Joseph Dippolito

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Joseph Dippolito
Joseph Dippolito mugshot
Born (1914-12-18)December 18, 1914
New York City
Died January 14, 1974(1974-01-14) (aged 59)
Cause of death Heart attack
Nationality Italian American
Other names Joe Dip
Spouse(s) Frances Dippolito

Joseph Charles Dippolito, also known as "Joe Dip", was an Italian American Mafia member in the Los Angeles crime family. The son of fellow Mafioso Salvatore Charles Dippolito (known as "Charlie Dip"), he rose to become underboss of the Los Angeles crime family. He was also featured in the book The Last Mafioso by Ovid Demaris.


Dippolito was born on December 28, 1914 in Brooklyn, New York to Salvatore and Angelina Dippolito. During Prohibition, he served a one-year prison sentence for illegally transporting liquor. After his release, Dippolito moved to Fontana, San Bernardino, California where his parents lived. Eventually Dippolito and his father owned several businesses, including a hotel and extensive vineyards 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". In September, 1949, when Jimmy 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.[1] This method of execution was termed the "Italian rope trick," and was repeated on Louis Strauss ("Russian Louie") in April 1953, with Dippolito holding Strauss in a bear hug, while Fratianno and Frank Bompensiero strangled Strauss with a rope.[2]

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 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.[3] 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).[4] 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.[5]

Dippolito died on January 14, 1974 after being stricken by a heart attack at his daughter Josephine's wedding. He had poor health, and had been hospitalized about 3 months earlier because of a heart condition. He was interred at Bellevue Cemetery and Mausoleum in Ontario, California.[6] Survivors included his wife Frances, two sons, Anthony and Charles, both of Upland, two daughters, Mrs. Josephine Gatewood and Miss Angelina Dippolito, both of Upland, and four sisters, Mrs. Joseph Li Mandri of San Diego, Mrs. Victor DiCarlo of Etiwanda, Mrs. Joe Mineo of San Bernardino and Mrs. Bob Mineo of Rialto.[7]


  1. Sifakis, Carl. (2005). The Mafia Encyclopedia. (3rd. ed.). New York: Facts On File. p. 235
  2. King, Gary C. (2001). An Early Grave. New York: St. Martin's Paperbacks. pp. 8-9
  3. "Reputed Mafia Figure Seized in Perjury Case". Los Angeles Times. February 1, 1969. p. A3.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Gene Blake; Howard Hertel (November 26, 1969). "He Wants to Leave Office in January, US Attorney Says". Los Angeles Times. p. 3.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Jerry Cohen (July 25, 1970). "San Bernardino Officials Once Vouched for L.A. Mafia Figure". Los Angeles Times. p. B5.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Burial record at Belleview Memorial Park, Ontario, California
  7. "Joseph Dippolito dies at Pomona". San Bernardino Sun. January 15, 1974.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


Business positions
Preceded by
Nick Licata
Los Angeles crime family

Succeeded by
Dominic Brooklier