(WPRI) - All the mob-related terms you've heard, but were afraid to ask about.
Associate - A person who is not a made member of a crime family, but still works for them.
Boss - The leader of an organized crime family. The top guy.
Borgata - A criminal gang. An Italian term referring to an organized crime family. Example: The Gambino Family is one of the five borgata's in New York. It's also a Sicilian term for a hamlet.
Button Man - A made member, or official member of an organized crime family. Getting ones "button" means you are inducted into the family.
Capo Regime - aka "Capo." The Captain of a crime family. This person falls under the Boss, Underboss and Consigliere, but is a ranking member of the family that controls several made members and associates that are under him.
The Commission - A group of the five bosses or acting bosses of the New York Crime Families. The Commission was formed to vote on pressing issues that would affect the Five Families. It is also the foundation for a major federal crackdown on organized crime in New York from the 80's, referred to as the "Commission Case."
Consigliere - Adviser or counselor to the boss of a crime family. This person falls below the boss in the power structure, but normally does not have a "crew" of men working for him. The Boss looks to the consigliere for advice. In turn, this person is shown respect in the family.
Extortion - The act of getting something of value (money, property, etc.) from a person through the use of violence or implied violence.
Flip - The act of changing sides; cooperating with law enforcement by providing information on fellow criminals. It usually comes with the agreement for forgiveness or leniency on crimes committed by the person who is working with investigators.
La Cosa Nostra (LCN) - Translated: "Our Thing." A term referring to Italian organized crime families.
Loan-sharking - The act of loaning money to an individual at an extremely high interest rate. The loan sharking rate in the underworld is usually 50 percent of what is borrowed, but can be more.
Omerta - A vow of silence taken by mobsters. An oath not to divulge information, especially to law enforcement.
Made Man - A person who has taken the oath with an organized crime family. Someone who has gone from associate to official member of the family. See also "Button Man."
Racketeering - A term referring to the act of committing several crimes, usually criminal gambling, extortion, bribery and loan-sharking.
R.I.C.O. - "Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act." A federal law designed originally to combat organized crime, but has been expanded to other legal arenas as well. To be charged under the RICO Act, the person must have committed two of 35 crimes. The idea is to prove a pattern of criminal activity. A defendant faces up to 20 years for a RICO charge.
The Act was designed by legal professor Robert George Blakey. It's believed he named "RICO" after a character in the old gangster movie Little Caeser. The character of "Rico," is eventually gunned down by police.
Shakedown - Similar to extortion, it's usually used in reference to the physical act of extorting money from someone through an assault or a threat.
Shylocking - See Loan Sharking
Sit-down - A gathering of made members of a crime family. Often used to refer to a gathering in which to hash out differences or disputes.
Underboss - The number "2" in a crime family. He answers only to the boss.
Whacked - The act of murdering someone. Aka a "hit."
Wiseguy - A term referring to a made member of an organized crime family.
Wiretap - A concealed recording device on a phone line. Also referred to as a "bug."