A powerful Genovese crime family captain Frank “Punchy” Illiano unlike most mobsters passed away at home from natural causes. He was a major force with in the Genovese family serving on several committees and ruling panels through out the 1990’s and into the 2000’s as other top family leaders including former boss Vincent “Chin” Gigante were being prosecuted and sent to prison according to mob sources. He was spotted in the mid 1990’s on walk talks with high level Genovese mobsters including John Barbato and Dominick Cirillo according to law enforcement. Both Barbato and Cirillo are still major players and high level leaders in the Genovese family on the streets today. Illiano was also said to be a close associate of one time Genovese family acting boss Daniel Leo.
“Tony Abbatermarco. Albert Gallo and Frank Illiano in January 1962”
Although Illiano enjoyed a rewarding career with the Genovese family he began his life in the mafia as a member of the Colombo family. The tough Brooklyn based mobster was part of the rebel Gallo brothers faction during the Colombo wars of the 1960’s and 1970’s. He was arrested more the 15 times during the Profaci-Gallo war in the 1970’s but spent less then a year total in prison. The illusive mobster even beat murder conspiracy charges in 1965 along with Larry and Albert Gallo getting charges reduced to misdemeanor assault and getting a six month sentence. Then in the mid 1970’s Illiano along with other Colombo mobsters were released by the family allowing them to become part of the Genovese family in a move to get rid of remaining rival faction rebels and stop internal family war.
This move to the Genovese family was worked out during a high level mob meeting between Colombo leaders and Toddo Marino a top Genovese family capo. But sources say that Gigante at time a powerful capo by his own right in the Genovese family was the driving force behind the agreement being an old boxing buddy of Illiano’s. Gingante has Illiano added to the crew he was leading and over the years Illiano prospered himself rising to the rank of capo. Although he began as a member of the Colombo’s he was respected by the Genovese family mobsters and one source said he was beloved part of the family for his take charge attitude and his work ethic. In recent years he was often seen is his neighborhood exchanging pleasantries with everyone according to local neighbors.