After Nearly 30 Years, Gene Gotti Gets Out Of Prison Later This Month

Gene Gotti, brother of the late Gambino boss, is slated to be released from FCI Pollock in Louisiana on September 15, as per the BOP.

Gene and John Gotti.

Gene, 71, who ranks among the New York Mafia's remaining legitimate tough guys, went away for heroin trafficking in 1989 with John Carneglia, 73, who was released earlier this year, on June 11, from a Brooklyn halfway house.

Gene and Johnny Carneglia were both identified by Salvatore (Sammy the Bull) Gravano as being among the shooters responsible for gunning down Paul Castellano and Thomas Bilotti in front of Sparks Steakhouse in December 1985. (Carneglia is believed to have fired the coup de grĂ¢ce in Castellano's head.)

Prior to his conviction, Gene lived with his wife and three children on Gibson Boulevard in Valley Stream, L.I.

Carneglia and Gotti were both convicted in the third trial of a 1983 indictment of 10 Gambino mobsters and associates based on tape recordings from an FBI bug placed in the basement of the Long Island home of codefendant, and longtime John Gotti pal, Angelo Ruggiero.Their first two prosecutions ended in mistrials.

Carneglia and Gene were given an opportunity to accept a plea deal that would've permitted a prison sentence of around 10 to 15 years; meaning both would've been free to celebrate the Millennium. However, John Gotti adhering to the mob dictum that forbids admitting guilt, urged them to go to trial. Gotti, the newly coronated boss of the Gambino family, then tried to fix the jury, prosecutors later said. Things did not go according to plan.

"He and Gene got screwed," Michael DiLeonardo, former Gambino capo, previously told Cosa Nostra News. "They should have been home a long time ago."

But John Gotti "wanted to lead by example." It was a kamikaze mentality, the former Gambino capo said. "Carneglia (pronounced Car-neel-ya) was loyal to the Gottis and went down for it."

Partners in crime: Gene Gotti, right, and Johnny Carneglia.

In 1989, when he went away, Gene remained a key player in Gambino family affairs more than a decade after he entered prison, as per court documents used in the federal racketeering case of his other brother Peter Gotti, who is today the reputed official boss of the Gambino crime family. Peter, 78, currently is at Butner Low FCI and has a release date of May 5, 2035.

It was the voice of Gene Gotti heard on the tapes — Gene Gotti told visiting wiseguys how mob loot should be divided – and who should get made.

As per recordings played at Peter Gotti’s trial, plus court statements made by Peter’s defense attorneys, Gene was the Gotti who called the shots, determining who was to be paid what — even deciding who was to become made members of the Gambino crime family.

"Gene Gotti spoke of his brother Peter in a most disrespectful way, calling him 'a jerk-off . . . who should have stood picking up garbage cans,'" defense attorney Gerald Shargel said in his closing arguments, referring to conversations taped in Gene’s Pennsylvania prison.

"Is that the way you speak about someone who is the powerful boss of the Gambino family?"

Shargel noted Peter’s voice was not heard once in 10,000 wiretap recordings made during the nearly five-year investigation that led to the reputed Gambino boss’s arrest. Also, none of the witnesses in the six-week racketeering trial identified Peter as the boss or testified that he’d given them orders. It was the voice of Gene Gotti heard on the tapes — Gene told visiting wiseguys how mob loot should be divided – and who should get made.

"Who’s calling the shots here? What order did Peter Gotti ever give as boss?" Shargel asked a Brooklyn federal jury.

"Gene Gotti gave orders."

(Peter was convicted nevertheless. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew Genser and Katya Jestin told the jury investigators tailed Peter to six meetings with his alleged bagman, Jerome Brancato, between 2000 and 2001. Money was never seen changing hands, and Peter was never searched -- though prosecutors said that wiretap recordings of other reputed wiseguys allegedly discussing the meetings bolstered their case. Also in final summation, prosecutors argued that Peter was the boss but said the jurors didn't have to believe it to convict him of money laundering.)

Prior to Peter's trial, Peter Gotti would visit his brother in prison, and according to an FBI report, Gene’s discussions with Peter were often both "animated" as well as "caustic." Gene would often  "yell at Peter Gotti and attempt to learn what was going on within the Gambino family regarding their various enterprises."

Two  years after John Gotti became boss of the Gambinos, Gene Gotti was promoted to captain, inheriting the crew that his brother led for a decade in Ozone Park,Queens. And despite the public show of deference to his big brother, Gene Gotti had begun to adopt the trappings of a mob boss in his own right.

Gene was the first Gotti brother to be made and was regarded as a legitimate tough guy by law enforcement and other wiseguys.

"He is more cocky and is strutting around like an important guy and giving orders," Lieut. Remo Franceschini, commander of the detective squad in the office of Queens District Attorney, said in contemporary news reports. Lieutenant Franceschini, whose office investigated John Gotti and his associates for a decade, said Gene Gotti’s rise was largely a result of his brother’s influence.

"Without John, he wouldn’t be a capo," Lieutenant Franceschini said. Nevertheless, he admitted that Gene was "not resented, and on the streets he is a respected guy."

