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Mobster Who Put Hit Out for Late Crime Boss John Gotti Gets 13 Years

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Joseph Watts, a close associate of the late Gambino Crime family boss John J. Gotti, becomes the latest mobster to get a stiff prison sentence.

Watts,69, was sentenced Wednesday in Manhattan federal court by Judge Colleen McMahon to 13 years in prison for participating in “murder and assault conspiracies in order to maintain and increase his influence in the Gambino Family.” He was also ordered to forfeit $250,000.

He pleaded guilty in January after being charged with setting up the murder of a man the Gambino crime family boss John Gotti suspected of snitching.

“Today’s sentence should serve as a sober reminder that if you kill or harm an actual or potential government witness, no matter how powerful you may think you are, we will find you and send you to prison for a very long time,” said U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.”

Authorities say Watts was close to the older Gotti, but never became a “made man”  because he was not Italian. He was, however,  made a Gambino family captain.

Authorities said that in 1989,  Frederick Weiss was a defendant in a case in federal court in Manhattan.

The Gambino crime family boss at the time, John J. Gotti,  suspected that Weiss was cooperating with the government because he got rid of  a lawyer who regularly represented Gambino Family members and associates. Gotti ordered Weiss killed.

Authorities said Watts put together a murder team to carry out the hit.

In September 1989, Watts and others went to  a house on Staten Island where they thought Weiss would be. Authorities said Watts assigned different Gambino members and associates to different tasks, including digging the grave  for Weiss’s body.

Watts  stood in the garage, holding a gun, waiting to shoot Weiss when he arrived. But Weiss never showed up.

So the next day, a different team of shooters killed Weiss outside his apartment building, authorities said.

Authorities said Watts also roughed up someone who refused to give back some investment money.

That all began while Watts was serving a prison sentence in connection with his 2001 conviction for money laundering. In prison, he met a fellow inmate who he admired for his stockpicking.

After the stockpicker got released from prison, Watts sent an emissary to deliver approximately $350,000 to $400,000 in cash to the man to invest, authorities said.

The investment failed.  In 2002,  Watts demanded his money back. The man returned some, but not all.

Watts started threatening the man.  On one occasion, Watts and another individual confronted the man in Manhattan and physically assaulted him, authorities said. On a  subsequent occasion, Watts threatened the man and physically shoved him against the wall.


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