Fed's Purposely Gave Gambino Boss Pete Gotti "Life On The Installment Plan" Sentence

“If it don’t have to do with our mother or father, stay away from me!”
--John Gotti to Pete Gotti, as per FBI bug.

It was clear as crystal from the beginning that the Feds wanted Pete Gotti, 79, the late John Senior's older brother, to rot in jail until senility set in.

And now that that has happened, we still doubt that the Fed's would agree to any kind of motion that includes the word "compassion" anywhere in it -- if its goal is springing an old wiseguy from prison. There's no compassion for lifelong Mafiosi -- unless they flip. Not opinion. Or to borrow a recently coined phrase: The cruelty is the point.

The Fed's clearly had it in for Pete Gotti back in 2005. He was 65 and minding his own business while serving a 9.5-year stretch for labor racketeering, extortion, and money laundering on a 2003 conviction. Then the Fed's up and saddle him with an additional 25 years for a seemingly made-for-TV revenge-murder conspiracy to kill Salvatore (Sammy The Bull) Gravano for ratting out brother John in 1991. It's called “Life on the Installment Plan" -- though to us, it sounds more like Death on the Installment Plan. Pete's slated release date is May 5, 2032.

On the stand, the parade of former mobbed-up witnesses discussed murder plots and Mafia dealings in graphic detail, including the Gambino family’s efforts to use violence to control two unions.

In passing sentence in 2005, Judge Richard Casey said that Pete Gotti played a leading role in the Gambino crime family, which earns money (he said) from a business model that uses terror, extortion, maiming, and murder as profit centers.

Gotti’s lawyer Joseph Bondi argued for a lighter sentence on the grounds of his client’s advanced age and ill health. Gotti had shown up in court leaning on a cane, which ultimately did not mitigate his sentencing. Pete reportedly showed no expression when his quarter-century sentence was voiced.

The trial that convicted him ran on for a month and won plenty of headlines thanks to the profanity-laced tape recordings of John Gotti holding forth, plus the testimony of various turncoats. The jury deliberated for three days.

Tied to Gotti at that trial was Gambino wiseguy Thomas Carbonaro, 71, who currently resides at Allenwood Medium FCI (his release date is even more shocking than Pete’s: July 2, 2064, which looks like a typo). He was found guilty of loan-sharking and involvement in the killings of two Gambino family mobsters who were suspected of cooperating with the Feds: Edward Garofalo, who was shot to death outside his Brooklyn home in 1990, and Frank Hydell, who was gunned down near a Staten Island club in 1989.

Throughout the trial, Gotti’s lawyer argued that he was merely a retired city sanitation worker – blind in one eye and getting by via his disability pension since falling off a garbage truck back in 1979. Furthermore, Pete was "a dope" who simply was not smart enough to effectively command the Gambino family’s presumably complex criminal enterprises.

Sources I’ve spoken with through the years have agreed with that assessment, some also noting that Pete should’ve never been allowed in because he once supposedly sat in judgment on someone -- meaning, sat on a jury. (Ok, so Pete might have served jury duty once, is what some claim, which has got to be the single most innocuous (alleged) death penalty offense for a wiseguy.) "Guys have been killed for a lot less" than what Pete -- and Junior, aka John (Junior) Gotti, for that matter-- have supposedly gotten away with over the years, as one wiseguy source once told me. ("He never gave anyone a break in any realm," he added about Junior.)

Back in ‘05, Bondy also insisted that the government had no physical evidence linking Pete to murder or extortion conspiracies. (Not totally true, though, as there was a receipt for a massage Huck got in a Phoenix tattoo parlor.)

He also accused prosecutors of engaging in a "witch hunt" (before it became a political term) and argued that Pete was being persecuted because of his surname. (As a source recently noted here, his name is Peter GOTTI.)

Victor L. Hou, the assistant United States attorney, detailed how the government’s case was built heavily on the testimony of organized crime figures seeking lighter sentences by cooperating. He noted that the Gambino family was “one of the oldest, most powerful crime organizations this city has ever known.” Membership was reportedly down back in 2005, to between 160 and 180 “made” men from an early-1980s high of 600 to 800.

Pete was fixing to have Sammy the Bull whacked probably because of conversations like one secretly recorded in May 1997 at the federal prison at Marion, Ill, during which John Gotti told Pete that every single day he dreamed about chopping up Gravano and other turncoats so that nothing was left but "little pieces." Sammy had admitted to killing at least 19 people in a long career in the Mafia. He went into the federal witness protection program after cooperating with prosecutors in the murder racketeering trial of John J. Gotti -- but then he exited the program to promote his 1997 memoir, Underboss: Sammy the Bull Gravano's Story of Life in the Mafia.

