Mon Feb. 23 18:32 pm zoomata staffItalian government officials are rumored to be trying to track down relatives by the last name of Perri, unwitting heirs to a fortune left by mafia boss Rocco Perri who emigrated to Canada in the early 1900s.
Perri, who became known as king of the bootleggers in Canada, disappeared leaving around a million dollars in 1944. In his heyday during prohibition, he was said to have sold 1,000 cases of 60-proof whisky a day. His wife Bessie was killed by rival gangs, his brother Michele has since died and the whereabouts of his two children Caterina and Giuseppe are unknown.
That means a small fortune would go to distant relatives in the southern Italian region of Reggio Calabria who may have never even heard of him. If there are any direct descendants the quest may not be a quick one, since the Italian phone book counts nearly 3,000 Perris throughout the country.
Italian media reported that the town hall of Platì (population 3,500) where Perri was born in Reggio Calabria has seen a surge in requests to review birth and death records.
A fortune is a good reason to be diligent in tracing one’s roots to see whether the mythical wealthy ‘zio americano,’ or American uncle, many Italians are convinced they have somewhere?
Related resources:Excellent Cadavers: The Mafia and the Death of the First Italian Republic