The Chicago Syndicate: Nicholaz Corozzo
Showing posts with label Nicholaz Corozzo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nicholaz Corozzo. Show all posts

Thursday, May 29, 2008

"Little Nick" Corozzo Turns Himself into the NY FBI

On the run for nearly four months and featured on "America's Most Wanted," a reputed Mafia capo strolled up to the FBI's New York City office on Thursday and surrendered on charges he ordered a decades-old gangland hit that took an innocent bystander's life.

Nicholas 'Little Nick' Corozzo turns himself in to the FBI in New York City.Nicholas "Little Nick" Corozzo _ according to authorities, a one-time crony of notorious mob boss John Gotti _ was ordered held without bail after pleading not guilty to racketeering, extortion and murder charges _ part of a sprawling federal case against the once-mighty Gambino organized crime family.

So where had the balding 5-foot-5, 68-year-old fugitive been hiding out?

"I really don't know," defense attorney Diarmuid White told reporters outside court. Prosecutors claimed they didn't know either.

White said Corozzo contacted him two weeks ago about arranging a surrender _ around the time his case was featured on the popular television show. On Thursday morning, Corozzo donned a blue sweat suit-white sneaker ensemble, met the lawyer on a street corner in lower Manhattan and walked two blocks to the FBI office, where they were greeted outside by four agents.

"He knew what he was doing," White said.

Corozzo had fled his Long Island home in early February amid a massive pre-dawn roundup of 62 reputed mobsters named in an indictment unsealed in Brooklyn.

Authorities say Corozzo was a soldier in the Gambino family from the mid-1970s until 1992 when he was promoted to capo, or captain. They say he was part of a three-man committee of capos formed in 1994 to help John "Junior" Gotti run New York's Gambino family while his father was in prison, serving a life sentence for murder and racketeering; the elder Gotti died behind bars in 2002.

Corozzo, also known as "the Little Guy," was consider a candidate to take over the crime family, but racketeering convictions in the late 1990s in Florida and New York took him out of the running, prosecutors say.

The Gambinos have been crippled by a steady stream of government indictments and prosecutions since the 1990s. Authorities brought the new charges against Corozzo as part of a case aimed at delivering a knock-out blow, with charges accusing reputed mobsters with offenses stretching back three decades.

The indictment alleges Corozzo ordered the Jan. 26, 1996, the murder of a rival mobster, resulting in the death of the intended target and the bystander. So far, about 30 of his co-defendants have pleaded guilty.

Thanks to Tom Hays

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Nicholas Corozzo: Wanted by the FBI

Nicholas Corozzo is wanted by the FBI for EXTORTION; EXTORTION CONSPIRACY; ILLEGAL GAMBLING; MONEY LAUNDERING; MONEY LAUNDERING CONSPIRACY; RACKETEERING CONSPIRACY; CONSPIRACY TO MURDER; and MURDER.

Wanted by the FBI - Nicholas Corozzo

SHOULD BE CONSIDERED ARMED AND DANGEROUS

Nicholas Corozzo is wanted for his alleged participation in a variety of illegal activities, including racketeering, extortion, and murder. Corozzo has been a member of the Gambino Crime Family since the early 1980s, and reportedly became a capodecina in the family in 1992. He has been charged with ordering the January 26, 1996, murder of a man who had robbed marijuana from Corozzo's crew and who was also thought to have participated in the murder of a Corozzo crew member. This individual was killed along with another man who was with the primary victim at the time.

On February 6, 2008, a warrant was issued for Corozzo in the United States District Court, Eastern District of New York, charging him with extortion, extortion conspiracy, illegal gambling, money laundering, money laundering conspiracy, racketeering conspiracy, conspiracy to murder, and murder. The investigation is being conducted jointly by the FBI, the New York State Organized Crime Task Force, the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor, the New York Police Department, and the United States Department of Labor.

DESCRIPTION

Date of Birth Used: March 17, 1940 Hair: Gray
Place of Birth: Brooklyn, New York Eyes: Brown
Height: 5'5" Sex: Male
Weight: 170 pounds Race: White
NCIC: W5938496320 Nationality: American
Occupation: Unknown
Scars and Marks: None known
Remarks: Corozzo may wear glasses.

IF YOU HAVE ANY INFORMATION CONCERNING THIS PERSON, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR LOCAL FBI OFFICE OR THE NEAREST AMERICAN EMBASSY OR CONSULATE.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Mobster Turns Lemons into Lemonade

It's too bad for Joey Vallaro that so many people want him killed. Otherwise he could make a killing himself on the speakers' circuit with his story of how even in adversity there is opportunity.

