Sammy Gravano
American mobster
Sammy Gravano
Salvatore "Sammy Bull" Gravano is a former underboss of the Gambino crime family. He is known as the man who helped bring down John Gotti, the family's boss, by agreeing to become a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) government witness. Originally a mobster for the Colombo crime family, and later for the Brooklyn faction of the Gambinos, Gravano participated in the conspiracy to murder Gambino boss Paul Castellano.
Sammy Gravano's personal information overview.
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Target: Sammy “the Bull” Gravano - Part III - Blogger News Network (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
On February 24, 2000, the day before they were going to leave for Phoenix, Sal was driving alone underneath FDR Drive in New York, when he heard over his car's radio that Sammy Gravano had been arrested in Phoenix on state drug trafficking charges
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Google News article
Portrait Acteur : Michael Imperioli - Critictoo (Séries)
Google News - over 5 years
En 1998, il donne de nouveau la réplique à Vincent Pastore dans le téléfilm Witness to the Mob produit par Robert De Niro, narrant l'ascension et la chute vertigineuse de Sammy Gravano, pressenti pour être le lieutenant du parrain John Gotti,
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Google News article
Target: Sammy “the Bull” Gravano - Part II - Blogger News Network (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
Unlike a bank, Sammy Gravano would fight back. If he felt threatened he'd use lethal force without hesitation. And if he and Carbonaro were able to kill the traitor before he killed them, they could still face death. If caught and convicted,
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Google News article
What the Mob Can Teach A Start-Up Hedge Fund - Wall Street & Technology (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
When Sammy (Gravano) was first appointed the underboss of the (Gambino) family, I asked Artie what he thought. He was eating dinner, and he just paused, gave me a stare and kept eating. He obviously had distaste for Sammy, and he was basically
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Google News article
What the Mob can teach the startup industry - Reuters UK (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
When Sammy (Gravano) was first appointed the underboss of the (Gambino) family, I asked Artie what he thought. He was eating dinner, and he just paused, gave me a stare and kept eating. He obviously had distaste for Sammy, and he was basically
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Google News article
Cases Often Rest on Shaky Witnesses - Wall Street Journal
Google News - over 5 years
The 1992 testimony of Sammy Gravano, a one-time mafia underboss, helped convict John Gotti, the head of the Gambino crime family, even though Mr. Gravano wasn't considered entirely trustworthy. Deborah Denno, a law professor at Fordham University and a
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DSK a le même avocat que Puff Daddy et Michael Jackson - Ouest-France
Google News - almost 6 years
Premier gros combat onze ans plus tard : il défend le mafieux Sammy Gravano. Reconnu coupable de douze meurtres, l'accusé fera cinq ans de prison en échange de témoignages contre ses complices. Un succès pour Brafman, qui intègre les poids lourds
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Gotti. Quem não esqueceu Michael Corleone quer sempre um mafioso à la Pacino - i Informação
Google News - almost 6 years
Eles amam-me", respondeu John Gotti a Sammy Gravano, outro mafioso. O FBI até lhe deu um apelido, o Don Teflon, porque tal como as frigideiras com Teflon são antiaderentes, Gotti também era difícil de apanhar. Os nomes confirmados para o filme são,
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Will Cooperation Benefit Times Square Bombing Suspect? Experts Disagree
NYTimes - almost 7 years
For more than two weeks, the suspect in the Times Square bomb case had been held at an undisclosed location, voluntarily offering so much information that several law enforcement officials have noted the extraordinary level of cooperation. But on Tuesday, the suspect, Faisal Shahzad, assumed a more traditional role and identity: federal inmate No.
