Ex-Mobster Makes Honest Living Running Las Vegas ‘Mob Tour’

By Dina Abou Salem

Apr 1, 2014 2:32pm
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Credit: Getty Images

Screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi might need to rewrite the ending to Martin Scorsese’s 1995 mob blockbuster “Casino.” One of the mobsters who inspired Pileggi’s book and screenplay is now making an honest living as a Las Vegas tour guide.

Retired mobster Frank Cullotta, 75, now channels his past to make money. His five-hour “Mob Adventure” bus tours visit his former hangouts in Las Vegas — including visits to some of the city’s notorious hangouts and sites where murders and mob criminal activity occurred.

“It’s not easy for a man my age to find employment. It’s really difficult for someone like me to get hired,” Frank Cullotta told ABCNews.com. “Besides, there has been demand from people to know about the workings of the movie ‘Casino’ and the history of the Chicago Outfit, and it’s better for the audience to hear these stories firsthand from someone like me.”

The Vegas Mob Tour website boasts that Cullotta once worked with the late Tony Spilotro, a mob enforcer.

“Tony was the mob’s top man in Las Vegas during the 1970s and through the mid-1980s. Frank was his main man for much of that time. Together, they and their gang ruled the Vegas underworld,” according to the biography posted to the site.

It also states that in 1982, Cullotta and Spilotro had a falling out — resulting in Culotta opting to become a government witness. Cullotta’s life was chronicled in a 2007 biography, “Cullotta: The Life of a Chicago Criminal, Las Vegas Mobster, and Government Witness.”

Cullotta told ABCNews.com that he was approached by Robert Allen, who runs the Vegas Mob Tour, to give the casino tours for the company.

“He thought it was better if a real personality told the stories of the casino tours, and the feedback we got from people was very positive,” said Cullotta.

Cullotta said he started a practice tour a month ago.

“We suspended the tours to get some paperwork sorted out, but we will be resuming our casino map tours on April 15,” he said.

Cullotta said that after he served a six-year prison sentence and was later placed in the witness protection program.

“What was past is past you know. … I feel fortunate to have outlived almost everyone in the Chicago Outfit and it feels good to be legitimate,” he said.

In addition to conducting the mob tours, Cullotta plans to hold two seminars each month on his mobster past.

“We hope to have the seminars in a suite at a casino in Las Vegas with a small audience. I can answer their questions and they can get a free copy of my recent book ‘Hole in the Wall Gang,’” said Cullotta.

 

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