LEV L. DASSIN, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and JOSEPH M. DEMAREST, JR., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI"), announced the unsealing of an indictment charging JOHN D’AMICO, a/k/a "Jackie the Nose," the Acting Boss of the Gambino Organized Crime Family of La Cosa Nostra (the "Gambino Crime Family"), and powerful, longtime Gambino Crime Family associate JOSEPH WATTS with the 1989 murder of FREDERICK WEISS, who the defendants believed was serving as a federal government witness. The Indictment unsealed today also charges D'AMICO with racketeering conspiracy involving murder, extortion, witness tampering, obstruction of justice and gambling. WATTS was arrested earlier this morning in Manhattan and is expected to be presented later today in Manhattan federal court. D'AMICO is in federal custody in connection with a separate matter and is expected to be transferred to Manhattan to face these charges at a later date. According to the Indictment unsealed earlier today and other documents filed in Manhattan federal Court:
D'AMICO is a Capo in the Gambino Crime Family -- one of the families of "La Cosa Nostra" that operate in the New York City and New Jersey areas -- and is presently serving as its Acting Boss.
One of the purposes of the Gambino Crime Family is to identify and kill individuals suspected of providing information about the Family to law enforcement. On September 11, 1989, FREDERICK WEISS was murdered at the direction of JOHN GOTTI, the boss of the Gambino Family, because he was believed to be cooperating with law enforcement. D'AMICO and WATTS were among those involved in carrying out GOTTI's order to murder WEISS. From at least 1986, D'AMICO was also involved in conspiring with other members and associates of the Gambino Crime Family to commit a wide range of criminal offenses, including murder, operating illegal gambling businesses, extortion and obstruction of justice. D'AMICO's illegal conduct continued until at least May 2008 when, in an attempt to obtain release on bail in connection with separate federal charges against him, he misrepresented the nature of a salaried position with a major beverage distributor, which he obtained through Gambino Crime Family influence.
D'AMICO is charged with one count of racketeering conspiracy involving murder, extortion, witness tampering, obstruction of justice and gambling; and one count of murder of a witness in a federal criminal case. WATTS is charged with one count of murder of a witness in a federal criminal case. If convicted, D'AMICO, 72, and WATTS, 67, face a maximum sentence of life in prison.
The Indictment also seeks the forfeiture of $4 million from D'AMICO. The forfeitures represent the alleged proceeds obtained from the charged offenses.
Mr. DASSIN praised the investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorneys MIRIAM ROCAH and ARLO DEVLIN-BROWN are in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
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