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NYTimes article
Metro Briefing | New Jersey: Newark: Charges To Be Dropped After Witness Dies
NYTimes - almost 11 years
The authorities plan to drop murder charges accusing Salvatore Gravano, known as Sammy the Bull, of playing a role in the 1980 killing of a police detective after a key prosecution witness died in prison this week of heart failure. The witness, Richard Kuklinski, 70, known as the Iceman, was serving consecutive life sentences after multiple murder
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NYTimes article
Enforcer Paints Picture Of Gotti as Powerful Don
NYTimes - about 11 years
It was Christmas Eve 1988, Michael DiLeonardo said, when Jackie D'Amico, a captain in the Gambino crime family, told him, ''Put a suit on, you're going to get straightened out.'' He went to an apartment on Mulberry Street in Little Italy, a few blocks from the Ravenite Social Club, home base of the Gambino family. There he waited in a room with
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NYTimes article
Made Men in America
NYTimes - over 11 years
FIVE FAMILIES The Rise, Decline, and Resurgence of America's Most Powerful Mafia Empires. By Selwyn Raab. Illustrated. 765 pp. Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press. $29.95. EARLIER this year The Times published a front-page article describing an F.B.I. drive to rid the New York waterfronts of Mafia influence. At first glance the story appeared so
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NYTimes article
A Good and a Bad Day for the Gotti Family
NYTimes - over 11 years
For the Gambino crime family, one of New York's oldest and largest, yesterday began with a surprising victory and ended, just before 6 p.m., with a demoralizing defeat. The action unfolded in Federal District Court in Manhattan, and involved two generations of the Gotti family -- Peter Gotti and John A. Gotti -- the brother and the son of the late
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NYTimes article
Peter Gotti Is Found Guilty In Murder and Racket Case
NYTimes - about 12 years
Peter Gotti, the older brother of the late mobster John J. Gotti, and a co-defendant were found guilty yesterday of federal charges of racketeering and conspiring to murder Mafia turncoats. The verdicts were the latest in a series of courtroom blows that have decimated the once-powerful Gambino crime family. After a monthlong trial that featured
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NYTimes article
Gotti's Angry Words Taped in Prison
NYTimes - about 12 years
The profanity-laced words of the late John J. Gotti were heard at his brother's racketeering trial yesterday, showing the gruff former Gambino family boss as proud of himself and bitter at the turncoats and F.B.I. agents who ruined his world. In one May 1997 conversation recorded at the federal prison in Marion, Ill., where Mr. Gotti was being
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NYTimes article
Rival Family Beat Gambinos to Payoff in Prison Job, Witness Testifies
NYTimes - over 12 years
The Gambino crime family had so much control over several New York construction unions in the 1990's that its bosses were annoyed when they were cut out of a $22 million building contract for the federal prison in Brooklyn, a former Gambino member testified in federal court yesterday. The witness, Frank Fappiano, took the jury on a narrated tour of
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NYTimes article
About New York; Name Is Gotti, But Principle Is Peter
NYTimes - over 12 years
NOT so long ago in this city, the Gotti surname carried clout, as in one to the head. It said give me your money. It said maybe you did not hear me, give me your money. It said whack, thank you for your money. In short, Gotti said sociopath. No question. Back then, the Gotti bloodline dominated the sixth borough of Thugdom. John Gotti, the
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NYTimes article
Peter Gotti Goes on Trial In Plot on Mob Informer
NYTimes - over 12 years
John J. Gotti has been dead for more than two years, but his specter filled a Manhattan courtroom yesterday as the racketeering trial of his brother, Peter Gotti, began in Federal District Court. Prosecutors displayed an image of John Gotti, the late head of the Gambino crime family, on a large projection screen as they argued that his brother
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NYTimes article
Gambino Crime Boss or Not, Peter Gotti Gets 9-Year Term
NYTimes - almost 13 years
Peter Gotti, the older brother of the deceased mobster John J. Gotti and the reputed acting head of the Gambino crime family, was sentenced yesterday to nine years and four months in federal prison for money laundering and racketeering. Mr. Gotti's lawyer, Gerald L. Shargel, asked Judge Frederic Block of United States District Court in Brooklyn to
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NYTimes article
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Sammy Gravano
  • 2015
    Age 69
    As of April 2015, Gravano is listed as being in the Arizona state prison system at a CO Special Services unit.
    More Details Hide Details His current release date is March 8, 2019. Once released, Gravano will be on supervised release for the rest of his life.
  • 2003
    Age 57
    On February 24, 2003, New Jersey state prosecutors announced Gravano's indictment for ordering the 1980 murder of NYPD detective Peter Calabro by contract killer Richard Kuklinski.
