In the 1980’s and 90’s two NYPD Police detectives were involved in murder for hire and various other illegal activities on behalf of the Lucchese crime family in New York. After their reign was over, several men were dead, and Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa were convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
Louis Eppolito was born in Brooklyn, New York on July 22, 1948. His mother Tessie, was a registered nurse, and his father was a Gambino crime family bookie named Ralph “Fats the Gangster” Eppolito. Eppolito had other mafia influences growing up as well. James Eppolito and James Eppolito Jr., his paternal uncle and cousin were made members of the Gambino family. Unfortunately, both were eventually rubbed out by Gambino soldier Roy DeMeo and their capo Nino Gaggi.
In 1969 at the age of twenty Eppolito began his career as a NYPD police officer. Upon his application, he was asked if he had any relation to the organized crime figures who shared the same name. He lied, indicating he had no relation and was accepted into the NYPD where he showed promise early in his career. He quickly rose to police detective and received several accommodations for bravery and was inducted into the very prestigious Honor Society.
Although the 1970’s were good for Eppolito, the 1980’s proved to be the beginning of his downfall. In 1984 he was suspended without pay for six months when he was accused of passing sensitive information to members of organized crime. The NYPD gave him the option to step down as an officer and go quietly, or to fight it out in court where they were determined to drag his name through the mud. Louis chose to fight and in 1985 a court ruled he was not guilty on all charges. He was immediately reinstated as detective and a short time later promoted.
As an Italian American Eppolito looked the part of the American gangster. One day he accompanied a friend to a casting call for an upcoming gangster movie and at the urging of the casting director he tried out for a small role. Upon completing his audition he was immediately cast as Fat Andy in the 1990 hit movie Goodfella’s. A short time later in 1992 he authored a book titled Mafia Cop: The Story of an Honest Cop Whose family Was the Mob. From there his career in movies and as a writer began to take off. He played small roles in several movies over the next couple of years and in an effort to get closer to Hollywood settled his family in Las Vegas in 1994.
Later that year a news story broke in the Daily news that Eppolitoand his former partner Stephen
Caracappa were involved in the murder of Gambino family capo, Eddie Lino who was shot nine times as he sat in his 1990 Mercedes S-Class near Brighton Beach on November 6, 1990. Louis immediately returned to New York and made himself available to law enforcement for questioning, however no charges were ever brought so he returned to Las Vegas.
His downfall began in late 1994 when defacto boss of the Lucchese family Anthony Casso turned informant instead of facing life in prison without parole. Casso revealed he’d been paying Eppolito $4000 per month for years in exchange for law enforcement information about the Lucchese’s and other families. Once he was arrested, he told the FBI about Eppolito’s involvement in several robberies, murders and extortion. Over the next 10 years the FBI and local law enforcement built their case against Eppolito and his partner. On March 9, 2005 Louis Eppolito and his former partner Stephen Caracappa were arrested on RICO charges and dubbed the Mafia Cops by the news media, a twist from Louis’s book in the early 1990’s.
During the trail the prosecution laid out in graphic detail their case against the two former detectives. In one such situation the prosecutors, who relied largely on Casso’s testimony, described how in 1986 the two detectives used their computer database to locate a Gambino associate named Nicholas Guido. Guido had once tried to kill Casso in a failed murder attempt. After locating Guido, assassins killed him December 25, 1986. Unfortunately the man they killed was the wrong Nicholas Guido. This Nicholas was a 26 year old man who was on his way to his uncles house for Christmas. He was excited to show him his new car. He never made it.
The prosecution continued to lay out their case detailing several more murders at the hands of Eppolito and Caracappa including the murder of Eddie Lino in November 1986. Eppolito admitted to Casso the two detectives often used an unmarked police car to pull over their victims. In Lino’s case, they both shot him on the spot; in others they tortured and mutilated the men before eventually killing them. For each hit the men received $65,000. The prosecutions case was open and closed, and both men were convicted and sentenced to life in prison in 2009. Eppolito received an additional 100 years to ensure he would not see daylight again. Both were also fined over 4 million dollars.