Remnants of the Mafia in Galveston Texas

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The food isnÂ?t the main attraction at the Petronella Brothers Italian restaurant in Galveston, Texas. You go for the Sicilian ambience, the white linen tablecloths and The Godfather atmosphere.


Remnants of the Mafia in Galveston Texas

“Wes Newman, a former Galveston County Deputy Sheriff, whose mafia friends included Joe Bonanno and the Maceo Brothers, Sam and Vincent, is brought to life in his daughter’s new book, “No Greater Deception, A True Texas Story.” The inside story of mobsters, gambling, prostitution and bootlegging in Galveston.

The food isn’t the main attraction at the Petronella Brothers Italian restaurant in Galveston, Texas. You go for the Sicilian ambience, the white linen tablecloths and The Godfather atmosphere. Of course you must have made reservations in advance to get past the matre’d at the front door. The brick and tile interior set it off as a well-protected fortress from the world outside. Even so, visitors will likely sit with their backs to the wall to get a good view of the new arrivals. The walls lack snapshots of the owner’s uncles, the Maceo brothers. But, thoughts of mobsters, gamblers, bootleggers and prostitutes readily come to mind.

At a round table sit five men in black suits discussing something rather serious over a plate of spaghetti. Two other men, probably drivers or bodyguards, sit at a table closer to the front door. They stop talking briefly as strangers enter the restaurant and are seated across the room. Murderous bloody thoughts of Tony Soprano and his gang on The Sopranos come to mind. It’s just another afternoon at the Petronella Brothers where everyone is treated like family.

Today, there are four people dining in private at a round table in the corner – a Galveston County Deputy Sheriff, one of Sam Salvato’s daughters, a woman from League City, Sydney Newman Dotson, the author of “No Greater Deception.” Her father, Wes Newman, led a secret life in Galveston County that many would describe as a double life. His job was to keep the peace while serving as a Texas City Police Officer or Galveston County Deputy Sheriff. But, with close friends like Joe Bonanno and the Maceo brothers, some may think he was more than their bodyguard. Perhaps he was a “made man.” Over lunch, Dotson tells her companions about her book and what she knows about her father. But, it’s what she “doesn’t know” about him that keeps her up at night.

What did he do with the will that he made at the ranch in East Texas? Did he give it to his sister-in-law Sally? She was there. Or, did he lock it safely in a safe deposit box that his second wife, Betty, found and removed? Where exactly did he hide his mineral rights and assets he planned to leave his six children? And, do some of Wes’ gangster friends hold some of the answers to the author’s questions? Who were the elderly men dressed in black suits that attended her father’s funeral? Was the unknown lady sitting in the back of the courtroom sent there a purpose Dotson may learn about at a later date?

Dotson’s father owned several businesses and properties in the county. She believes them all to be legitimate businesses, but would not be surprised to learn there were some illegitimate activities going on as well. Extortion, loan sharking, illegal gambling, narcotics and murder were rampant in the county during the Maceo years. The tentacles of their vast criminal empire stretched up and down the Galveston Bay. Their organized crime family business mirrored that of the Capone, Giancana, Gambino, Genovese and Gotti families. Attorneys, judges and law enforcement officers were often paid off or bribed. And, women played a major role in their success or failure.

The women also led rather secretive lives. Of course being told to “shut up” had a lot to do with it. Like Josephine Massino and Joanne Vitale, Betty and Sally Newman keep their mouths shut about their husbands’ business. Joseph “Joey” Massino and Tony Soprano would be proud of them. From poverty to power, Betty and Sally “almost” got away with their crimes. In "No Greater Deception, A True Texas Story,” Dotson's stepmother, Betty, forges wills of several family members and is implicated in their mysterious deaths. Sally, Dotson’s aunt, is one of Betty’s accomplices who has many accomplished many forgeries of her own. Dotson exposed their tangled web of forgeries, secrets and lies in her debut book, “No Greater Deception, A True Texas Story.” And, this #1 best-selling true crime biography is just the beginning. Dotson plans to write two more books about her family to complete the trilogy on identity theft.

Dotson, an IBM Corporate Spy turned CSI Identity Theft Detective, has been seen on The NBC Today Show and PBS in Houston. She's currently speaking on television and radio station Talk Shows across the country about identity theft of wills, insurance policies, pension plans, notary seals and checking accounts. Detectives, profilers, the FBI and handwriting experts are using her book as a textbook case study on identity theft. They are particularly interested in learning more about the criminal mind of a Black Widow forger.

Like many who have become familiar with her true story, Dotson’s lunch partners want to help answer some of the questions posed in the book. They also want to help spread the word about identity theft in the community. Massive reform is needed in our Legislative and Justice Systems to prevent others from becoming victims of identity theft. This luncheon ends on a positive note.

“No Greater Deception, A True Texas Story” is available on 100 websites today including and Barnes and

For author bio, interviews and more information, go to

Contact: Sydney Dotson Productions, 214-358-3080

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Sydney Newman Dotson