The New York Times profiles Salvatore Vitale, who killed for New York’s Bonnano crime family, then decimated it as a federal informant. His criminal life story is laid out in a document federal prosecutors in Brooklyn filed last month. It touches on 23 murders, 11 of which Vitale directly participated in, and many other crimes that he and other mob figures committed. The document also tells how the Bonannos were ruined through Vitale's betrayal in 2003 of the crime family and his own extended family, as he became a star government witness. His testimony helped to imprison 51 mob figures, including Joseph Massino and the last four acting bosses of the Bonanno family.
Vitale, 62, is to be sentenced on Friday. Prosecutors have called his cooperation “groundbreaking by any measure,” and filed the 122-page document to seek a more lenient sentence than the mandatory life term set forth in the advisory sentencing guidelines. In a 10-year assault on the Bonanno family, the FBI and prosecutors have convicted a total of 135 members and associates, making Vitale perhaps the most prolific mob turncoat since Salvatore Gravano, who testified against the Gambino boss John J. Gotti.