Mafia veteran “Tommy Shots” Gioeli’s lucky break — a fractured kneecap — is now a pain in the neck.
The one-time street boss of the Colombo crime family won a recent $250,000 settlement for an August 2013 slip-and-fall while playing ping-pong behind bars, only to find federal prosecutors want the cash to help cover $360,000 in court-ordered restitution owed to a bank and a fur store.
Gioeli, acting as his own attorney, filed a massive 83-page court document from his Connecticut prison cell arguing the injury payoff from the federal Bureau of Prisons was off-limits to authorities.
The tough guy, described by witnesses as a cold-blooded assassin during a 2012 trial where he was convicted of racketeering, wants the restitution order amended based on his limited “level of contribution” to the two heists.
“In the case of the Furs by Mina robbery, the jury declined to ‘convict’ the defendant of any wrongdoing on that charge,” wrote Gioeli, referring to himself in the third person. “(And) the defendant was never even charged with any crime which contributed to a loss by Chemical Bank.”
Gioeli, citing case law, argued it was “both noteworthy and relevant” that a 2012 ruling found the federal courts lacked the “inherent power” to impose payback as part of a sentence.
“The defendant respectfully contends that the $360,000 order of restitution is void ... insofar as the court lacked the authority to order him to pay restitution to either of the two victims," contended the gangster, who is less than halfway through his 18 1/2-year prison term.
The quarter-million dollar windfall came seven years after Gioeli’s racketeering conviction in Brooklyn Federal Court, where he was found guilty of conspiring to kill acolytes of family boss “Little Vic” Orena in a war for control of the Colombo family.
His fall occurred inside Brooklyn’s Manhattan Detention Center, requiring surgery and a month-long hospitalization.
The 67-year-old mobster is currently paying off the court-ordered debt at the rate of $25 every three months, with the current balance of money owed at $359,800, according to court papers.
U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue, in a response filed last week, insisted the government was within its rights to exact restitution from the convicted felon.
"The fact that Gioeli has received a judgment stemming from a personal injury does not entitle him to a modification of the restitution judgment,” Donoghue asserted in his four-page response. “... Jurisdiction is lacking for the court to modify the restitution and, even (if) there was jurisdiction, modification is not warranted.”
The prosecutor also challenged Gioeli’s claim that the jury verdicts spared him from paying back any money to either the store or the bank.
“Contrary to Gioeli’s suggestion, (he) was convicted of racketeering conspiracy, which included as relevant conduct proven by a preponderance of the evidence the Furs by Mina robbery and the Chemical Bank robbery,” wrote Donoghue. “It is irrelevant if the jury found either of those particular acts not proven.”