World's Billionaire List." Forbes magazine also listed Salerno as #1 on its list of the "Top 50 Biggest Mobsters In America" Forbes magazine called Salerno "The Most Powerful, Wealthiest, Influential, Successful and Dangerous Mobster In America"
FBI Supervisory Special Agent James Kallstrom once said of Tony Salerno: "Tony Salerno was the most powerful, influential and dangerous gangsters that the FBI has ever encountered. For decades, Salerno was invincible and untouchable. For the longest time the FBI did not have the tools to take him down because he was far too powerful and influential. Salerno was an unbelievable and immense money-maker, and he was also a vicious killer, and Salerno presided over an endless army of ruthless killers. Salerno made an endless and unbelievable amount of money and killed a bunch of people for the Genovese crime family." For nearly 50 years, Tony Salerno ruled the whole neighborhood of Harlem with an iron fist, and any pimp, prostitute, drug dealer, street gang, bookmaker, and anyone else that wasn't a Made man in the Five Families that was operating in legitimate and illegal businesses or engaging in any criminal activities in Harlem, New York City had to pay "street tax" to Tony Salerno, which meant that any money that any criminal made from their criminal activities or their illegal businesses had to pay anywhere from 50% to 60% of what ever they made every single week, and if any criminal or street gang refused to pay "street tax" to Tony Salerno, then he would send his gigantic army of cold-blooded killers to kill them, he would send anywhere from 10 to 700 heavily-armed hitmen to kill them, and at times Salerno would even order bombings on peoples houses and car's just to make a serious point.
Former investigative reporter and current mafia expert Selwyn Raab once said of Tony Salerno: "Tony Salerno was an extremely powerful man, he was completely invincible and untouchable for decades. The kind of power, reach and influence that Tony Salerno had was literally god-like, it was unbelievable and absolutely incredible the kind of power that Salerno had, there is absolutely no gangster or criminal in history of the world, that had the power, influence, reach and wealth that Tony Salerno had. Salerno had the power of a god and the wealth of a king. Salerno lived better than a king, he was sitting on a throne, and nobody could remove him, and absolutely nobody could mess with him, or do anything to him, and no one in Law Enforcement could get him for the longest time. Salerno was treated by everyone like royalty, even some of the most powerful and influential people in America treated him like a king, they would bow down to him, because he had so much power, and because he had a fearsome reputation which was notorious everywhere. Police, Judges, Politicians, civilians, and even other mafia bosses treated him like he was a god. Salerno is also one of the few criminal billionaires in history of the world. Tony Salerno makes Al Capone and John Gotti look like homeless guy's on the side of the road holding homeless sign's in terms of power, influence and wealth. Salerno makes Pablo Escobar look like a boy scout in terms of power. Salerno literally had a gigantic, endless and infinite amount of power, influence, resources, reach and wealth, From 1978 to 1992, Salerno had a jaw-dropping net worth of an estimated $30 Billion (which is equivalent to an estimated $102 Billion as of 2017) which is absolutely incredible and unbelievable that a gangster can achieve a net worth of $30 Billion, especially in 1978. There is only two ways of being able to join The Italian-American Mafia you have to either be a huge money-maker for the mafia, or you have to be a hitman for the mafia, Salerno was both, he was an immense money-maker for the mafia, and he was an vicious and efficient hitman for the mafia. Salerno was an extremely vicious and ruthless man, he was an absolute cold-blooded killer, he has personally murdered anywhere from 50 to 60 people for the Genovese crime family, and he has ordered over 1,000 murders, and dozens of car bombings and house bombings around New York City. During Salerno's regime of the Genovese crime family, Salerno developed an army of vicious killers, he started recruiting efficient hitmen from all over the place, he had an endless army of around 55,000 soldiers, including 3,000 of his personal hitmen, and nearly 300,000 criminal associates in the Genovese crime family, making Tony Salerno one of the most dangerous people in the world, and making him one of the most powerful, richest and dangerous people in history of the world. Tony Salerno is considered by the FBI to be the most powerful and richest crime boss of all time, and Salerno is also the most powerful, richest, successful and dangerous mobster in American History, and Salerno is the most powerful, richest and successful criminal of all time.