Translation: Sammy clearly didn't believe his wiseguy friends would ever look him up. Or he simply didn't care?

Pete allegedly chose Huck Carbonaro to hit Sammy because he’d been in Sammy’s crew before Sammy flipped in 1991. The hit would have given Huck the chance to erase any lingering questions about his loyalty to the Gambinos. Fat Sal Mangiavillano also was chosen to join the hit team because he was a tech wizard, with extensive knowledge of computers and surveillance equipment. Fat Sal was a bank robber who worked for several of the New York families. He’d cased banks in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Phoenix on the same trip he and Huck took together in December 1999 and January 2000, when he was supposed to be “tracking” Sammy. 

But Sal never killed anyone, though he “once shot at a ceiling in a club when I was 18,” as he testified during the trial. And during cross-examination, he noted that “there (were) certainly others more qualified than me to kill people.” Like the guy traveling with him, Huck.

Then Sammy went and got busted for drug dealing on his own, before anyone could do anything to him. He was put back in the can. (He served more time for drugs than whacking 19 people.)

Ultimately, the whack Sammy subplot shows why Pete was called "The Dumbest Mafia Don." In fact, it seems Pete was likely sorry he ever even took a shot at Gravano — before he was arrested for it even — by the time all was said and done. According to Michael (Mikie Scars) DiLeonardo: Pete Gotti actually complained about Huck and Fat Sal -- and the loss of his $70,000 investment to have Sammy the Bull killed.

Pete made it to the top because … In 1992, John Gotti entered the federal pen at Marion, Illinois – and controlled the Gambinos via a weak governing “panel” consisting of Manhattan capo John (Jackie Nose) D’Amico; Nicky Corozzo, a generic, successful mobster from Canarsie; and Gotti son John Junior, the "lead decision maker" on the panel, who didn’t have many allies, especially among the family’s old guard, which included guys who were loyal to Paul Castellano, the boss who Junior's father had killed in December 1985 in front of Sparks steakhouse. Wiseguys like Danny Marino, Danny Failla, and Joe Arcuri supposedly couldn’t stomach him. It would be alleged that Failla, at least, had been part of a faction determined to whack Junior -- to end what was seen as the Gottis’ disastrous reign, which was killing the Gambinos with publicity.

 The FBI allegedly saved Junior’s life when they nabbed him in 1998.

Around that time, all the members of the panel had been arrested and were in jail, so no one  was left for John to use to keep his fingers in the family's coffers -- except for brother Pete. So John Gotti reluctantly named him boss. Initially, he was supposedly only acting boss, which was made permanent at some later time. Then, Pete started steppin' up, prosecutors alleged, by plotting to kill Gravano in a revenge move and seeking to emerge out from under John’s long shadow.

Pete Gotti, said the Feds, wanted to be a Mafia boss in the great tradition of bosses like Carlo Gambino, Vito Genovese, Albert Anastasia – and brother John…

In the 2005 trial, former Gambino associate Salvatore Mangiavillano testified that in 1999 he and Carbonaro learned that Gravano was living in Phoenix, and that he ended up going there on orders from Pete Gotti to kill him. Before they could carry out the plan, Gravano was arrested on drug charges, Mangiavillano testified.

Former Gambino associate Frank Fappiano discussed major construction projects in Manhattan and Brooklyn going back a decade. He also detailed a series of Gambino family deals with general contractors to control lucrative construction jobs.

He testified that after he joined the crime family in the early 1990s, he was put in leadership positions in Laborers Local 23 and Teamsters Local 282. From those positions, he was able to hunt for new work contracts. He also was able to approach contractors to offer the Gambino family's help usually for a fee and or to keep legitimate union workers far away from worksites.

Fappiano testified that Pete Gotti was the acting boss of the family for some time after his brother went to prison in 1992, and that during that period, the Gambinos made "millions and millions" of dollars by strong-arming unions and taking payoffs from contractors.

The Gambino family, once dominant among New York's five Mafia families, has consistently waned following defections and criminal convictions.

Then, to stop that, supposedly about 10 years back, the Sicilian faction rose up and has been running the family, as well as overseeing activities of the DeCavalcante family in the Garden State.