    More Details Hide Details Prosecutors later dropped the charges when Kuklinski, the star witness, died before he could testify.
  • 2002
    Age 56
    On September 7, 2002, after numerous delays, Gravano was sentenced in New York to 20 years in federal, to run concurrently with the 19-year Arizona sentence.
    More Details Hide Details Gerard Gravano received nine years in prison. Debra and Karen Gravano also pleaded guilty and received several years on probation. In 2013, National Geographic Channel dramatized Gravano's ecstasy ring in a scene in the Banged Up Abroad episode "Raving Arizona" televised worldwide. The episode told the story of ecstasy dealer "English" Shaun Attwood who was Gravano's main competitor in the Arizona ecstasy market.
  • 2001
    Age 55
    On June 29, 2001, Gravano pleaded guilty in Phoenix to the state charges.
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    On May 25, 2001, Gravano pleaded guilty in a New York federal court to drug trafficking charges.
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  • 2000
    Age 54
    In February 2000, Gravano and 47 other ring members—including his wife Debra, daughter Karen, and Gerard—were arrested on federal and state drug charges.
    More Details Hide Details Gravano was implicated by informants in his own drug ring, as well as by recorded conversations in which he discussed drug profits with Debra and Karen.
  • 1997
    Age 51
    Also in 1997, New York State took legal action to seize Gravano's profits from the book.
    More Details Hide Details During an interview Gravano had with the newspaper The Arizona Republic, he claimed federal agents he had met after becoming a government witness had become his personal friends and even visited him in Arizona while on vacation. Gravano later claimed that he didn't want The Republic to publish the story, but relented after the paper allegedly threatened to reveal that his family was living with him in Phoenix. The story so incensed his former mob compatriots that they forced the Gambinos to put a murder contract on him. By the late 1990s, Gravano had re-engaged in criminal activity. He partnered with a local youth gang known as the "Devil Dogs" after his son Gerard became friends with the gang's 23-year-old leader, Michael Papa. Gravano started a major ecstasy trafficking organization, selling over 30,000 tablets and grossing $500,000 a week.
    In 1997, Gravano wrote the book Underboss with author Peter Maas.
    More Details Hide Details In it, Gravano claimed that he became a government witness after Gotti attempted to defame him at their trial. Gravano finally realized that the Cosa Nostra code of honor was a sham. At this time, Gravano also hired a publicist, despite the fact Gravano complained often about the publicity-seeking Gotti. After the publication of Underboss, several families of Gravano's victims filed a $25 million lawsuit against him.
  • 1995
    Age 49
    However, in 1995 Gravano left Witness Protection and relocated to Scottsdale, Arizona.
    More Details Hide Details A Federal prosecutor later said that Gravano did not like the constraints of the program. Gravano began living very openly, giving interviews to magazines and appearing in a nationally televised interview with television journalist Diane Sawyer. He appeared on live TV after having had plastic surgery to hide his appearance from the mob. In one interview with author/journalist Howard Blum, Gravano boasted:
  • 1994
    Age 48
    In 1994, Gravano was released early and entered the U.S. federal Witness Protection Program.
    More Details Hide Details The government moved him to Tempe, Arizona, where he assumed the name Jimmy Moran and started a swimming pool installation company.
    On September 26, 1994, a federal judge sentenced Gravano to five years in prison.
    More Details Hide Details However, since Gravano had already served four years, the sentence amounted to less than one year.
  • 1991
    Age 45
    On November 11, 1991, federal prosecutors announced that Gravano became a cooperating government witness.
    More Details Hide Details Gravano would later testify against Gotti and other high-ranking mobsters in exchange for a reduced sentence. John Gotti received a sentence of life imprisonment. As part of Gravano's cooperation agreement, he would never be forced to testify against his former crew.
  • 1990
    Age 44
    A construction associate of Gravano's unknowingly informed Gravano of DiBono's activities. Gravano informed Gotti and DiBono's body was found in his car in the parking lot of the World Trade Center in October 1990.
