Joseph Charles Dippolito, (born December 28, 1914 - died January 14, 1974) also known as "Joe Dip", was an Italian American Mafia member in the Los Angeles crime family. The son of fellow Mafioso Salvatore Dippolito (known as "Charlie Dip"), he rose to become Underboss of the Los Angeles family. He remained an obscure figure in the L.A. mob until featured in Jimmy "The Weasel" Fratianno's The Last Mafioso, written by Ovid Demaris.
Dippolito was born on December 28, 1914 in Brooklyn, New York to Angelina and Salvatore Dippolito. During Prohibition, he served a one-year prison sentence for illegally transporting liquor. After his release, Dippolito moved to San Bernardino, California where his parents lived. Eventually Dippolito and his father owned several businesses, including a hotel and a vineyard in Rancho Cucamonga. The Dippolitos became very prominent and powerful men in the Inland Empire. They were involved in many real estate deals and produced grapes for winemakers in California.
Dippolito also proved to be a competent killer. He was a big, muscular man who was "built like a heavyweight wrestler". When Aladena Fratianno set up to kill Mickey Cohen loyalist Frank Niccoli, Dippolito shook his hand and then wrapped him in a reverse bear hug. Fratianno and Sam Bruno then tied a rope around Niccoli's neck and choked him to death. Afterwards, Dippolito took the body and buried it in his vineyard, which was a popular place to bury dead bodies for the Mafia.
In 1952, Dippolito became a made man in the Los Angeles crime family under boss Jack Dragna. The ceremony took place at the Dippolito vineyard. He was now a soldier working in Fratianno’s crew. His father had been inducted into the family five years earlier. When Nick Licata became boss of the Los Angeles crime family in 1967, he promoted Dippolito to underboss.
On January 31, 1969, Dippolito was indicted in a Los Angeles court on three counts of perjury for statements he made during a liquor license inquiry on May 16, 1968. He was released on $10,000 bail and scheduled to be arraigned. On May 17, 1969, he was convicted on two of the three perjury charges. On June 10, 1969, he was sentenced to five years for each charge (10 years total). A $10,000 bond allowed him to remain free pending appeal of his conviction. It was during this time that law enforcement recognized him as the underboss of the Los Angeles family. On April 16, 1971, his sentence was reduced from ten to five years by Judge Warren J. Ferguson and he started serving his sentence. On December 13, 1971, Dippolito was paroled after only serving eight months. He was released after San Bernardino mayor Al C. Ballard, Police Chief Louis J. Fortuna, and California Superior Court Judge Joseph A. Katz vouched for Dippolito in letters written in 1969 to a probation officer.
Dippolito died on January 14, 1974 after being stricken by a heart attack at his daughter Josephine's wedding. He was interred at Bellevue Cemetery and Mausoleum in Ontario, California.