In Vallaro's case it would be about how he turned a jail stretch for extortion into a career as a Staten Island trucking magnate.

Always a step ahead, so far at least, Vallaro is the Mafia "rat" at the centre of a 170-page indictment against 62 mobsters and crooks, including the bosses of New York's Gambino family, which resulted in 57 arrests last week. It was a crippling blow to one of the city's notorious Five Families.

Twelve years and a lifetime ago, Vallaro became pals with the Gambino captain Nicholas "Little Nicky" Corozzo while they were in the can. Not long before he was jailed Vallaro and a partner had started a trucking company.

Court documents, referring to Vallaro as "John Doe #4", show that on the outside another Gambino captain, Thomas "Tommy Sneakers" Cacciopoli, recovered a debt owed to Vallaro's company "and, in return, demanded monthly extortion payments from that point forward". After his release from prison in 1999 Vallaro made the payments directly to Cacciopoli, 58, and to stay in business he has since handed over more than $US160,000.

In return, the Gambinos sponsored his business: ushering him into exclusive rights at development sites and granting him permission to start a cement company. When Vallaro wanted to sell after a buyer approached him, he first had to obtain permission from the family.

"In keeping with instructions from Gambino family captains Nicholas Corozzo and Leonard DiMaria to consult them before making any decisions concerning his business, John Doe #4 informed DiMaria of the [buyer's] offer. DiMaria later informed John Doe #4 that the family had agreed to allow him to make the sale, provided he pay $100,000 to the Gambino family," court documents show.

Vallaro's partner did not fare so well: "In early January 2008, Gambino family soldier Joseph Scopo approached John Doe #4 on behalf of Gambino family captain Thomas Cacciopoli and instructed him that when the sale of his cement company took place, John Doe #4 should not provide his partner with the more than $300,000 in sale proceeds due to him, and that Cacciopoli would collect the money himself when he was released from prison."

Long before he OKed selling Vallaro's business, Lenny "Fatso" DiMaria, a family member since the 1970s, had unwittingly given investigators an insight into corporate techniques Gambino-style when he was captured on a surveillance audio tape.

"You have to go bother these people for your money," he was heard telling a subordinate. "Rough them up a little. Tell them 'You're a f---ing stiff' … Crack a face. F--- them up. Don't you do it, send a f---ing kid to rough them up, a f---ing joke."

The most senior of those charged is John "Jackie the Nose" D'Amico, who rose from the rank of soldier to acting boss of the Gambinos. Seventy-three years old and facing racketeering and extortion charges, he may well die in prison like an earlier Gambino boss, John Gotti.

Also indicted are D'Amico's underboss, Dominic "the Greaseball" Cefalu, 61, and Joseph "Miserable" Corozzo, 66, the family's counsellor or consigliere. This trio was the Gambino "administration".

"The Gambino family operated through groups of individuals headed by captains, who were also referred to as skippers, caporegimes and capodecinas. These groups, which were referred to as crews, regimes and decinas, consisted of 'made' members of the Gambino family, also referred to as 'soldiers', 'friends of ours', 'good fellows' and 'buttons' as well as associates of the Gambino family," the indictment reads.

"With the assistance of the underboss and consigliere, the boss was responsible for setting policy, resolving disputes between members and associates of the Gambino family and members and associates of other criminal organisations."

Corozzo's brother, Nicholas "Little Nicky" Corozzo, is charged with the 1996 murder of the Lucchese crime family associate Robert Arena who refused to return marijuana he stole from a drug dealer. Arena was already suspected of killing one of Corozzo's crew - Anthony "Tough Tony" Placido - when Corozzo ordered his killing. A friend of Arena's who happened to be with him when he was shot was also murdered. Of the shooter, Little Nicky is alleged to have said he "did good work".

One longtime soldier who was spared the indignity of a physically demeaning nickname - and possibly with good reason - was Charles "Charlie Canig" Carneglia.

Grey-bearded and with an improbable grey ponytail, Carneglia has allegedly been killing for the Gambinos since the 1970s, and not necessarily always while under instruction.

In 1975 Albert Gelb, 25, intervened when he saw a young woman being harassed in a diner by a man who produced a gun before Gelb disarmed him. The man was Carneglia. Gelb was shot dead seated at the wheel of his car shortly before Carneglia's trial.

