Billy Cutolo Jr on MTV's docuseries 'Families of the Mafia'.
Source: MTV

Why Did 'Families of the Mafia' Cast Member Billy Cutolo Jr. Enter Witness Protection?

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Aug. 5 2021, Published 11:16 p.m. ET

On the new season of MTV's docuseries Families of Mafia, two new families were introduced to audiences — one being the Cutolo family. The Cutolos bring a long-standing family history of mafia crime to the series. Billy Cutolo Jr is the son of the once-powerful mob underboss William "Wild Bill" Cutolo and was his father's right-hand man at one time. Wild Bill had many businesses, and some were pretty successful, like his chain of restaurants and nightclubs in Miami and New York.

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The underboss was also guilty of numerous murders, loansharking, racketeering, illegal gambling, and extortion. Billy's father was known for his control and power in the underworld and even commanded a team of hitmen. It's been said that Wild Bill played a crucial role in the 1991-1993 Columbo War. On May 26, 1999, Wild Bill went missing. Alphonse Persico, the boss of the Colombo family, asked the underboss to meet with him for a private meeting.

Billy Cutolo filming the MTV series "Families of the Mafia"
Source: MTV
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Once he arrived at the meet-up location, he was kidnapped. Two years after his father's disappearance, Billy and his family entered the witness protection program. How did Billy's father die, and why did Billy have to go into hiding?

How did Billy's father, William "Wild Bill" Cutolo, die?

After Wild Bill was kidnapped during his meeting with Alphonse Persico, he was murdered by members of the mob. Alphonse had executed a plan with his members to kill William because he didn’t want William taking his position and become the new head boss of the Colombo family. He was murdered in one of the members' basements and buried in Farmingdale, Long Island. However, his body wouldn’t be found for years to come, and William was considered missing for years.

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Through illegal gambling, extortion, and loansharking, Billy had following in his father’s footsteps. Two years after he disappeared, William was pronounced murdered, and that’s when Billy took his family and entered the witness protection program. According to the New York Daily News, the theory for over nine years was that William’s corpse had been dumped off Alphonse’s boat into the Atlantic Ocean.

Source: Instagram
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However, his remains were dug up from a top-secret Mafia gravesite located in Farmingdale after a turncoat for the mob led FBI agents to the burial site. Billy's father's body was wrapped up in a tarp. After Billy helped put his father's killers away, he was no longer in the witness protection program.

After his father's body was found, Billy said, "My father must be smiling down on us. Now we have the body. Now we have the evidence. Why did they bury the body? I thought Allie [Alphonse Persico] would have been smarter." Ultimately Alphonse and his members who took part in the killing were sentenced to life in prison.

You can watch Billy and his family on Families of the Mafia every Thursday at 9 p.m. EST on MTV.

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