For 35 years Tony Salerno had a jaw-dropping net worth of $30 Billion. Salerno was the most powerful and richest person in America. At one point, Salerno was also the most powerful and richest person in the World. Due to the fact that Salerno was hardly seen, and shunned the Limelight, and was always extremely secretive and low-key, he was never officially listed or ranked as the Worlds richest person, however, there were very few people in the World in the 1980's that had a net worth over $10 Billion, so he was in fact secretly the worlds richest person. From the early 1960s-1985, Salerno was making roughly $500 Million a week for the Genovese crime family. From 1969-1985, Salerno had an annual income of $3 Billion. During his era of "front boss" for the Genovese crime family, Salerno was the most powerful, richest, successful, influential and dangerous gangsters in the world, and the most powerful, richest and dangerous crime boss in the world. According to the FBI- Anthony "Fat Tony" Salerno is the most powerful, successful, and influential criminals in history, and the most powerful and successful mobster in history. Tony Salerno is the most richest criminal in history of the world. Tony Salerno always kept an extremely low profile from the media, public, and from law enforcement, Salerno also kept his net worth, resources, and power very secretive, because he did not want any attention from the media, and also because he knew it would be bad for business, and he thought that there would be a strong possibility that The Commission would have him killed. For a decade, Salerno was secretly the most richest person in the world. Forbes magazine listed Salerno as one of the most powerful and successful people in the world. According to Tony Salerno's former protege and closest associate Vincent Cafaro "I was amazed and shocked when Tony Salerno told me what he was worth, around 1981, were talking about money, and i remember him telling me, that he has all the money in the world, and he said that he could give 100 bucks to everybody in the world and still be a multi-billionaire, then i asked Tony Salerno if he could loan me $200,000 so i could pay off my debts that i owed to other mobsters, and when i asked him his response was, vincent I'm worth $30 Billion, fuck that, ill give you $2 million dollars, consider this an early christmas present my friend. So he just gave me $2 million, and i didn't even have to pay him back, at that point i saw the never-ending power and wealth that he had, and it was a good moment for me, it was amazing, i mean i always wondered, because i never knew that he was worth anywhere near that much, i mean i knew that he was extremely rich, and i knew that he was the biggest gangster in the world, i figured he was multi-millionaire, and also knew he was an extremely powerful and influential guy, but i didn't know he was a fucking multi-billionaire, and i certainly didn't know that he was the richest person in the entire world."
Salerno was born and raised in East Harlem, New York. As a young man, he became involved in gambling, numbers, loansharking and protection rackets for the Lucky Luciano family, which later became the Genovese family. Salerno was in Michael "Trigger Mike" Coppola's crew. Salerno climbed the family ranks by controlling a possible $500 Million dollar a year numbers racket operation in Harlem and a major loansharking operation. He was also involved in labor unions rackets.
Unlike other mob bosses who were remote and reluctant to talk to outsiders, Salerno was very accessible. Mafiosi from Cleveland, Philadelphia, New England, Buffalo and other cities would visit Salerno to talk about various internal problems they wanted resolved. Salerno preferred a low-key existence and led an unpretentious life. He was never spotted at glitzy mob parties, nightclubs or other popular Mafia bistros. He even sent out Christmas cards with a picture of himself in pajamas on the front cover. Salerno always kept himself on a low profile, and he always kept his jaw-dropping net worth very low-key and very secretive, although he was secretly the most richest person in the world, he was never listed, nor known as the worlds most richest person, due to the fact that he always kept himself, his status, his illegal businesses, and his net worth extremely secretive and quiet. However Salerno was listed in numerous Forbes and fortune magazine's as the "The Most Powerful and Richest Gangster In The World", "The World's Top Gangster In Power, Wealth, Reach, Resources and Influence", "The Most Powerful, Richest and Dangerous Crime Boss In The World", "The Biggest Gangster In the World", and as "One Of The Most Powerful and Dangerous Men In The World."
