Last updated at 10:32 PM on 25th March 2011
The naked truth about life in the Mafia was laid bare in court this week - you have to strip off for the initiation ceremony.
The organized crime gangs are so paranoid about being infiltrated that would-be wiseguys can only wear underpants and a bathrobe.
Anthony 'Bingy' Arillotta, 42, testified in Manhattan Federal Court that fears of FBI surveillance meant no clothing was allowed when he became a 'made' member of the Genovese clan.
It is thought the rule came into play after the federal agents secretly taped an initiation ceremony in 1989.The turncoat mobster’s revelation was the first time La Cosa Nostra’s 'no clothes' rule has been made public.
Made man: Anthony Arillotta, left in light-coloured sweater, told how wannabe wiseguys had to take their clothes off at initiation ceremonies
However mob expert Jerry Capeci said authorities have been aware of the nude ceremonies since at least 1999, when alleged Genovese mobster Vincent Aparo was recorded telling an informer about his induction.
Arillotta, of Springfield, Massachusetts, told jurors he had long awaited the call that summoned him to the Nebraska Steakhouse in The Bronx at 11am on August 11, 2003 — the day before his daughter’s birth.
He and another man hoping to be 'made' were told to leave their jewelry, beepers and cellphones at the bar, and then were driven to an apartment building.
They were met by reputed Genovese soldier Steve Alfisi, who told Arillotta to wait his turn in a tiny bathroom.
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'And he told me to undress, take all my clothes off, and put on a bathrobe,' Arillotta recalled.
'Then, after I was undressed, he said I could leave my underwear on. He gave me the bathrobe.'prosecutor Mark Lanpher then asked: 'What was your understanding of why you had to undress and put on a bathrobe?'
Gang life: The Manhattan court got an amazing insight into organised crime induction
He then went to describe a scene that sounds familiar to fans of gangster films.
Arillotta said he was led into a room where reputed Genovese mobsters Arthur Nigro and Pasquale “Scop” DeLuca were seated at a table with a gun on it.
Nigro, a reputed former acting boss of the crime family, allegedly told him that 'they were part of the secret society called La Cosa Nostra.'
Arillotta said he agreed to become a member.
He said: 'And he asked me if — if he asked me to commit murder, would I commit murder for him? I said yes.'
Nigro then allegedly pricked Arillotta’s trigger finger with a pin and smeared the blood on a piece of blank paper that he set ablaze in Arillotta’s cupped hands.
'And then he had me repeat after him that I’m never to divulge this meeting ever took place, never to divulge any secrets or cooperate with any law enforcement,' Arillota said.
'If I do, I’m going to burn like this piece of paper.'
Despite that oath, Arillotta is testifying against gang members in exchange for leniency from a potential life sentence after he was busted last year along with Nigro on murder and racketeering charges, including a 2003 hit on the very person who proposed him for membership: former Springfield mob boss Adolfo 'Big Al' Bruno.
At Nigro's indictment last year, it was alleged in court papers that Bruno, who led the Genovese family's 'Springfield crew,' was killed after he fell out of favour 'because he was not sending sufficient tribute payments to New York.'
Court papers also revealed that Bruno was murdered 'to prevent his communicating to a law enforcement officer and judge of the United States information relating to the commission and possible commission of federal offences.'