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Gambino crime boss Peter Gotti who put $70K hit on Sammy ‘The Bull’ Gravano for betraying family dies in jail

The 81-year-old Queens resident was serving a 25-year sentence in North Carolina following his 2004 conviction. He and his brother John Gotti ran the Gambino crime family in the late '80s
Peter Gotti put out a hit on Sammy Gravano for betraying the Gambino crime family (FBI/Getty Images)
Peter Gotti put out a hit on Sammy Gravano for betraying the Gambino crime family (FBI/Getty Images)

STATEN ISLAND, NEW YORK: Peter Gotti, the former boss of the Gambino crime syndicate and brother of notorious mobster John Gotti, passed away in federal prison on Thursday, February 25. 

The 81-year-old Queens resident was serving a 25-year sentence in North Carolina following his 2004 conviction after putting a $70,000 bounty on Sammy "The Bull" Gravano, the Gambino family turncoat whose testimony sent John Gotti to prison, according to Staten Island Live.


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In 1999 and 2000, Peter and Thomas "Huck" Carbonaro of Travis plotted to take out Gravano "with a homemade land mine or a hunting rifle" in Arizona for turning against the family, prosecutors said at the time. However, Gravano was be arrested on drug charges before the hit could take place.

A year before Gravano's arrest, Peter was convicted of infiltrating the New York waterfront and extorting Hollywood action star Steven Seagal, who himself lived in the borough at the time.

Peter was part of a powerful crew that extorted workers and officials at the former Howland Hook terminal in Mariners Harbor, prosecutors said. “These things happen,” Peter was quoted as saying by previous Staten Island Live reports. 

Gravano expressed his condolences upon hearing the news of Peter's demise. "It is the closing of the Gotti era," he told Newsday. "I don't like to hear about anybody dying in prison," Gravano added. 

Peter asked a judge for early release at the end of 2019 after serving 17 years behind bars. His lawyer James Craven said he was dealing with serious health issues at the time. According to the report, Peter was suffering from an enlarged prostate, gastric reflux and early-onset dementia. “[He was not] as dangerous as he looked,” Craven told the New York Daily News. However, Peter's request was eventually denied by a Manhattan judge.
Peter was formerly a city sanitation worker before he became closely aligned with his brother John Gotti, whose crew was working out of the Bergin Hunt and Fish Club in Ozone Park. According to Bruce Mouw, the former FBI agent who led the big investigation that took down John Gotti in 1990, Peter helped his brother run the club.

Friends and family stand in front of the Papavero funeral home to attend the wake for mobster John Gotti on June 14, 2002, in the Queens borough of New York City (Getty Images)

"He got made [inducted into the crime family ] in 1986," Mouw told Newsday on Thursday, February 25, night. "Peter was a loyal soldier and very loyal captain. His main job was to collect the money."

Peter Gotti became a more important fixture in the crime family after John Gotti engineered the assassination of former Gambino family boss Paul Castellano and took over as head of the family in late 1985. Both Gotti brothers presided over a time when the family became a big media fixture and made millions of dollars. However, their leadership led to poor decisions and their eventual arrests, according to Mouw.

"He was a good captain but as far as a boss he was a disaster and the family went downhill," Mouw said of Peter Gotti. As of today, the Gambino family is reputedly led by Dominic Cefalu of Brooklyn.