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GEORGE FRESOLONE, 48
Mob turncoat wrote about organized crime

Associated Press
Published March 17, 2002

NEWARK, N.J. -- George Fresolone, an organized crime turncoat who wore a hidden microphone to his own Mafia initiation and helped prosecutors indict leaders of the Philadelphia-New Jersey mob, has died. He was 48.

He died of a heart attack Wednesday at an undisclosed location where he had been living under an assumed identity since leaving the federal witness protection program.

Mr. Fresolone co-wrote the 1994 book "Blood Oath," about the workings of the mob.

Last year, he accused the popular HBO series "The Sopranos" of stealing ideas from the book. HBO denied the claim.

"As far as I know, he was never sick and never complained about chest pains," his co-author, Robert Wagman, said.

No foul play was suspected in his death, officials said.

"Blood Oath" detailed Mr. Fresolone's time inside organized crime, including his teenage years in Newark's Ironbound section, his decision to become an informant and the tape recordings he made for investigators in 1989 and 1990.

Authorities said the information he helped gather led to the 1991 racketeering indictments against 38 reputed mobsters, including now-imprisoned Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo Sr., then the reputed Philadelphia-Atlantic City mob boss.

Mr. Fresolone wrote that the mob's failure to provide for his family while he served time on a bookmaking conviction was a major factor behind his decision to turn state's evidence.
Copyright 2002, Chicago Tribune

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