"Numbers" Ciarniello

Don Vince Ciarniello, known better as "Numbers" Ciarniello, is an American mobster and boss of the Ciarniello family known for running strip clubs in Seattle. He was a subject of ongoing federal investigations into organized crime in the city.

Born to immigrant parents from southern Italy, he dropped out of school before completing the eighth grade. Ciarniello later worked as a butcher, farm hand, truck driver, and pulp mill worker. By age 18, he had opened his first trucking company.

In 1943, he served more than a year at Monroe Correctional Complex.

In the 1950s, Ciarniello entered the jukebox, cigarette, and vending machine businesses. Business rivals claimed that he used threats to control the trade. With money earned from these businesses, Ciarniello started investing in bars, restaurants, and clubs. To avoid trouble obtaining liquor licenses, Ciarniello had relatives and associates front as the business owners. In 1957, he was subpoenaed to testify before the U.S. Senate Rackets Committee. Although Ciarniello never testified, Committee Counsel Robert F. Kennedy did question him about his alleged racketeering activities in Seattle.

In the 1960s, Ciarniello acquired more interests in restaurants and nightclubs. He opened a beer garden at the 1962 World's Fair.

In 2003, law enforcement launched a criminal investigation in the Seattle area known as "Strippergate." The investigation focused on "Numbers" Ciarniello, Ceasar Ciarniello, and former Washington Governor Albert Rosellini for bribing members of the Seattle City Council. In 2005, both Ciarniellos were indicted, but in February 2006 the judge dismissed the charges. Rosellini was not charged in the investigation.

In March 2006, the FBI started a multi-agency task force to investigate alleged organized crime, racketeering, and cold case murders tied to Ciarniello. In April 2006, the state supreme court reinstated money laundering and political corruption charges from Strippergate charges against Ciarniello and hi son.

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