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

Friday, March 9, 2012

Gambino mob rat kills self before he could testify against fellow wiseguys

He was a mob rat who needed redemption.
A guilt-ridden Gambino crime family member who spent two years wearing a wire for the FBI was found dead in an apparent suicide before he could testify against a bunch of his underworld cronies — including two bosses, sources said yesterday.
But Nicholas “Nicky Skins” Stefanelli, 69 — who was found dead on Feb. 26 at the Renaissance Meadowlands Hotel in Rutherford, NJ — finished one more piece of murderous Mafia business before he went.
Two days earlier, Stefanelli shot and killed Joseph Rossi Sr., a Bloomfield, NJ, businessman he blamed for the 2010 drug arrest that forced him to become a turncoat, the sources said.
SLEEPS WITH FISHES: Informant Nicholas “Nicky Skins” Stefanelli’s death will hamper fed mob prosecutions.
SLEEPS WITH FISHES: Informant Nicholas “Nicky Skins” Stefanelli’s death will hamper fed mob prosecutions.
Stefanelli’s death, which was first reported by Gang Land News, has thrown several mob prosecutions into chaos.
He made secret recordings of wiseguys from Philadelphia to Providence while mostly operating in New Jersey — but was also needed to testify against the targets.
While some cases have been crippled, the feds will try to use his recordings to prosecute Philadelphia-area mob boss Joseph “Uncle Joe” Ligambi and former New England boss Luigi “Baby Shacks” Manocchio.
Sources told Gang Land News that federal agents believe Nicky Skins was having second thoughts about betraying fellow mobsters.
“After cooperating for two years, he had pangs of guilt and decided to kill himself to make things right,” a source told the Web site. “But first, he just had to get even with the guy he thought had fingered him.”
A law enforcement source told The Post the FBI is furious over his death.
“They are not happy about it,” the source said. “They had a lot of cases going. They were not thrilled about this at all. ”
Nicky, who was a made member of the Gambino crime family, turned rat after both he and his son, Nicholas Stefanelli Jr., were arrested in 2010 in connection with a drug operation.
The elder Stefanelli agreed to don a wire so his son wouldn’t be hit with charges, according to Gang Land News.
Stefanelli’s body was found around 11 a.m., when a woman believed to be his daughter called the Renaissance hotel front desk to say he was unconscious, the general manager Toni Pinto said.
“She was totally hysterical and crying and screaming. She kept saying that he wasn’t breathing. That’s all she was saying. So we immediately called 911,” Pinto said, adding that Stefanelli appeared to have been dead for a few hours.
“He died peacefully, that I can tell you,” he said. “There was no foul play. The room wasn’t disturbed. There was nothing.”
Officials do not believe Nicky Skins was murdered and are awaiting toxicology reports to confirm his death was a suicide.
Federal sources believe he likely died from a drug overdose.
Sources told The Post that Stefanelli had “paid for his own funeral three or four days before” he died — further evidence of a suicide.
Meanwhile, the FBI is trying to figure out how Nicky Skins managed to kill Rossi.
The 58-year-old was gunned down inside a Bloomfield building where he operated a coin-operated machine distribution business.
Sources said there will be an internal review of the investigation by the FBI and the Justice Department to determine how a federal informant was able to go out and kill someone without being stopped.
Stefanelli was not under federal watch at the time of the Rossi killing.
“You can’t keep somebody locked down 24/7,” a source said. “The FBI has thousands of sources all over.”
Another source said: “This is sensitive. It’s ugly. It’s bad.”
It was also all for nothing.
If Stefanelli hoped his suicide would earn him forgiveness from the mobsters he backstabbed, he was dead wrong.
An underworld source told Gang Land that the wiseguys still think “he was no good.”


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