Colombo Street Boss Tommy Shots Gioeli Wants Out Of Prison Because Of COVID-19

Former Colombo street boss Thomas (Tommy Shots) Gioeli, 67, is seeking to get out of prison about four years early because of the COVID-19 public health emergency, according to an email sent by the Victim-Witness Coordinator for the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of New York, a copy of which was forwarded to Cosa Nostra News today.

Thomas (Tommy Shots) Gioeli
Tommy Shots arrested.

Gioeli was sentenced to 18 years for a 2012 conviction for several racketeering and murder conspiracy charges, and is currently housed at Danbury FCI. His BOP-designated release date is May 2, 2024. (Gioeli had faced 20 years at sentencing, but the judge gave him a break that baffled many law enforcement officials.)

The following email is from Lisa Foster, the Victim-Witness Coordinator for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of New York. We're publishing the full contents of the letter (because why not?) We deleted the phone number and access code. Anyone who wants to call in to the hearing on Monday should email us.

"Defendant Thomas Gioeli has requested to be released from prison due to the Covid-19 public health crisis. A hearing by phone is scheduled for Monday, May 18th at 11am. You have a right to be heard either before the hearing and/or at the hearing.

"If you would like to provide your views before the hearing, you can respond to this email by 9am EST on Monday. If you choose to dial in to the hearing on Monday, you do not have to announce your name, even if asked “Who just joined us on the line?”

"If you would like to speak at the hearing, please let me know by 5:30pm EST today, and I will inform the prosecutor for you. If you do dial-in, please mute your phone until it’s time for you to address the Court, if you choose to address the Court. Thank you for your patience throughout this case."

In 2014, Gioeli was sentenced in Brooklyn federal court for a slew of racketeering and murder conspiracy raps.

The Colombo warlord, who lived in Farmingdale on Long Island when he was arrested, had been convicted in 2012 of plotting several gangland murders, including of Frank Marasa and John Minerva, and was also found guilty on a separate charge for orchestrating violence against mob rivals to gain power.

Still, Tommy Shots was a winner, or at least he was acquitted of several murders that could have sent him away for life, including the 1997 hit on NYPD cop Ralph Dols, who was shot to death supposedly for marrying the ex-wife of former Colombo consiglieri Joel (Joe Waverly) Cacace. Gioeli and Colombo soldier Dino Saracino were also cleared of the 1999 slaying of Colombo underboss William (Wild Bill) Cutolo, and the 1995 execution of Colombo associate Richard Greaves.

Gioeli attorney Adam Perlmutter argued for leniency, saying that, for the aged mobster who has health issues, the 18-year sentence was like a life sentence. Perlmutter also read excerpts from letters of support for Gioeli that presented him as a caring grandfather and community pillar.

Federal prosecutors pushed back, noting that longtime mobster Gioeli deserved the sentence mandated by the top of federal sentencing guidelines.

“The defendant had every opportunity to lead a law-abiding life,” said Assistant US Attorney James Gatta before detailing Gioeli’s long stretch of mob-related mayhem and murder.

Judge Cogan noted that Gioeli’s heinous crimes outweighed any alleged positive qualities, yet the judge still failed to hit him with the maximum 20-year sentence.

Some took issue with Cogan because the judge never mentioned the Dols slaying, noting only that he had found that Tommy Shots had killed Greaves and Wild Bill, despite the fact that Colombo turncoats Joseph (Joe Caves) Competiello and Dino (Big Dino) Calabro implicated both Tommy Shots and Saracino in the cop's murder.

Cogan said at various proceedings that Gioeli got only a "slight discount" from the 20 years because he was sick and had spent years awaiting trial at the Metropolitan Detention Center. The judge viewed that stint as especially harsh for Gioeli.

Several law enforcement officials argued that the judge's sentencing of 18 years rather than 20 made no sense. One law enforcement source said, "The Judge said the guy got away with two murders, which means mandatory life. They're dead, he's alive, and he gets a break. Makes absolutely no sense to me."

In August 2015, a Manhattan federal appeals court affirmed Gioeli's 2012 racketeering conspiracy conviction. On appeal, among other issues, Gioeli's attorneys had argued that the wife of informant and former friend Dino Calabro had secretly collected evidence for the government by faking social visits to Gioeli's wife. The appeals panel ruled that it was permissible for Andrea Calabro to use the ruse of friendship to gather evidence. Also, she acted on her own rather than on direct behalf of the feds when she secretly stole a Gioeli address book.

Wild Bill Cutolo
Cutolo went missing when he was Colombo underboss. He was 49.

Wild Bill was last seen near Shore Road and 92nd Street in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, on May 26, 1999, after he drove to a garage there. (In the process, Wild Bill lost an FBI tail.) 

Wild Bill Cutolo
Wild Bill Cutolo

It was quickly clear that Wild Bill had been murdered. His Colombo "cohorts" didn't exactly hide their bad intentions. Jackie DeRoss, Bill's longtime partner/friend came around the Cutolo home looking for Bill's loanshark books the very next morning.

During the '91-'93 Colombo war (see story with Larry Mazza), Bill stood with acting boss Vic Orena's faction. Fast forward to 1999.

Acting boss Little Allie Boy Persico was going to jail on a gun charge, and that meant Wild Bill, who had worked his way to underboss, was in position to be the most powerful mobster in the Colombo family on the street. He could've easily  seized control of the crime family. (Though Bill's daughters believe he had no intention of taking over.) The Persicos apparently didn't want to take that chance. (The Colombo family has in its history three civil wars.)

A former NYPD detective explained the situation like this: “The Persicos felt that Cutolo was going to make a move to take over the family and they weren’t going to let that happen."

“Allie started to secretly recruit big earners in Billy’s crew. He started to understand what Billy was making. It was a very calculated move. Only, Allie Boy left a trail of bread crumbs from the murder straight to himself.”

In October 2008, acting on an informant's information, federal agents found Cutolo's remains wrapped in a blue tarpaulin and buried in a field in East Farmingdale, New York. A forensic dentist later confirmed his identity.

In February 2009, U.S. District Court Judge Joanna Seybert sentenced Colombo acting boss Alphonse (Allie Boy) Persico and John (Jackie) DeRoss to life imprisonment for their roles in the murder.