Domenick "Remo" Cersani (1893 – 1963) was an Italian-American gangster who served as a caporegime in the Colombo crime family; he was also the mentor of Jimmy Burke. He was involved in forgery, extortion, loansharking, bookmaking, money laundering and hijacking.
Early life Edit
Cersani was born in Lower East Side, Manhattan in Monroe, New York, but later moved to Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. He is described by Henry Hill as the "best friend" of Jimmy Burke. He married a woman named "Marie" in 1930, and remained with her until his death.
Relationship with Jimmy Burke Edit
In September 1949, Burke, who was 18 years old at the time, was arrested for trying to pass $3,000 worth of fraudulent checks in an Ozone Park, Queens bank. He also was a silent partner in several South Ozone Park, Queens garment district factories and Robert's Lounge. In the 1940s Cersani headed a gang of professional counterfeit check cashers in Bensonhurst. He would later move to Ozone Park to be closer to Burke, whom he would work with extensively. Burke was sentenced to five years in Auburn Correctional Facility for bank forgery after refusing to implicate Cersani. This turned out to be his break into the underworld of New York; his refusal to inform on his accomplices gave him a reputation as a "stand up guy", meaning he would not cooperate with the police and therefore could be trusted. Cersani dubbed him "The Irish Guinea", and arranged for associates in the prison to protect him. Cersani also introduced Burke to to Richard Eaton in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 1962. He was a regular habitue of Robert's Lounge and friends with Henry Hill and Thomas DeSimone.
Cersani was arrested with a small load of hijacked goods and, in exchange for a reduced sentence, informed the New York Police Department about a trailer truckload that Burke was putting together. Burke got suspicious when his friend invested only $5,000 into the $200,000 load of merchandise. When Burke was stopped by the police en route to the warehouse for unloading, the fact that Dominick had somehow not invested in that particular shipment raised Burke's paranoid suspicions. Burke became anxious enough to inquire with the corrupt Queens County District Attorney as to the source that led to his subsequent hijacking arrest and indictment. The District Attorney confirmed that Cersani had informed on him. Cersani was dead a week later. At the Robert's Lounge Burke told Remo "Lets take a ride." Tommy DeSimone strangled Remo with a piano wire from the back seat of the cadillac, he fought viciously and defecated all over the interior as well as himself before he slipped away, Henry Hill said "Remo put up some fight. He kicked and swung and shit all over himself before he died." Burke had Remo's body buried next to the bocce court behind Robert's Lounge. It was said that whenever Burke and Tommy DeSimone played bocce there with friends, they would jokingly say "Hi Remo, how ya doing?"
Fictional portrayals Edit
Cersani himself is not a character in Goodfellas, the film adaptation of Hill's memoir. The manner of his death was later used to portray the grisly murder of Martin Krugman in the aftermath of the 1978 Lufthansa heist, however. After Thomas DeSimone (portrayed by Joe Pesci) garrotes the unsuspected Krugman (Chuck Low), he shoves an ice pick in between the first and second vertabrae of his neck, killing him.