Carneglia, 61, has been charged with five murders in all and also is suspected of a notorious hit on one John Favara, who disappeared in July 1980. Favara was the unfortunate motorist who struck and killed Gotti's 12-year-old son. The boy rode his bike into the path of Favara's car. Carneglia is suspected of shooting Favara and of disposing of his body in a cement-filled barrel. Favara's body has not been found.

The FBI this week was making a body count of another sort. In the Gambino takedown they counted three family captains, three acting captains and 16 soldiers. "Once ruled by the powerful Carlo Gambino and 'Dapper Don' John Gotti, the Gambino family has been reduced to a shadow of its former criminal self over the years … but it is far from dead, continuing its efforts to infiltrate such industries as trucking and construction," the FBI said. "Still, the investigations and ensuing indictment represent another crippling blow. A total of 25 alleged Gambino mobsters - including each active leader of the family not already in jail - were indicted."

Among those charged are members and associates of the Bonnano and Genovese crime families and figures from the construction industry and unions. The charges span three decades and involve murder, drug trafficking, money laundering, extortion and various scams.

The Labour Department inspector-general, Gordon Heddell, said the scams involved some of New York's biggest building companies. "Many of these construction companies allegedly paid a 'mob tax' in return for 'protection' and permission to operate," he said. "The Gambino organised crime family caused the theft of Teamsters union dues, and of health and pension funds, directly impacting the welfare and future of many workers."

In addition, Carneglia ran marijuana. Other family members dealt cocaine. Corozzo and DiMaria oversaw illegal bookmakers, and acting captain Frank Cali ran illegal poker machines "including approximately four or five machines in Caf Italia in Brooklyn. Cali split a percentage of the gambling profits with the owner of the restaurant, with 10 per cent off the top going to the administration of the Gambino family," court documents reveal.

"In the 1990s, Cali was involved in overseeing the Gambino family interest in the annual Italian Feast on 18th Avenue in Brooklyn. The Gambino family received a percentage of the fees charged for the booths and rides, which generated tens of thousands of dollars each year. Cali split the money with other Gambino family associates, with 10 per cent off the top going to the administration of the Gambino family."

Joey Vallaro was a good earner for the Gambinos. In January 2006 they allowed him to start a new operation, an excavation business. That alone brought in $30,000 in extortion payments.

The New York Post said the crunch came when he was busted with two kilograms of cocaine in 2004. He turned informant rather than face a possible life sentence.

Contrary to expectations, Vallaro apparently did not enter the witness protection program after authorities swooped on the family: some reports claim that Joey stayed around to make a brazen appearance at a sushi bar last Saturday. It was just two days after the arrests, and two doors from the restaurant run by his now-abandoned wife, Trisha.

He is not expected to reappear until his time comes to testify in the looming Gambino trials. That is especially so since Little Nicky Corozzo, the man who ushered him into the fold, was not home when the police came calling. And he is still out there, somewhere.

Thanks to Ian Munro

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Gambino Mobster Nicknames

According to mob expert John Carillo, most gangsters don't know one another's last name. "It's a group of people that know each other basically by nicknames or first names." Among the funniest are:

Thomas Cacciopoli: "Tommy Sneakers." He "likes sneakers," Michael "Mikey Scars" DiLeonardo testified at the trial of Gambino boss Peter Gotti.

Joseph Corozzo: "Jo-Jo," "Miserable." It's about that attitude, Jo-Jo.

Robert Epifania: "Bobby the Jew." He's not Jewish. But he "looks like a Jew," his cohorts told investigators.

Domenico Cefalu: "Italian Dom," "Dom from 18th Avenue," "The Greaseball." "Greaseball" is the pejorative the elder John Gotti used for Sicilians; 18th Avenue is in his neck of the woods, Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.

Nicholas Corozzo: "The Doctor," "The Little Guy," "Seymour," "Grandpa," "Grandfather," "Little Nick." This 5-foot-6 mobster goes by "Grandpa" when with close friends.

Vincent Decongilio: "Vinny Hot." His father was "Freddy Hot" - plus he's into gambling.

Leonard DiMaria: "Uncle," "Lenny," "L," "Fatso," "The Conductor." Self-named, he once signed a get-well note to a Newsday reporter "Uncle Lenny." He's short, squat, with a broad nose.

