Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Reputed mobster Joseph "Joe the German" Watts gets 13-year max for murder plot, assault conviction

Joseph Watts, a longtime associate of the Gambino crime family, was convicted of putting together a hit squad to take out a mob-connected trash hauler in 1989.
Joseph Watts, a longtime associate of the Gambino crime family, was convicted of putting together a hit squad to take out a mob-connected trash hauler in 1989

Once a gangster, always a gangster.
A trusted henchman of the late John Gotti was hit with a maximum prison term this morning by a judge who noted that he resumed his life of crime "almost immediately" after getting sprung from the slammer the last time.
Joseph "Joe the German" Watts, 69, was sentenced to 13 years behind bars for a 1989 murder plot and the beatdown of a former prison pal who failed to make him money in the stock market.
Although his defense lawyer said Watts' advanced age meant he might not outlive the punishment, Manhattan federal Judge Colleen McMahon told the white-haired jailbird that he seemed like a "healthy fellow" who was "accustomed to prison life."
"I'm betting you may walk out of jail," she said before warning Watts that she'd toss him back in the can if he doesn't learn to walk the straight and narrow.
The high-ranking Gambino crime-family associate -- who's been tied to 11 murders and was allegedly a back-up shooter at the 1985 rubout of Gambino boss Paul Castellano -- is currently serving two years for breaking bread with a fellow mobster in violation of supervised release.
McMahon rejected defense arguments for a "modest adjustment" down from the max, calling Watts a "cold-blooded killer" who committed "heinous" and "hideous" acts in service to the mob.
"He does not appear to know how to live his life without violence and killing," she said.
McMahon also noted that the plea bargain Watts struck with the feds in January gave him a "substantial break" from the potential 30-year minimum he would have faced if he went to trial.
Watts pleaded guilty to conspiring to murder sanitation exec Frederick Weiss, who was whacked on Gotti's orders after the "Dapper Don" suspected he had turned rat.
Prosecutor Steve Kwok said Watts was waiting, gun in hand, for Weiss to be lured to a Staten Island garage that had been lined with plastic for an easy clean-up.
The plan was foiled, however, when Weiss -- a former editor of the Staten Island advance -- never showed up, and he was killed by another hit team the next day.
Watts also admitted assaulting ex-con Abe Berger, whom he met while serving six years for a 1998 money-laundering conviction.
Defense lawyer Gerald Shargel said Berger "essentially defrauded" Watts of $400,000 by claiming to be a "wizard" at picking stocks, and that Watts "slapped" him around in an attempt to get back his investment.
"If Mr. Watts was the person they claim him to be, I doubt that Mr. Berger would be walking the streets," Shargel said.
McMahon, however, said Watts wasn't entitled "to resort to self-help" to collect on the debt.
"You can bring a lawsuit. You can call the cops. You can't beat somemone up," she said.
The gravel-voiced Watts -- who the feds say never became a "made" member of the Mafia because he's not Italian -- declined an opportunity to speak in court.


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