Skip to main content

Joe The Boss Fama by Mark Anthony Given

The martyr cannot be dishonored. Every lash inflicted is a tongue of fame; 
Every prison a more illustrious abode.  -Ralph Waldo Emerson
              YOU GOTTA LOVE a guy who's doing life without the possibility of parole, a couple of his kids rolled on him to save themselves, knew he was never getting out of prison again, Joe would just smile and say, "Forget about it..."   I was the clerk, and we all got out at the same time, I'd wait along the wall for him to catch up to us all going back to our Units at the end of the day, and we'd walk back together.  Kinda short with a big belly and the heaviest Brooklyn accent you ever heard and he liked to look you right in the eyes when he talked to you...  You could tell he was a very, very serious man....  I don't know what he saw in me but just loved the guy.  He was what he was.  He didn't pretend to be anybody but the "Joe 'The Boss" right out of Central Casting, except this no movie, and he wasn't playing no part. 

                   THE CHOW HALL at FCI Texarkana was smack int he middle of the long, long thirties style East Texas prison in an all prison town.  There's like thirty joints within fifty miles, and I was lucky to get one good rock station out of Shreveport, Louisiana due south.  We always sat at the same table by the doors, and everyone knew we were there for the same reason.  To laugh our fucking ass off.  Between me and Carlos Marcello, who was funny as hell too, we could keep them rolling, and everyone in the joint knew who we were.  They knew who Carlos was; Joe fame was well known, the Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Yarborough was doing five years for bank fraud and a couple more for bail jumping.  He was a bump on the log but didn't mind us goofing on him.  Even the hacks would gather at that end to hear us.  
 MY HUSTLE IN PRISON was the magazine route.  Back in the seventies and eighties, you could check Bill Me Later, and they would start sending magazines, CD's, Fingerhut, stuff.  I had the latest Rob Report, Playboy, Penthouse, Rolling Stone, Utne Reader; you name it.  On the Invoice, I'd slice the bottom of the envelope just room enough for a check to slide out and check "Check Enclosed."  I made my rounds throughout the prison a few times a week, and only the elite dozen or so guys were on my official list, and people would stop me all the time and I'd pretend to look at a piece of paper in my hand and say, "Nope, not on the list."  I'd keep walking....I know it sounds lame and I never really made any money at it, but I knew I would at least get to say, "I knew Carlos Marcello!  Joe "The Boss" Fama (Brooklyn '83), The "Pizza Connection," guys.... _____ Silva (Chicago hitman 28 kills (Joe's celli), and a couple of others.  

       "In April 1984, pursuant to a warrant, the Fama home was searched.  A truly astonishing quantity of evidence was seized from throughout the house, including approximately thirteen pounds of heroin; two and one-half pounds of cocaine; almost one hundred pounds of marijuana; over $3.4 million in cash; more than twenty-five firearms, at least seven of which were loaded, including semi-automatic pistols, revolvers and rifles, and large quantities of narcotics diluents and other drug paraphernalia.  As a result of the search, Barbara Fama, her husband, and four children were all arrested.  They are currently under indictment in the Eastern District of New York for a number of narcotics and firearms violations.
 Joe "The Boss," Fama died right after I left him in FCI Texarkana January 4, 1990.  
                  THEY ALL KNEW I defrauded seventy-five banks from one end of the country to the other out of a couple of million dollars with my Split Deposit Scam.  That I didn't have any co-defendants to roll on me, and I had a New York Number.  055.  053, 054 and 055 are US Marshal numbers.  034 is New Orleans.  004 is Miami.  068 Los Angeles and so on (I'm positive of all of them except LA).  The last three digits identify what jurisdiction you were arrested in.  Mine was 01863-055, and if you go back in, you keep your number no matter what....
              Easter Sunday, 1989 in the Chow hall at the federal prison with dozens of witnesses with Don Carlos Marcello, Don Joe Fama, and the Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Yarborough, who screwed up the election for Texas Supreme Court Justice so bad they teach his criminal case in law school.  He held court for the first time, and he loved it, and I got the nod. I Got Made.   I'd always seen the judge looking around to see who was watching us with a wicked smile like he could not believe his luck.  But I found out he was in the same Unit at Carlos, C Unit and he looked after Carlos in a way.  Carlos had a genuine entourage with him everywhere he went, even his own guard.  They kept a real close eye on him, believe me.   Everybody in the joint knew who he was and even the staff were gaga over him, and it was all I could do was to bust out and say, 

"Yo Carlos, I gotta know dog, did you whack JFK?"

And you are not going to believe this, every single time I have seen them, he told me he was getting out any day!  And I say to myself, yeah right....  And sure enough, a defective jury instruction sent him to the house, and he died in his own bed a few years later..

 I GOT MADE (Next)...
To be continued.
10:57 AM 4/2/2016

 COPYRIGHT 2016 by Mark Anthony Given
All Rights Reserved 28 USC 1746  Public Law: Pub. L. 94-553 (Oct. 19, 1976)
U.S. Statutes at Large: 90 Stat. 2541

11:06 AM 1/28/2016

Popular posts from this blog

My Appointment With the Devil by Mark Anthony Given


We may not pay Satan reverence, for that would be indiscreet,  but we can at least respect his talents. -Mark Twain
  MID-THIRTIES I found myself alone at a lonely interstate rest area in Florida in the middle of the night, having driven from  New Orleans for the last several days, I went from rest area to rest area withdrawing from Methadone, starving but couldn't eat.  Dying of thirst, but couldn't drink.  Throwing up, diarrhea, high temperature and worst of all, I couldn't sleep.  Beg for sleep for three or four hours and sleep for ten minutes and start all over again.  I was at probably the lowest point of my life.  And I still had an appointment with the devil.    And he's going to be here in a minute.....          THE DEVIL IS REAL.  I met him.  Twice.  I know you're not going to believe this but I don't care.  I ain't got a reason to lie to y…

Circle Jerk City by Mark Anthony Given

 My father carries around the picture of the kid who came with his wallet. -Rodney Dangerfield

I BUSTED OUT OF every juvenile home they placed me in when I was a kid.  Industry, The New York State School for Boys, fifteen miles south of Rochester, New York where my parents were, was the largest juvenile reformatory in the Empire State. I thought of this escape hundreds of times throughout the years as the seminal moment I became bad. Not real bad mind you, but bad none the less. Still thinking I was Matt Helm or James Bond, I plotted my daring escape from the moment they brought me there from a local juvenile detention facility which I also broke out of. To be honest with you I thought it was my duty to escape. I don’t know really why like I said I was a bad kid. Rolling thru the beautiful upstate New York countryside in the back of state car in the early morning hours to the famous “Industry,” the place you didn’t want to be, I considered for a few minutes the possibilit…

ONE RAT AT A TIME by Mark Anthony Given

 Information is the currency of democracy. — Thomas Jefferson
              THE FEDERAL REPORTER’S come out every few weeks in paperback. The latest United States Court of Appeals decisions, and the Federal Supplement’s containing every case worthy of publication from the lower or United States District Court’s. This is where the Rubber Meets the Road when determining WHO’S A RAT or who isn’t. If you are named in a Case as a Confidential Informant or Cooperating Witness; it’s written in stone. When I was the Head of the Inmate Law Library at the Federal Correctional Facility at Seagoville, Texas, just minutes from Dallas-Ft. Worth, in the early 1990’s, we had a file called “The Cut Case’s.” Guy’s would literally run from the Bus that brought them there, many Self-Surrender, to the Inmate Law Library and surgically cut their Cases right out of the Law Books. Or make the book disappear.              NEARLY ALL the cases brought to me involved Ra…