Anthony Licata: "Anthony Firehawk," "Anthony Nighthawk," "Cheeks." Firehawk and Nighthawk are names of trucking companies. Personal Creations

John D'Amico: "Jackie Nose." "He had his nose fixed. He had a big, distorted nose at one time," DiLeonardo said at the Gotti trial. D'Amico was said to have been upset with prosecutors for using the nickname.

Thanks to the NYPost

After Husband is Arrested, Did Mobster's Wife Reach Out and Touch a Warning to Her Reputed Gambino Capo Father

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Reputed Gambino capo Nicholas "Little Nick" Corozzo was able to elude the feds' rubout of more than 100 of his associates Thursday - allegedly thanks to a timely, heads-up phone call from his daughter, who had just watched her mobster husband hauled away in cuffs, sources told The Post yesterday.

Vincent "Skinny" Dragonetti was busted as he walked out of his Bellmore, LI, home a few minutes ahead of the early-morning synchronized sweep. That gave his wife, Bernadette, enough time to warn her dad, who lives a few blocks down the same street.

Corozzo was so quick in fleeing that he left behind his wallet, sources said.

Bernadette refused to answer a Post reporter's questions yesterday, slamming the door in his face.

Corozzo remained on the lam as new details emerged about the historic mass arrest - which involved charges of murder, corruption, extortion, drug dealing and loan-sharking from the city to Sicily.

Its central figure, Staten Island truck-company owner Joseph Vollaro, wore a wire for more than two years.

The ex-con provided intricate details of the Gambino crime family's inner workings at meetings and meals with top bosses, sources said.

Vollaro, who had been staring at a life sentence after he was pinched with two kilos of cocaine in 2004, made the deal in exchange for his freedom and entry into the witness-protection program.

His wife has decided not to join him in the program, which he entered last week as the feds were putting the finishing details on Thursday's massive bust, sources said. The couple has no kids.

As valuable as Vollaro was in bringing down one of the city's biggest crime syndicates, the feds apparently didn't know what to expect when he first agreed to help with their large-scale investigation.

Vollaro, who shared a federal prison cell with Corozzo and began doing business with the Gambinos when he got out in 1999, was initially expected to help with a multifaceted national drug investigation. But he cozied up to the "family" so well over the next few years that he was even on the verge of becoming a made man when the hammer fell on the organization, the sources said.

Vollaro's sweetheart deal sickened the rogues gallery of thugs he ratted out.

"Everybody thought he was a nice guy," said Joel Winograd, the lawyer for Leonard "The Conductor" DiMaria, who, among other things, is charged with money laundering, stealing union benefits and gambling. "He's probably in Hawaii on the beach spending his illegally obtained drug-dealing money right now."

The evidence obtained by Vollaro was a key building block for many of the extortion and racketeering cases.

The multiple murder charges - for crimes that date back as far as 30 years - were brought with extensive wiretap evidence gathered by longtime Gambino associate Peter Zuccaro, 52.

Zuccaro was a key member of one of Corozzo's biggest crews run by Ronnie "One Arm" Trucchio. He and several other associates cut a deal with the feds after his conviction in Tampa, Fla., in 2005 on extortion and other charges.

Zuccaro, a trusted member of the late John Gotti's inner circle, provided a treasure trove of damning evidence - including information on the murder of court officer Albert Gelb, which was allegedly committed by hit man Charles Carneglia.

Thanks to Murray Weiss, Stephanie Cohen, Eric Lenkowitz

Do the Gambinos Have a Boss?

One of the biggest mob busts in Mafia history has rocked the Gambino crime family to the core, leaving no clear successor to run street operations.

Law-enforcement officials are watching closely to see how the Gambinos will cope after a new federal indictment stripped the crime family of alleged acting boss John "Jackie Nose" D'Amico, consigliere Joseph "Jo Jo" Corozzo and his brother, Nicholas Corozzo.

The Mafia family's remaining members are expected to go underground in the coming tumultuous weeks - making no official changes in the leadership - as bail hearings unfold in Brooklyn federal court.

Peter Gotti continues to be the official boss of the family as he serves the equivalent of a life sentence behind bars, but he will likely seek an older, loyal capo to temporarily steer the organization on the street, according to knowledgeable sources.

"They've got a problem," said one source, noting that Gotti's got slim pickings since the majority of the crime family's leaders are facing charges contained in the new indictment.

