Frank Tieri was a member of the Genovese Family and was nicknamed "Funzi" or "the Old Man", Tieri was the first mobster to be convicted under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act that was primarily enacted in order to bring down Mafia bosses.
Arriving from Naples in 1911, Tieri was denied US citizenship twice living as a resident alien in Brooklyn. Compared to some of the more flamboyant and violent Mafia bosses such as John Gotti, Tieri was considered a fairly low-profile and diplomatic mobster. He was convicted of armed robbery when he was aged twenty but otherwise managed to avoid attracting too much attention to himself, living in a modest home in Brooklyn.
In 1972, aged sixty-seven, Tieri became head of the Genovese Family after his predecessor Thomas Eboli was murdered. It is alleged that Carlo Gambino ordered Eboli's murder because he regarded him as a liability and wanted Tieri to take over.However, today, most experts believe that Philip Lombardo had been the family boss since the late sixties and Tieri only replaced Eboli as the new front boss.
Tieri is suspected of ordering the murder of Angelo Bruno, the head of the Philly mob, so that the Genovese Family and their Gambino allies could get their hands on Atlantic City, where Bruno had previously had jurisdiction. Bruno was blasted to death at point-blank range by a shotgun in 1980.
Although claimed to be an employee of a sportswear manufacturer, federal procecutors charged Tieri as the head of one of the largest crime families in the US, its illegal activities including extortion, illegal gambling, fraud, narcotics, and murder.
On November 21, 1980, Tieri was the first Mafia boss convicted under the RICO Act and sentenced to ten years imprisonment on January 23, 1981. The now 76 year old mobster was in ill-health and died of natural causes at Mount Sinai Hospital on March 31, only two months after his conviction.