Feds Heist Windfall Won By Former Colombo Boss Tommy Shots In Prison Slip And Fall

Tommy Shots Gioeli, a one-time street boss of the Colombo crime family, recently hit the jackpot, winning a $250,000 settlement for an August 2013 accident that "knee-capped" him while playing ping-pong behind bars.

Thomas (Tommy Shots) Gioeli
Tommy Shots nabbed in 2008.

But the Feds have other ideas -- they want that money to help cover the $360,000 court-ordered restitution Gioeli owes to a bank and a fur store. 

So now Tommy Shots -- about five years away from his release date -- is battling it out with Federal prosecutors, as Larry McShane reports for The Daily News.

Gioeli, acting as his own attorney, filed an 83-page court document from his Connecticut prison cell arguing that the money is his.

He wants the restitution order amended based on his limited “level of contribution” to the two heists.

Gioeli, citing case law, argued it was “both noteworthy and relevant” that a 2012 ruling found the federal courts lacked the “inherent power” to impose payback as part of a sentence.

“The defendant respectfully contends that the $360,000 order of restitution is void ... insofar as the court lacked the authority to order him to pay restitution to either of the two victims," contended the gangster.

Gioeli has been behind bars since he was arrested on murder and racketeering charges in 2008. He was acquitted of six murders, but found guilty of racketeering at trial. Gioeli was hit with 224 months in prison, 16 months less than the maximum 20 years that he faced.

He's due to be freed on September 9, 2024.

The judge stated that Gioeli got a "slight discount" from the 20 years he faced because "as sick as he is," he spent years awaiting trial at the Metropolitan Detention Center, which the judge viewed as much harsher time than he would have endured if he had been tried, convicted and housed at a prison hospital.

His fall occurred inside Brooklyn’s Manhattan Detention Center, requiring surgery and a month-long hospitalization.

The 67-year-old mobster is currently paying off the court-ordered debt at the rate of $25 every three months, with the current balance of money owed at $359,800, according to court papers.

U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue, in a response filed last week, insisted the government was within its rights to exact restitution from the convicted felon.

The prosecutor also challenged Gioeli’s claim that the jury verdicts spared him from paying back any money to either the store or the bank.

The secret to Gioeli's importance for the Colombo family was allegedly his ability to serve as a link between the family's former factions. He was universally trusted by mobsters from each faction, who in the early 1990s were shooting at one another.

His acting capo Paul “Paulie Guns” Bevacqua had been an Orena loyalist. So was Joel “Joe Waverly” Cacace, who supposedly paid Gioeli an historical compliment in 2000 when he told a Bonanno boss: “If you need to see me, tell Tommy. Talking to Tommy is just like talking to me.”

Gioeli advanced his mob career by supervising a crew of killers that included Tommy Shots' one-time right-hand man, Dino Calabro, and Tommy Shots's co-defendant Dino (Little Dino) Saracino, prosecutors said during his trial.

Alphonse Persico, John (Jackie) DeRoss, Joel (Joe Waverley) Cacace and Andrew Russo, a Persico cousin, all filled in as acting boss. Each was convicted and jailed when Gioeli rose in the ranks.

Recounting his first murder — of Bonanno associate Frank (Chestnut) Marasa in 1991 — Calabro, said Gioeli gave him explicit advice:

“Tommy always said, ‘Shoot him in the body first. Then walk up and cap him,” he said.