Pete Chiodo

Peter Chiodo

Peter "Big Pete" Chiodo (born 1940) was a capo in the Lucchese crime family who later became a government witness. He is the nephew of Frank Signorino.

Background Edit

In 1987, Chiodo became a made man in the Lucchese family in a ceremony held in an apartment over a funeral home in Queens. In 1989, Chico became a capo in charge of funneling payoffs from Local 580 of the Ironworkers' Union to the Lucchese leadership.

Windows CaseEdit

In 1989, the Lucchese family began worrying about indictments from the Windows case. The Luccheses and three other New York families had participated in a window replacement scheme that stole millions of dollars from the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). Worried that construction union leader John Morrissey might testify in this case for the prosecution, family leaders ordered Chiodo to lure Morrissey to New Jersey, where he was murdered.

In 1991, Chiodo was charged with violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) in the Windows case. Faced with a solid government case, Chiodo decided to plea guilty in return for a lighter sentence. However, Chiodo's plea angered Lucchese official boss Vittorio Amuso and official underboss Anthony Casso, both in hiding from the law. Convinced that Chiodo was going to betray them Amuso and Casso ordered street boss Alphonse D' Arco, the acting boss, to kill Chiodo. Casso and Chiodo had been good friends for years.

Assassination attemptEdit

On May 8, 1991 two shooters ambushed Chiodo at a gas station in Staten Island where he was working on a car. Chiodo received 12 bullet wounds in the arms, legs, and torso, but survived the attack. Doctors credited Chiodo's 500 pound (227 kg.) weight for saving his life. Following the unsuccessful assassination attempt, Lucchese mobsters delivered a blunt threat to Chiodo lawyer that they would kill Chiodo's wife if he testified. According to Chiodo, he decided to become a government witness to protect his family. The government quickly brought Chiodo's immediate family into the federal Witness Protection Program.

With the failure of his gunmen to murder Chiodo, D'Arco soon became afraid of the wrath of his bosses. After a 1991 meeting during which he feared being murdered, Alphonse D' Arco went into hiding and soon became a government witness himself.

Government witnessEdit

In September 1991, using a wheelchair due to his wounds, Chiodo testified in the Windows trial. Chiodo stated that he had undergone a "transformation" from a violent criminal to a man with a conscience. When asked what prompted this transformation, Chiodo replied "I was shot 12 times".

Chiodo's remaining family in Brooklyn soon suffered retaliation from the Luccheses. On March 10, 1992, Lucchese associate Michael Spinelli shot Patricia Capozallo, Chiodo's sister, while she was driving in Bensonhurst. Capozallo suffered wounds to the arm, back and neck but survived. On February 2, 1993, the body of Frank Signorino, Chiodo's uncle, was found in the trunk of a car in East New York: the blunt trauma death victim of violence that was not mob-related.

Chiodo provided valuable evidence that helped convict both Vittorio Amuso and Anthony Casso as well as many other gangsters. While testifying in different cities, the government had to fly Chido in a special plane due to his morbid obesity. In July 1997, Chido testified against Genovese crime family boss Vincent Gigante in another Windows-related racketeering trial.

On September 11, 2007, Chiodo was sentenced to 17 years in prison on racketeering charges. However, due to his testimony, Chiodo was to serve no time in prison. Chiodo is currently in the Witness Protection Program.