Ex-Colombo crime family boss Thomas “Tommy Shots” Gioeli loves playing ping-pong. Back in 2013, in Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center Gioeli, who suffers from diabetes and heart disease, was enjoying a game when he went to retrieve an errant ball, slipped in a puddle caused by a leaking pipe under a sink and broke his kneecap (a sound he’s probably familiar with no doubt). He needed surgery and a 30-day stay in the hospital.
He subsequently sued the government for $10 million but eventually settled for $250,000. Brooklyn federal Judge Kiyo Matsumoto, who presided over the $10 million personal injury lawsuit, said that the injury was half Gioeli’s fault for playing near an area known to be leaking but also half the government’s fault for not fixing the leak, blocking off the area, and generally keeping the area safe.
Still, not bad for a game of ping-pong in the slammer, but it now seems the authorities have their eyes on about $182,000 worth of that money.
Prosecutors have filed papers to start the process of getting Gioeli’s settlement money to partially satisfy a forfeiture order for $360,000 related to a pair of robberies in the 1990s.
Through an investigation into the now 67-year-old mobster’s finances, the feds realized that the only asset of any significance he owned at that point was the settlement in his personal-injury award, according to court papers.
An inspector with the US Marshals Service wrote in the court papers, “The government’s investigation indicated that the proceeds of the Defendant’s offenses, which date back to the 1990s, have been dissipated, disposed of or transferred to third parties, or are otherwise not available for forfeiture,”
Brooklyn federal judge Brian Cogan still needs to approve the forfeiture bid.
Back in 1992, Gioeli was accused of masterminding a robbery of ‘Furs by Mina’, a Nassau County Fur shop. According to court papers, he and two Colombo associates posed as a father and his two sons out for a nice day shopping.
After restraining the shop owner, they completely looted the store and managed to get away with about 150 fur coats worth approximately $900,000 stuffed into trash bags.
In 2012 however, a jury acquitted Gioeli of the fur store robbery and a 1995 Long Island bank armed robbery. They also cleared him from organizing the 1997 murder of NYPD officer Ralph Dols Jr., who made the unfortunate mistake of marrying Colombo consigliere Joel “Joe Waverly” Cacace’s ex-wife.
It wasn’t all good news for Gioeli. A jury did find him guilty of plotting the murders of at least three of his gangster rivals. Gioeli is currently locked up in federal prison in Danbury, Connecticut. He is scheduled to be released in May 2024.
TOMMY “Shots” GIOELI Born in 1952. He became a made guy in the COLOMBO Family in the 1980s, working for Capo Vic Orena. In 1989, Carmine Persico appointed ORENA to acting boss and by 1991 ORENA wanted to be the “Official Boss” of the family and this was the start of the 3rd COLOMBO WAR. Persico gave orders to have ORENA killed and this sparked the conflict that would severely damage the Family. GIOELI initially backed the ORENA Faction but many switched allegiances when the War swung in Persico’s Favor. Even GIOELI switched and became a top guy Under Greg Scarpa on the Persico side. All through the early 90s, the bodies were piling up. GIOELI and others were allegedly involved in the murders of Frank Marassa and Michael Imbergamo. In 1992 GIOELI got wounded in an attack by ORENA Hitmen and was shot twice, earning him the Nickname “SHOTS”. After ORENA was indicted the war was over and “Little Allie Boy” Persico was now Official Boss or Official Street Boss under his Uncle Carmine. In the late 90s “GIOELI was allegedly involved in the killing of Associate Richard Greaves and Underboss William “Wild Bill” Cutolo. The Persico’s thought “Wild Bill” would try and take over the Family when “Little Allie Boy” went to prison, so he had to go. In 2004 GIOELI was promoted to STREET BOSS and then his past crimes came back to haunt him. He was indicted several times on charges of Racketeering and all the old murders, but he did beat some of those charges. On March 19, 2014, he was sentenced to 18 years in prison.