Simone Rizzo DeCavalcante (1912 - 1997), known as Sam the Plumber, was a member of the New Jersey mafia. Claiming descent from the Italian royal family, DeCavalcante was nicknamed The Count. The Kefauver hearings later named his crime family the DeCavalcante crime family since he was the boss of the family current to those hearings.
New Jersey Mob Boss
DeCavalcante was a relatively minor crime boss who oversaw illegal gambling, loansharking, and labor racketeering in New Jersey. Living in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, but working out of Newark, New Jersey, DeCavalcante commanded around sixty mafiosi. His legal front was a local plumbing supply store in Kenilworth, New Jersey. In 1960, DeCavalcante became boss of the New Jersey mafia. Shortly after that, he acted as a liaison between the Mafia Commission and the Bonanno crime family after the beginning of the Bonanno War between the New York Five Families. He has a close resemblance to actor Dennis Farina.
From 1961 to 1965, DeCavalcante became the subject of an FBI investigation known as the "Goodfella Tapes". This investigation confirmed claims by informant Joe Valachi, provided crucial information on La Cosa Nostra, and revealed the existence of the Mafia Commission. In 1969, after compiling almost 2,300 transcript pages of taped conversations, the FBI released them to the public.Following the release of the tapes, DeCavalcante was convicted of extortion-conspiracy and sentenced to fifteen years imprisonment.
Following his release in 1976, Decavalcante retired to Southern Florida. It was his plan to build a legitimate resort casino, but that was stymied when Florida voters rejected legalized gambling. While officially "retired", many suspected that DeCavalcante was still involved in his crime family, particularly with his selected successor, Giovanni "John the Eagle" Riggi.
On June 7, 1997, Sam DeCavalcante died of a heart attack in Florida.