Thanks to Kati Cornell and Murray Weiss

Friday, February 08, 2008

Gambino Crime Family Infrastructure Dismantled

Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn today unleashed a sweeping 80-count indictment against more than 50 Gambino mobsters — including the entire leadership of the crime family — charging them with seven murders and widespread extortion conspiracies within New York City's construction industry

The indictment names Gambino acting boss John "Jackie Nose" D'Amico, underboss Domenico "Italian Dom" Cefalu, consigliere Joseph "Jo Jo" Corozzo, capo Nicholas "Little Nick" Corozzo, the late "Dapper Don" John Gotti's brother, Vincent, and his nephew, Richard Gotti Jr.

It also includes three Gambino captains, three acting captains, 16 soldiers, numerous associates and a handful of Bonanno and Genovese crime family members. In all, 62 mobsters have been charged.

D'Amico surrendered this afternoon, hours after dozens of his cohorts were rounded up in early-morning raids. But Nicholas Corozzo was not at his Long Island home when agents showed up yesterday to bust him, sources said.

"I can't think of a larger single-day roundup of substantial [Mafia] figures. I just can't think of a day that had this many arrests. Probably none in the last 10 years," said a law enforcement source.

"It dismantles the infrastructure of the family. You can't say it's the death knell because you don't know. It will still exist, to the point where it becomes increasingly difficult for the family to operate as it has in the past."

The arrests coincided with a massive takedown in Palermo, Sicily, where two dozen high-ranking Italian members of the Gambino family were arrested.

Italian authorities, who were at a New York press conference announcing the charges, said the raid in Sicily was sparked by a recent rekindling of the relationship between Sicilian and American members of the family.

Longtime Gambino soldier Charles Carneglia was charged with five murders, including the 1976 slaying of Brooklyn court officer Albert Gelb, who was set to testify about having wrested a firearm away from the mobster in a Queens diner. Carneglia also is charged with the 1990 fatal shooting of armored car guard Jose Delgado Rivera.
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He's also charged in the death of three gangsters: Gambino mobster Michael Cotillo in 1977 and Salvatore Puma in 1983, as well as family soldier Louis DiBono in 1990. DiBono's killing, later revealed on secret wiretap tapes of Gotti Sr., was committed because he failed to show up at a meeting with the Dapper Don when so order.

Nicholas Corozzo, who was once the family's heir apparent, is charged with the January 1996 double murder of Brooklyn drug dealer Robert Arena and his friend Thomas Maranga.

Corrozzo and 25 other mobsters are also charged in a separate indictment out of the Queens District Attorney's office that accused them of running a huge illegal sports betting operation.

Gambino family soldiers Vincent and Richard Gotti are charged with the attempted murder of an unnamed person.

The indictment also charges the family with having tight control over several construction projects in the New York area, including the proposed Nascar racing track on Staten Island — a project opposed by residents that never saw the light of day — and the Liberty View Harbor construction site in Jersey City, NJ.

"Today we serve notice that anyone who aspired to a position in organized crime will meet the same fate. We will not rest until we rid our communities and businesses of the scourge of organized crime," said Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Benton Campbell.

Campbell, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, Queens DA Richard Brown, and Deputy FBI Director Mark Mershon led a press conference in the U.S. Attorney's office this morning to announce the arrests.

Thanks to Stephanie Cohen

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Biggest New York Mafia Take Down in 20 Years Hits the Gambino Family

The FBI struck a decapitating blow today to the Gambino crime family, taking out its leaders and the last vestiges of late boss John Gotti, the Daily News has learned.

Up to 60 mobsters are expected to be charged on racketeering, murder and extortion charges, including acting boss John (Jackie Nose) D'Amico who was Dapper Don's longtime sidekick, underboss Dominic Cefalu and consigliere Joseph (JoJo) Corozzo, sources said.

In an exclusive interview with the Daily News in 2005, D'Amico denied running the Gambino family. "I'm the boss of my house and my bathroom," he said.

Gotti's brother Vincent and his nephew Richard, will be charged today with the 2003 attempted murder of Howard Beach bagel shop owner Angelo Mugnolo.

Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Benton Campbell, FBI officials and representatives from the Italian National Police are scheduled to discuss the largest Mafia takedown in more than two decades, at a press conference later this morning.

Another Gotti crony, Charles Carneglia is facing charges for the murders of an armored car driver during a robbery, the 1976 murder of a court officer and the 1990 rubout of gangster Louis DiBono.

Nicholas (Little Nick) Corozzo, a reputed capo believed to be the heir apparent to run the family, will be charged with a 1996 double murder in Brooklyn in which one of the victims was a bystander.

