The Real Goodfellas: Gangsters That Inspired the Martin Scorsese Film


Hill joined the army in June 1960 to duck a probe into a 1957 Apalachin mob summit that may or may not have named his boss. Hill did two months in jail when he was in the army for stealing a sheriff’s car and getting into a fight at a bar. In Goodfellas, Hill meets his future wife Karen Friedman on a double date with Tommy, but it was actually Paul Vario’s son, Paul Jr., who went on the date. Setting his old man up, so he could give Hill the devil horns later on.

On April 7, 1967, Hill and Thomas DeSimone knocked off Air France for $420,000 by getting a guard drunk and laid, and making a copy of his key to the safe. Lucky fucking guard.

Hill says that William “Billy Batts” Bentvena was killed because Burke took over Bentvena’s loan shark operatons while Bentvena was in jail and, now that he was out, Bentvena wanted it back. He says it happened a few weeks after the party, but it was still DeSimone who yelled “Shine these fuckin’ shoes!” and pistol-whipped Bentvena. Hill says they stopped at DeSimone’s mom’s to get a shovel, and she made them coffee and breakfast. DeSimone killed Bentvena with the shovel and a tire iron. Having killed Bentvena twice, it was only fair that they bury him twice.

Hill did a six year stretch with Burke for beating John Ciaccio for skipping a bet. A month later, Hill was busted because Ciaccio’s sister worked for the FBI. A judge found Hill and Burke guilty of extortion on November 3, 1972 and was housed at United States Penitentiary, Lewisburg, along with Paul Vario. Most of John Gotti’s crew was there at the time too.

Two months after Hill got out of jail, Martin Krugman, his bookie, told him about Lufthansa and how much money there was in the vault at Kennedy Airport. Hill wasn’t actually on the job, and Krugman was whacked and hacked up at “Vinnie’s Fence Company.”

Hill went into dope. Selling and using. He got fingered by a mule who also squealed about Lufthansa. Hill was busted on April 27, 1980 and ratted out everyone who he thought was out to clip him. Burke allegedly tried to contract a job on Hill to Greg Bucceroni, but he passed and Burke went to jail. Hill’s testimony convicted 50 guys. Jimmy Burke got 20 years for the 1978–79 Boston College point shaving scandal.

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