    More Details Hide Details Gravano's intentions for this murder would be called into question as it was suspected Gravano might have had different reasons for wanting DiBono dead due to his jealousy over DiBono's drywall business. With Gotti's permission, Gravano set up the murders of Tommy Spero and several other Gambino associates. Eventually, Gotti would name Gravano his underboss, and move LoCascio to consigliere. When Gotti was tried for racketeering and assault charges in the winter of 1986–87, Gravano paid a juror to vote not guilty regardless of the evidence. It was this trial that allowed Gotti to make his reputation as "the Teflon Don". Eventually, Gravano and several other members of the Gambino family became disenchanted with Gotti's lust for the media and high-profile antics, feeling they brought too much heat. Several members of the family informed Gravano that Gotti's high profile and large gatherings of mob members at the Ravenite Social Club were constant targets for the FBI and that the media attention put a large spotlight on the Gambinos. Many members of the family, according to Gravano, complained to him about Gotti's use of Gravano in murders despite Gravano's position as underboss of the family. Members were also concerned about Gotti's frequent appearances in court. He was first tried for assaulting a refrigerator repairman over a parking space. Through witness intimidation, he was acquitted. Gravano had paid a juror in Gotti's second trial to vote in favor of an acquittal allowing Gotti to beat the RICO charges lodged against him.
    On August 9, 1990, Garofalo was shot to death in front of his home as arranged by Gravano.
    More Details Hide Details The last murder to involve Gravano was the murder of Louie DiBono, the made man Gravano had threatened to kill earlier. Gravano described the reasons for the murder in Underboss: He was still robbing the family and I asked for permission to take him out. But John had a meeting with DiBono, and DiBono told John that he had a billion dollars of drywall work that was coming out of the World Trade Center. John bit, hook, line and sinker, and refused my request. John said he would handle DiBono personally and become his partner. But DiBono was up to his old tricks double-dealing. He had obviously been bullshitting John. So when John called Louie in for meetings to discuss their new partnership, DiBono didn't show up. John was humiliated. This meant an automatic death penalty. John gave the contract to DiBono's captain, Pat Conte. Conte botched an ideal opportunity to kill DiBono. Then, as Gotti grew increasingly impatient, Conte explained that the problem now was trying to corner DiBono again. Whenever a meeting with him was arranged, DiBono never appeared. It was a joke, what was going on. I couldn't help laughing to myself. I told John why didn't Pat simplify everything. Just call Louie up and tell him to hang himself. Ten months went by. John looks like an asshole. He was too embarrassed even to ask me for help.
    In 1990, Gravano was involved in two murders, the first of which was Eddie Garofalo, a demolition contractor who made the mistake of running afoul of the Gambinos.
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  • 1988
    Age 42
    Johnson was shot while walking to his car to go to work in front of his house in May 1988.
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    Despite Gravano's rise in status to consigliere, Gotti continued to use Gravano for the task of murder. In May 1988, Gravano and Robert Bisaccia, a New Jersey crime family soldier, murdered Francessco Oliverri for beating a Gambino family crew member to death.
    More Details Hide Details Bisaccia shot Oliverri to death while Gravano waited in a stolen get-away car. After Oliverri, John Gotti had finally got around to taking care of Wilfred "Willie Boy" Johnson. Johnson had been a childhood friend of Gotti's and a longtime crew member while Gotti was captain of the Bergin crew. However, at Gotti's RICO trial, Diane Giacalone, the head prosecutor, revealed that Johnson had been an informant for the FBI for years. Johnson refused to testify for the prosecution. In Underboss Gravano claims that Gotti met with Johnson during the trial and informed Johnson that as long as he never testified against Gotti, he and his family would not be harmed. Johnson would never be allowed to participate in mob matters again, however. Johnson asked Gotti to swear on his dead son, Frank Gotti, who had been killed in an accident years ago. Gotti swore. Now Gotti was having second thoughts. "John discussed how it should go, using me to bounce off ideas about the best way to do it. That was my only involvement," Gravano explained.
  • 1987
    Age 41
    When Joseph N. Gallo and Armone were convicted on racketeering charges in 1987, Gotti turned to Gravano to help fill the void, promoting him to official consigliere and making Frank Locascio acting underboss.
