Fama Wouldn't Roll; Gambino Associate Last of Dying Breed

Daniel Fama
Reputed Gambino crime-family associate Daniel Fama no longer faces charges for allegedly being the getaway driver for the 1990 gangland hit of Edward "Eddie the Chink" Garofalo ordered by then Gambino boss John Gotti.

But for about one year, he's been psychologically dealing with the pressure of a possible mandatory life sentence. On top of that, he lost eight months of his life in jail -- and all probably because he wouldn't roll for the Feds.

According to papers announcing the indictment, filed in New York's Southern District, Fama had been charged with the crime of killing a person who was believed to be a government informant, a federal charge.

The case was filed against Fama in the first place due to testimony, ironically enough, from another member of the Garofalo hit team-- Joseph “Little Joey” D’Angelo, who was one of the two men who actually fired the fatal shots into Garofalo outside his home in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. The other gunman was Frank “Frankie Fapp” Fappiano. Both flipped for the Feds.

D'Angelo's testimony, in three of the Junior Gotti trials as well as another unrelated murder case, evolved to include the information that Garofalo had been killed in 1990 because he was believed to be a government informant by the hit team.

Fama, from Staten Island, was arrested last April and was only released on a million-dollar bond last November.

He spent eight months in jail.

On top of that, he had previously served 17 years for murder and racketeering, only getting out of prison in 2009.

Fama's lawyer, Charles Carnesi, a sharp litigator, has been saying all along that something was wrong with the case. He noted for the court that D'Angelo's testimony had changed, and also revealed that earlier testimony from former Gotti underboss-turned-informant Sammy “The Bull” Gravano refuted allegations that Fama knew anything about the reason for the hit: the belief that Garofalo was a government snitch.

Killing a federal snitch is a federal charge. According to news reports, the federal statute of limitations had passed for the government to charge Fama with conventional murder that didn't involve witness tampering.

Carnesi on Thursday said the case should have never gone forward because the FBI agent who made the bust relied on the same “evidence” that Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bhahara’s office also reviewed before opting to drop the charges.

“It was a difficult decision for the US Attorney’s office to make, but I have the greatest admiration for them,” said Carnesi.

Carnesi also said he doubted his client would have to face similar charges someday in state court where the statute of limitations don’t apply.

“Mr. Fama spent 17 years incarcerated,” he said. “He’s been a productive citizen ever since.”

And, as noted, the Feds built the case on the words of one of the two actual killers, both of whom are already out of prison and presumably in Witness Protection. Sounds vaguely familiar, no? D'Angelo and Fappiano cooperated for around nine years; each had committed multiple murders; and each served just more than four years in the can.

Fama was facing life. On top of that, he lost nine months of his life in jail last year. (He was only allowed out on bail when the Feds started having second thoughts about the case, it's been reported.)

Fama pleaded guilty to several murders in 1996, spent his years in prison and has not been charged with a single crime since his release, aside from from being arrested for a charge that was dropped this past week.

It would almost seem like the Feds had it in for Fama. Jerry Capeci reported that a former federal mob prosecutor told him that Fama had likely been targeted because he "never cooperated, and the others did. It's important to give sweet deals to cooperators and to keep the heat on gangsters who don’t," the former official continued.

"It's one of the main reasons why the government has been able to significantly dismantle the five families in recent years. And you don’t get a pass because you were a driver. It's significant criminal activity. And you're just as guilty as the shooters."

Manhattan Federal Judge John Keenan, a former homicide prosecutor who's been on the bench for 30 years, was not happy with how federal prosecutors handled the case, Capeci noted in his recent GangLandNews.com column:
Keenan clearly didn't like what he read. For one thing, based on the government's assertions, he had kept Daniel Fama behind bars for eight months as the ex-con awaited trial on what now was being tossed aside as a faulty indictment.
And the judge let prosecutor Jason Masimore know it. Without raising his voice, but in no uncertain terms, Keenan indicated that he believed that Fama lawyer Charles Carnesi had been more honest with him about the failed murder case than the government
Keenan prefaced his angry words by stating that he would approve the dismissal. But he went out of his way to remind the prosecutor that, from the get-go, he had questioned the efficacy and strategy of the prosecution, as well as the government's request to detain the 49-year-old Gambino associate without bail.
He had held Fama, he said, only at the government's urging.
The judge also didn't appear impressed with the excuses offered. The government's brief statement that it was "in the interests of justice" to dimiss the case of the murder of a suspected informer 24 years ago "leaves a lot to be desired from the point of view of the Court," said Keenan.
The feds were not nearly as bashful when they announced Fama's indictment.
"Any attack against someone working with, or suspected of working with law enforcement will be strongly answered, and no matter how long it takes we will bring alleged criminals to justice," Bharara said at the time.


  1. must still be in the loop if the feds wanted him to flip so bad.

    1. What's that mean??

    2. 'In the loop' means in 'In the know'

  2. Why is this guy Fama an associate and not a made guy with his track record. Somebody missed it with this stand up guy. Sounds like an old time tough guy from a better era. They need to make this guy already. What's taking so long!

  3. I have read different things but left it as associate. Capeci calls him associate (but also reported earlier that Fama may have since been made; I have also "heard" from a source that he turned it down. I wrote "associate" because that is the more reliable information in my belief.

    It's not like these guys announce this stuff. I am not really comfortable speculating beyond what I say in the story because I have heard varying accounts....


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