Tony Fiato

Tony Fiato

Anthony "Tony" Fiato aka Tony the Animal and Tony Rome (b. August 31, 1949) is a former Los Angeles mobster who as an Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) informant helped convict nearly 70 underworld figuresFact|date=May 2007.

Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Fiato grew up on the Hanover Street in the North End neighborhood. Fiato's father operated a bar that was a hangout for Cosa Nostra mobsters. As a teenager, Fiato started running errands for the leaders of the Patriarca crime family in Boston. When Fiato was seventeen, his family moved to Hollywood, California, where his father opened a second bar. Fiato soon became involved with the Los Angeles crime family, with mobster Mike Rizzitello as his mentor. Fiato eventually becoming an enforcer and then a street boss for the crime family, involved in extortion, assault, loansharking, and collecting delinquent debts. Fiato worked with mobsters Anthony Spilotro, John Roselli, Joey Gallo, Peter Milano, and Jimmy Fratianno. Fiato soon gained a reputation as a feared and dangerous mobster prone to violent outbursts over minor irritations. It is unclear how many murders or contract hits Fiato may have ordered or performed.

Fiato soon became friends with celebrities. He attended professional boxing matches with actor Robert Mitchum. Fiato later claimed that he helped singer Dean Martin recover money that was swindled from Martin's former wife, Betty. Addionall, Fiato claimed that he helped actor James Caan's brother escape from drug dealers holding him captive. Fiato claims that, in return, Caan testified before a grand jury on Fiato's behalf.

After his indictment in 1984, Fiato turned FBI informant/stool pigeon, he and his brother Larry entered the federal Witness Protection Program. Fiato provided evidence that resulted in the arrests of some of his best friends and confidants in the Los Angeles and Boston crime families. Fiato was involved in the investigation of the 1982 murder of Frank Christi, a film and television actor who was shot to death in his carport. Fiato claimed that Norman Freeberg had offered him the murder contract,Fact|date=May 2007, but Fiato said he refused it.

Fiato was a companion and possible short-term boyfriend of Denise Brown, the sister of O.J. Simpson's murdered wife Nicole Brown. Fact|date=May 2007. In the Simpson murder trial, Fiato and brother Larry testified that they heard Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) detective Philip Vannatter say that he suspected that Simpson had murdered Nicole Brown, revealing that perhaps Vannatter was not impartial. When the Fiato brothers testified, Judge Lance Ito ordered the press to turn off the television camera and microphones to protect them from exposure.

Further reading

*Hunt, Darnell M. "O. J. Simpson Facts and Fictions: News Rituals in the Construction of Reality". Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999. ISBN 0-521-62468-1
*Smith, John L. "The Animal in Hollywood: Anthony Fiato's Life in the Mafia". Barricade Books, New York, 1998. ISBN 1-56980-126-6

External links

* [http://members.fortunecity.com/sosdie/mob/family/la/la.htm Dieland: The Los Angeles Family]
* [http://www.eonline.com/celebrities/profile/index.jsp?uuid=4ae341a6-d2d0-4d9e-9af6-102eaa74db3d Celebrities: James Caan]


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