    More Details Hide Details By this time, Gravano was regarded as a "rising force" in the construction industry and often mingled with executives from major construction firms and union officials at his popular Bensonhurst restaurant, Tali's. Gravano's success was not without a downside. First, his quick rise up the Gambino hierarchy attracted the attention of the FBI, and he was soon placed under surveillance. Second, he started to sense some jealousy from Gotti over the profitability of his legitimate business interests. Nevertheless, Gravano claimed to be kicking up over $2 million each year to Gotti out of his union activities alone. Michael DeBatt, the son of a late friend of Gravano's, had also become addicted to crack cocaine. DeBatt's wife came to Gravano pleading for help. She told Gravano that DeBatt stayed up at night with a gun claiming "they were coming to get him." Gravano had taken DeBatt under his wing after the elder DeBatt's death, as he had done with Joey D' Angelo. Gravano responded to DeBatt's wife's cries for help by having DeBatt shot to death at Tali's, Gravano's bar. The shooters emptied the cash register and left DeBatt in the bar to make it look like a robbery.
  • 1986
    Age 40
    Gotti's trial ultimately ended in a mistrial due to a hung jury and the boss was freed from jail. Gravano's specific position within the family varied during 1986 and 1987.
    More Details Hide Details He started out as co-underboss with Ruggiero and later was shifted to co-consigliere with Armone.
    The Genoveses made good on their veiled threat in April 1986, when DeCicco was killed by a car bomb outside of Castellano's former social club in Bensonhurst, then operated by Gambino capo James Failla.
    More Details Hide Details Gravano was at the club at the time and was blown off his feet by the blast. Gravano attempted to pull DeCicco from the wreckage but realized it was no use when he saw various body parts scattered about. The attack was orchestrated by Genovese boss Vincent Gigante, with the backing of Lucchese leaders Vittorio "Vic" Amuso and Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso. The bomb was intended to kill both DeCicco and Gotti, who was supposed to be at the club for a meeting with Gravano and DeCicco. Gotti, however, couldn't make the meeting and rescheduled for later that evening at the Ravenite Social Club in Manhattan. Failla and fellow capo Daniel Marino were two of Castellano's closest associates before his death and both men were in on Gigante's plot. In exchange for a promise to be designated co-leaders of the Gambino family after the assassinations, Failla and Marino provided intelligence and tipped off the plotters to the planned meeting in Bensonhurst. The plotters reportedly used a car bomb for the attack in order to divert suspicion. The method had its intended effect, as Gotti and Gravano considered and dismissed the possibility that Gigante was behind the plot, reasoning, "He wouldn't use... bombs."
  • 1985
    Age 39
    In June 1985, he again demanded that Dellacroce get him the tapes.
    More Details Hide Details Both Dellacroce and Gotti tried to convince Ruggiero to comply if Castellano explained beforehand how he intended to use the tapes, but Ruggiero refused, fearing he would endanger good friends. Three months later, Gravano was approached by Robert DiBernardo, a fellow Gambino member acting as an intermediary for Gotti. DiBernardo informed him that Gotti and Ruggiero wanted to meet with him in Queens. Gravano arrived to find only Ruggiero was present. Ruggiero informed Gravano that he and Gotti were planning to murder Castellano and asked for Gravano's support. Gravano was initially noncommittal, wanting to confer first with Frank DeCicco. In conversation with DeCicco, both men voiced concern that Castellano would designate his nephew, Thomas Gambino, acting boss and his driver, Thomas Bilotti, underboss in the event he was convicted and sent to prison. Neither man appealed to Gravano or DeCicco as leadership material, and they ultimately decided to support the hit on Castellano.
  • 1982
    Age 36
    In 1982, Frank Fiala, a wealthy businessman and drug trafficker, paid Gravano $40,000 to rent the Plaza Suite for a birthday party he was throwing himself.
