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William F. Roemer, Jr. (June 16, 1926 – June 14, 1996) was an FBI agent for 30 years. He is known for his battle against organized crime and being the most highly decorated agent in FBI history. After retirement he became a private attorney for businesses being muscled by the mob. He was the author of several books, including biographies on mobsters Tony "The Ant" Spilotro and Tony "Joe Batters" Accardo. Throughout his career, he encountered and dealt with Felix "Milwaukee Phil" Alderisio, Gus Alex, Jackie "The Lackey" Cerone, Sam "Mooney" Giancana, Murray "The Camel" Humphreys, "Mad" Sam DeStefano, Joseph Bonanno, and Ralph Pierce, among others. Roemer died in 1996 of lung cancer, just two days before his 70th birthday.


Early life

Roemer was born to a former Jesuit seminarian. He attended University of Notre Dame for a legal career. While there, he became an amateur boxer, and was nicknamed "Zip" for his skills.

Career highlights

When J. Edgar Hoover created the Bureau's Top Hoodlum Program in 1957, Roemer was personally selected for the task. The program consisted of surveillance of organized crime figures. Roemer also developed (or tried to develop, "flip") several mob informants. Richard Cain, a disgraced former cop turned mafioso, was one of those. With his efforts, he helped the Feds put away Outfit bosses like Sam "Teets" Bataglia and Felix "Milwaukee Phil" Alderisio within a year of their rise to leadership. Roemer also tried over a period of time to "flip" Outfit "hitman" Charles "Chuckie" Nicoletti, to no avail. Roemer relocated to Arizona and was assigned to Joe Bonanno, and helped the FBI convict him. Roemer mentions how he had to go through Bonanno's trash to obtain torn pieces of paper written by Bonanno outlining his daily agenda and having to wiretap the different phone booths Bonanno used to relay his messages.


  • During retirement, Roemer was neighbors with New York mobster Joe Bonanno, in Arizona.
  • In the 1996 HBO movie "Sugartime" Roemer appears as a CIA agent who recruits Sam Giancana to assist the US in killing Castro. Of course that is artistic license because Roemer worked for the FBI, not the CIA, and that is not how the CIA recruited the Mafia. The movie "Sugartime" is based on Roemer's 1989 book, Man Against the Mob.


  • Roemer, William F., Jr. (1989) Roemer: Man Against the Mob, New York : D.I. Fine, ISBN 1-55611-146-0
  • Roemer, William F., Jr. (1990) War of the Godfathers: The Bloody Confrontation Between the Chicago and New York Families for the Control of Las Vegas, New York : D.I. Fine, ISBN 1-55611-193-2
  • Roemer, William F., Jr. (1994) The Enforcer: Spilotro, The Chicago Mob’s Man Over Las Vegas, New York : D.I. Fine, ISBN 1-55611-399-4
  • Roemer, William F., Jr. (1995) Accardo: The Genuine Godfather, New York : D.I. Fine, ISBN 1-55611-467-2

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