Joseph Dominick Pistone, also known by his undercover alias Donnie Brasco, is an American former FBI agent who worked undercover between September 1976 and July 1981, as part of an infiltration primarily into the Bonanno crime family, and to a lesser extent the Colombo crime family, two of the Five Families of the Mafia in New York City. Pistone was an FBI agent for 17 years, from 1969 until he resigned in 1986. The evidence collected by Pistone led to over 200 indictments and over 100 convictions of Mafia members—and some responsible for his infiltration were also killed by other mobsters. Pistone was a pioneer in long-term undercover work. The FBI's former director, J. Edgar Hoover, who died in 1972, did not want FBI agents to work undercover because of the danger of agents becoming corrupted; Pistone's work later helped convince the FBI that using undercover agents in lieu of relying exclusively on informants was a crucial tool in law enforcement.
|Born:||Joseph Dominick Pistone, September 17, 1939, Erie, Pennsylvania, U.S.|
|Other names:||"Donnie Brasco"|
|Alma mater:||Paterson State College|
|Occupation:||FBI special agent|
|Known for:||Undercover work infiltrating the Bonanno crime family|
|Notable work:||Donnie Brasco: My Undercover Life in the Mafia|
|IMDb:||Joseph D. Pistone's IMDb|
About Joseph D Pistone
Known for his nearly thirty-year-long career with the FBI, this legendary secret agent successfully infiltrated both the Bonanno and Colombo New York Mafia families. He was one of the first FBI agents to participate in lengthy undercover assignments.
After studying primary school education at Paterson State College in New Jersey, he briefly worked as a teacher before working for the Office of Naval Intelligence, and later, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Evidence he collected during his five-year undercover assignment resulted in the convictions of more than one hundred members of the Mafia.
Though born in Erie, Pennsylvania, he grew up primarily in Paterson, New Jersey. A member of a Sicilian-American family, he met numerous members of the Mafia during his childhood and so was in a unique position to fully understand the inner workings of the Mafia system and successfully impersonate someone belonging to this world.
In a 1997 film based on Pistone's 1998 memoir Donnie Brasco: My Undercover Life in the Mafia, actor Johnny Depp portrayed Pistone (Brasco).
Information related to Joseph D. Pistone
- People of the Office of Naval Intelligence
- Organized crime memoirists
- William Paterson University alumni
- Bonanno crime family