In 1959, Salerno was a secret financial backer of a heavyweight professional boxing title fight at New York's Yankee Stadium between Swedish boxer Ingemar Johansson and American boxer Floyd Patterson. No charges were filed against Salerno. Salerno spent more of his time in his $50 million mega mansion in Miami Beach, Florida, a 550-acre estate and horse farm in upstate Rhinebeck, New York, the Palma Boys Club in East Harlem, and his $12 million, 10,000 square foot, mini mansion. in the upscale Gramercy Park section of Manhattan. He controlled S&A, a concrete contracting company, and Certified, one of the two major concrete suppliers in Manhattan. Salerno served as consigliere, underboss, and acting boss of the Genovese family.
By the 1960s, Salerno controlled the largest numbers racket operation in the United States, grossing up to $1 billion per year. Many mobsters moved out of Harlem and East Harlem when they became predominantly Latino and African-American neighborhoods. However, Salerno kept his headquarters at the Palma Boys Social Club in East Harlem and continued to work in these areas, and for 40 years, Salerno controlled all of Harlem with an iron fist. The FBI accused him of heading a bookie and loan shark network that grossed $100 million annually. Salerno hired Roy Cohn as his attorney. On April 20, 1978, Salerno was sentenced to six months in federal prison for illegal gambling, extortion, and tax evasion charges. In early 1981, after his release from prison, Salerno suffered a mild stroke and retreated to his Rhinebeck estate to recuperate. At the time of his stroke, Salerno was Vito Genovese's underboss.
Genovese front bossEdit
After Salerno's recovery from his stroke and the March 31, 1981 death of Genovese front boss Frank Tieri, Salerno became the new head of the Genovese crime family. Although law enforcement at the time thought that Salerno was the boss of the Genovese family, it later became clear that Salerno was not the true power. Vincent "The Fish" Cafaro, Salerno's right hand man later turned informant, said that Salerno was only a "front man". Ever since the death of boss Vito Genovese in 1969, the real family leader had been Phillip Lombardo. Over the years, Lombardo used several acting bosses to disguise his true status from law enforcement and the other four New York crime families. Over the years, Lombardo trained Vincent Gigante as his successor. According to Cafaro, Salerno became front boss in 1981 to protect Gigante.
On February 25, 1985, Salerno and eight other New York bosses on the "Mafia Commission" were indicted in the Mafia Commission Trial. The trial started in September 1986 and lasted three months. In October 1986, Fortune Magazine named the 75-year-old Salerno as the World's top gangster in power, wealth, reach and influence. Salerno was released on a $3 million bail, However, in United States v. Salerno the Supreme Court ruled that he could be held without bail because of his potential danger to the community. On November 19, 1986, Salerno was convicted on RICO charges and was later sentenced, along with six other defendants, to 100 years in prison.
While awaiting the Mafia Commission trial, Salerno was indicted on March 21, 1986 in a second federal racketeering indictment. The indictment accused Salerno of infiltrating concrete companies to control the construction of Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and other Manhattan high-rise projects. Salerno was also accused of illegally aiding the election of Roy Lee Williams to the national presidency of the Teamsters Union. Salerno pleaded not guilty on all charges. In 1988, Salerno was convicted and sentenced to 70 years in federal prison.
Prison and deathEdit
After his conviction and imprisonment, Salerno's health deteriorated because of his diabetes and suspected prostate cancer. On July 27th 1992, Anthony Salerno died of a stroke at the Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri. He died alone at age 81 without family members allowed at his bedside. Salerno was buried at Saint Raymond's Cemetery in the Throggs Neck section of the Bronx in New York.
In popular cultureEdit
- In the 2011 gangster movie Kill the Irishman, Salerno was portrayed by Paul Sorvino. The film depicts Salerno's role in the gangland war between the Cleveland crime family and Irish Mob boss Danny Greene.