    More Details Hide Details Two days after the party, Gravano accepted a $1,000,000 offer from Fiala to buy the establishment, which Gravano had only valued at $200,000. The deal was structured to include $100,000 cash as a down payment, $650,000 in gold bullion under the table, and a $250,000 payment at the real estate closing. Before the transaction was completed, Fiala began acting like he already owned the club. He started remodeling it and hired his own bouncers. The final provocation was when Fiala moved into Gravano's private office and began breaking through an office wall. Gravano, enraged, stormed into the office followed by Garafola. Fiala was standing behind Gravano's desk. He sat down in Gravano's chair, smirking at the two men. "What do you think you're doing?" Gravano growled. "This doesn't belong to you till the closing. Get the hell out of here." Fiala reached into a desk drawer, removed an Uzi machine pistol and aimed it at the two men. Ordering them to sit down, Fiala stated, "You fucking greaseballs, you do things my way."
  • 1980
    Age 34
    Gravano has been the object of many unproven charges. Federal inmates who served time with Gravano claimed that he privately admitted to a role in the 1980 killing of a New York cop.
    More Details Hide Details Inmates also claimed that Gravano bragged about killing many more than 19 people. Lynda Milito claimed in her book Mafia Wife she had heard Gravano had smothered an elderly woman to death during a botched robbery. Milito also claimed that Gravano's former crew members told her that Gravano had shot her husband Louie Milito twice in the back of the head and once under the chin. In his court testimony, Gravano had claimed to be a bystander when Milito was shot. John Gotti's lawyers also accused Gravano of being involved in two other murders that were not disclosed by the FBI. Since Gravano's imprisonment on drug charges, he has been diagnosed with Graves' disease, a thyroid disorder that can cause fatigue, weight loss with increased appetite, and hair loss. Gravano appeared at his drug trial missing hair on his head and eyebrows and appeared to have lost weight. In Philip Carlo's book Confessions of a Mafia Boss, mobster Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso, also imprisoned at Florence, claims that Gravano only ventures out of his cell to get food and that Casso has only seen him in the mess hall a couple of times.
    Gravano further ingratiated himself to Castellano when he interceded in a civil war that had erupted within the Philadelphia crime family. In March 1980, longtime Philadelphia boss, Angelo Bruno, was assassinated by his consigliere, Antonio Caponigro, without authorization from The Commission.
    More Details Hide Details The Commission summoned Caponigro to New York, where it sentenced him to death for his transgression. After Caponigro was tortured and killed, Philip Testa was installed as the new Philadelphia boss and Nicky Scarfo as consigliere. The Commission subsequently placed contracts on Caponigro's co-conspirators, including John "Johnny Keys" Simone, who also happened to be Bruno's cousin. The Simone contract was given to Gravano. After befriending Simone through a series of meetings, Gravano, with the assistance of Milito and D'Angelo, abducted Simone from Yardley Golf Club in Yardley, Pennsylvania (part of suburban Trenton, New Jersey) and drove him to a wooded area on Staten Island. Gravano then granted Simone's requests to die with his shoes off, in fulfillment of a promise he had made to his wife, and at the hands of a made man. After Gravano removed Simone's shoes, Milito shot Simone in the back of the head, killing him. Gravano later expressed admiration for Simone as a so-called "man's man", remarking favorably on the calmness with which he accepted his fate. Gravano earned praise from Castellano for the killing.
  • 1978
    Age 32
    Gravano's loyalty to his dueling families was put to the test in 1978, when the erratic behavior of his brother-in-law, Nicholas Scibetta, attracted the attention of Gambino leadership.
    More Details Hide Details Scibetta, the brother of Gravano's wife, had developed an alcohol problem and soon started using cocaine. A series of altercations with mob associates followed, one of which ended with Scibetta having his adversary arrested, earning Scibetta a reputation as a rat. Scibetta sealed his fate when he insulted the daughter of George DeCicco, uncle of Gambino member Frank DeCicco. Hearing the news, Gravano gave his brother-in-law a beating in an attempt to forestall worse punishment. The elder DeCicco, however, was incensed and took the matter to boss Paul Castellano, who ordered a hit on Scibetta. The order was given to Frank DeCicco, who was told not to inform Gravano. DeCicco gave the contract to Liborio "Louie" Milito and Josephy "Stymie" D'Angelo, Sr., two associates on Gravano's crew. After consultation, the three agreed it was wrong not to tell Gravano. DeCicco went to Castellano and persuaded him to give permission to inform Gravano, but Castellano also authorized DeCicco to kill Gravano if he opposed the murder. According to Gravano, he was initially livid at the news and threatened to kill Castellano, but DeCicco eventually convinced him opposition would be futile and Gravano acquiesced to the murder.
