Mobster Monday: Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran

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He was a known mafia hitman, but did he kill Jimmy Hoffa? While the new movie says he was the triggerman, investigators say he was only a witness. Who was the real Irishman?


Frank Sheeran was born in Darby, Pennsylvania, on October 25th, 1920. As a young man, he fought in World War II, and he served four times as long as the average soldier. He later claimed that this gave him a callousness towards death.

Upon his return from war, Sheeran found it hard to re-enter society as many veterans do. PTSD was it heard of at the time, and there weren’t any programs available for our veterans. Sheeran went on to find a mentor named Russell Bufalino.

Bufalino was a mob boss of the Bufalino crime family. This Italian crime family operated in northeastern Pennsylvania. Although publicly Sheeran was a truck driver, he began taking on side jobs for the mob. His ruthlessness made him the perfect hitman.

His connections with a local mob ended up paying off when he was set up with the Teamsters Union. He would eventually become a high-ranking official with the teamsters and would become the right-hand man for the infamous Jimmy Hoffa.

Although Sheeran’s name pops up in the investigations into Hoffa’s disappearance, he wasn’t a prime suspect for the actual murder until his deathbed confession. Some websites claimed that he was a major suspect from the beginning, but I have not found any proof of this.

The mafia has a strange code when it comes to murder. They want you dead, and they are going to get your best friend to do it. This led a lot of people to believe that Sheeran was the Hitman, but many investigators believe he may have witnessed a murder and may have set Hoffa up, but few investigators believe he pulled the trigger.

Frank “the Irishman” Sheeran was dying of cancer and would succumb to this illness December 14th, 2003, but not before he spilled his guts to his lawyer Charles Brandt. In the last five years of his life, Sheeran confessed to Brandt about his experience with the mob. His family claims to have no knowledge of this, and some people wonder if his confession is credible.

It isn’t unusual for an organized crime figure to hide his true identity from his family, but it is uncommon for them to confess on their deathbeds.

Dan Moldea has been a journalist working on this Hoffa disappearance since day one. He has always claimed that Salvatore Briguglio killed Hoffa. He did say that Sheeran most likely drove Hoffa to his death, but he does not believe Sheeran pulled the trigger.

Why would a man falsely confess to killing someone? The answer is a strange mix of infamy, money, and legacy. Over a dozen people have “confessed” to murdering Jimmy Hoffa. There are hundreds of stories about his disappearance, his murder, and the current location of his remains.

The daily mail ran an article that Sheeran claimed to witness the burial of Hoffa. It goes on to state that the FBI dug up someone’s driveway because they believed his story. Later he claimed that the body wasn’t buried. Instead, it was taken to a crematorium and burned. Which one is it? Was he buried or cremated?

This is just one of many of Frank Sheeran’s conflicting stories. So why would Hollywood produce a massive movie about this man when they cannot prove that his confession is genuine? Robert De Niro played the lead role in the film. When Moldea ran into him in 2014, he tried to warn the movie star against taking on the role. 

“You’re being conned, Bob,” Moldea told the Daily Beast of his encounter with De Niro.

The movie was solely based on a book by Charles Brandt titled, “I heard you paint houses.” This book goes into detail, explaining the author’s theory. He claims all of the information was given to him by Sheeran personally. Why then, aren’t the investigators convinced? Is it a nonfiction book? Or, is it merely based on a true story?

To make matters worse, the three-page confession was supposedly signed by Frank Sheeran before he died. Unfortunately, it has been proven that the signature on this document was a forgery. So who wrote his confession?

When the book was published in 2004, publishers weekly had this to say. 

“(This book) is long on sensational claims and short on credibility.”

No matter what really happened, Hollywood has released a new mob hit film call the Irishman. It will gross millions of dollars, and I’m sure it’ll be a group big hit. Anyone who really follows the case of Jimmy Hoffa will know that it is full of fictionalized facts, but I’m sure it makes a good movie.

Will go to see this movie? No. It is a three and a half-hour-long film that in itself should say something. If their facts were reliable and their story true, they should be able to tell it in an hour. Instead, they spent three-and-a-half grueling hours trying to persuade the viewers to agree with their theory.

This isn’t the only claim of Frank Sheeran. He also claims to have played a minor role in the Kennedy assassination, and he claims to have been the trigger man in the murder of Crazy Joe Gallo. Did the Irishman really do all of these things? Or, is he trying to generate an income for his family before he leaves this Earth? Who knows.

To be fair, I will post two links to both sides of the story. Then, you can read them all and decide for yourself. In the meantime, if you want to waste three and a half hours of your life, go watch the Irishman.


Further Reading:

Orlando Sentinel

Frank Sheeran Interview

http://www.historyvshollywood.com/video/frank-sheeran-interview/


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Synova Cantrell may be known for her fedora, but she wears many hats. Synova volunteers with the Missouri Missing organization by highlighting obscure cold cases on her true crime blog to help generate tips. She firmly believes together we can give grieving families answers, hope, and support. Synova works as the Production Editor of True Crime: Case Files Magazine. http://www.truecrimecasefiles.com As SWMO’s #1 True Crime Writer, Synova authored Unorganized Crime; a biography of the ex-gangster Sidney Heard of Chicago, IL. This thrilling tale of con games, bank robbery, and mayhem has recently been endorsed by a retired FBI agent. Her best-selling series, Seriously Stupid Criminals, is a fan favorite in both paperback and e-book formats. Her latest e-book, Grim Justice tells the story of a judge and his wife retired in Palm Beach, Florida in 1955. Her first case files book, Snatched was released on New Year's Day. Fans eagerly await her newest serial killer series set to launch late 2019. Synova has a passion for helping fellow authors and knows how overwhelming it can be to get started in this business, that is why she created Synova's Simply Biz. Synova breaks down the business of writing in a simple way. If you need help with your business check out her new page www.synovaink.com/simplybiz. To follow all her adventures and read her true crime blog, log onto www.synovaink.com Connect with Synova: Twitter: https://twitter.com/synovaink Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/synovacantrell Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/synovaink

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