The gangster whose loose lips helped sink the leadership of the Gambino Crime Family has died at a federal prison where he was serving a nearly–year stretch for racketeering.
Gregory DePalma, 78, an admitted capo in the notorious Mafia crime family, died Nov. 20 at 5:54 p.m. at Butner Federal Medical Prison in Butner, N.C., prison public information officer Denise Simmons said.
She declined to release the cause of death, saying it’s not public information. But she did say that authorities do not suspect foul play in the death of the longtime gangster. DePalma suffered from a host of ailments dating back more than a decade and has suffered heart attacks, battled cancer, and struggled with diabetes.
DePalma, a longtime Scarsdale resident, was serving 12 years and seven months at the prison, a sentence that stemmed from his 2006 federal racketeering conviction in Manhattan. The trial featured testimony from the undercover FBI agent who infiltrated DePalma’s Westchester crew and got so close to the aging capo that DePalma said he was going to have him inducted into the crime family.
Joaquin Garcia, the agent who posed as jewel thief “Fat Jack Falcone,” has since retired from the FBI. He said Monday that DePalma was a “hard-core gangster” who lived by the code of the mob.
“The world’s a better place without the guy,” Garcia said. “Certainly, Westchester’s a better place and people there can breathe a little easier.”
DePalma was inducted into the Gambino Crime Family in’77, the same year he came to the attention of federal investigators in connection with the failed Westchester Premier Theatre in Greenburgh. DePalma and his cohorts would be indicted the next year for skimming money from the failing theater. But the venture’s real legacy is a famous photo of Frank Sinatra with his arms draped around DePalma and other mobsters following an appearance at the theater.
In’98, he was charged along with his son Craig DePalma and John “Junior” Gotti in connection with an alleged attempt to shake down the New York City strip club “Scores.”
Both DePalmas and Gotti eventually pleaded guilty in the case, with the elder DePalma sentenced while lying in a hospital bed at Westchester Medical Center.
In 2002, he was released from prison and almost immediately went back to committing crime. In 2005, federal prosecutors indicted DePalma and more than 30 other members of the Gambino Crime Family, including the acting boss Arnold Squitieri. All pleaded guilty except for DePalma, who was convicted in 2006.
Category: Gambino Family