  • 1976
    Age 30
    Gravano's robbery spree impressed Aurello, who proposed him for membership in the Gambino family. In 1976, the Cosa Nostra's membership books were finally reopened and Gravano became one of the first to be sworn in.
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  • 1971
    Age 25
    In 1971, Gravano married Debra Scibetta; they had two children.
    More Details Hide Details As of 2014, his daughter Karen Gravano is appearing on the VH1 reality series, Mob Wives. Later in his mob career, Gravano was ordered to help arrange the murder of his brother-in-law, Nicholas Scibetta. Gravano is also the brother-in-law of Gambino capo Edward Garafola and Mario Garafola. Gravano was a childhood friend of Colombo crime family associate Gerard Pappa. The Mafia had been in Bensonhurst for a long time; several "wiseguys" hung around a bar that a young Gravano and his father frequently passed.
  • 1970
    Age 24
    In 1970, Gravano committed his first murder—that of Joseph Colucci, a fellow Spero associate with whose wife Tommy Spero was having an affair.
    More Details Hide Details Colucci reportedly was planning to kill Gravano and both Speros in retaliation. Gravano described the experience thusly:
  • 1969
    Age 23
    A former associate, however, falsely claimed to the New York District Attorney's Office that Gravano and another associate were responsible for a double murder from 1969.
    More Details Hide Details After Gravano was indicted, he desperately needed money to pay his legal bills. He quit his construction job and went on a self-described "robbing rampage" for a year and a half. One week into the trial, the prosecution moved to dismiss the charges. Gravano later said of this legal problem: That pinch (arrest) changed my whole life. I never, ever stopped a second from there on in. I was like a madman. Never stopped stealing. Never stopped robbing. I was obsessed.
  • 1968
    Age 22
    Despite his father's attempts to dissuade him, Gravano, like many of his Ramper colleagues, drifted into the Cosa Nostra. He first became associated with the Cosa Nostra in 1968 through Anthony Spero, whose uncle Shorty was an associate of the Colombo crime family under future boss, Carmine "The Snake" Persico.
    More Details Hide Details Gravano was initially involved in crimes such as larceny, hijacking, and armed robbery. He quickly moved into racketeering, loansharking, and running a lucrative poker game in the back room of an after-hours club, of which he was part owner. Gravano became a particular favorite of family boss Joe Colombo, who used Gravano to picket the FBI Manhattan headquarters as part of his Italian-American Civil Rights League initiative. Gravano's rise was so precipitous that it was generally understood that he would be among the first to become made when the Cosa Nostra's membership books were reopened (they had been closed since 1957).
  • 1964
    Age 18
    In 1964, Gravano was drafted into the United States Army and served in the United States.
    More Details Hide Details While an enlisted man, Gravano mainly worked as a mess hall cook. He rose to the rank of corporal and was granted an honorable discharge after two years.
  • 1945
    Salvatore Gravano was born in 1945 to Giorlando "Gerry" and Caterina "Kay" Gravano.
    More Details Hide Details He was the youngest of three children, and the only boy. The Gravano family lived in Bensonhurst, a largely Italian American neighborhood in Brooklyn. Early on, one of Gravano's relatives remarked that he looked like his uncle Sammy. From that point on, everyone called Gravano "Sammy" instead of "Salvatore". His father ran a small dress factory and maintained a good standard of living for the family. At age seven, Gravano started stealing two cupcakes every day from a corner store in Bensonhurst on his way to school. After being caught by a store employee, a distraught Gravano received a stern warning. At age 13, Gravano joined the Rampers, a prominent street gang in Bensonhurst. At an early age, Gravano found a few people that had stolen his bicycle and went to fight the thieves. Made men who were watching from a cafe saw him take on a few people at once, and they gave Gravano back his bike. As he was leaving, one of the Mafia made men remarked on how little Sammy fought "like a bull", and hence his nickname "The Bull".
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