By ANTHONY M. DESTEFANO
In this June, 4, 2008 photo, reputed acting boss of the Colombo crime family Thomas "Tommy Shots" Gioeli is led by FBI agents from Federal Plaza for arraignment in Manhattan. (Credit: AP)
The former reputed acting boss of the Colombo crime family was sentenced Wednesday to more than 18 years in prison for his role in a murderous racketeering conspiracy after a federal judge agreed he was seriously ill and had already done hard time in jail. It was less than the 20 years prosecutors sought.
Thomas "Tommy Shots" Gioeli, 61, of Farmingdale, was convicted in May 2012 by a Brooklyn federal jury of being part of the conspiracy involving three murder plots, two of which ultimately resulted in the deaths of two reputed mob associates in a 1990s conflict known as the "Colombo Wars."
But in a major setback for prosecutors, the same jury acquitted Gioeli of involvement in six other murder plots, including the killing of NYPD officer Ralph Dols in Brooklyn and the assassination of Colombo family underboss William "Will Bill" Cutolo in 1999.
Cutolo's body was found buried in Farmingdale in October 2008.
Judge Brian Cogan said Wednesday that although the jury acquitted Gioeli of the Cutolo murder as a racketeering act, the "preponderance of the evidence" convinced him it was more likely than not the defendant was involved in the hit plot. Cogan said he wasn't considering the Dols homicide in fashioning a sentence.
"These are vicious crimes and they take a vicious person to do them," Cogan said.
Gioeli didn't comment before he was sentenced but defense attorney Adam Perlmutter said his client was ailing with heart problems, diabetes and recovering from a broken knee sustained during a fall he suffered at the federal Metropolitan Detention Center.
Gioeli, sporting a new beard, appeared in court in a wheelchair.
Perlmutter also stressed that because he is sick, the six years Gioeli has spent at the detention center is harder time than a healthy inmate would experience.
Cogan said that Gioeli seemed to be a dual personality: loving and charitable to friends and family on Long Island while at the same time being part of an organized crime family spreading murder and mayhem.
Yet Cogan also was swayed by the fact that Gioeli was ill and had been laboring under hardships during his confinement, something the judge said was lengthened by the time it took the federal government to decide it wasn't going to seek the death penalty.
In addition to the 224-month prison sentence, Cogan hit Gioeli with a $360,000 forfeiture and restitution amount, money that was the proceeds of two robberies.
Gioeli's family members who were in court declined to comment.