One June day in 1986, several detectives from the Queens District Attorney’s squad witnessed Gene Gotti’s deference to his brother outside the Bergin Hunt and Fish Club in Ozone Park, John Gotti’s former social club, as well as his main base of operations prior to the Ravenite in Manhattan's Little Italy. In a light rain, Lieutenant Franceschini said, John Gotti walked outside the club, at 98-08 101st Avenue, and down the block to a waiting to limousine while brother Gene held an umbrella over his head. (Another Gambino associate, not named, carried John Gotti’s jacket — and bodyguards watched up and down the street.)

Ignazio (Iggy) Alogna and Gene Gotti  outside the Bergin Hunt and Fish Club.

Gene Gotti — also very  unlike brother John — openly exhibited anger and hostility toward certain individuals, especially if they carried a badge and had the power to put the cuffs on him. While John Gotti tended toward apathy when in the presence of cops, detectives, other law enforcement officials while in courtroom corridors or on the street -- including when they were arresting him -- Gene openly sneered and mocked the law, calling them fettuccine.

There were sartorial differences. While John Gotti preferred custom-tailored $1,000 suits (and Brioni models) and wore a diamond pinkie ring, Gene Gotti was decidedly less interested in dressing up, often wearing simple banker blue or gray suits, with white shirts and whatever tie.

John Gotti (and Gene -- plus various cohorts, confidants, and underlings) were caught on wiretap for years. (Wiretap recordings were the downfall of both John and Gene Gotti.) Through the use of court-authorized telephone taps and electronic bugs, investigators from the Queens District Attorney’s office, the State Organized Crime Task Force, and the FBI secretly listened to Gotti’s conversations for most of his reign as Gambino boss, including in the little apartment above the Ravenite social club in Little Italy, which Gotti took over after the 1985 death of Gotti mentor/Gambino underboss Aniello (Neil) Dellacroce.

At Federal trials, prosecutors introduced as evidence tapes that they said contained references about crimes and conspiracies concerning Gene Gotti. In one recording, made in June 1981, Gene Gotti and Angelo Ruggiero complained to each other about John Gotti losing $60,000 in one night at an illegal dice game in Little Italy.

Angelo Ruggiero was recorded speaking to Gene Gotti:

"We gotta see how we can close this fcking joint in New York," Angelo said.

"What happened now?" Gene Gotti.

"He lost thirty dollars last night." [Meaning $30,000.]

"We were on top sixty balloons! I left there one-thirty, we were on top for sixty balloons! We didn't need him in the fcking game!" Gene.

"I'm by the club now."

"We were on top sixty balloons--what, is he kidding somebody or what, this guy? Who the fck needed him there? So what is he looking to do now? Just take advantage of people or what?"

The Gambino crime family, according to Queens detectives, had run the game, and Gene Gotti was upset that his brother John’s gambling losses would cost him a healthy chunk of profits.

On May 21, 1982, in a conversation in Aneglo Ruggiero’s house in Cedarhurst, L.I., Gene Gotti described himself as "a workhorse" and his brother as a "powerhouse captain." This was the bug that would pick up evidence that convicted them for heroin trafficking.

For a time after his conviction, many of Gene's phone calls and visits from Gambino wiseguys had to do with the day-to-day operations of an extremely lucrative joint loansharking operation that Gene and Colombo capo Joe Scopo had started. Scopo was since murdered in 1993 during the Colombo war. After Gene went away, brother Peter and other mob associates ran the book for him, giving the proceeds to his wife and children. Scopo had been a longtime gangster buddy.

"Despite Gene’s incarceration and Scopo’s death, their loanshark business is booming," Gang Land News reported way back in 2002, noting that after Scopo died, his brother Ralph, a Colombo soldier, took over his brother’s share of the loanshark operation, which was valued at $500,000 by an affidavit reviewed by Gang Land. Sources also told Jerry Capeci that the book "ha(d) more than $1 million 'on the street' earning from 100 to 200 per cent interest a year." (Remember that horrid Growing Up Gotti reality show? Ralph Scopo, as per an FBI affidavit, was "so embarrassed" for his late friend's family by the show that he said he couldn't talk about it, Gang Land later reported. "Worse, Scopo noted, the Gotti boys in the show were incomprehensible. "The kids can't even talk," said Scopo.")

No doubt today that book is worth considerably more than $1 million.

Gene was the first Gotti brother to be made and was regarded as a legitimate tough guy by law enforcement and other wiseguys. Gene killed for the crime family. Gene was known to have participated in several mob rub outs, including the 1988 slaying of soldier Louis Milito, a murder that John Gotti later was convicted of ordering.

Iconic Analyze This photo based on John and Gene outside Bergin?

"Gene has the respect of the family, and there even has been talk of him moving up to consigliere, even though he’ll be away a long time," one law enforcement source once speculated.

John, Gene, Peter, Richard, and Vincent Gotti grew up in the East New York section of Brooklyn and Ozone Park. John, was the second oldest, and Gene was the second youngest, with six years separating them. ...

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