Officials are also expected to discuss the arrests of dozens of Mafioso members in Sicily in coordination with today's raids. The Sicilian wiseguys have ties to the Gambino crime family through reputed New York soldier Franki Cali, sources said.

During the lengthy investigation, the FBI learned that disgraced NBA referee Tim Donaghy was betting on basketball games with bookies. Donaghy pleaded guilty last summer and is cooperating with authorities.

Thanks to John Marzulli

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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

New Head of Major Mafia Family

Friends of ours: John Gotti, John "Jackie Nose" D'Amico, Petter Gotti, Junior Gotti, Nicholaz "Little Nick" Corozzo, Gambino Crime Family, Arnold "Zeke" Squitieri

Meet the new John Gotti.

John (Jackie Nose) D'Amico, the Dapper Don's longtime sidekick and confidant, has emerged as the new acting boss of the Gambino crime family, law enforcement officials told the Daily News. D'Amico, known as a dapper dresser himself with a gift for gab and a way with the ladies, even confirmed to The News that he was a "boss."

Well, sort of. "I'm the boss of my house and my bathroom," said D'Amico, 69. "When I go in my house and my bathroom and close the door, I'm the boss." The comment sounds like a tribute to something his dear friend John Gotti often said to reporters: "I'm the boss of my family, my wife and kids."

It was a line D'Amico probably heard a thousand times as the Dapper Don's constant companion on the town and in court. But despite his common-man self-portrayal, law enforcement authorities say D'Amico is the new Don. "It's apparent from a number of directions that Jackie is the street boss right now," one source said. "He is speaking with authority. He's not the same person from eight months ago."

D'Amico, known more as a lover than a fighter, may not have had the respect in the past of tough guys in the crime family, but his skills of diplomacy are needed now more than muscle is. "He's a very personable individual," said Bruce Mouw, the retired head of the FBI's Gambino squad. "He can be a diplomat, a mediator. He's not a hard-liner. They need someone to rally people together."

Law enforcement sources say that after Gotti was convicted in 1992 and sent away for life, a ruling panel consisting of D'Amico and fellow Gambino capos Peter Gotti and Nicholas (Little Nick) Corozzo was designated to assist the Dapper Don's son John A. (Junior) Gotti in running the crime family.

When Junior Gotti and D'Amico were pinched on racketeering charges in 1998, Peter Gotti, the Dapper Don's brother, became boss. Fast-forward to the present, with the beleaguered crime family beset by leadership woes.

Junior Gotti claims he has quit the Mafia. Peter Gotti was convicted of racketeering, and the former acting boss, Arnold (Zeke) Squitieri, is under indictment. But D'Amico, son of a television repairman from the East Village, insisted the feds and cops have it all wrong.

He said his life has none of the trappings of a Mafia boss. "I'm insignificant, I'm not important," said D'Amico. "I take the 4 train, the 5 train, the 6 train. That's the only way I travel. I don't have a chauffeur-driven car."

D'Amico, who earned his nickname because of his "Romanesque nose," according to the recent testimony of a mob turncoat, dismissed talk about his mob ascension as lies told by snitches. These confidential informants want to ingratiate themselves (with law enforcement), so they can keep on selling drugs," he said.

Still, D'Amico's supposed promotion makes sense for several reasons. Corozzo, the other logical heir to the Gambino throne, is said to be preoccupied these days with health issues and remains on supervised release, which bars him from meeting with goodfellas.

Mob watchers say D'Amico was never much of an earner for the Gambinos, which is the main function of a Mafia family. In fact, Mouw said, "D'Amico was always broke, constantly in debt, a degenerate gambler. John Gotti loved him because ... Jackie was his fellow gambler who placed all his bets for him."

For a while, D'Amico dabbled in a phone-card business and cruised around in a Jaguar, courtesy of a supposed job as a salesman at a Crystal Geyser water distributor in Brooklyn.

These days, D'Amico lives in an Upper East Side high-rise in Manhattan and is known to frequent Fresco, a popular Italian restaurant in Manhattan.

In his conversation with The News, he expressed concern about what his neighbors will think after reading this story. "Go bother the people that are ruining the country, Cheney and Bush," he said. "There are plenty of things more important than who I am or not."

He still owns a modest, split-level home in Hillsdale, N.J., where his wife, Rosalie, resides. "You're not going to get any information from me," she said when a reporter knocked at her door last week. "He comes and goes. That's the way it's been for the past 40 years."

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