6. James Burke had children who followed their father’s footsteps
James Burke (Jimmy Conway in Goodfellas) mentored Henry Hill as a criminal. A violent and murderous thug, Burke was known to Hill’s children as “Uncle Jimmy”, while the equally vicious Paul Vario was Uncle Paulie. Burke named his two sons, Frank James Burke and Jesse James Burke. At least one followed the career path of his father, participating in the famed Lufthansa heist. Frank James Burke served as one of the drivers of a backup vehicle for the robbery, which at the time was the largest cash robbery in American history. Following the robbery, James Burke had most of the participants in the theft, and others who had knowledge of it, murdered. Gregg Hill noted the growing number of missing friends of his family during the last few months of their residence in Brooklyn. He wasn’t aware that Uncle Jimmy and Uncle Paulie were behind their disappearance.
Frank James Burke was the subject of frequent verbal and physical abuse by his father, a fact made known to the FBI by informants, including the man Frank called “Uncle Henry”. Nonetheless, he has long been believed to have participated in the Lufthansa robbery, though his actual role is disputed. Hill believed him to be one of the armed gunmen. In 1987, with Jimmy Burke imprisoned for murder (based largely on testimony from Hill) Frank James Burke’s body was discovered in Cypress Hill, Brooklyn. He was the victim of a drug deal gone bad, and eventually, a drug dealer named Tito Ortiz was convicted of murdering him. His death meant all of the suspects from the Lufthansa robbery were dead, in prison, (Vario and Burke) or in WITSEC. By the way, most of the money from the Lufthansa robbery, over $5 million in cash and jewels, has never been found.