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

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Continuing the family tradition John Gotti's grandson is sentenced to five years in prison

With apologies to Tolstoy, happy families may all be alike, but the Gotti family has long been unhappy in its own particular fashion. For nearly half a century, that has involved the serial ordeal of men in the Mafia clan being sent to federal prison.
On Wednesday, John J. Gotti, the grandson of the infamous Gambino family don who shares his name, was sentenced to five years in prison, following in the footsteps of two of his uncles, two great-uncles and both grandfathers. For three generations, members of the gangland dynasty have been imprisoned for crimes that have included shaking down construction sites, murdering a mob boss at a steakhouse and trying to extort the action-movie hero Steven Seagal.
The crimes that led this latest Gotti scion to be sent away were, according to the government, also entangled in the business that has occupied the family almost since the start of the Civil Rights era. Last June, Mr. Gotti, now 24, pleaded guilty to torching the car of an unwitting motorist who made the mistake of cutting off an aging Bonnano family figure on Cross Bay Boulevard in Howard Beach, Queens. Mr. Gotti also admitted that two weeks after the road-rage episode, he and two associates — presenting a note that said they had a bomb — robbed $6,000 from a bank in Maspeth, Queens.
His sentencing, in Federal District Court in Brooklyn, had the feeling of a familiar family dinner as several Gotti parents, grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles converged on the eighth-floor courtroom, kissing each other’s cheeks and showing their support for the defendant. John A. Gotti, the son of the former boss (who was serving a life sentence for murder when he died in prison in 2002), embraced one of the court sketch artists with genuine affection, telling his younger relatives that the woman had not only covered his trials (plural), but had also covered “grandpa’s.”
Inside the room, the younger Mr. Gotti — bespectacled, his hair slicked, both arms sleeved with tattoos — sat beside his lawyer, Charles Carnesi, who had once defended his uncle. Mr. Carnesi told Judge Allyne R. Ross that just before the arson and bank robbery charges were filed, his client had been sentenced to eight years in prison on an unrelated state charge of illegally selling opioids. He asked for lenience, saying that after Mr. Gotti’s drug arrest “a light goes on in his mind” and he recognized “the disastrous path his life was on.”
Mr. Gotti echoed that sentiment himself when he addressed the judge, apologizing first to his family (“I should have knew better”) and then to the court (“It was a waste of taxpayer money”).
“I’m in a good place today,” he said. “I know when I leave here, I can give the world something good.”
Storied American families often have traditions. The Kennedys are known for playing football on skis. The Bushes gather ranch brush. The Gottis, it would seem, write notes to federal judges asking them for mercy for their loved ones.
In one of those notes, submitted to the court this fall, Peter J. Gotti, Mr. Gotti’s father, told Judge Ross that over the years he had watched far too many of his kinsmen “spend most of their lives in prison” or “get their lives taken from them at the barrel of a gun.” Describing himself as a man who has been struggling to “build a small bread route, one stop at a time,” he explained that his son had fallen into crime after “messing around” with drugs and being rejected from various labor unions and the city’s fire and sanitation departments. At one point, Peter Gotti wrote, the younger Mr. Gotti applied to study personal training at the Swedish Institute, but, as he put it, “Hurricane Sandy interrupted that.”
In his own letter, John A. Gotti noted that his nephew had been raised in “the milieu of Howard Beach” — a community that he acknowledged has both “law-abiding citizens and at times professional criminals.” There, he wrote, the young man “grew up bearing the name ‘Gotti,’ with all of the connotations and condemnations that the name bears.”
In their own court filings, federal prosecutors said that, taken together, the arson and the bank robbery were “the defendant’s fourth serious criminal case.” They reminded Judge Ross that aside from his arrest for selling drugs — during which Mr. Gotti was caught on video snorting crushed pills even as he offered some to an undercover officer — he had also been sentenced as a young offender in a gun case and later for the criminal possession of narcotics.
Judge Ross, taking all of this into consideration, sided with the government and sentenced Mr. Gotti to five years — half of which, she said, would run concurrently with the eight years he was serving in the state case. She also ordered him to pay restitution of $20,000 for the motorist’s incinerated car, adding that he would have to participate in an outpatient drug treatment program.
Before he was led away by a pair of federal marshals, Mr. Gotti blew a kiss to his family, many of whom took his sentence stoically.
“He’s a soldier,” his uncle, John A. Gotti, said outside the courtroom, assuming the role of family patriarch. “He’ll take what’s coming.”



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